Daily Archives: March 13, 2012

Dutch baby with Jane Grigson’s buttered apples

Both the kids and my husband have had some icky cough this past week.  Sam’s been teething on top of it all, poor guy.  After a couple nights of soup, I get tired of eating sick feeling sorts of foods.  Sam so much as full on refused to eat (he never refuses to eat!) the plain buttered rice that I made him yesterday for lunch (I should know better to feed plain rice to my anchovy-loving baby), so I decided to make something that was easy on everyone’s bad feeling throats but enough to be interesting for me, who has thus far avoided this round of sick.

I love Dutch babies–they’re always dramatic and couldn’t be easier to make.  Noah cracked the eggs and we popped it in the oven while the apples were cooking.  My recipe is from Rick and Lanie’s Excellent Kitchen Adventures (Noah knows where to flip in the book and it’s one of his favorite cooking jobs looking for it), but it’s the same as this one except it uses 2 more tablespoons of butter and omits the salt and vanilla (not bad ideas, but I kind of like the plainness of Rick’s).

The apples are from Jane Grigson’s Fruit Book which is a comprehensive, fascinating vintage book. Jane Grigson is a treasure though as a food writer.  If you don’t believe me, make these apples.  The recipe in the book is a little non-exact, but cooking with apples is just kind of that way.  I’ll try to fill in some of the holes dear Jane left.  You could complicate these with cinnamon, but you should trust Jane’s wisdom in letting the apples speak for their beautiful selves.

Jane Grigson’s Buttered Apples

Peel, core, and quarter some apples (1/person or more if you like).  Cut the quarters into thirds or fourths depending on the size of your apples.  Toss them in bowl with the juice of 1/2 of a lemon and  coat them with the juice.

Melt 2 T of butter in a large skillet (this is for the 4 apples I used) over medium low heat.  Add the apples and cook in one layer until the bottoms start to turn “autumn brown.”  Turn them over and sprinkle them with sugar to taste.  Continue to saute them until they start to be tender-ish and start to caramelize.

At this point, deglaze your pan with some kind of delicious booze.  I used whiskey because I like it with apples. Rum, hard cider, or the best of all, Calvados all would also be good.  Let the tasty booze reduce down a bit, then add enough heavy cream to cover the bottom of your pan (I would guess this was about 1/3 of a cup, but I eyeballed it).

Turn down the heat and simmer the apples in the sauce for maybe 5 minutes until they are tender.  Off heat, add 1 more tablespoon of butter and swirl it into the sauce.  Pour them over your yummy Dutch baby.

I am not a robot

Dear Blogger,**

While I appreciate that you’re trying to protect bloggers from unnecessary spam comments (and believe me, I appreciate that–those things are vile–and thank you WordPress for just chucking those automatically out of sight), this 2 word verification is really really annoying.  Last week I was locked out of commenting on Mikhaela’s insightful post about cheap fabric no less than 10 times.  I do not have time to do this.  I have 2 kids.  I’d much rather be playing with said kids, cooking, sewing, or reading about both.  I assure you I’m not some robot that you’re convinced I am.  Your blurry “words” are just impossible to read and waste everyone’s time.



**I kid you not, WordPress thinks I’m a robot too because it’s auto-saved this post 15 times in my post archive.

Julie apparently understands that I am not made of tin, because tin people can’t be versatile bloggers can they?

My rather fleshly self graciously accepts this award (thank you Julie!), and I’ll list 7 random things quite humanoid per the conditions of this award and pass on the bloggy love.

  1. Joanne Weir is my cooking hero.  Love her.
  2. A day without a proper pot of tea is sad indeed.
  3. Ruth Reichl‘s prose is like a warm blanket.  I want to eat at her house.
  4. If left to my own devices, I would probably have a completely aqua house.
  5. I make my own birthday cake every year because it’s fun.
  6. I’m a 5th generation strudel maker in this country and there were others before that.  I’m plum proud of my apple strudel (apple proud?).  Why have pie when you can have strudel?
  7. Saturday is pancake day in our house.  My husband’s family makes waffles on Saturdays.  My Mom bought me a waffle iron when we got married, but it died, and teflon creeps me out.  Read Pancakes for Breakfast.  It’s funny and makes the pancakes taste better.
- Add the award to your blog.
- Thank the blogger who gave it to you.
-  Mention 7 random things about yourself.
-  List the rules.
-  Give the award to 15 bloggers.
-  Inform each of those bloggers by leaving a comment on their blog.

Perseverance and avoiding jacket making brain scramble

Making a jacket is an undertaking.  While it’s true that the sewing is only moderately more complicated than a blouse, there are a lot more pieces in play.  Unfortunately, the number of added pieces and the amount of extra time that they will require are not always in a 1:1 ratio.

The jacket I’m working on now has a lot of extra pieces, and I’ve been frustrated with the snail’s pace that I’ve been going at.  My frustration has, of course led to more mistakes which has taken more time and taxed my already fried brain.  As a way of a break, and to help others avoid this brain scramble, here are some ways to give yourself a mental break in the midst of jacket making (or any other large project for that matter).

  1. Make a task list:  It’s a good idea to break down all of the steps in a jacket into reasonable pieces.     Pattern guide sheets can help you with this–simply draw a line at a stopping point on your guide sheet wherever you think a good stopping point is.  If you’re like me and you do things out of order, make up your own list–it’ll only take about 5 minutes, and it will save you time in the end because you won’t be scrambling to try and push yourself further than you can handle (more mistakes).
  2. Enjoy the process:  It’s pretty amazing watching all of these bizarre shapes strewn across your workspace transform themselves into a jacket.  Step back and admire that welt pocket that you did executed so well, or that sleeve cap that is so beautifully round.  Rushing this will cut down the fun.
  3. Do something different:  I’m not saying you shouldn’t try to bust out a jacket in a weekend like this awesome book by Cecilia Podolak says you can, but I would say that sometimes that big pile of pieces staring at you can be overwhelming and feel very unfinished object like.  Set aside your jacket after you’ve finished your daily tasks (see #1) and pick up a knit top pattern or something else that you can do almost on auto-pilot.  You’ll still get to see a finished product quickly (it just won’t be your jacket), and you’ll have something to wear under it as soon as you’ve finished your jacket.  Or do something completely different–make something delicious or let your child pose with the Lego car he so proudly designed himself (okay, so Daddy took this picture, but kid photo ops are a good mental break).
  4. Tea therapy and the kindness of a friend:  You will make mistakes.  On this jacket, I’ve already sewn the princess seams askew multiple times on the lining, put topstitching on the fronts on the wrong side of the seam, and sewn the top of my separating zipper to the wrong side of its seam no less than 5 times.  When this happens, roll with it.  Put stuff down, make a cup of tea, put on some good music or watch something inspirational and sit down with your seam ripper.  I’ve written before about your seam ripper being the best kind of friend–one who is there not to pass judgment on your failures but just to help.  You and your seam ripper are in it together, and with that, unsewing can become part of your sewing process.

As for this jacket which is nowhere near complete, here are some sneak peeks: