Archive | December, 2012

Sticky

27 Dec

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Sticky situation, when you make something as a gift and there is something wrong with it. See number two.

Two things I learned in the last week:

1) Just when you have given up on something, that is when it comes back. I had not gotten assigned a review from Blackboard Eats in forever (despite writing a month or so ago to remind them of my presence on their roster of reviewers) and decided that either my last review must have been horrible or that they had found more writers whom they liked better. Then out of nowhere they sent me to Sage which I reviewed here. Seriously the best vegan food ever. Go to Echo Park and indulge.

2) Pull your hair back in the kitchen. I made a new gingerbread recipe to give a friend for Christmas. I put a bit of the batter in a single muffin tin so I would be able to try it. I gave the gingerbread to my luckylucky friend. Later on, I tasted the muffin. Hot diggity, Cook’s Illustrated is the best. So I waited to hear what my friend thought.

He thought it was pretty good except one of my hairs was in it. Humiliation.
What the hell kind of Christmas present is that?

Pull your hair back in the kitchen.

3) Apparently I am intriguing and/or amusing enough to merit a Liebster award! The delightful super-runner-ridiculously-smart (she’s on her way to being a doctor) Nadiya nominated me. I gots me some facts (11) to give, some questions (11) to answer and some questions (11) to ask (surprise!) eleven other bloggers. It is a narcissists dream, I tell ya. Skip to past the recipe for all the Liebster lovin’.

For those of you who just want some sticky sweets, get cleaned up and get yer bake on.

This is the best gingerbread I’ve ever made and I shall love it forevah and evah cross my heart and secure my hairnet.

Gingerbread from Baking Illustrated (adapted jut a tad from Cook’s Illustrated)

2 1/4 c. Sifted flour
2 Tbsp. buttermilk powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. Dutch-processed cocoa powder
8 Tbsp. butter-melted and cooled to room temp
3/4 c. Molasses(not the robust or blackstrap type)
3/4 c. Sugar
1/2 c. Water
1/2 c. Almond milk
1 egg
Heat the oven to 350 F.
Whisk flour, buttermilk powder, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, allspice and cocoa together.
In another bowl beat butter, molasses, sugar, water, almond milk, and egg on low speed one minute.
Add to dry ingredients and beat on medium for a couple of minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl to get all the flour in. But don’t get carried away, you don’t want a ton of air whipped into this.
Spray a 9-inch square pan (I first lines mine with nonstick foil) with nonstick spray. I deeply fear sticking. Pour batter in. Even out with a spatula. Bake around 40 minutes. You want the top to spring back a bit when you lovingly touch it, and the sides should be pulling away. Take out. Cool as much or little as ye please.

Liebster time!

11 Random Facts
1) I wrote a play about breasts called FLAT: a play about small breasts and everything else that’s great in life.
2) I go hiking at night-the Sierra Club leads these arse-kicking hikes through Griffith Park that are perfect for vampires like me.
3) When I was 14 I hung out with satanist vampire wanna-be’s nearly twice my age. Stupid move on everyone’s part, but I’ve got stories to tell.
4) I have a bionic arm. The white stuff is metal:

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5) I used to draw all the time. In college I even took classes at the art school part of Wash U but between studio time drawing and rehearsal/class time for acting I ran out of time and frankly, creative energy
6) I love animals. I wanted to be a vet up until I was maybe 14 and changed my plan to acting.
7) I was a C-section baby
8) I am a hard-core minimalist when it comes to furniture and decor. There is nothing more beautiful than empty space. I don’t like owning too much stuff, although I hang on to clothes because I never know when I’ll need something for a role or audition.
9) I don’t love kale (I prefer Swiss chard) and I think agave syrup is no good. No good at all. Give me some friggin’ corn syrup.
10) I played and performed taiko drums with a group in St. Louis. Taiko drums are the large, thundering Japanese drums. Here is me doing it! We got hired to play all over the Midwest, actually. If you want to see them, contact them here.
11) I am getting really into wine and cocktail mixing but I hate being drunk and avoid it much as I can. I don’t mind getting relaxed yeah, I really hate feeling drunk

And now my answers to Nadiya’s questions. I’d list the questions but based on my answers I am going hope y’all can figure them out.
1) Number one thing I love about having my blog is probably when I can be really funny or maybe it’s that I am much more experimental than unused to be. No, it’s the laughter thing.
2) My relatives do know about my blog.
3) If I could change one thing about the world it would be that we’d follow the golden rule more and treat others the way we want to be treated.
4) My favorite song is…geez, I don’t know. Something by Nine Inch Nails, if I really had to pick. Or Bach’s cello suite number one in G major.
5) If I could learn another language it would be Japanese, I started classes in it in college but remember nothing. Heh, I could talk to my agent in his original language then think it is a beautiful language though and I’d like to visit Japan…
6) …which brings me to my dream destination: Japan. Of places I’ve never been I want to go there-of places I’ve been though I really want to go back to Paris.
7) The craziest thing I’ve ever done was probably the weird eating/exercising behavior I had when I was all eating disordered and stuff.
8) My favorite subject in school was probably art class. No, Spanish class. No, art.
9) I never cheated on a test.
10) My favorite hot beverage is a cup of coffee at Meshuggah in St. Louis. They hand make each cup, basically giving you an Americano: espresso and hot water.
11) If safety were no an issue a pet snow tiger would be lovely.

