A list of accomplishments

Before I write my report on my latest Dorie Greenspan adventure, I felt like it was worthwhile to show you what I managed to accomplish yesterday. I should warn you ahead of time that none of those accomplishments included laundry, which is probably why Chris was shining his iPhone around the room in the dark this morning looking for a pair of socks while trying not to wake me. As you can see, I remained completely asleep while he shuffled frustratedly around the room sighing and tripping over other things I have not picked up in two weeks. I should really get on it today, before I lose my puppy entirely underneath the pile of underwear he’s been secreting off to his bed when he thinks I’m not looking.

I’ve also been meaning to tell you that I’ve started eating mincemeat. Now, this may sound as disgusting as I thought it was when I first heard about it. I mean, canned, chopped-up meat, right? Ew. But it’s NOT canned meat! It’s chopped up apples and raisins and citrus peel in a brown sugar sauce. And while I wouldn’t advocate eating the stuff plain, nor would I suggest accepting any pieces of mincemeat pie that are proffered, it does have one significant and delicious venue: my oatmeal. I eat oatmeal pretty much every day for breakfast because it keeps me full, has few calories compared to other breakfast options, and might help cancel out the cholesterol I introduce to my body via a daily series of butter transfusions. So here is my oatmeal recipe, for those of you who are eccentric enough to like oatmeal to the point of trying new recipes for it. Who’d have thought?

Weird-ass oatmeal:

.5 C 1-minute oats, dry
1/8 C mincemeat
1 t sugar
1 packet Stevia or Splenda
1/8 C Silk vanilla creamer
1/2 C hot water (or slightly more, depending on textural preference)

Mix all of the above in a bowl, microwave for one minute, stir and eat.

Grand total for calories: 300

Now, if you’re not so much into oatmeal, but are still looking for a breakfast treat, you’re in luck! Chris doesn’t really “do” oatmeal on mornings when he works, and I try to pack him a breakfast and lunch each night for the next day. I’m aware that this may be a huge leap backwards for feminism or whatever, but may I draw some attention to the fact that I do not work, at all, and that I really LIKE packing his lunch. It assures that he eats, too, which he’s sometimes bad about remembering to do, and it keeps me from being suicidally depressed when I hear that he forgets to eat when it’s basically all I can think about on any given day. Anyway, I was at the grocery store yesterday considering breakfast options for the week. I wandered over to the bakery to grab some bagels, and saw that they were $1.49-$2.49 apiece. For crappy store-bakery bagels! Clip that noise, is what I thought. I can do that at home! I frequently think this without any kind of idea of whether or not I really will be able to do the thing in question at home. That’s neither here nor there, though, so I went home and attempted to make bagels. It is actually REALLY a cool process! And look! Bagels!

The trick to bagels is that you make a regular crusty bread dough, let it rise, pull off balls of dough and poke a wooden spoon handle through the middle. Then you put your thumb in the hole and stretch it out a touch, and then…you boil it in sugar water for a minute! Seriously! Boiled dough! After it’s been boiled, you take it out and roll one side in whatever toppings you desire. Yesterday I desired cinnamon and sugar bagels AND garlic sesame bagels.
So I made some of each without any extra work because it’s the same dough. After it’s been sprinkled with stuff, you bake it for about 20 minutes and you’ve got fresh bagels that are chewy on the outside, dense and soft on the inside (seen at the top of the post), and fresher than any I’ve seen outside of a Einstein Bros. I’m sure as I get better they’ll be prettier, but I was impressed with the first attempt. I also made a cute little mini bagel with some leftover dough, and it was probably the most shapely of the bunch. Smaller dough=easier to work with, I think.

