Monday, November 24, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving and Extended Hours

YOUR Alexandria Campus Library is wishing you a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Extended hours for fall begin on December 3rd. Come study in the library with us as you prepare for finals!

Feasting Friday: Yes We (Pe)Can!

Pecan Pie Cake

Recipe from Southern Living
I had been making pies for family holiday gatherings for a couple of years, then saw this cake recipe and decided to try it for a change.  I did not know enough about recipes at the time to be able to look it over and realize that it fell a bit higher on the “challenging” scale than most recipes I was used to (though having to call my mother for assistance in just creating the first ingredient – do you toast the pecans first or chop them first?? – should have tipped me off).  I managed to finish the cake, and the family loved it so much that it became an annual request, and is now, 16 years later, a tradition.  I have gotten more familiar with the recipe over the years, and have discovered ways to make things a little easier (start the filling first so it can chill while you are toasting/chopping the nuts, etc.; also, parchment paper seems to work better than wax paper on the cooling racks).  Fortunately, I seem to forget from year to year how much work it is – what I do remember is how much the family enjoys it and that I do really enjoy making it as well.

The Filling
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup dark corn syrup
1/3 cup cornstarch
4 egg yolks
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whisk together first 6 ingredients in a heavy 3-quart saucepan until smooth. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly; boil 1 minute or until thickened. Remove from heat; whisk in butter and vanilla extract. Place a sheet of wax paper directly on surface of mixture to prevent a film from forming, and chill 4 hours.
Note: To chill filling quickly, pour filling into a bowl. Place bowl in a larger bowl filled with ice. Whisk constantly until cool (about 15 minutes).

The Cake
3 cups finely chopped pecans, toasted and divided
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/2 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
5 large eggs, separated
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup dark corn syrup

Sprinkle 2 cups pecans evenly into 3 generously buttered 9-inch round cake pans; shake to coat bottoms and sides of pans.

Lora’s Favorite Chocolate Pecan Pie

I started making this pie because my father-in-law loves pecan pie, and is a chocoholic. It turns out that he prefers these two favorite sweets separately, but everyone else at the dinner loved it. It is even better with a dollop of fresh whipped cream.

1 Store Bought Pie Crust (I like Trader Joe’s crusts, and to keep my sanity)
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 bittersweet chocolate chips, (I like Ghirardelli’s) gently melted
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup dark corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons bourbon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups pecan halves

Prebake pie shell in a 9 inch pie pan, according to package directions.
Heat your oven to 350 degrees.
Beat eggs, sugar, corn syrup, bourbon, vanilla extract, and salt in a large mixing bowl until smooth and glossy.
Gently melt butter and chips together in microwave, in 20 second increments, until you can stir it into a smooth mixture.
Slowly beat the chocolate into the custard
Once the base is thoroughly mixed, gently fold in the pecans.
Put pie on a cookie tray and place in an oven for 45 minutes.
The pie is ready when the filling has puffed and a knife placed in the center comes out cleanly.

RumNog Cookies

This pecan cookie recipe comes from the Veganomicon, a vegan recipe book in our collection.

The Cookies:
1/3 cup canola oil
1/4 cup soy/rice milk
1 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon molasses
2 tablespoons dark rum
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease a baking sheet.
In a large bowl combine the oil, soy milk, sugar, molasses, rum and vanilla, and beat until slightly foamy. Sift in the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt, and mix until a soft dough forms.
Roll the dough into walnut sized balls (about 1 tablespoon), roll in chopped pecans and place 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the cookies have puffed. Remove from oven and cool.

The Frosting:
2 tablespoons vegan margarine, softened
2 tablespoons soy milk, soy creamer or rice milk
2 tablespoons dark rum
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
Beat the margarine until light and creamy.
Add the confectioners’ sugar and stir with a fork until crumbs form, then beat in the soy milk, rum, and vanilla.
The frosting should have the same consistency as buttercream frosting.
If it’s too thin, beat in more sugar 1 tablespoon at a time.
Spread 1 teaspoon of frosting on at a time.

Let sit until frosting hardens.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Feasting Friday: Saucy!

November is for feasting and YOUR Alexandria Campus Library has rolled out our cookbook display in anticipation of the winter holidays. Come by and check out the breathtaking array of American and International cookery books we have in our collection. You are guaranteed to leave hungry and inspired.

In the spirit of feasting and togetherness we are featuring recipes, on our display and blog, meant for sharing and for celebrating with friends and family. Today we are featuring three takes on the classic American condiment, cranberry sauce. Bon Appetite!

From Michelle, who grew up in colder climes.  A warm, tart side for a brisk Thanksgiving Day.
Cooked Cranberry Orange Sauce

1 ½ Cups Sugar
1 large navel Orange
½ t grated Ginger
4 Cups Cranberries

Grate the orange peel and add to a pot with sugar and ginger. 
Juice the orange and add liquid to sugar mix. 
Simmer over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. 
Add cranberries and cook until they pop (about 5 minutes). 
Let the sauce cool before serving.

From Nicole, who grew up in Florida.  This cranberry relish is cool and refreshing on a balmy southern Thanksgiving Day. 

