My thoughts have not been on food lately but have been more about my kitchen and staying out of it. Since holiday break began, my thoughts have wandered towards more important things. Things like John Cusack.
Confession # 838: I spent my last LOL (Lady of Leisure) day doing a John Cusack movie marathon. There. I said it. The morning started with classics such as "Better Off Dead", "Say Anything" and "The Sure Thing". The afternoon featured "Grosse Pointe Blank" with "High Fidelity" as the finale.
Did I OD on JC? Impossible.
His last movie actually inspired me. High Fidelity is a story about a Rob (John Cusack) the music-addicted, obsessively list-making owner of a record store called Championship Vinyl. The breakup of Rob and his girlfriend sets him to recalling his previous relationships with women, specifically those on a list of his Top 5 Worst Breakups.
I decided to make a list of my own. So #5 on my Worst Breakup of all time list was...
Another year is ending. This will mark my 5th year living in the Lone Star State. I had to get used to a few things when I moved to San Antonio from the midwest. These included things like:
1. The high percentage of left lane coasters in this town. Keep right and pass left. It really is that easy. Don't be a left lane camper!
2. The 10 month summer season.
3. "Go Spurs Go"
4. Being able to wear summery dresses and flip flops up to November (refer to #2).
5. Eating tamales during the Christmas holiday. I don't know if this is only a San Antonian tradition, but it's one I've thoroughly enjoyed while living here.
This was my first attempt at making tamales, but the tamale gods must have been smiling down on me because they turned out delicious!
A few things to know before we get started: making tamales is time consuming (plan on two days); I ended up with 104 tamales, so you may want to half the recipe. Luckily, I have a large extended family and I like to share :)
I giggled the entire time while making these. Is that weird? Look at them. Don't they make you chuckle? And that scarf! Come on! Precious right? That tilt of the head gives them a little sass I think.
These little guys never fail to evoke the "aaaawwww how cute!" or the "they're too cute to eat!" or the "I must take pictures!" at parties. They're gangsta. Seriously, they help you make friends. You will be popular. Don't say I didn't warn you ;)
Spontaneous road trips have had me MIA from the kitchen lately. My oven is cold and lonely. I have 12 sweet potatoes I bought before said spontaneous road trip taunting me on the counter. You know what they're saying? They're saying, "That's what you get for taking advantage of the 8 cents per pound sweet potato sale." You end up with more sweet potatoes than you need. ::gasp:: Does this make me a sweet potato hoarder?! Don't answer that.
Let's get to baking shall we? I started with one of my favorite banana bread recipes and made a few minor changes to make this (can I do a little bragging for a second?) super awesome bread. It turned out delicious and I used up only 3 of my 12 precious sweet potatoes.
This is a picture of me waiting in line for some Arthur Bryant's barbecue in Kansas City Missouri. This photo tells you a few things: I am not in Texas in my kitchen baking. I am one of those crazies who will wait in line for over an hour for good food. I am significantly shorter than the general population.
What this photo doesn't tell you: The line curved all the way around the building. It was 42 degrees outside. The people seated inside were taunting us with their barbecue sauce covered smiles through the window. It was 12:02 PM.
I'm going hunting...hunting for a man. This particular type I'm hunting for today is not as elusive as once suggested and are in fact abundant during September through January. I'm hunting for the Football Head.
The Football Heads of North America (Pigskinus Gigantopithecus) have flourished in man caves over major cities as well as the rural areas of America. They are often characterized as passionate creatures and are jovial when their team of choice is winning. They are, however, prone to fits of rage over a bad call and it is advisable that you avoid them when their team in on a losing streak. An angry football head is a dangerous one.
These bigfoot-like animals have the digestive systems of omnivores, but can adapt to a steady diet of beer, pizza and chicken wings, which make up the majority of their diets, during the 5 month football season. Seeing that they are deprived of freshly baked goods, my bait of choice is the Blueberry "boy bait" cake. With a tender, buttery crumb, this cake is 95% effective in catching the football head of your choice.
Shhhh...I see one now. This is Pigskinus Gigantopithecus in his natural environment. The man cave.
Observe the man toys both set to football related activities; laptop set to his Fantasy Football Stats, flat screen TV set to ESPN hours before a game is scheduled to begin. Don't worry he can't hear me. A recent study has shown a new malady that affects all Football heads. The development of selective hearing. If needing to communicate effectively with this man beast, it should be done during a commercial break. Let's snag one of these suckers! Bring out the boy bait...
Last week Mr. Incredible and I road tripped from San Antonio to College Station to watch the super awesome Missouri Tigers take on Texas A & M. We left at the ridiculous hour of 5am and arrived around 8am. We ended up parking beside fellow MIZZOU fans who flew from various states just to watch the game. Die hard fans are we...
Who shotgun beers at 8am like champions.
And the girl who thinks, "They'll definitely be feeling that later."
Texas A& M, home of the Aggies...or as I like to put it...Texas A & M, home of the all male cheerleaders!
Oh yes. This guy had some mad yelling skills and moves to match.
