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Hello readers! I’m sorry to have been M.I.A. I’ve been writing and sewing and all that good stuff, and hopefully I can share more about that soon.
In the meantime, here’s a dessert I made recently that was a big hit.
I like to go to pick-your-own farms, especially for apples, but since we couldn’t find a functioning apple farm, we went blueberry picking while in Western North Carolina over Labor Day. It was the end of the season—-slim pickin’s for sure—but still, the berries were delicious. We found the berry patch tucked in the hills. It had just rained, but the sun had come out, and though wet, it was such a gorgeous little spot.
I had planned to make a gluten-free blueberry pie from this book, but I ran out of energy for crust-making and just made the filling along with a half recipe of baked oatmeal. I then combined the two, and voila—blueberry cobbler sans gluten.
It had almost more of a pudding/ cake-like texture that was really lovely. The filling has the most surprising and wonderful secret ingredient: grated Granny Smith apple. Filling recipe here. At the time I actually didn’t have the tapioca, and it worked fine without it.
Baked oatmeal recipe here. I used gluten-free oats, halved the recipe, added some extra liquid, and did not soak overnight since I was in a hurry. When it was cooked, I roughly layered the still-warm filling with the baked oatmeal and baked (350, maybe?) until bubbly—not that long, maybe 10 minutes, tops.
Have you been reading anything good lately? I’ve been on such a memoir and nonfiction kick that I’m a bit worn out from it and have just started a novel called The Lonely Polygamist. So far, it’s hilarious.
On TV, loving the BBC’s Foyle’s War (WWII murder mystery) via netflix, and Borgen on DVD. Borgen is a Danish political drama featuring a female prime minister. Very smart and engaging, though it’s impossible to multitask while watching (due to subtitles and fast pacing).
Found a new podcast for writers: Narrative Breakdown with Scholastic editor Cheryl Klein. Really good, meaty stuff. Also found a mention of my easy reader, Slowpoke, in Books that Teach Kids How to Write by Marianne Saccardi. The author uses Slowpoke as an example showing kids how to slow down and notice the details they need to enrich their writing. Fun, eh? I’m honored.
Meanwhile, I’ve been working on a couple of quilts, but they’re slow-going. Nothing exciting to report. What’s new with you?
We actually made these around Christmas, as a rainy day activity with the kids. We just followed Martha Stewart’s recipe and added some crushed peppermint candy on top.
We loved the way the concoction of sugar and gelatin morphs into white foam. It made me feel like a chemist (my chemist grandfather, by the way, loves to make candy and measures things out neatly on little squares of waxed paper).
True to form, I tried to cut out some of the sugar, as drowning the finished cubes in yet more white stuff seemed a bit excessive. Turns out, though, that you kind of need the powdered sugar on top at the end to keep the marshmallows from being a total sticky mess. It’s like flour, I guess, when you’re rolling out pizza dough.
Marshmallows weren’t hard to make but they were definitely messy, even for my high mess threshold. I would totally recommend a giveaway plan, since even my kids, who were sure they’d want to eat the whole pan on their own, couldn’t finish them before they were past their prime (a couple of days).
The best part for me was having a giant marshmallow (we call them marsh planets) to put in my hot cocoa, which I made not-too-sweet on purpose.
For more of my cooking and eating adventures, go here.
Around these parts we’re still being absolutely buried by fourth grade homework (what’s up with that?). I’m still loving, really loving My Berlin Kitchen by food blogger Lisa Weiss of The Wednesday Chef. It’s got love, travel, international friends and family, and recipes to boot. Currently dreaming of baby artichokes with potatoes and separately, braised endive. Never thought I’d be interested in endive, but she makes it sound so exciting! As an added bonus, the book is making me want to keep writing, and in my mind that’s the best kind of book.
I’ve been sewing a bit, some of which you can see on my Instagram feed. You can find me there under Emily Smith Pearce or in the lower righthand corner of my blog homepage.
This interview with writer/ director David O. Russell (of Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle) was so good I may have to listen to it again. I also loved reading this interview with the author, the illustrator, and the translator of Sydney Taylor Award honor book The War Within These Walls. The translator (Laura Watkinson) is a friend of mine in Amsterdam, and the interviewer (Joyce Moyer Hostetter) is a friend here in North Carolina. Small world!
Also just sent out my nonfiction manuscript to some early reader friends. So excited to be moving ahead with it. How are you? Cooking/ reading/ watching anything good?
