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Everyone Else is Doin’ It

14 Jan

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I might jump off the bridge, I dunno. Particularly if it was a bikini bridge. I’m pretty much repulsed by that whole thing. The fact that it started as a hoax should say something about how dumb it is. Has anyone noticed that the latest body goals of women don’t have anything to do with the body, but rather with the absence of body? The thigh gap. The bikini bridge is the empty space between the swimsuit and your body as the bikini stretches across your sharp pointy hipbones. Gross. Okay, that is enough venting.

I have far too much to do to be jumping off Thinspiration Bridge, and I have enough practice with falling from high high heights. Maybe I’d do the real bridge jump, but I would have a nice bouncy trampoline arranged to catch me. That could be fun. Kidding, Mom. Just kidding. I wouldn’t put my head at risk, never fear.

In this post, we are going to look at chocolate as a metaphor for the trampoline under the bridge. And the jumping part I am partaking of is a green smoothie, which EVERYONE else is blogging up these post-holidays days.

My lack of spare time is actually part of why I make so many friggin’ smoothies. The other part is my deep love of wielding my immersion blender aka my kitchen paramour (I fit him in between the sexy beast and my boyfriend). A male friend of mine saw the base of it sitting out and briefly thought that it attached to something that would help me deeply love myself. I showed him the bladed attachment and assured him I am not that much of a masochist.

According to every other single blog in the entire universe, the green smoothie is what will save you, not kill you. Oh yes, it is “cleansing season” which is ridiculous, if you ask me. In theory it sounds lovely but in reality it is just a bunch of vegetables and juicers and blenders and overly enlightened people. Sorry if you are one of them. It’s ok. Different strokes for different folks. You’ve got your bridge and I have my trellis. This smoothie will neither cleanse you nor do your laundry, but it is tasty and healthy-ish.

All this being said, the fact that everyone was making these things called “Green Monsters” was intriguing. A well-named recipe can really lure a girl in. I do enjoy a good smoothie, so I gave a few recipes a try. After recovering from the various taste-bud wounds inflicted from jumping off overly banana-y tasting bridges, I decided to devise my own protein-filled, smooth, tasty, almost-ice-cream-sort-of smoothie that yah, yah, had some green in it, but in the form of fresh mint, yah? Yah. If you don’t have the fresh mint you can use some peppermint extract but then you only have a green-in-theory Chocolate Monster.

This Green Monster is rather pretty, to be called a monster, what with the fresh mint. But then, in real life monsters are neither green nor monstrous. Nor chocolate-y. Discuss.

Mint Chocolate Monster
1/2 cup cottage cheese
6 Tbsp. Chocolate protein powder (this recipe hinges on good-tasting protein, I use the MRM Veggie Protein)
big, big ol’ handful of fresh mint
handful of spinach if you feel it
1/2 a frozen banana, also optional
1 1/4 cup chocolate almond milk
sweetener of any ilk to taste
pinch of xanthum gum, if you like a super-thick drink
Blend like your life depends on it. You needs must blend this until you think it cannot get smoother and then a minute longer to get the aerated smooth texture. Unless you own a vita-mix in which case you probably just have to pulse it a second and you’ll have hot smoothie soup. If you have a vita-mix, good on ya. I’m jealous.

Best hits and what may come for the Gruel: Opinions wanted

31 Dec

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Happy happy! It is a new year. Yayza. In this delightful little post I am going to recap part of vacay, make a proposal, and then recap a few favorites on this lil’ blog of mine.

I went to St. Louis for Christmas. Whilst there, with my lovely fwife Eleanor I went to the MOST awesome of places, Blood and Sand. The MOST friendly of people work there. They can deduce exactly what you MOST want to drink, even if you do not know.

