Monday, February 28, 2011

We Could Be Each Other's Evidence

Did I ever tell you about wising up in the span of one winter, not recognizing myself in mirrors again, shifting again, burrowing again. I have imagined every scene of this life. I wanted every minute of this life once, when the alternative was living alone in my head.

Think of a wayward rocket, all sleek and speedy and impressive, propelled by a bright flame, but random in direction, ever changing course and missing every target. Getting nowhere fast. Too distant for recall and nearly out of fuel.

That's me. I don't know if this perpetual outcome is a positive impact on me, but I feel great. I am content with how things are. The bad things make the good things so seemingly incredible. Baking cupcakes and watching syndicated episodes of Roseanne are a relaxing night for me - well worth the exhaustion of a work week.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Banana Cupcakes With Peanut Butter Banana Frosting

Addisyn came over today. We watched a couple of movies, colored, laughed, joked, made fun of Dickie, and most importantly, we frosted cupcakes.

I asked her what she was craving in the whole world and she said, "a banana." So of course, that was our flavor for the day. I let her measure out the ingredients into separate bowls. She did mostly everything except add the salt and vanilla. Sometimes, they can be overpowering flavors so I took charge. I didn't want her to not have her banana.











While the cupcakes were cooling, we colored. I had this coloring book that I picked up from Comic Con 2007. "Color-Ink Book" It was put together by several tattoo artists. I decided tonight was the night to start coloring in it.



That first drawing was pretty cute. A little guy with a lemon-shaped head holding a glass of lemonade. Above him it read, "Lemonade tastes better than cigarettes." Addy and I agreed that it was totally true.









Banana Cupcakes
1/2 cup ripe banana (mashed)
11.4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup milk or soy milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Mash your banana so that it has no lumps. I used my food processor because I was being lazy and Addy and I wanted to ICE THE DARN THINGS ALREADY. So I sped up the process.

Sift together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl from the wet ingredients. Once the wet ingredients are completely blended together, fold them into the dry ingredients, very gently and try not to stir it too much so that your cupcakes stay soft.

Pour into cupcake liners about 3/4 full and bake for 20-22 minutes.


Peanut Butter Banana Frosting
11/2 cup confectioner's sugar
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
1/2 tablespoon mashed banana
sifted flour (optional) by the teaspoon

Mix all ingredients except for the flour. If the frosting isn't to your preferred thickness, add the sifted flour by the teaspoon.



Addy and I have only really spent a total of two days together and we don't know each other that well, but the face she's making in the above photo clearly states, "You can never have too many sprinkles."




She's right.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Lavender Cookies With Lemon Icing

I've been pretty busy this last week. The huge dent in my sleeping schedule has worsened and my little bag of lavender tea was calling to me. A little bit of natural, boiled and sweetened relaxation never hurt anybody. But then I started thinking with my appetite and I put together a couple of recipes for my lavender.


I didn't want to make a super concentrated tea, so I put 1 cup of granulated sugar with 1 teaspoon of lavender in the food processor and let the blades do the rest. Now I have a pretty decent amount of lavender sugar. :)


Replacing regular sugar with flavored sugar in a cookie recipe is such a brilliant idea. I may not have been the first to think of it, but I sure felt like a genius after eating the cookies.


I had a cute cookie cutter that I bought from World Market a few years ago. I actually hadn't used it until recently.


Lavender Cookies
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
2/3 cup white sugar
1/4 cup sifted confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh lavender
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, white sugar and confectioners' sugar until light and fluffy. Mix in the lavender, vanilla and lemon zest. Combine the flour, cornstarch and salt; mix into the batter until well blended. Wrap in plastic wrap and flatten to about 1inch thick. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into shapes with cookie cutters. Cookie stamps will work well on these too. Place on cookie sheets.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, just until cookies begin to brown at the edges. Let them cool completely before icing them.

Lemon Icing
11/2 cup confectioner's sugar
11/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest (optional)

Mix together. Add sifted flour (by the teaspoon) if you want it to be thicker.





Oh... I also made a lavender lemonade. But with this one, I made a concentrated lavender tea and mixed it with the juice of three lemons. I lucked out with the lemons though, they were extremely juicy.






It turned into quite a delicious, relaxing day.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Glazed Sweet Potato Muffins

Hi!

I am in abdominal hell and wanted to keep my mind off of the pain, so I made muffins!


Here's the story of the sweet potatoes:

A few weeks ago, a woman all dressed in her military wardrobe came to the front door and asked if we wanted some food. I didn't really know how to respond so the silence lasted a bit longer than I would have liked. She let me know that she and her boyfriend were shipping out and had all sorts of food that they didn't want to throw out and didn't have time to drive anywhere to drop it off. So she wanted us to just have it. There were canned goods, frozen goods, all packaged and sealed and good to go. Along with the packages, came a bag of sweet potatoes which I used tonight to make some yummy muffins.


We also don't have a muffin pan so I used a recycled casserole dish and stuffed the liners with the filling.


