Eat Me. Drink Me.

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

Category: Sweet Stuff

Boo

by lyzpfister

pumpkins

I’ve never really cared about Halloween. Until I moved to Germany, that is. Here, I seem to love all those American things I didn’t really have much interest in before. Carving pumpkins, dressing in ridiculous costumes, making pumpkin pie.

To be fair, pumpkin pie is something that I’ve always loved. To play devil’s advocate for myself, my mother always made pumpkin pie from fresh pumpkin. Which is, I don’t think, very American.

Pumpkin pie made with real pumpkin is not like typical pumpkin pie. It’s custardy, with an almost vegetal undertone and a sweet, earthy hit of cinnamon. None of this creamy, creepy rust-colored goo, real pumpkin pie is bright orange and textured with scraps of shaved pumpkin.

Naturally, the only course of action available to me was to organize a pumpkin carving soiree.

scooping out pumpkins

ready for pumpkin pie

So last Friday, my roommates and I chilled some wine, pulled the extensions out on the table, and bought two big, beautiful pumpkins. (OK, they were from the bottom of the barrel… all the good ones were already gone – but we loved them nonetheless.)

Being the only veteran pumpkin carver, I oversaw the operation, but to tell the truth, I don’t think I actually scraped a single bit of pumpkin flesh from the shell or cut out a single eye. Not that it mattered – for me, it was enough to know that it was being done.

carving a jack-o-lantern

I spent the evening making edible things from our pumpkins. Roasting seeds with olive oil and salt to an addicting crisp, turning scooped-out handfuls of pumpkin into spicy curried pumpkin-coconut soup – and making pie.

roasted pumpkin seeds

Can I tell you how lovely it is to sit around a table by candlelight, hands greased with pumpkin guts, sipping white wine from juice glasses and laughing with friends? What it is to eat together?

chestnuts

pumpkin party

curried pumpkin soup

I’ve been living in Berlin for a little over a year now. Last year at this time, I was sitting at a kitchen table alone, just about to spill a drink into my laptop and break it. Not that life was bad. It was just a new thing.

Carving pumpkins this Halloween, eating with friends – I can’t help but look back on this past year and think about how blessed I am to be here and to have met the people I have. How beautiful it is to be this heartbreakingly happy.

Granted, it’s not just carving pumpkins with other people – or making pie for them – that makes me so happy, but it’s a part of it.

the view from my desk

pumpkin pie recipe

Pumpkin Pie

Crust:
2 cups flour
2/3 cups vegetable oil
1/3 cup milk
pinch of salt

Filling:
2 cups raw pumpkin, scraped from inside of the pumpkin
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg (opt.)
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 tbsp melted butter

For the crust: Blend flour and salt. Add vegetable oil and milk and whisk ingredients together. When the dough starts to come together, use your hands and quickly knead it into a ball. You may have to add more vegetable oil for the dough to stick together. Conversely, if the dough is too wet, add more flour.

Press dough into a 9-inch pie dish. You may have extra dough – set it aside for another use (or a mini-pie!). Place your pie crust to the side.

Pre-heat oven to 400 F.

Place raw pumpkin in a medium pot and add 1 inch of water. Turn heat to medium-low and steam pumpkin until cooked through (about 10 minutes). (If you haven’t just carved a Jack-o-Lantern and don’t happen to have shaved raw pumpkin, you can roast pumpkin cubes in the oven and, when cooked through, mash them with a fork to get the right consistency.) Drain any juice from the cooked pumpkin – you should have approximately 1 1/4 cups of cooked pumpkin. Don’t worry if it’s not exact – pumpkin pie isn’t a science.

To your cooked, drained pumpkin, add milk, sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg (optional), beaten eggs and melted butter. Stir all ingredients together until well-blended.

Place pie in the oven and bake until set. Depending on your oven, this should take about an hour.

pumpkin pie

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Bobo Baking

by lyzpfister

It’s a rainy Saturday in Berlin. Ben and I are lounged on the couch. We’ve both got our laptops open. I’m reading articles online, he’s playing a computer game. Sometimes we talk, but for both of us, it seems that what we say hovers for a while, then dissipates, unanswered.