I drank the two MOST fantastical drinks, along with eating some MOST delightful truffled tater tots. One of the drinks had the MOST awesome of names: “Fast Cars, Danger, Fire and Knives”. It was so much the MOST of the most-ousitous of times. The drink consisted of Rittenhouse rye, brown sugar simple, Punt e Mes, lemon juice, allspice dram and rosé sparkling. If rye and apple pie had an alcoholic child, this would be it. I am contemplating if the different elements of the name stand for different ingredients of the drink, and if so, which. I intend to recreate this come heck or high water. Clearly high standards I have for 2014.

I want to get y’all’s opinion on something. What if I did little restaurant/bar/food reviews from time to time? I do like to get out of the house to dine, shockingly enough. Between trying new recipes for the Gruel and also for my Hello Giggles column The Book Cook, I am getting a bit stressed. And much as I love writing and food-oriented opportunities I want to keep my mind on the acting game and not get too distracted. I still would still do mostly recipes, and I have some exciting theme weeks like a “Carrot Caked” week planned, but I’d like to have the options. I’d like to try new things, maybe even recommend a wine or two from time to time. Could be fun. Why am I nervous about this? I feel like I am asking you to go on a date or something.

It’s my blog and I can do what I want, obviously, but I want to know if there are any major objections out there to the review thing. Ooh, I may not be asking you on a date but maybe I could even go on some blogger dates and tell you about them. There are some LA bloggers I’d like to meet. That would be fun for all. I think.

Okay, now a little bit of year end wrap-up. Because I can. I am going to link you up with some of your most favorite-est recipes. I’m basing popularity, or at least reader interest, on the stats of what was clicked on the most. I’d also like to round up some of MY favorite things, especially from the early days of the blog when my photography sucked even more and not many folks were reading. I could revisit the less viewed recipes and get some better shots of them. Maybe next week. The blog may be a bit more sporadic in January and February, so don’t freak out or anything. I’m still here.

Oddly enough, the recipe that got THE MOST hits this year was this one for a clear chocolate martini. Quite frankly I am a wee bit distressed by y’all’s standards. Is a clear chocolate martini really what you want? With a photo like this?:
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I am disturbed. But my hope was renewed when I saw the second most clicked upon recipe was for Mark Bittman’s Creamed Bulgur and entitled Bulgur Not Vulgar which of course means it was NOT a chaste entry. But delicious:
20131009-210958.jpgNext up was a Pumpkin Polenta Pizza I would deem to be worthy, taste-wise if not aesthetically, of a few more clicks:
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Next-most clicked upon this year, and the most clicked upon of all time is this pumpkin soup:
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It helps that the photo was pretty, I imagine. But I was proud of my recipe too.
The least popular recipe, at least as I write this, was from the long-ago waffle week. I waffled a bran cracker. Enough said.
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This is a process

19 Dec

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Life is a process. And it is worth it.

As is this cocktail.

And other deep thoughts.

Let us infuse some shit.

But first a shameless plug for my positively adorable in every way improv group:
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This is our sexy face.
Improv is a process. It takes a long long long time to not suck all the time. I have recently been trying to really FOCUS and put the time into doing what I do. I am aiming for quality of activities over quantity.

And that was my segue into saying that this cocktail is a process. I saw it posted on The Table Set podcast and I knew I wanted it. It takes about a week of patience. The creator, Nathan Hazard (great name), calls it the December Dilemma and I am calling my minor adaptation December Do. As in “just do it”. Do. DO.

Normally the minute I see a cocktail that requires an infusion, or making a big batch of some alcohol I can only fathom using in one or two instances, I eschew the idea of making it. But I could not run away from this. It was too perfect for the season.

I adore wine. I adore cranberries. And bourbon. And I am madly, madly in love with Campari. You can run off down darkened alleys with Aperol and claim it is preferable all you want, but Aperol will take your money and run.

Campari will be there. Ready to amuse you with it’s bitter wit and dazzle you with it’s colorful personality.

So even though this recipe involves handmade wine-sugar-infused cranberries in lieu of my adored Luxardo cherries, and cranberry-infused-Campari, I could not resist because I began to imagine the many delights I could make with what I decided to call Lux-erries and Cran-pari.

