Tag Archives: apples

Fry Day

Yesterday morning gave me the opportunity to take some Crisco for a spin. I’m housesitting and I have long held that my first attempt at frying any dougnutty sort of thing was not going to be in my Sacramento house, what with its lack of a hood fan and any sort of fire retarding equipment.

Frying is serious business not to be undertaken lightly or without the proper equipment. Crisco itself makes it clear right there on the can with such colorful warnings as:

“Not intended for use as spread” Yuck.
“If shortening catches fire:” Grab marshmallows

One warning not put on the can was concerning proper attire for frying. DO NOT try to make fritters without a shirt on. Praise the lord that I was blessed with Burt Reynolds-esque hair genes or else Fry-Fest 2009 could have taken an ugly turn. While a liability at the beach and around zippers, chest hair saved me a trip to the Shriner’s hospital for first-degree burns. Enough about my body hair.

Fall is approaching quickly. Now that I’m no longer in school the only way for me to know the seasons are turning is by the proliferation of apples at the market. On Tuesdays my stand is next to Skip, aka Pear Guy, and all summer long he has pushed us to pair cheese with his fruit. We humor him because it is a natural compliment and he is a marked improvement over the psychotic old guy who used to sell pears, we’ll call him “Lucky.” Lucky has a distinct style of conversation, typified by the first time I ever spoke to him.

“Hi Lucky, I’m Matt. Nice to meet you.”
“What do you know about economics? What was your major in college?”
”Politics, also Rhetoric-”
“Well, shit. You probably think this Obama guy has it figured out. Don’t you?”
“-and Media Studies. It seems like the recess-“
“Know what inflation does? Do you understand what led to the collapse of the Soviet union? You probably don’t know what socialism looks like, do you?”
“Jesus. Was that even a question?”

Skip could probably run a Flea Circus on his table while yelling in Esperanto and still
sell more fruit than that asshat.

Digression, ho! Anyway, Skip and I have become pretty folksy on Tuesdays and now that fall is upon us I have more Fuji apples than I know what to do with. I conferred with a Junior League cookbook my mom had laying around from an era bygone but could only find a recipe for banana fritters. Well, a little fiddling around led to my development of a pretty tasty fritter recipe.

Pear Apple Fritter Thingies

Terrible picture. Shakey due to tremors I was experiencing as a result of insulin shock from eating the ugly ones.

½ teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup flour
1/3 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 eggs (separated)
1/3 cup buttermilk
3/2 diced fuji apples
1 peeled and mashed up extremely ripe pear
CRISCO BRAND FRYING FAT. Use only CRISCO. Don’t think about any other shortening. No the fine people at CRISCO aren’t paying me to all caps their product and hence jock their fat, its just such a really funny product.

Make like you’re baking and mix the dry ingredients. Blend the egg yolk and milk with the mashed pear and mix with the dry ingredients. Let that sit. Just like pancakes of yore, if you’re making a quickbread like this, the key is to let the dry ingredients absorb the mixture. The trick is after it sits to beat the egg whites stiff as you can and (along with the apple bits) fold that into the batter. Egg whites make for a fluffier fritter and that’s something we can all get behind. After folding the whites in, plop two big spoonfuls at a time into 375 degree shortening. 375 is really the magic number for frying things like this. Any hotter and it may not cook all the way through, but any colder and you’re not going to feel well after eating these as they will be doused in fat. “That’s not frying we can believe in.”

Flip your fritters once. The cook in you will want to fiddle with them a lot. Resist the urge. A fiddled with fritter makes for a faulty fryjob. Take it out and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Feel the rush.

My last post talked about my larger life project and how this blog fits into the grand scheme. Well, to be honest it doesn’t, but to act like the two acts are mutually exclusive is a false choice and just me being lazy.

The pipe dream lives on, and is more directed now than ever before. At this point it becomes simply a matter of starting. I have now taken a marketing class so that I can throw around terms like “target market,” “ROI” and, my personal favorite, “psychographic.” The steps to turning this from a marketing class homework assignment to something that puts burritos in my stomach is a matter of effort.

