Maple Angel Food Cake

For FB friends (& anyone else, of course) who wanted this:

(& I suppose I should admit that I’m slowly making the FB & twitter plunge–ie: I lurk way more than I speak out, but I AM on there, and I’d love to follow you if you like, & you can follow me if you like, and we’ll all be friendly together, if you like.)

Friend me & I’ll friend you back.  Or send me your FB name.  I’m JettSusan on twitter, since the other way round was taken.  I’m myself on FB.  I’ll get a button one of these days. Maybe.

Or maybe I’ll just wait for the next awesome social media platform.  Because really?

Facebook is not well designed for sharing recipes.  I know.  Can you believe it?

Ahem.

Maple Angel Food Cake

1 1/2 C egg whites (~12) at room temp.
1 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 C sugar
1 1/8 C flour
1 tsp vanilla
3 TB maple syrup

Glaze:

1/4 C maple syrup
1 TB egg whites
1 1/2 C powdered sugar

375*  With a mixer, whip eggs til foamy.  Add cream of tartar & salt & whip til soft peaks form.  Gradually add 1C sugar while mixer is running. Whip until stiff peaks form.  (My recipe said ~30 seconds, but it took WAY more than that.)  Stir remaining 1/4C sugar with flour to aerate.  Fold into the egg-white mix, then fold in vanilla nd maple.  Spoon into angel food cake pan (ungreased!)  Bake til light golden brown 30-35 minutes.  (I’d probably amend to say darker than light golden brown.  30 minutes was def. not enough for mine, but it was pretty forgiving, even after I threw it back in to finish baking after completely cooling.  Yeah, precision baker, I am not…)  Cool by hanging it upside down over a bottle–half-full wine bottle works great.  Pop it out after it’s fully cooled.

For the glaze, STIR together (my husband always tries to do this with an electric mixer, but that just beats the egg white into something resembling mortar…) all ingredients til smooth.  Dollop it over the top of the cake & spread so that it dribbles artistically down the sides.  Let it set 30 minutes or so.  (Totally not necessary for deliciousness.  I can attest…)

Enjoy!

Small Things 3-22-14

1. A great writer has died, and although we haven’t spoken in a decade(?) the world feels a little smaller and poorer today.  Feeling sad that my previous post about feeling so nostalgic for the folks I knew at Clarion West has come to this.  This man was a huge part of that group & the camaraderie we enjoyed.  Give ’em hell, Lucius, wherever you are.  You left this sorry, glorious, horrible excuse for a world too damned soon and I’m grieving your loss.  Which is, of course, our loss.

2.  It’s odd that when the Boy is here, I like cooking interesting, unusual things, even though I know he’d rather I just stuck to about 12 things he’s familiar with.  But when he’s away?  My cooking interest degenerates into heating up a can of soup or–better yet–taking the offspring out to eat at Friendly’s.  Hmmm.  Sorry, dear heart.

He’s home tonight.  I wonder what I should make tonight?  Rogan Josh lamb?  Yeah, that sounds about right…

3.  Happily, it’s been so cold that the furnace is still on, so despite boiling sap inside, our humidity levels are low enough that I don’t worry I’m rotting the house from the inside out.  And it does make the house smell like a giant pancake, and that can’t be bad, right?

4.  I watched ‘Hunger Games’ and was pleasantly surprised by how close they came to the feel of the book.  Made me want to reread those, and rather longing for a deep plunge into the pool of YA literature.  That was one of the few things I liked about my 2-hour commute when I worked in Queens.  Lots of time for reading, & easy access to new books.  Need to start reading a lot again.  In all my free time.  (Srsly, I can’t always manage to find half-an-hour to exercise, not sure when I think I’m going to start finding 2 additional hours a day to read more, but there it is…)

It does feel odd, though, to realize I only averaged a book every three weeks or so last year.  All my life I’ve pretty much been a book-every-other-day kind of gal.  Totally slipping.

5.  I am struck by how differently my mind works when I am the only adult in the house.  I introduced my son to the concept of dialing 911.  I listen to every creak and house-groan, wondering about home-invaders.  I’m hyper-alert to sounds of trouble, and my dreams are uneasy.  I miss having an alert dog on nights like this, though it’s probably for the best, since my blood pressure would spike every time she detected a scary-scary car, oh, um, driving on the street.

