"The best times you are going to have in life are at the dinner table and in bed." Old Italian saying. So relax, and enjoy the simple things!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

9-11 Poached Apples: French Fridays with Dorie

Yum
poached apples
Spiced Poached Apples

9/11 is a bad day to make a dessert. 

11 years I have been holding my emotions about that day and for some reason this anniversary they decided to come out. My husband was in Altanta on a business trip and I was 6 months pregnant with my daughter the day of the terrorist attacks.

I was driving my son to his first day of preschool that morning. As I was driving and listening to WNYC our local National Public Radio Station the commentator announced that a plane had just flown into a tower of the World Trade Center. “How odd I thought?” and then the broadcast blacked out. Their transmitter was on top of the second tower that was hit.

My next thought was, “Really, I’m going to die on Interstate 684, that’s it?” When I arrived at my son’s preschool everyone was just as bewildered as me. None of us could comprehend what was happening as we watched our children frolic around so excited to be starting school.

My neighbor lost his brother that day. My son’s friend’s father a firefighter left behind 4 children and a pregnant wife. One of my best friend’s husband’s entire fire department died. He was on desk time because of an injury.

All of this sorrow burst forth while I drove around town looking for Star Anise to make poached apples. I finally found them in an Asian market 4 towns away.

Back at home with all of the ingredients in hand I set to work mixing up the syrup. The instructions seemed simple enough that I didn’t feel the need to ask my almost 11 year old pastry chef to assist me. Once everything was mixed together I set it to simmer, put the timer on, or so I thought, and made myself a drink.

The fire alarm didn’t go off when the syrup over flowed and almost caught fire, but it probably should of considering the amount of smoke in the house. Thank goodness there still was enough syrup left to poach the apples. I was satisfied, and went back to my drink.

The kids complained that the apples tasted like pure honey. I could smell the Star Anise, but I couldn’t taste it. I know what I did wrong. Dorie didn’t say to remove the vanilla, Star Anise, and orange rind,  but I did. I just put the sauce over the apples. The left over sauce with the seasoning still in it tasted much better. 


poached apple rice pudding
poached apple over rice pudding


Even though we tried putting the apples over both rice pudding, much too sweet,  

poached apple ice cream
poached apple over vanilla ice cream


and vanilla ice cream, a bit better, but we were not thrilled... 

nothing made them taste good.  

It was a sorrowful dessert for a sorrowful day.

Note: As a member of French Friday's with Dorie I am not allowed to print the recipe. I invite you to take a look at this wonderful cookbook "Around My French Table" if you are interested in this or any other recipe I review. 

 







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44 comments:

  1. It is cliche but only by coming to terms with our emotions does the healing begin. It's too bad the apple did not live up to the work you put into making the recipe but I hope you find solace in a bit of (or too much) sweetness.

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  2. I just want to send you a big hug....
    Living where I do I understand more than you know

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    1. Thank you. I don't know how you live with the feeling of a threat all the time. For the most part I know we are pretty safe in the US.

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  3. Bless your heart. A lot of us do understand.

    Emily

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  4. Sorry this was a tough one for you.
    My birthday is on 9/11 and it took quite a long time before I could stop feeling guilty about letting people celebrate with me on that day. At the time it happened, I was married to a NY Army National Guardsman, who was immediately deployed to Manhattan. The days and weeks that followed were mind numbing.
    I think remembering is part of healing process and in the end keeps us a little more grounded.

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    1. Oh wow, Cher... your birthday, so sorry. I'm glad I starting to heal hopefully we won't have any more tragedies like this one.

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  5. I think everyone's 9/11 experience is simultaneously unique and universal. I'm from Brooklyn, but had just started my senior year of college in PA. My now-husband called from DC and told me to turn on the tv. I thought it was a gag at first. I just remember sitting on my dorm room floor, alone, for the rest of the day, obsessively re-dialing my parents (my dad drove by WTC on his way to work every morning), without the call going through. Fortunately, no one I know was harmed. It could so easily have gone the other way, though. Sorry that your dessert didn't help lift the mood. Was your drink strong, at least?

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    1. The drink was truly needed that day. I really was so hard to believe this happened. I guess we all had a false sense of security, that this would never happen in the US.

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  6. Such a touching post Diane, my heart goes out to you and your friends. Healing processes are needed but do have a schedule of their own. Hope you have a good weekend!

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  7. How touching. Thanks for sharing this. I was feeling particularly sorrowful on 9/11 this year too, for some reason. Normally I just don't think about it, but for some reason, this year it was on my mind. I didn't lose anyone, but I know people who did, and I remember I was just as bewildered as you in my 3rd period class senior year when our teachers told us what had happened. We thought they were joking- that this was some kind of "test" -but then people started crying and the radio was brought in, then...well, you can guess how the rest of the day went.

    The apples look lovely despite not coming out perfect. Maybe there was a reason they came out extra sweet...

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    1. It was a horribly powerful experience. It seemed that everyone suffered some kinda of loss that day.

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  8. Diane, a very touching post indeed - it is hard for me to comment and not feel "out of place" but may I add that we all have painful memories of this unbelievably difficult time, no exceptions.

    And your dessert does look nice, I love rice pudding with poached fruit.

