Archive for the ‘lunch’ Category

you say it’s your birthday

Friday, October 19th, 2012

We woke up on Crockett’s bday fully aware that we had only a few hours left in NY and we hadn’t done nearly everything we wanted to do. I, for example, wanted to eat at Dominique Ansel and Balthazar Bakery. Crockett wanted to go to the American Museum of Natural History.

Thanks to the magic of subway power (!!) we did all three.

Before we left, I’d bought this little City2Go app and marked off all the places I would like to eat with little red dots on a map of the island. When we got off the subway, the Dominique Ansel dot turned out to be many many blocks from the actual Dominique Ansel bakery. Whoops. Fortunately, the Balthazar Bakery was on the walk to the real DA, so we swung in there. It’s this teeny tiny place, too small for pictures, but I ordered a chocolate sable (chocolate shortbread, basically) and a canelette (tiny rum custard cake with a darkly caramelized outside). I was trying not to overdo it on the pastries, but I wish I’d ordered more of the sables.

When we made it to Dominique Ansel, I stared at the tiny cakes (top picture) for hours (ok minutes) but ended up going with more traditional breakfast pastry.

I ordered a ham and cheese croissant and a kouign amann, something DA specializes in. A kouign amann is like a croissant, sort of, except that it has sugar folded into each layer as well as butter. It’s sweet and crispy and flaky and it was delicious, but I’m glad I balanced it out with the croissant.

In addition to sharing my breakfast(s) with me, Crockett had a perfect little egg sandwich. (That’s seriously what it’s called). It was all squishy and cheesy and yummy.

We ate our many delicious treats on DA’s back patio. It was a little chilly but so cute. Crockett really liked SoHo – he said that if we move to Manhattan (ha) he feels like SoHo would be his neighborhood.

I hadn’t realized we were so close to the south end of the island until we saw this. I actually had to ask Crockett what it was. He was like ‘um, Em? There used to be two things there?’ and then I felt dumb.

Once again full of tasty delicious food, we headed north to the museum. It was our worst subway experience of the trip – we had to change trains several times because there was some issue and local and express trains were all mixed up, and everything was running late. Since I knew Crockett really wanted to go to the museum and my bakeries had come first and it was his birthday!, it was really the only part of the trip where I felt rushed.

The elephants made me feel better as soon as we got there, though.

We spent most of our time in the Rose Center for Earth and Space, walking around the scales of the universe exhibit. This is Crockett, larger than supergiant star Rigel.

Crockett was telling me about this prof he had in college (Crockett’s an ex-rocket scientist) who talked about the naming conventions in different areas of science and how astronomy is so much more logical than the other areas. For example, the science name (wow I sound totally brill right now) for dogs is Canis lupus familiaris. That’s all fine and dandy, but, come on, what? The scientific name for a big cluster of stars? “Big cluster of stars”. Awesome.

It looks like I’m trying to tell the future, but I’d actually be seeing the past if I were doing this. I’m ENORMOUS. Those are galaxies in there!

Perhaps I shouldn’t have had four pastries for breakfast.

We also made it to the Hall of Ocean Life, where I insisted on running around acting like I was in an underwater horror movie…

And Crockett demonstrated his blue whale lifting skills.

We had a late checkout, but we made it back to the hotel just in time to throw our things in our bags and clear out of the room (so sad). Since it was only two and our flight wasn’t supposed to be until 6:40, we stopped downstairs for one last drink in the outdoor covered bar.

My wine and I would have preferred to stay another few days.

Alas, it was not to be. Our flight home was out of Newark, so we took the subway to Penn Station and a train to the Newark tram. What up, New Jersey!

Unfortunately, our flight was delayed AGAIN (only an hour, though, not four, so … that better, I guess) and we snuck in one more meal. We went to the Oyster Bar, the same one that’s in Grand Central, on the theory that any place that got famous in a train station can’t be bad in an airport, right? I ate a whole plate of calamari. It was indeed tasty.

Crockett had one last lobster roll.

Bye New York! I miss you already!

 

you can’t call it cheatin’

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

Monday morning we were in much better shape (due to a distinct lack of residual corned beef, as well as lower alcohol consumption, I suspect) and we made it out of the hotel in time for the tail end of rush hour.

And waffles.

