30 September 2008

The Apple Pie

I am posting this recipe, which has been modified from the original, so that I don't forget it. A picture will probably appear later. This is the pie I've been making with the rest of the Mu Alphas' apple crop, then distributing to various male friends. (Baking makes me happy, and eating makes them happy, so you know, it works out for all of us...)

3/4 c. unbleached white flour
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
2 t. sugar
1/2 c. cold butter
1 T. white vinegar
3-4 T. ice water

12 medium cooking apples
1/4 c. unbleached white flour
1/3 c. sugar
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/8 t. allspice
1/8 t. ground cloves

3/4 c. unbleached white flour
1/2 c. quick oats
1/2 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. cold butter

1) For crust, stir together dry ingredients. Cut in butter until resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in liquid 1 tablespoon at a time, until comes together in soft ball. Do not overwork! Wrap dough in plastic and chill for at least 1 hour.

2) For filling, slice apples thinly and toss with remaining ingredients to coat. Let sit 5 minutes.

3) For topping, stir together dry ingredients. Cut in butter until crumbly.

4) To assemble, roll out dough on lightly floured surface. Place in sprayed/greased pie plate (I like glass plates myself). Pile up filling in the crust. Sprinkle topping over and press gently to hold.

5) Bake in preheated 375 degree oven for approximately 45-60 minutes, until apples are tender and topping golden. Let cool before serving.

29 September 2008

Mellifluous Mondays: Bake Me a Poem

I made this apple bread yesterday, as another foray into yeast baking. It turned out quite well, if I do say so myself. (Apples? Of course!)

Weave me a poem of ribbons and strings.
Hatch me a poem of feathers and wings.
Grow me a poem of sunlight and soil.
Paint me a poem of canvas and oil.

Build me a poem of timber and stone.
Dance me a poem of muscle and bone.
Bake me a poem of sugar and cream.
Sing me a poem. I'm ready to dream.

-Eric Ode

27 September 2008

SAI Charity Ball

The sink is a very important part of one's beautification. Behold the magic implements: curling iron and hairspray.

Me in my room beforehand. Daniella and I got ready together in Whitley, then headed over to the dance itself...

...where we were stunningly beautiful together. ;o) It was a lovely dance, with excellent music and food, an elegant atmosphere, and of course some of my Very Favorite People in the Whole Entire World. I've now been up entirely too late, however, and I need to wind down for a half-decent night of sleep. Maybe I'll read some John Dryden. That should have me snoozing soon enough.

26 September 2008

Thankful Thursdays: Free Apples

I know it's a day late; Blogger had an outage yesterday. But in any case, here I am, with photographs of yesterday's late-night cooking project. (This is how I amuse myself while sitting desk. Homework? What's that?)

The charitable and disinterested Mu Alphas gave me two huge bags of apples from the tree in their backyard. (Maybe not so disinterested, as they've since benefited from the pies and cakes I have baked using their gift...but we must assume the best.)

Peel, core, slice. Repeat.

After a little cooking, they grew softer...and started to smell really good. The cinnamon, nutmeg, and honey I added doubtless helped with the aroma.

Then they got mushy! This is one of the only times you actually want food to disintegrate.

With a lot of simmering and smashing, those ugly (sorry guys, you don't grow very attractive fruit) apples produced some top-notch applesauce! I'm planning to bake apple-cinnamon bread this weekend, and I still have enough for another pie and maybe more sauce. I'm reveling in the abundance of fresh fruit, and the best part is that I don't have to eat all of this myself: college campuses cause food to vanish almost immediately.

22 September 2008

Mellifluous Mondays: Keats on Autumn

SEASON of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep,
Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

18 September 2008

Thankful Thursday: Cheap Stuff

The Women's Commissioners Rummage Sale was yesterday. I had fun shopping instead of doing homework...

Beautiful red satin ballgown for a quarter.

Sweet coffee mug (from Wales! with a Welsh castle on the front!) for fifteen cents.

I got a lot more, but these were handiest when I wanted to take pictures. :) For a total of $15.90, I purchased two wool sweaters, two skirts, seven glass jars with cork tops, three kitchen knives, a skillet, a glass pie dish, and of course the mug and gown. I call that a good day's work.

15 September 2008

Mellifluous Mondays: Brooks Too Broad

Some friends drift away in the natural course of things, and others make choices which lead them down a new and solitary path. Sometimes the bond between you is stretched by time or circumstance, then recovers; sometimes it is decisively severed. And then there's nothing you can do.

With rue my heart is laden
For golden friends I had,
For many a rose-lipt maiden
And many a lightfoot lad.

By brooks too broad for leaping
The lightfoot boys are laid;
The rose-lipt girls are sleeping
In fields where roses fade.
-A.E. Housman

This is poem 54 in Housman's collection "A Shropshire Lad," published in 1896.

11 September 2008

Thankful Thursdays: Tiny

Due to the small size of Hillsdale's campus, no matter where you live, you can get to any of the other dorms within fifteen minutes. Off-campus houses might be a tad farther away, but they still are within easy walking distance. And this means that your friends are never too far to visit, whether you go to see them or they drop by to relieve your long, lonely hours of sitting desk (thanks guys :). I know this blessing will vanish as soon as I graduate, so I'm trying to take full advantage of it now.