I had to adapt a bit. I wanted to get cracking the night I saw this and it felt too late to be running to the store so I did not use the Manischewitz wine. Instead I used a lovely Ravenswood Zin. I also did not feel like laying out the funds for the Punt e Mes so I used a slightly smaller amount of Martini and Rossi Rosso vermouth plus a bit of regular Campari.

Heaven can be yours if you wait.

December Do barely adapted from this recipe on The Table Set
Starting a week ahead make your:
Cran-pari:
1 cup cranberries
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. water
3 cups Campari
Heat the cranberries, sugar, and water over medium until the berries start to pop. Let them cool then add to a jar with the Campari. Store in a cool and dark dungeon like your refrigerator and shake daily for a week. Then strain two times. I strained from the jar into a wide-mouthed glass measuring cup with a spout, then placed the strainer over a funnel and funneled into the original Campari bottle.
Also make:
Lux-erries
1 cup cranberries
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 cups red wine, I used Zinfandel
Heat the red wine until it is reduced by half. Add sugar and heat and stir until it is well dissolved and you have a lovely syrup-y wine. Add cranberries and allow to cool. Allow about a week in a cool dark place, shaking occasionally if the cranberries are rising way over the wine.
For The Drink:
1 1/2 oz. Bulleit Rye
1 oz. Cran-Pari
3/4 oz. Martini & Rossi Rosso
1/4 oz. Campari
Lux-erries
orange zest
Stir the rye, cran-pari, vermouth, and campari in a chilled mixing glass with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Add a Lux-erry or so. Run the orange peel around the rim, squeeze it over the drink and discard. Or don’t. Do what ya feel.

Pâtés for Vegs:

11 Dec

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I thought maybe the elegant butter knife would give my mushroom pâté a bit of class.

Lemme tell you. Pâté is something we should all eat, in some shape or form. Being a vegetarian I feel shame in saying this, but if you ever get your hands on some pâté de foie gras you should gobble that stuff up. Am I going to be arrested for saying that?

I ate it once. I was in a restaurant on Oahu. In my probably-wrong memory it may have had some stars. Or maybe it just had a lot of dollar bill signs beside it in the guidebook. I was twelve. We had planned the family vacation there based on the fact that my papa had a conference to go to at the Waikiki Hilton Hawaiian Village so hey, that was airfare and board for one person. My parents made the mistake of letting me do a great deal of the research on what there was to do. I voraciously devoured travel guides and made lists of what to see and where to go and most importantly…where we should eat.

I do not actually remember that much about the restaurant or the meal besides that pâté and dessert-they gave us a Diamond Head-shaped chocolate filled with chocolate truffles to take home.

We had the pâté on the table as an appetizer and I did not know what it was. I only knew it was some of the most divine stuff ever. Better than butter? Ye gods. Then I asked my mom what it was and promptly lost my desire for it when I found out it was goose liver. Then later that summer I became a vegetarian-which I had wanted to do for years, but it was a matter of being old enough to cook myself something separately from the family so my lifestyle choice wouldn’t be a pain in the butt for my mom.

I never much cared for meat in the first place, and non-leather shoes are cheaper than leather ones, so being a veg has not been hard. And just so you meat-eaters know, I don’t begrudge you your meat. I think different bodies need different things. Mine needs dairy, hence me not being vegan. It’s sort of sad. It used to be that people would be impressed by my veggie life, but now I just get “Oh, but not vegan?”. To which I emphasize that I buy cage free eggs and organic milk products as much as possible, but still…vegetarians have become the sad middle road, I guess.

Let’s get back to the pâté. I am giving you two meat-free options today, one of them even vegan. I am sure they probably don’t compare with foie gras, but they are not really trying to do that-they are impeccable in their own right. Mushrooms and eggs are two of the most perfect edible things on earth, and I stand by my pâté. Actually it is my dreamboat-cooking-crush Mark Bittman’s pâté. I stand by my man.

