16.8.09

A good day




My Mom and I ran 14km, and afterwards we agreed that, should we have to, we could probably do it again after a glass of wine, a batch of cookies, and another week. We are wary about the looming 16km that threatens us from the future–the future being next Sunday–but whatever. Sweating that much is satisfying. Once you're past the initial annoying sw-ack (sweaty back) and you're moist all over, it's sort of like a steam room. And hobbling around the house with my Mom post-run and all of Monday, whining about our respectably sore ham-strings calves and asses...just let me tell you, it's fabulous. Dad has to be sympathetic, cause he hasn't run yet. And it also means I can make a really fun sandwich for lunch, and eat 4 cookies.

Open-Faced Corn and Red Pepper Baguette
1 demi baguette, sliced in half lengthwise
1/2 the kernels cut from a cooked cob of corn*
1 roasted red pepper, sliced in half lengthwise
A chunk of hummus hummus
A generous scoop of grain dijon
Some slices of brie cheese
*When you're cutting the corn from the cob, try to keep the "sheets" of corn intact. It makes it easier to lay out on the sandwich.
Preheat the broiler and toast the baguette slices gently. Maintain broiler temperature, remove baguette slices. Spread both sides with hummus and dijon. Lay the corn "sheets" out, top with red pepper and brie. Broooooooooil til melty and delicious.
Eat slowly, in bed, dropping kernels here and there.

And then later, I went outside to check my tomatoes, which are growing wild-style. More like wild-animal style, actually. It's practically a ravine. A ravine carrying luscious jewels of antioxidants and skin-clearing magic. And then I took a picture of those on my bed too, because I like wrinkled sheets.

15.8.09

Things I've been eating a lot of this summer,

as I've certainly been filling up my writing time with eating–the proof is in this lack of a blog.

Raw beets: grated onto salads, as learned from my friend Andrea. Especially salads that also include pumpkin seeds. Before last November I'd never eaten a beet, which was tragic. Pathetic, really. I was reading a recipe for a bloody mary the other day, and it suggested that I cook up a bunch of carrots, fennel, tomatoes, and a BEET with a bay leaf and then puree it with all those other fixings- worcestershire, hot sauce– some Guinness, even– and let it cool off. I don't know how I feel about such a thick alcoholic drink. It's a drunken veggie smoothie. Huh.

Potatoes: I found these beautiful potatoes that were blue all the way through. Par-boiled, wrapped in a sort of foil pouch with olive oil, some salt and pepper, and crushed garlic, then barbequed for ten minutes or so to finish them off. Those are the dressing staples, but oh– some red pepper flakes, or lots of lemon juice and oregeno, or capers and parsley tossed up with them afterward. Or PESTO tossed with them afterward. Homina homina homina homina homina. With some sour cream scrambled eggs in the morning.

Homemade granola: I find that an entire bowl of it is a little overpoweringly patchouli. But a big handful of it to top off my Shreddies in the morning, plus some of these huuuge blueberries my Mom has been picking by the fifteen-pound bucket-full...mercy. I know that cereal doesn't sound like an overly inspiring breakfast, but please beliiiiieve me when I say that this is the perfect nibbly for a Tuesday morning.

Really Granola Granola
The basic recipe is the oats, the butter, and the honey: the added ingredients switches every time I make a new batch, but this is the combination I've liked the best so far.

4 cups of large flake oats
1/4 cup honey, warmed up for easy pouring
4 tbsp or so of melted unsalted butter
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup of chopped almonds, toasted
1/3 cup of chopped walnuts
1/3 cup of raisins
1/3 cup dried cherries, chopped
1/3 cup of dried dated, chopped
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
This is all fairly estimated. Mix the 4 cups of oats with the honey, butter, and cinnamon until the oats are moistened and clumping but not wet. Spread evenly on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven for 30 minutes at 350ºF, rotating the sheet once halfway through cooking and pushing stuff around with a spatula once or twice.
Toast the nuts and seeds all on the same sheet at 350ºF until fragrant. You can toast them at the same time as you're baking the oats, but not as long. Maybe ten minutes.
Let all your various pans cool off a little before you mix it all together. Throw your dried fruit in, toss it around. Mhm mhm mhmmm.

