Thursday, August 16, 2012

Say You're Sorry Sour Cream Cake

A barroom reenactment of the Mantis
beseeching the neighbors for midnight
cat retrieval assistance.
Remember that time when you accidentally opened that one window which has no screen, and your boyfriend's cat snuck out and ended 40 feet up the tree in the next door neighbor's back yard at 11:30 PM on a work night? No? Well, then, that must have been me.
Seriously. Forty feet up the neighbor's tree. As midnight approached. Nothing but a pair of iridescent demon eyes reflecting the flashlight. The neighbors were good sports, holding a second flashlight and even letting the Mantis use their ladder, but no. The cat was retrievable at about 20 feet, but there was no way to get to her when she scrambled up twice as high. So, after about 40 minutes or so of keeping the neighbors up way past their bedtimes, and wondering if a real fire department would really rescue a real cat from a real tree, we had no real options except to wait for daylight. We apologized repeatedly and profusely to the neighbors, then waited it out until the alarm went off at 5:30.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Cranberry-Pecan Bourbon Bars

No spray paint was used in the baking of this recipe!
I am all about playing the Pantry Game. You know, the one where you throw open the pantry and see what you can do with whatever you have. I had just a bit of white chocolate leftover from the Thai fudge project. I had pecans and cranberries left from the cornbread Christmas stuffing. And really, when do I not have bourbon?
These bars were baked as dessert for a meal with a few friends on New Year's Eve. Really, the menu was not nearly as memorable as the cocktails. I could have served, oh, I don't know, think of the most revolting thing you have ever been served. I could have served big plates of that, and after half a French 75, you would have never noticed what was on your plate.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

White Chocolate & Thai Tea Fudge

The first attempt: the tea is dry, not bloomed in water or vodka.
This is not my recipe. The original recipe is surpassingly simple and elegant, and the results are beautiful. Plus, I love a thai iced tea, so much so that I don't even care how much carcinogenic food dye they use to make that radioactive orange color.

The original recipe specified white chocolate. I am just not a fan. If it's chocolate, I want it to be dark and bitter and just a little sweet. Not bland and white and cloying. Ok, two things: first, I love thai iced tea. And second? Well, just look at the darn blog. If this woman says "Cook this, it's delicious," I am simply not going to argue. I am going to cook what she says to cook the way she says to cook it. So I bought white chocolate.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Pav Bhaji

No, I did not forget. There's no garlic here, no ginger.  Just this once.
If you are going to prepare a home-made Indian Ultrafeast for forty people, you are insane. If some of those people don't even like Indian food, then you are twice as insane. And you are definitely going to need some Midwest-meets-Mumbai dishes. You know, like sliders. Vegetarian sliders.

Pav bhaji is Mumbai street food: a plain dinner roll (pav) split and filled with spicy curried vegetables (bhaji). The dinner rolls can be white or wheat, your call. Or, serve the bhaji as a vegetable side dish with other Indian fare. You can adjust the vegetable combinations, you can ramp the seasoning up or down.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Hearty Minestrone

Cat: very good at sleeping on the couch.
Not so good at working kitchen machines.
I did not want to go to the Kroger this morning. What I wanted was to stay in bed, and have someone serve me a tray of hot coffee with cream and flaky croissants with jam while I listened to the rain patter on the skylight and read the Sunday paper. Maybe in my next life.
Alas, there was no one but the cat to serve me breakfast in bed, and Mamie was even less inclined than I was to get up and brew a pot of coffee. Plus, she has no thumbs and a brain the size of a walnut, so kitchen tasks are extraordinarily difficult for her.
So, after making my own coffee with milk and settling for a bowl of oatmeal with honey at the kitchen table, I decided to go Krogering anyway. Sunday morning is the best time. The shelves are restocked, and there is no one else in the store to fight you for that gorgeous bag of bell peppers that has just been marked down to $0.99. Or that huge bag of banana peppers for $1.50. And no one is going to arm-wrestle those neckbones away from you, no matter what day of the week it is.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Vanilla Porter Cupcakes

11.11.11 has come and is long gone. The Canadian Chemist hosted the Nigel Tufnel Day festivities, and a good time was had by all. The Canadian Chemist also happens to be an accomplished brewer, with a brand-new batch of vanilla porter on tap. I had seen a recipe for Blue Moon cupcakes, and filed the idea away for later use...well, vanilla porter cupcakes with chocolate stout icing sounded like a good idea...

You would not think such a small number of ingredients could
wreak such havoc. You would be wrong.
These cupcakes were baked and eaten and enjoyed weeks ago. I am very late in getting this to post. I have about a million slips of paper with recipe notes, all over my house. I lost the slip with this recipe on it. I hate it when that happens. I find slips everywhere, which are unlabeled, consisting of just a list of ingredients in a mind-boggling mixture of weights and measures. What I finally found was a recipe fragment on the same slip as an unrelated recipe for pumpkin custard. A quick check of my reference recipe...yep, this is it.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Cinnamon Streusel Coffeecake

Assemble your ingredients.
So it's Thanksgiving, and there is no turkey in my kitchen. This is actually ok. There was an easy, lovely brunch with some very close friends. The Tall Acoustician spread newspaper all over the kitchen counter and floor and made bacon and pancakes. Turns out this was actually a necessary (and remarkably effective) prophylactic measure against bacon spatter and pancake batter (and he probably should have wrapped himself with newspaper as well). There was cheesy, mushroomy quiche. Savory bite-sized sausage balls. Sweet mimosas and bloody marys with sour okra pickles. Spicy cake. This cake. Later on, there was a small dinner with more dear friends, followed by a late-night adventure with Miss V wherein we failed an attempt at scoring me a Black Friday midnight TV at the Best Buy, then failed again at the Wal-Mart. Which is probably all to the good, since if I had a television I would probably never get out of my pajamas or leave the house.