This truck is called Wafels and Dinges. They’re all over the city, but we stopped at the one in Columbus Circle.

I got the Brussels wafel with speculoos spread, which I’ve been reading about for years (or so it feels, I actually have no idea – I mean, doesn’t it feel like you were hearing about burrata when you were just a fetus at this point?)  and it was so fucking delicious that I really was just forced to use a curse word in that sentence.

It was so delicious that I don’t even care that I look like a squinty rabbit in this picture.

I dropped the last quarter of it on the ground.

It was the saddest thing that happened to me in the whole trip.

Crockett went for the special of the day, which was an apple pie waffle. Same waffle, apple pie spread, whipped cream, cinnamon, and lots of love (probably).  I’m sure it was good, but it was no speculoos. Seriously, cookie spread? Sounds so weird! SO NOT WEIRD. SO GOOD.

After Crockett finished his waffle and I had a moment of silence for the city-sidewalk-death of mine, we headed to Chelsea to see Highline Park and (more importantly) the Chelsea Market. Highline Park is the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen (<- complete and total lie). It’s like a museum walkway built twenty feet above the ground – the whole thing is only fifteenish feet wide and bedroom and office windows immediately surround it. Neat thing to do with an old train track, but still very strange. Crockett took a bunch of pictures but apparently I wasn’t feeling it, because I have zero. What I do have is a picture of the seafood sliders we shared from The Lobster Place in Chelsea Market. Crab one – good. Shrimp one – eh. Really, who genuinely likes tarragon? I’m asking. Lobster one – quite tasty but still no match for the one at The Empire. (Of COURSE I’m not sucking up to my hometown local, what’choo talkin’ bout.)

From there we hopped over to the Essex St. Market. We were exhausted, but I wanted to see Shopsin’s and get some cookies from Beurre & Sel.

Two shops at the market were closed, everything else was open. Those two shops were Shopsin’s and Beurre & Sel. Sigh. The whole thing was just like a confusing supermarket – it might have been cool if we hadn’t been to Chelsea Market first, but we had. We got Crockett some coconut water and moved on with our lives.

It turned out we were only a few blocks from the famous bagel-er (made up word? Judge says… probably!) Russ & Daughters, so we swung by to round out our brunch of tiny sandwiches.

Lox (don’t ask me what kind – the man behind the counter tried and then just said ‘mild?’ and I said ‘ok!’ and then he asked me what kind of cream cheese and I said ‘what kind do you like’ and he said ‘I like them all’ so I just picked and he said ‘spectacular’ and I couldn’t tell if he was mocking me or what but anyway) and scallion cream cheese on a plain mini bagel. Question: is the defining characteristic of New York bagels an exceptionally chewy crust?

Properly fortified, we headed back to midtown.

We stopped by the LEGO store and I pretended, just for a moment, that I was Liz Lemon. It was very exciting. I tried to talk Crockett into ice skating, because it turns out the rink in Rockefeller Center is there even when the tree isn’t, but then when he said he would it turned out I was just kidding because my feet hurt. Whoops.

Instead, we went by MOMA. Although they were lacking a giant Egyptian statue, their gift shop was way better than the Met’s. I call it a draw on the museums-we-didn’t-actually-go-into showdown.

We had a whole plan. We’d walked off our mini sandwiches, and we were going to have a late lunch at Don Antonio, another pizza place on my list-of-NY-pizza places (a list that didn’t actually include any traditional NY style pie places but wev), then nap, then head back out.

We showed up at Don Antonio at 3:31, and they were closed from 3:30 to 4:30. Their website said nothing about that, so I whined for awhile, and Crockett decided to move the nap up the list of things to do – I only made it a few blocks before freaking out and insisting I needed a drink and a chair asap.

I’m sometimes quite charming to travel with.

Victor’s Cafe saved me!

A daiquiri …

an avocado filled with bacon and tomato and monterey jack served with plaintain chips…

and some pretty hilarious avocado-as-creepy-crawly artwork by Crockett …

put the smile back on my face. (I think I took like seven pictures. Crockett was smiling in most of them  but I looked like an idiot. I have no idea what’s happening with him in this one but it’s my blog so HA. This may have been immediately after the bartender was talking about how he’d accidentally auditioned for a porn, so maybe Crockett’s mulling that over.)