24.7.09

Camp camp camp

is taking over my life. The most inspiring thing I've had as of late is a combination Maltesers and Coke zero, which my friend Coca put me on. It gives a nice buzz for about two hours, but is unfortunately habit forming.

Coke and Maltesers
1 bag of Maltesers or Whoppers
1 can of Coke Zero, or Coke if you prefer

Alternating sips and bites, finish both very quickly. Ignore tummy ache and appreciate flood of adrenaline that carries you from lunch time to 4 o'clock pick up time.

8.6.09

Shelf life potential rarely reached

I should be sitting at my computer writing on here all day, but what happens is I get hungry and things go downhill from there. Tonight I spoiled my dinner with about 8 handfuls of
Kirkland trail mix: a jumble of M&M's, raisins, and salted peanuts. You start out with a fairly well-balanced mix, but by the latter half of your handfuls, you've sifted out the raisins and peanuts and are eating straight M&M's. Girlfriend, I thought to myself, You Need This Energy. You Do. Keep Eating That Chocolate. Uh, Trail Mix. The Trail Mix.
In spite of being fairly stuffed from my energy cocktail (M&M's), I still ate dinner. And now I'm making brownies. My dad wanted some, and I am a good daughter. And I love ice cream on warm brownies, and with strawberries, and also scooped straight from the carton. For years we've made brownies from a packaged brown powder bought in bulk from Costco. But then I decided I was much too fancy for that, and set about trying to make brownies on my own. Multiple failures were had. Apparently you must be a chemist to make brownies properly. Usually, I ended up with hot, chalky, slightly browned flour. I went back to that boxed mix four times in tears, and it always took me back. What a toxic relationship we had.
But fluffy, lame, from-the-box-brownie no more. Mark Bittman, my main man, has giveth me a fudgey, cakey (but NEVER puffy or stiff), adaptable brownie, which really suits my whimsy for added ingredients.

The First From-Scratch Brownie Recipe I've Ever Had Success With
Adapted From Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything.
2 ounces of semi-sweet bakers chocolate, chopped
8 Tbsp of butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
A pinch of salt

Preheat the oven the 350ºF.
Combine the butter and chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat. Stirring constantly, whisk the butter and chocolate together until the chocolate is almost melted. Remove from heat, whisk until chocolate is completely melted.
Pour the chocolate mixture into a bowl. Add the sugar and stir to combine. Add the eggs one at a time and mix in well. Gently fold in the flour, salt, and vanilla. Scrape the batter into a greased pan. Bake for twenty or twenty-five minutes. Brownies should be a little underdone in the center just after baking.
I on;y made these yesterday, but they're already gone. Next time I'll have to make them in secret so I can snap some pictures.
Instead, here's my friend KChan in the fridge.

25.5.09

Some days


Few things depress me more than failed baking.
I'm not proud to say it, but today I cried over a miserable, soggy pie crust. Having never made pie crust before + having a fairly lax attitude towards a thing so peasant, so common as measuring ingredients = my vision of a glorious, golden pie crust sliding quickly into a puddle at the bottom of the dish. It was worse than failure: the sodden pile at the bottom looked akin to a pile of snot. It was a bake-ular meltdown followed by an emotional one.
But then there are things like mothers and Tenderflake frozen crusts in the freezer. There are things like thick slices of bread studded with olives, rosemary winking between your teeth. But most soothingly, most hearteningly, there are things like meringue.

I must admit: even though I had the frozen crust, the Key-Lime pie I was going for was sadly–even strangely–un-limey. Mark Bittman, you used to be my second-dream-man. You wore those striped t-shirts with a blazer with such awkward panache I could've kissed the shiny spot on your waxy bald head. But this Key-Lime pie was underwhelming. Not disappointing: its texture was lush, and its color was a pleasing, happy celery. It just...it just lacked any spirit. Any get-go. Any ZIP. But then, today so did I.



