A Likely Lass

probably nothing of consequence

Cooking with alcohol – Southern Comfort Caramel Apple Crisp

southern comfort apple crisp

Baking has never been my Favorite Thing Ever. I like to cook well enough, but tend to like recipes that take some degree of technical intensity (and that take forever to make and use every dish I own). 

I make an exception, though, for cooking with any type of alcohol.

For instance, Boeuf Bourguinon soup… it takes forever, but tastes divine. It also includes alcohol. Tiramisu? Delicious, and includes alcohol. Beer can chicken… rum cake… dark beer chili… I could go on, but I think you get the point.

And what do you know – Sunday afternoon, I found myself in possession of six apples and a half a (small) bottle of Southern Comfort. I thought about making a simple apple crisp, but really, what isn’t better with alcohol? And I didn’t want a simple, comforting apple crisp. I wanted a crisp that makes you feel like you’re living on the edge. An apple crisp that makes you feel like you’re dating James Dean and George Clooney and neither of them know about each other.

Without further ado, I introduce: Southern Comfort Caramel Apple Crisp. 

This recipe is adapted slightly from a Pastry Queen recipe, Chef Mark’s Southern Comfort Apple Pie. 

Filling ingredients:

  • 5-6 apples (tart ones are good, but you can use what you have on hand)
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp cinnamon (Vietnamese cinnamon if you have it, but use what you have)
  • 2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup Southern Comfort liquor
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Peel, core, and cut up your apples, you want them roughly cubed. Melt the butter in a skillet heated to medium-high until foamy. Add the apples. Let them brown up a couple of minutes, then add your spices. When the apples are slightly soft (about 5 minutes), remove and place in a baking dish. Add the Southern Comfort to the liquid left in the pan, and simmer until alcohol is mostly burned off, about five minutes. Add the cream slowly while stirring, and let it simmer another 5-10 minutes, until slightly thicker. Remove from heat, add flour and stir until thickened. Pour over the apples in the dish.

Crust:

  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted.

Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl, then add the melted butter and combine well. It will be a somewhat dry mix. Sprinkle over the apple mixture in your dish until completely covered.

Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from oven and let cool 10-15 minutes, then serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Wait for people to become faint with pleasure, then apply smelling salts so they may eat more apple crisp.

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How to dramatically change Congress within a decade (or so)

1. Don’t vote for an incumbent, ever. No matter how good they are, how virtuous, don’t vote for them because they have contributed to Congressional deadlock. If they haven’t solved any problems or come up with brilliant plans to make things work or tried to get bipartisan support for their measures, they don’t deserve to be there.

Yeah, you may have to cross party lines. You may have to vote for someone you don’t 100% agree with, but ask yourself: what is more important? Maintaining the status quo, or making your voice heard?

Yeah, that’s YOUR voice. Yours. No one else’s, yours. Forget electoral college and “my vote doesn’t count.” If enough people stand up and use THEIR VOTE to vote in people that AREN’T INCUMBENTS, things are going to change in Washington. Your vote DOES count.

2. Vote. Vote at every opportunity you have. Find out who’s going to be voted for – not just Senate or House or President, but Sheriff and Councilwoman. Find out where your local elections are and GO TO THEM. Participate. If you don’t vote, you have no voice.

Research the person you are voting for. Find out if they’ve attended the meetings they say they were a member of. Find out where they stand on the issues that are important to you. If all else fails, show up and ask questions.

Yeah, it might be bridge night with the girls or bowling night with the boys, but this is important because these people – your councilpeople, your sheriffs, your politicians in your town – that mostly make up the next Congress. They make the tiny decisions that influence the larger decisions that influence even larger decisions that eventually go statewide and nationwide.

That’s it.

Do you believe in term limits? Then vote and enforce term limits because you know Congress isn’t going to do it. Do you believe that things need to change? Then vote, tell people who you’re voting for and why. Do you think Congress needs to do something instead of sitting on their duff and refusing to cooperate? Use your vote.

Use the best weapon you have, the one that’s been handed down to you by our venerable founding fathers, the one men died to give you: your vote.

Breaking Dawn/

Very late Saturday night, I am going to go see “Breaking Dawn” part one.

Would that we all could not have any pores at all

I kno, rite? This is my actual reason for going:

Burke-o-licious

Therefore:

Nerd alert!

will be worn. Not to be confused this this much less attractive Charlie:

Good god... eat a sandwich and quit the tiger blood.

Palate cleanser!

And then, there was pie

For Thanksgiving, I set out to make this pie.

It was, I figured, absolutely Southern, and Virginia being my adopted home, I can always use a little more Southern. Even the name hollered iced tea and wrap-around porches and the kind of thing that inspires a hush so absolute you can hear the crickets 15 miles away. Ok, no, it doesn’t really say that, but what it does say is Southern Comfort Caramel Apple Pie. It says honey, put your girdle on because I am bustin’ out.

