Friday, February 25, 2011

Backen auf Deutsch, Part VIII: #83 Karamellisierter Apfelkuchen

Welcome to another Backen auf Deutsch post!

First. I'm sitting on one of my Moroccan leather poufs, exhausted after a full day of moderating for the NJ Middle School Science Bowl. It was a blast! I love the students' enthusiasm. Tomorrow, we get to do it all over again with the high schoolers. SCIENCE!

I will probably go to bed at 8pm. Not even joking.

On Wednesday, I registered for my third marathon, the Marine Corps Marathon!

They are ALREADY sold out. This race is going to be awesome.

To prove that I still knit, on this here "physikerin knits" blog, here's a picture of the afghan I recently finished for Meg and Luc's wedding. Which, if we're counting, was four months ago.
Meg and Luc's wedding afghan
Here's their full gift ("a date night in"):
Meg and Luc's wedding gifts

Public Service Announcement: Wegman's olives are yummy, but do not come in shatter-proof jars.


Now on to CAKE! This was for our graduate department's February birthday club.

#83 Karamellisierter Apfelkuchen

#83 Karamellisierter Apfelkuchen

I turned on some Doctor Who or Catherine Tate Show and set to it. To fill a 13x9 pan, I doubled the recipe. The batter is a simple vanilla cake with lemon zest and LOTS of butter:

The topping is the labor-intensive part. Take beautiful Granny Smith apples:

Do this to them:


And finally this:

An apple-peeler-corer would've been useful.

I did not need to double the apples; I had about two apples' worth of slices leftover, so I saved them for my breakfast smoothies.

Have you ever made caramel? The process was like MAGIC! I added a ton of butter, a barrel of sugar, and a bit of water to a pan over low heat and started stirring. The butter melted and mixed with the sugar to form a grainy paste. I stirred and stirred. I checked the directions again closely and stirred some more. Just when I was about to doubt my German and find the dictionary, the grainy paste miraculously and almost instantaneously dissolved into a smooth, bubbling, brown caramel mixture! It was beautiful. Go try it.

(I should have taken pictures.)

Now, this cake is an upside-down cake. First, I spread caramel on the bottom of the greased 13x9 pan. Then, after dipping the apple slices in lemon juice, I set them into the soft caramel. Finally, I spread cake batter on top:

After a good 50 minutes and most of a Tom Baker episode later, the cake was golden-brown. Remember how it's an upside-down cake? Yeah, I needed to get this:

Onto this cookie sheet:

...before it cooled too much and the caramel stuck to the bottom. Right. So, ready, set, pray hard, flip-the-super-hot-glass-pan-over-onto-the-cookie-sheet-GO!


But will it lift off without destroying the cake? Hmm...


There were some losses:

But I dealt. With a spoon. And knife.

Sadly, I couldn't serve it warm. It should be. The grads once again devoured it anyway. Barbara brought vanilla ice cream, too! The cake is quite moist and dense, the caramel super sweet, and the apples let us pretend it had some nutritional value. Overall: success!

Changes made:
~Doubled the recipe
Next time would:
~Serve it warm
Perfect for:

And finally, I leave you with a picture of Man-Who-Wishes-He-Could-Attack-the-Geese:
Tall Kitty!
Isn't he TALL?

Okay, maybe I'll be in bed by 9pm. Goodnight! :)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Post-run bliss

Nothin' like chocolate soy milk after ten miles in 30mph winds with 42mph gusts.

This should be closely followed by a hot shower, real food, and a mocha.
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Friday, February 18, 2011

Guess what I'm doing?

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Buffalo (Chicken)

While I don't remember the first moment I knew I was in love with buffalo sauce, I'm quite sure the feeling won't fade anytime soon. Buffalo chicken pizza, buffalo chicken salad, buffalo chicken wraps, buffalo chicken dip, buffalo chicken WINGS (of course), buffalo chicken nachos...and now "buffalo" looks very strange.

Buffalo chicken pizza is the preferred Mover Payment of Choice for Meg and I. Buy us some and we just might unload your moving van for you.

Buffalo chicken wraps and salads are occasionally served the lab cafeteria. They are basically the only meal I'll buy from lab, as I prefer to pack my lunch. Kelsey and I wait eagerly for Buffalo Chicken Day and are CRUSHED, absolutely devastated, when the online cafeteria menu lies and they don't serve it.

Do I go too far? Nay. It is not possible.

Recently, I've fallen in love with buffalo (chicken) nachos and buffalo chicken dip.

We'll start with the dip.

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Here is the recipe, and here are some pictures:
Frank's Red Hot sauce is incredible. It's good on ANYTHING.


This is why one shouldn't eat this dip very often:

Green! Green!


Will my fellow Super Bowl party attendees notice?

No, because ya mix it all up:

I served it at a Super Bowl party with celery, chips, and cheddar wafers:

It was a MAJOR hit.

Kelsey pointed out that it would be good in a wrap with a ton of lettuce.

Buffalo (Chicken) Nachos

The night I made these nachos, I didn't have chicken. Otherwise, I'd prepare it as for the dip.

My nachos are fairly self-explanatory and usually involve whatever looks particularly delicious in my fridge. Be creative!