Small Things 4-16-14

1.  Watching The Grinch again.  The kiddo’s favorite movie, and I think at this point I have it all by heart.  Honestly? There are some pretty scary bits, but the sheer Seussy silliness overwhelms and makes even Boris Karloff-Grinch seem sweeter than he really is.

(Because his teeth are really nightmarish, I have to say.)

I’ve seen it enough, though, that I pick up on all the animation quirks.  Like when they forgot they were showing that he was ‘reformed’ by turning his red eyes blue.  And all of a sudden he’s all demonic again.  Or when the Whos are each eating the same bit of food over again for the whole scene.  Or where the server-Who’s hat changes from white to blue to white to blue again as he walks.

I joined the Disney Movie Club (I know, I know, but our library has no Disney or Pixar movies, and I really do think Hen should have a chance to get to know the movies he’ll be using as cultural currency soon) and am hoping I can transfer some of this Grinchy love to Totoro and Toy Story.

2.  Sap is streaming.  And yeah, I used all my new taps & bags as soon as the temps rose up above freezing.  8 taps, and we’re definitely outrunning our indoor boiling capacity.  Screw it.  Syrupping comes but once a year, and we’re down to our last quart of syrup from last year.

Update: Three quarts bottled today, from the last few days of tapping, so at least the year won’t be a complete bust.  Family won’t be getting nice maple-y gifts unless we end up getting a lot more, but at least we’re set for pancakes for a while…

3.  Aaaaaand it’s chipmunk time again!  Specifically, it’s ‘cage match to the death’ time between the cat & her cornered prey in our dining room (it being the only expendable room in the house that can be closed off.  Sigh.  In a day or so, if she hasn’t handled the nasty little rodent we’ll take drastic measures to try to evict his stripey little butt, but in the meantime, we’re being treated to outraged chirps at random moments.  I’m pretty sure he wants to come in here with us to watch Grimm…

4.  Needing to show my support for Guinness pulling sponsorship from the NYC parade until they allow LGBT paraders, so I cooked the corned beef in a bottle of stout and am sipping another one as I type.  Mmmmmm.  A loaf in every pint.

5.  Went to a playdate today with a couple of boys–twins–we’ve known since they were born.  One of them has been sweet on me for almost that long, and it did my heart good to have this kid try to monopolize me entirely for the whole time.  My own kiddo was in big boy heaven, playing with their new-to-him set of trucks & construction vehicles, and the other twin was happily involved in solitary lego building, so it was a blast to have this little guy chattering up a storm, and absolutely delighted with everything I suggested, from rhyming games to ‘let’s count to ten and see how high you can JUMP!

I hope, even though they’ll be a year behind Hen in school, that we can stay friends with this family as our boys grow up. There’s definitely a piece of my heart in that kid’s grubby little fist tonight.

Small Things 3-12-14

1.  Sap’s running!  A full month later than last year, but we’ll take it!  Of course, we’re boiling inside, which I swore we wouldn’t do again.  I think somehow I just refused to believe that spring would ever arrive, so there was no rush to buy a propane boiler?  Yeah.  Mistake.  It’s in the mail, but the steam is in the house…

However, screw it.  It’s too damned dry in here anyway, thanks to the furnace having been running pretty much constantly since October.

And, syrup soon!  Woohoo!

2.  I ate a chimera apple yesterday.  A Pink Lady with a stripe of dark red running from stem to blossom-end.  Had I realized how rare they are I’d’ve saved–or at least photographed–it.

Ah well.  Tasty, tasty chimera.

3.  Now that the sap’s running I’d really like this snow to melt so I can plant some peas & spinach, please.  Like, right now, I’d like to.  Can’t wait to get some plants going this year.  Really really REALLY looking forward to the garden (and the chickens, and the canning, and the everything else.  Of course, I also learned that my son’s school year doesn’t end til June 17, which is kind of nice–I fully intend to use that in-school time through the worst of the weeding/planting/fertilizing days to their fullest extent.  Because, yeah, everything takes longer with a preschooler helping.