We served these yesterday to non-gluten-free guests, and they were a hit with everyone, kids and grown-ups alike. They have a nice, chewy texture.
I actually made them egg-free as well (using egg substitute) since one of our guests is allergic to eggs. The cookies have a lot of butter in them, but next time I may try coconut oil, since I’ve made similar cookies with regular flour and coconut oil in the past, and they were great.
The recipe is once again from Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking by Peter and Kelli Bronski. You can find the recipe on their blog here.
Today, we made a little candy! So I’ll show you that when I have time. Hope you’re cozied up with loved ones and enjoying festivities.
P.S. We got a special Christmas supplement to the newspaper today: a cup of water and an earthworm fell out when I removed plastic bag #1! Luckily the paper itself was dry and wormless. Gives you an idea of how much rain we’ve had in the last day or so.
I can’t take any credit for this pie, other than having been an experienced taste-tester. At my kids’ request, my mother-in-law took the reins on this project during a recent visit.
She used the pastry recipe here from Artisanal Gluten-Free Cooking and her favorite apple pie filling recipe for the center. According to her, the dough was “terrible, just terrible to work with,” but of course GF doughs are often tricky and tend to fall apart a lot. We wondered if using a pastry cloth would’ve made it easier (I don’t have one). Still, though, isn’t it a beautiful pie?
The results are so delicious that I would definitely try this again, tricky dough or not! A certain anonymous person (not a gluten-free eater) even tried to eat more than his allotted share.
I would say the pastry was a bit more crackery in texture than traditional dough, but it was still yummy. I think I’ll try it again at Thanksgiving, though I may use a crumble-top instead of a pastry top.
Currently reading America’s Women by Gail Collins. She’s got such a fresh voice and fantastic sense of humor—-this is the way history should be written.
A few of posts around the web that caught my fancy recently:
–this one from Amy Karol of Angry Chicken about using free digital art from the Rijksmuseum
–a glow-in-the-dark party over at Elsie Marley
–love, loooove this collaboration between an illustrator and her 4-year-old
Hope you had a great weekend. Ours was long and relatively lazy. We even started some Christmas crafting. Feels a little early, but I know it’ll be here before we know it. I even went totallly nerdo and made a spreadsheet of the gifts I’ve already purchased and squirreled away. I have more of a head start than I thought. Woohooo!
The kids and I have made a list of fun things to do this summer, and one of them is to make popsicles.
This was our first batch, made with this recipe, from the blog Oven Love, found through Pinterest. I love that they’re non-dairy, made with coconut milk and real orange juice. They were a hit. Next I think we’ll freeze our favorite peanut-butter-chocolate-banana smoothies. With maybe a little coconut milk. Do you have any favorite popsicle combos?
Meg of elsiemarley.com suggested that readers share short posts about fun summer activities . If you’d like to play along, leave a comment on Meg’s blog and use the words “Summer Journal” in your blog title or as a hashtag if you’re instagramming or whatnot. While you’re at it, let me know in my comments, too!
For more posts on food, including recipes, click here. I like to cook with less meat and dairy, more veggies, and I do a lot of gluten-free stuff, too.
by Theresa Collier, Publicity
In case you have not followed along from Wednesday’s
post, Overlook is publishing Nigel
Slater’s Real Fast Food
and Real Fast
Desserts in paperback next week.
I’ve sliced, mixed, braised, and baked my way through four simple
recipes starting with “Chicken with Olives and Oranges” and “Bulgur Wheat with
Mango and Mint.” Real Fast Desserts, a
Lately, I want to blog about food. This is partially because I've been cooking a lot more--I like to cook, mind you--and partially because I've been experimenting a little more as I cook. I can usually get something on the table for dinner most nights, although Cora tends to delay stuff sometimes.
I'm a little behind on getting the photos for this and the next post or two off of my camera, but I figured, better late than never!
For St. Patrick's Day, I present the Country Rhubarb Cake.
I know, I know, it totally looks like a pie. But the recipe is from Darina Allen's Forgotten Skills of Cooking: The Time-Honored Ways are the Best - Over 700 Recipes Show You Why, and she calls it a Country Rhubarb Cake. It basically looks like a pie, but the inside... the inside is filled with ruby-red, glistening rhubarb.
And the cross-sectioning just shows how utterly delicious it is. The crust isn't a typical pie crust; it's more like a biscuit crust with a wee bit of shortbread, if anything. But it soaks up all of the delicious juices that the rhubarb releases, besides being tasty, so I really can't quibble about whether it's a pie or a cake or some sort of hybrid.
