oceantheorem: (coffee life)
I'm not sure anything in particular really needs to be written, but it's nearly noon, and I'm at work with nothing to do, and I am bored, and I want to write.

We found a new place to live and started moving in earlier this week. Unfortunately, our gorgeous, beautiful, spacious new house (which we'll be sharing with three housemates) attacked me on the first night, and I had to get my kneecap x-rayed on Monday to make sure I hadn't shattered it. I'm mostly fine now, and am off the crutches already, but my knee is still very sore, and stairs in particular are still problematic. So I'm not doing much at work today. Just sitting. It's better than sitting in the new house without anything at all to do - at least there is internet here, and I had a long chat with Ulf this morning about science - but it's still pretty boring. So I might as well catch up on writing and other creative pursuits.

Overall, life is really good. We love the new house. I'm still very much in love with San Francisco, and am thrilled to be moving to an area that will test that love a little less - we're leaving the high-crime, filthy, noisy downtown/SoMa area and will no longer have crackheads and other bums screaming in the alley outside our apartment every night. The new house is on a street with a bunch of other houses, and the only noises I heard last night were a cat yowling and a dog barking. I can handle these noises.

Also, there is a coffee shop literally across the street. This is bliss.

Our social calendar has been delightfully full lately. We've had board game nights and hiking excursions and dinners with friends. We're both pretty happy with our social circle here. It feels solid and supportive. I'm so glad we moved out here. I miss our Michigan friends, but California is so great in so many ways....

Let's see... what else is new? Jim went Paleo, and has stopped eating all grains and sugar. He's lost a lot of weight. I worry about how much protein he's eating and how he avoids any carbohydrates at all, but he says he'll stop being so drastic about it once he gets back to his target weight (and he's nearly there). I have not gone Paleo, though I am at Jim's mercy for dinner since he's the cook in our family, and I have also tried to cut out sugar. I've lost about fifteen pounds this summer, kind of accidentally. I guess sugar is a lot worse for weight than I had thought. I now weigh what I did in high school, which is shocking (and delightful!). I had to buy new pants. And shirts. (Woe is me, right? How terrible. I just wish we actually had a budget that allowed for a new wardrobe right now.)

Yeah. I think that's it for now. I'm not feeling terribly introspective at the moment. Just wanted to get down a snapshot of where life is at the moment. 
oceantheorem: (coffee and writing)
Oh wow, has it really been this long since I updated? Where did the last month go?

Things are going really well here. We've definitely settled in, to our new apartment and our new jobs and our new life. I can honestly say I'm happier than I've been in years. I like my job, I like where my life is, and I LOVE being back on the west coast. I know I keep going on about the food, and the weather, and the FOOD, and the WEATHER, but I can't stop. I marvel at every perfectly made sandwich slathered with fresh ripe avocado, at every November morning that's warm enough for me to bike to work in a t-shirt. In the three+ months I've worked here, I can count on one hand the number of times I've been forced to eat lunch indoors due to inclement or cold weather. There is SUN! And good coffee! And something called aioli! ::dies::

So. I'm also thrilled with the amount of STUFF to do. I've hung out with friends, gone to a vampire-themed ball, seen people fling themselves into the bay in poorly-designed homemade aircraft... Tonight I went to a tiny little cafe on the other side of the city to see Lauren O'Connell sing. I discovered her two or three years ago on youtube (I can't even remember now how I found her. through Julia Nunes maybe?), and she has an absolutely incredible voice, coupled with a real talent for songwriting - the way she takes emotions and puts them into neat little words that don't diminish their feeling at all is just... mindblowing. Anyway, so I got to go see her sing tonight, and she's just as awesome in person. And is an awesome person. It was one of those times where I became the awkward nerd I really am deep down inside, and she was super friendly. I told her my name just once, when I first walked into the cafe 20 minutes before the show and she was standing by the door, and she remembered it. She called me by my name an hour later. Wow.

Jim is out driving for SideCar tonight, and was far away when the show ended, so I actually used the SideCar app myself for the first time tonight. The woman who picked me up was really friendly, and we had a nice chat. She's in the global health program here and suggested I look into it or something like it. I had forgotten how much energy and passion there can be for science, and I feel like there is a lot of it here in this city. People here want to do things that matter. And, astonishingly, they ARE. It's terrifying and intimidating and inspiring.

