Monday, September 20, 2010

Tart Tatin/September

I'm peeling apples.
It's been a while.
I try to peel in one long continuous strip. I fail.

Who does that?
Who can really peel an apple in one continuous strip and why do I feel
like less of a woman because I can't do it? No one really does that.

OK, maybe you do. But if you did then you practiced in order to say that
you can peel an apple in one strip and when you're dead your kids will be like
" Oh, you know my mom, she was so graceful and elegant and perfect and an
example of her perfection is that she could peel an apple in one long strip without breaking it. What a legend."
And the whole time the only real reason they can say that was because you practiced so they would say that.

No one is really that graceful and elegant and perfect.
Perfect people have dark secrets. They hoard food and let their dogs
lick peanut butter off their crotches in the basement. You don't want any of that. If you were somehow born knowing how to peel an apple perfectly than I feel sorry about whatever bad stuff is going on to balance that level of perfection.

I keep peeling apples.
I think about all this and silently release myself from the burden of having to
peel an apple in one long strip as the hallmark of femininity.
I start peeling down the apples instead of around.
I'm free.

Monday, August 24, 2009

try this

Try this. Bake a pie on a lazy Sunday and then bring it to a friend's house expecting a dinner party. When you arrive and your friend tells you the dinner party is actually NEXT Sunday but would you like to stay to eat pad thai and watch season one of Weeds on DVD say yes you would and offer her a piece of pie and thank her for being so awesome. When she says "I'm a cancer, I love to entertain!", laugh and enjoy the pad thai and pie. This is what I did last night and it was fabulous. Anna Kristine wins the best spontaneous host award. Now I need to figure out what to make for the actual night of the dinner party.

The pie was even better reheated today with a bit of vanilla ice cream. This pie is a bit like a delicious chocolate chip cookie with walnuts but in pie form. It also contains whiskey which I can't say about any cookie I know. I actually used bourbon because that's what I had and both Bill and I agree that drinking whiskey tastes like throwing up in your mouth a little bit. It tates fine in the pie but you could probably substitute another liquor or even vanilla extract if you want. Here is the recipe:

Tuscaloosa Tollhouse Pie

from Baked by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito

1 ball of pie dough (your favorite recipe--I like a butter crust myself) you will need 1/2 a recipe--enough for one crust, chilled
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
1 tablespoon whiskey
3/4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Dust a work surface with flour. Unwrap the ball of chilled dough and put it directly on the work surface. Roll out into a 12 inch round. Transfer the dough to a pie dish and carefully work it into the pie dish, crimping the edge as you go. Wrap and freeze the crust until firm (about 1-2 hours).

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a meduim bowl, whisk the flour and sugars together until combined. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a wisk attachment (note: I do not have an electric mixer. I wish I did but I don't. I did it all by hand and you can too if need be) beat the eggs on high speed until foamy, about 3 minutes. Remove whisk attachment and add paddle attachment. With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour mixture. Turn the mixer to high and beat for 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and add the butter. Beat on high speed until combined. Add the whiskey and beat for 1 minute.

Fold the walnuts and 3/4 cup of chocolate chips into the filling.

Pour the filling into the frozen pie shell and spread it out evenly. Top the filling with the remaining 1/2 cup chocolate chips.

Bake in the center of the oven for 25 minutes, then cover the edges of the crust loosely with aluminum foil and bake for another 25 minutes. Test the pie by sticking a knife in the center of the filling. If it comes out clean, it's done. If not, bake for another 5 minutes. Let cool before slicing.

Serve warm with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Store in the fridge.

Monday, March 9, 2009

TGI Pillows

A conversation with friends recently went like this:

--Would you rather give up sugar or pillows? A lengthy discussion ensued. Perhaps some context. We were giddy from it being a warm day in March and having just finished flying kits and picnicking atop one of the most gorgeous bald mountains in the universe. Some of us (not me--have preggo belly pillow, will travel) had forgotton to pack pillows in with our camping gear and instead of complaining, we came up with some interesting scenarios which you are free to ponder at your leisure.

1. Pillows or sugar?

2. pillows or cheese?

3. Blankets or pillows?

4. Mattresses or pillows?

5. Pillows or bread? I had to intervene at this point in the conversation. No way would I give up bread. Even for pillows. Eating is great and I do it when I'm mostly awake. Pillows, I am mostly not conscious to enjoy. Eating a good meal without bread is like never being quite warm enough even though you may be on the beach. Eating a bad meal without bread is like sitting in a cold courtroom waiting for jury duty and not having brought a sweater or jacket. I am against not eating bread. I know some people have gluten intolerances and such but there are still ways to get some bread like substances in there.

