Wednesday, March 31, 2010

DC Running Examiner

Have you noticed? I’m going pro!

That’s right, someone is kind of/sort of paying me to write!!!

I just became the DC Running Examiner for Check out my articles through the links on the sidebar (look to your left). 

These articles are different from my EatRunRead blog posts in that they are supposed to be more informative, and less personal. So basically, keep reading EatRunRead for my dazzling personality (and my cakes) but go ahead and add my Examiner page to your list of go-to distractions if you’re looking for strictly informative posts on DC running events and general running advice.

As always, THANK YOU for reading!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Cake of the Week: Whoopie Pies with Coconut Walnut Filling

It happened again. There I was, alone in the kitchen,

blending, boiling and beating, 

chopping, carmelizing, and creaming, 

measuring, mixing and melting and just generally making my baking magic...

when it happened. I dipped my finger into my culinary concoction and Oh. My. Goodness. I did a little dance and declared aloud, Wow. Wooowwwww!

Last time this happened I was in DC, making butterscotch from scratch for the first time. This time, the setting was a bit different (I was in Jess’s kitchen in Boston). And the concoction was different too. But my reaction and pure glee upon the discovery of something AMAZING was the same. Yuuuuummmmm!

So is the suspense killing you yet? Just what was this amazingness? Well, the project was Whoopie Pies with Coconut Pecan Filling. And the particular component in question was the Coconut Walnut Filling.  DAMN. That is the best thing I have ever dipped an apple slice into! Carmely and coconutty and walnutty and fabulous.

And the whoopie pies were good too! The cake part is chocolatey and not too sweet, so it pairs well with the decadent filling. Normally a whoopie pie is made like a sandwich cookie, but mine puffed up so much that I decided to just cut them in half and fill the insides.

I had never heard of whoopie pies until I made their acquaintance in the West Campus Dining Hall freshman year. They are cookie-shaped cakey domes, sandwhiching some sort of frosting filling. Traditionally they are made with chocolate cake and vanilla filling, but like any cake, the filling/cake possibilities are endless! I think I could really get into these little babies.  

They’re a lot like a cupcake, but more portable. They store well, and you don’t have to worry about the frosting getting messed up in transportation.

I made mine miniature, but you can make them as big as you like. And make extra filling. Trust me, you will definitely want it.

Whoopie Pies With Coconut Pecan (Walnut) Filling


4 ounces (1 stick) butter, softened

1 cup light brown sugar, packed

1 large egg

2 teaspoons vanilla

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, Dutch-process if you have it

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk, low fat is fine (or soured milk - 1 cup milk + 1 teaspoon vinegar or lemon juice. Let it sit for at least 20 minutes)


3/4 cup evaporated milk

1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed

1/2 cup granulated sugar

4 ounces butter (1 stick)

1 teaspoon vanilla

3 large egg yolks, slightly beaten

1 1/2 cups sweetened flaked coconut

1 cup chopped pecans (I used walnuts)


Heat oven to 350°. Grease a large baking sheet or 6-cup muffin top pan.

In a large mixer bowl with electric mixer, cream butter with sugar until smooth and creamy. Beat in the egg and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.

Add about 1/3 of the dry mixture to the creamed mixture, along with half of the buttermilk. Beat until blended. Add another 1/3 of the flour mixture to the batter, along with the remaining buttermilk. Beat until blended. Blend in the remaining 1/3 of the flour mixture until batter is smooth.

Drop batter on the prepared baking sheet or muffin top pan, about 1/4-cup at a time, leaving about 2 inches between the mounds. You should be able to bake 6 at a time. Bake for about 14 to 16 minutes, until the cakes spring back when lightly touched. Transfer cakes to a rack to cool completely.


In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the evaporated milk, sugars, butter, and vanilla. Bring the mixture to a full boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Quickly whisk a small amount of the hot liquid (about 1/3 to 1/2 cup) into the beaten yolks. Return yolk mixture to the hot mixture in the saucepan and blend well. Return to the heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Lower heat to medium-low and boil gently, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the coconut and pecans. Cool until the mixture reaches spreading consistency, stirring frequently.

When the filling is thick and spreadable, spread a generous amount on the bottom (flat side) of a cake. Place another cake on the first one to make a whoopie pie.

Makes about 12 large whoopie pies.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Weekend Report: Dessert Party - Take 4!

We did it again. And it was glorious!

Just a little over a year ago, one of my fabulous friends came up with an idea that has been rocking our world ever since. Dessert Party. Why didn’t we think of this earlier? (Refer back to this post to learn the Dessert Party rules.)

