It’s officially apple season and the golden delicious tree is burgeoning.
So, last Sunday I slapped together an apple crisp sans recipe, though my trusty assistant in culinary crimes–my wife and herder of Buddy the Rescue Dog–pulled up an Epicurious recipe for a crust topping as a guide. For the filling, I just knew what ingredients I wanted and went from there.
Result: a caramelly ooze —gee, go figure, when the cook indiscriminately tosses in plenty of brown sugar and enough flour…well, there were the sweet cherries and their juice, and the chunks of golden delicioius–well, you get the picture… and the crust was as good as the apple-goo.
On its own, this is a ‘will bake again’ item. As always, though, I did stray ‘just a bit’…
I added allspice to both the apple mixture and the flour mixture.
When it comes to cinnamon, I just don’t get the low doses in most recipes. Can’t remember the last time I actually measured cinnamon.
I added rehydrated Craisins.
I made my own ‘apple sauce’. I just mashed away at, and then seasoned, chunks of golden delicious with the pastry cutter. And mashed away some more.
Figuring on a more moist result, I used a loaf pan instead of a 9” x 13” pan.
Fearing there might be spillover, I scooped out about a cup of the mixture and slathered that into a greased pie pan. Gotta say, when revisiting this recipe, I’ll be tempted to go exclusively with pie pans. It’s a quicker bake and four smaller cakes open the door to more experimentation, say a little creme de cassis reduction for one of them…and Ree Drummond’s Easy Caramel Sauce for another. Come to think of it…I guess it wouldn’t hurt to have those on hand for slices of this current version…
**“No, deeeear! I don’t know anyone named Autumn!”
Sweet potato bread pudding, to be specific, inspired by an episode of George Hirsch Lifestyle
I had leftover monkey bread/pull apart from a local bakery–the parts lacking anything resembling sweet, syrupy, or nutty [i.e. the dry stuff that should have been drenched, but wasn’t. Okay, so I’m a hard-nose when it comes to unhealthy, but oh-so-good pastries.]
And I figured it would be a great springboard for a bread pudding.
Anyway, I steamed the sweet potatoes and worked in plenty of vanilla, cinnamon, and brown sugar. The resulting mash sat peacefully in the fridge for a couple of days and this morning mixed well with the sweetened custard, then the bread, chopped pecans, and rehydrated cranberries.
I can’t seem to track down the exact recipe, sorry. So, bakers, just mix it all together and keep an eye on it. At 350 degrees, the pudding–about 2.5 inches high– took about 70 minutes–foil-covered for the first 40 minutes, then crisping up the rest of the time.
L. convinced me that the sweet potatoes made this a health food. Worked for me.
Such as, from the nation of Georgia, shemomedjamo–the inability to stop eating a food item or meal. Usage: He reached for the unopened bag of kettle corn, knowing full well that shemomedjamo was inevitable.
Or, from Ghana, pelinti–to move hot food around in your mouth. Usage: Viewers were subjected to a full minute of pelinti when Guy Fieri chose to dive right into the queso that came straight from the oven.
I dare you…weave a few of these gems into a conversation this week.
Anxiety lurks around every corner.
War ain’t great.
Ditto nuclear devastation.
**And painful alliteration? The worst.
But that all pales compared to…
cinnamon rolls without the ooze.
And there it sat, taunting me…Do I have enough cinnamon/sugar/butter goo coursing through my folds and crevices? Or am I just a lifeless, arid mass of flour and yeast?
Taunt away, dough boy! I’m ready for you!
Thank you, Ree Drummond. [And thank you foodie friend, L.O., for the recommendation.]
To quote the Food Network star: “It really should be called ‘Brown Sugar Sauce’.”
Not one to quibble over semantics, I share with you, The Pioneer Woman’s Easy Caramel Sauce.
• 1 cup Brown Sugar
• 1/2 stick Butter (4 Tablespoons)
• 1/2 cup Half-and-half Or cream (Cream will make it thicker.)
• 1 Tablespoon Vanilla
• Pinch Of Salt
— Mix everything in over medium heat. Whisk gently for about six minutes.
— Stop when you’ve reached a desired thickness.
— Serve warm or cold.
I’ll be mixing in cinnamon to a portion of the remaining sauce before reheating.
I may well add a little maple syrup to another portion.
Well, gee, how about some pre-reduced brandy or amaretto to another portion?
Conclusion: Whether it’s straight or doctored caramel, dry, disappointing cinnamon rolls are now a thing of the past.
Two other relevant photos:
Lest you think I’m leaving without another little morsel on writing…
Get your writing done first because it’s not easy to crank up the momentum and confidence needed to fill your pages.
After breakfast, I launched into decluttering…even before shaving and cleaning up. Not only did I feel grungy [counterproductive in its own right]
A. I wasn’t writing.
B. I was wasting that precious morning buzz [i.e. creative energy] on sifting through and boxing ‘stuff’.
C. I didn’t crank out that initial ‘first 100 words’ on paper, a practice I started when I homed in on mindfully ‘showing up’ to my creative projects.
D. I was getting annoyed by A. and B and C.
Luckily, choosing to reconnect with a former student and a former teaching colleague, I did get my keyboarding fingers moving and real words [with value, even!] danced across the screen. AND I’ve even resisted the urge to turn on the AFC Championship game. AND I’ve chosen to not answer a text message till today’s words are done. [Thank you, thank you. You can stop rolling your eyes now.]
So, I guess the lesson for today is: Don’t give up hope. You can rise above all kinds of obstacles, even the self-imposed ones, and move forward with your projects.
NOTE: If your word processor offers the ‘Focus’ feature that displays just your text–no distracting menus, programs running in the background–give it a try.