08 September 2008

Mellifluous Mondays: Mr. Toad (Wind in the Willows)

Well, I don't know if you could label this "mellifluous," as it's more doggerel verse than poetry. But since I've been reading a lot of Kenneth Grahame lately for my thesis, here is what's currently in my head. Besides, it's (unfortunately) appropriate for me, since I tend to puff myself up just like Toad. How clever I am, I say to myself. How very lucky my friends are! What a great contribution I make to the beauty and well-being of the world! How repulsive such pride must be to God. Why do we foolish humans insist on giving glory to ourselves, when it belongs to someone else entirely? God is the source of any good or "clever" thing we could ever do, and all praise ought to go straight to Him.

Toad apparently hasn't learned that lesson, though. What an absurd little braggart.

The world has held great Heroes,
As history-books have showed;
But never a name to go down to fame
Compared with that of Toad!

The clever men at Oxford
Know all that there is to be knowed.
But they none of them know one half as much
As intelligent Mr. Toad!

The animals sat in the Ark and cried,
Their tears in torrents flowed.
Who was it said, "There's land ahead?"
Encouraging Mr. Toad!

The army all saluted
As they marched along the road.
Was it the King? Or Kitchener?
No. It was Mr. Toad!

The Queen and her Ladies-in-Waiting
Sat at the window and sewed.
She cried, "Look, who's that handsome man?"
They answered, "Mr. Toad."

07 September 2008


The Mu Alphas had a party at their house last night, and we danced in the parking lot till midnight. Que divertido. For the inquisitive, this is a pretty good YouTube demo of the sort of swing we do here; I haven't done all the aerials performed in the video, but I'm getting there! In situations like this, it definitely helps if the girl is small. So there's yet another reason I'm glad to be a shrimp! And of course, you have to trust your partner. A moment's hesitation, and I would have cracked my skull on the blacktop.

They play a really weird song in this clip (I think it's about a beer-drinking dryad, if you can imagine such an oddity) but ignore that. :)

06 September 2008

Good Bread!

I was sitting desk last night and couldn't possibly do homework the entire time. Reading The Horse and His Boy, writing worksheets for high school composition, and watching Casino Royale only takes up so much time. Thus, I made some bread: an experiment, you could call it, because I used a basic KAF recipe but added various spices and herbs. It was very easy, and it was good! Savory and dense, it would make a good accompaniment to soup. It also made the kitchen smell delightful.

After I locked up the dorm, I headed over to a friend's house off-campus for an impromptu party; the bread came along, and it was prounounced "tasty" (a term of highest approbation) by all who ate. Mmm. Bread tastes better when eaten with friends.

Next time I make this, I think I'll try it with raisins and nutmeg. It would be great for breakfast that way, perhaps with some honey or mild cheese?

The picture is not of my own loaf, but it actually did look just like this. I'll take a picture next time I bake.

Herbed Irish Brown Bread

2 c. whole wheat flour
2 c. unbleached white flour
3 T. sugar
2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1/4 t. tarragon
1/4 t. sage
1/8 t. coriander
1/8 t. ground cloves (optional)
1/8 t. finely ground black pepper
1 1/2 c. buttermilk (I soured milk with a few tablespoons of vinegar)
2 T. olive oil

Stir together dry ingredients in large bowl.
Make a well and add buttermilk and olive oil. Stir until mixture forms a ball.
Turn onto lightly floured surface and knead 10 times, until dough holds together.
Form into large ball (about 8-10 inches across), place in greased pie pan, and cut a deep cross in the top.
Bake at 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes, until golden brown and tests done.
Let cool on rack; slice into wedges and serve with butter.

04 September 2008

Thankful Thursdays: Dancing My Head Off

I love dancing, as everyone knows. When I left Lancaster for Hillsdale, I especially hated to leave my ballet studio. What will I do without ballet? I thought to myself. But never fear! When I got to Hillsdale, I discovered two new and wonderful things: first swing dancing, and then Scottish highland dancing. Now I do both with wild abandon. :)

This picture is backstage at the Tulloch Ard concert last March. The shoes we wear, known as "ghillies," are a lot more comfortable than pointe shoes...but that's not saying much. Anyway, we had our first highland practice of the semester last night, which is why I'm so pumped about it right now.

01 September 2008

Mellifluous Mondays: 632

This is a little gem from Emily Dickinson, who numbered her poems rather than giving them titles. The last stanza borders on transcendentalism, granted, but one could avoid heresy and simply interpret it as highlighting our intellect's key role in making us "the image of God." :) So without further ado, I present to you #632.

The Brain-- is wider than the sky--
For-- put them side by side--
The one the other will contain
With ease-- and You beside--

The Brain is deeper than the sea--
For-- hold them-- Blue to Blue--
The one the other will absorb--
As Sponges-- Buckets-- do--

The Brain is just the weight of God--
For-- Heft them-- Pound for Pound--
And they will differ-- if they do--
As Syllable from Sound--