It's late, and I know I'm rambling, so I'll just stop. But yeah. I'm happy. That's new. It's cool. It should keep... doing... that.
oceantheorem: (coffee gg horoscope)
 I made more food. The pork chops and stew turned out really well. So Saturday morning I made Jim buttermilk pancakes (no blueberries; we were out). Then we bought blueberries, and I made blueberry crumb bars, which were wholly underwhelming. I was not at all impressed. This marks the first time I have made something from Smitten Kitchen I wasn't impressed by. Anyway, we'd bought two thingies of blueberries, which turned out to be EIGHT CUPS, plus I STILL. HAD. BUTTERMILK., so I made a blueberry buttermilk cake. Except I forgot I used the last of the white flour making the crumb bars, so the cake had to be done with whole wheat flour, which made it a little dense. It tasted pretty good, though. That recipe is solid.

Anyway. STILL. HAD. BUTTERMILK. I kid you not. It's like it's regenerating in the container. I have a Neverending Container of Buttermilk, +3 Strength. Costs 30,000 gold pieces and is unsellable.

So today - well, this is a long story. Skip two paragraphs down if you're pressed for time and/or just want to read about food (you're probably not reading my blog for the food, though, honestly, unless you're seriously confused). I couldn't sleep last night, initially because of a killer headache. Finally that went away, and killer cramps set in. Finally those started to ease and I was STILL wide awake, so I made some tea. Around 2am I crawled back into bed to try sleeping again, and some idiots pulled up in the parking lot blaring this terrible music that can only be described as "bumpin'". I expected to see red and blue disco lights when I looked out the window. Eventually they went away. I fell asleep. At 5am I was awoken by more idiots in the parking lot. This time there were like 8 of them and several were very large black men and they were ALL yelling at the top of their lungs at each other in a very angry manner, so no way was I gonna go out and ask them to be quiet, but MAN, I MISS MY OLD APARTMENT.  Finally they go away, but the cat is sitting on the pillow next to me licking herself - SLURP SLURP SLURP - so I push her to make her stop. Okay, maybe I pushed her multiple times, but it was 5am and I really was not in my right mind at this point. She bit me. It drew blood. I got up and put a bandaid on my arm and tried to go back to sleep, to no avail. Finally I just wrote into lab that I'd be taking a sick day, spent the next two hours reading, and FINALLY fell asleep again sometime after 7. I blissfully slept until noon.

ANYWAY, I tell you all this so you know why I had my afternoon free of work. I figured as long as I was free during business hours I might as well run some errands, so I did, and while I was out I stopped at a bridal boutique I've been meaning to check out for a while, and tried on some wedding dresses. That was an interesting experience. I tried some on in May with my mom in Reno at a David's Bridal, and the experience was... weird. And not great. But this place is a little local shop and the service was fantastic, and the dresses were very nice. The only weird thing was that I was there alone, which felt kinda sad. The saleslady was nice and used my phone to take pictures of each dress for me, though they didn't really turn out very well. Anyway, I'll post pictures later if you guys want. Will have to friendslock it so Jim doesn't see. :-)  I'm still hoping my mom will make my dress, but she's been reeeeeally busy lately and hasn't responded to the dress email I sent her a couple weeks ago. So no progress there.

Anyway, so after all that, I felt a little lonely, and wanted to do something with my afternoon, and had heard that the movie Bridesmaids is hysterical and totally awesome and worth seeing. So I went and saw it and yeah, it's as stupid as the trailer made it look. Not funny. (I have been informed my sense of humor is broken.) But the main character makes this cupcake early in the movie, and it started off a craving for cupcakes, so when I got home I decided to make some. AND my favorite cupcake recipe uses buttermilk.

So I made red velvet cupcakes and cream cheese frosting. And that is the long story of how I wanted one cupcake and now have 35. And of how I STILL HAVE BUTTERMILK.


Jun. 27th, 2011 07:50 pm
oceantheorem: (cheese)
 Something weird has happened to me recently, and I've been super-motivated to cook. I don't know what's come over me (nope, not pregnant).

