Thursday, September 9, 2010


Well.....promises promises! After my astonishing creative burst of two posts, I stopped (as you may have noticed). You may (or you may not, I dunno) have been wondering where my fickle ass has been doing. Not much! I made a gluten-free flourless chocolate cake, which was sadly flat and tasted more like a dense brownie than a cake. I think I did not sufficiently beat the egg whites to an absolute pulp (or glossy cloud), but it still tasted okay. As you can see, Johnny was quite interested and I eventually decided that repeated attempts to take a picture might result in a call to kitten Poison Control. Elizabeth and I made some Mexican hot chocolate cookies for Labor Day, but they were too elusive to capture in a photo (read: Andy ate them all).

Around the house, I painted and reupholstered this chair. It went from dusty blue to offensively purple (though I'm starting to grow sort of fond of it), and the kitschy pink floral fabric was replaced with this "wrought iron" pattern which took me like 4 months of fabric shopping to decide on. I paid SEVENTEEN dollars a yard, so now I'm left with the remnants of this stuff, if anyone wants it. It's too stiff (indoor/outdoor) to be used to for any sort of clothing project, but someone creative might could use it. If all else fails I'll use it as wrapping paper for the next birthday in my life (Christie???).
I read recently (in Martha Stewart Living, natch) that saying your plans out loud is a good way to force you to go through with them. Well, here goes: I am developing a menu for a little baked good-catering business (now that the bugs in my house have cleared up. Thanks Mitch, miracle-working exterminator!). It's going to consist of good, old-fashioned, fatty, totally homemade, delicious desserts. No feta-cheese and watermelon cupcakes or (heaven forbid) sugar-free coconut-jasmine cake. (Not sure that those are real, by the way). I'm going to try to keep prices low as well. So when things get more definite, you'll be the first to know! Also, I like to think of myself as more than a one-trick pony (more like a mule, though hopefully...not sterile). I'm not only interested in food, though I have to admit it does dominate my waking moments. I'd like to find a way to incorporate the other things I love (clothes, Memphis, film, domestic activities) into this blog. But I know what you're thinking: I'll believe it when I see it! God, this post is getting long. A little less conversation, a little more action, as that most famous of Memphians might say.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Peanut Butter Cookies

I love simple recipes. There is nothing better than being able to whip up something amazing in under 20 minutes and pop them in the oven. These cookies (my adaptation of a recipe from Southern Living) contained just five ingredients, and were a "one-bowl" recipe, blessedly, since doing a bunch of dishes while nervously looking over my shoulder every 4 seconds for roaches is remarkably time-consuming. They were nice and crumbly, and perfectly salty-sweet (THE BEST FOOD SENSATION OF ALL TIME). And I only had to have the oven on for 18 minutes in the excruciating Memphis summer, always a plus.
Perhaps because of the oven in the heat, I prefer to cook at night. Actually this is probably because I hate mornings and I'm at work all day, so the only time available to bake is the time I should be sleeping. From what I've gathered reading "real" food blogs, the optimal time to take luscious food pictures is the early morning or the mid-afternoon (what beautiful light!). I'll try that next time. Hopefully I'll think up a better food styling situation than a chipped thrift-store plate, sitting on my washing machine, with my shadow peeking in, at 11 p.m. OH WELL.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Trying Again

In the immortal words of Aerosmith(don't act like you don't know!), I'm back in the saddle again. The last post I made was before I moved, nay, before I'd even found a place to move. I am now living in a charming 3-bedroom house in Colonial Acres. 2 of those bedrooms are virtually empty because I have neither stuff nor money to buy stuff. But eventually that will change! Hopefully. By charm I am implying that it is a fixer-upper..the bathroom is bright blue, the blinds all need to be replaced, and whoever lived here before me was a complete idiot(and filthy). There are perks a brand-new stove, granite countertops, and newly redone hardwood floors. Greatly detracting from the charm of this lil house, which I am slowly coming to love, are roaches. Yes. My worst fear. My mortal enemy. The bane of my existence. But after two profesional sprays, much war whooping on my part when I kill them, and being painfully clean, they are starting to go away a bit. Enough for me to cook, anyway.
I inaugurated the oven the other day with these cupcakes...devil's food with a cream-cheese chocolate chip filling and vanilla frosting and chocolate chips. They were a big hit at work, but that may have just been because it's been so long since I've brought anything. I'm going to try to keep up with this thing more, and cook more, and maybe share some info/photos on the happenings around my house and the things I buy and make. So we'll see! But I am tryin'. Hopefully I still have a reader!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Lasagna Primavera

Somehow this dish became one of the most complicated things I've ever made. It all started out easily enough.

