Swap Town: Buckwheat

Hi Internet! You’re looking… large?

Let’s keep that up!

I’ve got a buckwheat cacao nib shortbread recipe for you to load your beautiful faces with.

These cookies keep very well, so they’re great for shipping… in case there’s another cookie swap happening that I don’t know about, or you just need to send some to yourself to slow down the face stuffing process.

Unfortunately I’m using a friends computer (and I’m an idiot about non-macs) so I can’t show ya’ll any pictures right now, but they looked kind of like these, as I adapted them (just barely) from Heidi Swanson’s post.

I’ll do a follow up post at some point with the info from my fellow cookie swappers and pictures of my dorky packaging situation.

… I behaved like a fifth grader with a crush… there were check-boxes involved… it was awkward…

Anyways, I’ll be back in the near future to update this cookie swap deal and tell you where the heck I’ve been and maybe tell you about the success or failure of the persimmon ginger cream scones I’m about to make.

Also latkes.

Happy Holidays, Weirdos.

Buckwheat Cacao Nib Shortbread

Adapted from Alice Medrich and 101 Cookbooks

Cream:

2 sticks of softened salted butter

1/2 cup sugar

until just combined, don’t turn this into fluffsville (the longer you cream, the more air you incorporate, the less like shortbread- dense- your cookies will be)

mix in:

the scraped out guts of 1 vanilla bean (save the skin part for roasted fruit or an ice cream base… or just stuff it into your sugar and forget about it)

1 1/2 tsps bourbon (you can skip this but that would be silly. Unless you have cream to use up. Or aren’t using a vanilla bean)

7 tbsps cacao nibs

scrape down the bowl and sift in:

1 cup each all purpose and buckwheat flour

mix until combined and form into 2-3 disks or logs (disks to roll out for cookie cutters, logs to slice and bake) and chill for a couple of hours or overnight.

Slice (or roll out to) 1/4 inch thick cookie bits and bake on parchment until set and just golden on the sides- these are easy to overbake and your times will vary based on the size cookies you end up with so check them regularly (starting around the 7 minute mark).

The number of cookies you get will vary too, probably ranging between 48-60… so unless you’re sending them to people… and you should totally send them all over the place all the time… but if you’re not, I’m sure a half batch would work just fine and yield a less bananas amount of stuff… or you could freeze some of the dough and have cookies, like, whenever. It’s your life, buddy.

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Bourbon, Chocolate, Cookies, Room Temperature Butter

I Forgot

I forgot, for a few days, to do anything real. I floated around in a daze of celebration.

 (Grapefruit juice, fizzy water… and knowing me, like a 60/40 chance of gin.)

I was celebrating my new baking program, the fact that the season of mass produced banana bread was behind us and the simple rare gift of a few glorious days off.

In retrospect, my celebration consisted largely of me sitting in sun warmed grass and laughing at bros playing (really intense) frisbee.

I think my subconscious parts were trying to give me that bear hyber-nation* style load of summeryness that I’m not gonna have time for now.

And damned if I didn’t forget I was gonna lose all of these days.

I can’t quite make it to my favorite farmer’s market anymore. I forgot to say goodbye to the stand with the best tomatoes I’ve ever tasted.

I could cry.

 I forgot to write down how this stout and mustard braised pork happened. Forgot about soft buttery cabbage and creamy mashed potatoes.

My brain is full of holes.

I keep forgetting to write at you wonderful people.

I forgot to make a big enough lunch… which is really code for ‘I forgot to not eat my lunch for breakfast’.

Real life.

I’m a hungry lady.

I forgot to pay my bus fair this morning.

Ok, I didn’t forget.

I just didn’t want to. Yay, unobservant drivers!

I forgot to buy beer.

Shambles. My life is in shambles.

Who wants to be stuck drinking Jack and Gingers?**

… Me, actually. But variety is the spice of life/hangovers and I like to keep my options open.

 I keep forgetting not to aggressively stuff my face with this speculoos stuff. (It’s cookie butter. And though both of it’s names sound gross and fucked up, it’s really only one of those things. And it’s vegan. What? Twist. It’s like peanut butter made of cookies. So, crack.)

I forgot to look at my damn clock last night and ended up going to sleep… for a grand total of about four hours.