Since that moment of staggering genius, we have now had 4 dessert parties. Four times we have exchanged countless emails planning our desserts. Four times we have gone into near-hysterics in excitement the night before. Four times we have donned our spandex in anticipation of the dessert food-baby to come. Four times we have loaded plate after plate with a variety of such sweet goodness seldom seen in one location. And four times we have laid on the floor, sugar-coma’ed to the max.

The first Dessert Party was for Erin (of the Cake Flavoring Oil) and Ellie's (of my beautiful blog banner) 21st birthday.  Some people drink…we eat cake. Then I hosted one to celebrate my graduation. You may remember, back in October, I trekked to Boston for the sole purpose of eating absurd quantities of cake in honor of Jess’s birthday. And finally, as the year comes full-circle, I again traveled to Boston for Erin and Ellie’s birthday. Each Dessert Party has been unique (we don’t waste time with repeats)...and all have been awesome.

This time, I made German Chocolate Whoopie Pies (more on that tomorrow).

Jess made THE Red Velvet White Chocolate Cheesecake (we have been ogling this recipe for months!)

Erin bought a cake from Sweet Cupcakes, and made a Sugar Cookie Cake.

What else? Well…

Oreo Ice Cream Cake

Pecan Pie

Strawberry Cake

Chocolate Angel Food Cake

Almond Butter Cookies


As we lolled around the apartment, declaring that we couldn’t possibly fit in another bite…in walked a gorgeous orange cheesecake. OMG. I waited almost a half-hour…then went for it. I mean, how could I resist something so beautiful? And it was totally worth the border-line sugar-sickness. Mmmmmmmm.

Not that I usually advocate for gluttony…but we do work out a lot…and well, sometimes you just have to do it. As I’ve explained before: Dessert Party = no limits and no judgement! Yum!


Friday, March 26, 2010

Get Excited.

Happy Friday!

Sorry for the lack of a post today - I am not in my usual habitat...I'm in BOSTON!!!

Remember Boston Dessert Week from back in October?

Well, we're doing it again!  
What's our baking plan? Well well well, wouldn't you like to know! Haha, and you will...just wait for Monday!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Literary Bite: The Siege of Krishnapur

I apologize for the absence of a Literary Bite last week. I blame it on my houseguests – and the fact that some books just take more than one week to read.

Anywho, here it is now:

The Siege of Krishnapur was published in 1973 by a British author, J.G. Farrell, and is considered a classic in the genre of “Colonial Fiction.”

This is the type of book that you study. You can enjoyed The Siege of Krishnapur for its surface value as a story of a British outpost in the “Queen’s India,” but there is much more to it than that. I’m sure that countless essays have been written about this book and its commentary on Victorian England, colonialism, feminism, race relations, etc.

But I am no longer in the analytical-essay-writing phase of my life, and I certainly won’t subject you to a treatise on Farrell’s social commentary and use of irony.

Let’s just say that overall I like the book. It’s very similar to Burmese Days by Goerge Orwell – tea-sipping, jolly good old British in India maintaining their social graces in the face of an attacked by the natives, heat, disease and death. The book is an ironic social commentary, but the characters are very well-developed as individuals.

I didn't expect to like it, but I did! So I will recommend this book, but with some reservations. It does drag in parts. Sometimes Farrell gets sidetracked from the story and goes off on seemingly irrelevant tangents. And because I cannot really picture the scene of the siege, the long descriptions of the battle can become tedious.

But it is recognized as an exemplary piece of literature. The Siege of Krishnapur won the Booker Prize for Fiction in 1973, and was recognized again in 2008 (along with 5 other books) in the Best of the Booker Awards.

Also, I do not usually read the introductions to books, but for some reason this time I did. The introduction, by Pankaj Mishra, is very well-written and gives political, literary, and social context to the book.

But spoiler alert! The introduction gives away the ending! Not that the book is a mystery or anything…I was just surprised to know before I started how it would end. So I suggest you read the introduction at some point. When depends on your priorities. If you want to understand the context and literary value of the story, read it first. If you would rather form your own opinions and then see what someone else has to say when you’re through, read the Introduction at the end. And if you find yourself in the middle of the book, cursing EatRunRead for recommending such an odd piece of literature, 1) remember that you love me and I would never steer you wrong, and 2) read the Introduction before you continue with the book.

More Stuff:

- Summary

- Author Biography

- Review

- A Reading Guide including chapter summaries and character lists

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Marathons, Museums, Food, and Poetry: Tourism with Sister2

If you’ve been following, you know that Sister2 and her boyfriend have been my houseguests this week. Houseguests get such a bad rap – the term alone makes people shudder!

But I have only had good experiences with houseguests. (Probably because anyone who comes all the way to DC to stay with me is most likely a close friend, or member of my family.)

