Food

foodie friday: apple cake

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In honor of Rosh Hashanah this week, I decided to pull out the baking skills and whip up something with apples and honey to represent the sweet new year. And then I got a bit busy, so it became apples and brown sugar…cause that is close to honey, right? So the Pioneer Woman’s website came to the rescue with Apple Cake.

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It was delightful and amazing. And pretty much the best kinda quick, easy cake recipe ever. It was light with a touch of cinnamon, not overly buttery (despite what the recipe tells you, and came out of the pan like a dream. It’s a great use of your fall apples for the CSA, apple picking or even just the grocery store (or in my care, your former roomie’s CSA).

Enjoy!!

Apple Cake
5 to 6 Whole Granny Smith Apples, peeled, cored, and cut into equal pieces
1 3/4 stick Butter
1 cups Sugar (or 2/3 brown sugar & 1/3 sugar)

For the cake:
1 1/2 stick Butter
1 cups Sugar
2 1/4 teaspoon Vanilla
3 whole Large Eggs
3/4 cups Sour Cream
2 1/4 cup All-purpose Flour
2 1/4 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoons Cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a 12-inch skillet, melt 1 3/4 sticks butter over low heat.
Add 1cup sugar to the pan and stir around, then place apple slices, wedge side down, in the pan.
Don’t pack them too tightly, but try not to leave overly large gaps.
Allow this to cook over low heat while you make the cake batter.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Mix in vanilla and eggs.
Add sour cream and mix well.
Add flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon until just combined.

Remove skillet from heat.
Spoon batter over the top, then spread gently so batter is evenly distributed.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until cake is golden brown and bubbly.
Allow cake to sit in skillet for five minutes, then invert onto a serving plate.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

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Shopping

wednesday want: scarf shop

I know that Mondays are supposed to be the day for me to post about my most recent “i must have this” moment.

But it’s SCARVES!!

And for two reasons I couldn’t wait.

One. I am completely obsessed with Scarf Shop. I came across it this morning and I have been filling (and emptying) my shopping cart ever since. In case you weren’t aware, scarves on on my list of favorite things.

Two. Next Monday will be a special blogging day. But more on that later.

So, if you love scarves as much as I do, visit: scarf shop (you won’t be disappointed, though your bank account may not feel the same way)

Photos care of the scarfshop website

(and to my mom: i have a birthday coming up…hint,hint, nudge, nudge)

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Shopping

must have monday: keys

I am not quite sure why, but I have loved skeleton keys for a long while. I have wanted one in some form of jewelry for just as long. So imagine my delight when I stumbled across an etsy vendor who sells not only a hodge podge of vintage items, but also….

…old keys!

A happier discovery I could not have made. So if you are looking for something fun (and vintage), pop on over to Found Vintage Style on Etsy, just don’t buy all the keys before I can get to them.

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Life

week in review: photos and links

 

It’s been a crazy week +1 day (last friday till yesterday). The only one of these photos that needs to be explained is the bottom right one. Marie decided to teach us the technique behind wrapping a turban. A skill she picked up as a small child in the Middle …. of Birmingham, Alabama. Clearly there isn’t actually a real or logical explanation for any of this.

Oh and the top two. If you don’t know Ten Out of Tenn, get to know them.

Other things that caught my eye this week:
1. the NYT: Modern Love: Sometimes it’s Not You
2. a fantastic procrastination tool: Draw a Stickman
3. South facing room? Grow dwarf citrus in DC: Four Winds Growers
4. Need great new music: Noise Trade
5. Musical Stylings of: Peter Bradley Cooper and Amy Stroup

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Food

foodie friday: the best cc cookies ever

I wish I could have gotten an in progress photo of this little gem. [oh wait…an UPDATE: Dawn’s in progress photos)

But alas, I was stuck with the sad, sad job of baking these little bits of joy.

When say I was just tasked with the baking part, it’s because the mixing part happened, care of Dawn, about 48 hours earlier.

If you haven’t heard about David Leite’s chocolate chip cookie recipe it means one of two things, you don’t read the NYT food section or you don’t read food blogs (I came across it on the NYT and Smitten Kitchen). Because at some point, everyone has attempted (or wanted to attempt) the “best chocolate chip cookie.” I was in that latter camp until Dawn and I came up with a plan. She prepped the dough on Friday while I was at work. I baked the dough on Sunday evening when she was out of town. Then, they appeared Monday at a labor day potluck as our joint contribution.

Let’s just say that they barely made it to the table, were gone in about 25 mins, and were compared to a yummy chewy soft-baked cookie without the preservatives. Pretty much amazing.

Yes, you have to let the dough sit for two day, but it was so worth it. Also, use good chocolate (either already in pieces or in a bar), because it creates chocolately pools of goodness. We did a mix of chips and a chopped Scharffen Berger chocolate bar.

Be prepared to have your mind blown.

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

  • 2 cups minus 2 tablespoons (8 1/2 ounces) cake flour
  • 1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) light brown sugar
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate disks or fèves, at least 60 percent cacao content
  • Sea salt

1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and Kosher salt into a bowl. Set aside.

2. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.

3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.

4. Scoop six 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day. Eat warm, with a big napkin.

Read morehttp://leitesculinaria.com/9951/recipes-perfect-chocolate-chip-cookies.html
or on the NYT: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/09/dining/09chip.html

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Around the House

a home to: decorate & craft in

I have been without a home of my own since the beginning of June. It was amazingly awkward timing to be ousted from a house and not just because I was still unsure if I would be leaving DC at the end of the summer (clearly that didn’t happen). It’s really more because I got a new desk and was re-bit by the crafty bug. But a new home is soon to be mine (at the beginning of Nov.) and now all I can think about is crafts, craft nights, decorating, photo taking, photo business names, album making, furniture buying and figuring out if I can grow an orange tree in a pot in the sun room. So pretty much what I’m saying is that I have nothing I’m currently working on. Thankfully the every wonderful pinterest is there to keep me idea organized, and maybe to help break the bank a little bit faster.

1. DIY Wall Medallions
2. Gallery Frame Set-Up
3. Camera Collection Wall
4. Office Organization
5. Cupcake Liner Jar
6. French Baguettes

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Life

dear life. [a call to wake up]

“Where we settle is where we die.”

It is one line. It is one line that has stuck in my head since December 2006. It is one line that the rest of the world needs to hear. It is a line that our generation needs embrace and make their calling.

The world is a mess. There is no candy-coated way around that. Whether you are a Democrat or a Republican in this country, you can at least admit that things are out of control [in the name of full disclosure, I will say that I fall to the right of that spectrum]. We have become a political people focused on messaging. No matter what side of the aisle that you on, the new rule of thumb is blame the guy on the other side. We have the decency to look shocked and appalled at the wide-spread bullying in our school system, but we fail to note that a law won’t fix it when all Americans do is bully each other.

Bosses yell at lesser employees (heck they yell at each other too). Politicians yell for anyone to hear them. People argue. They fight. Lives are taken. Retribution can be death. Children in the womb aren’t babies, until a pregnant mother is killed…then…it’s a Baby! Compassion is dying. Fear is the new leader in business.

My heart breaks. My soul yearns. My self mourns.

When did we become so callous. When did we stop caring about our neighbor. Even worse, when did we stop caring about our friends and family.

Tonight I recounted a story to a friend. Yes. It’s a Bible story. But it’s one everyone needs to hear. My senior year of college I went to Urbana (which is an Intervarsity conference on missions held once every three years). The speaker was talking about how she had been challenged to speak on Gen. 12 at a conference. To gather some context she read the verses leading up to it. The eight verses leading to chapter 12 are the only eight verses that discuss Terah, the father of Abraham. The final part of those eight verses ends with the lines: “they set out…to go to Canaan. But when they came to Haran, they settled there. Terah lived 205 years, and he died in Haran.”

Where Terah settled was where he died. He was destined for so much more. He was destined for a beautiful land that one can normally only ever dream of. But instead of reaching for the dream, instead of saying yes to the full potential, he settled in the first comfortable place. And where he settled, is where he died.

Where have we settled? Personally. Societally. With our family. Friends. Co-workers. Neighbors. Those in need. Those with everything. What have we done to reach and achieve a land that we can only imagine.

Will we die where we have settled? Or will we pack up camp and keep moving toward positive growth. To being people that future generations will look back on and comment on with respect and gratitude.

How hard can it be?

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Food

foodie friday: baked potato salad

So summer is over. And with it is supposed to come the end of BBQ invitations. Not when you live in DC.

When the summer is brutally hot and humid, all people want to do is sit inside in front of/under an air conditioner and pretend like there isn’t a world outside of their house. So, enter a fantastic new trend, Fall BBQs. Less humidity, just as many mosquitos…oh lucky me. But with a never ending amount of bad potato salad, I got a bit creative for my labor day BBQ contribution, thanks to my mother who asked if “I could just bring baked potatoes and fixings.” That answer was clearly no, but premixing it all, well there was an idea.

The best part of baked potato salad, little to no mayo (or at least not enough for you to taste). Well, actually the best part may actually be the sour cream, cheese, chives and bacon…but I’ll let you all be the judge of that. Enjoy!

Baked Potato Salad
6 pounds Baby Red Potatoes
Olive Oil
12 whole Stips Of Bacon, Cooked, Divided
12 ounces, weight Sour Cream
Bunch of Chives, finely chopped
2 cups Cheddar Cheese, shredded
1/8 cup Mayo, preferably the natural olive oil one (optional)
Sea Salt And Pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place potatoes on a cookie sheet. Drizzle the whole (cleaned) potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle sea salt over the top. Bake until slightly soft (but sliceable) when you put a fork to it, about 20-25 minutes.

Let potatoes cool then cut them into small bite-sized pieces.

In a large bowl gently fold in all the ingredients, saving some chives to garnish the top.

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