The avocado didn’t turn out to be enough food, and it was a little after four thirty by the time we finished at Victor’s, so we decided to head back to Don Antonio. They’re doing traditional Neapolitan pizza, just like Motorino, but with some twists.

Crockett started with a beer that had a gorgeous label, and I had some … wine. People, I don’t even know anymore. A lot of things happened in these days, and many of those things were wine, ok?

We ordered two pizzas, even though we weren’t starving, because we absolutely had to try the house specialty. (This is not it.) This is a sausage pizza with fresh mozzarella and pistachio pesto that reminded me very much of the pizzas they sell on the street in Turkey. It got better with every bite, and was it’s absolute best at room temperature. Strange but true.

This is the house specialty. The dough is lightly fried prior to being topped with sauce and smoked mozzarella and baked. It was bizarre, and as far as ‘pizza’ goes it wasn’t anything special, but as a food all on it’s own? Fried bread with tasty sauce and cheese? I could eat that every single day. Also, it was $12, which struck me as crazy reasonable, especially considering we were in midtown Manhattan.

We had lots of leftovers and took them home, but I had to stop one more time before we hit the hotel.

Pinkberry peanut butter froyo! We don’t have Pinkberry in CO, so how could I resist?

I’m not going to lie -we almost didn’t make it back out of the hotel after all that. We’d walked for hours, eaten a bunch, drank… we were wiped. We napped until seven and then rallied, though, because we were in New York freaking City.

We went to the Apple Store.

Nope, not at all kidding.

Then we walked cross town to Hell’s Kitchen, to yet another place I’d stumbled across in my internet explorations of the city. It’s called Caseulla, and they specialize in wine and cheese. Naturally, we had some wine and cheese. Crockett also had a mead called Viking’s Blood, and everyone around us at the bar was fascinated and had to taste it too. Then our bartender tried to pick up our bar neighbor, even though he was pretty clearly already on a date.

Then we ate bacon popcorn and I realized it was Crockett’s birthday, because it was past midnight.

The bartender brought us goat cheese and Nutella truffles to celebrate, we ate them, and then we walked home.  It was our last night, but we were seriously wiped, so we decided to have one more drink at the hotel bar and then call it a night.  We did not see Chase Crawford or Blake Lively, but we did have cozy seats by the fireplace, so I think we made the right call. Then we slept hard. NY is exhausting, have I mentioned that?

 

 

 

 

 

 

when the moon hits your eye

Thursday, October 18th, 2012

New York City part TWO.

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Sunday morning we were both feeling a smidge under the weather. See, here’s the thing about altitude and liquor. When you’re at a lower level than where you normally live, you can hold your drinks better – that’s pretty common knowledge, right? The thing, though, is that the hangover does not change. So on a normal Saturday night, I might have three drinks over a few hours and interspersed with water. On a low altitude Saturday, I might… ok, did… have three drinks in two hours with no water. I felt FINE! And then on Sunday I felt like hell.

So. I did what any reasonable person would do, and I dragged my butt a block to Thomas Keller’s bakery. I returned with two enormous cups of quite tasty coffee, a bacon cheddar chive scone, a pistachio twist, a sticky bun, and a chocolate croissant.

We felt much better with coffee, butter, and flour in our bellies.

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Central Park better!

Dude, Central Park is enormous. It’s confusing to me how the most expensive city in the US can have such a wide swath of empty real estate. Gorgeous empty real estate, but empty real estate. Crockett pointed out that the property values would probably go down if the park wasn’t there, but still. Mind boggling.

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We made it all the way up to the reservoir, with a quick stop to watch the remote control boats. Because they’re BOATS that you control with a REMOTE.

I was a lot more excited about it than I look in this picture.

After the reservoir, we hit up the Met and reveled in the glory that was the super old Egyptian statute of a fellow who probably had a nose at one point but doesn’t anymore that’s in the lobby, and then we visited the gift shop. Museum gift shops were literally the only places we even pretended to shop on this trip. I know, it’s like I missed the whole POINT of NEW YORK.

