**Thursday Sept. 26th 11:45 AM** CONGRATULATIONS to our giveaway winner, Nancy E.!
My guest today is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Into the Free, the Christy Award winning Book of the Year 2013 and recipient of the Mississippi Library Association’s Fiction Award. The sequel, When Mountains Move released September, 2013. She and her family live in Mississippi where they operate Valley House Farm. Please wave your wooden spoons and join me in a warm Authors' Galley welcome for Julie Cantrell!
(I love that Julie has opted to answer one of my favorite Authors' Galley questions):
What would the characters of WHEN MOUNTANS MOVE order if they all gathered at a restaurant?
Well, Millie, my main character, would likely order something inexpensive and nothing to call attention to herself. Perhaps a baked potato or soup. And then she would share it with others at the table, not wanting to take too much for herself.
Her husband, Bump, would probably dive into a juicy Ribeye, while Fortner would just hunt his own dinner and avoid the stuffy constraints of a restaurant.
Because these books are set during the WWII era, Oka may not be allowed to dine in the restaurant due to her Choctaw heritage, and Mabel (who is featured more prominently in INTO THE FREE) certainly would not be allowed to dine with the others due to the color of her skin. Especially in Mississippi where the story first takes root.
Kat would order something expensive, and then she’d take tiny nibbles, declare she was stuffed, and waste the entire dish.
Here in my real life at Valley House Farm, where I live and operate a small-scale sustainable, organic farm with my family, we like to eat fresh fruits and vegetables from our harvests. As I’m writing this post, our pear tree is dropping gifts by the dozens, so today I thought I’d teach you how to make a yummy, scrummy pear pie...all from scratch.
You can choose a pie crust from the store or a recipe of your choosing, but here’s how we make a simple, no-fail homemade crust. The only trick is to use ICE cold water and cold unsalted butter (not margarine). Roll crust and press into greased pie pan (I prefer glass or porcelain for more even distribution of heat).
INGREDIENTS FOR PIE CRUST
· 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
· 1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, very-cold, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
· 1 teaspoon salt
· 1 teaspoon sugar
· 6 to 10 Tbsp ice water
INSTRUCTIONS FOR PIE CRUST
Mix flour, salt, and sugar together. Then add slices of cold butter, cutting it into the dry ingredients (or using a food processor if you have one. I don’t...sigh.) Mix until a course mixture forms, leaving bits of butter in the dough...that’s what makes a “flaky” crust. Slowly incorporate cold water until you form a dough. Spread dough on flat surface sprinkled with flour and knead lightly, shaping the dough into two disks. DO NOT OVER KNEAD. You can refrigerate these disks up to two days. I’m using one for a pie and one for a spinach quiche for dinner tonight. When ready, use a rolling pin to flatten one disk. Then, place in greased pie pan and trim as needed. (Young kids can play with the extra dough.)
Then, you pick the pears. Okay, if you don’t have a beautiful pear tree offering you fresh fruit each morning, you can pretend! Visit your local farmers market and try to support local growers. (Note, pears can be substituted with any kind of apples, but the green ones such as Granny Smith usually taste best in this kind of pie.)
INGREDIENTS FOR PEAR OR APPLE PIE
· ¾ cup sugar
· 1 tsp. cinnamon
· Dash or two nutmeg
· 6-7 green apples or 8-9 pears, peeled and sliced thin
· 1 ½ TBSP butter
· (1 unbaked pie shell)
INGREDIENTS FOR CRUMB TOPPING:
· ½ cup butter
· ½ cup brown sugar
· 1 cup flour
Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Peel the pears, saving the scraps for the compost pile or the chicken coop. If you don’t have compost or chickens, I bet pinterest has some snappy way to craft pear peelings into a swanky fall centerpiece or something even Martha Stewart never thought of. I’m not that crafty, but our chickens are happy.
Slice pears into thin slivers (the smaller, the more tender they will taste in the pie, so don’t get lazy here.) Our horses love to nibble on the leftover cores.
Mix cinnamon and sugar. (You can certainly substitute sugar with no-cal/low-cal sweeteners like Splenda, etc. I prefer to use natural ingredients such as raw sugar or stevia. Today, for photo purposes, I’m using plain white sugar.) Add a dash or two of ground nutmeg. (Sometimes I add three or four.)
Mix pears lightly in with cinnamon and sugar and nutmeg, so they are completely coated.
Place pears into pie crust heat about 5-10 minutes until warmed through. Dot with butter when you remove the pie from warming.
Mix the crumble topping ingredients while pears are heating. Again, you’ll cut these together or use a food processor to blend a course crumble consistency. Then, sprinkle topping over the pears and bake for 30 minutes-45 minutes.
Serve warm with ice cream. YUM! (Remaining pie can be stored in fridge for a few days and reheated as needed.)
When Mountains Move, by Julie Cantrell, is the sequel to the Christy Award winning Book of the Year and Debut Novel of the Year, Into the Free, which earned a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly and became both a New York Times and USA TODAY bestseller.
It is the spring of 1943. With a wedding and a cross-country move, Millie’s world is about to change forever.
If only her past could change with it.
Soon after the break of day, Bump will become Millie’s husband. And then, if all goes as planned, they will leave the rain-soaked fields of Mississippi and head for the wilds of the Colorado Rockies. As Millie tries to forget a dark secret, she hasn’t yet realized how drastically those past experiences will impact the coming days.
For most of Millie’s life, being free felt about as unlikely as the mountains moving. But she’s about to discover that sometimes in life, we are given second chances, and that the only thing bigger than her past … is her future.
Learn more at www.juliecantrell.com
Oh, Julia what a delightful post! I'm alternately intrigued (by your characters!), laughing, drooling, and sighing . . . I SO love that you have an organic farm--my fantasy. Including the compost, chickens and horses.C I loved that our Texas home bordered a very large ranch, and I could toss veggie/fruit leftovers to eager deer horses, cows . . . and goodness knows what else after darkness closed in! And your pear pie: I can smell it from here. "Yummy scrummy" indeed!
Now for some extra fun, the fabulous Wynn-Wynn Media is offering a great giveaway package: A copy of When Mountains Move, a DaySpring mug, and some Tazo tea--ALL perfect accompaniments to a slice of that fresh pear pie!
To be included in the giveaway, please leave a comment below that includes your e-mail address. US entries only. The winner be chosen (via Random.Org) on Thursday September 26th and notified by e-mail.
Meanwhile, happy reading and . . . Bon appetit!