Friday, March 24, 2006

Failed!

My first foray back into the baking world after my sugar detox was mostly a bust. But that's okay. We still ate it.

(ps--still mainly staying off of sugar, but every now and then I am allowing myself a "treat.")

March 22, 2006
Occasion: Brownies and Documentaries With The Stinky
Name of Cake: Supposedly Fudgy Brownies
Constituents: failed fudgy brownies with raspberry sauce and whipped cream

@%*^&$#!
the pretty photo of a brownie slice plated with the sauce and cream got deleted, so you'll have to enjoy this one instead

So on a whim I decided that Stinky and I should bake brownies and watch movies. In my head, I thought it would be easy and yummy. In my head, the world is a perfect place. I should know better than to trust my head.

I got the recipe out of the Fannie Farmer Baking Book. I would say that I have enjoyed maybe 45% of what I have baked out of the book. Although the failure of the brownies to be fudgy was my fault, I also think that there are better fudgy brownie recipes out there.

I was pretty sure I had all the necessary ingredients in my (ahem) fairly well stocked baking pantry, and I did, except that the chocolate I had wasn't unsweetened. It was 70% dark and I thought, that's fine, I'll just decrease the amount of sugar I need to add. No problem!

That wasn't the problem. The problem was that I melted the chocolate and butter in a pan over low heat, and didn't stir frequently enough. The problem was that I didn't think twice about melting chocolate over low heat when it really should have been in a double boiler. The problem was that I overheated the chocolate which separated--making it look like the batter has curdled--and the oils didn't emulsify into the batter.

@%*^&$#!
damn!!

Which leads to this problem:

@%*^&$#!
foamy brownies; what the hell is this?

I would have pulled them out of the oven sooner, because with all the moisture from the butter lost the resulting chocolate mass was pretty dry, but to pull them out at the foamy stage would have meant oily brownies. Not fun. So I let the oil bake off or dry up or whatever you let it do.

Harumph. The brownies were thin and dry and more cakelike in texture. The chocolate taste was good (I use Green and Black's 70% chocolate...good stuff) but the brownies were a little bitter. Needed more sugar.

The raspberry sauce was nice, could have used a little bit of lemon juice to brighten up the flavor but it did its job marvelously.

@%*^&$#!
sweet nectar through the sieve

The whipped cream could have used a little more sugar but I didn't complain.

About those brownies: both Stinky and I agree that there could have been more. More chocolate flavor, more gooey fudgy texture, more richness and satisfying cloyingly good fudgy brownie I-need-a-nap feeling. I know not overheating the chocolate would have helped, but I would also like to blame part of it on the recipe. Fannie, dear Fannie, you let me down!

An Evening With Meredith

...in which the best line of the night award goes to:
"you know its time to kill yourself when sexual play has deteriorated into hiding bacon in your pussy and asking your boyfriend to try and find it."

Also, we discovered the MEAT TUBE controversy:


click on pic to enlarge, so you can read all about the meat tube















and here's a closeup of the anatomy of a meat tube:



click pic to enlarge so you can learn to identify a meat tube







As a Concerned Citizen, I am writing to my congresspeoples straight away.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Curse of the Shitty Movies

3/11: Therese. Maybe the actors could have really acted, but the writing! Profoundly horrible! We didn't even finish the movie.

3/17: Red Dirt. Oh my god. NOTHING was good about this movie. NOTHING.

3/20: The Prince and Me 2. The only thing that was good about the first movie was Luke Mably. Sexy sexy little Luke Mably. He can't even save this stinking pile of elephant shit that masquerades as a movie.

The next movie I watch had better be rip-roaring excellent. Maybe I should watch Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle again; that is a classic, timeless, piece of american cinema compared to the crap I've seen lately.

Friday, March 17, 2006

As Black As Your Mother's Teeth

Happy St Patrick's Day

a day when stupid people have an excuse to be sloppy drunk and have sex with strangers in the street.

1/4 of me is appalled that this is how my ancestors are remembered, but what the fuck, they were sloppy drunk all the time too.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Poor Intestines

You gotta read this: The Orchard: When Bad Trends Go Good.

It's from the blog called The Bruni Digest, which comments/rehashes the restaurant reviews that Frank Bruni (head restaurant critic with the NY times) writes every Weds. Appraently, he's quite a freak of a reviewer, and she just goes to town making fun of his prose. Funny stuff.