The meringue, on the other hand, was like a back rub. The zippy whirrr of the electric mixer, the powdered sugar making me sneeze (into my arm, relax). And oh! Honey! Those browned peaks like little kitten ears, like Willy-Wonka landscapes!  My kitchen confidence was bolstered, but it's going to take another batch of Macadamia-Ginger Cookies to restore it completely.

22.5.09

Bad sign

It's a guilt-inducing business, thinking of your parents before you were their kid. If their old photos are any indication, you've made them much more boring. They had the same reckless go-about in their pictures that I hope to achieve, though caution and a healthy dose my Worry-Wart from my mother keep me otherwise contained. They even look a little drunk in this album of a barn dance; is that a cigarette in her hand at that 1940s gangster party? 
My Dad, for instance, used to have colored hair, and a great tan. He looked like an old-timey movie star with his big smile and hair so slick it put his dress shoes to shame. A dashing Davy Crockett in the photo where he and his own father hold us a moose in the middle of the wilderness: a grin and one hooded, mirth-misted eye just visible under the brim of his bucket hat. A modern and suave charmer. My Mom always said that Dad was a babe, albeit strangely dressed. 
It is reassuring that my Dad's penchant for pleated shorts and patched sweaters wasn't carried on in honor of my brother and my childhood. Rather, he has clung to his salmon pink shorts since the tender age of twenty-three or so. Having found a look he considered comfortable and dashing (in 1970), he suctioned to it, and as far as my sisters or I can tell, he vowed never to let go. Not even in the face of three daughters, a stylish son, and two different wives, pleading gently (or bluntly, in the case of a social event) with him, Please Dad/Dan, That Coat Looks Like A Rug. I accept no blame for his dressing ability: I really did the best I could with the material I was given. I accept full responsibility for his sweet tooth though. Or full reprehensibility, should I say.
"Katie, do you know what day it is?"
My Dad's voice booms from the direction of the kitchen island, and I wince. Six thirty this morning is an awful, sweaty time. Having grown accustomed to my house in Victoria, which we never heated (central heating costs a lotta $$$, so we harvested warmth from the stove while our banana loaves were baking), this home is unbearably hot. The things you can buy with a disposable income! So I was tottering down the stairs, hair stuck unattractively to my neck with sweat, my eyes practically crusted shut with salt, and not thinking clearly.
"Uh..." I blinked a grain of pus away. "Friday?"
"Friday Key Lime Pie Day." He responded, pursing his lips. He was throwing in one of his Pie on Demand coupons I had given him for a birthday. I see how it is.
Unfortunately, what neither of us saw was that it was not Key Lime Pie Day. It was Macadamia-Ginger Cookie Day. I wasn't feeling the pie, which is strange. Strange like a swarm of locusts. I love pie. There is nothing in the world better than pie. I don't eat birthday cake. I eat birthday PIE with a pint of ice cream (lactose intolerance be damned). SO you can see that I was alarmed, and felt that my kitchen feng shui needed some alignment before I was going to venture into my reason for living.

Macadamia-Ginger Cookies
Apparently, I was vibing in the kitchen, as I had a vision of a cookie that I wanted, and I achieved it first try. Something cakey: fluffy, even. With zip and a crunch. These cookies were heavenly. Yielding and sweet without being puffy. They eld their own. If Cyndi Lauper was a cookie, these would be her in her lipsticked, prom-dressed glory. A little frilly, but also completely, unforgivably sassy.
Adapted from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything.
2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
8 tablespoons of chilled butter
3/4 cup of brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1/4 cup of milk, plus more if needed
3/4 cup of chopped macadamia nuts, plus more if the batter can cope
3/4 cup candied ginger, chopped
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp all-spice.
Preheat your oven to 375º.
I combined the ingredients in the food processor, mimicking the method for making scones. You can do this recipe the old separate the wet/dry way, but I like the food processor because it reduces the risk of overmixing this delicate batter, which would make it tough.
So: place all the dry ingredients in the food processor, pulse once or twice to mix. Cut the chilled butter into pieces and add to the processor: pulse until the butter and sugar are well blended.
Add the vanilla, milk, and the egg. Pulse to blend. If the batter is tough or dry, add bits of milk by the spoonful.
Drop little balls-o-batter onto a greased cookie sheet, and bake until the edges are lightly browned, about 10-12 minutes.
Let em' love you up.