So how about this. I am soon going to embark on my first raised bed planter. I’ve consulted books, looked at websites and talked to enough self-described “garden consultants” to last a lifetime, and its time to starting getting dirty. Much in the same way that I described the trials and tribulations of a first time garden I can describe what happens when a yard kicks it’s addiction to grass and water and starts becoming a place where food comes from. Who’s with me?

Neon Indian – Deadbeat Summer
B & S – Summer Wasting

Hey, there’s still a couple more weeks of it left. Let me have it.


When is a compliment…

Not a compliment? Perhaps when your uncle/boss sees what you’re making for breakfast and says “You should forget law and be a cook.”


I do have to agree that this morning’s breakfast was of higher quality than anything I’ve contributed to the legal field.

After Saturday’s breakfast was necessitated by the massive amounts of Pabst that accompanied the Sox Game 2 win over the LAAAAAAA and consisted of hash browns, mushrooms, eggs and cheese, today’s was necessary to diversify this blog’s portfolio.

I had previously talked up individual baked apple goodies. As I said last post, though, baking is not my strong suit. I find measurements restricting and the oven is a fickle cooking partner. I tossed my reservations aside and Googled Alton Brown’s Individual Peach Upside Down Cakes. I don’t have peaches, though. All I’ve got is my last apple from Ithaca. What to do?


Individual Apple Granola Upside Down Cakes

A quick discussion of blogademic honesty:
This reminds me of the Ship of Theseus but its not my ship, its Alton Brown’s, and its not a ship, but a ramekin full of baked stuff. I changed a lot about this recipe, the milk, amount of butter, the main fruit and the addition of granola. Is it stilljust a variation on Alton Brown’s theme? I have no problem giving him proper credit but it seems like these have departed pretty far from his original recipe. I’ll always err on the side of caution just because I take this seriously, but its something I think about a lot, and yet another reason why I’m still skeptical of baking. Just in case he reads this,


This makes four ramekins or thereabouts with a little extra batter to spill over and make a hot mess.

Oven preheated to 350
3 tablespoons salted butter
1/8 cup light brown sugar
1 crisp, tangy apple. Nothing mealy, it’ll be gross if you do. Sliced thin. You won’t use it all but you can snack on the rest.
2 ounces granola (I used my homemade stuff)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup granulated sugar (I used vegan cane sugar)
1/2 cup cream, or buttermilk, or coconut milk if you’re sassy
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Prep your ramekins! From your three tablespoons, grease your rammies. Butter the sides all the way to the top (these expand!) and give the bottom a quick grease. Take the rest of your butter and melt it. Now sprinkle the bottoms with brown sugar and then do two layers of thinly sliced apples. Divide and sprinkle the granola on top of the apples and set aside.

When you’re baking something like this, essentially a quickbread you have two bowls, one for dry ingredients and one for wet. This description is inaccurate though, because the sugar goes in the wet bowl. All of the real bakers can laugh at this, but this is one of those distinctions that recipes don’t make, assuming that everyone understands.

So your dry bowl is the flour, the powder, the soda and your wet bowl is the sugar, the vanilla and your butter. Whisk the dry stuff together well, then the wet. Combine them and mix completely in as few strokes as possible. Overworking makes for dense cakes. Pour the batter in the ramekins, leaving about 3/4 of an inch at the top.

I put mine in a waterbath because I had the time and I’ve always wanted to use one. That just means I put the ramekins in a big deep dish and fill with water about halway up the rammies. It puts moisture into the air and maintains a a more even temperature. It also slows baking down considerably. According to Baking 9/11 it brings the temperature down almost 100 degrees. So in the waterbath, on 350, these puppies took about 45 minutes to cook. Drink your coffee accordingly.

Baking for breakfast is intimidating but, just like joining a fraternity or sorority, you get out what you put in. In this case I got a ton of sugar and a shit-ton of dishes, which I have to deal with now.

Also, I didn’t mention this earlier, but it was a Shins morning.

The Shins – The Past and Pending