For shame

I just got the marathon pictures sent over from a friend who has access to those kinds of things via probably sleeping with the photography company. Wow. I look like a jackass when I run. But I’m going to post them anyway because I think there should be some record of this for future generations. Here are some fun facts:

1-My form sucks. When I’m tired, I start to heel-strike, and apparently that’s really bad.”

2-It seems that my body reacts to running by making sharp nip-nips on “the ladies.” I think this can be attributed to the idea that either a) my body believes I am running because of danger, and activates all systems for “go,” b) my body believes that such pain could only come from the actual birthing of a human child (possibly as old as 24 months, given the pain level) and reacts accordingly, c) it is cold as a mothafuckahhh at the time of day that these races occur, or d) all the rubbing of my jumblies against my shirt/sports bra makes them go “hello? Did you need us for something?
3-When my legs hit the ground they are gross and sinewy, like the cover of those steroid magazines where the girls look like they’ve got live cobras wrapped around their bones, covered in skin, just writhing around waiting to bite any potential passers-by.

4-My fake smile, like at the end of a race when I’m so tired and sweaty and pained, is not convincing. It is, in fact, just a way to add extra inches to the width of my face. Rock on.

Rip Van Kristie

I’ve been bad the last two weeks at posting. I promise to be better over the next week. It’s not that I haven’t been making food (although I’ll be honest: there was a night where we had beans and weenies. Homemade chorizo weenies, but beans and weenies nonetheless). I’ve just been really tired. I’m the kind of person who, if they don’t get a FULL 8 hours of sleep for more than 2 or 3 nights in a row, I get cranky, exhausted, and usually cry at some point. It also saps my will to accomplish anything. So I’ve been tired, and thusly have been just beaching myself on the couch after I do gym and dinner until the point at which I crawl to bed. Sounds like depression, I know, but it really is just lazy. Plus, I totally miss you guys when I don’t get on blogger enough. On account of my bizarre attachment to my internet friends and all… I’m on Facebook, so if any of you are, you should let me know. I post things on there all the time from my phone.

Like yesterday, when I was at the grocery store. I was looking at my brown sugar options, and I hear a voice say “are you having a good day?” I look up to see a pudgy guy in his mid-thirties pushing one of those firetruck carts with two toddler boys, gathering a supply of cupcake mixes that should have kept them going for the better part of a month. He was wearing a polo shirt that was stretched all tight over his belly, and had thinning blond hair. His voice was a little bit high, too. Like he didn’t have quiiiiite enough testosterone to get him through being a dude for more than a few hours. Anyway, he was talking to me. I was all sweaty and tired, wearing gym clothes and a straggly ponytail. I was in no mood for conversation. I said, “Sure. Glad it’s almost over.” This should have been a clear end to the conversation, but instead seemed to be the opening he needed to talk some more. “It’s been really warm outside.” I replied, “yup.” Then, and I swear I’m not making this up, he said “I wish I was in shape so I could go run around outside and exercise.” To my breasts. Like I was going to say “Oh my GOSH! I have GREAT news for you! It turns out, and they just released this so don’t feel bad for not knowing, that the only way to get in shape is to lick big titties, and it turns out I have a spare pair RIGHT HERE! Just struggling around in my shirt with nothing to do! How serendipitous! Help yourself!” I mean, honestly. How awkward is that? How do you answer that? And how does someone come to the conclusion that a) you have to be in shape first before you can start exercising, b) a good way to hit on someone in running gear is to point out your own sedentary existence, c) that it’s okay to ‘lay the mack’ on a much younger girl IN FRONT OF YOUR CHILDREN. That’s two little boys who are going to grow up with a warped view of male-female interactions, and also probably a healthy dash of general disrespect for their dad.

That’s my rant. And I posted a hunk of it on Facebook. Which you’d know, if you were also on Facebook.