We walked miles – literally. We estimated about four. Then we decided to head south to get some food. I had two places in the East Village – Motorino (pizza) and Ippudo (ramen) – that I really wanted us to try, so we went in that direction. When we found Ippudo, they put us on the one and a half hour wait list, but we were too weak with hunger to get out to Motorino, so we sidled up to the bar and decided to make the best of it. While I was washing the subway off my hands, Crockett was doing some genius ordering.

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This was… something with blossom in the name that is not findable online. Really, I tried. It has Campari and sake in it, and it was light and refreshing and wonderful. However, it was no…

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Steamed pork bun. Literally, if I could eat any of the foods we ate in New York every day, it would be these pork buns. The pork was sweet and soft, with a slight crunch around the edges, and there was nothing else in the bun but iceberg lettuce and mayonnaise, and it was positively wonderful.

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There were some chicken ones, too, and they were super tasty, but the pork ones were AMAZING.

We were actually seated in just a half an hour, and we settled in for some truly enormous bowls of soup.

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Crockett had the classic bowl.

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I had the special, that came with an unidentified scoop of something reddish that I needed to stir in. Mine was sweetish, and Crockett’s was warm and savory, and they were both fantastic. When we were in NY, every time we told someone we were going to or went to Ippudo, they got all excited and happy for us, and I totally see why.

Properly fortified, we went back to the hotel and passed out for several hours.

Naps are an integral part of good vacationing technique.

So, some friends of ours from Louisville were ALSO in New York, ALSO for the opening of a family members bar (ok, it opened like a month ago but close enough), and when Crockett and I woke up we hauled our butts out to the Bushwick neighborhood in Brooklyn to visit said bar. (It’s called Miles.) Our friends weren’t there, but we watched the hipsters and had some beverages.

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It was tiny and cute and the bartender had fantastic curly hair.

We only stayed for one drink, though, because our friends called us from Williamsburg and we went out to meet them. They were at a cute bar with a back porch and they’d been buying fake purses and watches all day, so we hung out and heard about that until we got hungry. At 10:30. Thank goodness things in New York close late, yeah? What with the time change, we were never eating at an appropriate time.

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We ended up at Motorino, since we’d missed it at lunch. Motorino was called the best Neopolitan style pizza by … well, by everyone, so I was pretty pumped to try it.

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I started with the ‘perfect pizza wine’, which was a semi-sparkling red blend that immediately gave me a headache but was super tasty. I love wine served in juice glasses. It feels so very Italian (says the girl who has never been to Italy but does have a last name ending in an i).

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We decided to get only one pizza, so we started with meatballs. They were good! The sauce was bright and very fresh tomatoey.

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For pizza, we absolutely had to try the brussels sprouts pizza. The Bruges at our local pizza place has brussels sprouts and pistachios, but the Motorino version had brussels sprouts and smoked pancetta (which as far as I know is bacon. Seriously.)

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Uh… then we might have gone back to Pouring Ribbons. What? We liked it there! This time I had a drink called Dueling Banjos, which has two bourbons and corn milk. I know, it sounds weird. I hate bourbon but I would drink the crap out of this drink. (Ew).

Then we went to bed. Because dude, it was a long day.

same as it ever was

Sunday, August 26th, 2012

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Also?

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I went to the dermatologist. Not for anything in particular, just because my mom has been really prone to skin cancer and my skin is starting to look more and more like hers. I have freckles and age spots and all kinds of stuff, so I had someone look.

His basic answer was ‘everything looks fine, but watch this thing and this thing and also wear more sunscreen’.

I think they’re legally obliged to say that.

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The artwork on the wall was nice.

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Also, we went to the opening of a new brewery in Louisville! I love breweries. And Louisville.

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Sadly, I did not particularly love any of these beers.

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The mini mugs sort of made up for it though.

I love me a good mini mug.

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The space is pretty cool too. And there were a lot of people who were very excited.

Maybe they liked the beer more than I did.

 

many many responsibilities

Sunday, August 19th, 2012

I started my new job on June 4th – this Monday will mark the beginning of my twelfth week.

I’m kind of used to it now – to going to work in the morning and coming home in the afternoon and usually packing a lunch. This week, though, i started messing with my schedule – instead of running in the morning, I’ve been running at lunchtime. It’s nice because I get to sleep in a little, but I’m usually not hungry right after I run, so my lunch ends up just being nibbles of whatever I brought all afternoon.