20.5.09

The way I want my life to look

  • White dishes. Mismatched textures and edges, but all white. Wish dishes.
  • Antique silverware.
  • Hardwood floors.
  • Natural light.
  • A polaroid camera present.
  • Veggie gardens without slugs (slugs have their place though. They could be considered cute).
  • Cake stands, plural. A big blue one, a smallish orange one; more.
  • Baking dishes: lots. Silpat lining with MADE IN FRANCE embossed.
  • Pitchers full or flowers or lemonade or homemade iced tea.
  • Tea from teapots.
  • Handmade hot chocolate mix.
  • Blankets and pillows.
  • An always full cookie jar.
  • Bowls bowls bowls: pretty metal ones and matte free form white ones and maybe a few cream ones and at least one sassy hued one.
  • Lots of wine.
  • More beer.
  • Burritos, salsa, chips.
  • Cookbooks.
  • Bookshelves with rotating fare: lots of trips to second hand bookstores.
  • Farmer's markets.
  • Fresh bread.
  • Homemade mayonnaise.

19.5.09

POINT, SELF


HA.
Army and Navy, I will trust you forever. LOOK WHAT I FOUND IN YOU:

I KNOW. I KNOW. I KNOW.
YES.
Those are PEUGOT SALT AND PEPPER GRINDERS. FOR. TEN. DOLLARS.
Usually found costing sixty dollars, and at much more refined (no offense, A&N, but lets be real) shi-shi kitchen stores in downtown storefronts or cutesy heritage villages. I know they look a little like chess pawns (and even have the misfortune of being photographed on a chess board: my bad), but that's somewhat symbolic. They symbolize my TRIUMPH in the game called "I Want Pepper But It a) Won't Come Out or b) Makes an Awful Noise". One of our roommates, Marin, literally had to leave the room when we were fighting with the pepper, because of the banshee wail it emitted. Two words for you, ugly clear plastic apparatus: HA. HAAA.
Also: Baby shower that rejected my cake, you gave me a lunch of 3 different dips and veggie tray drop outs. You're still only okay.

Mangia, but don't substitute the walnut oil




All I want to do with my life is buy beautiful dishes.
On Sunday night, my parents and I went to my sister Tanis' house-beautiful for dinner. Something to know about Tanis: you will love her. It's intrinsically wrong and against human nature to be anything but completely enamored, and you're a monster or a sociopath should you decide to go against the grain in that situation. I know that if I were reading this, I would simply decide right then and there that I hated this person and that was that, in some misguided attempt to stand out. You can't. Don't waste your time. Her hubby? Dashing, and can pull off Mandals (man-sandals). Her children? Cherubs with a penchant for yelling and dancing and kashi, in one case. Her kitchen? I puke in my mouth with extreme jealousy every time I visit.

Tan has been working with Quattro, an Italian restaurant native to Vancouver, since she spearheaded her PR company T2 Communications. Her dinner was inspired by the cookbook that she has been working on with the restaurant, due out in the fall of 2009.

Tanny, should you read this, know that your dinner was beautiful, nubile, and worthy of plate licking, from which I only refrained because I am twenty now, not two. Plus I'd have dripped on my dress and looked apprehensible and droll minus the irony. Had I been alone or with Chris (very few niceties left between us) I would've washed the plate with my tongue. I refrained at your home and only used my finger, and even then I felt unrefined, although blessedly full.