4.  Speaking of the kiddo, his $350 a month asthma medication just went down to a $15 co-pay thanks to our new ACA insurance plan.  Granted, our new plan is more expensive (and covers, obv. more things) than the old, and granted, we were able to & contented to pay the extra, believing–as we do–that it’s an important thing for this country to insure everyone–but it’s still more expensive. However.  Having much of that extra cost (at least in wintertime) ameliorated by the drug being covered?  Well, that’s nice–and even nicer, it means that there are kids out there who’d benefit as much as he does from it, but whose parents couldn’t afford it before.  Well, now they probably can, and you know what? Healthier kids is awesome.

5.  One of my stepdaughters is accompanying us to the World Fantasy Convention in November.  Which is awesome on all kinds of levels, not least of which is that ten years ago if you’d told me that relations with his girls would have normalized to this point by this time I’d’ve laughed my ass off.  Never underestimate the potential for things in blended families to heal up & be ok.  Because, really, sometimes they do and then they are.

I can’t wait to show her around the fantasy writing scene.  Because everything else aside, she’s fun to be with, and I really hope she’s going to have a good time here. This is going to be a blast.

Small Things 3-8/10-14

1.  Utter and complete Mommy-Fails this weekend.  First off, I forgot my pajamas–oh well.  I forgot the kiddo’s pjs–slightly worse, but he’s a trouper. He knows how to deal with this since I forgot his jammies when we went to AZ last month, too.

But I did the unforgivable.

Real Bunny somehow managed to get left at home.

Kiddo was brave. He was strong, upon learning the news, only asking in a little, sad voice, who he was going to sleep with tonight?

(Oh, the sad.)  Happily, I had given his niece a bunny just like Real, and his sister let him borrow it, which made things ok. Not great, but ok. He still woke himself up last night searching for Real in the dark.  I heard, “No! No! Where ARE you?” in the most plaintive tone imaginable. He ended up sharing our (small) bed, because, well, who’s he supposed to sleep with, huh, Lousy Mommy?

We’re off to go find him a new stuffed toy of his own, that he can keep (for it was another kind of sad, apparently, that even if he bonded with Not-Bunny this weekend, it would be staying here.)  Happily, Real’s brethren are all over this part of Brooklyn.  We’ll have choices, and maybe it’ll even be a fun outing.

When asked if he was having fun this Brooklyn trip he said very simply, “It’s ok, but I really miss Real.”

Me too, kiddo.

I think I’ll ask another responsible adult to do the packing next time.  Maybe The Boy will be good enough to pack my stuff too, so I can have jammies as well.  Sigh.  This grown-up thing?  Very very tricksy.

2. New sleeping companion for the kiddo has been chosen, paid for, and brought home.  Yet another Not-Real-Bunny, a delightful shade of purple.  His name, not surprisingly, is Purple.

3.  Interestingly, Purple is the exact same shade as the vomit — blueberry-flavored! — he spewed all over the car on the way home.  For a kid who never spit up as a baby, he sure is the pukiest kid ever when he’s got a fever.

4.  Good to be home.  It was a lovely trip, nothing (well, almost nothing) to complain about.  And yet I am so happy to be back home.  This from the woman who used to routinely take 2 & 3 month trips to sate her wanderlust.  I really am getting old.

5.  Clementines all survived the Matty-Catty depredations while we were away.  My FIL bought me a wonderful book all about the inner lives of cats, and how best to meet them on their own feline ground.  Which was cool & very interesting, but not, actually, all that applicable to Matty Catty, who is, I remain convinced, more than half dog.  She comes when she’s called.  She pines when we are away, and hurls her affectionate self upon us when we return home.

It explains a lot about Nellie, though, so that’s good…

Small Things 3-6 (& 1/2)-14

Years ago–like 16 years ago? OMG! A lifetime ago–I had the great good fortune to attend Clarion West Writers Workshop.  It’s a 6-week residential program in Seattle, taught by a different writer or editor from the world of SF & Fantasy each week.  Participants live in a dorm and tend to eat most of their meals together.  They also tend to write a new story every week, and come out of the program totally burned out for months/years.  It’s incredibly stressful and incredibly valuable. In theory, it’s supposed to be a really good way to network with other writers/editors, etc., and a good way for new young writers to break into the SF/F writing world.