As for food, I’ve got several offerings for you. First, I made homemade chorizo that I really, really liked. I made the recipe out of the Charcuterie book by Michael Ruhlman, et al. It’s got a solid flavor to begin with, but I substituted sherry vinegar for the red wine, and tripled the chipotle powder. They went into natural casings, and ended up spicy, tangy, and right up my flavor alley. I took some into school and chef said the flavor was good, but they needed more fat. Whatev, guy. They were juicy enough, and not all sausage has to explode when you cut into it like Marlon Brando.

Second, I ordered duck fat, duck legs, duck breasts, and duck prosciutto from Hudson Valley Farms for ridiculously cheap. I’m going to do confit this week, if I can get the chutzpah together. I’m really afraid I’ll screw it up, and I’ve never done it. A classmate (thank you, Kyle) made me a recipe card with an idea of how to do it, mostly because I promised him he could take a leg home if he prevented me from jacking it up. I opened the prosciutto tonight, and O. M. F. G. I say this knowing I’ll probably be beaten around the head and neck with cured meats, but I liked it far better than regular prosciutto. It’s assertive and delicious and creamy, and if you put it on pizza, the fat sizzles out and coats the entire pizza with a gentle flavor whisper of duck fat, which is basically like mother nature “experiencing ecstasy” all over your dinner, but not gross, you know? Who wouldn’t like that? I ask you!

I also threw down a big mojito cake to take into class, which was really good at home, but when I took it to class the next day, the frosting had mellowed out too much, and it tasted a little too much like butter and not enough like sugar and lime. Still, decent, just I’ve had better (and made better). Next time, I’ll add more lime powder. The cake itself is from Warren Brown’s CakeLove, which is my all time favorite cake baking book.

Oh, and in case you ever have an extra ribeye or two, and want to make philly cheesesteaks, may I highly recommend buying a loaf of the fresh garlic bread from your local grocery store and using that instead of regular bread for the…bread? Because it was freaking life-changing, is why. And vegetarian spaghetti, because it’s not ALWAYS about duck fat and cheese. Just usually. I used garlic croutons (fresh) instead of garlic bread, and it added a really nice crunch. The sauce was just a simple basil-tomato.

I WILL post again tomorrow, I swear. Even if it’s just me showing you pictures of cookies and complaining

Heinz Catchup

I’m behind. I know this. But I’ve got a litany of excuses so phenomenal you’ll want to steal them for yourselves. Honestly. Here is a day-by-day breakdown of my last few days. Read, and then call me a brave girl. I never tire of the praise.

Friday: Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s day was Saturday, you say? WRONG. And I’ll explain the depth and breadth of your wrongness momentarily. For Valentine’s Day, Chris got me an AeroGarden. I’m growing herbs in it as we speak, and they’re all doing spectacularly, except for the dill. The dill has failed to come in entirely, making a very strong case for replacing its spot with “the pot.” The light that is attached to the AeroGarden is approximately 2.4 million watts. There are people in neighboring states who look at their windows in the evening and say things like “Mighty bright out tonight, Phyllis. Must be a full moon.” But it’s NOT a full moon, it’s just my AeroGarden. And soon, my pot farm.

I got Chris an apron with a robot on it (nothin’ says lovin’ like a robot apron). I also made him dinner, and I really think I outdid my own sense of adventure and romance with it. I seared a dry-aged ribeye in a cast iron skillet, then caramelized some sweet onions in the same skillet til they were dark and sweet and deep like molasses, or perhaps Denzel Washington. I made a homemade black truffle and Plugra butter to top the steak, which was at least AS GOOD as giving Chris a night with a pair of 21 year old Norwegian stripper twins. There’s a bunch leftover, and I’m thinking of putting it on a savory waffle. You know how I get. In a fit of “I run with gangs and do what I WANT” I went all kinds of rogue with the potatoes. I parboiled some russets, made a marinade of German spicy brown mustard, olive oil, and cayenne pepper, and tossed them in the marinade. I removed them and wrapped them with a spectacular Black Forest ham sliced wafer-thin, then put them under the broiler to crisp. Taaaasty. There was a salad of some sort to ward off vitamin deficiencies, but I don’t really care about it. Now…dessert. OH. EM. EFF. GEE. Comice pears poached in Chambord and pinot noir, both dark and white chocolate mascarpone creams, dark chocolate ganache, and then the poaching liquid got reduced to an intense, raspberry-y syrup.
Gah. So good. We drank some champagne and went to bed with full bellies and probably some poaching liquid in our hair.