I spent a luxurious morning in bed, listening to the downpour through the open window. At first I hadn’t even heard the rain. It was just a hush, a solid sound that belonged to the space.

I haven’t made it far from bed. I’ve migrated from that horizontal to the horizontal of the couch, though there was an interim with huevos rancheros and coffee. Much good that did for getting the day started.

I don’t usually spend my days draped over a sofa, wearing a mumu and a baggy sweater, last night’s mascara still smashed under my eyes. Even when I’m not working, I’m out of bed by 8:30. I French press some coffee, make toast with butter and cheese, and some arugula if I’m feeling fancy. I do some yoga, I do some writing.

I’m justifying this slothing to myself. I know.

Ben is playing music from Swan Lake. Then he plays 50 Cent. I want to bake.

There’s only a handful of butter and the oven is kind of broken, but this is what I want to do. So I do it.

Though I don’t really know how to bake, I know what cookie dough looks like. This is enough, I think. The last knob of butter, equal parts sugar (it’s the secret reserve sugar, probably left over from the DDR) and brown sugar (imported from America), the last bit of sour cream from the fridge, an egg, flour, some old chopped-up caramel chocolates. Dropped on a pan, stuck in the oven. They come out looking like little biscuits with moles.

But they’re good – not as sweet as I’d anticipated, and with an unexpected chewy shot of caramel. Perfect with a glass of milk. I’m like a ten year old in pajamas.

Cookies like today. Haphazard, but sweet – a bit unfocused, but so necessary.

Let It Rise

by lyzpfister

There’s been a lot of yeast dough in my life lately. First there were Fasnet’s cakes, then I made donuts. Ok. So there were two instances of yeast dough in my life. But two yeast doughs within weeks of each other is more yeast dough than usually makes an appearance.

There’s something incredibly soothing about yeast dough. It takes time. And I think we spend far too little time taking time. What I mean is, I read this book called Momo, by Michael Ende (yes, yes, the very same Neverending Story mastermind) when I was living in New York, spending a lot of time regularly hyperventilating about how there wasn’t enough time.

Momo is a book about time and how humans construct it cleverly disguised as a children’s story. The sweeper tells Momo, “it’s like this. Sometimes, when you’ve a very long street ahead of you, you think how terribly long it is and feel sure you’ll never get it swept. And then you start to hurry. You work faster and faster and every time you look up there seems to be just as much left to sweep as before, and you try even harder, and you panic, and in the end you’re out of breath and have to stop – and still the street stretches away in front of you.”

I read that and I thought, Oh my God. Momo knows my life.

There’s this moment in the book where the grey men, bankers of time, visit each of the townspeople and convince them to put their spare time in a savings account. And when the people wonder how to save time, the grey men tell them, you know how to save time – spend 15 minutes less on each haircut you give or don’t drive all the way to the nursing home to eat with your mother –

I read that and I thought, My life is full of grey men.

I began to see them everywhere – they’d been invisible before, but now I felt them tapping against my elbow as I angrily stormed along the subway platform when I missed my train. I smelled the acrid smoke from their perpetually burning cigars as I stressed myself around a sales floor. I felt their cold hands on my chest as I started ten different projects without being able to sit still and finish any one. They whispered, Save time, save time, save time.

Like the people in the town, it seemed as though the more time I saved, the less I seemed to have.

I started kneading around this time. Rolling into dough required time. Although I had begun to cease thinking about time as a rule. Kneading dough is like breathing with your fingers. Your body slows to the tempo of your hands, and your breaths slow your beating heart. The dough demands you.

We ate a lot of bread those months. A lot of pizza and pasta and naan. I don’t know if it was the dough that cured me. The dough or the Momo or the yoga I started doing around then as well. But all three things taught me pliability and presence. That you must be where you are and yet flexible enough to change where you thought you’d be.

