Monday, November 28, 2011

Anarchy Cobbler Recipe

My Facebook friends asked for a recipe, so I thought I'd write it out almost exactly the way I made it.  For those of you who are about to tell me that cobblers don't have two crusts, see the title of this post.

Anarchy Cobbler

*Parts of the process you need not repeat.

*1)While in a doctor's waiting room, spare the batteries on your electronic devices and do it old school — a saying which is probably old school — and pick up a magazine.  Look for one that has a lot of delicious-looking food on the cover, and as you flip through it, become enamored with a pear pie recipe.  As you are called to the front desk and must set the magazine aside (because doctors may not always know what's wrong with you, but they do always know when you have reached a critical point in an article), tell yourself that since it is this month's issue, you can find this magazine at the grocery store.

*2) That afternoon, realize, after looking in at every check stand in a way that makes the store employees nervous, that the November issue of said magazine was only available in October.

*3) Search online.  Nothing about this will be intuitive.  That makes it a quest, so you will be happier when you finally find the recipe.  Print it out. 

*4) Don't take the recipe with you when you shop.  Trying not to attract the same kind of attention you received the day before, buy lovely Bartlett pears (or whatever type you prefer), but not enough of them.  (I bought three or four.  What was I thinking?) Fail to buy at least one other key ingredient.  

*5) Some days later, see the pears and say to yourself, "I better make something out of those." Envision the unspoken and unpleasant "or else."

6) Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

7) Remove premade refrigerated crusts, such as these, from refrigerator and packaging.  They will need to be out for at least 20 minutes, so if you are normally able to make any recipe in the time it says it will take you to do it, move very slowly over the next few steps.

8) Wash and peel the pears, which should be ripe but still firm.  If they are soft, we'll have to think of something else to do with them. Pearsauce, anyone?

*9) This is the point where you realize that you don't have enough pears.  In my case, about 1.1 lbs for a recipe that called for 3 lbs.

10) Core the pears and cut into chunks of a size that can fit in your mouth without choking you or making you look like a hamster who discovered where the sunflower seeds are kept.  About 1/2 inch to 1 inch chunks will do.  While doing this, think about what the hell you are going to do to make up the rest of the volume of the pie.  Let the anarchy begin.

11) Notice that there four apples in your refrigerator that are still good, but nothing, least of all goodness, lasts forever, so they should become part of this pie. In my case, I found a Cameo and three Honeycrisps.  Give them the same treatment you gave the pears in steps 8 and 10. 

12) When you had the refrigerator open, you noticed some great apple cider.  I saw cider made from Honeycrisp apples, but you may see something different.  I poured about a cup of this into a small saucepan.

13) To this cider, I added the rest of the raisins I had in a container, and part of a bag of dried cranberries.  Total was maybe a cup and a half of dried up bits of fruit.  Here's the deal:  want it to have a little tartness and zest?  More dried cranberries.  Can't get enough sweetness?  More raisins.  Simmer over low heat until they plump up a bit, then remove from heat.

14) Still a little short of filling, you say, "Hey, don't I have pie filling around here somewhere?"  Get up on a step stool and let the games begin.  Find a can of Oregon Blueberry in Light Syrup.  Drain off the syrup and be sure to rinse the sink or you know you'll have a bluish-purple sink, which is always a lure for uninvited persnickety houseguests.  No one wants this to happen to you.  Rinse.  (I'm sure fresh blueberries would work wonderfully if you don't like fruit from a can.  Well, I'm not sure.  We'll hope someone who knows what they're talking about may be able to chime in here.)

15) Put the fruit chunks into a large bowl if you haven't done so already.  Add the blueberries.  Drain any remaining cider from the cranberry/raisin pan and add those little fellows into the bowl. 

16) Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice.  Gently stir to coat the fruit.

17) Add these spices either to your taste or using this as a rough guide, sprinkling them over the fruit mixture
            1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
            1 teaspoon ground cloves
            1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
            pinch of salt

18) Add 3 tablespoons of corn starch and 3/4 cup of sugar or Splenda to the fruit mixture.  Gently mix all this together.

*19)  Realize that those pie crusts are ready to rock and roll.  Look for pie plates or tins.  They are not in the usual place.  Then again, some of us don't bake enough pies to really be allowed to say "usual place."  Continue searching until it dawns on you that you would not have stored them outside the kitchen.  Forget about looking in the attic and wash up.

20) Find a square glass cake pan, something in the neighborhood of a 9x9x2, or whatever pleases you.  This is anarchy, after all.

21) Place one crust on the bottom of the pan.  It may not fit perfectly up the sides.  This is okay.  You are trying to put a round pie crust into a square pan.  If this distresses you, read last sentence of step #20 to remind yourself of our theme.

22) Spoon the fruit mix into the pan.  Take a stick of butter and a knife and carve off little dots of butter, 2 tablespoons worth or so, dropping them on to the top of the filling as you go.

23) Take out your super-duper lattice-maker, otherwise known as a pizza cutter, and cut the second crust into strips.  Begin a lattice pattern, screw it up, fake your way to freedom.

24) Put the Anarchy Cobbler into the oven.  After twenty minutes, lower heat to 350.  Bake for about an hour or until it looks good to you.

25) Don't burn your mouth, but after it cools a bit, enjoy!  It has been found to be especially good with ice cream.

That's it!  I'm thinking of making it with barberries next time out.  Hmmm....

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Thank you, San Francisco!

The event for A Study in Sherlock went well this evening. Thank you to all who attended and to the San Francisco Public Library for hosting the panel.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

To Continue...the Journey to Cedron

Of course I intended that many weeks ago, I would publish more about my Missouri adventures, and tell you what I saw over that rise.

Sigh.  real life intervenes.

Anyway, here's what was just over that rise, viewed though a rain-splattered windsheild:

This is Assumption Catholic Church, in Cedron, Missouri.  This lovely little church, built in 1838, is no longer an active parish.  But the church and its cemetery are being maintained through the efforts of a devoted local group.

Thanks to their efforts, I was able to visit the grave of Lorenz Weingartner, my great-great grandfather.  Part of the excitement of this discovery was the ability to confirm bits and pieces of information about him gathered from my family, and to correct some of our errors.

But most of all, I was grateful to see a place where my ancestors had gathered and sought the comforts of their faith together, a place where some of them probably met their future spouses, where they were wed, where their children were baptized, and where, as with Lorenz Weingartner, they were laid to rest.  I had the chance to think of their courage in leaving their own families Germany, crossing the Atlantic, and then half the U.S..  They settled in western Missouri and started farms there.

The area where my family lived is beautiful.  It's not far from the Missouri River, near the Lewis and Clark Trail.  My thanks again to the Cedron Church preservationists — without them, it is unlikely I would have ever had those peaceful moments in Cedron.

First, about Ian in Disturbance.

I posted something about this on Spoilerville, but since some of you are asking about it here -- Yes!  There is a typo in the hardcover edition of Disturbance.  The confusing Ian is Kai.

What happened?

I had named the character Ian in an earlier draft.  Changed the name.  (If you want to know why, please read about it on Spoilerville.)  Apparently, one slipped through despite several people reading through several other drafts.

In other words, I made a mistake.  I know, I know... but really, happens all the time.

Sorry for any confusion, and especially for yanking some of you out of the story and irritating you more than I would have believed possible.