Tuesday, March 19, 2013

I did it! I made a Cherpumple my way!


So, Dr. Food has been out of the country for weeks now. Ok, so it has only been 8 days but it feels like weeks. I was snowed in twice while he has been gone. Today being one of those days. First day of Spring tomorrow and I am stuck in the house because of the snow. Not really. Jeffie my neighbor snow blowed (is it snow blew?) for me. I tend towards being a little bit dramatic. What have I been doing? Well, working for one. That is when I am not stuck out in the wilderness snowed in. Yeah, Marlborough, Massachusetts IS the wilderness as far as *I* am concerned.


First of all I decorated the laundry room. Dr. Food rolled his eyes when he saw that I bought this to put up (not really but I can tell he wanted to). I don't think he thought I would get off my ass to do this but while he was away I did.


Someone really wishes that I would just chill. I think she hates when Dr. Food goes away because I do weird things like eat dinner over the sink and feed her things that I shouldn't. I think it makes her nervous. I think she really doesn't know what to think. I think she is a dog and was just sleeping on her blanket and I made a story up about it because I don't have much to say. I think you all may have left this blog post already... HELLO?


Ok, so the Cherpumple story. I awoke (awoke?) early in the morning to fufill the mission of making my coworkers a special cake. It is a pie/cake called a Cherpumple. Cherry, Pumpkin, Apple pies, baked into cakes. Stacked up and frosted. I used Peach baked into a white cake. Pecan baked into a butter pecan cake. Last but not least the noble apple pie baked into a yellow cake mix. You can do whatever you want. My cake/pie is called a Pecapple


So store bought pies and cake mix. You would have to be out of your mind even more than I am to make each component yourself. Afterall, it isn't fine pastry. It is over the edge Ew.


So I baked.


And baked...


I destroyed one layer so between baking I went to the store for another pie (first one was cherry and new one was pecan) and another cake mix.


I stacked and frosted.


I finished!


It took all day. Know what? It really was fun. Hard part was getting it 30 miles in the car. I did it though!


I think everyone liked it. If they didn't they didn't say anything because I think they knew that I may take my letter opener and bludgeon them if they didn't eat it and LIKE it.


At the end of this day that was St. Patricks day, I made myself cornbeef, cabbage, and tater tots. What?

Dr. Food comes home tonight. Please do not tell him what I have been up to.

Pecapple Cake Pie (switch pies and cake flavors as you wish)

1 8-inch Apple pie
1 box white cake mix
1 8-inch Pecan pie
1 box butter pecan cake mix
1 8-inch Peach pie
1 box yellow cake mix
eggs and oil according to the cake mix

Cream cheese frosting (from can or favorite recipe)

3 8½-inch-round cake pans (I used springform and made 1 cake/pie at a time)

Mix cake batter according to instructions. For each layer, pour about 1 1⁄3 cup of batter in the cake pan.

Carefully de-tin the baked pie and place it face up on top of the batter in the cake pan. Push down lightly to release any trapped air.

Pour enough batter on top to cover the pie. Bake about 45 minutes to 1 hour (test with toothpick at 45 min.)

Cool and remove from pans then frost it like you mean it

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Israeli street food and tapping a tree


Sometimes I feel like I find ways to get myself into "predicaments". Really. You looked shocked. NO, it isn't moonshine. It is sap from my maple tree. I had a tap sitting around and I decided to use it. I bought it about 2 years ago at the Maple Syrup Museum.


This museum is in Vermont (duh) and was really fun to go through. Little did I know when I bought that tap, that it would actually work.


After 2 weeks of emptying the mason jar (shut up! I didn't have a BUCKET) in the rain, snow, and all that, I collected enough to boil down.


I got this much from the first round. I have to filter it again. At this rate you all are invited over for that one stack of pancakes that this might cover. I am sticking to it (har har) until the end of April. Next year I will get more taps and I will tap all the neighbors trees in the middle of the night.


Lets move on. I was jonesing for some Israeli food. I really felt like an israeli salad. I also felt like a Israeli street food that is called a Mixed Grill.


The Israeli salad is just a bunch of vegetables cut up really small. I found this recipe on David Lebovitz's blog. I liked the idea that it had all kinds of seeds and nuts in it.


I also made Babaganoush. I roasted the eggplant and did my thing with it. I just realized that blogging about Babaganoush isn't really a good idea. It looks really ugly. Ok, but it tasted good.


Not that good though.


However, the Mixed Grill was fantastic and one of my very favorites. I made Tahini to go on it.


Ok, I am tired of writing now. I just did this because it is Julie's birthday tomorrow and I didn't want to disappoint her and not have a blog post. She loves me so much that she actually gets disappointed when I don't blog. Really. I mean it. Ask her. JULIE HAPPY BIRTHDAY TOMORROW. I didn't forget! I love you!

Israeli Salad
Adapted from recipe by Maya Marom

1 ripe tomato
1 medium cucumber, or 3 small ones
1 medium carrot, peeled
2-3 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
5 red globe radishes
half a small beet, peeled
half a small kohlrabi, peeled
large handful of arugula (lettuce can be substituted)
1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley or cilantro

2/3 cup mixed nuts and seeds (such as walnuts, sliced almonds, pine nuts, pumpkin and/or sunflower seeds – coarsely chopped)

1/3 cup crumbled Feta or firm goat cheese

2-3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (or more)
2-3 tablespoons good quality extra virgin olive oil (or more)
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Chop all of the vegetables into the tiniest cubes you can manage. Preferably 1/4 inch thick (or Brunoise, as the French call it). Gather the arugula into a tight bunch and slice into thin shards. This makes the salad fluffier and easier to chew.

2. Toast the nuts in an empty skillet (no oil required) over medium heat, stirring or shaking the pan frequently, taking care not to burn them (watch out for pumpkin seeds, as they tend to ‘pop’ while toasting). Toast until the aroma is released and the nuts take on the slightest bit of color. Remove from heat and let cool.

3. In a medium bowl, mix all of the chopped vegetables with sliced arugula, toasted nuts, and dress with the lemon juice, olive oil, adding salt and pepper to taste (don’t forget that the cheese is salty).

Check for seasoning and add more lemon juice and olive oil to your liking. Top with the crumbled cheese and serve immediately.

Jerusalem Mixed Grill

2 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. black peppercorns
1 tsp. allspice berries
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 lb. chicken breasts, cut into 1" cubes
1/2 lb. chicken hearts, halved and rinsed
1/2 lb. chicken livers, rinsed and
roughly chopped
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 large yellow onions, roughly chopped
Kosher salt, to taste
Fresh pitas, for serving
Amba and pickled peppers for serving

1. Combine turmeric, peppercorns, allspice, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a spice grinder and grind to a fine powder; set aside. Heat a dry 12" cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until nearly smoking. Add chicken breasts and cook, flipping once, until browned but not cooked through, 2–3 minutes. Transfer chicken to a bowl; set aside. Return skillet to medium-high heat and add chicken hearts and cook, flipping occasionally, until browned but not cooked through, 2–3 minutes. Transfer hearts to the bowl with the chicken breast. Repeat with chicken livers.

2. Return skillet to medium-high heat and add the oil; add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft and slightly charred, about 4 minutes. Add the reserved spices and chicken and season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, about 3 minutes. To serve, cut slits in the tops of the pitas. Fill pitas with chicken mixture; top each sandwich with some of the amba and pickled peppers.

SERVES 4 – 6