Obviously, it being about a week AFTER Thanksgiving, I didn’t make it (though not for want of effort), but now I wish I had.

This pie is like the pie of dreams. If Betty White and Chuck Norris had a baby, it would be this pie. This pie will smack you around and still make you want to cuddle after. One look at this pie and your grandmother would faint. Seriously, it’s some good pie.

My husband, who notably is no great fan of apple pie, said “This is not pie, this is crack.” And there I will let it stand. Have some photos:

Southern Comfort Caramel Apple Pie

Pie

Yes, I know. Only two photos? I know, it’s not the most photogenic pie ever, but it’s my first, and it took me two hours to make and by GOD I was starving for a piece of this pie by then and you know? In that instance, photos come second. But you’ll have to trust me that one piece of this pie will make you beg the Holy Father’s forgiveness because that is some DAMN good pie.

Emotions with Jon Hamm

Jon Hamm is one of my favorite actors. This is primarily due to the fact that he is a handsome beast, but also because he can actually emote – not the blank stare that passes for emotion in Hollywood these days. When I stumbled upon the blog “Emotions with Jon Hamm“, I was way excited. Possibly too excited. Yea, I may have squee’d like a fangirl. Maybe.

The blog’s description says it all: “One day, Jon Hamm realized that he is the best human in the universe in the having a face department, so he decided to bless us all by becoming an actor. Emotions With Jon Hamm is a celebration of his craft.”

Here’s a brief sample:

 

PUPPIES!

 

How can you not love this ridiculousness?

That's Betty White and Jon Hamm. It's a wonder the room didn't explode with the awesomeness contained in it.

Nice job, Hamm. Nice job.


Go check it out. It will make your day. Or several days, perhaps, all at once.

-all images courtesy of Emotions with Jon Hamm.

And because ‘rumpus’ is an awesome word

Even though Valentine’s Day is over, it can live on in our hearts. For instance, take this sage wisdom from The Oatmeal: less complaining, more sexy rumpus.

Good advice for every-day use.

Top 10 Most Awkward First Dates

In the interest of Valentine’s Day, I am going to share the most awkward first dates I’ve had. And also in the interest of truthiness, I will say that these were first dates… only, and I’ve done my best to keep it G-rated. And yes, they are all, fortunately and unfortunately, true.

#10: Cowboy Class: *sees the cowboy hat, cowboy boots, dinner-belt-sized belt buckle with the likeness of the Confederate Flag stamped on it walking over, everyone in the uptown cafe staring* “Hey, are you Mel?” “Yes?” “Well hells bells woman, I’m your date!” (internally – “Did he just say… hells bells?“)

#9: The Billiards Player: “I play pool for a living,” he said. “Wanna watch?” “Sure.” He whipped out a pool cue, screwed it together. Looked professional. Then, as he leaned down to take the first break, he went “HA!” in a… forceful voice, while kicking his leg back. Okay, thought I, it might just be a break thing. It wasn’t. Every shot was accompanied by a “HA!” or a “HO!”, and the leg-kick that threatened to take out pedestrians and nearby bar stools. Then in a moment of frenzied excitement, he brought his cue up sharply and smashed the light over the table to pieces. Cue his ensuing argument with the bartender that the table was “interfering with play”.

#8: Damn Catholics: Him: “C’mon, come in and say hello to my Mom.” Me: “Well… okay.” *walks into the house, sees crone-like Mother coming towards towards the front of the house* Mother: “You’re not Catholic, are you? I can smell a Catholic from twenty feet away!”

#7: The Count: “You’re the count of what? Comino? The visiting dignitary gave you the Countship because you saved his life? Oh, and you’re a fireman and a local politician as well? And you want me as your slave-girl in your ‘harem’? Uhm….. I’ll call you.” (author’s note: sitting in a crowded cafe trying not to split into peals of slightly hysterical laughter after hearing all this is insanely difficult, and will result in stiff face muscles for days to come)

#6: The World’s Most Awesome Magician: Me: *recieves explanation about how the guy can control the weather and make lightning appear in his hands but by doing so conjured up a demon that haunts him* “Uh huh.

#5: The Other Most Awesome Magician: Me: *receives explanation from completely unrelated guy about how he *seriously* controls the weather, can make lightning appear in a clear blue sky, how he is one of the greatest sorcerers the world has ever known and the evil sorcerer is trying to get him but he locked him away into a prison and the only requirement to keep the awful evil sorcerer from escaping into the world is to stay chaste and never lay his hands on a woman which is why he hasn’t dated in five years and OMG he has just violated that with me so now the evil awful sorcerer is going to try to kill him because he held my hand* “Uhm… sorry about that, then.”

#4: Anne Rice Devotee: Him: “I’m a vampire. Doesn’t it make you nervous to go on a date with a vampire?” Me: “Yes, yes it does.” He proceeded to stare at my neck all night and then by way of a “goodbye”, bit my hand instead of kissing it. I went to the doctor the next day for a tetanus shot, just to be sure.

#3: Abducted: Him: “I was kidnapped by aliens, I think. But I can’t remember. Will you record me if I start making weird noises and look like I’m spacing out? Here’s a tape recorder.” Me: “Check, please!”

#2: Severe arachnophobia: I invited him over to my apartment before we went out to meet friends. When he went in the bathroom, a spider was sitting next to the toilet. I heard his extremely loud and high-pitched scream, followed by the ripping sound of my shower curtain as he climbed into my bathtub, then slipped, grabbing the curtain as he went, screaming the whole way. The problem? It was a plastic spider-ring.

#1: The Scotsman: Him: *complicated explanation about how he proudly inherited his Scottish Sean-Connery-ish accent from his Scottish grandfather once-removed because he stayed with them a couple of times in the summer of 1993* Meanwhile, I spy a huge collection of Sean Connery’s work in closet, autographed Sean Connery photo, large “James Bond” framed poster, Sean Connery action figure with pump-fist motion. “Ah. It all makes sense now.”

Ray

It’s my goal this year to go through all of my photos (thousands, at this point), print the ones I like, and archive the rest.  This one was taken at the aquarium in Tampa, Florida.

Maroon 5 – Misery

Please forgive me for messing about with the layout here – I’m trying to find something that I can tolerate while not being too full of… things.

I am having a tough time articulating why I like this video. Normally, Maroon 5 isn’t quite my thing – I’d pass it up for Tool or some Nine Inch Nails in a heartbeat, or something with drag queens, stilettos, and/or lacy bodices. But somehow, I kind of like it:

If the shoe fits, it’s too expensive

Let’s talk for a minute about shoes.

No wait, let’s talk about genetics for a minute.

I come from Tall People. We’re Nordic, so that’s what we do: be Tall. There are good things that come from being tall: reaching the cupboards, for instance. Or being naturally good at sports involving reach, often because tall people have longer arms. There are not-so-great things, too. For instance: the shrinking of the “playing field” when you’re dating, the uncomfortableness of living in a house built in the 1920s, etc.

Why does the dating field shrink, you say? Well, as a woman who stands five feet eight and three-quarters inches without her shoes on, it means that with even the most minimal shoe, I am five feet nine inches tall. Add a pair of sneakers and suddenly I’m five-nine-and-a-half. Stilettos? Approaching six feet. Most men like to not have to reach upwards for their date, I am quite sure, nor stare upwards at a woman who is glaring suspiciously down at them (which is another thing Tall Nordic People are good at: glaring suspiciously. See: January Jones as “Betty Draper” in Mad Men).

This was not a problem in the cold Northern Reaches where I grew up: most men are around six feet or taller, probably having evolved to height because in snow-drifts, you are only half as tall. However, I have found that in Virginia, there seems to be a height ceiling of around five-foot-ten or eleven, for men, maybe five seven for women. Disregarding any scientific inquiry into cold and height ratio on a population or general population heights for this area, I’m fairly sure I’m taller than average.

Which naturally means, in three-inch heels, I’m a friggin’ amazon. Okay, okay, not really. I just feel like it.

It’s the primary reason that my small collection of Shoes I Love (primarily stilettos) go unworn (well, that and having to walk across a gravel parking lot and risk a broken ankle is not ideal). I feel like I tower over people. Possibly even Loom. However, I decided recently that if I’m going to spend money on lovely and expensive shoes, I really ought to wear them.
So thus has begun one of my first resolutions: wear ALL the shoes. Not at once, because that would be ridiculous, but one at a time. And after the first few days, I started keeping a tally.
Number of comments about my height: 22
Number of men visibly intimidated: 5
Number of men visibly intimidated (whom I was not making snarly faces at): 3
Number of men who made a comment about my “looming” over them: 1
Number of people who made a comment about me seeming “much shorter” when in sneakers: 7
That one brave soul who told me I should stop “looming” over him was none other than a coworker who works in the IT department, and is obviously confident enough in his ability to cut me off from Google News not to be intimidated by my sudden and alarming additional height.
So therein lies my quandary: do I loom over others, leaving them to gaze eternally at my chin (gosh how attractive) and allow myself to speak to their foreheads, or do I stop wearing fantastic shoes?
Dilemma.

No, really. Dilemma!

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