October 31, 2012
The man who wields the poutine possesses a lot of power.
taken with the harinezumi digital
Posted by jodi on October 31, 2012 at 3.15pm
October 30, 2012
The Macintosh apples have been scarce this year, owing to some unseasonably warm weather in the spring that coaxed many of the province’s orchards to start putting out buds, only to be destroyed a few days later when temperatures plunged down to freezing. Our regular supplier didn’t have any at all, and we had to go north of London to find some. On Thanksgiving weekend we picked up a half bushel of small, slightly hail-damaged apples. Macs are the only apples I eat, and only while they’re in season, so after the last few disappear I won’t get any more until next fall.
I found this recipe in an old binder in the attic while searching for a recipe for a curry pickle that I made one time back in the 1990s, with a mind to adapting it for pickling Brussels sprouts (more on that later). I used to make these cakes a few times a year but haven’t made them since before we moved to Windsor in 2001. We don’t eat sweets very often, but it seemed a worthwhile use of our precious few remaining apples, if only for nostalgia’s sake. It’s a German recipe, handed down in the family of an old friend of ours named Erinhilt, with whom we drifted out of touch some time in the late 90s. I hope she wouldn’t mind my sharing it with you now.
This is the sturdy German farm girl* of the cupcake world, uncomplicated and only slightly sweet in flavour, with a crisp, buttery bottom and a nice substantial density in the middle. The eggs and butter provide the only moisture, so I like to soften the butter until it’s partially melted to make it all easier to mix together. Normally I would tweak a recipe like this to make it a little healthier, but given that I haven’t made it since I was in my 20s, we can afford to eat a little white sugar and white flour this one time. Substitute flax eggs for the eggs (1 tbsp ground flax seed + 1 tbsp water per egg) and margarine for the butter if you want to make it vegan (I used to make them with margarine and they were just as good).
makes about 15-20
-4 to 6 apples
-4 eggs, lightly beaten
-1 cup sugar (white sugar, or your preferred sweetener)
-1/2 lb butter, softened
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1 tbsp baking powder
-3.5 cups all-purpose flour
-small amount of brown sugar and cinammon for dusting, mixed together in a small bowl
Skip the apples and mix all other ingredients in order. The dough will be very stiff and sticky, like this:
Grease a 12-cup muffin tin with butter and fill the cups 3/4 full.
Quarter, core and peel just enough apples for the first dozen if you only have one muffin tin; if you have to do a second batch, it’s better to prepare the apples fresh so they don’t have time to brown.
Make four lengthwise slices in each apple quarter, ending about half a centimetre or so from the ends.
Then roll the outside of the apples in the cinnamon and sugar mixture, and put one on top of each cup, coaxing the gaps open slightly as you gently press them down into the tops of your cakes. You don’t need to actually open the gaps, just get them ready to open; they should spread out once the cakes rise around them.
Bake at between 350° and 375° Fahrenheit (I used 375°, but my oven runs a little to the cold side) for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle of a cake comes out clean.
*“sturdy German farm girl” is how I always describe my genetic physique, strong and solid like my grandmother, a Pennsylvania Dutch descended farm girl who still lives on her own and takes care of herself and hauls her washing machine across the kitchen floor to do laundry and still works at her home tailoring business into her 90s and is my inspiration for old age.
Posted by jodi on October 30, 2012 at 3.50pm
October 29, 2012
Things are still fairly tense between Skeeter and Wanda, and they seem unable to chill out and ignore one another yet. Skeeter’s file at the shelter said that she’d been surrendered by her owner because they had “too many animals”, and so much of the drama between the two of them happens around the food dish that we’re starting to wonder if Skeeter grew up in a house where she had to fight to get food. We’d previously just assumed that “too many animals” was a cover up for “she’s mean to other cats”, but the more we watch them, the more sure we are that most of Skeeter’s aggression is motivated by fear. Still, it’s annoying as hell.
She was sitting around the corner from the food staring into the heat vent as if watching Wanda through it, and just before I reached for the camera Wanda had looked up from eating to stare through the vent from the kitchen side. Then, not knowing Skeeter was on the other side, she started around the corner.