Last week I made cookies and a lemon yogurt blueberry loaf in the same evening, and took them into lab the next day (that went over really well - coworkers love baked goods!). Then I heard something on the radio about making your own creme fraiche and became obsessed with doing it, so I bought heavy whipping cream and buttermilk and made the attempt. I'm using it tonight to flavor some pork chops I'm currently brining.  Yeah, I'm not just marinating something before I cook it, I'm brining it. Something is definitely weird with me. (Recipe link)

Also, since I had so much buttermilk left over after the creme fraiche fiasco (the fiasco being that I bought buttermilk and heavy cream in the opposite proportions from what I needed, resulting in a half gallon of buttermilk hanging out in my fridge), I started looking into recipes that called for buttermilk. And somehow I stumbled across a recipe for making your own "ricotta" cheese from a gallon of milk. Dude! You can make your own cheese?? That's so darn cool.  So I bought a gallon of whole milk, poured half of it into a pot, tossed in some heavy cream, cooked it, strained it, and whoa. I have something vaguely between yogurt and ricotta-consistency, which tastes AMAZING. So then I realize I have about half a gallon of whey left over, and did you know "ricotta" really means "twice-cooked", and is traditionally made from the whey from making other cheeses? So hey, I made "ricotta" and now I have whey. I will take the whey and make ricotta! And I did. And it came out much much thicker than the first batch, which was amazing, but I added too much lime juice, so it's got this interesting lime-y flavor I THINK I like but I'm not quite sure. After mixing the two batches together and letting them sit in the fridge overnight, I am absolutely thrilled with the finished product and addicted to making cheese.

Except now I have a half gallon of whey sitting around (well, minus the two cups I put in the pork chop brine). And a half gallon of buttermilk still (um, didn't the cheese thing start with looking for a use for the buttermilk? how did I end up with twice as much liquid I need a use for?).  It's okay though. I'm gonna add the whey and some creme fraiche to a stew I'm gonna set up in the crockpot tonight. And the buttermilk sounds like it might want to be muffins...

I wonder if I could use the "ricotta" to make cheesecake...?

What has come over me??
oceantheorem: (Default)
Jim got his job back with the trucking company he worked for last winter. He left early this morning and will be gone for two weeks. We've both agreed to try to be more positive about the situation this winter, because the money is pretty good and at least he's employed.  So, the upsides are that I get a little more time to myself, which is really nice. Having today to do whatever I wanted felt pretty luxurious and very relaxed. It also means I can stay at work later without feeling like I'm cutting down on time with Jim; I just need to remember to bring extra food so I don't starve to death if I stay late.  It also means Claire will sit on my lap. I'm beginning to think she sits on Jim's lap because of his big comfy chair, and not because of inherent difference in lap or preference for him over me. When I use my computer, I sit on the floor against the couch, with my legs sprawled every which way. Since Jim took my laptop with him on the road, I'm using his desktop, which means I get to sit in his giant comfy chair. And lo, the cat comes to take advantage of the lap.

I made toffee yesterday. It went over so well at our friends' house for gaming I made another batch today. I'm gonna take it to lab tomorrow.  I also made some pumpkin walnut muffins, but I accidentally put in twice as much butter as I was supposed to and they are now pretty irrevocably stuck inside their cupcake liners. They taste fine, but to eat them you have to resort to scraping the paper with your teeth. Which is fine at home alone but not so convenient if I want to add some to my lunch. :-P Also, I desperately want some dried currants so I can make pumpkin currant muffins. Why are dried currants so hard to find??

I haven't knit anything today. I'm really itching for a lace project, but the patterns I want (Ravelry links) aren't free. I should suck it up and just buy one of them... the only problem is that I feel restricted to knitting large things for my silly game group, which would mean I can't start until January 1st. I might just start one now anyway and game be damned!
Seriously, though, there are actually about 15 other things I should really knit before I start another big lace project...

Man, this entry is boring.
oceantheorem: (banana slugs)
 Thanksgiving was good. We spent it with Jim's family.  I made a lemon meringue pie.

Lemon meringue pie is deceptive. You think it really can't be that hard, especially if you've already mastered crust. What's the difficulty? You make some lemony filling, beat some egg whites, toss them on top, and you're done.

In practice it's not quite that easy. )

Also, I'd like to thank Jim for being very patient with me while I had a Baking Meltdown and went into full panic mode over the lifeless meringue. You get major Boyfriend Points for that.
oceantheorem: (hp ginny)
Kris asked for a lattice crust diagram.  Well, I don't do the whole drawing thing, but I did have plans to make another apple pie this weekend, so I enlisted Jim's help and took a series of photos of me making the lattice top.

The problem? Jim doesn't know what focus means. I apologize that so many of the following pictures are blurry.