But, darling sister, what really stole me away (over and above the riesling you poured me two delicious, warming glasses of) was your dish ware. Not that I think you have a cupboard full of two-dollar salad bowls, but I was hunting around Army and Navy yesterday and I stumbled across the most impressive, beautiful collection of white porcelain! For six bucks, my Mom bought an enormous dish that looks like it could have come from... don't now, fancy dish places. Like Ikea! Or at least Bombay. SIX. DOLLARS. I had to exercise a lot of self control to resist buying myself a whole new shiny set of dishes. And then I remembered that I'm broke, so I didn't even need self-control anymore.

Something that's taking some getting used to is carrying my camera around.
This salad was a great balance to the rest of the meal, which was comprised of a italian-style jambalaya of octopus, squid, and shrimp, and an orange and mustard glazed salmon. The licorice-y flavor of the fennel is present, but doesn't call attention to itself unlike its annoying seed, anise. The citrus of the orange and lemon juice brought a little lightness to the afore mentioned jambalaya. Super delicious, super easy, even healthy.

Tanis' Salad of Fennel and Orange
Adapted from the not-yet-but-soon-to-be-published Mangia with Quattro: Family-Style Italian from the Heart.
2 fennel bulbs, sliced thin with a knife or mandoline.
1-3 oranges, quartered and sliced into bite-sized pieces. The range is just to taste. When i served myself I admittedly tried to scoop up more than my fair share of orange bits.
Toasted pine nuts, optional and if used, the amount is to your liking.
Toss all the ingredients together. Cover and chill until ready to serve. Dressing is simply
 some squeezed lemon juice and a few drizzles of olive oil, salt and pepper.

I brought dessert, so my bad behavior of the day previous became a crime of opportunity. My Mom was having a baby shower and explicitly told me not to make anything, as it was going to be pot-luck style, and should I make stuff she'd have too much food.
"Mom...I did something bad."
My Mom, sounding worried at work. "What happened? Are you okay?"
"I baked a walnut cake Mom. I'm sorry. I need to join Baker's Anonymous, for real this time."
It didn't get eaten at the shower, as there was a lot fo pot-luck veggie trays and an industrial Costco Carrot Cake, but Tanis is a much more deserving recipient than somebody's baby.

Warning to do with this recipe: I'm a bit stupid, and assume I can replace anything with anything and have a cake turn out ducky doo. And the cake was good- florally, foamy wine smells wafting around during the baking time, and the toasted walnuts sweet but never cloying- but the crumb was a teeny bit dry and tough, if I do say. I think the two biggest reasons for this was 1) My using one cup of whole wheat flour instead of just being a all-purpose/cake flour purist, and 2) Because I didn't have any walnut oil, I instead melted some butter and mixed it with some applesauce and just called it "instead of". And well...I might have over mixed it a bit.  It did taste good though. Yum yum yum yum.
Follow the recipe for best results. I know right? Strange advice.

French-Style Walnut Cake
Inspired by Orangette, Adapted from Saveur Cooks Authentic French
1/2 cup broken walnut
3 eggs
1 cup of sugar
1/3 cup walnut oil
1/3 cup white wine
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
Tiny pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Toast the walnut chunks in a dry saucepan over medium-low heat. Shake them around a bit, as I burnt my first batch. I'm sounding like quite a clod in this recipe.
Beat the eggs in a medium bowl with an electric mixer. Add the sugar and mix well, until liquid is lemon colored and fluffy. Add the walnut oil and wine and mix.
Generously grease a 9 inch cake pan, and if you have bad luck getting cakes out of pans as I do, cut a round of parchment out for the bottom and grease that too.
Mix the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Add the egg mixture and mix till just combined. Add toasted walnuts and fold in carefully. Learn from my mistakes: try not to over-mix.
Bake about 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool about 15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

Chocolate Sauce/Ganache/Brown Top Part
I made this up, and it's completely wrong, but it tasted real good.
A handful of chocolate chips (mine were left over from school, and I wanted to get rid of them)
1 Tbsp butter
1 2oz block of bittersweet chocolate
1 tsp orange zest
About 1/4 cup of milk or cream, to move along the sauce-y process.

