Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Freezer Fun

Sometimes, it pays to rummage through your freezer. On Sunday, I found a bag of cranberries and put them in the refrigerator to thaw. Yesterday I pretended it was the middle of fall, turned on my oven, and played in my kitchen for a couple of hours. The result was this luscious pie in which cranberries become a purple-red mash of tartness, apples retain a touch of crunch, and a crumb topping adds another dose of sweetness. Perfect for fall, or any time your freezer yields this unexpected treasure.

Cranapple Pie
Serves 12-16

1 ½ cups cranberries, washed and sorted

2 cups water

¾ cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 1/2 cups of apples, peeled and diced in one-inch pieces

½ cup water

2 tablespoons cornstarch

½ cup apples, peeled and diced in one-inch pieces

¼ cup brown sugar

¼ cup all purpose flour

3 tablespoons butter or margarine

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon

1 baked, deep dish pie shell


4 tablespoons butter or margarine

½ cup packed light-brown sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour

In a large, non-reactive, non-stick saucepan, combine cranberries, water, sugar and cinnamon over medium heat. Bring to a boil and cook, covered, for 10 minutes.

Blend cornstarch thoroughly in water. Add mixture and 1½ cups of apples to cranberry mixture and combine well. Bring to a boil and simmer 10 more minutes. Add remaining ingredients to the pan and simmer, uncovered, for 10 more minutes. Allow mixture to cool slightly and then pour in piecrust. Refrigerate while making topping.Melt butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Stir in sugar and flour, cover with a lid and microwave on high for 2 to 2 ½ minutes, stirring twice, until slightly browned and bubbly. Spread out on foil until cool enough to handle and then crumble all over top of pie. Cool pie at least three hours before serving.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Kansas City Art Space

When design architect, Steve Holl's modern addition to Kansas City's renowned Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art opened, in 2007, the gigantic Bloch Building looked like little more than a series of opaque boxes to many people in the community.

But on the inside, the new building offers an inventive space that is as much a piece of art as the collection it houses. While much of the Bloch Building lies beneath the ground, each of five individual 'lenses' features soaring angled and curved walls, and expansive windows that illuminate the space from the outside, in.

The 165,000-square-foot expansion also was designed with the environment in mind. An existing sculpture garden continues over gallery roofs, which helps insulate the building and control storm water drainage. In addition, the lenses gather sun-heated air each winter and exhaust it during the summer, reducing the need to heat and cool the massive space.

Where the Bloch Building and the original museum building intersect so does history. Where bold and brash new architecture meets the original building's soft and muted stone, Kansas City's artistic past and present intertwine for the ages.