Read more... )


Nov. 11th, 2010 07:12 pm
oceantheorem: (I believe in science)
Something weird has been happening to me lately (besides the fact that this is my 3rd post this week. I know. The world just might explode). I think I've been domesticated. Like a wild creature of some sort, captured and... trained to bake...? In addition to having baby lust, I've been baking all kinds of things lately, from bread to brownies to pies. I learned how to make pie crusts (and if I'd realized ten years ago it wasn't going to be as hard as all the hype says, I would have made a lot more pies in the last decade) and am working on perfecting fillings.

So anyway, back when I went to New England for Rhinebeck, I got to spend an evening hanging out with my friend Eliz. Eliz is synonymous in my head with "food," as she is an amazing chef and I'm convinced she can make anything. During our evening together, she whipped out an apple pie (I helped peel and slice!) like it was nothing. It tasted fantastic.

It looked pretty fantastic, too, so that was when I decided I'd better learn how to make pie crust.

Smitten Kitchen was the first place I went, because, besides Eliz, the other person I trust to know everything about food is Kristy, and to do as Kristy does is to, as she says, "Trust Deb." So I followed Deb's crust instructions (all butter) and hey! I ended up with a fantastic crust.

Look at the flaking!!

Unfortunately, the pumpkin filling wasn't so stellar. It had a great texture, but the taste was... lacking. It was just... plain. Way too light. Discussion with other pie-makers has led to the conclusion that I need to add cloves and ginger in the future, so I will do that.

In the meantime, I got antsy and made another pie. This time I tried the apple thing on my own.

I learned that an apple corer is an invaluable tool and that I need to get one. And that I would kill to have an apple corer/peeler/slicer like my mom has. Also I learned that a simple eggwash over the top of the crust is an ingenius trick that makes you look like a pie goddess without having to do any real work.

Next on my list will be another apple pie (the last one went straight to a friend's house - the one with the unfortunately adorable little boys - and Jim didn't get to even taste it), for Jim. After that will be a pumpkin pie, I think. And after that will be a lemon meringue pie for Thanksgiving. Or, if I need to make candied yams for Thanksgiving, a lemon meringue pie a few days later. Which will also be when I cook a turkey for myself. Because turkey leftovers are mandatory for the first week of December.

Anyway, yeah. The apple pie recipe:
6 cups diced (or sliced) apples (this means 6 apples in my head, though I used only 4 when I made it)
3/4 cup of sugar
1 Tbsp butter
1 tsp cinnamon

Peel, core, slice apples.
Combine sugar and cinnamon.
Mix apples with cinnamon-sugar mixture, and layer in pastry shell.
Place several pats of butter on apple layer and cover with top crust.
Bake at 450F for 10 minutes.
Reduce temp to 350 and bake for 30 more minutes (or until bubbling)

Eliz showed me a cool and easy way to make the lattice top, too, though I don't know how to explain it. I'd have to draw a diagram...
oceantheorem: (wine)
Okay, Rhinebeck was amazing, and I need to make a post filled with lots of pretty pictures of awesome things.

But first, Jim and I made an incredible dinner tonight almost by accident, and I wanted to record it so we can recreate it in the future.

We found SimplyRecipes.com a while back and one of the first recipes we tried out was their Beef & Beer Stew. It turned out fabulous the first time we made it and got... successively worse every time we tried to make it again. So we finally stopped making stew.  Jim decided this week that we'd try a new stew recipe to see if we could get something tasty with a different approach.  He picked out a recipe for rabbit stew, though alas, we could not find any bunny meat.  We used beef instead (recipe below).

I went gluten free for a month a while ago, thinking gluten might be the cause of a host of abdominal problems I've been having over the last year and a half. The results were tenuous, and my doctor was adamant that gluten was safe, so over the last several weeks I've been slowly (and a bit distrustfully) introducing gluten back into my diet. First I stopped reading labels, then I started eating pasta, and finally I started to approach bread again.

I'm not sure how it came up in conversation, but a week or so ago a friend mentioned Artisanal Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, an article she'd read on the internet ages ago. She said it made a great recipe and I should try it.  So I did.

This is what I did:
Mix 3 cups lukewarm water with 1.5 tbsp fast-rise yeast. Stir. Add in 6.5 cups whole wheat flour and 1.5 tbsp salt. Stir. Let rise covered (but not sealed) at room temp for 2 hours. Refridgerate overnight.
Remove from fridge, pull out approximately 1/3 of dough (1 pound?? I have no idea how big the chunks were). Shape into vaguely loaf-shaped lump and let "rest" at room temp for 40 minutes. Bake at 450 for 30ish minutes.
(Except I didn't let it rest for 40 minutes the first time, because I wanted bread NOW and I didn't think it was important.)

