Archive for the ‘Post Punk Kitchen’ Category

Birthday Girl Returns, No Worse For Another Year

April 12, 2010

The Birthday Girl has returned!  I don’t mind getting older, but I would like to pretend I’m 25 and holding steady, at least until I win Miss America, which has an age limit.   I believe a recap of my trip home to GA to celebrate my appearance on the planet as well as that of my little brother’s (3 years and 5 days after mine) is in order…

I flew from Richmond to Atlanta on Thursday evening.  On Friday I enjoyed a mom/daughter day with pedicures, Scott’s Antique Market (where my mumsey got me this super cool trivet), REAL Mexican food, topped off with a build-your-own salad from Mellow Mushroom and a few episodes of Blackadder with Dad.

Circa 1951

I also got to talk to my husband for approximately 25 minutes.  It’d only been, oh, 19 days without any communication, but who’s counting?  Not me!!!!!!  Only 6 weeks, plus or minus, to go.  Poor boy has poison ivy over 3/4ths of his body.  The joys of playing GI Joe.

On Saturday, I drove to Atlanta to meet my best lady, Katherine, at West Egg Cafe (http://westeggcafe.com/) and she surprised me with a bundle of kitchen goodies!  A crinkle knife, cake tester, silicon spatula, and veggie knife.  I think my husband might have issues with additional sharp objects finding their way into my paws without proper supervision, but does anyone need anything crinkle cut????  Pretty please??  How ’bout now??  For lunch, I enjoyed the tofu scramble with grits, followed by a Coca-Cola cupcake.  You know the sign of a good girlfriend get-together: you both leave thinking you talked the other’s ear off.  I only get to see my BFF every few months, and I miss her.  She came all the way from Chattanooga for our gab fest, which means a lot.  Not as much as the crinkle knife, but a lot.

I drove back south with the windows down, Z93 blaring on the radio, enjoying the sun and the wisteria and dogwoods and missing Atlanta.  Who would recognize Northside Drive in the 4 years since I’ve been away???  I know I say it EVERY SINGLE TIME, but I want to come back to Atlanta.  Sigh…for the days when I went to GA Tech and worked at The Carter Center and had no money and couldn’t afford to do anything fun or eat good food.  But moving on.  In the afternoon, Mom and I indulged in a girly shopping fest in Peachtree City.  We met up with the boys for dinner at Red Robin followed by Date Night starring Tina Fey and Steve Carrell.  The funniest and most memorable lines are not repeatable here.  Try explaining to your mother why googling “pop that c–tchie” is not acceptable to repeat to your elementary school teacher friends without getting too descriptive.

Sunday was Flip Burger Boutique gloriousness!!!!  http://www.flipburgerboutique.com/  Our waiter approaches and asks if we have any questions.  Me: “Yes, does the warm Moroccan cauliflower salad have dairy”.  Him: “Yes, in the butter sauce, but it can be made without.  Do you have a dairy allergy?”  Me: “No, vegan”.  Him: “Ohh, well we can make the cauliflower with olive oil and the special burger of the day happens to be the Gardenburger which you can get in a lettuce wrap and don’t worry about the Flip whip, it’s actually tahini sauce, not mayonnaise.”  Me: “You did all the work for me”.  He got a good tip.  And that was the BEST damn Gardenburger I’ve ever had.  I also snuck some of my mom’s tempura okra and my dad’s fries and, I’m not ashamed to admit, totally had a Nutella and burnt marshmallow milkshake and some of my bro’s banana pudding milkshake.  It was my birthday!!!!!!!!!!  Good god, it was good.  Afterwards, we stopped by the State Farmers’ Market and got some more champagne mangoes because my family ate all of mine.  I heart champagne mango season (March-July, mark your calendars!). 

In the afternoon I made another batch of PPK sweet potato blondies, this time with no nuts and actual mashed sweet potato instead of pumpkin puree.  Even better!!!!!!!  My little brother is chincey with compliments, but he made my wittle heart swell.  I made the blondies at his request so he could take them back to Athens to share with his roomate and friends.  I gave him one to taste test before wrapping them in tinfoil for transport.  Me: “What do you think?”  Brudder: ::Deep sigh:: “Well, they didn’t kill me.  I find them acceptable.”  Me: “Keeper?”  Brudder: “I wouldn’t turn them down.  Oh, and I could put the hurt on some more of that blueberry cake you made.”  This is high praise indeed.

 After a few more episodes of Blackadder and an early wake up call, I’m back in Virginia and reality.  I was ‘surprised’ by a delivery of flowers from my husband, seen here with the lilacs I “borrowed” from my neighbors’ bush.

Tomorrow, it’s back to the grind and making my own food.  4:42AM, bleck.  Oh well, the end of the rainbow is in sight!  This week I’m looking forward to the Friday library booksale preview for Friends of the Central Rappahannock Library System (with light refreshments, yippee!), a lunch with friend Drew, FBI Agent extraordinaire, and further down the road, my next family trip to Wilmington, NC.   I leave you with Little Kitty, aka Re-Re. 

