Not-skinny dip

Hello, friends and food fans!

I did not regale you with a recipe last week, because I didn’t cook anything. I didn’t cook anything because I am desperately trying to lose 7% of my body weight in order to avoid losing $20 in a workplace weight-loss contest. It is going POORLY. So far, the only changes I have noticed are 1) I’m hungry, and 2) there’s a lot more swearing in my inner monologue. (e.g. “I don’t WANT any more (expletive deleted) carrot sticks.”)

I will not admit defeat yet–I want that money back–but I am taking a short hiatus to reflect and plan strategy. I woke up this morning, stepped on my stupid scale (same), and thought to myself, “I’m gonna make some (expletive deleted) dip.”

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This recipe is the love-child of my two favorite dips, hummus and guacamole. I was calling it “hummole” at first, but then I changed it to “guacammus” because that sounds sort of like a Transformer.

First, you make a very basic hummus in the food processor.

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Then, add some extra veggies and the diced avocado. I recommend scoring it while it’s still in the skin, and then scooping out the pieces with a spoon.

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I am bad at weight loss, but every now and then I have flashes of culinary brilliance–this stuff is DELISH. An anonymous taste-taster declared it one of the best things I’ve ever made. Make it, pin it, email it, share it with your friends–the world needs to know about Guacammus. You don’t have to thank me, but if you’d like to I would accept $20.

Guacammus (makes about 3 cups)

  • 1 can chickpeas (I recommend the low-sodium kind–and SAVE THE LIQUID when you drain them)
  • 2 tbsp of the liquid that the chickpeas come in
  • 3 tbsp lime or lemon juice
  • 1/3 c. diced red onion
  • 1/3 c. diced red bell pepper
  • 1/3 c. corn kernels (I used frozen, defrosted)
  • 1 diced avocado
  • 1/2 jalepeno, minced (Adjust this amount to your spice preference. Note that the heat lives in the seeds and white parts inside. Also note that you should wash your hands after chopping it, because if you touch the corner of your eye without doing so you will cry like you haven’t cried since the end of Charlotte’s Web.)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Process the chickpeas, chickpea liquid, and lime or lemon juice until smooth. Taste the hummus and add salt and pepper as needed. Fold in the rest of the ingredients, and check again for seasoning. The avocado will turn brown eventually, so try to make the dip as close to serving time as possible. Other anti-browning tips–squeeze a little extra citrus juice over the top, and if you have to store it for awhile, put plastic wrap directly on the surface of the dip.

  

Petits four(teen)s

A few weeks ago, my niece Savvy asked me if I would like to make fancy dessert food for her 14th birthday slumber party extravaganza. HA! She might as well have asked me if I would like the role of Fanny Brice in an upcoming film remake of “Funny Girl”. Or an invitation to a casual brunch at Ina Garten’s house. Or $10,000. OBVIOUSLY I would like to make fancy dessert food.

Here are the lovely young ladies I was baking for:

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The birthday girl and her ma/my sis-in-law:

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I made red velvet cupcakes (recipe from America’s favorite southern belle/diabetes pharma spokeswoman Paula Deen) and little tartlets with a sugar-cookie crust, vanilla filling, and strawberries.

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I also made today’s featured confectionary creation–Neapolitan cheesecake petits fours!

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“Petits fours” is French for “fancy little cake suitable for eating at tea parties.” (Or something like that.) Try and enjoy!

Neapolitan Cheesecake Petits Fours (adapted from this recipe from Taste of Home)

  • 1 1/2 c. chocolate graham cracker crumbs
  • 4 tbsp melted butter
  • 3 8-oz. packages cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 1-oz. squares of semi-sweet baking chocolate (plus more if you want to dip the finished petits fours)
  • 1/3 c. mashed sweetened strawberries
  • 3-5 drops red food coloring

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs and melted butter. Press the crumb mixture evenly into the bottom of a 9×13 pan, and bake the crust for 8 minutes. Set it aside to cool and raise the oven temperature to 425 degrees. Using an electric mixer (or a whoooole lot of elbow grease, I guess), beat the cream cheese, vanilla, and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Stop the mixer a few times to scrape down the bowl, making sure there are no lumps. Divide the cheesecake batter into three equal portions. Melt the 2 squares of baking chocolate, and add it to one bowl of cheesecake batter. Add the mashed strawberries and red food coloring to another bowl. (Start with just a couple of drops, and add more to get the shade of pink you want.) Spread the chocolate cheesecake batter evenly over the crust. Spread the plain batter over that, and finish with the strawberry. Bake at 425 for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 300 and continue baking for about 20 minutes longer, until the middle is just set.