I also determined yesterday that I needed to find a greater purpose for those farmer’s market ‘maters and three vine-ripened ones from the regular market. I went with a simple marinara comprised of garlic, olive oil, fresh lemon basil, salt, pepper, and tomatoes that had been peeled using the boiling water method, then pureed in the blender. It was fresh and good, but it wasn’t feeling pretty. Lately its husband had been coming home from work later and later, and then going directly to sleep. It was wearing pink curlers in its hair and hadn’t had a pedicure in two years. It needed to feel SEXY again. So it got laced with vodka and cream and strutted its stuff into a pile of rigatoni, shredded chicken thigh, and bella mushrooms. Meee-ow! The before picture is uninspired, neglected, and wearing a housecoat. The “after”? Work it…work it…own it. That’s right mama.

Finally, Chris had made an ice cream special request, which he so rarely does. Usually he’s just willing to eat whatever I’ve prepared based on my own whim. He’s appreciative and he does the dishes, which is more than I could possibly even ask for in my dreams. So if he actually requests something, I am more than delighted to make it. The other day he had mentioned black cherry ice cream with chocolate chunks, and so it was.
I made it with fat-free half and half so I could eat it without feeling like I needed to take a potato peeler to my thighs at a later date. This, coupled with black cherry juices, caused it to be a little more icy and less creamy, but I’ll make that trade to enjoy the sweet treasure that is homemade ice cream.

Football Fevah!

I have always been a big football fan. I love the music, the excitement, the crisp transition from summer to fall being punctuated by a bunch of sweaty, fat men rushing around after a brown ball while crazed fans (me) yell obscenities until they get the hiccups (this happens more often than not). Most of all, though, I think I love the food and the beer. I’ve long felt that the calories consumed during a football game are worked off by a combination of the men on the actual field, and the rabid enthusiasm and butt-clenching exhibited by the fan in question (again, me). This gives us open-season enjoyment of things like buffalo wings, pizza, potato skins, chili dogs, and other delicious foodstuffs that give my arteries a little shiver of excitement (fear?). We can drink beer until each player just gets called by a catch all name (“F*ck you…DUDE!”), and there are no repercussions. It’s considered totally acceptable to be so drunk by half-time that you pass out, only to wake up for the post-game wrap-up, trying desperately to catch the second half highlights so you can speak knowledgeably about them the next day, and picking chicken bones out of your cleavage.

My team, you ask? The Denver Broncos. I am a full-blooded orange and blue fan from a long line of other fans. I have pictures of myself in Broncos sweats when I was a toddler. My mom will go into a state of mourning, sometimes for days, if they lose. Our family routinely drunk-dials each other after plays that are particularly awesome (“How BOUT those Broncos!!!”) or especially terrible (“F*ck that…DUDE!”). This is just the way of the land for us, and for all those who enter our domain via marriage/dating/moving in nearby. We can be aggressive, some of us to the point of punch-throwing (guess who?), to non-supporters. But you know what? If you can cheer successfully, you’ll be invited over to get drunk and yell at the big screen with us. And I will feed you.

Over the last week, there have been two games, prompting a cornucopia of homemade pub food. It’s been heaven.

But guess how figuratively gay Texas is. Go on, guess! There are no Sunday Broncos games broadcast on cable. That’s right, none. They’ll show a Cleveland Browns game (WTF is a “Brown” anyway? An angry piece of poo? A racial slur? Please, inform me!), but there are no Broncos games to be found. Thankfully, Chris and I had the foresight (our vision is circumcised by nothing) to purchase the NFL Sunday Ticket package from Time Warner. It’s expensive, but it’s worth it. Yesterday, the first Sunday game of the season, we went to our trusty t.v. (which is roughly the size of South Ossetia, and occasionally equally disputed) only to find that THERE WAS NO SUCH THING. That’s right, zero NFL Sunday Ticket. I went online to figure out what was going on and who I needed to scream at to correct the situation before kickoff, and there is a whole PAGE on their website saying that the “greedy NFL” has decided to charge more to Time Warner, and that they didn’t want to rip off their customers just because the NFL was trying to steal from fans. I’m not kidding. This was their official stance on the topic. After a extended and unhelpful run-in with the online support people, I was feeling less-than-festive.

