summer salad pie

summer salad pie

In May, I had my first surgery. It was minor, but it was not. I suppose it wouldn’t really be surgery if it was merely something minor, but really, it was quite minor. I spent many long moments post-laparoscopy melodramatically contemplating my mortality. That kind of thinking got me nowhere except dullsville, waist-deep in chocolate bars and pop tarts.

I feel better now. I’m still on the mend somewhat, but I’m alright. Summer has been beautiful up here. Warm and sunny and everything you hope for in the one season where you don’t need to wear a winter hat (or bonnet, as the locals would say). This past weekend, I cooked and baked for the first time in godknowshowlong. It was nice. I made a minty grasshopper pie. We cooked up a buttload of foraged mushrooms. We had vino and alfredo-y pasta, my fave. And I made this,….. this thing.

summer salad pie

This here is a gelatin salad nimbly resting in a cheese pie shell, topped unceremoniously with a tuna salad heavy to celery. The gelatin itself is of the lemon persuasion – mixed with tomato sauce – and is chockablock with onions, olives, and more celery.

And that’s really all you need to know, because any more would probably be incriminating.

If 1960s style cuisine gets you pumped, this is for you. Put on your best apron, don your pearls, set your hair in rollers, and get ready to finely dine on deep dish gelatin and tuna.

summer salad pie

Summer Salad Pie
Recipe adapted slightly from Betty Crocker’s Dinner in a Dish Cook Book © 1965

“Pretty as can be”: serves 6-8

Cheese Pie Shell

1 c. flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 c. + 1 tbsp shortening
1/2 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1-2 tbsp ice water

Heat oven to 475 F. Mix flour and salt in medium bowl. Cut in shortening thoroughly. Stir in cheese. Sprinkle water gradually over mixture, 1 tbsp at a time, tossing lightly with a fork after each addition (if dough appears dry, a few drops water may be added). Gather dough into a ball. On a lightly floured surface, roll out to 1″ larger than a 9″ pie pan. Ease into pan; flute edges of dough and prick with fork all over. Bake 8-10 minutes; cool.

Gelatin Salad

1 pkg. (3 oz) lemon gelatin
1 1/4 c. boiling water
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1 tbsp vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
Few drops each
Worcestershire sauce
and Tabasco
Dash pepper
1/2 c. chopped celery
1/2 c. chopped pimiento-stuffed olives
1/4 c. chopped onion

Dissolve gelatin in boiling water. Stir in tomato sauce, vinegar, and seasonings. Chill until slightly thickened. Fold in celery, olives, and onion. Pour into cooler Cheese Pie Shell. Chill thoroughly.

Tuna Salad

1 can (5 – 6.5 oz) tuna, drained
1 tsp lemon juice
3 tsp minced onion or scallions
1 c. diced celery

Lightly mix tuna, lemon juice, onion, and celery. Season with salt and paprika to taste. Chill. Just before serving, drain and mix in just enough mayonnaise to thoroughly coat salad. Spoon on top of chilled gelatin salad. Serve.

If I’ve done one thing this summer, it’s read more than my share of dated romance novels. They’re all quite aggravating, and it’s hard to accept that they’re so blantantly anti-woman and yet all penned by women. Did these ladies have no self respect? This particular diatribe doesn’t sound much like me, I must have changed during my post-surgical convalescence. To make up for my unexpected feminist thoughts, I continue to blast through these books.


We traveled down to Windham, NY, which is on the edge of the Catskills, to watch a world cup downhill mountain bike race. It was one of the most wildly exciting octane-fueled weekends I’ve ever experienced. I was starstruck and could not stop grinning like a crazy person for three days straight. It was a blast, and I hope we can make it to some of the other sanctioned races someday, which take place all over the globe (Norway? Austria? France?!).

There were other events at Windham, including cross country races and a pump track showcase showdown. Bikes are nothing but fun. It’s been a slow summer in the sense that I’ve been limited to spectating, but I was reunited with my mountain bike for the first time in over three months last weekend, and I was nearly as overjoyed by that as I was at the chance to stand next to my favorite downhill shredder, who happened to be shirtless, while at Windham.


pump track

A few weeks ago, I had nine active logging jobs. Things have cooled down a bit since then, because that was over the top and ridiculous. Speaking of over the top, the wood is piling up, just like the pulpwood you see here. This might be the tallest stack I’ve seen yet.


Lastly, my multiple gardens are in full force. Lilies and plenty of other good stuff in the flower beds, with datura about to bloom next week. Scallions + kale + black radishes, along with greens, peas, tomatoes, carrots and beans in my veg garden. It’s been a top shelf summer.

veglily and skull

salt lake city and environs, in pictures

In early June, I spent a week in Utah. The constant sunshine and dry heat were incredible, and were exactly what I could have hoped for after a soggy spring spent crawling through fir thickets. Salt Lake City itself was a tangle of suburbia, a land of wide highways and SUVs, a town with an unmatchable view. And there were plenty of Mormons, too. As converted Mormon Arthur ‘Killer’ Kane, New York Dolls bassist, states in his heartwrenching biopic, “I may be a dreamer…. but the dream has come true.”

And for that one week earlier this month, I felt exactly the same way.


