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September 16, 2001
a year ago
four years ago

Dutch Apple Cake

3:35 pm: A really quiet day today. It helped, a lot, that Jet only got up once last night while we were asleep. I guess his busy day yesterday really helped him sleep hard. I tried to go back to sleep, but after fifteen minutes, I just got up and took my shower. John didn't even try. Seems that his body now believes that seven in the morning is time to be awake and he just couldn't even try going back to sleep. So he was up with Jet while I showered and then got to cook a bit.

The Original Pancake House has an apple baked pancake that I really have always wanted to recreate. The hard part is doing the apples the way they have, and making them stay where they start. Plus I bet they actually add the glazing after the whole thing is baked because my pancakes always soak up the juice and any sugar syrup that comes out of the apples. I think that the basic idea is okay, though, slicing the apples and cooking them a little first. Then pouring the batter on top and then baking it.

Thing is, with small slices of apple the batter keeps pushing the apples up the sides of the pan. In some extreme instances even pushing them out of the pan. I'll have to look at the Pancake House's pancakes again sometime, they might even just put apple pie filling at the bottom, heavy pieces of cooked apple in big pieces. Sadly, I only had small apples, the ones that were from the tree in the backyard that John had picked just before moving the little tree. So I was pretty much doomed. The apples got cooked, then I poured in the batter (3 eggs, 3/4 cup flour and 3/4 cup milk) and tucked the whole thing into the 450 degree oven. It swallowed up the apple slices, slid up the sides. But it was a beautiful golden, crisp brown underneath and light brown on top and the apples were speckled throughout. So while it didn't turn out anything like the apple pancake at the Original Pancake House, it did turn out good to eat, especially with some yogurt.

It was a yummy breakfast.

John read the paper, I started sorting through all my Good Eats tapes, writing down the name and title of each episode while I was nursing Jet. I have three full tapes of Good Eats episodes. Sadly the extended play recordings from the old VCR weren't that well liked by the new VCR. There seems to be a little warpage of the tape as well, which is mildly sad. Someday I was planning on just recording every Sunday night/Monday morning 'Cable in the Classroom' no-commercial versions of the show, all back to back. No commercials at all is pretty nice. I don't know if they rotate through all the episodes, and they keep showing more. So it would be another interesting way to collect them all. Still, it was good to try and figure out what I had.

John and I thought, for a while, about going to the Kohl's fall sale and getting Jet some clothing. Before doing that I thought it would be a good idea to go through all the clothing we did have for him and see what he could wear. It was a good thing we did. We now have more clothing than will fit in the changing table's drawer, the first shelf and the top drawer of his dresser. All stuff that will either fit him right now or is stuff he can grow into. We have very, very generous friends, because it's all gifts. The only clothing we've bought him were the three t-shirts the week we brought him home, two front-button Carter onsies when he was two months old, and three over the head onsies when he was five months old. That's pretty much it.

With that pile of clothing we decided not to go shopping. Instead, I decided to bake a Dutch apple cake with sour cream topping. It's a recipe from when I was a kid, and I remembered doing it fairly frequently when I was younger. I didn't even really know if I had the recipe anymore, and when I looked through my recipe box it wasn't under C for cake or A for apple. It turned out to be under D for Dutch, and it was written on a frail, oil stained piece of notebook paper, the writing half worn off in places. So I rewrote the whole recipe onto a card to start before I made it again.

I might as well put it here as well, so if I lose it again I'll have it here:

Heat oven to 350 (325 if using glass), butter and flour a 9x13 pan ( I use Pyrex)

1/2 c shortening
1c sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c sifted flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

4 cups pared apples, sliced -> 1/8-1/4 inch wide wedges (usually 2 medium apples)

1 egg, beaten
1 c sour cream
1/2 c confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 tsp. grated lemon peel

Cream the shortening. Add sugar and beat until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then beat in the vanilla. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt and sift the dry ingredients into the creamed mixture. Stir to form a stiff batter and spread it evenly in the 13x9 pan. Arrange apple slices in rows on the batter, letting slices overlap slightly and push them a little bit into the batter. The slices should cover the top of the batter in one layer. For the topping, combine all the ingredients in the order given. Spoon over the apples, dust with additional cinnamon and bake at 350 for 55 minutes. It should be light gold on top and a toothpick should come out clean from the center.

It's my favorite apple cake recipe. It was really cool to be able to make it again.