Sigh. When do I get to eat sweet stuff again.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Day 8

This sugar detox thing is going pretty good; the hardest place to be is the grocery store—sugar is fucking EVERYWHERE in those places.

The worst time for cravings is at night, after 8 pm. I start to get a little antsy, I whine to my roommate (who completely sympathizes), and then we make a big pot of tea. A nice bold tea like the Yogi Red Chai or the Yogi Sweet Thai Delight with a little bit of cream can make the sugar cravings go away. I read that 2 tbsp of L-glutamine in a tablespoon or two of cream with a bit of Xylitol can bust a sugar craving, but I am not into the Xylitol thing and a straight shot of cream with this powdery stuff in it just doesn’t work for me.

Then Friday around 2 pm I got side-swiped with a serious sugar crave…off I went to the store looking for something REAL to eat, and to see if there was anything I could eat that was sweet but what I would consider legal.

And I found these.


Clif Nectar bars—they are 100% organic fruit and nuts. No added sugar. Just a shitload of fruit and some little crunchy roasted nuts. I bought three different kinds: the cinnamon-pecan, the cranberry-apricot and almond, and the DARK CHOCOLATE and walnut. Okay, I bought two dark chocolate and walnut.

Now, you may be thinking, as was I, that the dark chocolate and walnut must have some sugar or honey or something in it…but lo and behold, there’s none of that stuff. I checked and re-checked, and re-checked and checked, but really, nothing. The bar contains unsweetened chocolate and cocoa powder. The sweetness that keeps the bitterness out of the chocolate comes from all the fucking fruit. (And I'm serious about the fruit thing--these bars are, like, 90% fruit. The package claims that each bar is worth two servings of fruit, but really we're talking, like, 5 servings of fruit per bar.)


Oh!

Yeah!

YEAH!

I have definitely found a good candy/chocolate replacement. All of the bars are mostly organic dates, which accounts for the nice satisfying sweet taste—but I am okay with that, because they didn’t process anything to make the bar sweet. I would think twice if it was organic date sugar, but this is the whole damn date, pureed and smashed together with other stuff. That, I can deal with.

The cinnamon-pecan bar tastes a lot like apple pie filling, even though there are no apples in the bar. The pecans are roasted, but there aren’t enough of them for my taste.

The dark chocolate walnut is pretty damn good, even taking into account that I don’t like walnuts. With this one I am not complaining that there aren’t enough nuts. Lovely.

The cranberry-apricot and almond bar was my least favorite. It seemed sweeter than the other two bars, and it has apple juice concentrate in it...

I was hoping for a “meal replacement” type bar without processed sugars but I couldn’t find a single one. All of them at Wild Oats have some sort of sweetener, be it honey, sugar cane, white sugar, barley malt, brown rice syrup, etc.To me at this point I don’t care if the damn bar has 26g of protein, if it has any amount of processed sugars, it’s fired! So while the Clif Nectar bar isn’t a suitable meal replacement bar (26g of carbos and 2g of protein), it is, more importantly, 100% natural, naturally sweetened, and organic. No other bar can claim that. Clif Nectar bar has my vote for kick ass snacky snack of the year.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Day 3

Due to the maddening fact that her sinuses have clogged up with phlegm, ECL has decided that the time has finally come to deal with her everpresent sugar addiction.

She has gone off sugar.

So far, no one has died and the structural integrity of her apartment remains intact.

ECL has decided a two week moratorium on all things sweet and yummy may be sufficient enough to reset her body chemistry, but she realizes it might take a little longer than that.

just ONE cookie! just ONE cookie! i'll make it healthy, with rolled oats and nuts as long as i get chocolate chips! JUST ONE COOKIE PLEASE!

Obviously, ECL will refrain from baking during this time. Which makes recipies like this one for Barcelona Brownies cruel and unusual punishment.

brownies? just one? they're so little; they would hardly even count!

If you come into contact with ECL while she is "getting healthy" please approach her cautiously and from an angle. Do NOT come straight at her, especially if you are, or have been, eating something scrumptious and sweet. Please keep loud noises to a minimum and keep moving; a moving target is harder to hit. Whatever you do, do not give her any sugar, no matter what she may tell you. She may try very hard to get you to give her some; she may trick you. She may lie and cheat and insult your mother, your dog, and everything else you hold dear. Please, do not give in to her. Just endure the physical beating you are more than likely to receive and smile (inwardly; don't let her see) because you are helping your friend.

who's fucking idea was this anyway?