Just look at that morning sunshine. THERE WERE NO BUGS! I can’t even begin to express my amazement at sleeping on bare ground, and waking up peacefully under the shade of a lodgepole pine without a single bug biting my neck. Sheer bliss.

We were in town for a wedding. If you are plan-ning on wed-ding and you live near SLC, check out Louland Falls. It’s secreted away in a canyon en route to Park City, and it’s absolutely gorgeous, as you can see in the following photo.

louland fallspyramid lakeuintasproud bro

We found this gleeful dude lording over downtown Salt Lake. He seemed to be rubbing it in our collective face that we, foolish hick folk from tiny town Maine, had dared imagine we could walk into the sushi restaurant in town and expect to be seated immediately.

He is raising his arms in mock-victory following our foolish hick town folk declaration that no thank you, we will not wait 1 hour for a life-changing dining experience, because goodness sheesh it’s after 8 pm already doncha know.

He clasps the hands of a forgettable somebody [not pictured] to signify the regrettable dive bar / sushi restaurant hybrid that we ended up eating at.

Ordering hot tea has never been so hard.

canyonriver restorationcanyonsnowbirdpipe bridgespuddy

Things to do while in Salt Lake City, Utah:

– Eat Owyhee’s Idaho Spuds and fry sauce (preferably not at the same time)
– Get outdoors, dummy
– Attempt five minutes on the trampolines at The wAIRhouse Trampoline Park before needing a break. Bonus points if you are over 12.
– Visit Temple Square – home to the recognizable Salt Lake LDS Temple, the Tabernacle, Assembly Hall, et al. – in the evening, and see if the guards lock you in at closing time. We narrowly escaped. Sample the water from their fountains if you feel like drinking the Kool-Aid. I narrowly escaped that too.
– Try to trick yourself into losing sight of the mountains while in town
– Schedule your bachelorette party for a Sunday night in Park City if you’d like to have the town pretty much to yourself
– Enjoy the dry heat that allows you to brush your hair without it turning into a white girl afro
– Observe the flock of well-dressed young Mormons at the SLC airport. Admire the dress/skirt-sweater combo favored by the females. Wonder why they’re all making calls on pay phones, and which time zones they must be calling to make midnight telephoning acceptable. Subsequently wonder if any other airports still have this many pay phones. Make a note to check when you reach your next destination.


Oh yeah, and remember to buy yourself a cowboy hat at C-A-L Ranch.

cherry apple sherbet

It’s finally seasonable up here in Maine. Oppressively hot, according to the radio. Summer, according to me. I think it’s about time we get some heat. The plants in my garden are devouring the hot weather, as well as boatloads of water. Peppers are turning orange, peas are on the vine, and tomatoes are well on their way to knowing greatness.

I recently had some cherries that also wanted to know greatness, though they were sadly wending their way towards the compost pile instead. Summertime means cherry dessert time, and rather than letting the cherries waste away forgotten, I decided to incorporate them into a frozen treat. Using the cherries, an apple, and some lemon zest and juice, I created a rustic sherbet of sorts.

Shur-burt, you say? Wrong Bert, say I. Sherbet differs from sorbet in that it contains a bit of dairy. Supposedly, it must have a milkfat content between 1 and 2% to be considered sherbet; anything greater than 10% is ice cream, while the nebulous 2-10 percenters are “frozen dairy desserts.” Whatever Bert, say I.


Sorbets and sherbets are often labeled as ‘palate cleansers,’ and sure enough, this is a refreshing dessert that is perfect for a hot summery evening.

With so much heat in the air, we took to the mountains of western Maine over the weekend. I swam in a magical sparkly river filled with pieces of mica, lounged in a hammock-like catch net at the top of a closed-down chairlift, tried my hand(s) at riding down a real hill on my bike (and cried my way through it because it made me so nervous), and made a comeback by temporarily shedding my pansy skin and jumping off a short-to-all-others ledge into a deep pool of water.

To my credit, I was recovering from falling – flying, really – off of my bike last week. If I hadn’t been nervous, I wouldn’t have been… a mid-twenties cautious person who never did near-daring things in her life until recently.

Maybe one day I’ll shred with the bros.


This recipe is heavy-hitting on the lemon, and is also well-sweetened from the cherries and sugar; however, feel free to omit the lemon peel if desired. Cooking the mixture with a sprig of rosemary adds depth to the fruity flavor profile, but won’t taste overly herby once frozen.

This has texture, especially if pulsed in a food processor. And it is technically probably a frozen dairy dessert. But you can sherbet that it is a sure bet to me.

Cherry Apple Sherbet {original recipe}

Makes 4 small servings


10 oz cherries, washed and pitted
1 apple, peeled and shredded
1/3 c. sugar
2 tbsp water
Juice from 1/3rd of a lemon
Small piece of lemon peel
1 small sprig of rosemary
1/4 c. milk


Combine all ingredients except milk in a medium saucepan and simmer over medium low heat for twenty to thirty minutes. Stir occasionally, don’t allow mixture to stick to the pan. Remove rosemary.

In a blender, puree mixture. If you don’t possess a blender (like myself), pulse in a food processor – the end product will have some texture, which I like. Add milk and blend. Spoon into a container and freeze for several hours.