My nominated bloggers-who I am not sure if even read my blog but we shall see…and guys, if quizzes aren’t your thang, feel free to skip and take my nomination as an expression of my admiration for what you do:)
1) Sabrina at Miboso. Full of good life stuff from one of the most caring and lovely humans I have the privilege of knowing.
2) Joy the Baker who I am positive doesn’t read my blog but if you don’t read her already, you should.
3) Shin’s Vegan Lovin’
Even if you aren’t vegan, she makes awesome vegan bento that are too cute in all the right ways. Go ooh and ah at the adorable creations.
4) Eden who writes Eden Eats Everything. She is so funny and probably too cool to be reading this, but I’d love to know her answers.
5) Ellie, one of the sisters who write Boots n Burbs. You never know what little bit of awesome-ousity they’ll be posting from music to vocabulary to clothing.
6) Melissa at Melissa Was Here. She’s a model. Tells it like it is.
7) Ameena at Fancy That, Fancy This who chronicles her life in a way that you can’t stop reading. Ameena, if you are too busy or find this a pain in the arse to do, no sweat-I can only imagine how wickedly busy life as a working mom is. But the offer to take part is yours if you like.
8) Kelly at Foodie Fiasco. So clever you wouldn’t believe she’s 15.
9) Averie who writes Averie Cooks. Great recipes!
10) Either one or both of the Spoon Fork Bacon girls. Their
photography is smashing.
11) Eleanor who founded this site with me and now writes the interesting and informative Vicinity Blog. Go read it and contemplate her genius. She’s my fwife so of course I want to know what she’s thinking. Although I know her busy life so Eleanor of you don’t wanna do it, no sweat.

Now the questions, many of which have possibly been asked before:
1) What is your favorite office supply? For instance, are you a post-it abuser or is the three-hole punch more your style? Do tell.
2) If forced to wear one color forever what would it be?
3) Favorite adult beverage-you can give both a summer and winter one if you want, because I know the season affects choices. Kelly (or any bloggers who don’t drink)you can tell me a non-adult drink or if you like the virgin types of alcoholic drink you enjoy.
4) Do you root, root, root, for any team or love any sport? Did you play it?
5) Do you keep your nails or toes polished? How and by who?
6) Write me a four sentence short story.
7) Do you prefer shoes, socks, slippers or bare feet?
8) Have any phobias?
9) What do you geek out about? Comics? Cooking? Movies? Chemistry? Inquiring minds want to know.
10) Were you an only child? Or if you had siblings, how many and where do you fall in the line-up?
11) What is the best thing about and/or favorite place to go where you live?

Phew, that was exhausting. I’m spent. I’m going to eat some more Christmas cookies now.

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Mad Man’s Brilliance

20 Dec

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I introduced you to the culinary stylings of my brother’s mad scientist compadre (whom we are calling MM) with this purple pie.

Twas’ unfair, really, as I should have started with his AMAZING cranberry concoctions. He made both sweet and savory cranberry sauces, the former saving my not-sweet-enough-and-underspiced-because-my-brother-doesn’t-properly-stock-his-kitchen pumpkin pie when I got the brilliant idea to use it as a pie topping, the latter receiving raves from all carnivores on hand.

I’m thinking a New Year’s resolution will be to not use so many run-on sentences.

And to not resort to terse monosyllabic sarcasm instead.

Elegantly crafted sentences of the proper coherent length!

Someday.

The sauces! MM gave me his estimation of what he did. A mad scientist never make notes while cooking, they just maniacally stir cauldrons and cackle. Or so I like to imagine MM doing in chilly Chicago where the cold seeps into the brains of its residents and leads them to such kitchen shenanigans.

Back in LA I made scaled down renditions of the sauces, even the bacon one! Litelife makes surprisingly tasty smoky tempeh strips called Fakin’ Bacon. MM is a renegade chef so I figured I should follow in his spirit and not be tied down to what he had done.
Here be my tempeh-bacon version:

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Sip a Sazerac while making these.
I did.

Actually I made two different Sazerac recipes, from which I plan to concoct my ideal Saz and post it later. But you see the first two versions hanging out behind the bacon sauce.

Never thought “bacon sauce” would be words blogged here.

And good golly!

Apparently I like not only absinthe, but bourbon. Trouble’s a brewing!

Bourbon, berries, and bacon, baby.