I followed the recipe pretty much as it was written with just one major change: I chopped the rhubarb up ahead of time, mixed it with the heaping cup of white sugar, then added some dark brown sugar into the filling, too. Then, I left it all to macerate, while I worked on the crust.
It goes beautifully with whipped cream.
Here's a quick digital painting for this week's Illustration Friday. Cupcakes have become so popular in recent years and you will be too if you take them to work or school.I suffer from a fierce and demanding sweet-tooth, but so far the trendy cupcake has failed to seduce me. Cookies, ice cream, and tiramisu - I'm still yours and yours alone. For now....
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OUP’s Online Marketing Manager Stephanie Porter reflects on the beers to accompany her Thanksgiving meal.
Thanksgiving is all about tradition, and if you are like my family, your dinner will probably be served with wine. But having recently spent some time with The Oxford Companion to Beer and its Editor-in-Chief Garrett Oliver, I am thinking about adding a little twist to the end of the meal.
“Dessert, often thought of as the province of sweet wine, is actually usually better with beer. The maxim in wine—that the wine must be at least as sweet as the dessert—does not hold force with beer. In fact, it is the relief of sweetness from the palate that is the key to success. After a few forkfuls, the palate is overwhelmed by the sugar in most desserts. That is one reason why coffee often seems so pleasant with dessert; it is not nearly as sweet as the dessert.”
So after the turkey has been carved, eaten, and relocated to the fridge for tomorrow’s sandwiches, I will be breaking out a few choice beers to serve alongside my cousin’s famous French silk pie. Here are a few easy suggestions for incorporating a delicious brew into your Thanksgiving dinner. According to The New Republic reviewer Alexander Nazaryan, it might be almost as American as apple pie.
Pour a coffee flavored stout with your pecan pie:
Not to suggest that you have to forgo the coffee altogether, but my mouth starts to water just thinking about this pairing.
“Bigger beers with some caramel or roasted character tend to do best. With a chocolate tart, for example, we can pair a coffeeish, chocolaty imperial stout. In this pairing, we have both contrast and harmony—the
roasted malts match the chocolate, whereas the beer cleanses the palate of sweetness; the dessert can come back tasting fresh.”
I would aim for something with rich flavor, but that isn’t too heavy. I might go for two of my all-time favorite beers, Full Sail Session Black or Köstritzer Schwarzbier. But any of the beers listed in this link—Great Brewer’s Beers with a coffee flare—(or in your grocer’s isle) could have a similarly great effect.
Swap a Pumpkin Ale for your Pumpkin Pie:
As full as I am after a big meal, it just wouldn’t feel like Thanksgiving without a little something sweet to finish it all off. And since pumpkin ale is an American original, it seems even more fitting.
“As a general rule, pumpkin ale has an orange to amber color, a biscuit-like malt aroma, and a warming pumpkin aroma. Modern pumpkin ales are almost always made with “pumpkin pie spices,” which usually include cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and sometimes vanilla and ginger. The finish tends to be dry because of many fermentable sugars derived from the pumpkin.”
Pumpkin ale has seems like it has secured its place in bars and bottles across the country, so you should have no trouble picking up this new classic. I love the light flavor of Brooklyn’ Brewery’s Post Road Pumpkin Ale, but as this would be in lieu of pumpkin pie, I might go for something with even more pie-like goodness like Dogfish Head’s Punkin Ale. Check out Draft Magazine’s Pumpkin picks, too.
Pour a rich barrel-aged beer over vanilla ice cream:
This pairing is all about pleasant contrast. Concurrent with the flavor of the wood itself may be the flavor of whatever beverage the barrel h
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Temptation is difficult to resist, especially when I'm tempted by such attractive morsels like the macaroons above, so brightly coloured and scrumptious looking. Fortunately I find them far too sweet for my taste and am happy to admire the way they look, draw them and leave them for others to enjoy.
I'm finally moved into my new quarters and hope that in a few months this will become my permanent home. Fingers crossed. In the meantime I am so loving being here and the settling down process is being helped along by the presence of a good friend, good food and beautiful surroundings. It's taken time away from blogging, commenting, getting inspired visiting other sites and, most important, drawing! But I refuse to get stressed over it as I know that soon enough it will be winter and I will have tons of time to concentrate on art and work.
