Thursday, June 26, 2008

Tuna Casserole, Apple Pie and Apple Drink

3-in-1 today... Woo.

Today appeared to be, "I am too freaking tired from trying to learn half a semester's worth of integrals in two days to not sit in the kitchen and destress a bit." Enter, Russian Apple Pie, otherwise known as "apple cake." A delicious treat that takes so little to make and provides such a wonderful, love-filled reward. Every bite is paradise.

I learned about apple cake when some Russians I knew asked me if I could make an apple pie. I said yes, and appeared some time later with an apple pie. The Russians were confused. Apparently, what we Americans think of (is it us?) apple pie is about as far from what they think of as is possible. The "pie" was described to me. It sounded like a more pudding-ish version of pineapple upside down cake, except with apples. So I hunted around on the internet until I found one whopping recipe (now I see there are dozens out there), on some obscure site I've now lost, written by a wonderful, godly woman named Olga (I am not being sarcastic. This cake is next to godliness, as anyone who's had it can tell you), whose English was a little confusing in some parts, but I figured it out. Hi Olga. If you ever see this, by some stroke of fortune, say hi. I'd like to thank you personally for all the happiness you've brought me. The Russians were happy, and I had a new dessert to cherish. See, it's not only inexpensive to make, but it requires so little of me that it's truly a joy to make, even when I'm stressed past the point where even baking is soothing for me.

I'll be honest, though. I lost the recipe once. I had to reconstruct it, which resulted, sadly, in a number of years without apple cake. I now call it apple cake because I've learned that I will have to listen to "thaaaaaat's not piiiiiiiiiiiieeeee. That's caaaake" when I feed it to people without calling it cake. So, just in case, so I don't lose it again, here's the recipe.

Apple Cake

3 small sour apples (I use granny smith)
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup flour

Turn the oven to 350F. Core, peel and slice the apples. Put them in a prepared 8" pan (mine is 8x8, 'cause I like 'em square. I also use one of those silicone bits on the bottom, since it's easiest to clean). Whisk together the eggs, sugar and soda. Add in the flour. It should be like sour cream (that's what Olga said. I never understood what that meant until recently, when P and I got some freaking amazing sour cream that was also Russian and the texture was ... different, in a good way, from ours). Pour it on top of the apples (don't shake it or mix it; it'll get all over the apples, don't worry). Bake 30 minutes (I have never found this 30 minutes bit to be accurate; it's always about an hour. But maybe she had convection and I don't) or until done. Let it cool somewhat in the pan, then flip it over onto a plate. Cut, eat, enjoy! And try to share - more people should get to eat this stuff.

Anyway, I was making simple syrup at the same time as all this, so I could make P some iced raspberry tissane and some bergamade also. Usually I just use honey powder or caster sugar, but, eh. I was looking at the apple peels and cores and I realised I could make an apple simple syrup too, which might be nice mixed with some club soda. I didn't want to waste the peels, and I also didn't feel like getting out my stock leavings bag from the freezer, and I'm kind of into syrup right now. That's all.

Apple Syrup/Apple Drink

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
peels and cored of 3 small granny smith apples

Bring the water to a boil. Add and dissolve the sugar. Let it hang out and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Turn off the heat and toss in the apple bits. Stir and push the bits down. Let it steep for an hour. Strain and pour into a bottle to cool. Store in the fridge for a few weeks, or use it quickly (I think it'd be good on pancakes, but P told me I make griddle cakes, not pancakes, so if someone wants to tell me how they're different, and share a pancake recipe with me, I'll make them and try the syrup with them).

Apple Drink

apple syrup
club soda to fill the rest of the glass
ice if you like it

Mix, drink, enjoy. I am enjoying about 1/4 cup in a 1 pint glass, the rest with soda and with no ice.

And lastly, my dinner. This is the only time you will ever see (read?) me use a canned soup as part of... well, anything. I only do it because I'm too lazy to make my own soup, and because I make this when I don't feel like cooking dinner. Because it's easy. I used to eat this a lot in College Round One, too.

Tuna Casserole

1 large can tuna in water; water drained and given to the cat with a couple bits in it of flesh
1 can cream of celery (I buy the generic; I can't stomach the idea of paying 2 bucks a can or whatever Campbell's sells it for)
1 cup frozen corn
1 cup frozen vegetable of some other type (or more corn, but mainly I like greenbeans and corn)
1/2 bag egg noodles; I get the Manishevitz ones
1 tablespoon lemon pepper, or to taste

Make the pasta according to package directions (I go 6 minutes, so I don't actually know what the package says). Drain the pasta and mix with everything else. Bake at 350F for one hour, or microwave for 10 minutes. That's how I do it when I'm famished.

On a happy note, I found some freakishly large leeks at the store, and I am excited. I love oddly sized vegetables. And no pictures today, because I mainly just didn't really feel like it.

2 comments:

  1. This one? http://www.russianfoods.com/recipes/item00082/default.asp

    The description is my favorite part. "The quickest dish in order not be despaired, meeting unexpected guests."

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  2. Close, but nope. The english in this one is way better and the recipe is a ittle different. Plus, no sour cream, lol.

    ReplyDelete