Every time I knead dough now, I think of that time, then, when I couldn’t let time be, but tried to mold it – the one thing you shouldn’t try to shape. Yes, time is fluid – but we don’t shape time by trying to control it. Time shifts when we are fully present in it. “Calendars and clocks exist to measure time, but that signifies little because we all know that an hour can seem as eternity or pass in a flash, according to how we spend it.”

Sweet Yeast Dough

500 g flour
20 g fresh yeast
¼ L milk
80-100 g butter
50-80 g sugar
1-2 eggs
pinch of salt

I’m sorry for the lack of specifics. But you should know me well enough by now to know that I’m not good at that sort of thing. This recipe was scrawled on a piece of paper by my aunt, who had gotten the recipe from another aunt, and who probably changed things around as she made the dough. So here goes: Make a well in the center of the flour, pour in half the milk, the yeast, and a bit of sugar, and stir into a rough dough. Cover with a towel and let rise for half an hour. Add the rest of the ingredients and knead into a smooth dough. Place in a clean bowl, cover with a towel, and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour. Your dough is now ready to use – to make the Fasnet’s cakes I talked about in my last post, briefly knead the dough again and roll out on a lightly floured surface. Cut into diamonds and fry in a pan of hot oil (about 1 inch deep – you can test for “hotness” by sticking a wooden spoon into the oil – if the oil bubbles, it’s hot enough), about 25 seconds per side. This is a highly subjective number – you might need far less or more, depending on the thickness of your dough. Rule of thumb – when it starts turning brown, flip it – it will brown more as it cools. To make donuts, check out this recipe: hot pink donuts (the one I used…), and to find a less vague recipe for yeast dough: search the internet.

In die Weihnachtsbäckerei

by lyzpfister

I don’t know if this is a thing – whether a whole nation inflicts this on their children, or just my family – but I’m reminded of it every now and then. Like the refrain to Feliz Navidad or the Wrigley’s doublemint gum commercial, the words appear in my head on repeat, and I feel an overwhelming desire to reach for the nearest person, grab their arm with both hands, pump it vigorously so the limb (preferable a fleshy part) rumples back and forth, while chanting, “Butter stampfen, Butter stampfen!” – which roughly translates to “churning butter, churning butter!”

Growing up, you never knew when a Butter stampfen attack was about to happen. Bare arms were extremely vulnerable. Maybe it sounds awful – but I suppose it’s one of those inexplicable childhood joys that involves shrieking and faux escaping, and joy at finally being caught. Butter stampfen, like the German version of steamroller.

That long lead-in story is mostly irrelevant (as most randomly remembered childhood moments are). But I thought of Butter stampfen the other day, while Elisabeth and Sophie and I were making Christmas Plätzchen – like cookies but smaller and cuter. Maybe because baking cookies is such an ingrained childhood Christmas memory. Then again, it could just have been because there was butter involved.

My other hypothesis is that it was because we were playing the god-awful Christmas song, In die Weihnachtsbäckerei (In the Christmas Bakery) and one good Ohrwurm inevitably leads to another. (Another irrelevant, yet interesting side note: the Germans have a great word for songs that get stuck in your head – Ohrwurm – which literally translates to “ear worm.”)

Plätzchen backen during Advent is a true German tradition, much like baking cookies at Christmastime in America. It seems that the world over, people love to be fatties for the holidays. Everybody makes Plätzchen with everybody else and then brings boxes of Plätzchen to other people, taking boxes of Plätzchen home in return. And everywhere, everywhere is full of Plätzchen. I am eating Plätzchen right now.

Another side note: the German word for “to pop” is platzen. I don’t know, but it sounds suspiciously like Plätzchen to me.

There are many traditional Christmas Plätzchen, gingerbread-like Lebkuchen, Springerle dense with anise, vanilla-almond half moons with powdered sugar, sugar cookies with colorful glazes, airy, macaroon-like nubbins.

Though not traditionally German, my absolute favorite cookies are my mother’s gingersnaps. Dense, chewy, sweet with cinnamon and molasses, crusted with sugar. They must absolutely be dunked in milk, where the cookies, hardening as they cool, crumble into sugary bits, soft with the cold milk.