Seriously. My brain is slipping***.

But I think, even if I tried, I couldn’t possibly forget how to make curry.

Now, I don’t think I’m particularly authentic about… well, any of my cooking. I tend to just use whatever needs using. Which usually leads to ‘fusion’ food. But it’s usually delicious fusion food.

My better curries start in a blender.

What?

Yeah.

Truth.

Well, ok, there’s a little prep before that. But. Blender.****

Important stuff.

I’m not gonna give you a recipe for curry. See, I have this problem where I just dump in unknown quantities of things. ‘Cause I do what I want.

I’ll make more curry soon… and I’ll take notes. It’ll be awesome.

But I’ll tell you a secret now: after you blend all the super flavory sauce stuff (onions, garlic, ginger, peppers, tomatoes, spices, etc), cook it, by itself, in a tbsp or two of olive oil until it looks like food****

It’s a counter-intuitive process but the results are memorable. Even for someone like me.

*Poop plug. Summer poop plug.

Yeah, I ate some corn.

I’m sorry I’m so gross.

**Anywhere from a 1:2 to a 1:1 ration of Jack Daniels:Reed’s Ginger Beer. Deloicious. Add a little lemon juice if you’re feeling fancy.

***… slippin’ slippin’. Into the future.

****Ha. Butt blender.

****And/or diarrhea.

2 Comments

Filed under Drinks, Grapefruit, No recipe, Uncategorized

Basics

A cooking basic:

-Get your pan hot before you put anything in it. Then put in your fat and let that get hot. Then add other, foodier stuff.

Some life basics:

-Don’t try to substitute coffee for sleep. It’ll make you too regular.*

-Eat protein. I’ve been running around tasting cookies and cakes and doing the physical labor that is baking and forgetting to eat enough real food. Basically, I just need to pack two lunches.

-If you want a bus to come, get someone to light a cigarette. If you want something to go on sale, buy it now… and again, when it’s on sale next week.

The universe is all about schadenfreude.

-When riding your bike in a busy street and see this:

… pull over and take a picture.

That’s a dude on a bike, holding a parrot.

What.

-When in doubt, fry an egg.

 With quickly sauteed flowering kale, garlic and avocado toast that shit is dinner.

Apparently egg frying isn’t something everyone gets taught at home. What? Twist.**

Eggs are totally the cooking and life basics of my childhood.

Thanks mom!

Let’s do a quick run through of the different kinds of fried eggs.

–Over Hard- fun to say, somewhat difficult to eat if you have an aversion to the slightly chalky texture that a fully cooked yolk can take on. This egg is cooked on both sides until the yolk is firm and the whites aren’t snotty.***

I ate these, by choice, for years.

Cray, I know.

–Over Medium- my current fried egg of choice as this egg is cooked on both sides, till no egg white snot remains and the yolk thickens to a runny custard consistency.

–Over Easy- this egg is cooked on both sides, but removed almost immediately after it’s flipped as the yolk is meant to be very runny.

–Sunny Side Up- the prettiest of the fried eggs, the sunny side up egg (I feel like I’m on a game show now. Everyone picture Vanna White with me) is cooked only on one side. This is the hardest egg to do right. By ‘do right’ I mean cook until the white is set but the yolk is still runny all the way through. This egg requires patience or a desire to eat squicky egg white snot.

I have little of either of those.

 But sometimes my pan gets sticky and I get too scared to flip my eggs. And then I cheat by throwing hot fat all over the place.

It happens.

#Only all of us can prevent grease fires.

On top of mac and cheese with bacon and caramelized onions, the terror I feel about this egg is washed away in a cloud of delicious artery death.

It was kinda awesome. No bigs.

Go make an egg!

You’ll need:

A hot skillet

Butter

To wait until that butter is hot

An egg, cracked onto that hot butter in that hot skillet

Salt and pepper, hot sauce, fancy pants herbs and spices, whatever floats your egg boat

Maybe a spatula if you’re gonna flip it, maybe not if your pan isn’t straight sided and a speedy flick of your wrist will do the job

Maybe a spoon if you want a sunny side up egg but want to cheat a little by spooning hot fat on top of your egg to make sure the white cooks through

Maybe cheese

Probably cheese

And a fork or ‘bread utensil’

Did I miss anything?