The egg one is considerably less chic in appearance than the mushroom I’m afraid:

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I think I just started gobbling it before it could be molded. I don’t mind if you do that too. Actually, please do that too. Go forth and gobble.

Mushroom Pâté slightly altered from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman
Olive oil
1/2 c. chopped shallots
4-5 baby carrots, chopped
1/2 stalk celery, chopped
1 lb. white shrooms’ cleaned and roughly chopped
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 piece of bread, crumbled

Heat a skillet with a dash of oil over high heat. Add shallots, carrot, and celery and cook and stir until shallot is translucent. Sprinkle in some salt and grind in some pepper. Cool another couple minutes. Add tomato paste, then stir and cook about another ten minutes.
Turn off heat and allow to cool. Then put in your lover-that would be your sexy red Kitchen aid food processor you got for a song because it was factory refurbished.
Add crumbs and lemon. Blend until smooth, adding more bread crumbs if too thin or water if thick. It should be sturdy but spreadable. Give it a Tate and add more salt, pepper or lemon if you want.
Put in whatever mold or dish you want and chill. Find a snazzy serving knife.Yum it up.

Egg Salad Pâté adapted from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman
3 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped (one yolk discarded)
3 Tbsp. reduced-fat mayo
1 1/2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 slice bread and butter pickle, chopped
1/2 tsp. dried dill
Salt to taste
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Mix it all up. Mix it good. Put in container shaped how you want it to be shaped. Or just get a fork.

Gratitude

29 Nov

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This week’s picture and recipe both courtesy of my deep need to pimp my latest column for Hello Giggles. You can get the recipe for Death by Chocolate Until You’re Blue-berry in the Face, and my musings on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory here. So to kick off this week’s list of giving thanks in honor of Thanksgiving, I’ll say thank you Zooey Deschanel, Molly McAleer and Sophia Rossi for founding a stellar website and letting me spew silly stuff about books and food on it. And now because I am sitting here biding my time on a bus back from LAX to home, I shall regale you with all that I am thankful for.
1) first and foremost my family. They are the best. Everyone should have such great parents. I really don’t have enough room to tell you how wonderful they are.
2) acting work. In this last year I’ve gotten to work with an awful lot of talented people. I’ve been in a movie on the Chiller Network. I’ve met some great casting directors and finally gotten into some casting offices I’d dreamed of getting a shot at. I finally felt like a part of pilot season. Now to keep it up!
3) improv/comedy: I am on an improv team I LOVE. We get the opportunity to perform every single week (Every Sunday unless there are 5 in a month-then we don’t do the 5th- 7pm! The Neon Venus). I also have a practice group from UCB classes I adore who hopefully will start doing shows soon. And I’ve done some scaryscaryscary stand- up.
4) auditions-still going out all the dang time and have a buddy who is always there to help me prep, and who I help get ready too. It’s good having an acting teammate.
5) writing. Up to episode ten on the episodic I’ve been writing. Blackboard Eats still sends me to some snazzy places, and I got the gig to write for Hello Giggles-so now I can claim that all my reading and cooking is in the name of my work writing The Book Cook.
6) You guys! Thank you for reading this. I’m sending y’all love, love love. Cause love is all you need.
7) friends. Hot dang I have some good ones, near and far. Now is a good time to thank Skype for keeping me closer with the far ones. As for the near ones, hot dang they’ve got my back. And they are into having pie parties. What more does a girl need?
8) baseball. A girl needs baseball. Finally got to a game. Granted I’d be even more grateful if the Cardinals had won the World Series but I’m proud of my hometown team all the same.
9) Patti Smith and Trent Reznor. My two biggest musical idols and I got to see them both.
10) Los Angeles. City I love you.

It hasn’t been ALL amazing, sure. There have been arm surgeries and jobs I didn’t get and traffic jams and foiled plans but all in all, I’m awfully happy.
I’m going to go hug the world now. Lies. I’m going to go home and do work worky work work just as soon as I get there.
Love,
Ellen

Limoncello, Cynar, Thyme, Ginger: using what you have

21 Nov

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I wanted to invent some drinks that were all my own. I wanted to use up some herbs and bottles of alcohol that had little left. And I wanted to put my bottle of Cynar to the task.