See? One of the bell peppers told me it loved me. But it all went downhill from there. Between the boiling and the chopping and the grating and the mixing (how you do all these simultaneously I will never know), I got overwhelmed. The pan was too small and a scary burning smell came out of the oven when I started to preheat it. But just when I was about to call my parents and warn them that they may have to call in dinner, things turned around. Nothing burned, (most) everything stayed in the tiny pan, and I made my dad eat ricotta and enjoy it(not to his knowledge, of course).
Baking is truly relaxing. This is Iron Chef shit. I don't like a feeling of panic or hurry to overshadow my cooking experience. Cake=yes, everything else=not unless I'm feeling ambitious.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

Saturday was the first true day of the deadly Memphis summer. You know, 96 degrees and 480% humidity. So guess what I did...that's right, I turned the oven on and baked these cupcakes. Even sans oven, my kitchen is like the 8th layer of hell(as Andy likes to say). The oven turned the room into a sauna. Except that you're only supposed to stay in those about 10 minutes, not 2 hours. Johnny's eyes were rolling back in his head when he was laying on the floor, and I think he may have passed out, kitten style. But I persisted! And these cupcakes were born. The bad photo quality is due to the fact that it's a PARTY photo and I was a lil tipsy when taking it. I didn't get much feedback, but I enjoyed them! Needless to say, however, I will probably not be baking at home again til the move. Although the sauna atmosphere might help me lose some cupcake-induced weight....

Friday, May 21, 2010

Blueberry Cake

You know what makes me feel fancy? A pastry blender. I feel so old-fashioned, like I'm doing the thing properly, when I use one. Mine is old and metal and formidable-looking. And it's used to create the crumble on this cake. Which was INCREDIBLE, not to toot my own horn or anything(trust me, I fail often enough). It was basically a coffee cake, and the light texture was very summery and appropriate for the blueberries. AND it allowed me to use both the pastry blender and the subtle art of folding, which used to intimidate me, but now I've gotten pretty good at it.
I'm very lucky this cake survived at all, because the minute it popped out of the oven I put on my Ove-Glove and ran to the car with it, yelling "MUST NOT MISS 30 ROCK!!!" to myself. Glad I didn't end up with 3rd degree burns from a hot cake because I was in a rush to watch a TV show.
I should just come out and say I don't know how to write about food. Particularly, food that I have made myself. But I will try, friends, I will try! (And try to take better pictures as well).

Monday, May 17, 2010

Creamy Fettucine with Leeks, Corn, and Arugula

Saying "arugula" makes me sound like I have a somewhat endearing but nevertheless pitiful speech impediment. Perhaps that's why the man at the farmer's market gave me what must be a 2-lb. bag of it. He felt sorry for me! I am scrambling to find uses for it before it goes bad. Any suggestions? This recipe is from the latest issue of Real Simple.
Despite being chock-full of vegetables this dish looks oddly monochromatic. All the leeks and corn and garlic (and most of the arr-oo-goo-luh) sank to the bottom. IT tasted delicious but was not very attractive. Maybe I should stick to baking.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Nothing made me happier than seeing this little Elf (see also: "Mystery," "Rainbow in the Dark") pop onto Andy's TV screen on Metal Mania at 4 a.m. Holy shit, holy diver!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Chocolate Peanut Butter Pizza

I'm not sure "pizza" is the appropriate word here. Maybe "sphere of gluttony"? "Diabetic Coma"? Andy just kept calling it "giant cookie." Truthfully, it's all of these things. The crust is flattened chocolate chip cookie dough(which unfortunately burnt slightly because I was lax with my parents high-tech oven). The base "sauce" is hot fudge, covered by a peanut butter-cream cheese concoction, then more hot fudge. Now, if only I add 400 regular pizzas, a crew of obese folks, and a heavy dose of pain, I can recreate the experience of Cici's in my own home!
Speaking of my own home, it's going to be somewhere new soon. ESCAPE FROM MIDTOWN 2010! Roaches and drive-bys and car break-ins, be gone! Fingers crossed, I'm putting down the security deposit for a little house in the charming Sea Isle neighborhood tomorrow. With a backyard for Charlotte(and growing food!), a dishwasher, and nary a drug dealer neighbor in sight(for the love of god, hopefully).

