Thursday, June 19, 2008

Pietopia Pie Contest 2008!

Pietopia Pie Contest

An exhibition to discover the taste of life in Portland, OR

What does it taste like to be unemployed, starting a new job, just married, divorced, a new homeowner or desperately searching for housing? What kind of pie would describe the way you are feeling right now? Could you imagine your thoughts, concerns or joys transformed into the All-American Pie? If so, take part in the Pietopia Pie Contest!

To participate, please submit your pie recipe and written explanation, including why you chose the recipe and how the taste of it relates to the current state of your life in under 300 words by July 15th, 2008. The project will culminate with an exhibition of the winners at the Portland Farmer’s Market Eastbank between 20th and Salmon on Thursday August 21, 2008. Each winning pie will receive a limited edition screen print reflecting the ideas in the written statement. Pies will be judged upon the creativity and innovativeness in ideas reflecting the ingredients used in the recipe.

Get as creative or as traditional as you want with your pies! Savory, sweet, fruit, cream, custard, meat, or vegan, do it up! The winners will bring their pie's to the Eastbank Farmer's Market (20th and Salmon SE) August 21st, 2008 for some good old fashioned tasting and show off their baking skills. Come and taste what your community is feeling! Plus check out the amazing silk-screens that will be specially designed for each winning pie.

Tricia Martin is an artist and designer exploring our community’s state of being. Inspired by Portland’s foodie culture, Martin is looking to channel this interest and commitment to good food as a way to explore how food can become a symbol for thoughts and feelings of a community.

Please send statements and recipes to:

The Local Economy Pie

The summers in Portland are undeniably beautiful. The sun is warm, usually not too hot, the air is not humid with a little breeze, and the produce here is absolutely amazing. There are local fresh produce stands that serve every neighborhood, farmer’s markets, and local farms supply even the major grocery stores. Being surrounded by Portland’s bountiful fresh produce led me to start thinking what a sustainable local economy tasted like.

Portland’s berry market is vast. A weekend favorite for locals is to take a trip up to Sauvie Island and pick their own berries as well as tons of other fresh produce. It is a great way to not only get mass quantities of berries for cheap, but to help directly support local farmers.

With the national crisis of oil and the economy occurring, we are all affected by the rising prices of fundamental necessities such as food. Is it possible to be a totally self-sustaining community in today’s Internet based way of life? Going back to a simpler way of daily life would certainly be an adjustment, but doable. I consider myself lucky living where I do with an abundance of fresh and local foods, it also makes creating a pie that tastes a bit like heaven that much easier.

The Local Economy Pie
  • 4 or 5 medium to large semi-ripe peaches
  • 3 cups blackberries
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Pinch of salt
  • deep dish pie crust (sorry guys, this recipe is mine)
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. with rack in lowest level. In a large bowl, toss peeled and sliced peaches and blackberries with sugar, cornstarch, nutmeg and salt. Pour into pie shell; cover pie with extra pie dough and pinch the sides shut. Place pie on a rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Bake until topping is browned and crust is lightly browned, about 1 hour and 20-30 mins. (If topping or crust begins to brown too quickly, tent with foil.) Cool completely before serving.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Pie of Unemployment

This spring has brought about many endings, including school and my former place of employment, which closed its doors after being a local go-to spot for over sixteen years. Getting a job in this town is no joke and the journey of trying to find one is enough to merit it’s own pie recipe. The trip has been tumultuous so I chose to explore what it tastes like to be unemployed. The cacophony of feelings I went through daily were nervousness, scared and a little excited to have more time to play. This bittersweet combination embodied for me the taste of a fresh rhubarb pie. I picked up some rhubarb at the Portland Farmer's market from a local farmer. It was fresh and some of the best I have had.

Rhubarb is a root, and grows quite nicely in the local climate of the Pacific Northwest. Historically, rhubarb was used for medicinal purposes but its leaves can be poisonous when ingested. In ancient china, rhubarb was used for both healing and as a deadly poison.

Rhubarb on it’s own has that acidic taste that makes your mouth pucker and you feel it in the back of your throat. It is a lingering taste as well as a memorable one. The way the flavor gives a physical reaction due to the potency of its distinct taste and then lingers on your palate reminded me of how feeling nervous can not only linger but pose it’s own physical issues as well. I also thought it interesting the duality of Rhubarb's use as a medicine and a poison. The scare factor is certainly there, but it is also an interesting parallel to the duality of feelings as well. Feelings, like medicine, can put you on the path to health, spur you on to healthier ways of approaching life, and help find the insight necessary to cure yourself. On the other hand, feelings when ignored, disregarded, or taken in overwhelming doses, can act as a poison.

Bittersweet, poisonous, and medicinal, Rhubarb embodies all the components and feelings for me of being unemployed. Excited that I have more time for my own projects, scared that I won’t be able to pay rent, and a healthy nervousness that spurs me on to stay in the job game culminated into the taste of a Rhubarb pie.

The Pie of Unemployment (Rhubarb) Recipe
  • 1 3/4 pounds (about 6 cups) rhubarb, ends trimmed, cut crosswise into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Pinch of salt
  • deep dish pie crust (sorry guys, this recipe is mine)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. with rack in lowest level. In a large bowl, toss rhubarb with sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Pour into pie shell; sprinkle with Crumble Topping. Place pie on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet.
  2. Place pie in oven; reduce heat to 375 degrees. Bake until topping is browned and crust is lightly browned, about 1 1/2 hours. (If topping or crust begins to brown too quickly, tent with foil.) Cool completely before serving.

Crumble Topping
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (cut into small pieces)
In a medium bowl, mix flour, light-brown sugar, granulated sugar, and salt. With your hands, work in butter until large, moist clumps form. Chill, covered, until ready to use.

Sunday, June 15, 2008