What better song to create this masterpiece than one of the songs off of Chris’ exquisite new CD, Eternal.
“On a Clear Day” from the CD, Eternal
Chris McNulty – Jazz Vocalist and Composer
Since her emergence on the international jazz scene in 1991, Chris McNulty has been hailed by musicians, peers and critics alike as a jazz vocalist and composer with a unique vision, boundless creative energy and a distinctive style. Her recordings and performances have garnered 4 and 5 star reviews in publications including DownBeat, The Irish Times, Jazz Wise, Jazz Journal and JazzTimes, among many others. In May 2013, McNulty won the prestigious Australian Bell Award for “Best Vocal Jazz Album for “The Song That Sings You Here. collaborated, recorded and performed with some of the finest musicians on the jazz scene today and performed at major international festivals around the world. This March 24th, 2015 in collaboration with orchestrator, Steve Newcomb, McNulty releases “Eternal.”
This gorgeously heartfelt and emotionally moving album releasing on Palmetto Records, celebrates the life of her son, Sam who passed away tragically in 2011. The album is a sublime love letter expressing the ineradicable bond between mother and child and exquisitely melds chamber ensemble and jazz quintet. www.chrismcnulty.com
“The resultant blend is beautiful and seamless, as sensitivity reigns supreme.”
— 4 1/2 Stars All About Jazz March 2015
“Such a beautifully crafted and heartfelt performance throughout. From the very first minute we hear McNulty’s eloquent, exquisite vocals, we know this is an album we are going to be listening to time and time again.”
— UKVibe February 2015
“This is a release of simple unadorned splendor, an organic outpouring of emotion and love. “What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life” is nothing short of exquisite.”
— Critical Jazz February, 2015
The story behind my pie is a simple one.
Although the ritual had its origins in Australia, it really came into its own in NYC. Boxing Day is a large holiday in Australia though not celebrated here in the States. To help my son, Sam stay close to home and those memories, we continued to celebrate the day here. Boxing Day is the day after Christmas Day. Where Christmas Day is spent with family, Boxing day is the day Aussies escape to spend with friends. Since Sam and I had no family here in the States, this day became our family day and boy did we grow a family. Boxing Day in NYC at the McNulty apartment on the upper west side was an invitation only affair of about 25-30 guests. It was a labor of love for sure but it was also a way to say thank you to everyone who provided the feeling of “family” to Sam and me over the years. Most of the people this event brought together only saw each other once a year, at our Boxing Day. That was always a wonderful feeling.
The ritual always started the day before with all the shopping for the ingredients. I’d try to
make the pastry the day before because there was also a 25lb Brazilian style turkey on the
menu and only so much space in that oven. You could smell those pies from 10 blocks away. There were never close to enough chairs for everyone to sit around the table but somehow we all managed to eat together. I truly don’t know how. Sam always helped me chop the vegetables as he did baste the turkey. I think he missed that ritual of Boxing Day and those pies way more than I ever realized once he left to go back to Australia. I was raised in a family that gathered every Sunday at my Nana McNulty’s – that sustained us through a childhood that was far from happy. I tried to create that very same experience for my son. I wish I’d realized how important it was to have sustained that through his adult life as well. Sam and I both journeyed a long way from home and so has this pie but I hope it remains a reminder to all who enjoy it that home is never far away.
McNulty’s Vegetable Pie
Short crust pastry for 2 to 3 pies (see recipe at bottom of page)
Vegetable pie mixture:
3 large tomatoes
2 large red peppers
2 large green peppers
2 large yellow pepper
3 green/yellow squash zucchini
2 large onions
1 inch square finely sliced ginger
6 gloves of garlic
3 tablespoons of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 butternut squash
4 carrots medium
4 parsnips medium
1 bunch of celery
1 bunch of parsley
1lb. sharp tasting cheddar cheese
2 medium cartons of sour cream (reduced fat is OK) or 3 small cartons
Fill a large, tall saucepan with water (2 teaspoons of salt) and bring to boil.
In the meantime peel, wash and chop in small cubes, potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, parsnips and turnips. Add to boiling water and simmer for 15 mins. or until just on the firm side of tender. Drain well,place in a large covered bowl and set aside (save and freeze the vegetable water for soup stock).