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Alright, I'm back once again after a Graham's-, travel-, and Avon-induced hiatus.(Yes, I am probably the world's most unlikely Avon rep. I get makeup for cheap and make middle-aged ladies happy.) But I'm trying to get back into the swing of things. I made these cookies on Monday and pulled them straight out the oven into my purse to take into the Runaways movie. I liked it. It was a bit melodramatic, but I've always like Floria Sigismondi's videos, the Kim Fowley character was exactly as I had pictured him, and it made me feel very pleasantly nostalgic for when I was 16 and getting super obsessed with We Got the Neutron Bomb and L.A. Also, I need more leather in my life. Too bad it's SO DAMN SQUEAKY. Every time I wear my leather jacket I sound like the Tin Man.
Anywho, these cookies did not call for salt. I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN. That was the something that they lacked. But I will forge on, despite my baked goods failure. You may be wondering when this cake whisperer is ever going to make a cake, but I promise it'll happen! I should probably be the cookie whisperer for now.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Mint "Oreo" Cookies

For the family Easter gathering, I made these alleged "Oreo" cookies with a beautiful mint-colored (and flavored) filling. I guess they are like Oreos, if you call anything chocolate with filling sandwiched in between an Oreo. The cookies were extremely soft, made out of cake mix. Wasn't really sure how that was going to work until they were out of the oven, but it did. I pulled off a major coup with the filling, tricking not one, not two, but THREE Hansom men into eating the cream cheese frosting by simply calling it "icing." And they all liked it! Oh ho ho! I'm the winner!
I was tempted to get a little carried away with the green food dye, but happily I did not and miraculously managed a perfect shade of green without staining everything in sight(just my fingers). I thought it was very festive. And like every girl who wears solid black clothing every day, I have a not-so-secret love for pastels. Everywhere.
But back to food...I need to make some Memphis-restaurant-related notes. In the past few months I have compiled an epic list of restaurants around town that I need to eat at.(Sorry for ending the sentence with a preposition, Mom. You raised me better). In the past few weeks I have actually gone to several of them. Some highlights(sadly unaccompanied by photos):
-the hot butter rum cake at Harry's Detour on Cooper...the best rum cake ever, and I should know, I've toured a rum cake factory.
-the garlicky bread at Lavoro's Pizza Pasta Panini on have to (like it's a chore) order an entire loaf, and yr breath will be super stinky, but it's SO WORTH IT.
-the guacomole at Las Delicias on Park...basically just avocado chunks and pico de gallo. So so good. It reminded me of the guac of legend, from that fateful day in Mexico when I took advantage of under-21 drinking and $4 drinks and tried to turn on all the stray pregnant dogs on the beach to the wonders of the best guac ever. Bitches wouldn't take it! What kind of dog behavior is that!(Probably screaming "EAT DA GUAC!!!!" was not the best way to endear myself to them).
That's all for now...

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Buttercup Pound Cake

I found this recipe in an ancient cookbook that once belonged to my grandmother. It was the 1950s and convenient foods were the current national obsession. This was one of the only recipes in the whole damn book that didn't involve any canned items. Despite the lack of enticing recipes, this thing is SO FUN to look through. There is a dish called "Clam Dunk"! I was almost crying laughing when I saw that(probably a sign of mental instability, but what are you gonna do).
Anyway, I was drawn to this recipe because of its name, which I thought was seasonally appropriate. It gets its sunny hue(much more impressive in person) from the four egg yolks in it(no whites). Even though I should have learned my lesson last time, I once again baked a pound cake for the full amount of time suggested. Therefore, it burned. I wasn't using a dark pan, the oven was my parent's super nice, not-too-hot one...I don't know what happened. No matter. It still tastes good (if you ignore the edges) and it will be gobbled up by the vultures tomorrow anyway.
SUGGESTIONS? for a treat for the casino? I'm considering lemon meltaway cookies (lots of buttah) or mint Oreo-style ones. Or should I not bring anything and instead indulge in the EPIC BUFFET?!?
EDIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!: dang dude, the casino is actually next week. i'm losing it. i will have to make the mint oreos to console myself.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Maple Oatmeal Bread