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On Thursday I just had lots of snacky stuff. Tofu, a pretty good peach, peach pie, nuts, and the scalloped tomatoes with croutons.

I actually ate everything but the tofu – I just didn’t really feel like it. And then I was starving when I got home. Serves me right.

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I had some cheese and some naan and some wine when I got home.

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Then Crockett heated me up some semi-vindaloo and I ate it while we watched the last episode of the first season of The Walking Dead.

My favorite part of that show is when the lead character forgets to use his American accent.

(I’m calling the semi-vindaloo semi because it’s just pork simmered with onions in vindaloo spices and coconut milk. I think real vindaloo has a lot more going on.)

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Yesterday for lunch, my whole team (14 people!) went to Carino’s Italian Grill. It was seriously terrible. First of all, there is no such thing as a good restaurant experience when 14 people order at the same time – at least not somewhere with one server per section and a lunchtime rush. One guy ordered the unlimited soup, salad, and breadstick lunch, and got his second bowl of soup almost twenty minutes after he requested it. Another guy ordered a glass of wine – and it came with the check.

The bread on my meatball sandwich was good, but the meatballs were… odd. There was something GREEN in them. Pepperoncini, maybe? The fries were covered with parmesan cheese, which was the only good thing about them. At all.

Plus the whole thing literally took like two hours.

My night was a much better experience. It was the last Louisville Street Faire, so Crockett and I met up with some friends and my mom and took in some tunes and some drinks and generally painted the town red. We got home at after 1, which is SO LATE.

I got up at 11 today.

It’s like I’m in my twenties or something up in here y’all.

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Is it weird that I took a picture of my mom and myself in the bathroom of a restaurant? No? Thanks, I didn’t think so either.

How was your Friday night?

spazmodic eating

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

On Monday night I made something I was SUPER excited to eat.

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Pretty, right?

It’s spicy shrimp and apple salad from Serious Eats. We’ve had it before, twice, and both times I loved it so much I could barely contain myself.

On Monday I forgot the nuts AND the basil (which I was going to sub in for the mint). And I used a shallot that was a little past it’s prime, which maintained a level of spiciness that was a little overwhelming even after I soaked it in water.

Basically it blew. My fault, not the recipe’s fault. So sad.

Then yesterday I just put oddly timed and chosen foods in my mouth all day until I didn’t feel like eating them anymore.

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I started the morning with a smashed chickpea salad – basically I smooshed chickpeas and then stirred in a little mayo, some salt, some celery, and a big squeeze of harissa.

It was good. And spicy.

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I followed with about half of this package of Popchips.

I love Popchips. They’re so crunchy that if people who want to talk to me have to go away when I’m eating them and come back later.

They’re not usually breakfast food, but wev.

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I figured out how to get Fresca out of the soda machine! (Turns out there is no row F. Spoiler: the Fresca was in row E the whole time.)

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Then, later, for… lunch? Who can say with meals like this. It was about 2 pm, I think… I had a piece of an almond peach galette I made on Monday night after dinner to rebound from the shrimp salad fiasco. It’s a basic half whole wheat all butter pie dough, layered with about a cup of frangipane from my freezer, topped with three sliced fresh peaches, and baked for about forty five minutes.

It’s way better than the messed up shrimp salad.

I got hungry towards the end of the day, but I held out because three of my darling friends were coming over at 6:45 for book club, and they were all bringing food. I chilled a bottle of dry riesling (what? are you implying I knew they didn’t like riesling and I’d have leftover wine? of course not!) and made a spinach artichoke dip (ingredients from Alton Brown, quantities unmeasured, lightened, and based on what I had in my fridge and then topped with more parm and broiled for five minutes), and we chatted about Wither and life and basically got our girl on.

There may have been a dance party when Cruel To Be Kind came on the stereo.

Other good spontaneous dance party songs? They must exist!

We had three kinds of hummus, sliced veggies, bread, crackers, almonds, cheese, chocolate covered pretzels, and my dip. I have a picture somewhere… but I’m tired and my camera is alllll the way over there. Anyway, hopefully your Tuesday was fab!

cuppy cakes!

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

Despite my solemn promise of a cuppy cake recipe yesterday, I totally did not share a cuppy cake recipe.

Why am I saying cuppy cake? Because I’m currently super adorable, I guess?

