Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

In time for the Easter celebration, all the laurel trees are loaded with their spring blossoms. I think they look like lacy candles, the way they perch upright on the branches. Must admit to a bit of subterfuge though. I was going to go outside and take some shots of the blossoms for tonight's post but it's been raining and blowing like the dickens out there. But wait! (Drops eyelids to half-mast and looks furtively about to see if anyone is watching.) Heh -- we just happen to have a shot of last year's blossoms on hand. And here's a coinky-dink -- they look just like this year's blossoms.

So -- I hope it's been a lovely Easter for everyone.

Even if it was raining.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Wiggle Room

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking this is a variation of the three wise monkeys -- speak no evil, see no evil and hear no evil. That would be wrong. What this picture represents is a pretty good illustration of my readiness to put up a post tonight. Think of the little froggie fellers as saying, from left to right: "Dayum! I'm speechless!" and then, "Oh no. I can't see what I'm thinking." and finally, "I wonder if this hairdo makes me look fat."

Some days are like that, you know. It isn't that nothing happened. Something always happens. It's just that what happens is really of no earthly interest to anyone else. Pleasantly blah. Like the weather. Not too wet, just somewhat wet. Not too overcast, just somewhat overcast. Neither too hot nor too cold. Like I said, pleasantly blah.

Actually, there was one thing today that pressed my enthusiasm button. I got to thinking about reviving my little old worm farm. I still have the handy-dandy Can-O-Worms I was using a few years ago. Herded a bunch of fat and sassy Red Wigglers who happily ate whatever I threw in there for them and they returned the favor by producing a huge quantity of worm castings, some of the best fertilizer on the planet. Picture hundreds of cheerful little folk singing, "Just wiggle while you work . . . "

Not that I'm gardening here but I can always pass the castings on to Patti and Roger for their garden. In the meantime, the worms will recycle kitchen scraps, making the garbage load lighter. Yeah. A very green thing to do. And easy. And fun.

Well now, look at that. It wasn't such a dull day after all. Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle . . .

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Results Are In

Yesterday I left you with fair warning that I was going to fiddle a bit with the recipe for Norwegian Apple Pie. It just so happened there was a perfectly good window of time this afternoon for me to make good on that threat. I could have taken a picture of the result but it would have looked just like the photo illustrating yesterday's post and you would have been dizzied with feelings of deja whooptie-vu. Which is why I decided to go with the above photo of another food experiment. Fortunately for all of us, my results worked out a lot better than Mr. Pup's.

I won't repeat the recipe here since you only have to go back one post. The main idea was to use a different flavoring -- I used 1 teaspoon of lemon extract instead of vanilla -- and to see if I could get away with using less sugar. By golly, I think I did. Instead of 3/4 cup of sugar, I used 1/2 cup. There seemed to be slightly less volume in the batter but that was okay. Didn't cause any problems. I was glad to see the tender-crispy crust was still produced even with the smaller portion of sugar. It wasn't quite as robust as the previous crust -- almost a ghost of its former self, you might say. But that's okay, too. It still made an elegant topper for the whole shebang. And, yes, the lemon flavor was lovely with the apples.

How about that? We now have two perfectly fine versions of a scrumptious dessert and our only problem is going to be which one to choose. I can live with problems like that.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

AWOL No Longer

Okay, so I've been AWOL for a bit. I do that every now and then. It allows me to feel wickedly irresponsible if I can mount a minor rebellion against order once in awhile. Some fun and interesting things have happened and I'm sure I'll manage to inflict all the bits and pieces on you in due time. For tonight, however, I bring a gift to reward your patience. That's one way of putting it. Another way to put it is admit to bribery and corruption to avoid scolding. Whatever works, you see.

The gift? The most amazingly luscious dessert, that's what. What you see up there in the photo is known as Norwegian Apple Pie. Y'all may already know about it. I didn't, until I stumbled across it the other day in some Google valley or another and said to myself, "Hey, this might be interesting."

And it is. Interesting, I mean. For one thing, although many recipes lend themselves to endless variations, the Norwegian Apple Pie recipe is almost always the same, no matter which link you click. The main difference I was able to find is that some recipes called for an egg while others required 2 egg whites. Should you choose to do the latter version, you beat the egg whites stiff and then add the other ingredients.

I'm not sure why it's called a pie. It's really fruit wrapped in batter for a tender, moist cake but it's supposed to be baked in an 8-inch pie pan so maybe it's just undergoing an identity crisis. I don't have an 8-inch pie pan so I used my trusty Corning Ware bowls which measure 5 1/2 inches and, as you can see, that works just fine. As it bakes, it forms a thin, tender-crispy top crust of a light tan color. Underneath, the cake part is a rich gold, bursting with fruit and, should you want them, nuts. Here's how it goes:


1 egg
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup nuts, chopped (walnuts or pecans)
1 cup diced apples

Beat first four ingredients together until well blended. Beat in flour. Fold in diced apples (one Granny Smith worked out just right.) and nuts. (I didn't have any nuts so added 1/2 cup dried cranberries.) Spread batter in buttered 8-inch pie pan and bake at 350 degrees fairyheight for 30 minutes. Can be served hot or cold, topped with ice cream or whipped cream or whatever -- or nothing at all. Reheats easily by nuking for a minute in the microwave.

I've gotta tell you -- this is really wonderfully tasty for such a simple and easy recipe. Yes, I know -- that's an awful lot of sugar. I expect that bit could be toned down with your preferred sugar substitute but I don't know what that would do for the texture or that rather special top crust. It might be worth experimenting to see if 1/2 cup of sugar would work as well. I was thinking the next one I bake, I'm going to use lemon extract instead of vanilla so I'll try it with less sugar at the same time and let you know how it goes.

No, no, don't thank me. I'm willing to brave the hordes of raging calories in our continuing search for satisfying sinful food without guilt. Somebody's gotta do it.

P.S. Thanks, Becky, for catching what I missed in the recipe. You were correct: it's "cup." As in "1/2 CUP nuts." Have another cuppa. You earned it.