Monday, October 20, 2008

In the kitchen

The heat was turned on for the first time this fall on Saturday morning. White-throated sparrows and dark eyed juncos, winter birds, are out and about at Fort Tilden. The sun isn’t rising until after 7. I’m up to my armpits in apples.

Apples and pears are piling up from my weekly fruit share. My usual response is an apple crisp a la Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything, but last week I made an apple/pear sauce that was pretty good. However, that only used up half of the apples I got two weeks ago. So yesterday it was an apple sauce cake. The apples were all Cortlands, a fair eating and better baking variety, with the skins on, which is the way I always make my apple sauce. To seven apples, I added a sprinkle of brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg, a little water, and a splash of bourbon. The skins don’t dissolve like the flesh, so I put it all through the blender. I think it's the best applesauce I’ve ever made. Two cups of this went into the cake, which required the assistance of OHS, a genius for creaming butter and sugar. We followed the Silver Palate cookbook recipe, only plumping the golden raisins in brandy for extra yum.

By the way, what is Trader Vic’s I mean, Joe's, anyway? Supermarket? Warehouse? Specialty store? The one that opened a couple of weeks ago on Court and Atlantic has been a madhouse since, but I have to say, after three explorations, it doesn’t do squat for me. They didn’t have cocoa (“we’ll have it for the holidays”); they didn’t have baking soda (“I think we used to have it”); they didn’t ground lamb (admittedly, not a staple); and they didn’t have a coffee grinder, which left OHS gnashing her teeth.

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