    Do have a good weekend!

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    1. I definitely believe that everyone in this country and probably anyone in another country who had always felt that there is just something sacred and safe about America feels pain about 9-11.

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  9. I think our cooking often reflects our emotions and your post really makes that connection. As Candy said above, that expression of emotion is the beginning of healing.

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    1. It's like "Water for Chocolate." I think that is part of why I like to cook you can put your emotions into your food and when I don't it doesn't seem to taste as good.

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  10. Thank you for sharing so much in your post. It makes it truly special. Perhaps this was just a day where nothing was going to taste all that great. . . I lost three close friends that day and for some reason this anniversary date hit harder than most.

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    1. More than one person has said to me that this was a particularly hard anniversary. Maybe enough time has passed that we can begin to really heal. I'm sorry for your loss.

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  11. Mine almost boiled over twice while making the syrup too. I appreciated reading your post and the personal details you mentioned. I'm sorry this one seemed so tied up in those memories for you and I hope the next FFwD is a much more joyous and happy experience!

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    1. Thanks Michelle, it felt good to write the post. It really helped to put a rough day into perspective. I had a lot of fun with the Peach Melba.... can't appreciate joy without a little sorrow.

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  12. Diane, A truly touching post!! My daughter lived in the West Village at the time of the attacks…lucky for us she was away for the weekend. She couldn’t go back to her apartment for weeks. We will never forget the horror of a beautiful fall morning turning into hell!! Sorry these poached apples didn’t do it for you…we actually enjoyed them! Enjoy your weekend in the city…we will be there on the 16th, 17th and 18th. And will be making a trip down to ground zero.

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    1. Really lucky your daughter was away. I haven't gone to the memorial yet. I went to the site a few months after 9 -ll and many times after in the next few years because we have friends who live at Battery Park. My only image is of a gapping hole. I think I really should see it now.

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  13. No wonder the anniversary hit you hard. This dessert was just not meant to be...whether it was the recipe, the sorrow, or the day...I think we all appreciate you sharing your thoughts about 9-11.

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  14. Thank you for the touching post. September 11 is one day that will always be in my heart. A very sad day.

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  15. What a moving post, Diane. Thanks for sharing your experiences and emotions. It still makes me sad to think about that day. It certainly changed the world as we knew it before. Sorry these apples didn't work out for you. I thought they were much too sweet, but did enjoy it for the most part. Hugs to you.

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    1. Maybe they were too sweet for a sour day.

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  16. Bad day. Lousy dessert. A do-over at some point, huh? We all remember where we were and what we were doing. You lost many near and dear to you, Diane. I didn't but it was an awful time. First we had to locate my youngest daughter, a lawyer in Manhattan, to see if she was safe. She was. Melissa was with us - with her new baby, and we just held that child tight all week, nearly squeezed the hell out of her. I think you did the right thing Tuesday - mixed yourself a drink. Although I am doing fine I think, every so often I am overwhelmed with sadness. On those late afternoons, I feel rather righteous about mixing myself a gin 'n tonic, whether it's 5:00pm or not! Whatever it takes.

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    1. Oh, Mary yes, trying to locate people. It was horrible. A close friend from college worked in the towers and I kept calling his answering machine. It was filled. I thought the worst and then a week later I got a message from him that he was in Barcelona on vacation, barely aware of what had happened here.

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  17. What a moving story, Diane. I'm not glad you didn't care for these, but I am glad I wasn't the only one!

    Hope you have a relaxing weekend.

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  18. Yes, Sept. 11th takes many of us back to a specific time and place. So sorry for your losses and wishing you peaceful healing as time passes.

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  19. I'm over on the other side of the world and I remember clearly the confusion and shock we all felt here as well.
    It's so important to let yourself feel the emotions (sorry! the psychologist in me can't help it!) research has shown again and again that it's the only way to move forward. The grief is natural and healing.
    For what it's worth, your pics of the recipe look great!!!

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    1. Thank you I agree crying gets it all out. I was just surprised that I had repressed it for so long.

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  20. Being originally from New York we know of many friends that lost someone on that day. I have never been back to ground
    zero but hopefully when it has been completed I will have a chance to see the new memorial.

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    1. It is complete, but I haven't gotten up the courage yet to visit it.

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  21. I was driving from Philly to DC for work as it all occured and desperately used my cell to call my home and then Nana's....as I had heard first. Dc was like a ghost town with F-16's flying over when I arrived. What a day. I immediately turned around numbly to try to get home though they closed many closed highways. But we got off easy. Sorry this was such a tough year. I think we expect these things to get easier but it doesn't always work that way. Glad you had your 11 year old to help :)

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    1. F-16s and no people in DC that must have been an eery site. I guess we deal with the emotions whenever we are truly ready it could one year or 11 years later.

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  22. Yes, one of America's worst times ever; I really appreciate that you took to the kitchen for some small solace.....
    Wishing you peace and comfort.

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  23. Thanks for investing your energy in the apples and this post. Reading all the comments makes me realize many, many people share a collective sense of grief about that day, but that love and kindness abounds and that we must cherish and spread that -- we cannot let those that do terrible things take that away from us. Big hug to you -- I hope this week's creation is much more fun. Cher, happy belated birthday!

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