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See?

Oh, that’s not adorable.

That’s the kind of thing that happens at a 5 year old’s birthday party.

(Crockett’s nephew turned five. Wearing that mask is one thing I did yesterday that was not publishing a cupcake recipe.)

(Apparently seeing myself in a Spiderman mask was enough to knock me out of that ‘cuppy cake’ nonsense.)

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We also helped my mom move a couch into her garage. It’s a nice leather couch. It’s for sale on Craigslist – let me know if you’re interested (and not halfway across the country)! It’s from Scandinavian Designs but was the only piece of furniture in her guest room and does not make much of a guest room bed.

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We went grocery shopping and brought home whatever we felt like for lunch. Crockett apparently felt like a tiger roll.

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I, less sensibly, felt like a big sweet chili tofu steak.

We shared, because he did not begrudge me my odd choice.

Now, without further ado… Cupcakes!

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(What? I told you I forgot to take pictures of them!)

Red Velvet Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Here’s what you need to know about these cupcakes. They have been gradually and professionally optimized by me to consistently bake up gorgeous at 5000 feet, give or take. In other words, this is a high altitude recipe. It will probably be fine at sea level, but if your’e up in the air with me know that this does not need any alterations, mmkay?

 

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Makes 30 cupcakes – can easily be halved or two-thirded (two thirded? really?)

15.5 ounces all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/4 salt 
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
13 ounces granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 1/4 tsp white vinegar
1 1/4 tsp vanilla
1/8 cup water
3 eggs

Heat your oven to 350. Line your cupcake tins with papers.

Note: remember what I said last week about making buttermilk with milk and vinegar? That’s not ideal here – buttermilk is actually the flavor of red velvet, so use the real stuff if you can. If you really think you’ll never use it again and want to buy just half a pint, make up the extra 1/4 cup with 2% milk.

Stir together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder with a whisk.

In a separate bowl, whisk the sugar with the oil until combined and then add the remaining ingredients and whisk until uniform. Add half to the dry ingredients and stir until they’re all moistened, then add the rest and beat the crap out of it by hand for about two minutes or by machine for about twenty seconds. You don’t usually do that with cake batter, but the amount of acid in the batter means it’s going to stay tender and this will help give you a light texture by putting a bunch of air in the batter.

Using a half cup measure or a half cup ice cream scoop, fill each cupcake paper. If you’re making all thirty and using regular tins with space for twelve cupcakes, leave the center two empty in each. If you’re baking them in batches, which I suggest, beat the batter for a second before filling the liners each time.

Bake for between 13 and 17 minutes – I would tap the top at 13 and if the dent sticks, give it two more minutes. If it still feels a smidge squishy, give it one more. No more than that. Seriously, don’t do it. You’re asking for dried out cupcakes. Turn out of the pans to cool and frost or wrap well and freeze.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 1/2 pounds cream cheese (three packages)
1 pound butter (four sticks)
1 – 1 1/2 pounds powdered sugar (it comes in one or two pound bags)
2 tsp vanilla

Bring all the ingredients to room temperature. Seriously. This is the most important part. DO NOT SKIP THIS PART.

Blend the cream cheese and butter together until TOTALLY combined. It will seem ok to have little lumps but it is NOT OK. If you see a lump and you think it’s the last lump, it is not the last lump. Keep mixing.

Sift over about 1/2 pound of your powdered sugar and carefully beat. (This will be messy. It’s worth it.) Do it again, mix in the vanilla, and taste. If you want it sweeter, which I usually don’t, gradually add what you have left, tasting as you go. It’s easy to over power the cream cheese tang, so proceed carefully.

Use to frost your cupcakes. You’ll have a tiny bit left over, so you should probably just eat that.

 

do scallops get ulcers?

Friday, August 10th, 2012

I’m a worrier. I don’t mean to be a worrier, but I am a worrier. It sucks.

Like, on Saturday? When I was at my family reunion?

My mom and I went to run some errands, and we put all four of our dogs in the car to accompany us. Don’t worry, it was only 65 degrees – the car was a happy place for them. We pulled up to the shopping center closest to our ranch, which happens to be at the intersection of two mountain highways, and parked the car. Maida, my lil puppy girl, hopped out of the car to come shopping with us, but I caught her and put her back where she belonged.