In conclusion. Bread over pillows. The others are a bit of a toss up. Just thought I'd let you know where things stand.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Pregnant Lady Tells You What to Make for Dinner

If you don't really use leeks that much, you should. If you put them in a dutch oven or saucepan with a little butter and olive oil and cover them until they are soft, you have yourself something very nice indeed. I feel like I may have been overlooking leeks all this time. No more. Now I will buy them without even having anything in mind for them and still manage to use them up before they go bad. Nothing I have made with leeks has ever been less than delicious.

The other night I did the following: I halved and chopped two leeks (be sure to run them under water after halving them, they tend to hide some dirt). I heated about 2 TBS of butter and the same amount of olive oil in a saucepan. I added the leeks and put the cover on.

I boiled some water for pasta. When the leeks were soft and velvety, I added them to the drained pasta and threw in a bunch of things from the fridge: cottage cheese, ricotta cheese, frozen peas, a tiny amount of heavy cream, and salt and pepper. It was ready so quickly that Bill hardly had time to change into his after work clothes.

I ate the leftovers for lunch today and they were quite satisfying for a 15 minute meal made two days ago.

You don't have to make this, but I do think you should get some leeks and try something with them--anything.

Also, I think that if you drink Swiss Miss or any powdered hot cocoa that gets mixed with hot water you should switch to making it with milk, sugar, cocoa powder, and vanilla. It will improve your life considerably. You're welcome.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Moving along

On Thursday it will be 24 weeks. Of being pregnant that is. I haven't written at all about being pregnant. You'd think it would be a topic rife with fodder for wit and reflection--and it is. I just can't seem to do it. At first it felt like I had to wait forever to even tell people about being pregnant. It seems early pregnancies are more tenuous than most of us know. Finally I have news to share and a cute bump and huge boobs and everything and it just seems like there's no way to talk about it. I'll either sound like I hate being pregnant--droning on about the aches and pains--or I'll go on about the magic and wonder of it all. Neither one is quite right.

I can say that my belly sort of feels like it should have always been there. I do kind of like it. It's not so big yet so my tune may change.

I can say that we can't agree on a name although I did think of a new one today which I will propose to Bill later and which he will probably hate and which you can't know because we are keeping names a secret.

I can say that I'm freaking out a little (a lot) about the house, my job, money, staying home or not staying home, baby furniture, cloth diapers, not sleeping, and health insurance.

I can say that I had two nights in a row of totally freaky baby dreams. The other night, before I went to sleep the baby was kicking me so hard that I could feel him through my skin, not just little bumps, but like he was trying to kick his way out. I could feel his body parts. It freaked me out. I dreamed that he was trying to nurse through my belly and I had to pry him off. I felt bad because I felt like he was hungry and I wanted to take care of him but he was stuck inside there with no one to look after him. Last night's dream was more about giving birth. The hospital was all crazy and I saw a few babies born but everyone already had a room except me and I had come unprepared. Then my baby was born and he was so fat and huge--the size of a large 6 or 7 year old. Then I had to keep putting him back inside me and giving birth again to feed and change him. Finally I was like "This is crazy, " and I realized that once babies are out, they stay out.

I am now reminded that I need to sign up for childbirth classes. Tally ho! Pregnancy forward! Until later.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


Ten pm is my bedtime, ten p.m. is my bedtime. You want to know something about ten p.m? It's my bedtime.

I would love to be less of a night owl and more of an early bird. Really, my internal clock tells me to be a rockstar instead of a teacher and I tell that internal clock, I say "Darling, can't we do both?"

In the meantime, ten p.m. is where it's at. I'm happy to be making a pink polka dot elephant for a one year old. I'm happy to have a house and a garden and some pumpkins and tomatoes. I'm happy to have a husband who fixes things and a job where I get three kid hugs a day--minimum. I'm happy to have bangs and I'm happy my new laundry detergent is blue eucalyptus and lavender scented. I'm happy to go to bed at ten p.m.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

In a summer swelter

Most of the time my house is bearable. It may be hot, but the ceiling fans, ugly as they are, serve their purpose. I brag to folks who rely on air conditioning to survive that we don't use it and it's just great and we should all save the earth by cutting down on all that and blah blah.

There come a few weeks in July/August each year that just slap me in the face and give me a stern lecture about bragging about how well I tolerate the heat. Those days are here.

Everything smells. I clean, wash dishes, take out the trash, clean the litter box, freshen the carpet with that powder that's supposed to absorb oder. One second after I throw a piece of trash into the freshly lined trashcan, it starts stinking again. The dog and cat do nothing but lie on the floor. "Do something with your lives!" I shout. It's no good. Occasionally the dog will munch an ice cube if I give her one, but that's about it.

Yesterday I wore shorts. Shorts! That's a big deal for one as cold blooded as myself.

It's not all bad. Tonight there is a charity clothing swap at a hip boutique. I have been assured that all the sylish ladies of Asheville have donated so I'm hoping to score some fabulous threads for back to school.

I have completely neglected my front yard. I must go hose it down. Yes, I am officially complaining about the heat.