Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Virginia apple pudding

You know how some women get pregnant and think, "Yay, now I can eat whatever I want since I'm eating for two," and they do eat for two—two sumo wrestlers—instead of a normal-sized woman and a baby still the size of a grain of rice, and they gain a hundred pounds of which they then have to lose 92 after their 8-pound baby is finally born?

Starting a food blog is very exciting, actually a lot more so than I thought it would be, though probably less so than having a baby. Suddenly, with a bit of an audience, or even a potential audience, the bar gets raised and you don't want to eat the same thing two nights in a row, two days in the week, ever at all. You're browsing through thrilling recipe books and suddenly that recipe with the 25 separate spices that takes three days to complete doesn't seem so utterly ridiculous since at least you can write about the process of putting it all together—with pictures! Luckily, I haven't gained a hundred pounds since most of the time I love to cook even more than I love to eat, so if I'm not making something interesting I generally just get by on bread-and-water type foods. Sometimes, actually, like today, literally bread and water, but I'm cool with it since I know I've got something stupendous planned for supper.

You know how some people start a food blog and they think, "Yay, now I'm pepped for making all these new recipes, I can buy whatever I want since I'm cooking for the whole world," and they do buy whatever they want, until their refrigerator is so packed the things at the back are starting to freeze solid, and every time they open their overstuffed cupboards packets of lily buds and rice stick fall out, and the deep freezer is so full that I—I mean they—can't squeeze in even one…more…tomato, let alone the botanical balls and gluten flour and Soy Curls and edamame beans and heaven knows what all? There was this thing going around several months ago where food bloggers were taking pictures of the insides of their freezers—this was before my blog, but I particularly remember Terry Hope Romero's, which was practically flipping empty except for (I'm exaggerating slightly) a carton of soy ice cream and a bag of kitchen scraps to take somewhere for composting. These were the freezer parts of their refrigerators, not big deep freezers like mine that you could stuff a couple of bodies into if you had to. Oh, my god, those posts made me wonder, even at the time, do I have a problem?

You do not get to see inside my deep freezer, or even the freezer portion of my refrigerator, nor my cupboards overstuffed with packages of yuba and cans of coconut milk and translucent threads of agar agar, and dried coconut in various cuts and varieties of sweetness, nor my auxiliary spice cupboard (in addition to the three spice racks hanging on my kitchen wall), nor the puzzling collection of cooking-type liquors, vinegars, and oils that I have collected somehow in my lovely faux-antique dry sink, or the pasta/dried bean depot and shelves of canned goods in the basement…am I all alone? I mean, do you all shop every day, or do any of you share my feeling of emptiness if your personal pantry isn't as well stocked as the local Superstore?

Don't misunderstand me, my kitchen is clean and tidy, and even the deep freezer gets thoroughly emptied, defrosted, and reorganized three or four times a year—I know what's in there, though sometimes the prospect of actually getting to it is a bit daunting. I can't stand clutter, and I'm very frugal except in this one single area, where, it seems, money is no object and anything goes.

When I started this blog, my sister, who has never seen any of these chipmunk-like hoards, said, "Ooh, show them the top of your cupboards!" My sister doesn't believe I use all the beans/dried mushrooms/seaweed/besan flour/rice/oatmeal/brown sugar/large spices like star anise and cinnamon bark that are up there. But I do. I need it all! Maybe not today, but tomorrow, or someday. I just need it.

Well, the point of this post is that I really have to start using some of it up, if only to make room for more…so, er, the other day I used two whole cups of frozen chopped apples from my parents' apple tree in something that I'd been craving without ever having tasted it before—apple pudding.

I googled "apple pudding" and came up with this recipe, that didn't even need to be veganized except for substituting Earth Balance for butter. And you know, it was simple, but really good, better than the dimply plum cake the next day, and apart from the cooking time took literally five minutes to put together. The only change I might make is to use more apples next time, maybe three cups instead of two.

Virginia apple pudding

1/2 cup Earth Balance, melted
1 cup white sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup soy or rice milk
2 cups chopped, peeled apple
1 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375F.

In a small baking dish, combine Earth Balance, sugar, flour, baking powder, salt, and soy milk until smooth.

In a microwave-safe bowl, combine apples and cinnamon. Microwave until apples are soft, 2 to 5 minutes. Pour apples into the center of the batter.

Bake in the preheated oven 30 minutes, or until golden.

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