The first three breads (from the same initial batch of dough) were a bit... dense.  They were good (and Jim could find no criticism with them, which is odd for him, but the man doesn't like bacon, so sometimes his opinion has to be discounted), but I really wasn't satisfied.

A call with my friend SG from high school set me on a better path.  Whole wheat flour, it turns out, contains a different amount of gluten from "regular" white flour or bread flour (go figure), and that has a profound effect on the bread product.  White flour has more gluten, which allows the bread to rise more, which creates a fluffier and less dense bread.  The resting phase is apparently also crucial to the final product. SG suggested mixing half whole wheat flour with half white flour or bread flour and slightly increasing the amount of water.  And also not skipping the resting period.

So I mixed up a new batch (without cleaning the bowl after the first batch, since apparently that can enhance the flavor of subsequent batches). I added 3 cups of lukewarm water to 1.5 tbsp fast-rise yeast. I added in 3 cups whole wheat flour and 3 cups all-purpose flour and about 1 tbsp salt. I stirred. I let it rise for 2 hours and OMG IT ALMOST ESCAPED THE BOWL YEAH I'LL SAY THE WHITE FLOUR MADE A DIFFERENCE WHOA.  I pushed it back from the edges of the bowl and put it in the refridgerator - for two days I think, though the amount of time shouldn't matter.

I got home tonight and a stew was simmering on the stove. Jim had gotten dinner started (mmmmm, I'm so keeping this guy).  I pulled out the bread bowl, tore out a large chunk (it didn't want to tear off - the increase in gluten definitely made a difference in the tensile strength of the dough...), plopped it on a piece of parchment paper, and let it rest for just over 20 minutes.  I put it in the oven and let it bake for just over 25 minutes at just under 450 while the stew finished simmering.  When I pulled it out of the oven, it was perfect.

Happily, at exactly that same moment, the stew was also perfectly ready to eat.

  • 1.5 lbs beef, cut into chunks
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 5 tbsp butter
  • 10 oz baby bella mushrooms, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 1 large parsnip, chopped
  • 1 quart turkey broth (can substitute chicken broth)
  • 1 cup sherry or white wine
  • 2 tbsp thyme
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp rosemary
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 loaf fresh bread, preferably homemade

Add olive oil, butter, and turkey/chicken broth to a large pot, and slowly bring to a boil while chopping everything that needs chopping. Add the beef, garlic, mushrooms, carrots, celery, onions, and parsnip as you finish chopping them. Add the wine and all the spices except the parsley. Cover, bring to a gentle boil, and cook for 60-90 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add parsley about 5 minutes before serving. Serve with fresh bread, which is best dipped in olive oil with black pepper sprinkled on top. Best with a good seasonal ale or glass of red wine.

Also at exactly that same moment, I put a batch of pumpkin muffins in the oven.  I think we have achieved domestic bliss this evening.

Edit: Yes, and I did keep that coupon, because it told me to, and also I am hoping to win a raffle that will eventually be held somewhere on the internets. But more about that in the Rhinebeck post!

Second edit: muffin picture!


Aug. 22nd, 2010 05:16 pm
oceantheorem: (emperor's new groove turned into a cow)
 I've done a bad job of taking pictures of desserts. I take pictures of the batter and then I forget to take pictures of the finished product before Jim eats them all.

1 cup peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg

Beat together, form into cookie sized balls, press down gently, cook at 350 for about ten minutes.

They were yummy. I will have to make more to get finished product pictures.

"Butterscotch" "Brownies"
I have no idea why the recipe is called that. They are neither butterscotchy nor brownies.

Here is the recipe!

Haha. In English, that would be:

Cream together 1/2 cup butter and 2 cups brown sugar (we used 2 cups white sugar and some honey, because our brown sugar had bread in it to keep it from clumping - ::headdesk::).  Add in 1 tsp vanilla and 3 eggs.  Beat mixture. Mix together 1/2 tsp salt, 3/4 tsp xanthan gum, 1 cup rice flour, and 1/2 soy flour (we used tapioca flour).  Blend the dry mixture in with the wet mixture.
Somewhere in there you were supposed to add in 2 tsp baking powder. Looking at the white board now, I think I forgot to do that...
Stir in 1 cup of chocolate chips or chopped nuts or whatever you want.  We didn't add anything.
Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.