Saturday: We drove up to Austin, met some friends for lunch at Austin Java (Katina, thanks again for the gorgeous farm-to-table goodies!), went to an expo, and then drove over to the Taj Mahal of groceries. The Great Barrier Reef of variety and wonderment. The Crayola box of color and description. The Austin flagship Whole Foods. I have never, in my life, seen anything that inspired such awe in me. I went to D.C. when I was in 5th grade, and I stood at the foot of the Washington monument, and I would rate that as a 5 on the scale of being completely humbled by the awesomeness of a structure, since now the Austin WhoFo sets the mark as a 10. There were entire BARS dedicated to roasted nuts. I got two kinds of fudge. There was a WALL OF CHEESE. The produce was all blemish-free and vibrant, tumbling down in plexi-glass containers that were color-coded in order, making it look like an granola leprechaun shit out an entire rainbow of organic produce. I was shaking. I didn’t get to spend near the time I wanted to, though, because we had to drive back home to San Antonio and go to bed early. Because we had to be back in Austin on Sunday at 5 a.m.

Sunday: We arrived in downtown Austin at about 5:45 after an animated discussion about whether or not I make us perpetually late, or if maybe Chris needs to stop being so frantic about leaving the house earlier than necessary. Our senses of humor are slightly more fragile at 4:30 a.m. We trudged after herds of people, shivering in the cold wearing shorts, in order to RUN THE AUSTIN MARATHON. That’s right. I’m done, for now. I went from being a…curvy girl, we’ll say, whose most major physical achievement on any given day was unwrapping Dove chocolates, to running two marathons in less than three months. I am pretty freakin’ proud. What’s more, this was a WAY more challenging course (crazy elevation gains meant that at some points we were actually running directly up, elevator style, followed by knee-jarring sprints down hills that would have made an intimidating ride at a water park). And we ran it in less time than the San Antonio, which was considered a very easy beginner course. And two days later? I’m not even sore. And I still have zero abdominal definition (unless you count visible Krispy Kreme as “definition.”). So, how lame is that? Shouldn’t you get abs after 2 marathons? Probably not. I eat a lot of fried food. But I’m all better now, except for my kneecaps, which may or may not fall off soon. We came home, and I ate an entire pint of Haagen-Dasz Extra Rich light Dulce de Leche ice cream. Very healing, it turns out.

Monday: Recovery. And observance of MLK Jr day, via going to Barnes and Noble.

Tuesday: School. Knees hurt. I made a Thai beef salad of sorts. Then I put it on naan bread.
Same continent, so piss off. It was great, although the naan bread got a little wet towards the end, which ended up being kind of a benny, because then I didn’t want to eat it. And everyone knows, denial of the things you enjoy=thin.

Oh, and I ordered duck fat, legs, breasts, and prosciutto from Hudson Valley Farms. You’ll be seeing more of that shortly.

Final thing–A late V-day present to us-from us was that a housekeeper came and cleaned my house today. My kitchen appliances are all sparkly and twinkly. I’m afraid to go make dinner.

Sausage Party


Chef had a Hostess wedding cake. I’m not lying. Why would I lie about that? Which part of my brain would I utilize in making that story up out of thin air? It’s not like I’ve had a lot of Hostess cakes in my life. You could count the number of Hostess items I’ve had in my LIFETIME on one hand. I think my mom thought they were the devil’s business, and in retrospect, she was right. I can think of less fattening ways to embalm myself. But the IDEA of a snack cake is just awesome. And the Twinkie character looks like an effing banana, and if anyone wants to tell me otherwise they can stuff it. I guarantee that you could show a picture of that “Twinkie” in a cowboy hat to any foreigner in the world who had never heard of Hostess, and he or she would say “banana!” Actually, first they’d probably say “Leave, white devil.” But I’m fairly confident their next few sentences would include the word “banana.”