It was life changing.

Life-changing in some ways I’d expected, and others that just happened as a string of events that–nonetheless–would never have come about, had I not attended that workshop.

My writing got much better, and I became a lot better at critiquing others’ work.

Which led me to joining an Online writers’ workshop, where I ended up meeting t(and eventually marrying & having a child with) the man sitting across the room from me right now.  I actually met him in person at a writers convention where I had gone to meet up with Clarion-friends. I’m afraid I neglected them that weekend. I’m pretty sure they understood.

It was also the death of a friend from Clarion that led rather directly to me leaving my first, unhappy marriage.  We had become even closer after we’d each gone back home, to the point where I would have called her my best friend, despite the fact that she lived a continent away and I hadn’t seen her in six years.  And then she died–oh gods, ten years ago now.  Losing her shook my whole world–and reminded me in a visceral, awful way how very short life is, and how I’d best make every minute count.  For realz. Not just in the writing, but in the living.  She was diagnosed with metastasized esophageal cancer in February and she was gone by December.  Witnessing that, made me decide that the most important thing is to live every damned day you can, and live hard.  Get every last drop of living out of life, and if something is stopping you from doing that, then find a way around that thing–bulldozer, explosives or simply a long-ass detour, as necessary.  Best advice I ever gave myself, and I’ll always think of that lightbulb moment as Kate’s last gift to me.

Looking back, I wish I’d made more of the minutes at Clarion count more.  Supremely introverted at that point in my life, (unlike now when I’m just the kind of person who happily spends all day every day alone or with immediately family, back then, I cringed if anyone spoke to me. I had panic attacks in crowds of more than, say, 3 people. I was not a great candidate for a crowded, drama-filled dorm filled with writer types feeling stressed and insecure!) I also was dealing with a difficult relationship back home in Utah, and some mental health issues that I was only able to recognize and work toward resolving years later (with the inadvertent help of another Clarion friend who offered me a different way of looking at my nearly crippling sensitivity to, well, to everything. That different way of approaching my own idiosyncrasies was also life-changing.) At Clarion, I spent more time in my dorm room than I wish I had. I regret that I did not do more to nurture relationships with those people who still–16 years later (!) are among the most important in my life.

One of the other attendees of the workshop posted a ton of old photos of that time on FB tonight, and it’s making me sad/happy all at once.  I really want a reunion.  A weekend, preferably, where we can all get together, raise a glass of merlot in Kate’s honor (she also introduced me to the glories of red wine), and look at where we’ve been & where we are now.

Come to think about it, maybe I’ll do that right now, sitting at home in my library, with my love beside me and my son upstairs.  Raise my glass of wine, and salute that glorious experience, and the people who were there with me. Here’s to Kate, and to all the other lovely Clarionettes who changed my life in ways both concrete and insubstantial (but nevertheless important).  Holding you all in my heart and missing you all so much tonight that I’m practically weepy with it, damn it all.

 

Small Things 3-6-14

1.  There is something very satisfying about slicing leeks thin.  The fantastic color contrast between white/yellow/green?  The satisfying sound?  I don’t know, but I’d slice leeks at every meal if I could get away with it.  Also, peeling ginger with the edge of a teaspoon.  Totally fun.  Don’t know why.

2.  I can feel the sun on my face right now.

3.  My transplanted Clementine seedlings have not yet wilted from transplant shock, so I think they might make it.  Perhaps I’ll even buy them some special citrus fertilizer, just to get them off to a good start.

4.  The zipper on the kiddo’s winter coat completely exploded.  And he needs that coat.  So we went coat shopping in March, and happily, found a great one at 80% off.  Yay for off-season shopping, when they actually still have what I need!

5.  And after only 3 years (no, really.) of procrastinating, I finally replaced the missing button on my coat and sewed up the ragged pockets that couldn’t even keep my keys safe, let alone a random nickel or two.  I feel like a domestic goddess today.  So much so that I’m pretty sure mopping the kitchen would be overkill.  Let’s not go there.