The white board also shows an icing recipe.  I varied it a little since we kinda ran out of powdered sugar, but it's pretty similar to the icing I usually make.
This recipe says to boil 1/4 c butter with 1/4 c cocoa. Then add in 1/3 cup buttermilk, 1 tsp vanilla (hahaha, I'd at least triple that), 1/4 tsp salt, and 3 to 4 cups of powdered sugar.  Beat until smooth.

What I usually do for icing is melt some butter, pour some soy milk on top of it, add a good tablespoon of vanilla, and stir in powdered sugar until it's the consistency I want.  If I wanted chocolate, I'd add cocoa powder until it was chocolately enough.  Icing is pretty easy.

Again, I don't have finished pictures of the "brownies", since we nommed them pretty quickly.  They were very good, if a little chewy and dense (the baking powder might have helped...).  I could probably have also beat some egg whites or something to help fluff them up.  I dunno. Jim said he liked the texture the way it was, and he cares way more about that than I do.

Last but not least, I made some coconut chocolate chip cookie bar things based on a recipe I found on someone else's blog.  I changed a lot.

Beat together 3 eggs, 1/2 melted butter, and a tablespoon of vanilla. Add in 1 cup of brown sugar (by this point we'd bought new brown sugar, but I'm sure the white sugar/honey thing would have worked here too).  Beat in 2 cups of some kind of gluten-free flour mix. I used the Gluten Free Pantry stuff (which is available at Whole Foods and at Kroger), but rice flour with some xanthan gum added in would have worked too. Stir in 1.5 cups coconut and 1 cup chocolate chips. 

Bake at 350 in a buttered casserole dish for about 21 minutes. Or, y'know, set the timer, walk away, and have your boyfriend turn the timer off and NOT TAKE THE BARS OUT OR TELL YOU HE TURNED OFF THE TIMER. Yeah, I'm lookin' at you, Jim.

They turned out okay.  I found them to be fantastic and they're my favorite of the group so far. Jim does not agree.

Next up I think will be flourless chocolate cake.  But it might be a week or so. We're both a little sugared out at this point.
oceantheorem: (gg L geek moment)
Me: man, I need to make dinner
what should I make
Clark: what do you have?
me: I dunno. pasta. meat.
some veggies.
Clark: Well
me: soy milk
Clark: Rice?
me: eggs
Clark: Cook up some rice and eggs. That's quick
me: I guess eggs would be easy
I could do like, a scramble
eggs, mozzarella cheese, celery and green onions
Clark: interesting
me: omg I left out the comma
Clark: what? no you didn't
Clark: You don't have to add a comma in a list for the second to last item...
I hate people who don't
Clark: Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and Epsilon
me: nooooo
Clark: YES
me: ::dies::
Clark: No. Comma. Goes. There.
See the and?
me: goddamnit
what if the other list items have ands in them!
peas and carrots, butter and bread, jam and popsicles
jam and popsicles don't go together!
you need a comma there
Clark: lol
me: ::bangs head on desk::
Clark: I'll never use that comma. NEVER.
me: ::weeps openly::
Clark: Cooking with commas, by Kara Hamilton


Sep. 13th, 2009 11:00 am
oceantheorem: (heart beaners)
Every once in a while I get seized by a desire to bake.  This is extremely infrequent, but as I like to nom baked goods, I try to encourage the desire when it comes up.

So this morning I wanted cinnamon cookies.  I have no idea what "cinnamon cookies" are; they weren't something I remember from childhood or have heard about and wanted to try.  The concept just sprung up in my head and I wanted them.  Luckily, the internet came to my rescue!  I found several recipes and then realized all of them called for baking soda or baking powder.  Crap!  We don't have those, and if I run to the store I won't want to make cookies by the time I get back.  Internet to the rescue again!  Apparently you can add acid to your cookies, in the form of something like lemon juice or vinegar, and it will work just the same way.  Thank you, Wikipedia.