Set up a double boiler on your stove, or a sauce pan with a 1/2 inch of water and a bowl sitting on top of it.
Bring the water to a simmer.
Without grace or practice, dump all your ingredients except the milk into the bowl. Let it get soft, and then begin mixing it around with a fork, adding bits of milk/cream as you need to to moisten.
This bit is "university-chic/cheap".

17.5.09

Anthology of friends in breakfast foods, part 1


Tsuki:
1) Oatmeal: made on the stove with dates dates dates, but no sugar because you said the dates were sweet enough. You were so right about cooking oatmeal on the stove. It puffs out like a robin's breast, and has so much more pillowy give than the microwave version, which stay flat and somehow staticky: tinfoil on a capped molar.  Once with berries and whipped
  cream, from your birthday the night before, when you drank champagne straight from the bottle and looked so beautiful in a gauzy black dress and red heels. Pavlova: it was the first time any of us had eaten it. Soft, forgiving wedges of meringue with a crispy, parchment-y crust. Berries and whipped cream. Never met someone who likes whipped cream as much as you: beater licking and almost-secret spoonfuls.

2) Apple pie, from the freezer: One of the twelve or so that you made: fresh pie dough and apples stolen from the tree hanging over our house. That first time you climbed up the table and then the chair (which kicked out a bit) and then into the loose drain pipe with a bucket under your arm I mentally reviewed my CPR "C" for head trauma. 
3) House staple: yogurt with apples/berries/bananas! Maybe not bananas for you, because you and Andrea were conscious about the chemicals that farmers dip them in, and it's long-term effects.
4) Muffins! You'd make em ("I feel like baking not math. Muffins. Yes. I have rhubarb, I have dried pears. Eggs. Hmm.") and freeze em, and then be sad that you'd have to eat them before you could bake again. Good for homework, not for happiness.
5) Smoothies: you tried to make them with rhubarb for a while, but no amount of sugar could make semi-frozen rhubarb successful. Your best concoction: lime and punch concentrate with rum, ice, and frozen berries.

14.5.09

Little cabin in the woods

 

The summer before my grade 12 year, my family took a vacation with our close friends the Krisches, and my math tutor/the most patient woman alive/Aunt Patty. We were off to Italy and Greece for six weeks.I wish that, at seventeen, I had been interested in the nuances of thin crusted pizza that glistened with olive oil and rendered fat from fresh mozzarella. Or pasta cooked perfectly al dente tossed with shrimp and simmered in real cream. Or beautiful, sliced baguettes. I should have spread the butter thick across the ciabatta and baguette and the apricot scones and then sprinkled it with salt like Kelsey did (but Kelsey didn't sprinkle the salt so much as spoon it on).  Or for the love of god, treasured the authenticity of the food I was eating. Instead, I worried about carbs, and I did a lot of sit-ups when I could have been at the buffet. I know. I hate myself.

 There was a perfect harmonious moment when we were in Greece (my stomach and self-confidence in perfect alignment), and it might have been one of my initial nudges toward an obsession with food. Indulgently thinking ourselves "travelers" rather than simpleton "tourists", the nine of us decided to lounge lakeside at a local watering hole, a few miles and an autobahn (freeway) out of the city. 

 Driving in Europe is like being in a James Bond movie. No one pays attention to the lines, and sometimes there simply are no lines at all. Those painted white lines end abruptly, and you speed on on what looks like a landing strip, sweating the loss of an invisible barrier. Have you ever missed chalky white paint before? There are also no speed limits, and lights are always optional. Traffic police encourage you to avoid hitting other cars/people (but accidents happen- look at the dings on every car in Italy for proof), and offer you a friendly wave when you flit by at two hundred kilometers per hour. My dad would go back to Europe and drive the whole time. I spent entire car rides with my head between my knees.

