If you don't know who Phoebe Lawless is, well, too bad for you. Because you're missing out on some kickass pie, and that means more for me.
No, I'm joking. To hold back my knowledge of an awesome baker would defy the spirit of baking (and cooking, too), which is: You create so you can share. Sharing makes it better, and I'm not joking about that.
Lawless was, for several years, Karen Barker's right hand at Magnolia Grill, and now has her own Durham-based business, Scratch Seasonal Artisan Baking (www.piefantasy.com), which offers "a focus on pies, cakes and custom desserts using the best local ingredients available." She has sold her products at the Moore Square Farmers' Market in Raleigh for a few years now, but as it's winter and the market is closed, she's trying something new: a Community Supported Pie (CSP) effort.
Scratch's CSP (which I found out about via varmintbites.wordpress.com) is modeled after a CSA, which stands for Community Supported Agriculture, in which a customer pays up front for a share of a farm's goods in season, usually delivered weekly. One of the hallmarks of a CSA, and now Lawless' CSP, is the variability—the element of surprise, you might say. At Scratch, for $60 a month, you get one large or three small pies each week for four weeks. Her flavors for the next four weeks include garlicky collard and apple-smoked bacon, Mexican chocolate chess, farmhouse white bean and sage, and brown butter sugar pie. (You can designate a vegetarian-only option.) Details are on her Web site, but spaces are limited.
Check in here next week to read more about CSAs in our area.
Meanwhile, you should know that Big Boss Brewing is now open in Raleigh (1249-A Wicker Drive, 834-0045, www.bigbossbrewing.com). The company began in 2006 but shipped its first beer last spring.
Big Boss is a collaboration between owner Geoff Lamb, a lawyer and UNC graduate who returned to North Carolina in 2006, and brewmaster Brad Wynn, who has 12-plus years of brewing experience. Big Boss Brewing makes handcrafted, premium beers including Hell's Belle Belgian Blond, Bad Penny Brown Ale, Angry Angel Kölsch and High Roller American-style India Pale Ale. (The names come from the art on World War II fighter planes). "North Carolina has a thirst for good beer, and we're happy to be able to help quench it," Lamb says.
Big Boss also plans to brew several seasonal beers throughout the year; its latest seasonal offering is a Coffee Stout, featuring beans from fellow Raleighites Larry's Beans (www.larrysbeans.com). You can find Big Boss beers on draft at area restaurants, including the Carolina Ale Houses in North Raleigh, Cary and Wake Forest, Tyler's Taproom in Durham and Brixx in Chapel Hill, as well as its own on-site tasting room, Horniblows Tavern (www.myspace.com/horniblows).
Also, Big Boss is now bottling its beers, so look for them at local grocery stores soon.
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