So, I made up a recipe (it's a combination of 3 random ones I found on the internet, plus a bit of my own invention):

1 cup melted butter (we don't have an electric beater, so this had to be melted so I could fork it into the sugar)
1 cup brown sugar
0.5 cup white sugar (could probably have used all brown sugar but I ran out)
2.3ish cups flour (I'm never sure if flour should be measured packed or fluffy.  I just added flour until the dough stopped looking gooey)
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1 egg
2 tablespoons lime juice (next time I'd probably add half this)

1. Mix butter with sugar.  
2. Mix in egg.  
3. Mix in flour, cinnamon, and lime juice.  Let sit for five minutes so it sets a little and can be made into balls.  
4. While it's setting, mix some white sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.
5. Drop balls of dough onto ungreased cookie sheet (trust me, there is enough butter in them they won't stick).  
6. Sprinkle some of the cinnamon/sugar mixture on top.  
7. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.
8. Remember to burn the last batch while you're writing up the recipe on your blog.

oceantheorem: (L Oops)
1. Wonder why water hasn't boiled yet.
2. Wander into kitchen.
3. See that teakettle is on back burner. Check.
4. See that stove is on. Check.
5. Notice that FRONT burner on stove is on. Red-hot. Damn.
oceantheorem: (dreams made flesh)
Ramblings )
oceantheorem: (vodka carpet ship)
The last couple days have been a little weird. Sort of like throwbacks to the beginning of the semester; and even though I feel like I just got here, it seems like the beginning of the semester was a thousand years ago.
Yesterday Shannon came over for dinner, and we sort of reenacted Thanksgiving. It was kind of neat; for the first time in my life I hosted a "dinner party," with food that I had made and a table that I had set and a clean apartment. Shannon brought her green bean casserole to add to the turkey and mashed potatoes and gravy. It was a good meal.
Afterwards we went to GPSCY and hung out with some friends. A couple guys bought me drinks and I took a shot of jager, which was interesting. I've only had jager a couple of times, and the first time was freshman year of college over Christmas break at Darby's house, so every time I taste it I think of Christmas. And I always forget how little jager it takes to get tipsy. I was pretty drunk when I got home, and this morning I woke up and stumbled about the apartment for a few minutes wondering why I had a massive headache, until I belatedly realized that I had a hangover.

Today was kinda rough. I had a meeting with a professor this morning, which went well, but after that I stumbled down to the other side of campus to go to lab, and just couldn't handle research. I swear I almost fell asleep in my lunch, and even though the only thing I did today was a transformation, I felt like moving the tube from one incubator to another required too much energy.

I came home at 3:30 and fell asleep and slept until 7. I guess I really had too much to drink last night and not enough sleep. Anyway, when I woke up, I went to the MCDB departmental party at the Peabody Museum. There were tiny children there, but they had free alcohol, so life was good. After that, a large group of us went to Elizabeth's house for a wine and cheese party, which was awesome. She throws great parties.
After THAT, Shannon and Elizabeth and I got dressed up for the GPSCY party. GPSCY was sponsoring a "Heaven and Hell" ball tonight, and there was no cover for people in costume. Shannon and Elizabeth went on the dark side, and I wore a silver dress and shoes and went as an angel. For the first time in a long time, I felt attractive. The weird thing was that there was a group of guys we sort of went with, which grew after we arrived, and was comprised of some really hot physicists, but none of them seemed interested in me until the last three songs, at which point one of them latched onto me and danced with me (and I should add that he was an impressive dancer; great endurance, he must practice) and then asked me for my number. No one has ever asked me for my number before. I was floored, so I sort of hesitated, but I gave it to him. I hope he calls. But they never call, right?

Anyway, I'm sober now. I'm home and I finally took off my dress--reluctantly, because I've had it for two months and only worn it tonight, and like I said, I felt attractive in it--and watched another episode of Weeds and am maybe moving towards bed now. I'm exhausted, mentally and physically and emotionally, and bleh. I think I just lost my train of thought.

I might get to work with human embryonic stem cells next semester.

I want to learn to play pool.

I LOVE turkey leftovers. And the gravy I made is SO good, which is awesome, because it took me an hour to make it. Luckily I had to keep adding more things to thicken/thin/add flavor, so there's a TON of it. Yummy.

Anyway, Guy Policy has now been updated to: I am celibate in mind and body UNLESS a guy I might like makes an aggressive first move, which I am defining as asking me on some sort of one-on-one date, in which case if I like him I will go with the flow. But I'm not making any more first moves, because I am sick of putting myself out there only to have every single guy be completely uninterested in me.

Bed time.

P.S. Should have used this icon last night. Oh well.


Nov. 29th, 2006 11:56 pm
oceantheorem: (Oh my!)
Well. That actually wasn't as hard as I thought it was going to be. All told, I called my mother less than ten times. And I now have a gorgeous browned turkey sitting on the one and only counter in my teeny tiny grad student kitchen. If I can figure out how to upload pictures from my phone, I'll post them.

The last question is--do I start eating it now, or do I wait for tomorrow?