Now, my family and friends will tell you that telling me something cannot be done is nothing less than a direct challenge. This is how I feel about legal hang ups, educational red tape, refund policies, the whole shebang. I wasn’t about to be robbed of a Broncos game because Texas is so damned full of Texans. So I determined we would find a way to steal it from the internet. After some heavy research, account setup under aliases, and fighting through unhelpful message boards, we had a live streaming game. And my genius fiance figured out a way to stream this directly to our television, where we watched the game joyfully, spitefully, and satisfactorily. Especially the part where WE WON! I do not care if we won because of a bad call. President Bush got elected because of a bad election and look! He’s been around for eight solid years! The least we can get is a Superbowl out of the deal. So here is a picture of our pirating station:

Now about the food (as I sometimes forget)-

These are some sliders we made on Monday. I have never once seen or tasted a satisfactory slider from a restaurant. The idea is just a mini-burger, right? So how come they are ALWAYS so terrible? Plenty of places can come up with a delicious burger, but nobody can come up with a smaller version of the same? This seems preposterous to me. And also I wanted an excuse to make my own hamburger buns, and this seemed legitimate. I mean, how many tiny burger buns are there at your local supermarket? There are none at mine. But again, this is Texas. The buns were tender and tasty, and I decorated the top with sesame seeds. They weren’t especially flavorful, but certainly functional, inexpensive, healthy, and texturally superior to store-bought. The burgers were tiny, juicy, and grilled to perfection. I douse the ground chuck with a LOT of Worchestershire sauce because that’s just how I roll. Then grilled onions and mushrooms capped off the top with some fresh ketchup. Chris took four of them to work the next day for lunch, and said they reheated well, too. Victory.

The quintessential football food is buffalo wings. I have a deep fryer, and I have a well-kept recipe for fantabulous wing sauce. Thus, I give you these. Note the ranch. I don’t eat blue cheese because it’s mold, and I throw bread away when it’s moldy. And cheese.

And finally yesterday, when we decided to suck it up and try some Texas ribs. We dry-rubbed them, baked them for-eeeeever, slathered them in a tangy, spicy-as-hell homemade barbecue sauce, then grilled them until they were sticky and falling apart. I could eat those until I experienced gastric tearing, that’s how delicious they are. But then, I really do love me some ribs. In the interest of claiming a “vegetable” on my football-food taxes, I threw some mushrooms with butter and garlic into my small cast iron skillet and threw them on the grill until they were golden brown and sizzling like fajitas. Grilled mushrooms rock.

And finally, it would be neglectful for me not to mention one of the major all-stars of the weekend. I’m talkin’ to you, New Belgium.

See how it cozies up to the ribs?

I almost forgot!

As promised, I have taken a picture of my tiara. I stole my facial expression from the approximately 8 billion pictures we have of my sister and her cheerleader friends making the same expression. It says “I’m so bored and pretty. And angsty.” And I am. Angsty, that is. The tiara helps with that.

Pita for me, pita for you

When I reward my puppy for something, he’ll do it over and over again, even when I’ve stopped requesting it, under the vain hope that there is a never ending fountain of biscuits he can keep harvesting by presenting the behavior. The first time I told him to “go to bed” and he tested his limits by only putting one body part in the bed and then looking for a treat, I laughed heartily and gave him a treat for ingenuity. Now he tries that every time (I’ve since stopped rewarding until every molecule of blond fur is in his bed).

A similar thing has happened with pitas. The first set of pitas brought me accolades from the blogging community, joy from Chris, and a very blatant reward for my taste buds. So I have now made them more than once in a week, and attempted to serve them in as many variations as I can so as to not waste good food. As a result, over the past week we’ve had:
-pitas with curry
-chicken caesar pitas
-beef gyros
-pita pizza
-and the one time I didn’t make any lunch after our run and Chris made himself a pita pb&j; and then spilled jelly on his hands and had to run to the sink in a panic.