No worries MU cheer squad, your moves and uniforms are way sweeter!
Watching a game on the other team's home turf can be a little intimidating.
The MIZZOU fan were most definitely out numbered.
But, the Aggies were gracious and respectful hosts even after we
...strategically placed MU stickers on their impeccable maroon shirts.
...whined about their taste in game day food (yes, this really is just a sausage with a tortilla wrapped around it)
...poked fun at their coordinated sing and sway routine...which they all rehearse the night before.
...and after we WON!!!
Back to Columbia, MO where we take on the Oklahoma Sooners. M-I-Z!!!
My weekend will consist of the following: attending two football games in two cities over two days. It's enough to make a girl re-evaluate her sanity. Luckily, I know of one thing that has the power to carry me through...chocolate. That's where these brownies come in to play. Loaded with tons of chocolate and butter, these are definitely rich and fudgy. Make these now. You know you wanna :)
The Baked Brownie
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder
11 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1½ cups granulated sugar
½ cup packed light brown sugar
5 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9×13-inch glass or light-colored baking pan. Line the pan with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and cocoa powder together.
3. Put the chocolate, butter and instant espresso powder in a large bowl and set it over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water and add the sugars. Whisk until completely combined, then remove the bowl from the pan. The mixture should be room temperature.
4. Add 3 eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not overbeat the batter at this stage or your brownies will be cakey.
5. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture. Using a rubber spatula (not a whisk), fold the flour mixture into the chocolate until just a bit of the flour mixture is visible.
6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it.
Let the brownies cool completely, then lift them out of the pan using the parchment paper.
If you knew the earth was going to spontaneously combust in a few hours, what would you eat as your final meal? Why are you looking at me so strangely? Hasn't anyone ever asked you that question before? It's a perfectly good question which has been incredibly difficult for me to answer. I love all foods, you see. And to choose just one...it's like having to choose which one of Yoshi's facial expressions I love the most.
I can't. I love them all. This is him in his Spiderman Halloween costume. Sorry, what was I saying?
Last night, I bought this book called "Their Last Suppers," by Andrew Caldwell. If from the title you assume that it's about the last meal someone ate before their death, you would be correct. Sounds morbid right? What makes this book unique is that it combines historical facts with cooking recipes. There are more than 20 famous people featured. Each profile consists of little anecdotes of the person, popular foods from his or her time period, and recipes for that person's actual last meal. Intrigued? Luckily, I picked up an extra copy for you :) Not all of you...just one of you.
THIS CONTEST HAS ENDED For a chance to win this wonderfully intriguing book, leave a comment below telling me about your final meal. If you're not connected to a blog then leave your email address. I'll select one winner at random next week. Contest ends next Saturday, October 16 @ Midnight CST.
CONGRATULATIONS TO ALI OF THREE BAKING SHEETS TO THE WIND!
After much thought I chose something that is both good and simple. It's so simple I'm almost too embarrassed to blog about it. A cheesy fried egg and bacon breakfast sandwich. Here's what you'll need:
English Muffin, toasted
A fried egg, salt and peppered
Cheese, the melty kind
Take your toasted English muffin...
and add some cheese. I like to pop it under the broiler for a few seconds to melt the cheese.
Happy October! I'm kicking off the start of my favorite month with a recipe that actually creeped me out a little while making them. A rich butter cookie, dyed Incredible Hulk green with a whole almond that resembles a decaying fingernail. It's then dipped in blood red white chocolate for added gory detail that is both creepy and delicious.
This is the second attempt at making these. The first time I used a sugar cookie recipe. The fingers came out looking like they belonged to a witch who ate too many bad little boys and girls if you know what I mean. They were tasty, but I wanted my witch fingers looking near death and skeletal. I needed a recipe that called for no leavening agents...shortbread cookies were perfect. I can't say that I've ever tasted real witch's fingers, but I'm fairly certain they would not taste as good as these.
Shortbread Witch Finger Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
A few drops of green food coloring
Whole almonds for decorating
1 cup of white chocolate chips
A few drops of red food coloring
In a mixing bowl, cream butter and confectioners' sugar. Add vanilla and food coloring. Gradually add flour; mix well.
With lightly floured hands, shape a couple tablespoons of dough into 3-in. long "fingers".
Place 2 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets.
Press a whole almond onto the tips of the cookie. Bake at 350 degrees F for 9-11 minutes or until edges and bottom are lightly browned. Cool for 2-3 minutes before removing to wire racks.
Blood Red White chocolate
Microwave white cholate chips until melted. Add food coloring. Dip cooled cookies into chocolate.
I had the most splendid day yesterday. The Kansas City Chiefs won against the 49ers (which meant Mr. Incredible was in a good mood), I gorged myself on my mom's home cooking, we celebrated my dad's 56th birthday with extended family and enjoyed a piece of the Iphone cake I made for his party. Family + Food = a great day. Can I interest you in some food pornography?
On the menu...Lechon, which is delicious roasted pork. The best part is the crisp skin.
Pancit Canton (Noodles with chicken and vegetables)
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