No-Cook Cranberry Orange Relish

3/4 cup sugar
1 large navel orange, cut in 1/8ths-washed and with skin
2 cups cranberries
In a food processor, combine the sugar and orange wedges. 
Turn the machine on and off quickly for 30 seconds to chop very coarsely.
  Add the cranberries and continue to pulse for 45 seconds, or until all the ingredients are coarsely chopped and well mixed.

Transfer the relish to a serving bowl.  Refrigerate until chilled before serving.

From Lora who considers this sauce the perfect blend of sweet and tart and spicy, no matter the weather on your Thanksgiving Day.

Fresh Gingered Apple & Cranberry Sauce

1 bag of fresh cranberries
1 medium granny smith apple, grated on large side of box grater
Zest of one large organic orange
Juice of one large orange
1/2-3/4 cup of sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon finely minced fresh ginger root

Wash cranberries, discarding any berries that are not firm and bright pink.
Dump all ingredients into medium saucepan, and place over medium low flame.
Watch the mixture carefully and stir frequently. The cranberries will begin to pop as the apple shreds and sugar dissolve into the liquids.

Cook until all berries have burst and the sauce has a jellied consistency.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Throwback Thursday At YOUR Alexandria Campus Library: Cooking It Old School

Something about this is off, either the oddly proportioned toddler or the impossibly giant can of pork and beans. Shudder. 

All November YOUR Alexandria Campus Library is celebrating feasting. Indulge with us by checking out this fascinating book on American food in the nineteenth century. Inside you will find information about the way citizens grew, harvested, prepared, and consumed their daily bread during this pivotal and fractious time in our nation’s development.

While you are on campus keep your eyes open for our other mouth watering November displays, including those featuring our staff member's favorite recipes. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Observing Veterans Day with YOUR Alexandria Campus Library

Veterans Day, observed by Americans since 1919, is a solemn time for citizens to reflect on the service and sacrifices made by military members on behalf of the nation. This holiday was first observed as a way of commemorating the signing of the armistice treaty that concluded the hostilities of the First World War.  In 1938 Armistice Day became Remembrance Day in the United States, and was observed as a date to honor American military members who served in any conflict. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a Congressional Act in 1954 that declared November 11th Veterans Day as a federal holiday meant to honor all living veterans of the American military. The United States pays its respect to those fallen while in service on Memorial Day, which is held on the last Monday in May. 

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier,1937 Associated Press Image

YOUR Alexandria campus library is pleased to observe Veterans Day in several forms. First, the library will honor veterans by highlighting their voices in literature and film. Secondly, library representative will also be on hand at the Alexandria Veterans and Military Student Resource Office’s “The People Behind the Uniform” program, to thank military members and distribute materials for veterans and their families.

Veterans Day is a day to honor and thank military members. If you know someone who has served, in conflict or in peacetime, take some time to say thank you. Then come into your campus library to learn more about the men and women of the United States military.  

Friday, November 07, 2014

Fast Five Friday: Feast Your Eyes and Tempt Your Appetite at YOUR Alexandria Campus Library

 Americans are officially entering the feasting season with the Thanksgiving to New Years stretch just weeks ahead of us. Celebrate this time of plenty by visiting YOUR Alexandria Campus Library and checking out our buffet of food related resources. Here is just a taste of the delicious books and videos we have on offer through our collections:

So come into the library and start your weekend off right by feasting your eyes on our mouthwatering offerings!

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Throwback Thursday at YOUR Alexandria Campus Library: When the Wall Came Tumbling Down

November 9th of 1989 will forever be remembered as one of the most important dates in 20th century history because the activities begun that Thursday hasten the end of the Soviet Union and communist government in Europe. 

Come celebrate the fall of the Berlin Wall at YOUR Alexandria Campus Library. You can learn more about communist government in eastern Europe and Germany's reunification by sampling our resources on modern history, or browse through some of the history databases in the NOVA collection to learn more about the penultimate moment of the Cold War.  

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Honor(s) At YOUR Alexandria Campus Library

It is hard to believe, but it is time to start making plans for the spring semester. YOUR Alexandria wants you to see your academic adviser and consider taking some honors courses. These courses offer students the opportunity to work in smaller groups, grapple with complex material, forge special academic and social connections, and gain experiences that will help them as they transfer to baccalaureate granting institutions.

We can scarcely believe how awesome the honors course offerings are 

All this week YOUR library is opening its doors to representatives of the Honors Program. These professors will be one hand to discuss the honors course offerings and to counsel students on how they can participate. So come by, chat with a professor, look over the honors class listings, grab some free candy, and browse our honors themed display.

Everyone expects this class will fill up quickly

For more information about the honors program, and the honors offerings on the Alexandria Campus contact Mike Amey, at

Monday, November 03, 2014

Go Vote and Conference!

Tomorrow, November 4th, is a crucial day for our patrons, our community, and our country. YOUR Alexandria Campus Library wants to encourage you to exercise your democratic right to cast a ballot for the representatives of YOUR choosing.

Once you have voted make sure to attend the NOVA's Institute for Public Service's 2014 Post Election Conference on Wednesday, November 5th. The conference is being held in Bisdorf AA Room 196 and will analyze and contextualize the election's results.

The first panel of the conference meets at 9:30 am. Get to the auditorium early to ensure your seat!