 We did arrive at the lake. It was cute, if a little swampy, but nothing was so sweet as the gravity. We spread ourselves out and gripped our towels until we stopped psychically drag racing.

To our left on the way home: a little cabin in the woods. Bright and breezy and cheery, with white curtains billowing around an open, wraparound porch- something from the American deep south. Even the vines look like kudzu; even the air was starchy and full.

There must have been a sign, something to suggest it as an eatery, but I don’t remember one. Only the dreamlike quality of the place: everything emanating a glow of blue and yellow. The long wooden table we arranged ourselves around. We were the only people there, other than the owner and her chattering five-year-old son. He ran a toy truck up and down my arm while his mother called him from the kitchen, apologized to me, and shrugged as if to say “he’s a sweet thing; you don’t mind.” And I didn’t, not even when he bit my hand and left his mouth there, oozing spit.

Did we order? The owner sat at the table with us for a while, and then food came, but there were no menus. Only suggestions and nods for “you like sound of?”. No one sad no to anything- to do so would have been unspeakably stupid.

I must have eaten only a plate of fresh feta cheese. Real greek feta is nothing like the rubbery crumbs I eat from Apetina tubs here in Canada. Greek feta doesn’t sweat salt. It rarely deigns to take on the flavor of the humble vegetable ingredients in your salad. Piquant: smooth and sweet, curdy in texture. It doesn't crumble, it doesn't have a brittle bone in its luscious, creamy, softly lumpy body. 

Kelsey ate salted butter on bread. My Mom ate salad thick with rings of raw red onion, knuckley olives, oregeno oregeno orgeno.
It’s time to get out of here. Paris for wine and long hair in buns and espresso and walnut cake. India for real black tea and a thousand different curries and maybe a dreadlock and street meat.

13.5.09

Butter fingers

Have you read The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood? The handmaids (basically sex slaves; viable uteruses to re-populate the pollution-ridden earth) steal the foil wrapped pats of butter from the table. They hide them in their shoes and, when they are alone in their rooms at night, they rub the butter (half-melted by now) into their hands and face as quiet resistance. Their last form of vanity. I had a history teacher once who said (referring to Saddam Hussein's recent capture from that hole somewhere) 

"I would rather die in a HAIL OF FIRE than be found in some hole like a loser. WOULD YOU DIE FOR WHAT YOU BELIEVE IN? I would."

She would too. Ms. Tener, you're still awesome, with your curtain printed pants like Maria from the Sound of Music (or more recently, Gwen Stefani in her Wind It Up music video, but that's an awful, awful song). I only started eating almonds because Ms. Tener told me that loss of iron due to menstruation could be made up for by eating lots of iron-rich almonds!

It's my brother's birthday tomorrow, and I haven't gotten him a gift yet. Since I won't be getting him one in the next few hours, I'm baking him a batch of cookies to tide him over to Sunday when he'll receive his real present. I know I baked him cookies like 2 days ago, but nothing lasts here.
Correction: my Dad eats everything in sight, and my boyfriend, Chris, knows where to look.
Anyways, this is adapted from Ga's (great grandmother to you) old recipe, and she was really not afraid of butter. Or margarine. Or shortening. Actually, she was pretty stoked on any spreadable fat. Bacon drippings. Lard. And since my hands are so dry (chalky from flour floating the bakery–you can't get away from it) they sucked all the cookie butter up, and now I'm leaving a trail of grease stains.

*Quick side note: grease stains, or any other kind of stain, are important to have on recipes. No point in passing on a recipe card or book that hasn't been loved up and spilled on. People will assume you never made anything from the book you're bequeathing.

Can you tell I'm trying out your patience? Whatever. Scroll to the recipe if you want. I interest myself. MYSELF. Sigh.
You should know first: this is not for those looking to AVOID sugar-comas. You may block an artery or six.