Peel and chop onions, ginger, garlic and separately chop peppers, zucchini (pat with paper towel) and tomatoes (keep tomatoes separate).
In an extra large frying pan heat the vegetable oil then lower to medium heat and add the onions, garlic and ginger until transparent, honey colored. Then add the peppers, and zucchini. Saute on low to medium heat for 7 mins. Stirring occasionally. Finally add the tomatoes. Cook for another 7 -10 mins, stirring occasionally. Add salt and freshly ground
pepper to taste. Set aside. If mixture appears too liquidy, drain the excess liquid from the pan and set aside in a jug but don’t remove all the liquid.
Grate the cheese.
Remove the top end (flowers) and bottom thick ends of the celery and cut the stalks length wise. Wash well. Then slice finely. Finely chop the parsley.
Add the sautéed mixture from the frying pan to the large bowl of root vegetables. Very gently fold into each other without mashing. Add the uncooked celery and parsley. If the mixture needs any moistening at this stage use what you saved from the jug.
With a ladle, spoon mixer into the cooked pie shells. Fill each pie dish densely and to the top inside edge of the pie crust, filling slightly higher in the middle of the pie dish (by creating a mound shape).
Squeeze the juice of a lemon over the top of each pie. Allow it to sink in.
With a large spatula spoon, gently spread the sour cream across the pie – about 1/3″ inch thick. Followed by the grated cheese which can be hand sprinkled across the top.
Divide the 2nd smaller roll of dough into 2 or 3 balls and roll them out into circles to sit on top of the 2 or 3 pies.
Place the pie lids over each pie. Use your fingers to bring the overhanging pastry dough onto the outside the edge of the pie by making small indentations round the entire pie. You can also use a fork, however I like the shape that fingers make.
Separate an egg and beat the egg white for a few seconds. Gently brush the top of each pie lid with egg white using a pastry brush. Make 2 small cuts in the pastry top and place all pies back in the oven at 375 degrees. Avoid any pies touching each other. They can be placed on separate racks on cookie sheets in case of liquid spillage.
Bake for 30-40 mins. or until the pie tops are golden brown and you can see the cheese in the cuts sizzling.
Serve with wedges of lemon.
How to make short crust pastry and pie shells
Approx. 2 lb. of flour to 1lb. of butter (room temperature)
1 teas salt.
1/2 – 1 cup of filtered water (moist enough to roll onto a floured board)
extra flour for kneading.
Sift flour and salt in extra large mixing bowl.
Slice butter into irregular 1 -2 inch chunks and add 1/2 lb at a time. Rub into the flour using your fingers tips. Dig down into the flour and sift the butter and flour using finger tips and fingers until the butter is perfectly integrated into the flour mixture. The flour should have a slightly yellowish tinge to it. Slightly buttery but not too heavy. With a spatula create a well in the middle of the mixture and slowly add the water, cutting through the mixer and bringing the bulk of the mixture into the well. The dough should be moist but not too wet.
Turn mixture out onto a well floured board or piece of slate. Kneed dough into a large ball and then cut the dough in 2 pieces, one slightly larger than the other. Roll each into separate balls and set the smaller ball to the side.
Knead the larger ball by rolling the dough over and over into its center. The mixture should not be dry or flaky but soft and shiny (add a little flour if too moist or a very little water if too dry).
Punch down and then fold over 3 or 4 times. Repeat the same process with the smaller dough that was set aide. Wrap both separately in wax paper and chill in fridge over night. If not enough time, you can leave the overnight refrigeration step out.
If refrigerated over night you’ll need to bring the dough to room temperature the following day before re-kneading for a few minutes and rolling and shaping. Divide the large ball into 2 or 3 equal pieces (depending on the pie dish size and depth). With a rolling pin, roll out into large enough circles for 2 or 3 pie shells.
Lay over the Pyrex dishes and push down into pie dish, allowing outside edge of pastry to hang over and underneath
the edge of the dish. Use finger tips to push the dough into the inside bottom edges of the pie dish. Make two small cuts in the bottom of the pastry.
Bake in oven at 375 degrees for 20 mins. or until light golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside in a cool place.
The 2nd, slightly smaller ball of dough is set aside for the pie tops.