I have twisted and turned the pita into every variation that it is comfortable with, and I still have, maybe, four of them in a bag on the counter. I’m running out of options, I think.

Still, some of the pita variations have been simply scrumptious. I will tell you about two of them.

On Friday, I found out that there is a half marathon on Saturday that we needed to run if we wanted to get the t-shirt for completing seven pre-marathon runs with the San Antonio Road Runners. Make no mistake, I absolutely detest running. It’s hard, it hurts, it’s boring, there are no cute outfits, etc. Yet I feel compelled to do it nonetheless, because Chris once said “I don’t get why people expect bodies they don’t work for. I mean, the logic isn’t hard. Just find the sport with the athletes who have the body type you want, then do their sport. You want swimmer’s arms? Be a swimmer. You want runner’s legs? Be a runner.” The logic really is completely irrefutable. And I want runner’s legs. And runner’s abs. Not the crazy, emaciated ultra-marathoner kind, but the weekend running enthusiast variety. So I run. There is a marathon in November, and I’ve stupidly decided we’ll be doing it, despite the fact that I can neither run very far, nor run very fast at this juncture. Also, a marathon is really, really far. If a friend (HA) in San Antonio asked me to meet them for dinner on a Saturday night, and the restaurant was 26 miles away, I would not be willing to drive there because it’s too far. But if you do seven runs before the marathon, you get a tee-shirt, and thus far, smugly wearing the t-shirts from the races around town has been the most rewarding part of the whole running experience.

So when I suggested the half marathon, I was not thinking very clearly. Chris gently pointed out we’d never run further than about 6 miles, and it was really hard and I got sick afterwards. He said we weren’t ready. So I went to the gym and ran 10.5 miles on Friday. And you know what? It totally sucked. But then I got to go home and be all self-righteous and sign up for the race anyway. Even though I know damned well that a half-marathon is further than 10.5 miles, and running outside is about 60 times harder than running on a treadmill. Whatever. My belief in my own invincibility can carry me pretty far. I’ll be running it alone, and Chris will meet me on the other side with feigned empathy and an air-conditioned ride to our bathroom, where I will likely spend the rest of the day puking. Proudly.

The point of all this, aside from the obvious point of boasting, is that I felt like I could eat whatever the hell I wanted on Friday, and what I really wanted was gyros with full-fat Athenos Greek yogurt tzatsiki. It was SOOOOOOOOOO good. Here’s how it was made:
Kristie’s Norwegian Gyros

the meat
-1 large sirloin steak (prime if you can get it)
-2 T oregano
-Juice from 1 lemon
-4 T olive oil
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-1 T kosher salt
-Freshly ground pepper to taste
the sauce
-2 individual containers full-fat, plain Greek yogurt (it’s much thicker than regular yogurt, which is why the Greeks aren’t a tiny people)
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-juice from 1/2 lemon
-1/2 C diced, seeded cucumber
-1 T chopped mint (fresh) or 1 t dried
-salt and pepper to taste
the pitas
-pray to the pita fairy that you can channel my awesome and make your own. Or go to the grocery store, but they won’t be as good. You could use any flatbread for this if, like Katina, your grocery store is communist. Whole Foods in Austin has them, though.
-diced red onions, cucumbers, kalamata olives, and/or feta cheese to serve (based o your preferences)

In a ziplock bag, put the meat and all of the associated marinade ingredients into a ziplock bag and mash them around until the meat is sufficiently covered. Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.

In a food processor (or by hand, I suppose) thoroughly mix the sauce ingredients together until creamy. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as necessary. Refrigerate until ready for use.

Preheat your oven to broil, and put the steak on a broiler pan. Place it under the broiler for about three minutes, flip and cook until a meat thermometer registers the level of doneness your prefer in your beef. If your preference is anything past medium-rare, you are kind of a douche. Remove the steak and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes. Cut against the grain into cubes or slices.