My Dad's Favorite Child

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Cake Please?

April 4, 2010
 
First, let me direct you to my first few months in February.  Remember those photos?  Remember how it seemed that the earth would never warm again, the birds would not chirp, the grass would not grow, LIFE WOULD NEVER EVER RETURN??  With every new spring, yet again, I am pleasantly surprised to find I am, in fact, wrong, and a bit of a doomsdayer with perhaps a bit of seasonal affective disorder.
Ahhhhhhhhhhhh (singing like Ariel, the Little Mermaid)
 

Instead of hiding Easter eggs and counting to 20 and then testing myself for early-onset Alzheimer’s by seeing if I could find them all again, I’ve been watching TiVo’ed episodes of No Reservations and Season 2 of the BBC Scotland series Hamish Macbeth.  A quick search on cast bios reveals that nearly every single Scottish actor in this series did appear in the classic 1995 film…you might remember it…Braveheart.  Isn’t that veeeeeeeeeered?

Moving right along.  I had a hankering to try out this recipe for Spiced Sweet Potato Blondies: http://www.6bittersweets.com/2009/11/month-of-vegan-cookies-sweet-potato.html.  It originated from Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar.  I printed out the recipe weeks ago and I should have refreshed my memory with the photo because I was so confused why my blondies were so fudgy, rather than cakey.  I used canned pumpkin instead of sweet potatoes, but I’d try the recipe again if I felt like making some sweet potato puree.  I would definately up the spices because I could hardly taste them at all.  And maybe it’s because I used light brown sugar, instead of dark, but I would personally recommend using the entire amount of sugar the recipe suggests, rather than cutting.  I did half the oil with unsweetened applesauce, to cut down on fat.  And I used  both pecans and chocolate chips.  Cause I like ’em.  I want to test them again, with my aforementioned alterations, but I was pleasantly surprised.  I had previously tried this recipe from the same authors for plain blondies http://www.theppk.com/recipes/dbrecipes/index.php?RecipeID=52 and it was a huge failure.  I ended up with a massive Pyrex dish of oily chewy…stuff.

Pumpkin Blondies

I had more than half a can of pumpkin leftover and “waste not, want not”, so I mixed it up with some extra boiled kale and added cumin and chipotle powder for a fantastic lunch side dish.  Pumpkin does, however, splatter in the microwave.  Noted.  Speaking of kale, how about some glorious kale chips, with a bit of balsamic vinegar and garlic salt to accompany another round of Mom soup (mulligawtney this time, and no, I will not spell-check that)?

 

Finally, my ode to my handmade, maple, 3-tiered, glorious spice rack.  When my brother and mom ordered it for me for Christmas, my brother told my mom he didn’t think there was any way I could possibly fill it.  My mom, rightfully so, worried that it wouldn’t be ENOUGH space.  I adore spices and wish I knew more about when to use what and what to mix together, rather than relying on tried-and-true recipes or combinations.  I hope to acquire some mustard seed, more curry powders, and better extracts in the near future.  The only herb on here that I haven’t tried is tarragon. 

I would love to give my monster, death-defying pansies the ole heave-ho and put in some boxes of herbs, but for reasons that will be revealed, that’s just not possible this year.  Oh for the day when I can at least have some fresh herbs all summer long, if not my own pots of tomatoes, etc etc etc.  Right now I’m craving eggplant and okra.  Yes, I could get some at the grocery store, but I will not give in!! 

Just in case I fall off the face of the earth for the next few days, I am heading back home to GA on Thursday to celebrate my birthday and my little brother’s birthday.   Remembering birthdays past (and maybe my current struggles to interpret heavy Highland accents) makes me think of my 25th birthday, which I spent in Dublin, Ireland with my brother and my parents.  Aside from the fact that I didn’t get a freaking cupcake, or any cake for that matter, and my husband (then fiance) forgot my birthday, it was a really cool way to celebrate my birth : )  Some of my funny memories: my father, getting louder and louder telling the coffee folks he did not want whipped cream in his coffee, but just freaking cream, CRE-EEE-AM.  It took a day to learn to ask for milk, but that was a broken man, with no half-and-half to start the day off right.  We were appalled, just appalled at the butter on every single sandwich, but could totally get into eating fries (or chips) right out of brown wrapping paper on the curb.  The mysticism of the Hill of Tara was a little ruined by the necessity of avoiding copious amounts of sheep droppings, but ‘free’ pints of Guinness in a 360 degree room overlooking Dublin in a hail storm (complete with Lucky Charms rainbows!) kinda made up for it.  That was a good trip. 

Last year, I spent my birthday in Colonial Williamsburg and, once again, did not get any cake.

Let’s cut the no cake crap, huh?