The point is that Chef had a Hostess wedding cake. It was basically a wedding cake shape that was covered in Hohos and Dingdongs and Twinkies, and whatever other cute little euphemisms one would find in homosexual male porn, since that appears to be their main source of naming ideas. Not that there’s anything wrong with gay porn. I have a feeling I’d like it more than the regular kind, which I’ve always thought was a little bit tasteless because if I want to watch unattractive people doing it, I’ll just keep a close eye on the extracurricular activities of most senate republicans (motto: it’s okay because it’s YOUR DOG).

So I’m making Twinkies from scratch right now. I’ll post pictures tomorrow. They’re going to be tasty. And they’re made out of a series of “ingredients” rather than an intricate matrix of preservatives and styrofoam products. Good for them.

In other news of things that I could buy in the store but instead elect to make from scratch like a primitive hunter-gatherer with access to ancient Wikipedia, I made sausages yesterday. From scratch. I even ground my own meat, and rinsed my own…casings. This was less distasteful than I thought it would be, and was more like making a condom water balloon than anything anatomy-like. Don’t judge me, you know you’ve made condom water balloons. Liar.

The sausage stuffing motion is really more what one would call a “stroke.” I’m not trying to be dirty or anything, just to point out to you that perhaps 8th grade boys would excel at sausage-mongering. I’m not super sure what I put in my sausage, but I know it had something to do with paprika, cayenne, pork, pork fat, sage, chives, garlic, and onion granules. And salt. And pepper, obviously.


Sausage-making equipment has to be really cold when you grind the meat and stuff the sausages themselves. Like, if you could have the Queen of Narnia touching the pieces to keep them frozen, that’d be super. An ideal sausage-making team would be the Queen of Narnia and an eighth grade boy. Except he’d likely get distracted from the sausages by attempting to have sex with the Queen (her being vaguely female and all). If it’s not cold enough, all the meat kind of coagulates into a pinkish paste, and then you have to say the F-word a whole bunch of times and throw it away and start over. At least, that’s what I did and it worked out well.

Also, when the meat mixture is being stuffed into the casings, pushing the meat-plunger (hahahahahaha!) too fast makes air bubbles (when will this hilarity end?). If you get an air bubble, it’s best to yell at Chris for pushing the plunger too hard. Again, there may be other methods, but this method worked quite well for me. If you do not have a Chris to yell at, you may yell at the 8th grader. The Queen would be a poor choice for receiving your criticism, on account of her ability to turn people to stone.

Eventually, we turned out some solidly delicious sausages. We tossed both rigatoni and penne in a simple marinara, shaved some parmesan over the top, tumbled some sliced sausages over the party, and then fried a piece of homemade sourdough in the sausage drippings. Mmmmmmm. Sausagey deliciousness.

Try not to think bad things about me for using two different kinds of pasta for the starch. You and I both know perfectly well that two people eat exactly two-thirds of a box of pasta. Meaning that at any given time I have 14 boxes that are one-third full of pasta. This isn’t enough to do anything but sit in the pantry and openly mock me. But then if I throw it away, I feel all guilty for the starving children in Milan who can barely afford their Gucci handbags, let alone dried pasta. So occasionally we have mixed-race pasta, and I’m okay with that. I’d suggest you become more forward thinking.

Clam. I said it.

I had to make clam chowder at school today. Correction: I GOT to make clam chowder at school today. It had fresh cream, fresh clams, homemade broth, and a little shaker of the love I put into everything I do. I call that love “apathy.” I didn’t even taste it as I made it,save once when I tasted the soup BEFORE the clams got added back in to the mix. Basically meaning it’s possible I tasted one or several molecules of clam liquor, and it wasn’t horrendous. But here’s the deal-how in the name of the beauty that is womanhood am I supposed to EAT something that looks like this when it comes out of its shell?
Huh? How??
For fuck’s sake!