They didn't come out perfectly round but I'm not entering any sort of contest here. The only judges are Dickie and myself.


They're very delicious. I've already eaten four of them.



Sweet Potato Muffins
(makes 12 muffins)
2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup brown sugar, loosely packed
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2/3 cup mashed sweet potatoes or sweet potato puree
1/2 cup milk*
2 eggs*

Preheat oven to 350.
Combine flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg in a bowl. Add sugar, milk and egg. Stir in sweet potato. Combine until smooth.
Fill muffin tins about 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 18-20 minutes.

*If you are making this vegan and using egg replacer (1T vegetable oil + 2T water + 2t baking powder = 1 egg), I recommend using 1/3 cup of soy milk, to add moisture.

Ginger Glaze
1 cup confectioner's sugar
1 tablespoon water
1 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, sifted

Mix ingredients together until completely smooth. Drizzle over muffins with a small spoon. It will harden, trust me.


I ended up adding a few teaspoons more of brown sugar, just to sweeten them up a bit. And if I had candied ginger bits, I would have sprinkled those atop. You should do that! I will next time.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Cake Batter Chocolate Slivers



I made bark.



The idea of "bark" has always been funny to me. Melt some chocolate and flatten it out into slivers as thick as you want with layers of other chocolates, fruits, nuts, sprinkles, chips... etc... it's essentially a chocolate bar but "bark" just sounds... more unique I suppose.


I had some left over cake mix from the Cake Batter Pancakes and all of my favorite chocolate bars were on sale, so I went ahead and added heat to said ingredients. I also added sprinkles.



I saw a recipe for bark and sprinkles and cake batter and chocolate just sound so delicious together. I have never been more thrilled to share anything with anyone as much as I am right now.




I tried it once before but I added too much cake batter and it was just a mess. The mixture turned into ... what seemed like clay. Indian clay. On it's 5th stage of hardening. Terrible. And inedible!





Cake Batter Chocolate Slivers
12 oz high quality white chocolate
6 oz high quality dark chocolate
3 teaspoons of cake mix (I used the leftover Funfetti but I'm switching to yellow cake mix)
2 tablespoons of rainbow sprinkles (additional... as desired)

Melt the dark chocolate (you can melt it in the microwave, no need to be fancy here) and spread onto waxed baking sheet. Spread it to your desired thickness. You don't have to fill the entire sheet with it, and the chances of it spreading on it's own aren't very high. You're in the clear!

Pop it in the freezer (the flattest surface possible) for about 30 minutes.

Melt the white chocolate and add the cake mix, sprinkled teaspoon at a time. I recommend sifting it to rid of the lumps. Whisk as fast as you can until it appears smooth.

Take out the dark chocolate and immediately pour the white chocolate over it (try to cover the dark chocolate while pouring it so that you don't have to spread it with a spatula (because it will start to marble - unless you want that effect!) and sprinkle with sprinkles before popping it back in the freezer for another 30 minutes.

Remove from freezer and check for firmness before breaking it apart. Keep refrigerated!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Lemon Poppyseed Scones

I've been in a bit of a mental funk lately. A lot of relationships are running through my mind. Romantic, Platonic, Fantasy, Futuristic... futuristic...

I want everybody to be okay. I want to help and I know that I can but I can't seem to tell who is being honest and who is just complaining to complain. Attention hogs! I can't stand it! Real problems exist. Don't wast my time with your cry baby antics!

After watching 'Martyrs' last night with Ben, I started thinking about how much I miss the people in my life. I see them pretty often, I know that, but I miss them.

Just before starting up another movie, my older brother sent me a text saying that he missed me. Holy What-the! We're so alike and so different and it's such a great combination for our relationship. I told him I'd make him a treat and bring it in to his work.

So today I made Lemon Poppyseed Scones.


I love grating lemons. It mists and sprays all over my hands and I always consider never washing them again. Oh, but then I have that "Kitchen Lemon" hand soap, so don't you worry.


My brother works at Lucky's Tattoo Parlor in Downtown, SD. Very conveniently located down the street from my house. I'll be leaving just after posting this entry, actually.


Lemon Poppyseed Scones
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cold butter or margerine
1/2 cup sour milk (1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice or vinegar in a 1/2 measuring cup, fill the rest of the cup with milk or soy milk)
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon peel
1 1/2 tablespoons poppyseeds
Additional flour for kneading.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add sour milk, poppyseeds and peel, folding until everything moist. Turn onto a floured surface, knead gently.

Shape into a ball.

On a greased baking sheet, pat dough into a circle about 1 1/2 inch thick and 8 1/2 inches in diameter. Using a sharp knife, cute wedges into the dough, being careful not to cut all the way through. Sprinkle with sugar and any leftover peel. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 - 25 minutes.



Friday, February 18, 2011

Dilemma.