This is where I warned her to slow down, but she kept going.
I feel horrible for laughing at Wanda’s having the wits frightened out of her, but you’ve got to admit that posture is pretty funny.
Posted by jodi on October 29, 2012 at 8.47pm
October 21, 2012
For a few moments, anyway. Skeeter and Wanda stood within a metre of one another and BOTH ATE FOOD OUT OF THE FOOD DISHES AT THE SAME TIME. It seemed like major progress at the time but they quickly went back to growling (Wanda), chasing (Skeeter) and hiding in the basement (Wanda). Skeeter isn’t always 100% the aggressor, but she is the more bold of the two. At this point we don’t care if they every become friends and will be satisfied if they can just settle into ignoring each other.
Posted by jodi on October 21, 2012 at 9.27pm
October 19, 2012
Just when it looks like the canning is almost finished for the season, another great idea or low price on produce presents itself and out comes the kettle once more. We are so close now to everything that is going to be put up being finally put. But there will be one more (different) batch of pickled Brussels sprouts yet, plus the garlic still to pickle, plus some chutney. I’ve been waiting until the season’s canning is done to give a full recap, but the way things are going it may be the dead of winter before that happens.
Posted by jodi on October 19, 2012 at 8.08am
October 17, 2012
Taken with the Harinezumi digital.
Posted by jodi on October 17, 2012 at 8.05pm
October 16, 2012
On one of those brisk fall mornings where even though rain is falling, the light is the brightest, most clear light you see all year.
Taken with the Harinezumi digital.
Posted by jodi on October 16, 2012 at 11.19am
October 15, 2012
Here’s the base for the Chandler & Price paper shear, all freshly painted with charcoal coloured hammered-texture rust paint. It’s so lovely I’m eyeing anything and everything in the house now, looking for more things to put this paint on. I think it would look great on our kitchen appliances, and possibly also the bathroom fixtures. And the Adana hand press, OBVIOUSLY. My spinning wheel? Hmm, perhaps not.
The chopper is now ready to be reassembled and put into use, finally. Too bad we forgot to take photos of the disassembling process. There are a few parts I’m not sure I’ve ever seen before, and the prospect of making a mistake putting together a tool that has the power to cut off one’s arm is rather an exciting one, eh?
Posted by jodi on October 15, 2012 at 8.56pm
October 14, 2012
Eight and a half years after the Christmas Eve fire that destroyed half the building, my old public school is about to be demolished for good. The company that bought the rest of the town has finally negotiated a sale with the owner of the land and building and they’re planning to build a new rental office there. We made our ritual visit to the site over Thanksgiving weekend to take a few final photographs of the school through a new blue construction barrier.
Here’s the view from the corner of the grade 5 classroom towards the centre of the building. The floors of the senior wing, having sat open to the elements since the fire, have already been torn up.
The kindergarten end. On the corner of the building, where vinyl siding and insulation have come loose, you can just see the old asbestos shingles that covered the school when we were kids.
Looking from the sidewalk just outside the grade 8 room, taken with the Harinezumi digital:
Another Zumi shot, of the Tuesday Library door:
Baseball fence and benches are still there.
I want this bicycle rack for my back yard.
See more images of the last 8 years of McCurdy’s decay in this flickr photoset.
Posted by jodi on October 14, 2012 at 2.19pm
October 10, 2012
It’s become too cold most days for us to eat our suppers, as is our warm weather custom, out on the front porch. Now that we’ve been driven indoors I find myself craving easy summertime meals like this gorgeous lunch we ate quite a few times at Pennsic this year.
Strips of eggplant and red pepper, sliced zucchini and yellow crookneck squash, and thinly sliced onions fried in olive oil for a very long time until they’re fully caramelized, with a splash of soy sauce thrown in at the end. It’s tastier if you do the onions on their own so their flavour doesn’t mix with everything else as much. Serve on whole wheat hamburg buns fried in the leftover oil, with broccoli sprouts, black pepper and loads of French’s mustard.
Posted by jodi on October 10, 2012 at 8.08pm