So I came up with two new drinks, to be debuted at the pie and cocktails party Alice and I were hosting.

I gave these cocktails the names of Using What You Got and The Big Red Cat.

The Big Red Cat is in reference to the kids’ books about the big red dog, who is named Clifford. As am I. But puppy I am not. Actually I am part cat. I want to be petted and loved but only when I want to be. And I like to snooze all day. Insomniac here.
Is it just me or is snooze a kitty word? Speaking of kittens:

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That was early in the day last Saturday. The kitten rescue has actual kittens (as opposed to adult cats) right now. I tried to take better pictures but they were not keen on staying still.

Later that night Alice and I partayed with pie, friends, and very, very potent drinks. It did not occur to me that a lot of my friends were mostly beer and wine people and not used to my potent beverages.

I handed Alice a The Big Red Cat and her first analysis was that it tasted like a drink she’d get at a bespoke bar like No Vacancy. Well, it was.

Some were particularly pleased with the limoncello and ginger liqueur additions.

My friend Maurice just said the same thing he says any time I hand him a drink involving bourbon which is “tastes like cough syrup”. The man pours Tabasco on everything and and approximately zero taste buds left. We gave him a glass of mulled wine that Alice made instead.

My English Farmhouse Cheddar Pie, taken from Savory Pies by Greg Henry was demolished in about ten minutes. A friend showed up with apples and I crafted them into a pie, schooling all who were interested in how to form lattice.

This is my social life of choice.
Let’s drink to that.

The Using What You Got
2 oz. Bourbon
1/2 oz. Limoncello
3/4 oz. Cynar
2-3 dashes chocolate Aztec bitters
3 sprigs of thyme plus one to garnish.
Muddle thyme, limoncello, bitters, and Cynar. Add ice and bourbon. Stir. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a thyme sprig.

The Big Red Cat
1/2 oz. Campari
1/2 oz. Cynar
1 oz. Rye
1 oz. Dry vermouth
2-3 dashes of Peychaud’s bitters
1 tsp. ginger liqueur
Stir it all over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Add one giant ice cube.

True Gruel

30 Oct

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It was my lil’ blogmuffin’s birthday. And I decided that in its honor, it was about dang time I made gruel for Gruel.

I searched around for actual gruel recipes. Apparently there is a delicious rice porridge dish (Korean maybe?) called congee that is sometimes referred to as gruel. I also found a broth-y sort of recipe for gruel in one of my favorite cookbooks, “The Breakfast Book”, by Marion Cunningham.

I was told by a friend that the rice porridge dish was great. But I wanted something with the original name of “gruel”.

I also wanted an excuse to open a bottle of wine.

Not that I need an excuse, per se, but like a sweater carried around just-in-case, it’s nice to have one.

Sorry for that metaphor. It was stupid, but too true for me to leave out.

I originally wanted the term “gruel” for this blog because a lot of food that doesn’t look good (like gruel), still tastes amazing. That is the “scrumptious” part. I’ve gotten a bit better at making my food somewhat prettier, I guess. But I still like to think of this blog in “gruel” terms. It’s rough, and ready. It is strong. It is here to nourish you. And me. Duh. Blogs are the most narcissistic invention there is.

I love my blog.

I also enjoy the Oxford comma, incidentally.

Marion’s gruel recipe is not too specific. Most elements it tells to you can add if you like. When it comes to wine, butter, and sugar, I always like.

This was actually quite good. Comforting as Marion promised. I was surprised.

I’m giving you a recipe for what I made but feel free to adapt “as you like”. And you will.

Happy birthday gruel!