When we returned to the car, literally less than five minutes later, we saw my Cloey in the front seat, mom’s Buck in the back seat, and mom’s Charley hanging his head out the rear window.

The mostly open rear window.

And no sign of Maida.

So, my mom’s dogs are big. She doesn’t have to worry about half open windows, because her boys aren’t going anywhere. I should have checked to make sure the car was a safe place for my girls, but it didn’t occur to me. I stuck my head in the windows and opened the door of the seat where I’d left Maida, and I called her, and there was no sign of her.

My mom and I spent twenty minutes running around the parking lot, asking strangers for help, and screaming Maida’s name. I was absolutely sure that Maida was smushed somewhere. I called Crockett, who was only a few minutes away at the ranch, and asked him to come down. He asked me a series of reasonable questions but I was absolutely NOT hearing it – I was instead stopping every few minutes and going into a ‘where’s my DOG’ panic attack?

Are you scared?

Don’t be.

Maida was sleeping under the driver’s seat of the car. Crockett found her within ten minutes of meeting us. While I was accosting strangers and begging them to help me find my puppy, he was using his brain.

Yes, I’m a worrier.

Today something else happened that turned out ok, but I’m still all blerg about it, so I’m not ready to share. However, I will share:

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The delicious bag o’ heirloom cherry tomatoes that I bought on my way home from work yesterday at Ollin Farms.

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I remembered to take a picture of the farm as I was driving away. Pretty, eh? I drive by it on my way home every day and this is the only time I’ve stopped.

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I ate some of them for lunch today, along with the last of the leftover turkey burgers from the reunion and a Diet Coke. I’d really really wanted a Fresca, because hell yeah Fresca, but the F button was broken on the soda machine and the Frescas were in the F row. I’m really worried that they’re going to stop stocking them because no one can buy them. Stupid row F.

Ok, here’s today’s question, a little early.

Do you like scallops?

Because I want to like scallops, and I just don’t, really. I don’t dislike them, but for me they’re like lobster. Special in theory, but really nothing more than a vehicle for buttery sauce in practice.

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Crockett freaking loves scallops, though, so last night we had scallops. They were good, for scallops. Crockett loved them. What do I know.

Thai-ish Scallops and Rice

8 oz sea scallops, fresh or defrosted (I got ours frozen from Whole Foods – they were sustainably sea caught(? do scallops run away?), cause I’m all smug like that)
olive oil
3/4 cup jasmine rice
1 cup coconut milk, light or not light
3 tablespoons Thai basil, not chopped (regular basil or mint would be good too)
2 tablespoons lemongrass (I buy the chopped stuff in the tube from the grocery store because it keeps for awhile and I have no idea where to get fresh lemongrass)
salt

Combine the rice and 3/4 teaspoon of kosher salt and 1 1/2 cups water (or however much you usually use, I’m at 5300 feet and need a lot of water for boiling things) and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and set a timer for 20 minutes.

Combine the coconut milk, basil, and lemongrass in another pot and bring to a boil, then reduce to a fast simmer. Add half a teaspoon of salt. You want this to reduce while the rice is cooking. (If you want to cook the rice in the coconut milk you can, just wait until ten minutes of cooking have passed before adding herbs. I personally like it as a sauce because you can pour it over the scallops.)

When the rice is pretty much done, heat a pan over medium high and add some olive oil. Pat the outside of the scallops dry and salt – somewhere between generously and lightly. Not four grains, but not 500 either. If you’re using kosher salt, I would aim for about a teaspoon and a half for all the scallops, about  teaspoon if you’re using regular salt.  When the oil is hot, place the scallops in the pan with one flat side down and set your timer for one minute. When one minute has passed, flip them to the other side and cook for one more minute. Touch the top and if they still seem squishy, give them thirty more seconds. If they feel firm, pull them off the heat super quick and transfer them to a plate.

Serve rice, top with scallops, and pour reduced sauce over the top.

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odds and ends

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

The food at my training sucked.

Ok, fine. That may not be entirely true – I wouldn’t know about two of the days.

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I don’t know if you can see the problem here, so let me lay it out for you.

There are green peppers in every one of those options. The middle one is tofu! Which was nice for vegetarians! But still, green peppers.

