Mom’s Apple Struedel + a Mother’s Day playlist

Apple struedel (recipe here)

I mentioned in my Family Dinner/Mandel bread post in March that my mom was a really great cook and baker. I think that’s what I remember most about her: waking up in the morning to the smell of zucchini muffins or banana bread, eating a home-cooked meal every night, and seeing her cookbook out on the kitchen counter. I have always, always been a passionate eater, but it wasn’t until college that I developed an interest in making my own food; and because I was 12 when my mom died, it means I didn’t get to learn it by watching her in the kitchen or hearing her cooking secrets.

Before she died she started writing cookbooks for my sister and me, with a bunch of her and other family members’ recipes, along with blank pages so we could add our own. I got my mom’s cookbook just a couple days before moving to New York in fall 2009, so I’ve slowly been testing out recipes I remember growing up with (significantly tougher for me now as a pescatarian, considering how much I loved her meatloaf), as well as adding others that I’ve found on my own and use often. One treat I always loved was my mom’s struedel — apple or apricot — so I pulled out the cookbook and gave it a go. Not surprisingly, it’s not exactly like I remember it, but that’s probably my fault (her recipe was a little bit more vague than the one below, so I had to do some guessing).

My mom with my sister Joey (left) and me, 1989

Most of my memories of my mom in relation to music are of me telling her to stop singing (clearly I was a little snot), and of her playing piano — always by ear, usually Disney songs at my 5-year-old self’s request. She’s the reason I started playing music; piano lessons at age 8, which eventually led to getting my hands in every musical outlet I could through high school. My other musical Mom memories are of a cassette tape of Loggins & Messina’s album The Best of Friends, specifically the song “House at Pooh Corner,” and I only really listened to the side of the tape with that song on it. That’s to say I don’t really know what music my mom loved (and I’ll spare you the Loggins & Messina), so this playlist isn’t a reflection of that. Instead it’s music by powerful women (some of them mothers), including just a couple that remind me of her. [Edit: Since originally publishing this, some of the songs have been removed from my playlist here; sorry about that!]

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High-Energy Apple Muffins (Inspired by The Apples In Stereo)

“And the world is made of energy
and the world is possibility
and the world is made of energy
and there’s a light inside of you
and there’s a light inside of me.”
— “Energy” by the Apples in Stereo, from their 2007 LP New Magnetic Wonder

Apple-nut-quinoa muffins

The Apples in Stereo’s perfect spring anthem “Energy” is guaranteed to make you feel great, and these muffins might make you feel even better. They are delicious (I wanted to eat spoonfuls of the batter), but you don’t have to feel bad about eating them because they’re packed with high-energy, high-protein ingredients like quinoa and walnuts, and the sweetness comes mostly from shredded apples, plus raisins, coconut, cinnamon and just a little bit of raw sugar. (Yep, they are vegan.)
The Apples in Stereo on MySpace

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Indie Rock Deli: “She Don’t Use Jelly” Toast (Inspired by the Flaming Lips)

Top row from left: Lox; curried apples; cinnamon/sugar
Bottom row from left: Apples/honey; peanut butter-caramelized banana; beet/egg/avocado salad

“I know a girl who thinks of ghosts/
She’ll make ya breakfast/
She’ll make ya toast/
She don’t use butter/
She don’t use cheese/
She don’t use jelly/
Or any of these/
She uses vaseline”
— “She Don’t Use Jelly” by the Flaming Lips

Six variations of butter-, cheese-, and jelly-less toasts (recipe + close-ups at the bottom)

See the lyrics above; pretty self-explanatory!

Do I really need to tell you about the Flaming Lips? If so, you should probably just read this.

It all started here, with a normal day at work that turned into an hours-long giggle fit. Indie Rock Deli dishes are inspired by punny takes on band names and song titles. Leave your own suggestions in the comments and they might be used in a future post! (No, they definitely don’t have to actually be indie rock.)

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Cabin Fever Cupcakes (Inspired by Casey Dienel/White Hinterland)

(Photo by Dominick Mastrangelo)

“As soon as you’re used to one season it moves/
And that’s all that you can count on.”
— “Cabin Fever” by Casey Dienel (from 2006’s Wind-Up Canary)

Pumpkin-apple-champagne cupcakes with champagne buttercream frosting (recipe at bottom of post)

You know the awkward time between between fall and winter, usually in November-ish, when you’ve had two weeks of scarves and winter coats, then all of a sudden there are a few days when it’s 50 degrees and sunny and you can get away with just a sweatshirt? Or between winter and spring, when you think the snow has finally disappeared for the year and then BAM! Another snowstorm hits and, despite the fact that it’s mid-March, you’re suddenly convinced that winter won’t end for another six weeks? Casey Dienel’s song “Cabin Fever” sums that up perfectly, as she personifies autumn as an old man with tattered clothes, and sings about Indian summers, wearing sweaters, and getting out of town.

“And we’ll toast this death of summer months, and summer warmth, and summer love.”

The cupcakes were inspired by changing seasons and new beginnings: The pumpkin and apple are obvious fall flavors, the champagne is a nod to Dienel’s lyric about toasting the end of a season, and I wanted the frosting to look at least a little bit like snow. Since I made these for a New Year’s Eve party, the champagne was even more fitting to represent new beginnings. And hey, it’s also the first post on here, so cheers to that, too!

Before she started performing as White Hinterland, Casey Dienel released Wind-Up Canary, a quirky piano-pop record that I bought on a whim about four years ago. Her first album as White Hinterland, 2008’s Phylactery Factory, was still rooted in piano, but WH’s 2010 LP, Kairos, took more cues from R&B than Regina Spektor. It should also be noted that Casey has a really wonderful food blog, Hungry Oyster — maybe I can convince her to come over and cook with me next time she’s in town?
White Hinterland on MySpace

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