After that John's brother Paul called to say that he was arriving soon, and asked if there was anything he could get us from the store. John and I talked through grocery things, so we decided that he didn't have to get anything. We have plenty of stuff for the coming week. John also noted that we had a pretty interesting fajita marinade and that it would be cool to slow cook one of the chuck roasts we had in the stuff. So I started prepping that. John fed Jet some solids and got him to nap. I took the roast, defrosted it, washed it, rubbed it with cumin and salt and then seared it in my cast iron skillet. I then dropped some of the marinade in the slow cooker, used some of the marinade to wash out the pan, and then put it all into the slow cooker and let it simmer for the rest of this afternoon and probably the early evening. Chuck can always use a long, slow braise. It should make for plenty of burritos/tacos.

Of course, the searing was pretty noisy. I had the fan going, the sizzling of the meat, and then there was a great gout of smoke. So Jet woke up and John was getting smoked out of the office, and the two of them wandered around the house and opened everything up to the clean air outside. That was good. John then took Jet upstairs, and when I got everything into the slow cooker, I went up and got Jet and nursed him back to sleep.

Paul arrived while I was doing that and he and John talked for a while, toured the house, and John showed him the new guest suite downstairs. So that went well, and I was able to get Jet back down for his nap while they talked. John also gave Paul instructions on how to get to the internet while he was here, so he could check on his flight and the flight of John's Mom and Dad when they were going to come as well. All good stuff.

8:33 pm: Jet didn't get up until 5, and Paul fed him his dinner of solids while John and I put dinner together. It was just the long, slow cooked beef with lots of good flavoring from the can of fajita marinade. We heated refried beans, chopped lettuce, grated cheese, tomatoes and avocados. I heated flour tortillas in my cast iron skillet and we used them to make burritos. They were really good. The meat was fork tender and I was able to shred it with a couple of forks so we could use as much or as little as we wanted.

It was fun to just eat. Paul took care of the dishes, as I got Jet and nursed him a little as it had been four hours and I was kind of drippy. John was on the phone, first with Ray to see how Joan did at the airport today. They actually had a pretty good time of it. Of course they'd planned to have three hours at the airport before their flight left. They used an entire hour at the front ticket desk, but the rest of it was much faster. They had an early enough morning flight that it worked out really well.

They did say that if they'd been any later to the ticket desk the line would have been longer. They took off only ten minutes late, and got to SeaTac in plenty of time to catch their connection. So they got where they were going on time and without too much hassle after the initial check-in. We were really glad to hear that as Paul flies out Thursday and John's mom and dad fly in Wednesday evening. So we have a lot of people wondering how flights are going to go. John then called his parents and told them how that had gone, so they have a better idea how things will go for them, if their flight isn't cancelled.

After the phone calls we ate the apple cake. It had been a little burned on the bottom. So I'm changing the above recipe to 325 when using a Pyrex pan. It was good tasting, though a little crunchy on the bottom.

Both John and Paul played with Jet after dessert, and kept him busy while I wrote a little. We then watched TV and talked a bit about Paul's travels while Jet ate his going to sleep nursing and Jet passed out nicely and went to bed.

Today was fairly cool, and after opening everything up to get rid of the smoke, the house has gotten pretty cool. It's nice. It's supposed to stay cool through Tuesday and even after that it should only be in the seventies, not in the eighties and nineties. So it should be very nice and very comfortable. I really am enjoying the cool nights.

The ibuprofen is working. My wrist is gradually feeling better, though it is making me feel thirsty and it is working my kidneys pretty hard. I know that there won't be long-term damage at the dose and over the time period that I'm taking them; but it still feels mildly odd to be taking this much medication for this long. The good thing is that the wrist does feel better, so I will keep it up until the two weeks are done, so that I know that it should work in the time period Dr. Benson said it should. This is very good indeed. It's nice to be able to do things with gradually less and less pain.


After dinner, Paul called United and managed to get right through and changed his Thursday flight for Tuesday. So it was quite a lot easier than we'd feared it would be. He got a flight back home early because part of his plans had been to meet his family here. Since his family couldn't be here, there wasn't that much point to him staying here, and it was good for him to get home to his family. He was in Oklahoma City on 9/11, and the echoes of the bombing there were very evident. He was ready to go home. We're enjoying having him, but definitely understand the desire to get back home, so John has changed his plans so that he can have a day with Paul and Jet tomorrow, and I don't have to shuffle my schedule so much to get my time in while trying to take care of Jet at the same time.

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Copyright 2001 Liralen Li. All Rights Reserved.