Good luck, people!****

*Everybody poops.

Did you know there’s an Everybody Farts book too?

**Schools, seriously, bring back home ec.

***Snotty whites=runny, not solid or cooked through=higher risk of salmonella. Salmonella is a thing that can food poison your insides. It’s good to avoid, but the risk in eggs is relatively low.

****Sorry if you’re not into eggs or are some kind of eggspert.

And now I’m sorry I put ‘eggspert’ onto you, Internet.

Yikes.

1 Comment

Filed under Bacon, Basics, Breakfast, Fried Egg, Green, Home ec, Instructional, No recipe

Siren Songs and BLTs

Can we talk siren songs for a minute?

A siren song can be just about anything that you shouldn’t do that calls to you. Hard.

I hear them, like, everyday. I have for my whole life.

When I was three, four and five my siren songs were super dicey. Mostly because, at those carefree ages, I always went with my impulses.

Siren song: Play with the shiny big ‘toy’ cars racing through busy intersections.

Result: Dislocated shoulder.*

Siren song: Touch every open flame around.

Result: … I touched a bunch of fires. Ouch?

Siren song: Stand and rock on a chair with inexplicably sharp edges.

Result: Chin chok-a-block full of stitches.

Siren song: Stand on a wheely chair while leaning out our second story window.

Result: I couldn’t go to story time.

That was the worst.** Also, one of the only punishments that wasn’t just a short time-out. I got away with so much.

My siren songs have changed a bit over the years.

Siren song: Buy every issue of Locke & Key.

Result: Poorness.

… But read this if you haven’t. It’s incredimazeballs.

Siren song: Put bourbon in everything.

Result:

 Bourbon spiked Arnold Palmers.

Siren songs I hold off on:

Putting my hand in the running garbage disposal.

Walking into the giant ovens at my baking school.

Jamming the spokes of other people’s bikes.***

Shouting in theaters during live productions.****

Eating bacon every day… I don’t hold off on this one voluntarilly, I just can’t afford that much bacon.

I ate a friend’s bacon today… that sounded… not ideal.

#No shame

A couple weeks ago I made myself a BLT that I’m still salivating over.

 Sorry, the picture’s a bit fuzzy but I took it on my phone with the low-blood-sugar/why-isn’t-that-in-my-face-yet shakes.

It’s a loaded Spring BLT. Like a salad in bread and full of bacon. So, it’s exactly how I like all my salads.

In case you want to eat this beautiful monster…

Thinly slice a small red onion and a handful of radishes.

In a bowl, pour enough red wine vinegar over the sliced onion and radishes to completely cover them.

(Later, you’ll want to save the un-absorbed oniony vinegar for dressings!)

Add a couple pinches of salt and dried dill.

Let it sit and get pickly while you get to the good stuff.

Fry several pieces of bacon, pat off excess fat and set aside.

Drain most of the grease from your pan and sautee a handful of trimmed, rinsed asparagus on high heat for a couple of minutes, until they’ve got some color on them but are still a bit crisp.

Rinse and dry something like lettuce (I used red leaf and spinach. This really was a salad. I’m bonkers, I’ve accepted it).

Slice a tomato and some Dubliner.

Toast a couple slices of sourdough and mix together a couple tsps of whatever mustard you have around with a couple tbsps of greek yogurt (I was out of mayo. This actually worked pretty well. Shocking stuff) and some black pepper.

Assemble and destroy.

You look like you could use a good sandwich.

Treat yo self.

A little quick real life talk? My days have been chaotic, I’ve been sick or fighting something off for weeks and am just now feeling like myself again. I’m gonna work on building up this weak immune system of mine while working my tail off in this baking program and looking for paying work. I don’t know how much time I’ll have for this blogging business. I’m gonna try to post more, but I can’t promise anything regular. I’m gonna shoot for a post every other week, for now.

And now, a request: TELL ME YOUR SIREN SONG.

Too intense?

Well, guys, I really wanna know.

Throw a girl a bone, will ya?

*Or elbow. Probably elbow. But who can keep track of their own medical history? Squares is who!