Ga Cookies
Adapted slightly to avoid being haunted. Ga's coldest dish was dissaproval with pursed lips.
1 1/2 cups of butter or some other meltable fat, melted.
1 cup of white sugar
1 cup of brown sugar
3 eggs
2 cups of All Purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt*
1 cup of coconut
2 tsp cinnamon
4 cups of rolled oats

*Because I am trendy, I eased off on the salt, opting to sprinkle the tops of the cookies with fleur de sel after baking as I've been seeing on Tastespotting for some time. Makes you all SHIVERY. Like a NIBBLE ON YOUR EAR, except its on your tongue. Ooooh I know. Gettin' me all hot (in the kitchen). But you don't need much. These are your doctor's favorite cookies. Don't show him the recipe.

True Ga form would be a one-pot affair. Separate the wet and dry if you're worried, but she was a woman of few worries, other than what soggy clod the dining room at her rest home would be serving for dinner that night. She wrote letters to the chefs describing in articulate detail the degree of shit they dared serve her, but for the most part I think the cooks were offended, whereas her intent was to motivate.
I opened a new jar of peanut butter today.
I know. I have a thrilling, unparalleled life. But I opened this new jar and my whole sank like week old birthday balloons. It made me miss every dinner scraped from the bottom of my 4lb jug of Costco Kirkland Organic PB this past school year. Sometimes, after a long day, the only thing I could bring myself to do was lean against my pantry with my peanut butter clutched to my chest, pointer finger extended, scooping glob after oily sweet glob into my mouth. For hours. Sometimes until bed. I know. Some people drink; at least peanut butter won't break the capillaries in my nose.
Now that I'm at home, I've been informed that this is a disgusting habit, made only slightly less repulsive by my second favorite peanut butter habit: peanut butter on bananas.

I'm sorry that the picture is so phallic. Lets call it kicks for today.

Lovely

A few years ago there was a big marijuana bust up my street, and the best thing that came of it was that my neighbors went to jail and, presumably, their five vicious pit bulls were taken and put on perimeter control of said prison. As a ten year old craving candy from the corner store, may I say that threat of facial scarring is not a suitable method for teaching kids about healthy eating. But like I said, they've all long since been arrested, and I can run by their house with no fear in my heart. I actually just picked some lilac off their property yesterday, so assuming I can rule out contact high, as long as I don't throw my bouquet on a fire I'm not reprehensible for any mood alteration whilst in it's presence. I'm not sure how long/whether marijuana residue will stick to a thing. I'm not really that kind of girl. Except on Tuesdays.

Unrelated: I made cookies for my boyfriend, brother, and Dad.




A Better White Chocolate Macadamia Nut (Oatmeal) Cookie
Makes about 24-30.

It's only better because I put some spices and oat-y goodness in. Nutmeg and all-spice balance the sweetness of the white chocolate and the sugar. I actually prefer my cookies less sweet, but these were never really going to be for me, so it was sugar and white flour galore.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
  • 1 cup of AP flour
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1/2 a tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp all-spice
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed golden brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup plus a little more granulated white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 T vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups white chocolate
  • Scant 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups roasted salted macadamia nuts.

I've only just begun to be able to suss out basic baking without a guideline recipe, which is the best thing ever. I don't like going into something without being able to visualize a winner's outcome. This is why I hate street-racing and darts. 
Beat the butter till fluffy. Add both sugars and beat till blended. Add the egg, beat well. It'll smooth everything out. Add the vanilla. Set the bowl aside.
Assemble all of your dry ingredients in another bowl and whisk to blend
. Add the wet ingredients, the white chocolate, and the nuts. Mix to incorporate.
I like my cookies palm-sized. Whatever. Make them as big or small as you like (but consider your baking-time if you make your cookies really really small- they'll burn). Bake on a greased cookie sheet for 12-15 minutes, or until golden-brown on top.