Posts Tagged ‘party’

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.

 

I love rock n roll

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

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A fabulous coworker of mine had a bunch of people from my office over to her house for a party last night.

She’s from Thailand, and the food was incredible. I took the picture above before everything had been set out, and then when everything was out I was too excited to eat to take another one.

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I had a little of everything. The lettuce wrap looking thing in front is called larb. It was spicy.
The shrimp hiding behind the lettuce is on top of a pile of pad thai. There were two kinds, shrimp and chicken. My coworker banged both kinds out in like ten minutes flat, and they were absolutely restaurant quality. They were also spicy.
In the upper left corner, that’s green curry with tofu over two kinds of rice – regular white and sticky. The rice was not spicy! The curry was spicy.
Finally, the chicken leg is fried chicken (with lemongrass, maybe?) that another Thai coworker brought. It was kind of spicy, and it came with a dipping sauce. The dipping sauce was spicy. Like, SPICY spicy.

Basically I’m not really sure how Thai people have any tastebuds left. Everything was insanely good though. I went back for more pad thai. Twice.

Err.. then the karaoke machine came out and I started singing.

Like, a lot.

It was a good night!

My coworker had told us that we should eat lightly in preparation for the party, so I did. I had some fruit and coffee in the morning, and then used some of the leftover pork to make a quick taco at lunch time.

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Since I didn’t have any pickled slaw left, I used some pickled radishes I made last week instead. I made them based on this recipe from David Lebowitz, and damn if they didn’t come out SO GARLICY that I thought I’d wasted the radishes. Turns out they’re perfect for an application like this, where they’re mixed with other strong and fatty flavors, so I’m glad I didn’t give up on them.

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I ran by the store, too, and picked up some tastiness for the upcoming week. On the menu? Rick Bayless vegetarian tacos (taco time!), farro salad, bruschetta chicken, and fruit. The corn, peaches, and tomatoes pictured all came from Colorado. I love summer time. (Did you hear that red is why tomatoes suck now? That makes me nervous for those red beauties right there, but I literally could not find anything that looked more natural. Well, except $7/lb heirloom tomatoes, and since I’m not making BLATs I wasn’t really up for that kind of investment. The three dollars I saved is half a glass of wine in a restaurant, people. I have my priorities straight.)

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Lots and lots of fruit.

What are you eating this week?

home again home again

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

Yes, this is my third post of the night. I apologize if you’re reading this in an RSS feed and are like DUDE, EMMA, LET SOMEONE ELSE TALK.

Last Friday (yeah, I’m still back there – that’s why three posts in one night but this is totally the last one probably unless Crockett comes over here with some wine and then I may just keep going you never know) we woke up in Mackinaw City, Michigan, with a mid-afternoon arrival planned for Mio, Michigan.

 

That trip was never going to happen without adequate sustenance. Three hours of driving takes it’s toll, yo.

The Mackinaw City Pancake Chef had limited choices, but I managed to put together a good plate.

I had a whole pile of melon salad, a few strawberries, and two bites each of scrambled eggs, grits with syrup, hash browns with ketchup, sausage, and french toast with cherries hiding underneath.

I killed this plate while the people at our table who didn’t go for the buffet waited for their food, and then twiddled my thumbs. Downside of the buffet.

Upside of the restuarant?

You mention that there are a couple of birthdays in the group and they bust out two whole freaking cakes.

After breakfast Crockett and I walked back to our motel, to burn off a little breakfast.

Crockett went old school.

Doesn’t this look just like the picture on the Pancake Chef menu? I’m such a good photographer I sometimes don’t even know what to do with myself.

I asked Crockett to take a picture of me in front of the bridge, and then right when he pushed the button I realized we were standing in front of a lighthouse.

A LIGHTHOUSE.

I love lighthouses. I find them romantic. Probably because I was never a lighthouse keeper.

After the lighthouse, I was pretty much done with Mackinaw, so we headed down to Mio.

The Mio reunion was Crockett’s mom’s family (everything prior was Crockett’s dad’s family), and it was much more structured. They reserved space at the Mio park and set up a tent and had meals planned and all sorts of magical magic.

The camp came with lots of space to play, which the kids of the fam took full advantage of.

I’m not going to lie. Crockett’s mom’s family is enormous. I’m still not sure I knew some of the names that I thought I knew. They’re also super nice.

We celebrated the birthdays again. (Yes, these are the same two kids celebrating. Yes, this is the third time we’re having cake. Yes, they are kids after my own heart.)

We also had the grown up camper’s equivalent of birthday cake: Cheetos and red wine (Big House Red – surprisingly delicious even in a Super 8 cup). There were two full tables of food – pulled pork, sloppy joes, ten million kinds of chips, brownies, candy, and salads? Oh my god salads. Tuna salads, pasta salads, fruit salads, ambrosia salads, potato salads, vegetable salads… no plain salad salad, but basically anything else you can think of that ends in salad? Yeah, they had that salad.

Then, sadly, we ran into some Mother Nature shaped issues.

In this case, Mother Nature was shaped like a whole lot of raindrops. For a whole long time.

I was borrowing sweatshirts and wiggling into my pants in the backseat of the car. From my position here in my 70 degree Colorado evening, I’m having a hard time remembering the cold, but I know it was there.

The family was cool enough that being under the tent was pretty slick, so we survived the rain.

Two days later, we started the drive home.

P.S. I would have included pictures of Pioneer General (aka Am-Depot), but I was too busy buying Amish knives and Amish candy and wondering if I could pull off and Amish straw hat to remember to take any. Sad, I know. The knives are badass, though.