Monday, October 5, 2009

Gratitude Monday - Baking Weather

The weather turned the other day. It has grown cold and grey. By yesterday snow was falling from leaden skies and the outside air was humid and biting.
It was refreshing to be outside though only for a few minutes. I had most of a cup of coffee outdoors on Sunday and found it bracing.
"Now this," I said aloud to the Universe, "is what I call a great day. Thanks."
This weather is for hunkering down, for preparing for the cold and dark ahead, but more than anything else, it is for baking.

I am grateful for the change in weather as it makes me introspective and willing to do the household chores. Perhaps willing is a strong word, but certainly readier to do them than on a hot, languid day.
I'm also grateful for the wide variety of cookbooks I own. They fascinate me, whether they are several decades old, or ethnic, or specializing in something, they are a wonderful window on cultures. In my world the best way to study a culture is to eat.
I dug out The Ultimate Hot and Spicy Cookbook (Acropolis Books) and sniffed around. There, on p. 241, was this:

It's Peach Kuchen. Not hot in the spicy sense as it uses only cinnamon, and neither did I eat it hot in the temperature sense. It was easy to make and even kind of fun as I like to work with my hands and this involved topping the cake with sliced peaches. It smelled wonderful and looked like a right-side up upside down cake.

We had some more apples to use up. I had the time and inclination so I did this:

I used too much cayenne for my tastes in the last apple pie so I tried this one with black pepper. It's resting comfortably in the freezer right now so the results of the experiment are still pending.

I'm grateful for knowing how to bake, for having the time and the weather to bake, and for being adventurous enough to try new things, and new twists on old favourites.

And I'm grateful that I get to eat the results.


Miz said...

pepper. apple pie.
Whoda thunk it.

I am grateful for my family. we are happy healthy and have a roof firmly over our collective heads.

messymimi said...

Another person I wouldn't mind living next door to, if it didn't get cold there so early in the season.

It won't be cold enough here for me to be inspired to do much baking for another month at least, but you now have me thinking about recipes...

Leah J. Utas said...

Miz, I've seen menu descriptions where pepper was an ingredient in a dessert. I think I might have tried one once, but the memory is fuzzy.

You have much to be grateful for.

Messymimi, it'd be great to have you next door. I'm always looking for unsuspecting tastebuds for my creations.

Crabby McSlacker said...

It's getting colder here too, but it's still good walking weather, and it's a great reminder to take advantage of it before it's hunker down weather.

The pie and kuchen look amazing, hope you enjoy them!

Leah J. Utas said...

Walking in cooler weather is invigorating, Crabby. Gimme a nice frost to get the blood going.
The kuchen is tasty. I popped the pie in the freezer for use later in the week.

the Bag Lady said...

Wow, cousin! Those both look amazing!
I am grateful for many things, including the ability to get out and work, which is where I am off to today...... whoosh...!!

the Bag Lady said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Polly Kahl said...

Wow leah, they look deelish. Sure wish we lived next to each other ~ it would be fun to trade recipes and surprise each other with interesting and delicious baked good.

Haven't been here for a while and it's great to come back and see that you are still up to your gorgeous photos and inspiring words. Hugs to you!

Leah J. Utas said...

dfBag Lady, thanks. I used barley, kamut, and spelt in the kuchen. It was a bit on the dry side, but then again, that's a great reason to get some ice cream for it. I'm really looking forward to seeing what the pepper did to the pie.
Enjoy both your jobs today.

Polly, it is so good to see you. I'd be tickled silly to have you next door. As I said upstream I am always looking for new tastebuds and I'm always up for something someone else has done.
Thanks for your kindness. Hugs right back.

Hilary said...

That looks incredibly delicious. I love cooking but I've never been much for baking - and it's a good thing because all that yumminess would be on my hips in no time flat. I would be very grateful for more willpower. ;) Wonderful post, as always.

Leah J. Utas said...

Hilary, I learned to bake a few years ago only because my husband bakes. I'm glad I did in that we have to use alternate flours, but it is both blessing and curse.
Baking likes to hang around on me, too.

Barbara Martin said...

Homemade baking is the best. I can almost smell that pastry and cinnamon. I've been meaning to make a pot pie.

Leah J. Utas said...

Yes, it sure is Barbara. The kuchen is tasty. I think that might become a regular feature in the kitchen.

Geosomin said...

Mmm...never thought of pepper in apple pie.
Now I have to go make a pie.
This can only be a good thing :)

Leah J. Utas said...

Geosomin, yes it is a good thing.
The black pepper thingy struck me as I was doing the prep. We haven't tried it yet as we've got the kuchen to get through first.
I am very curious.