I did the only thing you can do when you've spent four or five hours messing with a nine-pound bird. I ate a drumstick.

I think it was the single most delicious thing I've ever eaten. Not because I'm such a fantastic cook--because I'm not--and it was a little dry on the outsides. It was so delicious because I made it. I never cook anything! Kitchens don't like me! Foil won't wrap around things for me, and soap ends up in my butter. So the fact that this drumstick is golden brown and edible--not just edible, but actually tasty--just blows my mind.

Now I want to make all sorts of things. Steaks and fancy salads and chicken cordon bleu and anything else I can think of. What do I like to eat? I'm going to make a list and then I'm going to start buying ingredients, because MAN that turkey tastes good, and I want all my food to taste like that.
oceantheorem: (don't wok)
Wow. So, 1h30 into the cooking process, I checked on the turkey and realized a few things.

1. I had "basted" the turkey beforehand with butter (and a small amount of oil), which had of course all melted off. Did I need to reapply butter? Or add oil?
Phone call #1 to my mother assured me that I did not, but that I needed to cover the breast with aluminum foil.
I do not own aluminum foil.
No worries, a quick run down to the corner store on the other side of the undergrad quad fixed this problem, except that I stayed on the phone with my mom while I was in the store, and thus didn't notice that I was purchasing plastic wrap. I got home, got off the phone, and had to turn right back around and go back down the stairs and across the street and through the undergrad dorms to the store, where the proprietor did not speak English but eventually let me leave with the box of aluminum foil, after I'd given him the plastic wrap and three quarters.

2. All that juice that's accumulating in the big scary cavern of the turkey--do I need to worry about that?
Phone call #2 to my mother assured me that I did not.

3. How do I apply this aluminum foil? And why does aluminum foil get hot SO FAST?? I tore off a small piece and attempted to "tent" it over the breast as my mom had described, only to realize that after about ten seconds the foil was too hot to touch. So I used forks to poke at the edges until I was too mad to care if it was perfect. Aluminum foil doesn't listen to me any better than cling wrap does, and cling wrap REALLY doesn't like me.

4. Instant mashed potatoes. Mmmmm.
Okay, so that's not a realization, but I did have a conversation with my mom about whether or not soy milk would work instead of regular milk, and she insisted that vanilla soy milk would be a bad idea. I'm not sure why she thought to bring this up, because I wouldn't have used vanilla soy milk anyway, but since she mentioned it I'm wondering why you couldn't. Vanilla soy milk! Mashed potatoes! Two wonderful things; shouldn't they be brought together in love and creamy harmony?

5. I haven't gotten any homework done tonight. But I have watched two episodes of the second season of Weeds.

Step Two!

Nov. 29th, 2006 07:43 pm
oceantheorem: (I want a cookie and a raise)
You'd be surprised at the sorts of questions a non-cook would have about cooking a turkey. Like, "Is the meat thermometer I bought yesterday safe for oven use?" 'Cause it doesn't say that kind of thing on the thermometer packaging. Luckily, the internet exists to provide images of "oven-safe thermometers," and mine happens to look just like the pictures.

The turkey is now in the oven. 7:40pm. In three hours or so, it should be done. Hopefully I'll be awake then, and hopefully the meat thermometer is inserted correctly.

Man, I'm exhausted now.

Time for homework.
oceantheorem: (kitty this will hurt)
So I'm attempting to cook a turkey today, because I didn't get any leftovers from last week in Ohio and because someday I'll need to know how to cook a turkey. I figured immersion was the best way to learn, so I bought an 8.6 lb turkey and it's been sitting in the fridge thawing since... Monday? Yeah, Monday. And now it's just the turkey, the oven, and me.

As I fuss with it more this evening, I'll update you on how the cooking is proceeding. But first I leave you with this:

Raw turkeys are gross. And bewildering in their abundance of bloody cavities.

And I normally don't cook because I'm the type of person that somehow gets SOAP in the BUTTER.
oceantheorem: (sushi)
Grilled cheese sandwhiches are one of mankind's greatest achievements.

I mean, think about it. They're easy to make, and they taste great. You can use any kind of bread and any kind of cheese you want. You get protein and grains. You cook them in butter, not oil, which increases the health factor. They're a light snack, so unless you make a whole stack of them, it's hard to gorge on them. Kids and adults will eat them.

And did I mention they taste great?

That is all.

P.S. I need more food icons, because every time I use the sushi one I get an instant craving for sushi.


oceantheorem: (Default)

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