Archive | September, 2013

Oh, the Joy…

25 Sep

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…of browned butter chocolate chip cookies.

They are grand. They are the creation of a blogger far more successful than I, Joy the Baker.

I feel like I have been hovering around a lot of success recently. It’s pretty neat. My fwife’s husband Eric Lundgren’s book, The Facades just came out and is getting a lot of attention. Rightfully so, I started reading it and am thrilled to find out that he is an amazing writer. Joel won the pie contest. A friend got a kick-ass new agent and manager. Another friend got a pilot. I’m also enjoying the recently published second cookbook by Greg Henry of Sippity Sup. I know we just met the once, Greg, but can I call you at least a blogger chum?

All these things happening around me.

It makes me happy. I have felt oddly calm recently. I can’t help but feeling like my time will come. Or should I say I will bring it to me?

The thing is, it occurred to me that I do not want to be the person who knows a lot of people. I would like to be A Person To Know. Not so much for my ego but because I love what I do and would like to do it better and more. I want to make my parents proud. And a little for the ego. I’ll be honest.

I feel like I make progress. I chip away, and year by year my auditions get to be of a higher caliber. I finally booked a national commercial this summer. Once in a blue moon I get paid to write. And so on. But I have soooooo much more to accomplish. Sometimes I feel like I have reasons beyond my control for why it takes so long.

It is all well and good to have legit excuses, but that does not change the fact that I am where I am, and I want to be better.

I don’t know why I am rambling like this and where I am going with it.

I should eat a cookie.

By the way, go on and get Joy’s cookbook. She deserves her success.

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies from Joy the Baker’s eponymous cookbook
1 cup + 1 Tbsp. butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. molasses
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
2 1/4 cups flour
Put 9 tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan and heat over medium. It will sizzle and burble as it melts but fret not. Just swirl the pan periodically. Keep a close watch and as soon as it gets a nice caramel color take off the heat and pour into a bowl so it stops cooking. Those little bubbly browned bits on the bottom of the pan are delicious, be sure to scrape them out too. Let cool a bit.
In another bowl cream the other 8 Tbsp. of butter with the white sugar. Beat in vanilla and molasses. Beat in browned butter and brown sugar, then the egg and yolk. In another bowl whisk the flour, salt, and baking soda and then stir into rest, bit by bit. Then add in chocolate chips. Cover with plastic then out in the fridge about 30 or more minutes.
Preheat oven to 375. Grease a cookie sheet (I like to use the leftover butter on the wrapper of the butter I used). Make balls of dough and put on the sheet. You’ll probably need a couple sheets but I recommend baking them one at a time. Cook about 6 minutes, then rotate sheet front to back. Cook about another five, then check regularly until the are nicely browned but still soft. Cool five minutes on the heet before trying to remove them to rack to cool more. Or if hot chocolate is your thing (I only like it cold. Yeah, I know.) dig in.

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Molded greens unmolded

19 Sep

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Because I thought you deserved a pretty picture for once.

It is tasty too.

That really is all I have to say for myself. I think every original thought in my head is being nabbed by my weekly improv shows. And it’s the season of being up to my gills in scripts, shoots, rehearsals, classes, auditions blahbittyblahblahblah. Good thing I am not trying to make any Möby-us Pie this week.

So enjoy the cute picture. Betty done good.
Molded Greens adapted from the Betty Crocker New Picture Cookbook

1/2 10 oz. package of frozen spinach
Handful of baby spinach
1/2 tsp. minced shallot
Pinch nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste
Hard-boiled egg, sliced
Lemon slices
Put spinaches, onion and shallot in a bowl and microwave until hot, stir all together and squeeze out extra water. Mix in spices then pack into a ramekin. Can be prepared up to this point and put in the fridge! Before serving bake in a 300 degree oven for about 15-20 minutes. Unmold and garnish with egg and lemon. Adorbs! Ick, don’t say adorbs.

Möby-us Pie

12 Sep

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Dilemmas of what to post this week! I wanted to recap the kcrw pie contest, but also wanted to give you this smoothie recipe while it is still technically summer.

Then there was the straw that broke the camel’s back:

Today is National Chocolate Milkshake Day.

Ye gods.

The world wouldn’t give me more than I can handle-as luck would have it the smoothie recipe WAS in fact chocolate.

But lemme tell ya about the contest. It is a huge event with hundred of entries. I wrote about last year here. Moby was judge of the vegan category this year. So I made MY PIE substituting earth balance for butter in the streusel. And I out a pie dough Möbius strip on top. I made a Möby-us Pie:

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Surely I’d win?

Nope.

However! I had stayed friends with Joel Blum, who served his pie next to me last year. You can see the two of us-me showing him a pic of my pie-in the center of this photo. I’d be the one in all black in 90 degree heat.

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I thought Joel should have taken the Savory prize last year with his onion and cheese tart and he didn’t. Well this was his year! He won first in Savory with a chicken curry concoction.

That make me super-super happy and anxious for a tutorial on how he makes HIS crust.

Enough. On to the non-alcoholic drink.
The original recipe was for a chai crème frappe, and was vanilla. I changed it up, including throwing in these chocolate aztec bitters.

Good without em’ too.

Good with pie.

Other options, if ya aren’t into chai. Or protein powder:

Chocolate Black Russian Shake

Chocolate Cheesecake Shake

Chocolate Mug Shake

You’ve options.

For Eeyore not eyesore

5 Sep

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Last week, like a dutiful parent, I left you guys with a sandwich, whilst I went out to cavort over craft cocktails for my birthday. One of said cocktails had Cynar in it. Which is my new bar toy. So I’m bringing the party back to you this week. Sandwich not included.

I get obsessive with particular ingredients and with particular recipes. After buying this beauteous bottle of Cynar ( a bittersweet artichoke liqueur), I scoured the web for appealing recipes.

The recipe obsession with Cynar is less time consuming, but more dangerous than, say, the Summer of Tamale Pie I once weathered, or Autumn of Chia Seed I’m about to embark on. But it is at least as exciting as my Annual Pumpkin Weeks in Spring.

This recipe also taught me something: even wicked things are good in small amounts. The wicked thing of which I refer to is my loathed gin. I actually like gin in this recipe, which I found on The Straight Up. Campari is the main alcohol, or base spirit (and we all know alcohol is oh-so base) in it and the herbal gin plays off it in a very subtle way.

I was also excited for this recipe since it would use my other new bar toy: big ol’ bottle of Fernet Branca.

I’ve no idea why this is named after Eeyore being as it is a merry red color, and makes me happy.

But now I have a very good reason to visit the Violet Hour in Chicago, the bar Toby Maloney created the drink for. Not that I lacked reason to go before. I’ve heard good things about that place.

Oh, the places I’ll go.

Eeyore’s Requiem (based on this recipe)
1.5 oz. Campari
.5 oz. gin (I used Bombay Dry)
.25 oz. Fernet Branca
.25 oz. Cynar
.5 oz. white vermouth (they call for Dolin Blanc, I used Martini and Rossi)
15 drops of orange bitters
3 orange twists
Stir all but the twists over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Twist your twists over the drink to get the oils out and discard. Sip.