Small Things 3-3-14

1.  My single clementine has seven little sibling-sprouts coming up all around her.  Ooops.  Better get some little pots tomorrow and let these guys all have their own space.  (And how awesome that I have eight clementine volunteers!)

2.  The snow melted enough yesterday that the murderous cat was able to bring the kiddo a mousey-gift.  Lucky him. He was not, actually, interested.  She, predictably, was delighted with herself and purred herself into oblivion after demanding entrance to his room.  She’s totally his cat now.

3.  Had about 45 minutes warning that a glass-guy was going to be coming to measure The Boy’s shower.  No big deal, except that the reason we’re replacing his shower door is because the current weird accordion-plastic thingy is pretty much impossible to clean–and it’s not like I’m some cleaning genius who’ll make it happen.  No, disgustingly, it’s just really dirty.

So I scrubbed, and pretty much drenched it in that vile rust/lime/calcium remover stuff that is the only way to clean some of the worst water deposits in this house.  And it looks better, but I was still pretty embarrassed.

Of course, the silver lining is that with an installation date in mind I can totally justify not cleaning that shower until the door’s replaced.  Don’t believe me?  Oh, just watch me.

4.  I was feeling smug about how awesome I have become at cooking The Boy’s favorite dish since making an effort to make it rather more often for him than I would otherwise have done.  And then he looked up from his plate o’ perfection & asked if I could make it totally different next time, like maybe with just salt and pepper. *sigh*  At least the kiddo likes my cooking.

5.  Tomorrow is the first day of school in, like, three years.  Ok.  Maybe not that long. But it really is the second day of school in three+ weeks, so it’s feeling like it. Between snow days, red-eye flights, and winter break, it’s been a long time away from class.

He’s pretty excited. And me? I’m going to Target tomorrow morning, sans child, to buy a new laundry basket!  Woohooo!

(There was not a single shred of sarcasm in that last exclamation. I. Can’t. Wait.)

Small Things 3-2-14

1.  Happily, the cough is gone.  Finally.  And my new dermatologist thinks my skin looks great for someone who lived 35 years in the desert and that I have no weird skin cancers that need dealing with.  (thanks for the good skin, Dad!)  Also, today in New England it was over 40*, which for this winter? Let’s just say it felt like summer.  We ate sushi and lounged in the warm library after playing outside. And then I started dreaming again of my garden which is–sadly–still under abot a foot of snow.  I want it to be April, because that is when I usually start seeds.  Though honestly, I might just start some herb seeds tomorrow for houseplants, because, really, I just want to grow stuff.  Now.  Tired of dormant-season nonsense.  Time to make stuff grow!

2.  I do wonder if we’re going to get much of a maple season at all this year.  Which is a bummer, since I have five new taps & buckets ready to go, as soon as the weather cooperates, (if the weather cooperates) courtesy of my darling husband, who indulges my silly syruppy whims and knew just what to get me for xmas.  I’m going to be cranky if I can’t use them…

3.  A query letter I send round to a couple of query-gurus has not been returned to me savaged, but rather with just a few very good questions that might need answering before I send it out for realz.  I need The Boy to have another read with his gleaming, gimlet eye before I do, and I might ask my writerly stepdaughter to have  a look as well–she’ll read for ‘this is where I got bored’, where my husband will just read for ‘this is grammatically or logically wrong’.  It’s good to have both.  And as for me, I’m starting to get excited about getting to work on book 2 soon.  Hope that’s not horribly premature…

4.  Heading to Brooklyn to celebrate my FIL’s birthday this weekend.  Henry is giddy with joy at the thought of another ‘vacation’.  I wonder if he’s remembering that there’s nowhere to swim in NYC, and that the temps are going to be winter-ish, not Arizona-ish.

5.  I have started, (slowly, slowly,) trying to accustom myself to the idea that Twitter is here to stay.  I know, I’m like 4 social media platforms behind at this point, but honestly, how do people keep up with all this every day?  Besides, Twitter is not a platform that’s easy for me to use intuitively. I like using ALL THE WORDS.  But I’m finding interesting things that other, more succinct, people have posted, and shall endeavor to actually chirp a bit myself, every so often.  Eventually. Once I’m feeling all comfy over there.  (Or not.)