I get to take break from my normal routine, and show them around this fair city that I call home.

So what have we been up to?

Well, there was that whole running the marathon thing.
Followed by The Front Page Brunch Buffet and the National Zoo.

Dupont Circle Farmers’ Market
Washington Monument (did that before with the mama)
The Freer-Sackler Gallery (you know how I love an art museum!)

Arlington National Cemetery (see this post for more info)

Pie/Tart Baking (you read about it yesterday and saw the GORGEOUS pictures!)

Ethiopian Food at Meskerem (AMAZING!!! Don't do the "Special" sampler plate, it's a rip-off. We got Lamb Yebeg Kay Watt, Beef Bozena Shurro, and Vegetables Misir Azifa. All were delicious!)

The Monuments at night (see this post for more info on those. And this post about night-specific monuments.)

While I was at work, they hit up the National Gallery, the Natural History Museum, and the Botanic Gardens.

Then I tortured them with Bikram Yoga (actually they really liked it!).

Which was followed by a nice healthy post-yoga meal (i.e. Five Guys. Don’t judge.)

I sent them on a run to the FDR Memorial (which was one of their faves) and the Jefferson. While they were down there, they also hit up the Holocaust Museum.

In the evening, I met them after work to see the National Portrait Gallery/American Art Museum (the only Smithsonian that stays open until 7pm).

Then we went to Burmese food at Burma Restaurant. I’ve wanted to try this place since I went through my Burma reading phase, and it totally delivered. It’s inexpensive and you get a ton of food! Order the Tea Leaf Salad. We also got a noodle dish, and the fish curry (salmon – yum).

After dinner we metro-ed up to U St. to attend Open Mic Poetry at Busboys and Poets. THIS WAS SO COOL!
It happens every Tuesday - tickets are $4 and go on sale at 10:30 am the day of the performance. The show starts at 9pm and every person who signs up gets 5 minutes. And they were GOOD. My words can’t do justice to theirs (I’m no poet, just a lowly blogger), so I will leave it at that – I HIGHLY recommend attending one of these.
Check out this video to get an idea of the scene. And this one.

My houseguests leave today, and though my apartment will be cleaner and my bed emptier (love her, but Sister2 snores), I am sad to see them go!

We have a TON of pictures. I will upload a few shortly, I promise!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Pie + Tart = The Simplest Apple Part

Mollie, when we come, will you make us a pie? Asked Sister2 last week.

My initial response: Ugh. NOOOOOO. Uh-uh. No way. Not happening. I don’t do crust.

I trace the source of my crust–aversion to my mama. Most of the time, her pie crusts came out flaky and beautiful. But on some cursed days, the crust just wouldn’t work. I can picture my mama in the kitchen, trying to coax her crust into behaving. Come on! Please! Don’t crack! Don’t crack! Oh no! No no no no!!!


The ball of dough made a trajectory to the trash, and mama started all over again.

So you can see why in my mind crust = ugh.

But Sister2’s boyfriend, like so many boys, doesn’t like cake. (I know, what is that about? Right???) But it’s true. In my experience men prefer pie. And after my initial no way reaction, I reconsidered.

A whole pie was just too daunting. But a tart? For some reason that seemed easier. Just one crust, and it’s meant to look rustic. So I got my Google on, and found Smitten Kitchen’s Simplest Apple Tart. I don’t have a tart pan, so this is a tart in pie form…a “part,” if you will.

I psyched myself up, and dove in. Bring on the crust!

(My changes are in blue)

Alice Waters’s Apple Tart


1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, just softened, cut in 1/2-inch pieces

3 1/2 tablespoons chilled water


2 pounds apples (Golden Delicious or another tart, firm variety), peeled, cored (save peels and cores), and sliced

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

5 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon


1/2 cup sugar

MIX flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl; add 2 tablespoons of the butter. Blend in a mixer until dough resembles coarse cornmeal. Add remaining butter; mix until biggest pieces look like large peas. (I don’t have a food processor. But mixing it up with your fingers works just as well!)

DRIBBLE in water, stir, then dribble in more, until dough just holds together. Toss with hands, letting it fall through fingers, until it’s ropy with some dry patches. If dry patches predominate, add another tablespoon water. Keep tossing until you can roll dough into a ball. Flatten into a 4-inch-thick disk; refrigerate. After at least 30 minutes, remove; let soften so it’s malleable but still cold. Smooth cracks at edges. On a lightly floured surface, roll into a 14-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Dust excess flour from both sides with a dry pastry brush.

PLACE dough in a lightly greased 9-inch round tart pan, or simply on a parchment-lined baking sheet if you wish to go free-form, or galette-style with it. Heat oven to 400* F. (If you have a pizza stone, place it in the center of the rack.)