Let the cheesecake cool completely, and then refrigerate. Once it’s chilled, slice it into small squares. (I used a pizza cutter dipped in hot water to keep the edges nice and neat.) If you’d like, melt some more baking chocolate and dip one half of each little cake.

Fakin’fest!

Excitement is building here in Des Moines for the Fifth Annual Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival, titled “Baconpocalypse Now: I love the smell of bacon in the morning.” (Here is the event page–I couldn’t make this stuff up.) Although I’m not interested in unlimited bacon samples or bacon-themed educational lectures, I am sort of disappointed that tickets sold out immediately and I will therefore be unable to attend the “Bacon Elegance Dinner.” I would have enjoyed the opportunity to put together an evening look for that occasion.

Not everybody has succumbed to bacon fever, however. In anticipation of the festival, the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine dropped this truth bomb right on Douglas Avenue:

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YIKES. That is……distressing.

I’m certainly not telling anybody to stop eating bacon. I know many people have a deep and abiding love for this particular pork product, because “Don’t you miss bacon?” is probably the second most frequently-asked question when people find out I’m a vegetarian. (The first is, of course, “Where do you get your protein?”) But I will say this: I love you all and I want you to live to be 100 so we can swap off-color stories about our younger days in the Golden-Girls-style compound I have planned for my retirement. So maybe, after the Bacon Festival (or after you host your own personal Bacon Festival), go with vegetables for a couple days. Please?

Try this, in fact. Get yourself a large eggplant, some soy sauce or tamari, some maple syrup, and some liquid smoke.

  
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Liquid smoke = super-concentrated hickory smoke flavor. Sometimes I dab a couple drops on my wrists in lieu of my daily spritz of Chanel No. 5. The fellas really go for it. (Actually, I have never done that. But it’s not a horrible idea.)

Cut the eggplant into thin slices, arrange the slices on a sheet pan, and stick ‘em into a very hot oven.

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While they’re in the oven, whisk together the aforementioned liquid ingredients. After the eggplant is done with its first stay in the oven, dip each slice in the liquid and place it back on the baking sheet.

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A bit more time in the oven, and look! EGGPLANT BACON!

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OK, it doesn’t really taste like bacon. So don’t try it and then yell at me when it doesn’t. But–you do get similar textures (chewy from the thicker slices and crispy from the thinner slices), saltiness, and smokiness. Here’s the recipe I used, from the amazing Isa Chandra Moskovitz. I baked a few minutes longer than she suggests in the last phase, and I added 2 tablespoons of maple syrup to the soy sauce/liquid smoke mixture.

I didn’t love these right out of the oven. But–later that night I made some pasta with mushrooms, shallots, sundried tomatoes, and cashew alfredo (recipe from my lovely friend Katie!). I chopped up some eggplant bacon and scattered it on top, and as George Harrison once said (well, actually he said it several times) “My. Sweet. Lord.”

In closing today, let me just say a very happy birthday to two of my favorite people ever: my dad (SIXTY today! Doesn’t that sound very distinguished?) and my awesome niece Savvy. You guys are the very best :)

Tune in next time when I cater fancy foods for Savvy’s birthday tea party. And have a fantastic week!

Pulp nonfiction

Hey, long time no see! Sorry I failed to provide a New Year’s-themed blog post. I tried. You know how you’re supposed to eat black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day for good luck the rest of the year? Well, I had wonderful intentions to make some brilliant, delicious, innovative black-eyed pea dish, but then I got distracted and over-boiled them and they turned to sad, sad mush.

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(I choose to not consider the cosmic implications of over-boiling the food you’re supposed to eat for good luck in the new year.)

Since then, most of my kitchen adventures have involved the juicer. And lots and lots of vegetables.

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My favorite juice combo, I have decided, is as follows: 1/2 cucumber, 1 celery stalk, a few leaves of romaine, a pear, and a piece of ginger root.

The thing about the juicer, though, is that it leaves behind a whole bunch of pulp, and I hate kitchen waste.