Start with chips:

Grate a lot of cheese (cheddar or pepper jack? Whatevs) and toss in some feta or blue cheese:

Chop up some pretty veggies:

Throw it onto a cookie sheet:

And broil it on high for a few minutes, until the cheese melts and the chips start to burn (right before the smoke alarm goes off):

Try to artfully transfer to a plate and fail miserably:

Note that you probably need more cheese, then enjoy!

Love it.

Today was absolutely gorgeous--it was a sunny 71 degrees F this afternoon! The spring weather is making me crave fresh fruit and veggies badly. (I ate so many carrots, green beans, and apple slices at lunch that I couldn't finish my sandwich.) The farm share should start up in a couple of months! The snow has melted enough to let me run all over again! I'm so excited for my ten-miler tomorrow! My next race is in just over a month! Yaaay!

Monday, February 14, 2011


My Valentine (the cute fluffy one on the right) used his allowance to buy me this beautiful new pair of Brooks Glycerin 8s:

Isn't that the sweetest??

After he gave them to me today, he posed for a photo shoot:

Hope your days (all of them) are filled with love!

Jess, Faraday, and the awesomest new purple pair of running shoes.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Backen auf Deutsch, Part VII: #24 Bienenkorb

Here's the first Backen auf Deutsch installment of 2011! I was commissioned to bake the dessert for our graduate department's January birthday party. (If you give me money for ingredients, I'll bake you a cake, too.) We had two birthday-folk: Lee and Clayton.

As you possibly have gathered, it's wintery over here.
Geese in two feet of snow.

So, I chose a bright, sunny, cheery recipe!

#24 Bienenkorb

#24 Bienenkorb

Isn't that adorable?? As I don't have the correct pan, mine looked different, but it turned out all right.

I love cooking with my food scale. Dump, dump, dump. No measuring cups needed.

The batter was divine. Freshly-squeezed lemon juice and lemon zest made it taste like summer. Or at least spring...

Considering how all previous cakes have been smaller than expected, I doubled the recipe. It perfectly filled two nine-inch round cake tins.

Faraday wanted to help:
Faraday helps frost

He's a bit big for a shoulder-cat, isn't he?

My new neighbors, Nadine and Raphael, came over to use the internet. They happen to be German! Once she finished checking email, I recruited her to make marzipan bees with me. Just like the marzipan bat situation, I dyed my fingers black for two days. The bees were much easier to mold and completely adorable.

Marzipan bees!

(She made the two little marzipan Bienenkörbe.)

Nadine and I are slowly speaking more German to each other. Er, I'm slowly speaking more with her--she's clearly quite comfortable with the language. ;) Understatement of the post: speaking a foreign language is so much harder than reading it.

The icing was an amazing confection of butter, powdered sugar, lemon juice, and honey (it was a beehive cake, after all). I was skeptical and thought it might taste like my honey-lemon cough drops, but it didn't.

We attempted to created more of a beehive shape by cutting out a circle from one layer, sticking it on top of the bottom layer, and arranging the leftover cake pieces around it at an angle. We used a lot of toothpicks. We had issues frosting it, even though I used my new spreader:
Awesome new spreader

It looked mostly not-sad:
Needs bees

The bees saved it!

Heehee. We couldn't stop giggling at our cake crawling with insects.

We were charmed.

Also that day, I whipped up homemade oreos (but didn't cover them in chocolate), just in case people didn't like the cake or there wasn't enough.
Homemade oreos

(See the new cake carrier?? Love it.)

I'm thrilled to report that this cake was DELICIOUS and devoured so quickly that I barely saved one piece from the jaws of a second-year grad student for Lee, who actually missed his birthday party.

The last piece

Changes made:
~Doubled the recipe to fit two nine-inch round cake tins
Next time would:
~not bother fiddling with the shape and just cover it in bees
~well, maybe add more bees
Perfect for:
~people who like honey and lemon
~anyone who likes super cute little bees

My next baking purchase will be this pan. Guess what I'm baking in the near future and I'll mail you a batch of cookies.

Shoulder cat

Monday, February 7, 2011

Running. And purchases.

I'm going a little stir-crazy. At least where running is concerned. After tripping on crunchy snow last week and smashing my knee (it's still purple) and narrowly missing being hit by a car, and then slipping and sliding on ice while clinging to a guardrail which, minutes later, was hit by a skidding car, I'm doing the right thing and giving up. I am. I'm giving up on running in my beautiful outdoors until this snow recedes. COME ON, SNOW. RETREAT ALREADY.

I'm a little slow, I know. Rachel yelled at me.

So that means...the treadmill. (Or the 8x100 indoor track.) Today, I was MOST pleasantly surprised, I had a terrific treadmill run! It was absolutely enjoyable! I credit Pandora's awesome Ladytron and Basshunter playlists. May they be as motivational next time.

After treadmilling, I chauffeured Kelsey and Nadine to the grocery store, where we spent too much time so I became RAVENOUS.

This saved my life, and my passengers' lives, too, probably:

I also impulse-bought something. I succumbed to the pretty label. I bought this:
Impulse buy

SOLELY because it is "Moroccan". The baby blue doesn't hurt either, but Morocco really catches my eye. Want to sell me something? There you go. (This is, incidentally, similar to how I buy wine. True story: tonight I bought a bottle of Merlot from this vineyard.)

Faraday just woke up from his nap, purred, and is staring at me. Perhaps I should go cuddle him.