a stable foundation

Dear readers, it is time for me to admit what may have been obvious for some time: I am severely uninspired right now.

I'm not sure if it's that I've been doing this blog thing for over a year now, or that with the onset of summer I don't particularly want to turn my oven on, or maybe even the fact that this Thursday marks two years since I moved to DC. It's funny to think that two years have passed since I came here with only a duffel bag, relying on the generosity of friends. So much has changed since then.

Cooking is certainly one of those things, but luckily for me, my friends haven't really changed. The ways we interact with each other, sure; our relationships have not been static and continue to grow and change. It's just that underneath that we have a stable foundation. I know that I will be friends with these people for the rest of my life.

So when Daniel called me on a Friday night and said only, "Pot pie," I knew what to do. Well, okay, I knew what to do once we decided whose apartment to cook at (his, since he had all the veggies). It took us a while to actually get started, which meant we ate dinner around nine, but that sort of epitomizes summer, for me.

Here is another thing that hasn't changed in these two years in DC: I still get nervous when baking something new. Right up until we started eating, I was fretting that maybe the crust would be awful, or too buttery (I mean, there are two sticks of butter in that thing, which is kind of a lot), or just plain bad. It was not. It was pretty delicious, if I may say so myself. We even had it the next day for lunch.

Rustic Veggie Pot pie
adapted from Ruhlman's Ratio and a couple recipes from Joy of Cooking

for the dough
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 sticks butter
1/4 ice water (approx.)
pinch of salt

for the filling
(all of these should be about the same size)
1 medium-sized potato
1 bag frozen peas

for the sauce
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp a-p flour
1 cup milk
1 cup grated cheese (we used cheddar)

Preheat the oven to 325°F.

To make the dough, mix in the butter with the flour in a medium-sized mixing bowl, rubbing it in with your fingers. If you carefully read directions, you would have cold butter cut into small pieces. If you are like me, however, you will make small pieces with your fingers while mixing it in. And the butter will not be as cold as you realize it should be. Even if you are like me, this pie dough will turn out fine. Trust me. You should have pea-sized balls of butter, much like making scones. Slowly add the ice water, just a bit at a time, working the dough just until it comes together. Add the salt and work just a little bit more. Separate the dough into two equal pieces and refrigerate.

Because we're making a potpie, you'll need to blind bake your crust. Take one of the dough balls out of the refrigerator and roll it out. Place the dough in your pie tin, then line with aluminum foil and something to weighted - we used another, smaller pie tin, but you could use pie weights (which are made for this) or dried beans. Bake the crust for about 20 minutes. If you time it right, the other parts of the equation should be ready to go as well.

We did a quick saute of the vegetables, throwing them in based on how long they need to cook. So, in this order: potatoes, broccoli, carrots, peas, onion, garlic. You'll need a pretty big pot (or wok, which is what we used) to contain all of these, or I suppose you could use a couple different ones. Whatever works for you!

For the Mornay sauce, you'll start by making a roux, which just means you will melt the butter in a saucepan, then add in the flour. Stir the roux until it has blended together - this shouldn't take too long. Remove from heat and add in the milk, slowly. Once you add the milk, bring the pan back to a simmer, stirring constantly to prevent lumps from forming. Turn the heat down and slowly add the cheese in, while still stirring. When the cheese has melted, remove from heat.

Roll out the second ball of dough; this will be the top crust. Pour the vegetables into the bottom crust first, then the cheese sauce, and finally top with the crust. Carefully trim the edges of the top crust and make some slits for steam to escape.

Bake for about 30 minutes. Let cool, and enjoy!


  1. I wish I had a slice of pot pie right now.

  2. That looks wonderfully delicious. The texture of pie crust just screams summer to me.

  3. Next time you come visit, we will have to cook up something delicious for you! Also take you to Vace's. Mmm, Vace's.