OVERLAP apples on dough in a ring 2 inches from edge if going galette-style, or up to the sides if using the tart pan. Continue inward until you reach the center. Fold any dough hanging over pan back onto itself; crimp edges at 1-inch intervals. I sprinkled the apples with cinnamon.

BRUSH melted butter over apples and onto dough edge. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons sugar over dough edge and the other 3 tablespoons over apples. (Deb note: I found it nearly impossible to coat it with this much sugar, so I used a little less–more like 3 tablespoons. It made a lightly sweet tart, which we found perfect.)

BAKE in center of oven until apples are soft, with browned edges, and crust has caramelized to a dark golden brown (about 45 minutes), making sure to rotate tart every 15 minutes.

MAKE glaze: Put reserved peels and cores in a large saucepan, along with sugar. Pour in just enough water to cover; simmer for 25 minutes. Strain syrup through cheesecloth.

BRUSH glaze over tart, slice, and serve.

(AMAZING pictures thanks to PhotoMan – rocking the food photography world per usual!)

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Weekend Report: Hand Me That Unitard (aka Sister2 Runs a Marathon!)

As you may know, Sister2 ran the DC National Marathon this weekend. What you may not know is that she did so in neon spandex and a gold unitard. Were you out watching? Did you see that girl? Did you cheer for her? Or call out some version of  Love your outfit! Nice spandex! Great uni!”?

Well, I was the more normal one next to her. And proud of it!

Why the costume? Isn’t a normal running outfit enough, you may wonder?

Well, she ran Boston last year in a greeny-yellow unitard…so she might as well uphold that tradition…and if you’re flying cross-country to run a race, you may as well do it right, right?

Oh my gosh what am I going to wear? She wondered the night pre-marathon. She stood in my living room, alternating between two equally ridiculous outfits, trying to make her decision. Ugh! This is like the most preparation I’ve done for this race!

That statement is obviously not true. Because despite her absurd apparel, this girl can run (you already know the story of how she started marathoning). She’s only 20, and yet she has now completed 2 marathons in under 4 hours! So don’t let the uni fool you…as many DC men discovered early Saturday morning: Once the uni passes, it’s gone for good!

And I’m going to go ahead and take just a teeny tiny little bit of credit for her awesome finish. I did help! I swear! My friends and I were out there cheering at Mile 3, and when she passed us again at Mile 17, I jumped in to keep her spirits up through the last 9.2.

I tried to make myself useful. I “amused” her with chatting and useless information.

Then my big chance to actually be “useful” (and I use that term very loosely) came at Mile 23. She had mentioned that her arms were starting to chafe against her body, which is awful on a run.  So when we came up on a water/aid station, I saw my chance:

Ok, Sis2, I’ll just stop at this med station real quick, grab you some Vaseline, and catch up. No problem!

So I stopped, and put on my best lost-and-desperate face…and…nothing. There was no one at the medical station! What??? Seriously, what if I had been a dying marathoner???

I stood there for a moment, wondering what to do…I saw the big box of medical supplies…looked around one more time to see if anyone would come help me…and then started digging through their stuff. Vaseline – jackpot! I scooped out a chunk onto my finger, and jumped back in the race.

But enough time had gone by for Sister2 to get way ahead of me. Her pink spandex was just a glow in the distance. Oh man, time to run! I started striding after her, doubtlessly impressing those who had already run 23 miles with this sudden burst of mid-marathon energy.

(This part of the course was an out-and-back. Which just means that you run out on one side of the street to a turning point, do a U-turn, and run back on the other side of the street.)

So there I was, dashing after Sister2, as she passed me on the “back” part of the out-and-back. She gave me this look, and waved me over. It’s not like I was actually in the race…I could have just turned there and joined her.

I can’t! I can’t cheat! Don’t slow down, I’ll catch up! I yelled at her. Because no one around me knew I wasn’t really in the race. And just think how pissed you would be if you saw someone cutting corners like that!

Eventually I caught up…and pretty much saved her life with Vaseline. So yeah, that’s my story.

I didn't plan on crossing the finish line. I saw the barriers lining the course about 200 yards before the finish, and prepared to duck out. Ok, I’ll meet you at the end! I said. But then I saw that poor Sister2 was not looking good. She was gagging…I was concerned…so I stayed with her through the finish.

And she ran 3:30:50!!! (That's about 8-minute pace...and a 25 minute personal record!)

All bow down to the super-speedster in the crazy outfit!!!

After the race, we took full advantage of the free stuff (bars, mochas, cookies? yes please!) at the post-marathon festival. Then we ate our weight in brunch buffet, and went to the zoo.

I’m proud to be her sister! Wouldn’t you be?