Wednesday, January 26, 2011

consumerism wow: the further misadventures of Mitty Matt

In a completely failed attempt to do a double-super Consumerism WOW holidextravaganza, Adam and I have posted dual (dueling?) January episodes! The followup to my post has been up for a whole week and I'm a bad consumer-friend is up on Adam's blog! Here's a preview:

Thing #1

Lauren: You are teaching your cat to speak and read English with help from a kitty that she’ll identify with! ….Adam, this is a very bad idea.

Adam: No, it’s a great idea! Then she can stop just mindlessly whining and actually communicate her wants and needs and… all right perhaps this will end badly. But I must try. For science!

Thing #3

Lauren: Is – is this why you’re teaching your cat how to read? You did not tell me that kitty had to get an eye patch.

Adam: Kitty does not need an eye patch, I would never let my cat be harmed like that! No this is for, uhm, my good friend… Mitty. Mitty Matt. He, uhm, was walking around, pacing really, while I was doing experiments and now he needs an eye patch. Mitty Matt. Who already speaks English and can read because he is human and not a cat.

Click through to Adam's blog to read the rest! I can very nearly promise that no cats were harmed in the writing of this episode. It's likely that at least one was severely annoyed, and that a dog who was raised in the wild by cats felt slightly neglected for having not been mentioned again, but c'est la vie d'un chien instruit dans le sauvage par des chats. (I got that translation from babelfish. I don't know any French that isn't food & cooking vocabulary. I hope I haven't just inadvertently called anyone's grandmother a transitive sausage or something.)

And hey, the book featured as Thing #1 is no longer available in print, but it's being offered as a digital download for only 2 American dollars! Friends, this is the future of the publishing industry we're looking at right here.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

foodpr0n: homemade cocoa marshmallows

The first thing you learn when you make marshmallows from scratch is that Ghostbusters was lying to you. That is not how marshmallow goop behaves. (They used shaving cream.) Actual marshmallow goop is far more insidious, more inexorable, more sticky than the deceptively benign horrors that our comedic but intrepid heroes faced back in 1984.

That said, the payoff of working with marshmallow goop is well worth the effort:

homemade cocoa marshmallows tumbled in a pan

I'd be posting a recipe right now, but at this point I'd just be plagiarizing Alton Brown's excellent instructions. I'll get back to you later, once I've had the chance to perfect a few wacky flavors.

These cocoa marshmallows were made exactly according to Alton's recipe, except I only made 1/3rd of the recipe (which fit perfectly in a bread pan) and added 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder to the 'mallow batter in addition to the vanilla (having turned the beater speed down first and up again afterwards to prevent splatter), plus another 2 teaspoons of cocoa powder to the cornstarch/powdered sugar coating mixture.

more closeup detail of homemade cocoa marshmallows

homemade cocoa marshmallows in a messy pan

Of course, s'mores had to happen immediately.

a s'more made with a homemade cocoa marshmallow and Lindt milk chocolate

The only potential downside here is that now I want to make marshmallows in all the flavors. Like banana, and espresso, and Nutella, and whiskey, and caramel, and chai, and Earl Grey. It'll be the tastiest pain in the ass there ever has been.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

consumerism WOW: post-holiday patterns of villainy

SO. As I began the process of publishing this episode of Consumerism WOW (in which the gig is this: I provide a list of shiny things, Adam P. Knave guesses why I want them, and I tell you why he's wrong), it came to my attention that many of you failed to procure holiday gifts for me. An unintentional oversight or postal mishap, I am sure! Whatever your reason, excuse, "legally" binding contract, or commitment to The Sleeping Elder Gods of the Deep that has prevented you from giving me something, I forgive you. Perhaps you were merely wanting for a gift idea! Here's 10, slackers. My birthday is May 29th. Perhaps you can get it together before then, hmm?**

Thing #1

Pac Man Moleskin Notebooks

Adam: This is a secret warning to people who want to bring you food that, in actuality, you eat tiny bits throughout the day. NOM. NOM. NOM.

Lauren: Well, that's true! And very much exactly how hypoglycemia works. But mostly I just want one of the smaller notebooks because, despite having a blog and a job on the Intarwebs, I'm better at thinking on paper than I am on a keyboard.

Thing #2

a shirt with all the things I love

Adam: Ahh I see someone made a graphical representation of your dream journal, Lauren! How did you convince them to do that?

Lauren: I had the anthropomorphic dream cupcakes send the artist a fax! Durr. Did you not realize that cakefax goes both ways?

Thing #3

green chili sugar

Adam: You want to lay this out and then tell people "Oh no, it's just sugar. For your coffee," and then sit and snicker as they find out it is le spicy.