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It makes great compost, but a person only needs so much compost. So, I have started trying to find ways to sneak it into recipes. My first project was some veggie burgers, made with veggie pulp from the juicer, garbanzos, tahini, ginger and garam masala. The flavor was good, but the texture was off, so I’ll keep working on that one.

My experiment with the fruit pulp, however, was a great success.

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I adapted an old recipe for zucchini/pineapple/carrot muffins to use pulp from oranges and pineapple. There’s a little bit of cinnamon in them as well, and the spice/citrus combo made for an amazing smell in the kitchen. If you don’t have juice pulp piling up in your kitchen, I bet you could use any combination of fruit puree that adds up to the 1 and 1/4 cup I used in the recipe. Mashed banana, drained crushed pineapple, you get the idea. Enjoy, and have yourself a maaaaaarvelous week!

Fruit Pulp Muffins (makes 18)

  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1 c. canola oil
  • 1 1/4 c. fruit pulp (mine was from oranges and pineapple)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 c. white flour
  • 1 c. whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 c. chopped fresh cranberries (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, brown sugar, canola oil, fruit pulp, and vanilla extract. Add the flours, baking soda, baking powder, and cinnamon, and stir just until all the dry ingredients are incorporated. Fold in the chopped cranberries if you’re using them (or, fold in anything else you’d like–dried fruit, nuts, etc.). Spoon the batter into greased muffin tins, and bake for 20-25 minutes.   

  

Christmas recap

Hello there, internet! I hope everybody had a splendid weekend. It was a good Christmas around here. I got to spend lots of time with family and bake a lavish, three-layered dessert, which is pretty much all I ever want in a holiday.

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(Neapolitan cheesecake–perfect when you need a birthday cake for somebody important in your life. Or a major religious figure.) I also made numerous sugar cookies, in case Santa stopped by.

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(You spend ONE day in a gross sweatshirt that’s older than you are and the paparazzi come out of the woodwork.)

Thanks to a couple days of food-centric, sugar-y celebrating, by the time yesterday rolled around all I wanted to eat was grains and veggies. So, on that note, here’s a very approximate sort-of recipe for my post-Christmas “detox” dinner.

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I roasted about a pound of Brussels sprouts and half of a diced red onion at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, while cooking 1/2 cup of millet (which made about 2 cups cooked). I use the directions in this post whenever I cook millet. I mixed the roasted veggies and cooked millet with approximately 1/2 cup each chopped fresh cranberries and chopped almonds. Then I whisked up a maple-y vinaigrette, drizzled most of it over the millet, and saved a bit for future salads. Here are the measurements:

  • 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • S&P to taste
  • 1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil

Because this post is already completely disjointed and nonsensical, can I just share one piece of exciting, food-related news before signing off? Yes? Thank you for humoring me.

Thanks to the recent gift-giving holiday, we now have a JUICER in the house! I’ve been intrigued by the idea of veggie juice ever since I got my hands on Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy Diet, and now that I’ve tried it for myself, I’m telling you–this stuff is amazing.

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It tastes so pure and fresh and healthy that there has been a serious upsurge in singing at the table around here. Given enough vegetable juice, I am confident I could run the world (or at least maybe mount a last-minute write-in campaign and win the Iowa caucus, just for fun)! So far I’ve been doing a combo of cucumber, celery, romaine, broccoli stems, and pear. If any of you happen to be juicing aficionados and have combos to suggest, please let me know!

With that, I will sign off for 2011 and wish you all a very happy New Year. I hope it’s full of fun and champagne cupcakes!

  

Our liberties we prize, and our tots we will maintain

Last week, The Atlantic published an article that set out to tell the rest of the country what we Iowans are really like, so everybody would know what kind of people will be setting the tone for the GOP nomination race at the first-in-the-nation caucus. The article does not put us in the most flattering light, and it did not go over well here, to say the least. I think it’s safe to say the author, Stephen Bloom (a University of Iowa professor who is currently visiting at the University of Michigan) will never be honored as grand marshal of the Iowa State Fair parade.