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Those are not jalepenos. They’re bell peppers.

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Who the hell puts bell peppers in guacamole? Our cafeteria, apparently.

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Is it terrible to say that I briefly considered eating something with the peppers in it to get out of the training via allergic reaction? Briefly, I said! When I’d ruled that out, I ended up with a choice of a tortilla with cheese and either lettuce or sour cream.

Fortunately, I’d packed a lunch. I had some tasty farro and mozzarella balsamic salad while everyone else enjoyed their fajita bar.

And then I made Rick Bayless’s Zucchini, Corn, and Poblano Tacos at home to make myself feel better.

They were awesome.

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Day two was lasagne. Have you seen a tray of hotel lasagne? With unidentified meat product in the red version and a puddle of oil seeping out of the white version? Then you know what the lasagne looked like.

I didn’t eat it either. I ate farro and mozzarella balsamic vinegar salad again. I am VERY original.

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Yesterday we had sandwiches! I ate those. And the cookie. And two platefuls of the fruit salad.

Yum.

Anyway, overall? Training food is not good food. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

empty handed

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

I was in training all day today.

Hybrid hard disk drive training.

It was totally interesting! Until like 10 am. And it was pretty tolerable. Until like 2 pm.

My notes from the last three hours of the day include a lot of stick figures.

Anyway.

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That party we went to? With all the Thai food? I did not show up empty handed. I brought two of my favorite cookies.

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Chocolate Whoopie Pies
Very slight adapted from The Good Cookie, i.e. one of the best cookie books ever. Unfortunately, it’s out of print now :(. Sadness.

1 stick room temperature butter, unsalted
1 cup sugar
1 egg, separated
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup buttermilk or 1/2 cup minus 1 tablespoon milk with 1 tablespoon lemon juice or white vinegar (I NEVER have buttermilk. The substitution works fine.)
2 cups flour (I’ve substituted whole wheat pastry flour for half with acceptable results, but try to resist the urge.)
1 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt

2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 stick room temperature butter, unsalted
2 tablespoons cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla (Use clear vanilla if you have it, which I only do because a good friend of mine brought it home from me from Mexico. I have no idea how it’s clear.)

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Cream together the butter and sugar for at least two full minutes. You want lots of air in there. LOTS. Beat in the egg yolk, reserving the white.

Mix the baking soda into the warm water. Sift the cocoa powder over the butter/sugar/egg mixture, and at least partially incorporate it with a spoon or the beaters. (It will poof everywhere. Embrace it or stir slowly.) Add the hot water mixture and beat to combine. Add one cup of the flour, along with the salt, stir, and add the milk and lemon juice/vinegar (or buttermilk). Beat to combine. Add the final cup of flour and beat until there are very few lumps left.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or butter it). Using a one tablespoon scoop (or just a tablespoon measure), scoop balls onto the baking sheet. Leave 1 1/2 to 2 inches between balls – you can fit 15 on a standard baking sheet.

Bake for 6 minutes, then check. It’s hard to tell since they’re so dark, but the top should be craggy like you see in the picture and shouldn’t squish if you poke it. (It can dent, but it shouldn’t squish.) If you have any doubts, stick em back in for another minute. Overcooked isn’t great but it’s better than under. As soon as they’re done, carefully remove them to a cooling rack.

While you’re baking all the cookies, cream together the butter and cream cheese for the frosting. Add the powdered sugar and beat until crumbly, then add the egg white and vanilla. (You will be eating it raw. If you prefer not to use the egg white, sub 2 tablespoons milk or cream or even water.) Beat until smooth.

Once the cookies are at room temperature, pair them up in appropriate sizes. They should be MOSTLY the same size, but some will definitely fit together better than others.

Spread one to one and a half teaspoons on the inside of one cookie and top with it’s mate. Repeat and put in the fridge until they’re not sliding around anymore.

Store somewhere coolish. They’ll be great for a day, tasty for two or three more, and worth eating for close to a week. (That last part might be just my opinion.)

The other cookies were these almond blueberry bars. Recipe later this week, deal? Deal.

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You know what’s almost as good as cookies?

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BBQ with my man.

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Even if it does rain so hard we can’t play cornhole.

More training tomorrow! And Wednesday! Whoo. Hoo.