Lauren: I would never do that to coffee! But Adam, I'm running out of ways to shock people with my baked goods. They're used to me putting meat in cookies already. I need to step up my game. (Also, I would totally do that to chai or hot cocoa.)

Thing #4

Yummy Donuts zipper pulls

Adam: Whenever you open a hoodie. Wherever you need to get in a bag. Each time you unzip your pants. They'll be there. Tiny donuts. And you can tug at them, to ease your pain of not having real donuts to eat.

Lauren: That is also exactly how hypoglycemia works. (C'mon, they're such cute donuts! And one of them is sad 'cause he got ate! And the artist, Heidi Kenney, is fantabulous!)

Thing #5

Battenberg lace parasol

Adam: Uhm, I hate to be the one to tell you, but not only will this not do anything to keep the rain off, but if you use it in sunlight to protect your oh-so-dear-lord-get-some-sun skin you'll just tan in a lacy pattern.

Lauren: I don't tan, I burn and then peel to white. But I suppose I wouldn't want to burn in a lacy patter, either. I appreciate your advice, and promise I'll only use it as a sunblock on cloudy days. (Though mostly, I want it as a defensive weapon and skeletal accessory.)

Thing #6

Los Danzantes mezcal

Adam: We need no reason or excuse for booze. Carry on.

Lauren: I should hope not! Especially for excellent, smokey-leathery scotch-whisky-esque reposado mezcal tequila.

Thing #7

Villainess perfume sampler

Adam: This is for your crime fighting career as "The Perfume-agator" isn't it? Throwing bombs made of the stuff to mark and later hunt down criminals. Your secret is safe with us, Lauren!

Lauren: That would be the worst plan ever! I would track down the bad guys and they'd smell so nice that I'd just nuzzle them. I would-- be every conflicted, sexually tense superhero ever written. No, I just want to dab a little bit of each of these scents on myself and find The One that makes me smell like sexy cookies served with whiskey-laced tea (Earl Grey, hot).

Thing #8

calavera necklace

Adam: Is… is that Hello Kitty's skull? What have you done with Hello Kitty? Hello? Kitty?

Lauren: Not Hello Kitty! It's a calavera -- a skeleton that's excited to be a skeleton 'cause the prevailing cultural belief system of its (previously inclusive) people celebrates and honors it! ....But you can't say that Kitty didn't wouldn't have it coming.

Thing #9

bracelet made from shiny, red-dyed, responsibly sourced stingray

Adam: I'll be honest here, kid, I thought this was made of roe at first and wondered why you wanted to wear eggs. And then it kinda made sense. But that isn't what this is at all and now I wonder why it isn't an egg bracelet.

Lauren: Roe doesn't have the structural integrity to form a bracelet, Adam, that's why. ....Unless maybe you find a way to magnetize them, like organic, squishy Bucky Balls.

Thing #10

Adam: Do you really think that if you smack people hard enough with this that you can leave fun patterns on them? Really?

Lauren: Well I mostly just wanted to leave fun patterns in shortbread cookies which I could then mail to people like you, but y'know, that's a much better idea. I shall be a supervillain with lace-pattered sunburns and shortbread-patterned victims, and the world shall tremble before my fearsome patterns of destruction!

Until next time, my dear consumers! BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HAcough!

**Taking a quick step back (up? diagonally?) from Consumerism WOW, I just wanted to put in that while I covet many, many commercially available products, the best, most favorite gifts I've received have been handmade by friends & family. No one ever needs to give me stuff. Certainly, no one ever needs to buy me stuff. (But if you're gonna, I would earnestly appreciate owning any of the things I mention in any Consumerism WOW episode.)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

good tidings of comfort and few-to-no molten sugar burns

Happy New Year, faithful readers! I hope it's treated you well so far. (It treated me to a mini-marathon of Bones [can I register to receive one of each of the Deschanel sisters as a late Christmas present? theyaresocute], not entirely losing at Halo, and eating wonderful holiday treats from wonderful friends plus pork chops & sauerkraut and kale and roasted root vegetables cooked by an also-wonderful dreamthrum. I will gladly take a whole year of these sorts of small delights.)

If you're like me in that you're not quite ready to give up holiday foods yet, check out CurvyGirlGuide's collection of go-to holiday dishes -- they featured a few of mine!

I'm hoping to have some new ones to share with you soon. Things I've made in the recent past that I'm looking forward to refining in the near future include baklava and peanut butter cookies. If you've got any secrets to either of these, let me know! I will give you shoutouts & lurve.

And in further culinary adventures, tomorrow I'm gonna try making marshmallows! Wish me luck & few-to-no burns from molten sugar, and I'll let you know how it goes. But first, sleep, a quick run out for graham crackers and Hershey's bars, and the building of the sort of fire that will produce good hot coals. In that order, yes.