I read the article, of course, to see what everybody was so upset about, and my reaction was as follows: “Meh.” (Picture me shrugging my “hardy” Midwestern shoulders as you read that.) Sure, it’s full of generalizations. Sure, it sort of makes it look like all we do here is hunt, fish, praise the Lord, and cook meth. (I only do one or two of those things on an occasional basis, I’ll let you guess which ones. Hint: not the meth.) But I think most people who’ve spent any significant amount of time here know that Iowa can be a great place to live. And if the few that don’t see that want to persist in believing that we’re all a bunch of closed-minded country bumpkins, well….I guess I’m not particularly concerned.

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I must comment further on the food-related portion of the article, though. Professor Bloom writes about food in Iowa: “Comfort food reigns supreme. Meatloaf and pork chops are king. Casseroles (canned tuna or Tatertots) and Jell-O molds (cottage cheese with canned pears or pineapple) are what to bring to wedding receptions and funerals.”

Well, I’ve never heard of people bringing food to a wedding, potluck-style, but funerals, absolutely. My mom used to get calls quite frequently, as a member of the St. Joseph’s Ladies’ Guild, to bring a “salad” to the parish center for a funeral dinner, and she usually made what we referred to as “cherry fluff.” Cherry fluff includes:

  • 1 tub of Cool Whip
  • 1 can crushed pineapple
  • 1 can Eagle Brand milk
  • 1 can cherry pie filling

Then you freeze it, and put it in a tupperware or glass dish that has your name on it, so nobody on the clean-up crew cabbages onto it after the funeral dinner. Mom also told me she would occasionally add “some sort of nutmeats” for texture. I told her the word “nutmeats” makes me uncomfortable.

And yes, Iowans do tend to enjoy tater-tot casserole. I hadn’t had it for years, because it’s usually a ground-beef-laden dish, but when I read the article I suddenly had a serious tot craving. So I made a few tweaks to the standard recipe–meatless “meat” and a homemade cheese sauce instead of canned cream-of-mushroom soup–and ended up with something traditional enough for a square dance down by the river in Keokuk, yet upscale enough to entertain insurance clients in Des Moines.

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I’m not usually into fake meat products, because I don’t miss eating meat. But I wanted this casserole to have the texture of the real thing, so I used this stuff:

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I don’t think I would want to eat it on its own, but it worked perfectly mixed with the veggies and sauce. The sauce starts with a roux (which is not hard, it just sounds hard because it’s French), and gets a little bit of a kick from some pepper jack cheese.

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You should know that this casserole received an enthusiastic thumbs-up from my dad, barbecue master and staunch carnivore! I’m always very proud when I can achieve that with a veggie recipe. I’ll type out the particulars below, and then get back to cleaning my turkey-huntin’ rifle. Until next time, fair friends!

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Vegetarian Tater-tot Casserole

  • 1 16-oz. bag frozen mixed vegetables, defrosted
  • 12 oz. meatless “ground beef”
  • 4 oz. grated pepper jack cheese
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 c. milk (I used 1%)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • about 1/4 tsp Kitchen Bouquet*
  • about 1/2 of a 32-oz. bag frozen tater-tots

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9×13 baking dish. Prepare the “meat” as directed on the package–it may need to be browned for a few minutes in a skillet, or it may be fine to just crumble it up. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Then add the flour, and stir to combine. This is the “roux”–cook it for a minute or so, stirring constantly. Then add the milk and salt, and whisk until there are no lumps. Continue whisking (or stirring) until the mixture bubbles just slightly and thickens. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add about half of the grated cheese. Stir until the cheese is melted. In a large mixing bowl, combine the frozen veggies, the fake ground beef, and the cheese sauce. Pour this mixture into the baking dish and spread it into an even layer. Sprinkle the remaining grated cheese on top. Then line up the tots on top of the vegetable mixture, and bake for 30-35 minutes (until the whole casserole is bubbling and the tots are crispy).

*Kitchen Bouquet is a seasoning/browning sauce used to add flavor and color to gravies, sauces, etc. Totally optional.

Anise-talgia

I’ve had a lot of pretty great ladies to look up to in my life. One of them was my Grandma Mary Frances.

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Isn’t that picture amazing? I want to be that picture when I grow up. Mary Frances died when I was in college, but she was far too fantastic to ever forget. She excelled at sending cards for every holiday, making me laugh, teaching catechism, and grandmother-ing in general. She had real style, too–when she was older she wore diabetic shoes, but she found a catalog where she could special order them in all the metallic shades a gal could ever need. I miss her a lot.