Now if this weren’t enough of a culinary farce, I have recently seen a NEW clam coming into popularity called a geoduck clam (pronounced “gooey duck”). Again, I’m not lying about this. Here is a very standard, run-of-the-mill picture of a geoduck clam:
I don’t know how fishermen manage to keep a straight face while they’re scooping ocean-porn onto their boats. Nor do I know how any straight man could cut this up and eat it.

I know I wasn’t about to eat those littleneck clams at school though. I wanted to cover their shame with a paper towel. Or at least find the part of the kitchen where they keep the All-Clad speculums.

My only major triumph in researching this post is that I know where baby Smurfs come from, and I’ll give you a hint: they are most decidedly NOT delivered by storks.

*Shudder*

I’ve gained 10 pounds!

I’m delighted to announce that I gained 10 pounds today. Would you like to see a picture of the excess weight? You got it!

That’s right. A full 10 pound bar of Guittard bittersweet chocolate. OMFG. Who knew such a thing existed outside of my own imagination? I did know that there were 5 pound Hershey bars, though. When I was in 3rd grade we had one of those contests on Valentines day where all of the students had to make as many words as they could out of the words “Valentine’s Day.” I don’t mean to brag or anything, but I don’t get beaten in English contests. Ever. I’m competitive to a fault as is, even with things that I have no business competing in, but it gets progressively worse when it comes to wordplay. If they had adult spelling bees, I’d be lining up outside like someone trying to enter a New York nightclub. I figured I’d win a cheap cupcake baked by some no-talent ass-clown of a room mother, but really the glory would be enough to reward myself for my effort. But after I won, the teacher pulled this spectacular hunk of chocolate out of her desk drawer and I almost passed out. I remember bringing it home wrapped tightly in my arms, forgetting my backpack on the school bus in my haste to get the chocolate bar to safety. I walked in, and my mom said something like “How nice! We can use it for (insert some idea here).” I panicked, ran up to my room, and spent the next two weeks gnawing off great hunks of it with my teeth like some sort of sugar-happy beaver gunning for a case of adult-onset diabetes. So this was like that, but better. And if I’d have known this would happen in my twenties, I would have gone back in time to tell 8-year-old me that the best was yet to come. But since time travel isn’t possible (yet), I’m just excited to have my 10 pound bar today.

Here’s what happened: Chris and I went to the mall so he could study at the Starbucks while I wandered around trying to find things I could justify buying. Notably, I needed to find a dress for our rehearsal dinner. I found the one I want, BTW. It’s a pink Prada shift dress with a belt, and it’s the cutest damned thing I’ve ever seen. I put it on, and it made me physically taller, thinner, blonder, and richer. Suuuuh-weet. But then I looked at the price tag and thought I would die. I left the store, fairly inconsolable, and wandered back to find Chris. While we mulled over the possible purchase, we wandered around Williams-Sonoma and absentmindedly stroked some All-Clad pans. But then I saw it. A big box that I didn’t recognize. Typically, I know everything there is in that store, and where it’s located (and usually how much it costs). So I ran over to investigate and found out it was a 10 pound solid bar of Guittard chocolate, and it was on sale, so we bought it. No questions asked. A giant bar of chocolate isn’t something you just pass by without buying. It’s unreasonable to even think about doing so.

I didn’t buy the Prada dress. Yet.

“But Kristie,” you may ask, “What are you going to do with a 10 pound bar of chocolate?” Hahahahahaha, say I. What am I NOT going to do with it? I’ve got a small sampling of possible activities for me and my new friend:

1-Take it to the zoo
2-Watch old episodes of Designing Women with it
3-Get it drunk on cheap pinot noir and take nude photos of it to post online
4-Marry it in a church of its choosing
5-Hold it close to my heart and tell it how much it means to me
6-Dance around in a field of daisies holding it and singing “So happy together”
7-Discuss my hopes and dreams with it
8-Share a special hug with it and produce children. Butterfinger brownie children, to be exact.
9-Give it a makeover and maybe let it wear my new Prada dress
10-Let it ride in the basket of my bicycle
11-Share a beer with it on a patio in the sun
12-Fall asleep with it wrapped in my arms
13-Cut it into tiny pieces and store it in my freezer so it can never leave me, ever again. Oh no, I’ve said too much.