I couldn’t conceive of Christmas cookies without gingersnaps, so I emailed my mother to ask for the recipe. She almost didn’t want to give it to me, as though making the cookies myself symbolized my growing up, for no longer needing her in the same way. I, too, felt reluctant to take the recipe – I could never imbue the gingersnaps with as much love, making them for myself as she could, making them for me.

But I took the recipe, since, after all, I wasn’t making them only for myself, but for others. Just adding another link to the cookie-love-chain.

So we listened to awful Christmas music and drank Glühwein – hot, spiced wine flavored with oranges, cinnamon, and cloves. We were a veritable cookie-making factory: the gingersnaps, sugar cookies with Glühwein icing, butter-almond moons, and lemon-rum muffin-cake inventions lovingly dubbed, “disasters.”

We ate Plätzchen all night long, took home bags of them, and are still eating them. We’ll probably be eating them through to New Years – especially since the Plätzchen baking is really just getting into full-swing now. I’m going to another Plätzchen baking party right before I fly back to the states for Christmas. And when I get home, I’m going to make my mother bake a plate of gingersnaps for me.

Gingersnaps

2 c sifted flour
1 tbsp ground ginger
2 tsp baking soda*
1 tsp cinnamon (but be generous)
½ tsp salt
¾ c butter
1 c sugar
1 egg
¼ c molasses

Sift dry ingredients together. Cream butter and sugar, then add egg and molasses. Stir in flour mixture. Shape dough into balls and roll in additional sugar. Place on cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes.

*If you substitute baking powder for baking soda, like I did since there appears to be no baking soda in Germany, your cookies will turn into puffy little ginger mounds – and will need an extra 15 min in the oven. I recommend finding the baking soda.

Summer in the City

by lyzpfister

Oh yes, summer is here, at least unofficially.  At least, I’m sweating enough to call it summer.  With every snatch of breeze that thinks about coming inside, I lean closer to the open window.  At least, until the mosquitoes eat my face.  Oh yes, it’s summer.  Time for salads and goat cheese, basil, mint, and buckets of water with ice cubes and lime.  Or even better, fancy little cocktails with wild tea vodka, strawberries, mint, lemons, simple syrup, and soda water.

It feels like summer vacation every time we sit outside in the backyard.  Two tiki torches light up the freshly raked dirt where someday soon there’ll be grass.  There’s now a little string of Christmas lights up and always candles burning after dark.  Just enough light to eat by at night.  Perfect light when your dinner is strawberry-rhubarb pie and cocktails.

There’s been rhubarb at the market these last few weeks and the strawberries have finally started smelling like strawberries.  I had been wanting to make a German-style rhubarb tart, but the dough is yeast-based, and being me, I had failed to read the instructions more than ten minutes before my pie friends were about to come over.  And as I always come, back to my favorite crust recipe: 1 cup flour, 1/3 cup vegetable oil, a splash of milk, a pinch of salt.  So easy and foolproof.  Effortless like the summer night.

We sat in the backyard, talking as the pie baked and easing out of our stoic poises as the temperature dropped to something comfortable.

Oh, the gooey mess.  Four people, one pie, and a few scoops of ice cream.  Demolished.

And much the same my summer days go by.  I go to work, I come home, I cook a little, sit in the sun a little, try to do yoga when I can, try to stay hydrated so I don’t die.

Yesterday for dinner, Anette and I assembled another of our fabulous conspirator meals.  As she tossed together a Greek-style salad: lettuce, arugula, tomato, cucumber, feta, red onion, and olive tapenade with dressing as simple as olive oil, lemon, salt, and pepper, I grated sweet potato and mixed it with egg, breadcrumbs, chopped onion, rosemary, thyme, and oregano.  I added a few teaspoons of semolina to make my mixture stick together, then formed little patties and fried them.  We sat outside and declared it a perfect summer dinner.  Greek salad and sweet potato fritters dunked in a sauce of sour cream, mint, and garlic.