**I love you mom. I’m obviously only alive ’cause you made the tough decisions. But I’ll probably never get over this.

Also, Everyone, tell me a story. It’ll be awesome. For me.

***My siren songs would be dicks. Obvi.

****As someone who’s done some little bits of theater and has many friends who are actively pursuing a life in that industry, this is the one that feels the worst to me. But the urge is never not there. I figure when I’m older, I’ll snap and be the worst audience member ever. Like a living version of Thespis, but less creative.

1 Comment

Filed under 'Cause I'm A Kid, Bacon, Bourbon, Drinks, Green, Sandwiches, Spring

A Mulligan

On Friday, I went out and stayed out. I was gonna celebrate because I got into a baking program for the summer* and since celebrating indoors seemed lame, I ended up with grass marks so deep and stubborn I’m surprised they’re not still pressed into my legs.

I shoved joy into my day by riding my bike all over town,

 eating good food,

listening to a podcast I can’t stop loving, reading and nearly falling asleep at a park… but only because the sun and that sneaky breeze were so on it.

Then a mother freaking turkey flew out of a tree and charged at me.

I’m still recovering.

Did you guys know that turkeys are

a) Unsettling. Like, a lot.

b) Able to fly. Who sanctioned that? Why?!**

And did you guys know that I

a) Feel very close to Tippi Hedren… despite having hair that actually moves… and that, I, as a result of that closeness, have sympathetic bird based PTSD.

b) Will now go to delis and order turkey sandwiches and eat them spitefully… and hope that turkeys don’t have that wasp thing going on.

So given the whole turkey situation and the fact that I was, in fact, forcing the joy aspect of my day, led me to pull a mulligan. I groundhog-ed that bidness.

My do-over involved even more biking (I hurt, let’s not talk about it),

multiple parks,

Grace-facing with a funny lady, more pizza, another super beautiful podcast, swings and three different grocery stores.

… But this is all from Safeway. They had a sale on sexy shame-makers.

Then, because it turns out my day needed a cherry, I got a job offer.

Not a big job.***

It’s a super temp gig, actually.

At a summer camp.****

For witches.

Stop laughing.

It’s gonna be magical.

I probably won’t be sacrificed.*****

The point is, my mulligan went super well.

The baking program is gonna teach me how to mass produce and then the summer camp will allow me to practice that shiny new skill with my own recipes.

What?!

Yeah.

Creative freedom.

For kids.

But still.

That’ll be nice.

Any ideas for what I should make?

If you’re reading this, odds are good you’ve eaten a dessert I’ve crapped out (hi friends!) (I’m actually waving right now)-  is there anything I’ve made you that you still want to eat?

Tell me!

But now I need to stop looking to the future and get real: my mulligan was on Cinco de Mayo/free comic book day.

I missed all of the free comics. It was a busy day.

But that’s ok, I went to a sale last week and got some great stuff.

… I skipped Battle Pope… apparently “when he’s not leadin’ mass, he’s out kickin’ ass!”

I am a ball of regret.

But I cooked delicious food for Cinco de Mayo so my regret has been buried in beans.

And pico de gallo.

Make some!

Start by chopping 1/2 medium red onion

add onion to a bowl with about 2 tbsps lime juice and a pinch of salt, to start to mellow out it’s aggressive onionyness.

Mince 1 pepper (I like serranos for their sharper, cleaner heat but I used jalepenos for years and was totally into them, so use whatever’s easier for you to find/eat) (also, if you want your salsa to be on the milder side you should know that I might make fun of you but we can totally still be friends… and that you should get rid of the seeds and paler stuff inside the pepper before you mince it, as that’s where most of the heat comes from)

chop a handful of cilantro

and chop a couple of roma tomatoes too

Combine it all and eat immediately or let it sit around for a bit, covered and let the flavor get awesome-er… just don’t wait too long or the tomatoes will turn into sad sacks, texture-wise… or, more likely, someone else will see it and eat all of it while you’re off running errands, like a dope.

But seriously, at the two day mark those tomatoes feel like depression took corporeal form in your mouth. Don’t go there.

(Yes, ‘corporeal’ just happened and yes, I watched Buffy during a time when my brain still absorbed new information. What of it.)

