Posts Tagged ‘yum yum’

IOU

I owe you:

  • my final Neverwhere Read Along post
  • a May Reads post
  • some Library Love
  • a review or two
  • thoughtful responses to the comments you’ve left on my blog
  • thoughtful comments on the blog posts you’ve written in the last few weeks

Up until recently I’ve been lecturing myself about being a terrible multi-tasker (I should be able to do everything AND blog regularly, right???) and then I realized that I need to cut myself some slack – I’ve done nothing BUT multitask for the last two weeks.  (I need a nap.)  So I am terribly sorry I’ve been MIA lately; I promise it will get better, just not right away.  I’m actually not in Virginia right now; I’m in Oregon for the wedding of a very dear friend.  The wedding is Saturday and there are, of course, a million little things – and one giant thing – to be done in the meantime.  What is this giant thing, you ask?  Yours truly is in charge of the wedding desserts.  So over the next couple of days I’m making eight dozen chocolate-raspberry cupcakes, four dozen lemon bars, and four dozen mini strawberry tarts.  Oh, yes, you read that correctly.  I must be nuts.

But the weather promises to be beautiful for the wedding (those of you familiar with Oregon know how amazing this is!), and I’m sure all the baking will go splendidly.  But think happy cupcake thoughts for me, please!

Hope all is well with you!

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Apples (review)

written and illustrated by Roger Yepsen
W. W. Norton & Co, 1994
Source: purchased at a used book store
It’s a lovely Sunday afternoon and I have a freshly baked apple pie cooling in the kitchen, so I thought I’d pull out the book Apples by Roger Yepsen for a quick review.  I found this book at a used book store last year and bought it, I confess, for purely aesthetic reasons.  It’s one of those small, beautifully illustrated books that makes for a great gift or coffee table garnish.  I was pleasantly surprised to discover that it is a rather informative book as well.
Yepsen gives an overview of the history of the apple, discussing the disturbing lack of variety found in most grocery stores and the recent emergence of what he calls an “apple revival”: the growing interest in the United States and Great Britain in buying locally grown apples and rescuing near-extinct apple varieties.  He gives tips on apple buying, growing and cooking, and then follows it all up with the best part of the book: descriptions and illustrations of ninety-two different kinds of apples.
Salivating yet?
I am fortunate enough to live near a fantastic farmer’s market, and the variety of produce found there is pretty impressive.  In the last couple of years I’ve become more adventurous in my apple-buying, motivated in part by Yepsen’s book.  When I bought apples yesterday for my pie I picked out one or two of everything there: Stayman, Golden Delicious, York, Empire, Honey Crisp, Granny Smith, Fuji, and Gala.  Gala has been my favorite apple for years, but last year I branched out a little when I discovered that Golden Delicious are, in fact, delicious.  I know that sounds dumb, but I had always assumed that Golden Delicious taste like Red Delicious, which I don’t like, so I stayed away from them for years.  
Staymans are a great apple, too.  They’re a little tart, but very crisp and keep well.  I’m not a fan of Granny Smiths (too sour!) but it’s good to throw one of them into a pie to add a little variety.  I had forgotten what I thought of Fuji, York, Empire and Honey Crisp, so I, naturally, had to test taste them as I prepared the pie.  Fuji and Honey Crisp are okay, although I probably won’t buy them again.  I remembered as soon as I bit into it that I do not like York apples; they taste too much like apple juice.*  But Empires!  I think they just became my new favorite munching apple (sorry, Gala).  They’re amazing.
I better stop before I drool all over the keyboard.  The smell of the pie isn’t helping any, either.  And I don’t get to eat any until tomorrow!  Argh!  The torture!
Any other apple fans out there?  What are your favorites?
Stop torturing me, pie . . .
* I love everything apple – pie, cider, fritters, sauce, etc. – but I can’t stand apple juice.  I have no idea why.

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So my latest insane book moment (explanation here) was a bit more out there than my usual insane moments.  (Wait, what?  A “usual” insane moment?  Never mind.  I’m not even going to try to figure that out.  It’s making my brain hurt.)  My fits of hysterical giggles came while reading . . . a vegan cookie cookbook.
Yes, you read that correctly.  Vegan cookie cookbook.  I’m not vegan, by the way.  I also don’t usually sit down and read cookbooks cover to cover, either.  In fact, I could count on one hand the number of times I’ve done that (twice).  So . . . why?

I bake occasionally.  Okay, more than occasionally.  More like every time one of my coworkers has a birthday and for various events in between.  Recently one of my dear friends (who has been very supportive of my baking endeavors) lamented the lack of vegan options in my repertoire, so I thought, “Hey, I should give that whole vegan baking thing a shot!”  (Because, you see, I don’t have a thesis to write and don’t spend nineteen thousand hours a day teaching preschool.  So I totally have all the time in the world to putter around the kitchen.)

So I emailed my cousin (a vegan baker), who recommended Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz, which led me to Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar, which is how I ended up giggling my head off while reading a vegan cookie cookbook.  (I really like the way that sounds.  Vegan cookie cookbook.  Vegan cookie cookbook.  Yes, it’s been a long day.  Why do you ask?)  Most of the funny lines are funnier in context, (calm down!  I’m not going to quote the entire book!), but I just have to share this one.  It’s my favorite, not just because I wasn’t expecting any humor while reading about sugar but because it allayed my fear that Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero were going to make these cookies all healthy and stuff:

You can use evaporated cane juice whenever we call for sugar.  It acts exactly the same in recipes, but it is processed a bit less and retains some of its vitamins.  Because when you’re eating cookies what you’re really thinking about is vitamins (10).

Tee hee hee 🙂

P.S.  I didn’t just read the book, I actually made a few of the cookies, too.  I made the Peanut Butter Blondies, Citrus Glitters and Mexican Chocolate Snickerdoodles.  All were delicious, although I had to tone down the cheyenne in the Mexican Chocolate Snickerdoodles.  When I made that first batch – yow!  I thought my mouth was going to catch on fire!  So I mailed them to my brother, muhahahahaha.  Oddly enough, he never called to thank me . . .

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