Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Shifting Directions and Apple Bread

Hello, dear readers - some of you may have taken notice of my dwindling output of postings over these last few months. The reasons for this are varied, but most of them can be traced back to the fact that I'm in a bit of a life transition phase at the moment. My kids have grown to the point where they no longer need my undivided attention most days and I've become aware (with some prodding from those close to me) that I need to identify a new path for myself, one that will alter my job title from stay-at-home parent to whatever it is that defines the next phase of my existence. Since I left the workforce 10 years ago, I have had some vague ideas regarding my future career that have remained mostly idle daydreamings, but I now realize that they must be sharpened and put into action lest the relentless passing of time eventually render them meaningless. I don't yet know exactly where I'm going to land, but, geographically speaking, my focus has shifted from Tampa to the St. Petersburg side of the bay as we're in the process of beginning to build our future home (due to complete in 2017) over on Snell Isle. If you continue to follow this blog, you'll probably notice more posts coming from Pinellas County, and they may be less of the traditional "here's where we went and here's what we ate - insert a few pictures" format and more reflective of my developing career arc. That may mean oral histories of beloved area dining institutions (possibly in conjunction with the local history museum - I've started volunteering there) or the in-depth examination of particular neighborhoods (I have a yet-to-be-named 49th Street project in my head) or research into the story behind local dishes, or perhaps none of these things (life, as you know, is a moving target). I still plan to document meals of note (we're going to Miami in February to eat at Alinea's pop-up there, and I'll be damned if I'm not going to blab about that), but I suspect the gaps in that sort of coverage will widen somewhat until the new enthusiasm kicks in. So, thanks in advance for your patience in waiting for me to figure out what I want this blog to become.

On that note, I present to you apple bread, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal on November 3, 2015 (see the recipe here). This recipe comes from a 1981 Junior League of Rochester, New York cookbook and was the perfect way for me to use up some old eggs and apples in the fridge, at the same time providing a tasty homemade dish for the progeny's piano recital reception. If you're like me and you decide to use sour cream instead of buttermilk, a word of caution: I omitted the baking soda and had to sweat it out during baking to see if my very-dense batter might actually rise at all without the benefit of any leavening agent (it did, but not much). Next time, I plan to mix the soda into the sour cream (or just bite the bullet and buy buttermilk) to get that "lift" into the final product. Happy baking and happy holidays!!

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