Friday, October 28, 2011

Crazy Apple Crisp

You never get full.

I'm hungry all the time. Not just for food but also for LIVING. There is so much NEWNESS that I've been experiencing and keep experiencing-- I'm absolutely thrilled by it.

And I'm not going crazy or anything. I'm a pretty tame person. But I am so excited. I'm seeing and doing so much. ALL THE TIME. I go out: Parties, bookstores, shows, plays, art openings, "cultural events." Darlings, I finally feel like I beginning to experience a little bit of the life I've been dreaming about for so long. 
And that is unbelievable. 
I may not be crazy in real people life, but sometimes in my head I am, and some times when I bake I get a little over excited too. 

I went home about a week ago, and I made this. 
And I added mango and dried cherries and pecans and two strawberries that were mouldering in the fridge to what was supposed to be regular apple crisp. You can basically make this crisp out of anything. Get wild and crazy. Add the mango. 
Add the strawberries. Add whatever you want. Experience newness.

Life is beautiful. 

And don't forget to drink lots of milk. 

Crazy Apple Crisp
adapted from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone

It is really important to be pretty scant with the sugar here. Because if you add too much things just get SICKENING. And we can't have any of that. 

For Crisp Topping:

6 tablespoons butter, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2/3 cup flour
1/2 cup rolled oats or chopped nuts
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, optional
some pecans
About three apples, a mango, some strawberries, dried cherries

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Using your fingers or the paddle attachment of a mizer, work the butter with the rest of the ingredients (except blueberries) so that each piece is coated and you have a coarse crumbly mixture. Butter a 2-2 1/2-quart baking dish. Pour in blueberries. Gently cover with the topping. Bake for about 45 minutes. Or until topping is lightly browned and blueberries are luscious and bubbly looking.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I want to tell you

Hello Darlings,
There is so much that I want to tell you about. 


There's just too much. 

For example.

The other day, I went out and to a party. But that's not the story I want to tell you.

I want to tell you about waking up the next morning, early, and I had the perfect breakfast. I ate it alone on a cold stone stair case, in the shadow of a beautiful tree. And the sun was warm but the air was cool. And I just sat and ate and thank.

And it was utterly perfect. I didn't know such perfection could exist.

I ate a banana and drank an iced coffee with milk.

And it was the best.
The ultimate.
The absolute best.


Saturday, October 8, 2011

Blackberry Jam Cake with Caramel Icing

There are some people who think and talk in properly formed sentences, which become very long paragraphs. And they can talk and argue and sound intelligent all the time. LIKE ALL THE TIME. It's a kind of genius. And it makes me jealous.

I think and talk in sentences. And they are usually poorly formed. Or at the very least, they are not nearly as smart or cool sounding as I wish. So I am not a talking/communicating genius. But let me tell you something.

Sometimes I get flashes of genius.

I mean this cake is a stroke of genius. I've been wanting to make it forever, and when I finally did. Well... It's almost embarrassingly delicious. It is a Blackberry Jam Cake with Caramel Icing.

And when I am in classes, where people discuss moral, ethical and literary issues as if their lives depended on it, and stylish and elegant sentences spill out of their mouths, I daydream about cake, cheese and shoes and magazines and music and generally feel like a shallow person.

 Not paying attention in class is kind of a genius too. Sort of. Kind of.

Not really. 

And you know what? I'm okay with not being a talking genius all the time. Not everyone can be a genius. Sometimes you have to be that girl who asks dumb questions and relates Awkward Personal Anecdotes that always make way more sense in her head. Sometimes you have to wear blinding bright neon-pink sneakers. Sometimes you just have to eat cake and cheese and enchiladas. All in one meal. And sometimes you have to talk in not good sentences.  What I'm trying to say is: this cake is for those of us who just get strokes of genius. It's for those of us who ask the dumb questions. It's dedicated to the in class day dreamers, who watch the clock, because they really don't want to discuss Ancient Greek drama, because they just want food. 
Especially on Banana Pudding Day. 

                                           Insert Awkward Personal Anecdote Here.

Blackberry Jam Cake with Caramel Icing
from The Gourmet Cookbook
This is everything cake was meant to be. Hearty, moist, sweet, tender. And I am obsessed with the icing.
I've literally been wanting to make this for years. It was not quite like I expected, namely in that the blackberry jam flavor was not quite as pronounced as I had hoped. Nevertheless, it is exceedingly luscious. Also, I was out of evaporated milk, so I substituted with heavy whipping cream and a smidgen of milk. Which obviously increased the delicious quotient. xoxo

For Cake

3 cups plus 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 sticks (1/2 pound butter)
2 cups sugar
5 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup well-shaken buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup seedless blackberry jam
1 cup chopped raisins or dates
1 cup chopped pecans

For Icing

3 cups light brown sugar
1 cup evaporated milk (or heavy whipping cream)
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter

Make the Cake: Put a rack in middle of oven and preheat oven to 325 F. Butter a 13-by-9-inch baking pan, line bottom with parchment paper, and butter it,  or simply butter pan and and dust with flour.
Sift together 3 cups flour, salt, allspice, cloves and cinnamon in a bowl.
Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until pale and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add eggs and beat until well combined.
Stir together buttermilk and baking soda in a small bowl. Working in 3 batches, alternately add flour and buttermilk mixtures to butter mixture, beating well after each addition. Add jam and beat until well combined. Toss together raisins, pecans, and remaining 1 tablespoon flour in a bowl, then add to batter and stir until well combined.
Pour batter into baking pan. Bake until a wooden pick or skewer inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack for 15 minutes, then invert cake onto rack, remove paper, and cool completely.

Make the Icing: Combine brown sugar, evaporated milk, and butter in a 3-quart saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Cook, without stirring, washing down any sugar crystals clinging to side of pan with a pastry brush dipped in cold water (I never do that kind of stuff) until caramel registers 238 F on thermometer, about 10 minutes. Immediately transfer to a heatproof bowl and beat with a handheld (or stand) mixer at high speed until just thickened, pale, and spreadable, about 5 minutes.