Warm your pitas in the residual heat of the turned-off oven for just a minute or two. Cut in half, stuff with meat and your preferred veggies/cheese. Dollop on liberal quantities of the tzatsiki sauce. Voila. It’s awesome. I recommend drinking wine with it, but not Greek wine because they put some bizarre crap in it and it tastes like pine needles. Ick.


On Saturday night we went out to the Canyon Grill for some pretty tasty-yet-predictable Tex-Mex and then saw Batman: The Dark Knight. It was way too scary for me, and I liked the dinner much better than the movie, but now Chris is happy until the next superhero movie comes out. I don’t like going to movies unless they’re EPIC. Like Harry Potter, which I love seeing, but now probably can’t take Chris because Hermione has gotten so slutty looking.

On Saturday morning, we got up bright and early and drove 50 miles outside of town to find a farmer’s market that we’d heard was much bigger and less pathetic than the San Antonio ones. It was all the way out in this oldey-timey farming community called Medina. After driving through some very attractive (as far as Texas goes) hill country, we arrived in the tiny town to find…TWO STALLS. I shit you not. I drove 100 miles total to find two stalls, making the whole “locovore” thing kind of a big fat waste of time. Tell me, Katina. Are there better ones up in Austin that are worth driving that far? It’s like the farmer’s spread these rumors about their gatherings solely for the purpose of disappointing me! Ugh. Anyway, from the two slapped together stalls I bought a jar of local honey, some granny smith apples, and two pints of yellowish-orange tomatoes (which were very pretty and very sweet). We went across the street to a store called “The Apple Store” which was a tiny little shop full of apple-related items. Seriously. I bought a cookie cutter and some jam. Wheeee.

So when the time came to make pita pizzas for the football games yesterday, I knew what to do! I brushed the pitas with roasted garlic and olive oil, crushed some of the fresh tomatoes, tore up some basil, and sprinkled the lot with fresh parmigianno reggiano. They were slapped on the hot grill for a couple of minutes and then eaten. And they were breathtaking. Not drove-an-hour-each-way breathtaking, but still damned good. Something about a fresh, simple pizza just melts my little heart.

PITA: People for the Intensive Tasting of Awesome

I thought it would be impossible to make pitas from scratch. I don’t know why I thought this, but it seemed like the magical pocket in the middle was achievable only by bakeries and members of the marsupial family. I LOVE pitas. I love them brushed in garlic butter and grilled, I love them stuffed with chicken Caesar salad, I love them as hand puppets. The ones at the grocery store are relatively flavorless, dry, and crack when you open them. Ugh. So I decided to attempt my own, regardless of the intimidation factor. Man, am I glad I did. Turns out it’s so easy, a CAVEMAN could do it. Well, a caveman with the ingredients, dough management skillz, and a cast iron skillet. And an oven. Maybe a caveman couldn’t do it…

I stole Tyler Florence’s recipe off of Foodnetwork.com and went to work. It’s basically just a white bread recipe that is cooked slightly differently. I don’t know how the pocket is supposed to show up. My guess is steam? But then why doesn’t that happen in regular bread? This is just going to have to remain a mystery, like unicorns or Eskimos.

I made the dough with just yeast, water, a touch of sugar, salt, and bread flour-a high-protein flour that makes for more gluten=more structure. I let it rise in the refrigerator so I could go pick up my wedding dress (WOOT!) and a tiara, which I then wore for the rest of the day, including while I played video games. I see no reason not to wear it for the rest of the time running up to the wedding. I LOVE my tiara. Anyway, the refrigerator slows the rise of the dough so it doesn’t puff up too much and then deflate on itself when I’m not there to punch it in the face. I took it out of the fridge and rolled it into little balls.

The balls rested (HAHAHAHA) so that the gluten could relax enough for me to roll it into a circle without springing back like a stubborn little bitch. This relaxation process is really important when rolling out a yeast dough. My little brother keeps skipping it when he makes pizza crusts, and that’s why his pizza always looks like a pepperoni phallus. I took the balls (HA) and rolled them into rough circles. It’s important not to have any creases in the dough when you’ve rolled it, I guess. That’s what T. Florence says, and I trust him.

