I am just back from a week in Russia to visit my daughter who is studying in Moscow for the fall semester.
What a trip!
Moscow is a glorious capital city full of beautiful things to see. My girl knows her way around and has a firm command of the language so all I had to do was relax and let her work her tour guide magic. We were able to spend a long weekend in Saint Petersburg which was truly magical, too.
Here are a few photos.
Hands down, my favorite place in Moscow was Red Square. It’s larger than life. All of the iconic buildings are more beautiful and impressive in person than any picture can really convey.
Inside the churches stilled my heart.
So many gorgeous things to look at.
And the food?
Oh my, is it good. Even the ubiquitous beet borscht is a revelation with shreds of beef in a warming beef broth. Georgian cuisine, new to me, was a favorite with heady breads filled with cheese and egg, dumplings filled with delectable spiced beef and egglplant roll-ups filled with cheese and pomegranate. The Russians know a thing about pastry, cake, beignet-style donuts, and coffee…It was a good thing that we walked for miles and miles every day or I would have done some serious damage on the scale.
There were some beautiful floors at historic sites.
So we had to wear wookie-like protective foot gear. lol.
A WC that really excited this music freak. What a sink!!
We ate at the tallest restaurant in Europe.
We went to the ballet, of course. Romeo and Juliet in the new Mariinsky Theatre.
And we went to a cat talent show. That sums up the awesomeness of this trip.
The long journey home brought me to Vermont in the throes of late autumn. The trees are bare, the wind is howling and my cavernous house is back to 52°F beckoning for the heat to finally be turned on.
Another way to get toasty warm is to fire up the oven and bake some warm, comforting desserts like these Caramel Apple Crisp Bars. Two types of apples are sandwiched between a sweet crust and a nutty, buttery oat streusel. A cloak of caramel tops it all off.
I miss Russia, I miss my girl, but it is so good to be back in the kitchen.
Caramel Apple Crisp Bars
3 large Granny Smith apples, peeled and thinly sliced
3 large Honeycrisp apples, peeled and thinly sliced
1 cup granulated sugar, divided
3 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 1/2 cups plus 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar, divided
2 Tbs cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 cups old-fashioned oats
1 3/4 cups unsalted butter, softened
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup chopped pecans
11 oz unwrapped caramel squares
2 Tbs heavy cream
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the bottom and sides of a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with aluminum foil and then parchment paper, letting excess extend over sides. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl beat oats, butter, baking soda, 3 cups flour, 1 1/2 cups brown sugar and 1 teaspoon salt with a mixer until well combined and crumbly. Press 4 cups of the mixture evenly into the prepared baking pan. Add pecans to remaining oat mixture and set aside.
3. Bake crust for 25 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes.
4. In a large bowl combine the sliced apples and 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Let stand for 30 minutes.
5. Drain apples, discarding liquid. Stir 2/3 cup each flour and brown sugar into the apples. Add cornstarch, cinnamon, 1 teaspoon salt, vanilla and nutmeg. Stir until well combined.
6. Evenly layer the apples on top of the warm crust. Sprinkle the apple layer with the pecan-oat streusel.
7. Bake for 40 minutes or until the streusel is golden brown.
8. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes then chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
9. Lift the foil and parchment out of the pan using the overhang on the sides and cut into bars.
10. In a medium saucepan, heat caramels and cream until smooth and melted.
11. Drizzle bars with caramel. Let stand until set, about 5 minutes.
Make ahead tip: The bars will stay fresh in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 days.
Makes about 16 bars
Recipe from Paula Deen
Let’s go to Moscow for our music today. ‘Sunrise Stop (остановка рассвет)’ is new from Kedr Livanskiy aka Yana Kedrina.
Believe me that these lyrics are ace. (Bandcamp translates) :)
“И никуда не уйти, никуда не убежать
Автобуса нет, остановка рассвет”
Check out Kedr Livanskiy on Facebook. You can buy her music on Bandcamp.