Eat Me. Drink Me.

Why We Eat. Why We Drink. Why We Write.

Month: February, 2010

Buttermilk in Your Eye is Not Pleasant, but Buttermilk Cookies Are Awesome

by lyzpfister

Josh, you have inspired me to bake.  Well, Josh, it’s a toss-up between you and the barely used carton of buttermilk in the fridge.  (Remember those deep-fried eggs?…)  I feel like buttermilk often has this effect on people.

This project was miraculous for two reasons.  One:  I don’t bake.  And two:  I did my dirty dishes right after cooking.  As for the first reason, I simply find that my temperament is not suited to baking.  Baking is too mathematical, precise, and often unforgiving.  I don’t even own a set of measuring spoons.  And I cook very much by trial and error.  And I am extremely bad at reading recipes.  As for the second, that is probably truly the miracle.

My friend Brittany (or rather, Brittany’s mom) used to make these buttermilk cookies around Christmas time (I think – it was back in high school), and they were the best cookies ever.  I finally asked for the recipe when we were about to graduate, then managed to make them – never.  Lucky for me and the buttermilk in the fridge, I had just been looking through my recipe collection and had just those cookies in the back of my mind.

As with the measuring spoons, I don’t own a handheld mixer.  So I creamed butter, eggs, and sugar by hand.  Josh, here you were again inspiring.

I discovered, after I got this far, that I didn’t have any flour.  So, leaving my pre-pubescent dough on the counter, I threw on a coat and some boots over my pajamas and ran to Bravo to pick up supplies so I could finish baking.

Back to work with flour and buttermilk, at which point the dough began to take on a sour twang that cut nicely through the sugar.  I slipped little teaspoons of dough onto my baking stone and let the oven work its magic.

Meanwhile, I tried to decipher the icing instructions, which called for a box of 10x sugar (if this is a sugar brand, it is beyond me to know it) and an unspecified amount of an unspecified milk.  So I made up an icing recipe.  Which I think was a success.

When the cookies, like little muffin tops, came out of the oven, I drizzled them with my cream cheese and buttermilk icing and ate them hot.

Buttermilk Cookies

For the cookies:
1 cup sugar
2 sticks butter
3 eggs
3 ½ cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
1 cup buttermilk

Cream sugar, butter, and eggs, then add flour baking soda and baking powder.  Mix well.  Slowly add buttermilk.  Drop by teaspoonful and bake at 350 for 10 minutes.

For the icing:
Keep in mind that I kind of made this up – so feel free to mess around with proportions.
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
1 stick butter
3 oz. cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup buttermilk

Mix all ingredients except buttermilk until smooth.  Add buttermilk until icing reaches desired consistency.

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The Simple Life (Sans Paris Hilton)

by lyzpfister

Today it is raining.  Sheets of fine mist slant through my gray Brooklyn sky and I watch it comfortably curled in my desk chair, writing poetry, drinking coffee, reading Buglakov’s The Master and Margarita, where Satan has just finished throwing a rager.  I light candles and take a bath, paint my toenails, watch Jesus Christ Superstar, write more poetry, listen to rain dribble against my air conditioning unit with metallic thwacks.

When I wake up this morning, I find this comment from my mother on my facebook status:  I didn’t want to get out of bed this morning.  All I could think was how the cold has reduced my world to a very small space, and all I do in that space is eat.

Of course, she has no way of knowing that it will be cold in Brooklyn again, that it will rain in Brooklyn, that I, too, won’t want to leave my space – or my space heater.  But I consider it good advice, and I eat.

In the cold, on this day, I want nothing complex.  I don’t want to cook.  I want toast – and then to stick my hands in the toaster after I pull my bread out.  I want salty sardines in olive oil and avocado.  Sicilian black pepper cheese.  Salt.  Pepper.  And then I want to go back to my desk, surrounded by candles and light, read about the devil, and listen to rain.

Tailgating at 9am (a post by Josh)

by johamlet

From my limited understanding about tailgating, what you do at a tailgate is stand around the back of a truck, grill, drink, and stand in a parking lot. How American. That’s not what I ended up doing at nine am yesterday, but I did tailgate. What? Stop confusing me.

Read the rest of this entry »

Ingredient: A Quick Shout-Out to Semolina

by lyzpfister

A few months ago, when I was about to move to New York, I decided to clean out my parents’ pantry of all the things that had been sitting on the shelves for years (not hyperbole) and would most likely be doomed to sit there for many more.  I snatched some canned jellies, pickles, pastes, pates, spices, curds, and pastas, knowing they would never be missed.  I’ve been slowly working my way through my parents’ pantry here in Brooklyn, and I’m often grateful for that swiped can of anchovies (sorry, mom, I know you would have probably used those) or am inspired by a bag of chocolate pasta I wouldn’t have gone out of my way to buy.  Sometimes the food has been sitting around so long it’s already stale – I’ve eaten some disappointing packets of oatmeal, slurped stale Ramen soup, and given away old-tasting pretzels to my less discerning roommates.  But so far, the best find from the pantry has been semolina flour.

I had never eaten semolina flour before yesterday.  My roommate and I had gone to a kegger in Williamsburg with free Kombucha and free Sixpoint beer, and by the time we left we were feeling hungry and tired after long days.  In the mood for a movie and comfort food.  I remembered a recipe from last month’s Bon Appétit that I had wanted to try – deep fried eggs with sriracha remoulade, which sounded like the bastion of comfort food: warm, soft-boiled eggs, mayonnaise, spice, pickles, and fried goodness.  So I picked up a six-pack of Sierra Nevada at the corner Bodega and made small talk with the owner, who was feeling glum about spending his Friday night stuck under fluorescent lights.