Then I heated my oven to “center of the Earth” with a cast iron skillet in the bottom. When it had heated sufficiently to melt gold, I slapped on a discus of dough and shut the oven. I turned on the light so I could spy on it. Within about a minute it had puffed into a bread balloon.

I let it stay in another 30 seconds to brown, which in retrospect is why the first pita was ever-so-slightly crisper than one would want it to be. Just a touch though. I pulled it out and it stayed in balloon shape for about 1 minute, at which point it deflated.

I cut it in half and…WHEEEEEEEEEE!!!!

There was a pocket! I took a picture with my phone and emailed it to Chris immediately. The exact wording was “Look, honey! A pita! Ha! Man make fire!!”

I served it with a facsimile of a sham of a Panang chicken curry. I call it this for two reasons:
1) I was one jar of coconut milk short, so I had to use chicken stock and cream to make up the difference. A difference I created by overenthusiastically dosing the pan with Mae Ploy Panang paste. Chris calls it May Plow. I don’t know why.
2) I forgot to start our rice robot, so I threw in rice noodles at the last minute to absorb the curry sauce and serve as a delivery system.

It was tasty, and Panang-y, but I missed the traditional version. I LOOOOOOVE chicken Panang. I cut my pitas and put them on the plate with the curry. Chris stuffed them and enjoyed it heartily. I dipped forlornly into my dish, knowing damned well that my pita was 230 calories because I calculated it. Suck, right?

The bottom line is that homemade pita bread is soft, supple, tender, chewy, and fresh tasting. I will never go grocery store again, and I will never deal with cracked pitas again. Screw you, pita barons!

An Oldie but Goodie

I wrote this blog in August of ’07, and posted it on my MySpace. I was reading about banana bread today and thought I’d bring it back. My feelings have not changed.

Terry Schiavo: A blog about vegetables

Here’s a thing that I hate: When vegetables masquerade as desserts. So I have taken the liberty of writing a functional critique of some of the major offenders. I don’t want to brag, but I’m kind of a crusader.

Pumpkin Pie: Pumpkin pie can best be viewed using a Gestaltist approach. I hate nutmeg. It ruins my eggnog time and time again, and the only way to salvage said eggnog is to dump in quantities of rum that could easily fell a wayward pirate (yarrrrr). It could be said that nutmeg gets me drunk. I also hate cloves. Sure, they can be used to remedy toothaches, but so can dentists and one would be hard pressed to locate something that I hate more than dentists. As a matter of fact, if I end up being sent to hell, the only things I will find down there are millions of giant bees dressed as dentists. Finally, I hate pumpkin entrails. They’re slimy, stringy, and an unsightly shade of orange. I don’t even allow pumpkin goop to remain inside IT’S OWN PUMPKIN SELF when I make Jack-O-Lanterns, let alone invite it into my personal body as a foodstuff.

All three of these ingredients suck, yet when combined and put into a low-sugar pie shell, the whole is a way greater SUCK than the sum of its parts.

Zucchini bread- Zucchini is a bastard crop that overgrows entire yards, forcing overweight gardeners to truck giant loads of zucchinis to their workplaces and neighbors, fostering animosity and resentment. The zucchini gets left in the kitchen, piling up until the whole room looks like a cemetary full of green, knobbly sadness. Nobody eats zucchini, everybody grows zucchini. It’s called “overpopulation” and you’ll note that while the US is attempting to address overpopulation in pets via spaying and neutering, there have been no congressional attempts to lop off the stamen of zucchini flowers. It’s an oversight.

There are always those few determined dicks that smush up piles of zucchini, form it into a loaf, and call it a TREAT. Look, fellas. Loaf shaped bastard crops are neither a bread, nor a treat. And I don’t want to be TRICKED into eating my vegetables. I’m a grown ass woman, and if I want a vegetable, I’ll go grab a carrot. Or some fruity pebbles.