It is really rather relieving to know that my biggest dilemma (and really, quite heavy on my shoulders at the moment) this morning was this:



I ordered eggs - over medium, an english muffin, butter - on the side, seasoned potatoes, and a small sliver of french toast. I ate everything and saved the eggs and english muffins last. Here's where the dilemma kicked in:

I DIDN'T HAVE ENOUGH BREAD FOR MY EGG YOLK. WHAT. THE. CRAZY.

I looked around, curious as to why my coworkers were staring at me. Apparantly, I looked like I was trying to solve the Riemann Hypothesis. I explained to them my situation, and without blinking once, they replied with, "Just lick the plate. We won't judge you."

Goddamn. I love my morning crew. I licked the hell out of that plate. I had my yolk. I relish in knowing that my biggest problem was that I almost wasn't able to eat the yolk.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Most Delicious Failure.



I'm not really sure how this became more of a food blog than anything else, but I love food so I really don't mind. I've also rediscovered my camera and I cook nearly everyday (or I at least attempt to); why not share it with all of you?

Today's fiasco involved peanut butter. Lots and lots of peanut butter. It started raining around 2am last night and by the time I got home from work, I was so worked up and excited that I thought I'd try to make some peanut butter fudge.



I melted together sugar, peanut butter and soy milk (for the vegan of the household) and stirred constantly over medium heat, boiling it through and through for a hard candy consistency. Once I got that down, I removed the pot from the heat and added vanilla and butter until it became pretty darn firm. I poured it into a buttered casserole dish and let it sit while I finally fell asleep.

This is what happened:



!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WHAT! It isn't supposed to do that when I try to slice it into beautiful little cubes, right? RIGHT? Ugh. What a failure.

I'm going to melt it down and probably use it for icing. Maybe on scones? I'll figure it out. I'm not one to waste food. I will Tupperware every last drop of that peanut butter mess.

In all fairness to the peanut-buttery disaster, I replaced confectioner's sugar with regular sugar and flour. That might work for some recipes, but not for fudge. Remember that. Don't make my mistake.

Let's lighten up the mood though; I made a Tortellini soup! Yum!



Watching evaporated milk incorporate itself into a pot of water is like a dance. A cloudy, swirly dance that I want to eat.

I added parsley, sun dried tomatoes, and dried carrot bits.



And of course, the tortellini.



It made up for the peanut butter fiasco and went really well with the rain outside.

I should have slept because I work tonight. Another 11-730a shift. I often wonder if my exhaustion is more or less a sign of creativity in the kitchen, or a lack of sleep. And then I see food and I don't care anymore!


Tortellini Soup:

5 cups water
1 can evaporated milk
1 bunch of fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 cup dried carrots
1 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped
2 cups uncooked tortellini
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons cornstarch
3 tablespoons ice cold water
1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese.

Mix the water, evaporated milk, parsley, tomatoes, carrots, and spices into a large pot and bring to a soft boil. Add tortellini and cover for about 20 minutes over medium low heat. Bring heat up to medium high. Dissolve cornstarch in ice cold water and pour the mixture into boiling, bubbling soup and stir it constantly to thicken it. Remove from heat and place the lid back on for about 5 minutes.

Top it with Parmesan cheese in your favorite soup bowl and enjoy it.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Brussels Sprout Salad

It's Tuesday, which doesn't mean anything other than Dan was invited over for dinner. I spent a good few hours searching my brain for dinner ideas and while Dickie mentioned that he would make his Chicken Pasta, I decided I would make some sort of small side salad to go along with it. OH, BUT WHAT?!

The crisper drawer in the refrigerator suggested using brussels sprouts, lime, tri-colored bell peppers. Inanimate objects can be so helpful!

I grabbed all the ingredients and set them up,


finely chopped the red, yellow and orange bell peppers, brussels sprouts, green onions, and garlic,



and set them aside while I melted butter in a large pan over medium-heat.



I poured everything into the pan, added salt, black pepper and white pepper and mixed it together.
I always have to be careful with the amounts of butter and salt that I put into my food because I always end up using too much. If you are anything like me, use measuring spoons!


If you like the buttery/salt taste, than you don't have to add lime juice, but you might regret it because limes are delicious.

... Just trust me; you'll want to add lime juice.


Brussels Sprout Salad
1 lb. of brussels sprouts, shredded
1/2 red, yellow and orange bell peppers, diced
3 green onions, sliced
21/2 - 3 cloves of garlic
4 Tablespoons of butter
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon white pepper

I could have used a food processor to chop the brussels sprouts but I wanted to take my time with it. Make sure everything is much smaller than bite-size. Almost as if you shredded everything. Melt the butter in a large pan and add the garlic first. Let it saute for a few minutes and then add everything else. Stir it evenly and add the salt, black and white pepper, and place the lid on the pan for about 6 minutes. Turn off heat but leave the lid on to consume the steam.

While the burner is cooling off, start cutting your limes in half. Transfer the salad to a large mixing bowl and squeeze the limes into the salad, tossing the salad (that's what she said) in between each lime.

Plate and eat!

We did and are now watching Star Trek.