The other day, driving past Onizuka Air Force Station, I was wondering why an air force base in California has a Japanese name. Of course I looked up "Onizuka" on the interwebs, and then I was kind of embarrassed to realize my ignorance: it was named after Ellison Onizuka, one of the astronauts on the Challenger. Really, the only names I know to associate with the Challenger accident are Sharon McAuliffe, and physicist Richard Feynman, who was on the commission investigating the cause for the accident.
You know how I've been saying all this time that I don't ever want to have more pets than I have hands to pet them with? And I have two cats, and I wasn't going to get any more until I grew another hand to pet them with?
Well ... I bent that rule. With my friend Mary moving to England, and her cat Maia not ready to make the trip for a few months, I agreed to be her foster mom, and she's at my house for a "play date" with Willow and Tara right now. They're not really playing, and I didn't expect them to. They're just checking each other out cautiously, under my supervision, and nobody is throwing a hissy fit or screaming bloody murder. I say that's a successful first run, and unless something goes completely haywire, Maia is going to move in with us this weekend.
I'll have to see whether I can take my car out and leave work. There's a gas leak somewhere close to our building, and part of the parking lot has been declared off limits. I wouldn't *want* to start a combustion engine right in the vicinity of a gas leak, thankyouverymuch, but I do want to leave soon: I have a date with a margarita or mojito. My friend and coworker Mary is leaving the company and the country. Today was her last day at the office, and in one week, she and her husband and their two border collies will be on a plane to England. I think I'll miss her very much.
4. Cover the bowl and let the crust rest for a half hour in a cool place, like a pantry or fridge.
5. Peel and slice the apples. Pour the lemon juice over the slices and mix it in.
6. Spoon the brown sugar, cinnamon, and the Calvados-soaked raisins over the apples, mix everything well.
7. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees***.
8. Butter/grease a pie form or spring-form pan. (I love my spring-form pan. No muss, no fuss!)
9. Roll out half of the pie crust with a rolling pin to the desired circle size, or cheat like I do, and just push it into shape with your hands, as if you were making pizza. Build up the sides to desired height.
10. Cover the crust with the crumbled-up corn flakes. This will catch extra liquid from the apple mixture and prevent the crust from getting soggy.
12. Roll out or form the other half of the pie crust to the desired circle size.**** (I do this on a piece of floured aluminum foil and turn it over on top of the pie.) Connect the edges. Poke a few holes into the crust with a fork.
14. Be nice and share it with your friends. Enjoy, everybody!
Tips and Tricks:
* Calvados is best here because it's apple brandy, but any other brandy will do just fine.
** Feel free to get creative with the ingredient of your choice. I have used: bread crumbs. Leftover crumbled-up scones. Crumbled-up multi-grain flakes. Crumbled-up granola. Day-old crumbled-up baguette.
*** I mean it: pre-heat. If you are one of many people who complain that their baking never comes out as planned, I have three bits of advice for you:
1. Measure your ingredients. Until you're getting good at it, and are starting to experiment, baking is not the right arena for eyeballing it.
2. Follow the instructions. If it says to mix butter and sugar first, and then add flour, do mix butter and sugar first, and then add flour. Do not throw butter, sugar, and flour all in together, and start mixing.
3. And if your recipe calls for pre-heating the oven, preheat the oven. Makes a big difference whether you place a dish in a hot oven, or in a lukewarm one.
But don't take my word for it. Get a second opinion from a professional: Alton Brown's I'm Just Here for More Food: Food x Mixing + Heat = Baking backs me up.
**** Sometimes I am too lazy to roll out a second circle of crust. Instead, I crumble up the second half of the pie crust into... streusel!! (If it's too buttery to crumble well, just add a bit of flour.)
I've had a trial subscription for ten weeks of the Sunday paper. It's almost done, and today is the first time I am actually sitting down with a cup of coffee and the paper in hand on a Sunday morning. (And what do I do? I read one article, put the paper down, and start to blog. Silly geek.)
The Egyptian pyramids are the only surviving structures from the original list of seven architectural marvels. Long gone are the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, the Colossus of Rhodes and the Pharos lighthouse off Alexandria. Those seven were deemed wonders in ancient times by observers of the Mediterranean and Middle East.
Candidates for the new list have been narrowed down to 21, including the Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty, Taj Mahal and Machu Picchu. The public can vote until July 6, 2007, by Internet or phone. The seven winners will be announced July 7 in Lisbon, Portugal.
You can vote online, at the New Seven Wonders web site, or by phone. I think my votes would go to:
Here I am, watching old Bond movies on Spike TV. "From Russia With Love" is playing right now, and James Bond is cavorting around beautiful Istanbul, looking dapper in his shiny skinny suit. I have to admit I've never been a devoted Bond fan. A college friend opined once that women couldn't possibly understand Bond, and that THAT was the fundamental difference between the sexes. I know he was being facetious, but I think there's truth in it. May I admit that I never found Connery attractive in his Bond days? Once he grew a beard for The Name of the Rose and The Russia House, I loved him. But as Bond? I just wasn't interested.
Nevertheless, I loved Richard von Busack's article in this week's Metro, Confessions of a Bond Fanatic.
I have to confess that what charmed me most was von Busack's personal history:
That's how quickly a life changes, like a chance bite from the infected mosquito. I saw On Her Majesty's Secret Service and have spent the rest of my life as a film critic, and it was just that simple.
But I also really enjoyed his recounting of the cultural context and his comparison of books and movies. I may just have to pick an Ian Fleming novel, and I may yet become a Bond appreciator, if not a die-hard fan. I am, after all, still a girl.
1. Don Henley, Little Tin God
2. Annie Lennox, Money Can't Buy It
3. Gwen Stefani, Harajuku Girls
4. Hard-Fi, Cash Machine
5. Pink, I Got Money Now
6. Richard Thompson, Walking Through A Wasted Land
7. David Bowie, This Is Not America
8. Pete Townshend, A Little Is Enough
9. Modest Mouse, The Good Times Are Killing Me
10. Peter Gabriel, Big Time
From this year's press release: Kalle Lasn, co-founder of the Adbusters Media Foundation, which was responsible for turning Buy Nothing Day into an international annual event, said, "Our headlong plunge into ecological collapse requires a profound shift in the way we see things. Driving hybrid cars and limiting industrial emissions is great, but they are band-aid solutions if we don’t address the core problem: we have to consume less. This is the message of Buy Nothing Day."