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Archive for January, 2012

When you read everything involved in this dinner, you might blanch at the idea of trying it if you’re a one-pot-one-utensil-meal kind of person. And it’s true: this meal does use multiple pots/pans, the oven and the stove, and a strainer! Also, it may seem like there are a lot of steps involved, but the prep time is minimal for all the dishes. And I promise if you follow the methods as I describe them**, you will have an easy time of it and be rewarded with something delicious: Lobster Dinner!

That's right. Lobster. I heard it goes over well with the ladies.

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Too much

Heads up: this post contains no recipes. All you will find herein is inspiration—inspiration to be a little less like me.

Last night I decided to make cookies. I will let you in on a little secret: that phrase could adequately describe approximately 10% of my nights. There are a lot of hungry people in my life, and it turns out that cookies come in convenient serving sizes. Baking in my kitchen usually works out just fine, but yesterday’s combination of circumstances seemed purposely intended to lead to failure.

But before relating those circumstances, I have to inform you of my oven situation, and why it makes baking cookies so much more difficult than would be necessary in a real kitchen. My oven is, in a word, crappy. (Kaputt for the Deutschophiles.) It leaks out the back enough that the element is pretty much constantly heating. The result of this, no matter how high the rack is, is burned-bottom cookies. I can make the most delicious cookies in the world, but if I bake them in my oven, they will be burned.

Through trial and error, I have discovered a solution to this. It’s simple, but doubles my baking time because I only have two cookie sheets (admittedly my fault): put one rack in the second-from-the-bottom position, and place an empty cookie sheet on it, while baking the actual cookies on the other cookie sheet on the top rack. My hypothesis is that this method allows the heat to flow around the bottom pan to heat the oven more evenly instead of flame-broiling the bottom of my cookies. Isn’t science handy?

Anyway, so I started out with the understanding that I’d only be able to bake 10 cookies at a time, but at least I had advance warning. I’d just finished doing the dinner dishes, so I started the dishwasher before getting my baking stuff out. Feeling like I’d accomplished something (even though all I’d done was turn on the dishwasher), I started to gather my ingredients. Since I will be coaching my favorite sports team tonight, I decided to make a double batch to accommodate the cookie needs of my boyfriend, my labmates, and my team. Except something was adamantly trying to prevent me from doing so: flour. My stupid flour container had maybe 1.5 cups of flour in it. FLOUR!! Drat.

Fine. I can use whole-wheat flour to make up the difference. I think whole-wheat cookies are delicious. As long as I don’t need regular flour for anything between now and the next time I remember to buy some at the grocery store. (Which will probably be March.)

Slightly bummed but still determined to go to sleep victorious, I pour in my sugar and baking soda and reach for my… [expletive]! EVERY FORK in my possession is in the dishwasher. Several plastic forks from takeout meals of yore mock me openly from my silverware drawer. They could never do the job of a real fork. My cookies are doomed.

It all turned out in the end. I stopped the dishwasher and hand-washed a fork with which to stir. (Ever notice how when you stop a dishwasher, open it, and close it, it starts up again like nothing happened? Why doesn’t my washing machine do that? Why doesn’t my thermal cycler do that?)

The cookies were delicious, although I didn’t measure anything except one egg (hence, no recipe). Not enough to satiate the hungry masses, but hopefully enough to satisfy a few Frisbee players. If there’s a lesson to be learned from all this, I have no idea what it is.

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