Speaking of carrots…
Carrot Cake–another big problem. Now, carrots are not an offensive vegetable, unless they’re cooked to softness. My main beef comes with the use of the word “cake.” If it is a bread product made from carrots, it’s called a “muffin.” It is not a dessert. Ask the food pyramid if you don’t believe me. Just say “Hey, food pyramid. Where can I find me some carrot cake.” The food pyramid…will not respond, because there isn’t a tier entitled “mouth.” But I can answer for you. It’s a vicious cross-breed between the bottom tier and the second to bottom tier (right hand side). Part vegetable, part grain, all distinctly NOT a cake. Putting cream cheese frosting on it doesn’t make it a cake, either. As a matter of fact, putting cream cheese on it makes it a bagel.

Finally, a word must be spared for banana bread, which isn’t a vegetable, but have you ever seen the bananas that people DELIBERATELY SAVE to create these monstrosities? They are these shriveled, diseased, blackened chernobyl fruits, hardly resembling a banana at all. Bananas are yellow. They are firm and shaped like a quill. They are not shapless, beplagued unidentifiables. The key is, throw those repulsive things away. Or the next time you’re at my house I’m going to offer you “things I found in the bottom of my garbage disposal” bread. They are very similar, in that the main ingredient in both banana bread and “things I found in my garbage disposal” bread is kitchen waste.

That’s all.

Unless you’re one of those people who puts veggies into Jell-O, in which case I would recommend bullet-proofing your car. See that Jell-O jiggling? It’s trying desperately to escape the grasp of whatever Jolly Green Giant food product you’ve used to befoul it.

TWD: More food I cannot eat

For those of you who have been following me as I teach myself to bake, I have joined two more baking groups. As you may be aware, I am already a Daring Baker. I am now a member of Iron Cupcake World, and, as of today’s post, I am a card-carrying member of Tuesdays with Dorie (TWD).

As some of you remember, I may or may not have previously asserted my position that Dorie Greenspan was a little bit of a whore. This was merely because her marshmallow frosting was straight from hell. I am forced by my new membership to qualify this statement. I will now say that Dorie Greenspan is not necessarily a whore, but that marshmallow frosting is only makable by people who have sex for money. Does that help? Please do not tell her that I called her a whore, as she’s thin and wiry and looks like a bit of a scrapper. I prefer not to be hit, based on imaginary hemophilia that only develops when I’m in danger of being hit (often). I do love her cookbook, though, and her lemon cream tart (with my own addition of blueberries and candied peel) was like a pants party in my mouth. Thus, I am happy to link up with a group that has dedicated themselves to following her works with a passionate devotion previously reserved for the works of religious figures. Like L.Ron Hubbard. Each week, on Tuesday, I will have made a recipe from her book “Baking: From my home to yours.”

This week the assignment was Chocolate Malted Whopper Drops. As you can see, I managed to create a cookie-like confection that tasted for all the world like a mouthful of Whopper. Likely because it contained an awful lot of Whoppers. And malted milk powder. And chocolate.

What I will say about the cookies is twofold. First, I am a big fan of vanilla malts. I have discovered I am less of a fan of chocolate malt. I’m not saying I don’t like chocolate malt, just that I wholeheartedly prefer vanilla. The cookies were interestingly textured. They were pretty soft (perhaps due to my own impatience), and pleasantly chewy. The pieces of shattered malt ball kind of melted and caramelized into a crispy-sticky substance, and I was surprised by that. I’m not sure what I thought would happen, but definitely not that. Chris actually had to ask me what the “hard pieces” were. Fortunately, they are very tasty if you like chocolate malt, and I did not have to pay for them.

The variation I would like to try is a version of this cookie with a vanilla base (like a chocolate chip cookie without the chocolate) and the addition of malt powder. In place of the chocolate chips, I’d use white chocolate, and instead of the chocolate Whoppers, I’d use those new Strawberry Malt Whoppers. Do you think this would combine correctly? I’ll give it a shot.

