Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Apple Season

This weekend, I like many in the North Georgia area will be headed out to Elijay, home of the Apple Festival. Of course, I'm making the drive from South Georgia, but hey. I went last year (finally) and really enjoyed myself. There were plenty of booths filled with food, crafts, and oddities to keep me entertained. Of course, I went for the food but missed out on the obvious which is buying apples from the local orchards. This year will be different.

I've decided not to pass up the chance to get good local apples and have started stockpiling recipes that take my fancy. I plan to narrow them down by this weekend and then buy what I need. Here are some that have piqued my interest.

For the Sweet Stuff:
Warm Apple Buttermilk Custard Pie
Sour Cream Apple Pie with Streusel
Buttery Apple Torte
Middle Eastern Baked Apples
Apple Salad (4th one down)
Persian Apple Dessert
Apple Kheer: Recipe 1 Recipe 2
Date and Apple Charoset
Seb Rabdi
Apple Enchilada
Apple Crunch Pie with Vanilla Sauce

For the Savory Stuff:
Vegetarian Apple Curry Baked Beans
Pork, Apple, and Sage Ravioli with Sage Butter
Indian Apple Chutney
Apple Gouda Quesadilla
Savory Middle Eastern Stuffed Apples

And two that don't use fresh apples:
Turkish Apple Tea
and Apple Coucous.

Now if I can just decide what to make that doesn't require more apples than I can transport...

Monday, October 8, 2007

Pumpkin Cheesecake as Promised

Yes, I did make it. Yes, I was proud of myself. Oh, he liked it too.

I got the recipe for this marbled pumpkin cheesecake at Now, while this was a very good recipe enjoyed by all, I don't think I'll be making it again. It tasted just like pumpkin pie, only much thicker and creamier. Not at all bad, but not usually what I want when I make cheesecake. I'm ignoring the fact that I made it for someone else. Also, the reviewers were right in saying that it didn't have enough spice. I added more cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice, even cayenne trying to get the spice I wanted, but to no avail. Again, not bad but I would have liked more punch. The cheesecake recipe itself, before you add the pumpkin, was really good and so user friendly. I'll probably use the base again for other flavors.

Making this damn thing was a test of patience as well, since I had to deal with this- pre-molded cheese. I could have done this myself, thank you. Following this were two calls to store managers and running out to buy even more cream cheese. I was not at all happy while making this cake.

I added the gingersnap crust into the "fern" colored dish I bought for him since he doesn't have anything to bake in. He was impressed with my ingenuity, oh yes.

The two batters had great color, but they didn't swirl as nicely as I would have liked. I even added food coloring, but it didn't make a bit of difference. Look at the beaters though! Very pretty.

And the finished product.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Fresh Start

It's near the end of my day, but I needed something to make me feel better. Today went downhill drastically and rapidly, turning me into a zombie. That's never good. I was going to curl up in front of my monitor with a cup of coffee and a leftover sweet potato muffin from a local bakery I just found. Well, I'm doing even better than that now.

I've been semi-stalking every Yogi Tea vendor in South Georgia for a while now. I've managed to pick up three boxes: two in an organic store in Florida and one here at Big Lots of all places. I had yet to try my Piccadilly Breakfast yet. I discovered the thrill of spicy-hot tea a few months back and thought this might be too bland. Oh-ho! It's anything but.

After my water was ready (microwaved, thank you), I steeped the tea for about 3 minutes. It was overbearingly bitter. I thought all was lost. Yet, after the normal amount of honey and evaporated milk were added, it was probably the best cup of black tea I've ever had. Not to say I'm an expert, but I've had my share of bland, watery cups that can't stand up to anything that's put in them. This blended so serenely with my condiments and improved on them. It's such a full-bodied tea, flavorful and comforting, that I even skipped the muffin. Dessertless? How's that for good tea?

If you're a tea fan, I urge you to pick up a box of this and give it a try. And now, to the best tea picture I've ever taken. Live to Share.

I'm Eating Real Food!

Not right now, but in the past few days. Oh yes. I cooked. On a Monday, no less. Who rules now?

Alright, it was a stir fry and most of it was from a can, but hey. It's still real food with healthy junk in it. Topped with unhealthy junk for flavor. My stir frys are never pretty. They're not the gorgeous creations you see in magazines. More often than not, it looks like beige tie-dye. But the flavors are getting better. For Mondays fry I used water chestnuts, bean sprouts, mini-corn -all from a can- the last of the rice noodles, eggs, and tofu for the first time. I think I bought tofu before, but I can't remember. I'm pretty sure this is the first time I've cooked with it. See how pretty and distinctive it looked?

Yeah... Anyways, even though I ran out of sesame oil, my sauce has been getting better. I used wasabi paste and powdered ginger to flavor my soy sauce and it was so good that I craved it down to the last bite today. Good leftovers. It's a start.

Also, horror of horrors, my favorite coffee joint is giving a 25% student discount until the end of November. Just as I was trying to wean myself away from it to save money. Gah. If you have an Elliano's chain around, give them a try next time instead of the usual Starbuck's. Very tasty, usually cheaper, and for me, very convenient. I'm sipping my Tuscany Toffee Freezer as I type.

Also also: a cheesecake will be in the works tomorrow. It's the boyfriend's birthday. Wish me luck.