Gruel interpreted from The Breakfast Book by Marion Cunningham
2 Tbsp. oatmeal
1 cup H2O
1/2 tsp. butter
Pinch if sugar
1 Tbsp. white wine (I used a dry Riesling)
Dash nutmeg
Soak oats in water for 20 minutes then strain the liquid into a small pan. Bring to a simmer and add everything else. Yay gruel! Pour a glass of wine and light a candle. Party time. Excellent.

Birds! St. Louis! Go go go! And a Mess

24 Oct

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I wished for something red to make for you guys, as I am cheering on my Redbirds in the World Series. I wished for something to use up meringues from the column I was writing for Hello Giggles. I wanted something easily gobble-able whilst on my couch screaming for Beltran.

I am running between the aforementioned Giggles, auditions, my third short film to shoot this month, improv shows, improv practice, a new scene study class, and a new assignment from Blackboard Eats.

This is good. I have no brainpower left.

And I apologize or rattling off my to do lists here. I’ll get back to the food.

I made food representative of my mind-state which is A MESS!

Voila, mofos. The Eton Mess.

This meringue recipe was intended for shells to make pavlovas, but I imagine you could just dollop it out for cookies too.

ps yes, I used reddi-whip. I am pretty sure real whipped cream would make this superlative.

Messy Bird Food adapted from a pavlova recipe by America’s Test Kitchen’s Baking Illustrated
For meringues:
• two egg whites
• 1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
• ½ cup sugar
• ¼ tsp. almond extract
• ¼ tsp. vanilla extract
For the rest of dessert:
*whipped cream to your liking
*strawberries, also to your liking
*sugar, if you find it necessary but the meringues and whipped cream will probably do it.
Heat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. If you have a whisk attachment for your mixer, now’s the time to use it. If you are beating these egg whites by hand, I’m sorry. Your arm is going to be sore when you are done. Beat the egg whites at medium-low speed until they are foamy. Add the cream of tartar and increase speed to medium-high. Beat until thick and billow-y like newly lathered shaving cream. Slowly sprinkle in ¼ cup sugar, vanilla and almond extracts. Beat just until incorporated. Turn off mixer. Use whisk to fold in the rest of the sugar. Scoop it out in ¼ cup amounts onto the parchment (you should get six) and use a big spoon to create hollows that you will be putting filling in. I had to do a bit of cheating, spooning extra around the edges to create a basin in the middle. Do what you gotta do. Bake about 1 ½ hours, or until dry and sturdy exteriors. Turn the oven off but leave the shells in for several hours to get dried. If you store these in an airtight container they will keep for about two weeks.
Mash about half the berries. If you think they need sweetening do it now. Some recipes I found for Eton Mess called for layering the elements, others called for folding them all together. I layered. Then I could fold together bite by fluffy bite.

Go Cardinals!

The Sexy Beast. And pretzels.

17 Oct

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It came in and conquered.
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Yes, I’ve referred to my red KitchenAid food processor as my lover, but this…this being entered like a storm. I had lusted after a red KA mixer for ages. And I got one for my birthday. I had been making due with a hand mixer that no longer would go to it’s highest speed and just stop when faced with a dough that was even remotely stiff.

Suddenly there is a world open to me that was not there before: perfectedly kneaded bread doughs, whipped egg whites, perhaps the ice cream maker attachment will come into my life at some point.

You will note that it is red. Largely because it is so goddamn sexy. It is unnerving just how bodacious a kitchen appliance can be.

It is fitting that I have a red mixer because I am a Cardinals fan. If you are born in St. Louis they inject a hefty dose of Cardinals Baseball into you at birth.

I finally went to a game here in LA:

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It is a bloody exciting time. The Cards versus the Dodgers. Whoever wins the series National League Championship Series goes to the World Series.

I hadn’t been to a game in ages and I loved it. Baseball is a meditation laced with moments where a maniac fan-monster takes over your body and you are screaming and hollering like an idiot. And then you settle in and watch some more. Love it.

I had been thinking about pretzels in honor of Octoberfest for a while. And thinking about baseball also had me thinking about pretzels. The big soft kind.