Parting is such sweet sorrow

Here is the beast of a cake I made for someone yesterday. It was, like, 8 inches tall. There were 8 layers of fudge cake, doused in Godiva chocolate liquer, slathered with raspberry preserves, and stacked. I made a batch of fudge with raspberry liquer and spread it on the cake while it was still warm so that when it set it would be a thick, rich, sturdy frosting. It always makes me sad to send off one of my children. *sniffle*

That’s how I roll, bitches

As promised, here are the pictures of the cinnamon rolls that I had been daydreaming about forEVER and not produced. I ate one, felt guilty, ran 5 miles, then sent the rest with Chris to work. But I felt like it was worth it, even the running part. There is just something about a gooey, sticky, buttery cinnamon roll with excessive frosting that appeals to every comfort and pleasure receptor in the body. Yes, even THOSE.

I stole the recipe off of the King Arthur Flour website, and it worked out well. The first recipe of theirs that I looked at had potato flakes on the ingredient list (HAHAHAHAHA, excuse me while I laugh so hard that I pee like an overstimulated Australian shepherd). I have never and will never have those in my pantry. I did have the dried whole milk that the second recipe requested, and I was extra-excited to use it. I find myself buying all kinds of “baking” ingredients without any idea of how I’ll use them. I have spelt flour in my pantry. Do you know how spelt flour is used? No, I don’t either. I don’t even know what a “spelt” is, unless it’s an oldey-timey past tense of “to spell.” And I don’t think it is. If it were, could I use it to organize my alphabet soup?

It appears I’ve spent too many hours alone with my brain.

Anyway, the rolls involved a yeast bread that was twice-risen, which seems like an unnecessary attempt to out-do the message of Easter, and then rolled out into a shape that was vaguely rectangular. I spread gooey cinnamon glop all over it, rolled it up, and then cut the rolls.

Once cut, they were allowed to rise one more time (show offs)
and then baked.

Fresh out of the oven, they demanded a slathering of cream cheese frosting. I didn’t have any cream cheese, but I DID have a tub of mascarpone (italian triple creme) cheese. Mascarpone is a similar consistency to cream cheese, but it’s richer, smoother, more creamy. It does lack that subtle tang that cream cheese provides, so I mixed it with buttermilk to compensate. Cinnamon, sugar, butter, and vanilla finished the frosting off. I put hulking mountains on the rolls while they were still hot, and allowed the frosting to melt all over the roll and soak into the nooks and crannies.

They were enormous, too. Like a Cinnabon that wasn’t made by a pimply teenager with overlarge pants. Thar she blows.
It bears relaying that one of the women Chris works with, who looks exactly like Aunt Jemima, said that my rolls look better than hers. She then questioned their from-scratch authenticity by saying “You sure yo girl made these from scratch?” I view that as the stamp of approval. That, and the fact that they were eaten in record time, even for their clinic, which seems to be comprised primarily of locusts.

Hole-y Crap I’m Awesome

I’ve been working on this for some time now, and have yet to put any kind of plan into motion…until today. Ladies and gentlemen I bring to you *BOMbomBOMbomBOM*


One half accident, one half ugly, one half fattening, this little sucker is badass enough to be one and a half things. It’s crispy on the outside and soft on the inside with a caloric payoff that would bring Sally Struthers to tears. Wow. I just described bacon. But this is good like that too.

It’s the same dough I’m using for my cinnamon rolls, which I will post later, and glazed with the same glaze your mother used to give you to paint gingerbread men when you were small (the stuff that lacked the substance and structure to maintain any kind of detail, making all of your gingerbread men look like they were being boiled alive. Visions of sugarplums my ass).

I ate half of one, and I’m making Chris eat the rest of it because I am of the body type that will see those fat molecules floating around in my belly and say “Hey! Fat! Store that for the baby!! Did you hear me? Store that shit for the baby!” even though there is no such baby. But such is life.