Back at the apartment, I found my neighbor on the couch and told her she was going to have to stay for deep fried eggs even though she had work to do.  So we put on Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dace With Somebody,” which is perfect comfort food-making music, and set about whipping up a remoulade and boiling eggs.

I’ve almost forgotten that I’m supposed to be telling you about how great semolina is.  Here’s where it figures in this story:  our soft boiled eggs were first rolled in a mixture of white flour and semolina flour, dunked in a blend of buttermilk, egg, and sriracha, and then covered with panko and salt.

Almost everything I’ve ever tried to deep fry has ended up tasting embarrassing, but last night it was as if deep-fry gods had smiled upon the Whitney and the Sierra Nevada and the good company.  The eggs were perfect – light brown, crunchy fried crust, which, when cracked open hissed out steam and molten yolk.

Comfort food brought to you by semolina (and eggs and sriracha and mayonnaise and fried goodness).  But anyway – that’s not how I really discovered the goodness of semolina.  That’s just why I happened to open the bag.

Today, as I was cleaning up the kitchen, something which clearly didn’t happen last night, I saw a recipe on the back of the semolina for breakfast porridge, which involved emptying the whole pack in two liters of boiling water.  Not so practical.  But, using my cook’s intuition, I figured the standard two parts water to one part grain ratio would work relatively well.  So as I made my morning cappuccino, I set a pot of water to boil, and when it was bubbling, added the semolina flour.  Which, contrary to the instructions on the package (five minutes), cooked in about five seconds.  The ratio was a little off – semolina requires about an extra ¼ – ½ cup of water, but I managed to smooth out most of the lumps.  The result, plus milk, butter, and brown sugar, was a creamy, sweet porridge that was truly comforting to eat.  Sort of like a cream of wheat that tastes more of mornings in the country and less of old people.

And to wrap up the whole semolina story, for lunch I threw the leftover cooked semolina (I couldn’t eat it all in porridge), in a skillet with green onions and mushrooms, and topped it with a fried egg and shavings of grated Sicilian black pepper cheese.  Delicious.

So semolina, the grain I tried for the first time yesterday, has featured in my last three meals in three very different ways.  From creamy to crunchy, to crisped – this versatile staple might just be my new comfort food.

Childhood games, Adult spirits (a post by Josh)

by johamlet

I’ve been feeling too old these days, so I’ve decided to play a game. It’s a lot like that childhood game “Simon Says.” Just this time, I’m getting rid of socially constructed masculine dominance, and making Lyz, Simon.

Lyz Says: Read Fergus Henderson

I inter-library-loan it in my College’s library, and get both of his books. I fall in love with the second one, published in 2007, Beyond Nose to Tail.

Lyz Says: Make Ice-Cream

I decide that I want to make a dessert from Henderson’s book, and why not choose ice-cream.

: Make the best Ice Cream You’ve ever tasted Read the rest of this entry »

Because the Only Conceivable Thing to Do When it’s Snowing is Eat Snow

by lyzpfister

Well, it’s snowing again.  And once again the bitter, endless winter kicks our hopes of impending spring in the shins.  I am tired of walking through slush, shivering in my coat, walking with my head down and shoulders bunched, shuffling over ice, trudging through drifts, and ruining all my shoes with salt.  I am ready for short skirts and sandals, lazy ambling, sunshine, popsicles (that are not my numb toes), rooftop barbeques, green leaves, summer reading, and happiness.

Winter, winter, please be over soon.

Alas, until that beautiful day arrives, I’ll content myself the little joys – slippers, hot soup, mulled wine, candlelight – and eat the snow that spites me.

I’ll admit that when I woke up a few days ago and soft snow was drifting down and settling like ganache on the tree outside my window, I smiled.  I thought of snow angles and snowmen and snowball fights, and my personal childhood favorite, snow ice cream.  Snow ice cream is simple.  Milk, sugar, and vanilla folded into powdery snow until the consistency rests between crunchy virgin snow and wet slush.  It should be delicate and still light, but softened by the milk and vanilla.  It is cold and sweet and good.

So on that morning, I pulled on a pair of boots over my pajamas, stuck a hat on my head, and trudged out into the cold to find some clean snow in my industrial-looking Brooklyn.  Though not as good as rural Pennsylvania snow, New York snow is not too bad, just a little metallic.  It’s still lovely to watch fall, and since playing outside no longer appeals to me quite so much, I’ll settle for bringing a little of the beauty of falling snow inside and eat it as I snuggle underneath my blankets and wait for winter to be over.

Kale and You (a post by Josh)

by johamlet

You sit in your apartment, thinking that it’s too cold outside to leave. You don’t understand why North Carolina and New York are the same temperature, or so says weather dot com. It’s not bad, just too many layers to put on before heading out to the grocery store to pick up the last ingredients for your dinner tonight. It’s probably been at least two months since you have seen all of your old roommates together in one space. This dinner is the first of hopefully many gatherings making your friends companions – those who break bread together.

In your cabinet sits the olive oil, salt, pepper, potatoes, and vegetable stock that you need. Your refrigerator cools off the vegetables that you’ll use tonight – some mixed salad greens, goat cheese and tomatoes, as well as some kale from the local organic trade post. Read the rest of this entry »