Macaroons Card at zazzle
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When I returned home for a visit last year my nephew and one of my nieces were baking these glorious cupcakes and I took photos so that I could eventually draw them as they looked (and tasted!) so yummy. Well, I've finally managed to get one down onto paper though I really am not doing it justice. This one is for my nephew Kaelen!
Life has been hectic and I've been pretty blocked too. The final move into the new house has been a huge relief and I'm happy. Since then I've had visitors non-stop and am about to go overseas for two weeks again, after which life will I hope resume it's normal (?) peaceful routine and I can begin drawing on a more regular basis. Cheers!
Cupcake Hearts Card at Zazzle
On Monday night, I came across a recipe for bran muffins that I had been staring at for the past few years. As I sat there, blinking at the sample picture of these gorgeous, plump muffins, I wondered, “Why didn’t I ever make these?” Perhaps it’s because my mother has an aversion to muffins (she thinks they’re the butch version of cupcakes) or because my brothers tend to dislike anything with the word “bran” in them, I’ve successfully avoided them for the past couple of years. I had never tasted a bran muffin before in my life.
So I decided to bake them. I ran out, purchased this toaster oven bake set that fit perfectly into my new Breville oven and returned home, excited to flour up the kitchen island. I substituted several ingredients in the recipe. In lieu of vegetable oil, I used applesauce (which was undetectable in the finished product); swapped buttermilk for almond milk plus 1 T of lemon; and used 1/3 c of raw sugar and 1/3 c of stevia in place of the 2/3 c of brown sugar.
Even without the oil and buttermilk, the muffins were moist, delicious and nutty. The cranberries added a nice tangy splash to the subtly sweet, woodsy texture and the muffins formed perfectly in the toaster oven. When the muffins were cooled, I cut one into fourths, and fed a piece to my brother.
“It’s oil free,” I explained. He opened his mouth hesitantly, with an “I’m-preparing-for-the-worst” look on his face. However, he soon brightened up and exclaimed in surprise, “It’s good!”
He ate a whole one later that night.
Smeared with nut butter or just plain butter, these muffins make a healthful breakfast-on-the-go or dessert.
Healthful Bran Muffins
- 1 1/2 cups wheat bran
- 1 cup almond milk + 1 T lemon juice
- 1/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
- 1 egg
- 1/3 cup stevia; 1/3 cup raw sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
10 Comments on muffins in the toaster oven, last added: 8/25/2010
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners.
- Mix together wheat bran and almond milk + 1 T lemon juice; let stand for 10 minutes.
- Beat together oil, egg, sugar and vanilla and add to milk/bran mixture. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir flour mixture into milk mixture, until just blended. Fold in dried cranberries and spoon batter into prepared muffin tins.
- Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool and enjoy!
I read Eat, Pray, Love several years ago while I was vacationing in Taiwan. It was a wonderful memoir that I truly enjoyed, and like many other fans, my favorite section was the one about Italy. Who doesn’t love the idea of reveling in a nation that is known for its pursuit of pleasures?
Unfortunately, I’ve never been to Italy. And although I’m looking forward to savoring Naples pizza, marveling over the mesmerizing architecture and indulging in decadent gelato someday (hopefully soon), I’ll take homemade biscotti any time, any day.
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil, 1/4 cup applesauce*
- 1 cup white sugar*
- 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 eggs
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 Tbs. almond extract, 1/2 Tbs. vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, beat together the oil, eggs, sugar and anise flavoring until well blended. Combine the flour and baking powder, stir into the egg mixture to form a heavy dough. Divide dough into two pieces. Form each piece into a roll as long as your cookie sheet. Place roll onto the prepared cookie sheet, and press down to 1/2 inch thickness.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown. Remove from the baking sheet to cool on a wire rack. When The cookies are cool enough to handle, slice each one crosswise into 1/2 inch slices. Place the slices cut side up back onto the baking sheet. Bake for an additional 6 to 10 minutes on each side. Slices should be lightly toasted.
Note: You may be tempted to add more flour once you start rolling the dough–don’t. You may flour your kitchen surface or hands to avoid sticky flour syndrome, but try not to add anymore flour into the actual dough.
* I substituted half of the oil with applesauce. It’s undetectable and does not affect texture.
** I used a no-calorie sweetener substitute. It turns out well.
The cookies are slightly sweet, with a subtle almond fragrance that goes well with coffees and teas. You may also drizzle with chocolate and garnish with crushed nuts (see photo above), if you prefer.
6 Comments on italy through cookies
, last added: 8/28/2010