Muffin Twats

I cooked up some serious eats with Chris last night. I made an achiote, bitter orange, lime, cilantro, and habanero marinade for some chicken breasts, then let them swim around in it for about 2 hours. While that was going, Chris cut up the veggies (all by his own self!) and I made a mango creme fraiche with some honey that was so good that I almost had an aneurysm of grief when I saw the calorie content on the side of the creme fraiche container, added honey and fruit to the number, and then wanted to die for how much I’d eaten and how much I wanted to continue eating. I put together some basic yeast dough and then, at the last minute, after the chicken had broiled away the marinade, leaving it a color that can be described best as “Gwen Stefani Pink,” I slapped rounds of dough in the oven and brushed them with butter to make pita pockets. The plate was set up with asparagus, avocado, creme fraiche, roasted red pepper, diced mango, steamed carrot rounds, chicken breast and steaming-hot pita bread. Hell. Yes.

We took some pictures, and then when I looked at them today I realized that most of them looked like I had made a vegetable sculpture of a man’s wee-wee. Oops-berries! Oh well. They tasted mighty fine, and I daresay much better than just about any wee-wee sculpture around. I’m talking to you, Michelangelo.

Lebianism

Most of you have heard of pomegranate molasses by now. The culinary media has fixated on it, reaching spontaneous orgasm at the mere mention of it. But up until just recently, I could NOT find the stuff. I wanted it with all of my person, but couldn’t locate it in any of our local supermarkets, despite the fact that our supermarkets have at LEAST 75 different varieties of corn chip. FAIL.

But then I looked again, just out of morsels of hope I had floating around in my bloodstream, leftover from the election. And there it was! To be honest, I’d have preferred it if it were more pretentiously packaged. It was just this bottle with a bunch of Arabic writing on it, and I don’t mean to be offensive or anything, but Arabs are really shitty marketers. That’s why they’re so angry, I think. They have nothing to WANT. God knows what I would do if I stopped lusting after new and shiny things. An empty shell, most likely. With a savings account of some sort. But I digress, as I tend to do.

I brought the stuff home and very predictably wanted to use it right immediately now. After notifying Tina, of course, since she’s my favorite little Lebanese blogger of all time, and the source of my desire for pomegranate molasses. She’s not angry at all, BTW. She’s given herself over to consumerism with fervor, and it shows in her sparkling personality. Also, I had bitched pretty extensively to her re: the lack of pomegranate molasses in the area, with the secret fear that it was possibly something she made up or that they only have in her scenic and peaceful land of Canada (a super place since they haven’t been hit with the economic crisis, especially since they don’t have any real currency, but instead trade exclusively in pelts).

So I went after some Lebanese recipes online to honor her truthfulness about the existence of this syrupy goodness. And everything frightened me. “I don’t HAVE any lamb!” I panicked. “I only have this home-ground beef and salt pork mixture. And I don’t even know where to find bulghur wheat. I only recently found out what it was!” In my panic, I just kind of mish-moshed some flavors together in my head that I thought would probably be something in which I’d want to swim nude. So, I bring you meatballs spiced with garam masala, coriander, garlic, and shallot, and glazed in a reduction of red wine, beef/pork drippings, and pomegranate molasses (durrrr). And it was bootylicious. And by bootylicious, I don’t mean tasted like ass, I mean that it was so delicious that I had to find a made-up word to describe it. I served it with spicy glazed carrot coins and a rice pilaf made from brown rice, ghee, turmeric, dried tart cherries, and almond meal. The almond meal was kind of a gamble, but I thought it would work out kind of like sliced almonds in a pilaf, but without the weird textural business trying to compete with the nutty, chewy presence of the rice. That, too, was so good that I might have to steal another made-up word. My rice? It was CRUNK. Biiiiaaaatch.