All winter I said, “Oh how I wish it was warm.  I promise not to complain once this summer if only the weather gets warm.”  And I haven’t complained.  Just said, very declaratively, “It’s hoooooot.”  And I won’t complain.  So summer, summer, bring it on.  I’ve chosen my weapons.  They are: lemons, yogurt, mint.

Rhubarb Pie

Mix 1 cup flour, 1/3 cup vegetable oil, a splash of milk, and a pinch of salt together in a large bowl and roll into a smooth ball.  Add more flour if the mixture feels too wet.  Detailed pie crust instructions can be found here.  Press dough into a pie dish.  Wash and cut rhubarb into 1 inch chunks, and quarter strawberries.  To the fruit, add: 1 ½ cups sugar, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 tbsp flour, juice of ½ lemon.  Toss well to coat.  Pour into pie dish and bake in a 375° oven for 1 hour or until crust is browned and fruit is soft.  Serve with vanilla ice cream.

This Is It

by lyzpfister

We finally turned the heat on yesterday.  There was snow and it was a struggle, since so far we’ve been doing well with slippers and puff vests.  It’s not that we’re cheap, it’s just, well, masochism is so in this season.

But warmth is nice.  From me, warmth elicits all my fuzzy tendencies, like doing other people’s dishes, talking for a long time on the telephone, and baking pie.

So I spent the day making pie (and watching Netflix and sending emails and packing for vacation).  After Thanksgiving, my mother sent me back to New York with a bag of apples grown in Adams County in South Central Pennsylvania.  Our traditional Thanksgiving pie is always made from these apples, which are harvested in the fall and sold at orchard stands lining the hilly back roads.  My apple pie recipe is really my mother’s, and what makes it so good is based largely on those fresh, Adams County apples.  And a lot of brown sugar and butter.  The pie is requested at most family gatherings, and for a long time, whenever she traveled back home, she flew with an apple pie in her carryon.

This pie has truly traveled the world.  After my study abroad semester in Australia, two friends and I went to New Zealand to farm.  Our second night in Christchurch happened to be Thanksgiving and this was the first time any of us hadn’t been with our family for the holiday.  So we found a grocery store and bought a rotisserie chicken, a few potatoes, a packet of powdered gravy, a bag of salad, biscuit mix, a bottle of red, and a few apples.  Back at the hostel, as Emma and Dan boiled and mashed potatoes, prepared biscuits and gravy, I made an apple pie.  We sat at a small table with our improvised feast and gave thanks.  And then, when we were done with dinner, we sliced up the apple pie and played cards late into the night.  I think of that Thanksgiving often, almost every time I make apple pie, how we created a feast in a New Zealand hostel in the middle of summer, how we were family for each other.  And then I think about how, the next day, we carried around the leftover pie mashed into a Ziploc bag and ate it with plastic forks at bus stops.

I make this pie at every opportunity, especially when the weather turns cold.  Something about brown sugar and butter is comforting.  The other night at dinner, I was telling some friends about the apples in my apartment and the pies I had to make before I left on vacation.  Someone joked, “Well you can make a pie for us.”  So I did – we left the restaurant, sliced apples, made crumble and crust, and while the pie baked, sang Christmas carols by a still-undecorated tree.  An hour from start to finish, and we sat around the table for hot apple pie with ice cream.  “Cool party trick.”

Since, I’ve baked three more pies.  Two of them my roommates and I demolished and the third is for a friend I’m meeting in Las Vegas.  Incidentally, she’s one of the friends from my New Zealand Thanksgiving.  And I think, this is what it’s like, on my way to see family, schlepping along food, my symbol of love.  And I feel a little like my mom, sitting in the plane, an apple pie in my carryon.

Apple Pie
(makes two pies – trust me, you’ll want to make two)

Crust:
2 c flour
2/3 c vegetable oil
1/3 c milk
pinch of salt

Mix with a spoon until ingredients come together.  Roll the dough between your hands until smooth ball forms.  It should glisten with oil and feel a little wetter than normal pastry crust.  Separate into halves and press evenly into pie dishes.