In my mind pretzels are not the sort of thing one can REALLY achieve at home. They are something you go somewhere to get. The only people who make them are the type of people who craft at home other foods you normally buy. Like Oreos.

Who friggin’ makes Oreos? Only overchieving vegans (Oreos are already vegan) and creepy bloggers who somehow think a gluten-free, date-infested, coconut cream-filled thing that looks sorta like an Oreo deserves to be called a “homemade Oreo”. I have news for them: it doesn’t matter what you name that monstrosity, or what it looks like, because it is not an Oreo. It is a travesty.

I thought I couldn’t achieve a pretzel. But I had the power of the Sexy Beast, and there seemed to be no better way to break it in.

I was nervous. I was suspicious. I did not do the best job shaping these. But as I removed them from the oven, I ripped into one. Let it cool for a moment then put it in my mouth.

My god. It was that pretzel taste. With the nice skin on it and everything. Holy moly I felt like a genius. Or a magician. Or Martha Stewart.

Or at least god.

big soft pretzels from America’s Test Kitchen’s Baking Illustrated
1 tsp. instant yeast
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp. salt
3 cups of bread flour plus more as needed
1 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
Oil for bowl
3 Tbsp. baking soda
2 Tbsp. Kosher salt or otherwise large salt
Mix yeast, honey, salt, flour, and water in a stand mixer. Use a dough hook to knead until the dough forms a smooth, elastic ball, about five-seven minutes, adding a bit of extra flour af absolutely necessary.
Place in an oiled bowl and turn to coat dough with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled, between 45 minutes and 1 1/2 hours. Punch down. Allow to rise until doubled again-30-40 minutes.
Put I’ve rack in the middle and heat oven to 450 degrees. Pour 6 cups of water and baking soda into a 12-inch skillet and heat to a boil.
Meanwhile line a baking heet with foil and spray with nonstick spray.
Divide dough into 12 pieces. Roll into ropes. I failed in getting them to the recommended 20 inches but you can try. Shape into pretzels. If you don’t know what a pretzel is shaped like…just google it. Put them on baking sheet. Use a skimmer or slotted spoon to put them in boiling water, top-side down. After 30 seconds use tongs or something like that to flip and boil another 30 seconds. Make sure they are well drained before you put them back on prepared sheet and sprinkle with salt. Bake between10 and 18 minutes-until nice and brown, turning the baking sheet after about 7 minutes. Remove to wire rack. Admire yourself.

Bulgur not vulgar

9 Oct

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I have been soooo bloody busy. This week involves two shoots in addition to everything else. So as much as I want to throw more cocktails and cakes your way I also think that you deserve a little health. Health comes in the “creamed” flavor, didja know that?

Of course my “cream” involves almond milk but let us ignore that.
The leftovers of this health can be packed and molded and y’all know I love shaped food:

For even more health there is my mush, and deep, deep, philosophical thoughts on Goodnight Moon over at Hello Giggles.

I should ply you with health while I can. I fear that there may be a lot more beverages for you here now that I’m cooking/writing for two. For three counting my lover.

Speaking of lovers (What a segue! It even made sense.), this bulgur comes from my second lover. Well, third lover, counting Trent Reznor.

Because you know Mark Bittman can get bulgur with me any day of the week.

Bulgur not vulgar!

Vulgar is reserved for Trent.

Let’s just get creamy and get it over with. I promise to be chaste next week.

One last thought-leftovers can be packed an molded into shaped food forms. I love food with structure:

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Creamed Bulgur with chard adapted from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian
Olive oil spray
1/3 cup chopped onion
Several cups of cleaned chopped Swiss Chard
1/2 cup bulgur
1/2 cup almond milk
1 cup vegetable stock
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Nutmeg
Heat a pot over medium, spray with olive oil and sauté onion until soft. Add chard, stir, and cook until wilted. Add bulgur, milk and broth. Stir, cover and turn heat to low for 10 minutes.
Turn the heat off for 15 minutes. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste. Deeeeelish.