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I especially missed her when I found this recipe in St. Joseph’s Cookin’ (a publication of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Jefferson, IA, which is where we went when I was growing up). Take a moment to just read this over, if you please, and you will understand my confusion.

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I read a lot of recipes, friends. Usually they make sense to me. But this one left me with a LOT of questions. Such as:

  • Stir for 45 minutes? Really?
  • What if I stir to the left instead? With a metal spoon? Would that render the finished product inedible?
  • Aren’t there a few food safety issues with leaving raw, egg-y cookie dough out on the counter overnight?
  • Does “bake (for Christmas) in late November” mean that you’re supposed to let these cookies sit for nearly a month before you eat them? Or does it mean that you’re supposed to just eat them in late November to get in the holiday spirit?

These are things I can’t ask her, so I set out to figure it out myself.

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I followed all of Mary Frances’ instructions. Except I did not stir for 45 minutes, because that’s crazy talk. I stirred for 4-5 minutes (i.e. 4 minutes and 30 seconds) instead, hoping that the church cookbook compilation people had just made a typo. I baked off an experimental pan of the cookies right away, but those were clearly all wrong. So, I let the rest of them sit overnight. To hell with food safety–this was a serious investigation!

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I baked the remaining pans the next morning, and……CHRISTMAS MIRACLE!

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My dad (one of the world’s few remaining experts on the cooking of Mary Frances Lane) proclaimed they were right on the money. And, I think you really are supposed to let them sit for up to a month, because he also said they got more and more like hers as the week went by. They’re a very odd cookie–chewy on the bottom, with an eggshell-like top that cracks when you tap on it. They’re also a love-it-or-hate-it sort of deal, due to the anise, which tastes a bit like black licorice. I don’t like black licorice, so they’re not really my cup of tea, but it was well worth the time and ingredients to feel like I was communing with my grandma. And that’s why I love baking.

Final note: if you happen to try the recipe, be advised that the cookie sheets need to be well-greased. Anything less and you, like me, might find yourself struggling to scrape the cookies off the sheet, using language your grandma would not approve of.

Have a great week, everybody :)

Lackluster Thanksgiving post

You know what respectable food bloggers do on Thanksgiving? They arrange a bunch of gourds artfully on the table, make trendy takes on all of the Thanksgiving staple foods, and then take beautiful, well-lit photos of their families eating, being thankful, etc. Then they provide meticulous recipes for everything they cooked.

Well, this food blogger woke up really early on Thanksgiving, threw some clean underwear in a backpack, flew from Des Moines to Chicago to Colorado Springs, and rolled into the party just as everything was coming out of the oven. I am a disgrace. Any minute now, the internet will come to repossess my domain name.

My family went to Colorado earlier in the week to celebrate with my brother who lives in Colorado Springs, and I headed out later so I wouldn’t miss any days of work. We stayed in a cabin in Cascade–check out the view from the dinner table:
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There was also a shower with TWO SHOWER-HEADS! I really thought those only existed on HGTV. Usually when I’m on vacation I just don’t shower, because it seems like a lot of work, but you better believe I took advantage of that situation.

Other highlights of the trip:

  • WHOLE FOODS. We don’t have one in Iowa. I could have wandered in there for hours. I bought hemp seeds and a whole bunch of wheatgrass powder. (Both of those things are perfectly legal in Iowa, in case you’re wondering.)
  • I got to meet up with a friend from law school for a pizza-vino-gelato lunch.
  • I did not buy anything on Black Friday. For those of you keeping score at home, that’s a 100% discount. I also did not make a Christmas list, because now that I have the mixer I don’t need anything else, ever. All I want for Christmas is world peace and jobs for everyone.
  • I got to spend lots of time with my hilarious family, including this fellow in the footie pajamas:

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Such a deep thinker, that Baby Neph.

Next week I promise a real post, with a recipe and everything. I have a very special holiday cookie recipe on tap–I’ve been sitting on this one since I discovered it last winter, too late for Christmas. I hope you all had a good holiday weekend!

P.S. My mom made this recipe from my friend Katie, and it was the highlight of my Thanksgiving plate. Get yourself some quinoa and go for it.

 

Playing outside

When I was a kid, I pretty much liked to play inside. That was where my chapter books were, and it was climate-controlled. Also, I did NOT like to get my stirrup pants and custom-puffy-painted t-shirts dirty.