Not the best sell, I know, but just eat it when it’s fresh and it’ll be like joy took corporeal form in your mouth and then had a sexy party in your throat.

Is that not better?

Well… make it. And then tell me how I should have pitched it to you.

It’s a rough recipe but it’s incredibly easy to adjust to your own tastes and homemade salsa is kinda the best, so try it.

  While you’re at it, you should doctor up some refried beans, throw on a pot of homemade spanish rice (I’ll get to that in another post, don’t you worry), quarter some radishes, fry some bacon and corn and get me a beer. All this typing’s made me thirsty.

And sleepy.

Bye, Internet!

(Yes, I’m waving again.)

(I’m gonna sleep so hard, guys.)

*What was I thinking? I’m gonna be stupid hot and crabby as hell.

**And why did it never occur to me that this winged animal might be able to do that? Jeez, self. Get on it.

***But seriously, thank god. I was hours away from changing this blog’s deal from food and job hunting to food and… well, me complaining about being sick while drinking beer. Know thyself.

****Between the turkey thing and the summer camp job I think the world is telling me to reread this…

 Not a hard sell. This book is seriously well written and the author doesn’t try to make herself look good which is a rare, wonderful and brave thing. I stopped reading it for several months when I was three chapters away from the end because I didn’t want it to be over.

Go read it.

*****I’m sorry, witches. I’m a jerk. I don’t mean it. I love you guys.

Which is also pretty awkward.

Can we just shake hands and walk away from all of this?

2 Comments

Filed under Bacon, Ice Cream, Mexican, Spring

Something Hot

I feel like we’re in between six* different seasons right now. I know, the Bay Area is mad fickle but… maybe I forgot. Maybe it got old, maybe I got used to our near rainless winter and expected the seasons to have simply swapped time frames. Whatever the reason behind my confusion, it’s annoying. I don’t know what to wear and more importantly, I can’t tell if I want a salad.

I love salads. But I don’t think it’s hot enough yet. I think I need to feel my teeth sweat before I’ll be ready to sink them into cold wedges of ice berg covered in homemade ranch, or tender purple red leaves sprinkled with blue cheese and surrounded by a harsh vinaigrette. Salads make me want to sit on warm, itchy grass and drink Arnold Palmers. I guess I’m waiting for summer.**

More than usual lately I’ve had to fight the urge to huddle inside, under covers in a comfy t-shirt and watch movies or get caught up on Psych. I’m not ready for whatever grab bag of weather is waiting for me outside.

I’m trying to ease into salad season. I ate raw asparagus last week.*** I’m getting prepped, people.

 This happened.

… It’s half a freezer hash brown with marinara, hot sauce and cheddar cheese on a leaf of romaine. For balance.

I’ve been throwing arugula or spinach with a little rice wine vinegar into just about everything I’ve been eating.

Well, everything I’ve been making.

Which has all been hot food, generally involving a lot of very comforting carbs and hot sauce. I’m getting back to my roots during this time of turmoil.****

But I to go back to eating multiple heads of lettuce a week. I’m not ready. At all. I’ve got to take baby steps. So, the greens go in my curries and hashes, maybe wilt a little in the heat but they’re still so freaking stubbornly… well, green… that it doesn’t diminish them. And it get’s me closer to that glorious vehicle for dressings and croutons.

I’ll get up to salads again. It’s just gonna take time. Meanwhile I’ll be drinking a beer in my bathtub and thinking about burgers.

 

*I know there aren’t six. Creative license is like… fancy ignorance. Deal.

**Freaking weird. I’m usually into winter. I love rain and hate hot weather. I guess I just don’t like uncertainty. Or change. Yup, that’s it. Summer is consistent.

No, it’s not.

Shut up self, I’ll lie to us if I want to. Jeez.

***It’s good, don’t judge me. Also, not a pee problem for all of us. Also also, when raw it tastes a bit like fresh peas. Which I will talk about more in another post… probably by just being super redundant. Look forward to it, friends!

****Don’t worry, I’m not turning this into a livejournal.

And I will be posting an actual recipe soon. Probably. Unless I get distracted. By freezer hash browns. For which, I think, you couldn’t truly fault me.