MM’s Orange-Whiskey Cranberries, my adaptations (because I didn’t have enough cranberries and booze) in parenthesis

1 1/2 bags of cranberries (I had only two cups)
Juice of two oranges (I used one)
Zest of one orange (1/2 an orange)
About 4 shots of bourbon (4 Tbsp. of Jameson)
1 1/2 c. Brown sugar (1/2 c. Brown, 1/4 of white)
1 tsp. cinnamon (1/2 tsp. cinnamon and a dash of nutmeg)
Put everything in a pan, add H2O to a bit below the cranberry line. Bring to boil then reduce and thicken to taste. Add salt to taste. Gets thicker as it cools so leave it a wee bit soupy, says me. If you made a pumpkin pie that wasn’t sweet enough too, use this as a topping!

MM’s Bacon Cranberries

8 slices of bacon (3 slices “Fakin’ Bacon-LiteLife’s smoky tempeh bacon strips)
1 Vidalia onion, chopped (1/3 c. Chopped yellow onion)
Garlic (I used 1/2 tsp. chopped)
1 chopped Granny Smith apple (1/3 c. Chopped Fuji apple)
1.5 bags cranberries (2 c.)
Water to come up 1 inch below cranberries
1 1/2 c. Sugar (1/2 cup)
Chili powder (1 tsp.)
Sriracha (2 tsp.)
A bouquet garni of black peppercorn, rosemary and bay leaf (A grind or so of black pepper, a pinch of dried rosemary, bay leaf)
Salt to taste
If using bacon, render the fat, chop bacon and set bacon aside. Use the fat to cook onion, garlic and apple. If not using bacon, chop the Fakin’ and set it aside. Spray pot with a nonstick spray before sautéing onion, garlic and apple. Add cranberries, water, sugar, Sriracha, chili powder, bouquet garni or black pepper, rosemary, and bay leaf (and if you are using the Fakin’ add it now) and reduce. If using regular bacon add once it cools, add salt if you like. Don’t forget to take out the bouquet garni, or bay leaf if using the dried herbs.

You’re golden

12 Dec

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Are you a pimiento cheese fan? You’re golden. You will love this.

I know that this recipe is mockable. It deserves to be mocked.

It’s friggin’ white sauce, processed cheese, and pimiento.

I had this recipe bookmarked to make forever, then went back and looked at it and wondered what on earth made me think I wanted to make it. It sounded repulsive.

So I had to make it. Just to see.

Curiosity wins! Loved it. Ate it all.

I’m feeling terse today.

Okay then.

I love pimiento cheese.

Evidence.

Golden Celery (adapted from the Betty Crocker Cookbook circa the 60’s-ish)

6-7 stalks of celery
2 Tbsp. chopped onion
1/2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 Tbsp. flour
1/8 tsp. salt
1/16 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/2 c. Almond milk
3 slices cheddar cheese
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
2 Tbsp. sliced pimiento
Chop yer celery. Bring a pot of agua to boil and add a dash of salt and celery. Bring back to a boil and cook until tender. Take it off the heat and drain.
In a skillet, cook the onion in buttah until tender as your heart. If you’re a mean person cook longer than that. Take off heat, stir in flour, salt and pepper. Cook over low heat stirring just a bit, until blended, then take off heat, add milk and bring back to a boil and cook n stir for a minute. Add cheese and mustard and stir until cheese melts. Add celery and pimiento and stir in. Phew. You are done.

Gloomy Thursday

5 Dec

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Last Thursday I awoke to cloudy skies and dour drizzle befitting of the audition for a goth character I had that day. As I applied one more coating of black mascara I channeled the spirit of…ennui.
I think I did okay:

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Please excuse that moment of utter vanity.

In the car on my way to the casting office I blasted Skinny Puppy, Bauhaus, and Haujob.

Oddly enough all this darkness is what makes me feel incredibly good. Happy, even. I have good twisted memories associated with goth music. They must be signs of my truly goth nature which lurks beneath. It does not really lurk though. It makes itself known in the form of my mostly black clothing. D’oh.

That night, still happily wallowing in crimson lipstick, I made a cocktail with the gothiest of goth names: Death in the Afternoon.

I have discovered I like absinthe. Danger!

At thanksgiving my fwife gave me some lovely French absinthe to take home. Smart woman.

I have no more pithy mots for y’all.
Although I must point out my stellar abilities to use words like mot and y’all in the same sentence.

Get some absinthe. If you cannot find it substitute Pernod, ouzo or sambuca. Or chew on a mouthful of anise seeds or tarragon. Or eat a handful of black jellybeans for the licorice-ish flavor of absinthe.

Actually, black jellybeans would be the perfect gothic accompaniment to this drink. Awesome.

Both me and the drink.
And you, too for reading my ramblings.

That was a lot more mots than I had planned.

Death in the Afternoon adapted (barely) from The Ultimate Bar Book by Mittie Hellmich
1 oz. absinthe
Champagne
Pour absinthe into the champagne flute. Swirl the flute to coat the insides of the flute with absinthe like melancholy coats your troubled soul. Top with champagne. Contemplate the bubbles as representative of your many woes.
Sigh.