(Oh, did you want a picture to illustrate my puffy-painted-t-shirt phase? Well, OK.)

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But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become a much bigger fan of playing outside. I love running outside, especially in the cool weather we’re having right now. So, I was really excited to try the Living History Farms Off Road Race, a seven-mile celebration of costumes, creek-crossing, mud, and hills. I had two friends from law school come to town for the occasion, too, so it served as a much-needed reunion.

Verdict: most fun I’ve ever had at a race. I’m happy to report that I crossed all of the creeks (there were maybe six?) and crawled my way up the banks without breaking, spraining, tearing, or dislocating anything. I almost didn’t make it up the last creek bank because I couldn’t find a foothold and fell back in, but a mysterious man dressed like a Lego Person lent me a hand and pulled me out. I fell in love just a little bit. He was wearing a mask, but I surmise that he looked like this.

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As you can see, we didn’t go in costume. I guess I didn’t know costumes were such a big thing at this race, but it definitely made the course entertaining. I welcome ideas for next year’s costume, because I think I’ll probably be back again.

I have no recipe this week–sorry, compadres. Sometimes there’s lots going on and a girl just needs to live on baked sweet potatoes and Dr. Praeger burgers for awhile. I’ll try to get back on my game for a holiday meal recap next week. And speaking of–happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! I’m sending my love and virtual pie to each and every one of ya.

At Last

Oh HEY guys! I’m just hanging out here in the kitchen, singing heartfelt love songs to the new light of my life:

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That is the 5-quart KitchenAid Artisan stand mixer in Empire Red! I know, AAAAHHHHHH! It is the one I have been dreaming of for years. I have admired it on the Food Network, gone to visit it in several kitchen supply stores, and even considered a sham marriage so I could put it on my registry. You could say it’s the Cadillac of stand mixers, but I think it would be more appropriate to say that Cadillac is the KitchenAid of automobiles.

About two years ago, I promised myself I would buy the mixer when I finally got a full-time job in the legal field. The job search process took a long time, and, although I’m generally a sunny-side-up kind of girl, I got just a liiiiiiittle bit cranky about it. (Just ask my mom.) But finally, last Tuesday–while subbing at an elementary school, immediately after cleaning up a cafeteria Jello spill–I got a call, and my first real job. I feel really lucky, I’m very excited, and I start on Wednesday :) But now, back to the kitchen.

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I wanted to get my mixer started off on the right foot, so I initiated it immediately after bringing it home by baking a pan of my Grandma Neva’s brownies. Next, over the weekend, I started in on Ina Garten’s recipe for Ile Flottante. It’s in her Barefoot in Paris book, which is probably my favorite cookbook to just sit down and read like it’s a novel.

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In the cookbook intro to the recipe, Ina says the Ile Flottante “will have your guests groaning with pleasure.” Uhhh…I don’t think that sounds like good table manners, but still–I was intrigued. Plus, the key component of the recipe is meringue, and when you really want to see what a stand mixer is made of there is no better task than whipping up a bunch of egg whites, right? Things seemed promising at first:

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But, after that they went horribly, horribly wrong.

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I don’t know if I got distracted and measured something wrong (entirely possible because Pandora was KILLING IT with its selections on my baking station) or if I just don’t like meringues and never will. I expected them to be crunchy, but they were chewy on the outside and the inside tasted sort of like cotton candy with added protein. Nobody was “groaning with pleasure,” that’s for sure.

But no worries! With my trusty mixer by my side, I am undaunted by baking adversity. The two of us whipped up a lemon cake, which I later served to some hungry family members with whipped cream and raspberries. Much better!

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I used this recipe for lemon yogurt cake, with the following alterations:

  • I did not make the lemon syrup or the glaze, since I had other toppers in mind.
  • I cut all of the measurements for the cake in half and baked it in an 8×8 pan instead of a loaf pan (350 degrees for 20 minutes).
  • I used sour cream because I didn’t have any yogurt.

And that’s all! One announcement: I now have Twitter, and I don’t really understand it, but you can follow me (DarcySSATT) if you want. There are subscription buttons on the right side of this page (under the archives) for RSS, email updates, Twitter, and Facebook. Thanks for reading, and be sure to tune in next week when I attempt to run a cross-country 10K with two friends from law school and face two of my biggest fears (injury and wearing spandex pants in public)!