3 Comments

Filed under Breakfast, Girly, Green, No recipe, Spring

Oprah Style

I can’t decide if this post’s title means I’m going to tell you about my favorite things (stop looking under your chair, there will be no giveaways. Despite my childhood beliefs, I’m not actually Oprah) or show you a bag of chips I ate, tell you about my regrets and then get Gayle to feed me salads on a yacht while I nap and Stedman moves my legs.

Maybe there’s something more doable in between. ‘Cause I don’t know Gayle or Stedman and I totally don’t have a yacht. Or know where to find one.

Ok, let’s forget ‘favorite things’ and the fact that my dinner last night consisted of taste testing chips (shut up, it was for science).

Real life things! I got sick again this week. I blame children. They’re always covered in jam and cooties. Mostly cooties.

 These are my favorite hot drinks for my least favorite times. Xiao’s blend from Peet’s (pricey but pretty damn perfect) and homemade ginger tea.

Fresh ginger tea is spicy and amazing and cheap. Peel a hunk of ginger and slice, chop or grate it into a pot, cover with multiple cups of water (about 1 cup water for every inch of ginger- this is a strong ratio and will seriously clear your sinuses), slowly bring to a boil, stock-like, for the most possible flavor, strain into cups with honey and lemon juice and breath in the steam. If you’re really sick throw in a crushed clove of garlic and a 1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper for every 2 cups of water- I start on the weaker end of the ratio with these additions.

When I’m extra lazy I just throw a few slices of ginger in a mug with honey, top it off with hot water and lemon juice. Works in a pinch. The real benefit of making a whole pot of the stuff is that you can just throw more water in once it’s gone and you’ll have a new, slightly weaker batch of tea in twenty minutes and your sick self won’t have to chop or peel again for days.

I’ve also been known to just drink hot water with lemon and honey. ‘Cause of how uncoordinated I get when sick and half asleep. Safety first!

I’m gonna backtrack a bit now.

But Rosie, why would you want to go backward?*

Because hot buttered grits with brown sugar is stupid good.

Are you guys eating grits yet? If you haven’t started yet… maybe you shouldn’t. It’s much harder not to eat grits constantly once you know how good they are.

But surely you’re making sundaes.

 You’d be bananas** not to.

And if you want to skip the scary sugar boiling thing I did last week, you can do what I did this week and make a small batch of Deb’s butterscotch sauce in the microwave. Yeah. I’m gonna tell you about this and trust you not to die immediately. You have self control, right?

You’ll need:

a microwave safe bowl

… a microwave

a spoon for stirring every minute or so

1 tbsp butter

2 tbsps dark brown sugar

2 tbsps heavy cream

a pinch of salt

a scant 1/2 tsp vanilla (sometimes I skip the vanilla and just use bourbon***)

Combine all ingredients except for the vanilla in your bowl, microwave for 3-4 minutes (until it has bubbled a bit and everything’s all copacetical), stopping and stirring every minute, add vanilla, stir, cool slightly and use a ladle to pour it into your face. Or just dump other sundae stuff into that same bowl. Or be nice and share as there should be enough for two. Or do like me and make a mini apple crisp and eat the entire thing in one night with ice cream and this microwavable miracle while sick like a hungry hungry fool.

 This is about 1/3 of said crisp. It had a crunchy oat and pecan laced topping and sweet and sour cinnamon covered fuji and granny smith apples underneath. It was glorious.

Hey. I made apple crisp the last time I was sick too. Weird. I developed a new habit!

You know what else happened the last time I got sick? A wonderful lady brought me bread. The bread she gave me this time had fruits and nuts in it.

 We covered that bread in this glorious stuff. It’s like smushed up marmalade made of ginger and I love it and I’m gonna put it in french toast with something creamy and die of joy.

That’s what’s gonna happen. With mimosas. ‘Cause we’re princesses.

So I guess I sort of do have a Gayle. Now all we need is a yacht.

 

*Does it freak you out how well I know your mind? The answer is yes.

**Yup. Still doing that. Just try and stop me. Because I can’t. Seriously. Help.

***Bourbon is totally my spirit animal.

Leave a comment

Filed under 'Cause I'm A Kid, Bourbon, Breakfast, Drinks, For the Sick, Girly, Heavy Cream, Ice Cream, Melted Butter