Blaaaaah

I am BORED, and it has nothing to do with the fact that Chris is playing Fallout 3 for the umpteenth hour this weekend, and that means there is no TV available and I am relegated to the computer to do everything from search for a wedding cake design (any ideas that encorporate fuschia, navy, white and/or silver that are clean and attractive and 3 layers are totally welcome provided they come with pictures, btw), to aimlessly reading about the heart damage that is caused by running a marathon you’ve done no training for, to idly shopping for swimsuits and bemoaning my giant running legs. It has very little to do with the teams that made it to the Superbowl being teams that I actually care about a negative amount. It isn’t really related to Willie being asleep instead of begging for attention, nor my lack of homework that needs doing. No, I’d say it can pretty much be attributed to how messy our kitchen is, and how if I want to go in there and bake homemade Cheez-its I’m going to have to tackle Mount Dishmore and maybe scrub melted cheese out of the microwave (inexplicable, since we don’t use the microwave–not even for popcorn). So I’ve got that meandering ennui that convinces your brain that the only solution for stimulation is FLAVOR, but my direct link to obtaining that flavor is marred by a set of tasks that I want to do about as much as I want to contract syphilis, not know about it for 20 years, and then end up in jail because I killed a family of four from the delusions associated with neurosyphilis. But other than that, I’m super.

I did manage to sneak in there, commando-style, and put both a chewy amaretti cookie AND a chocolate-orange jelly cookie into my mouth at the same time, which, when chewed, tasted like a really bitchin’ cake. It will end up being a cake flavor profile within a week. Probably when Chris gives up and does the kitchen himself, and I don’t see that happening unless Fallout 3 issues him the quest of “go clean the fucking kitchen so your poor, beleaguered fiancee doesn’t have to since she cleans kitchens all week, every week and poor, poor her.”

As for now, I’m just probably going to starve, both emotionally and literally, from lack of kitchen access.

Here are a couple of “game-time favorites” I made this weekend, because while I have…carry the one…no interest in watching the Superbowl itself (for the first time ever, I’ll have you know. In Denver it was always fun to cheer for the Broncos even when they weren’t playing), I DO have a marked interest in eating football foods. Even if they make me look like a linebacker over time.

I made soft pretzels from a fairly well-thought-out recipe, dusted them with kosher salt, and then made queso to dip them in.
I have never, ever dipped a soft pretzel in queso, because I have a life-changing fear of fake cheese. You know, cheez? Nacho cheese? Cheese dip? Mac n’ cheez? Clip that noise. But making it myself was really rewarding. I imagine it was like the vegetarian that invented tofurky, only actually delicious. That whole, “man, Thanksgiving is such a disappointment each year because I can’t eat turkey because it’s wrong and repulsive. If only there were a way…I know!” Same thing, basically. I made a quick bechamel with Plugra butter for richness. I added grated farmhouse cheddar and mozzarella, chopped Hatch chiles, cayenne pepper, Frank’s Red Hot, black pepper, and a touch of nutmeg. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Chris ate some with a spoon when I wasn’t looking, I’m pretty sure. I also threw down some sweet cinnamon ones with an almond poor man’s frosting of cream, almond extract, and confectioners’ sugar for dipping.

We also had seasoned french fries and barbecued chicken sandwiches coated in homemade ‘Q sauce. I throw ketchup, mustard, cider vinegar, hot sauce, cayenne, black pepper, molasses, liquid smoke, and super-dark brown sugar in a pot with sweated, minced onions and let it simmer for a bit. Always turns out good and vinegary and delicious. I am a FAN of vinegary barbecue sauce.

But that’s all. And it was ages ago. And all I want are some GD homemade Cheez-its with real cheese. Po’ me. I can see a bottle of Syrah from my chair right now. I might army-crawl over to it on the sly and try to muster up the courage to forage for a snack. Wine helps with that, you know.