When I was young, I had one of the infamous Teen Talk Barbies. She and I would have long, imaginary conversations about the sociopolitical unrest in the Middle East, the impending real estate bubble, the stylistic value of cinéma verité…you know, all the usual interests of a ten year old girl. At least, I would talk about those things. Barbie, dear sweet, plastic-headed Barbie, would spout delightfully silly exclamations, like “Wanna have a pizza party?” and “Math class is tough. Let’s go shopping!”
Actually, that’s not true. I never had one of those Barbies and I only know about the infamous Teen Talk version off the doll because it was later parodied in a Simpsons episode where Lisa’s Malibu Stacy doll proclaims, “Math is hard. Let’s go shopping!”
But let’s pretend for the sake of this post that I did have one of those dolls and in that case, alternative-reality me would be reminded of it years later when various friends and readers would flop down in their chairs, sigh, or type frowny-faced emoticons into messages and declare, “Cooking is hard. Let’s eat out.”
Now, I may never teach you to like math–I’m not even going to try; after all, this is “Have Fork, Will Eat” not “Have FOIL, Will Calculate.” I will, however, try to prove to you that not only is cooking not hard but it can also make basic math terribly tasty like these delicious make-ahead recipes that can be added to future meals for a nice boost of flavor and are easy to multiply and divide so you can make as much or as little as you want. Continue reading
I can hear the battle raging on inside of Cookie Monster’s head already: “It look like a cookie. But it not a cookie. But it have chocolate chip like cookie. But it scone. But it round like cookie. How it not cookie? Cookie Monster like cookies. Cookie Monster not Scone Monster. To eat or not to eat scone cookie? That is the question.”
The story behind these scones is pretty simple. Last night I wanted to bake something with chocolate in it. I didn’t want to make another batch of chocolate chip cookies. So instead I made something that looked like a chocolate chip cookie instead. I don’t know what to think about this. Granted, it’s a very good scone. Airy, fluffy, sweet, delicious, easy to make. Vanilla-y with little morsels of semisweet chocolate. Everybody loves them. But I’m starting to wonder how bad my obsession with chocolate chip cookies has gotten if I start making little cookie clones out of other types of food. First the chocolate chip cookie pie and now scones? Maybe I’ve given scones low self esteem, made them the Jan to the chocolate chip cookie Marsha. I mean, maybe it’s always, “Cookie, cookie, cookie!” What’s next? Will my other baked goods start making up fake boyfriends, maybe a George Glass of Milk, to try and convince me of how wanted they are? What should I do about this? How should I put this poor pastry out of it’s misery?
I’ll have to eat it. It’s the only way. Continue reading
This was a sad week. Our household was struck down by the plague. Well, a cold. But a vicious cold. You know, like one of those snarling, drippy cartoon germs you see in commercials. It ruined all my weekend plans of…doing nothing. I mean, sure I still did nothing but I didn’t enjoy it as much. I missed the beautiful 80-degree day that was Sunday. I missed two days of work after that. So did Josh–which is how you know this was a bad cold, because Josh rarely gets sick and even more rarely takes days off because he’s sick. And sadly, I missed all my good opportunities in the kitchen–there were no baguettes baked, no pretzels dipped in chocolate, nothing. Oh the humanity!
But yesterday, we were will enough to go back to work. And the little fish who controls the weather felt accommodating enough to make it sunny and warm, which was most appreciated. At some point during the day–and I blame Chase for this–the idea of grilling burgers started fluttering around in my head. Normally, I prefer ideas not flutter around in my brain. It tickles, for one thing, and the noise is a bit disturbing. But this idea was so appealing, I let it slide. After all, I’ve been itching (figuratively, I swear) to get my grill on for weeks now. Not to mention that grilling is a relatively easy, low-maintenance way to cook dinner and a good way for me to ease back into cooking while I recovered. Clearly summer was trying to break free from Cold Miser’s grasp. That made it my duty to embrace it with a good grilled burger, which, let’s be honest, is the epitome of summer itself. Continue reading
There’s a great joke in an even greater movie, a classic work by an utterly influential artiste. Anyway, in the joke, this guy is talking to a girl he likes at a party and he lists off all these fantastic foreign foods that are sitting on the buffet, including dates. And he offers her a plate and says, “Would you like a date?” “Sure,” she replies, reaching for it. He pulls the plate away. “How about next Thursday” Hahahahahah. That, my dear friends, is the genius work of Mel Brooks in his cinematic masterpiece Robin Hood:Men in Tights.
That joke is what I’m always reminded of when I think about dates, the fruit. If you’ve never had a date, they are these delicious little elongated fruits that come from a tree called a date palm, indigenous to the Middle East. You can usually find them dried, sometimes pitted and bagged in the grocery store. They are delicious in savory and sweet dishes and are often the base for various healthy snackbars, like Lärabars or Youbars. In fact, those very bars are the inspiration for these little snackables. Continue reading
It is a really icky day here. Cold, wet, rainy, some hail. Not exactly a vision of spring bursting forth with sunshine and warm rays and flowers and bunnies with miniature gold pocket watches in little tiny pockets.
But that’s ok, because summer marches on an endless parade in my head. Well, summer and a small battalion of green plastic army men, à la Toy Story but with less realism. I decided that since I was on my own, I should make a dinner that was as seasonally uplifting as my imagination. In the winter, I stay about two energy levels above hibernation and only because as of this writing, there is no way for humans to safely and economically hibernate through the less desirable parts of the calendar so far as I know. (If you know of something…email me.) I stay indoors, surrounded by warm blankets and fuzzy socks and eat hot, heavy, delicious comfort foods like chili, short ribs, mac and cheese, meatballs and lasagna. But in the summer, I tend to slide more towards light, fruit and veggie heavy meals. This dinner totally fits the bill. Continue reading