Photo Friday!

(As I have sat on my butt on my day off not made time to edit these photos, I apologize for what could be a post full of blurry photos for a short post, but I did not want to miss another week.) Enjoy the week in review! :)

First up, I made an apple tarte tartin for the first time.

It was made for this literal house party, consisting of only people who currently live in, have previously lived in, and frequently visit this house. (Ahem, that last part is there to include yours truly.)

Finished product. Half was finished at the party, half was finished at dinner that night.

Plum cake that was Mike’s contribution to dinner that night. This was the second time I had seen him make it and the second time I was not allowed to see or really know what was in the recipe or even stir any of the ingredients. I guess every relationship needs some secrets. ;)

The dinner that I keep speaking of was Rosh Hashanah dinner that I hinted at last time.

As an attempt to visit and know more about the city we call home, Mike and I decided to make it a habit to have brunch at a new neighborhood every weekend ’til we hit them all. This week was Hayes Valley.

I have become obsessed with the “latte art” or, since I only have hot chocolates, “steamed milk art”. This is from the same Blue Bottle cup from above.

My first time at Absinthe for brunch. I got the two eggs any style (mine will always be scrambled unless I can get over my fear dislike of runny yolks), with toast, sausage (house-made), and “the best potatoes” as quoted by Mike before we even got there. Notice there are three potatoes? I ate only one. MAYBE one and a half. Someone learned the “reach over to the other person’s plate” trick from my family (read: dad) a little too quickly for my taste. (Especially since this is before Mike met him!) I did get to try his duck hash, which was pretty good, too. :)

Lastly, a picture of the parts from the Lost Crates package from Joy the Baker last month. Cup 4 Cup gluten-free flour, and some vanilla beans and extract from Beanilla. Once I figure out what to make with all of that, I will post the recipe.

National Apple Strudel Day

So yesterday, I wrote that today was going to be Eat All Your Veggies day, but I looked at another website, and found that it is (also) National Apple Strudel day, which, to me is way more exciting than eating veggies. Not that veggies are not a good thing to eat, and I do encourage people to eat their veggies, today, and everyday, but apple strudel is much more yummy. Also, this is a dessert blog, and while I might be off topic some of the time, I try to stay with the dessert theme about 90% off the time. So apple strudel. Not hard to make; but I’ve never tried one with from scratch dough. I mean, I’ve made puff pastry before (many times in the CIA) and I can make it, but I am lazy like most other home bakers and would buy it from the store. It freezes well (and usually comes frozen) so I don’t have to worry about it for a while. Also, sometimes it is made with phyllo dough, which I have not made from scratch, but I think it is a similar process. Here is a Paula Deen video on how to make apple strudel (made with phyllo and of course, extra love that comes in the form of butter!) Happy Apple Strudel Day!

apple fritters

I am (carefully!) typing this while keeping an eye on the apple fritters I am making.

I had leftover apples and walnuts from a crisp that I was making and needed something to do with them, so I found this recipe:

Ingredients:

* 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1/3 cup milk
* 1 egg
* 1 cup finely chopped apple
* 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Preparation:
Sift together the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. Add milk and egg; beat until batter is smooth. Fold in chopped apple. Drop by teaspoonfuls into deep hot oil — about 370° and at least 2 1/2 to 3 inches deep — and fry for about 2 to 3 minutes, until nicely browned.
Drain well on paper towels then roll in confectioners’ sugar while still warm. Serve as is or warm, with syrup, if desired.

I thought the batter was a little thick, so I added more milk. I also thought that they were a little bland, so I added cinnamon to the batter. I also used a heaping 1/4 cup full of batter, and they turned out with a funky shape, but still taste awesome. They are a good thing to fry this week for Hanukkah. Oh, how I love fried food! But I know that it is bad for me, so I try not to eat it too often and I will try not to consume too much of it this week! Happy Hanukkah everyone! :o

I think this one kinda looks like a (snow covered) person, or perhaps a teddy bear?(hmm…do you see it?):

apples and honey

So, to celebrate the Jewish New Year, it is tradition to eat apples and honey together. Since I am not such a fan of fruit, but more of a fan of everything sweet, I decided to make apple and honey lollipops. They turned out pretty well, and even look good enough to give away to the various homes I will be entering to celebrate the holiday (or Holy Day, as some people might call it.) this weekend. Making candy is pretty easy to do. It just takes some time (doesn’t everything?!) to wait for the sugar to boil to become about 300 degrees. (professional candy makers call this the hard crack stage, but last night we called it “waiting for the crack”.) Since it is so easy, this will probably be my shortest post yet. (But perhaps my sweetest?!)
Lollipops (makes about 20-30 depending on how big you make them and how fast you are with the hot sugar)
1. Spray either a marble slab or counter space (if you are lucky enough to have one…) or a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan with some non-stick spray.
2. Measure your ingredients. I did this in a liquid (glass) measuring cup, because if you pour the corn syrup on top of the sugar, it is easier to get out. It is really easy to remember: 1/2 cup of each: sugar, corn syrup, and water. For the apple flavored candy, I used apple juice concentrate, about 2 tablespoons. Do not add the flavor to the sugar mixture yet. You will do this after the sugar reaches the right temperature.
3. Pour the sugar, syrup, and water into a pot and let boil. If you have a candy thermometer (which I do, but did not remember it last night) you can use it to take the temperature of the boiling sugar mixture, and you want to wait till it reaches 293-300 degrees. (I looked at many sites and the temperature for hard crack stage varies from site to site. The Baking and Pastry book from the CIA says 293 degrees.) If you do not have a candy thermometer, you can test the sugar the old fashioned way, by putting some syrup into cold water. If you can form a ball and it is hard to crack, you are all set. Also, 300 degrees is right before sugar starts to caramelize (it starts at around 310 degrees) so, if you notice your sugar starting to turn yellowish/goldish then that is also a good way to know when the sugar is at the right temperature.
4.  Add flavoring (and coloring, but it has to be oil based to work). Mix quickly.
5. Pour the sugar onto the pan, and quickly insert a lollipop stick, and rotate the stick so that you can be sure that it is completely covered in candy. You have to work quickly because the sugar will get thick and start to set up.
6. After the lollipops have cooled some, you can transfer them to wax paper and let them finish cooling before wrapping them.
If you are like me, and want to create two-flavored lollies, you can just pour the second flavor on top of the first.
That’s it. Pretty easy, huh? If you have any questions, of course you can post them as comments, and I will try to help, but I also found this website helpful, too.
Pictures! I like the top one, the pop looks kinda like an apple, I think. :o)