Filling:
Approx. 9 apples; preferably from an orchard, but otherwise store-bought baking apples are fine; use a variety
Plenty of sugar
Cinnamon
Splash of rum or vodka

Peel, core, and thinly slice apples.  Douse liberally with cinnamon and sugar – I wish I had an exact measurement for you, but all I can say is, add “enough.”  My conservative guess would be ¾ cups of sugar.  The apples should be coated with the cinnamon-sugar mixture.  The best is to eat an apple slice and taste for sweetness.  Don’t forget that there will be sugar in the crumble.  Add a splash of the liquor; mix.  Pour filling into pie dishes.

Crumble:
2 sticks butter
approx. ¾ c brown sugar
approx. ¾ c flour

Blend butter, sugar, and flour until a coarse crumble forms.  Again, the measurements are not exact.  Best is to taste a butter crumb and to make sure you add equal parts brown sugar and flour, however much you decide to add.  Distribute crumble on pies.  Bake in a 425˚ F oven for 30 minutes or until crumble is lightly browned and filling bubbles.

I Prove Myself Wrong and Bake Delicious Cookies

by lyzpfister

I keep telling people I can’t bake.  This, for the most part is true.  My numerous attempts at banana bread are too dry or too soggy or too awkward.  Regarding a dense and lumpy batch, a friend told me, “It tastes like vegan banana bread,” which I guess could be a compliment.  Or…

But today, while looking for recipes to use for my Thanksgiving dinner, I chanced upon this gem for brutti ma buoni.  The name translates to “ugly but good” and these nubby little cookies are just that.  They taste like something from my childhood, like afternoon walks in the fall and honeyed granola.  And they’re easy enough to make that not even I can screw them up.

Brutti Ma Buoni
Adapted from Food & Wine October 2010

1 ¼ cups almonds
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
pinch of salt
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400.  Toast almonds until browned, about six minutes.  Pulse almonds, sugar, and salt in a food processor until finely chopped.  Pour into a mixing bowl and add egg and vanilla.  Grease baking sheet and spoon tablespoon-sized mounds onto the sheet.  Bake in center of oven for 12 minutes.

Good News for Your Sweet Tooth

by lyzpfister

Lately, I just can’t seem to get enough sugar.  I want pudding, bread with peanut butter and honey, chocolate granola, jam and butter, cheesecake, and Nutella on anything.  (Speaking of Nutella, anyone manage to catch its most recent commercial, where a doting mother/consumer is touting it as a … health product?)  The problem is this:  I rarely crave sweet foods, and I happen to never crave them at the grocery store, so I never have sweet foods on hand to munch on when those cravings strike.

The other day, the pain was particularly bad, and not only bad, it was specific.  I wanted pie.  I wanted pie bad.

Anette and I had just finished making a delightful lunch out of nothing (as usual), and I mentioned my craving.  She said, “I have some frozen blueberries,” and in a flash I realized I could make pie.  Or I could make something almost like pie.

I want to share this recipe with you because it was so ridiculously easy.  We whipped it together in about ten minutes and then just sat back and relaxed while pie magic happened in the oven.  So if you, too, find yourself pie-less, you can change the facts of your life with things you probably have somewhere.

Blueberry (or whatever) “Pie”

There’s this amazing pie crust recipe which calls for 2 cups flour, 2/3 cups vegetable oil, and 1/3 cups milk.  I used this recipe and scaled it down to fit a small half-sized pie dish.  Knead the ingredients together until a glossy, not sticky ball of dough forms.  Press it into a pie dish.  In another bowl, mix your pie filling and put it in the dish.  We used frozen blueberries, frozen strawberries, sugar, cinnamon, and honey.  But other things you could make into pie in a pinch:  apple slices, raisins, jams, dried fruits, dates, nuts, Nutella (er… maybe).  Then, make a quick crumble crust by blending together butter, flour, brown sugar, and rolled oats with your fingers.  Crumble the crumble over your pie filling and bake in a 450 F oven for, um, 45 minutes?  Until it’s done.  You’ll know.  It’ll be bubbly and gooey and smell like heaven.

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.

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 »