The real world is hard. It is 11:15 and I'm about to turn in for the night! How did I use to do this? I went to shows 4 times a week and still managed to be at work on time. The Diet Coke addiction must have been it. Really, my energy levels should not have sapped so much from 19 to 22.
You know what else is hard? Taking good photos of the food I've made. Most of the time my fork is halfway to my freshly-produced baked good when I realize I need to document it. I then position the baked good on some part of my comically inadequate counter space, where my shadow gets in the way (hungry, I guess?) for about 5 photos before I give up and dig in. Maybe I'll buy a book about food styling with the colossal (to me) check I'll be getting from my accidental overtime hours. Too bad I'll probably be too tired to cook.
Oh yeah, the bread. Despite its misleading name, the maple syrup did not impart a taste, merely a moist, cakey consistency to this loaf. (What a great word. Loaf!) It was not sweet at all. It tasted really good if you heated it up and put butter on it, but really, what wouldn't taste good if you heated it up and put butter on it?(Don't answer that.) After Andy and I each had a slice, I took it to work to be sacrificed.
Loaf! Loafing around. Loaf-of-bread pose(for cats). What a loaf of shit. (Just kidding. I made that one up.)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Jumbo Childhood Fantasy Cookies

Sounds intense, doesn't it? IT WAS. These were more accurately oatmeal-peanut butter-chocolate chip-Reese's Pieces-walnut cookies. They weighed about a pound a piece and added as much to yr belly fat. I didn't make up that title...that's honest to god the recipe's real name. If these cookies were your childhood fantasy, it's likely that you're obese or were severely deprived as a y'un (as my PA relatives say--and they think WE'RE backwards down here). I say "was" when referring to these cookies because I made them on Monday, and thanks to the vultures at the office they were gone by Wednesday. The Bailey's cheesecake I made for St. Patrick's Day shared the same fate...though there's one piece left for Andy in the fridge. It's nice to have a ready audience for my baking experiments, even if they're about as picky as Charlotte.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

I know...

it's been a while. I'm not sure why, but i haven't really been cooking lately. I did make some things that the pictures looked horrible well as tasting bad(Moosewood's lemon mousse...taking a bite was like being punched in the face). But I am planning on an Irish potluck for St. Patrick's Day, involving Bailey's cheesecake and some soda bread. And probably potatoes and beer. So much brown! Monochromatic meal! We'll have to throw some green in there too.
I'll leave you with these profound musings...I wanna watch more 30 Rock.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

oh boy

ONCE AGAIN (two livejournals, two blogs, one flickr, now this!), I have started another online media account that I probably won't use. It's a Tumblr, and I am just using it to post a photo a day. My "inspiration" photo on my computer has gotten a little too full. Plus, its contents are too nice not to share. Here's the link.
I promise I will cook something soon! I didn't take any pictures of the honey cornbread muffins and praline cookies I made for our Creole potluck, unfortunately.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

In Memoriam

Yes, I know I am over two weeks late in recognizing Alexander McQueen's death. I was totally shocked when I read about it, particularly the horrible method that he chose to use. But the real tragedy here is the loss of fashion's greatest and most eloquent showman. He may have been called an enfant terrible by the mainstream, non-fashion press who couldn't see beyond the ghastly makeup and outlandish headgear he sometimes chose, but the clothes he created were not those of an over-hyped brat. They were exquisite. Sometimes the presentations enhanced them (They Shoot Horses, Don't They?), other times they distracted from them (his last collection). But they were always so beautiful! The fact that many of them were also saleable just proves his talent. In the past few years I haven't been as rabidly obsessed with fashion as I used to be, but Alexander McQueen will always be one of my favorites. His clothes from 2004 still look beautiful and relevant today. Such a shame.
Here are some of my all-time favorite looks, from Spring 2007, Fall 2006, and Spring 2004, respectively.

Monday, February 15, 2010

My current obsession this song.

Yes, this video montage is lacking, but GOD, this song!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Day 8: Fail/Day 9: Sour Cream Pound Cake

Yes, I flaked again. But today I tried to make up for it with the most un-Hansom dessert I have ever made: sour cream pound cake(I have made several pound cakes lately, much to the alarm of my very tight jeans). According to All Cakes Considered, where this recipe was taken from, this cake is also known as the "Mancatcher." Thank goodness my man is already caught, cause I don't think this cake would have done the trick. It cooked a little too well, as you can see in the photo. Overall, though, it was a decent cake, but nothing too extraordinary. Or maybe I'm just burned out on pound cake (WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT THE DAY COULD COME?!?). That cookbook is really gorgeous, though, I must say, and I'm very glad I bought it, for the food styling (something I am genuinely terrible at) alone.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


I just found out that my All-Time Favorite Movie is available to watch instantly on Netflix. If you have Netflix, and you haven't seen it, you should make your fingers RUN to the mouse and watch it. I was incredibly miffed that this 2001 criminally underseen Kiwi gem was excluded from every "Top Films of the Decade" list I read, while DONNIE DARKO was included. Really? Really? Really?
EDIT: This movie is super depressing, so you may not want to watch it before, say, you go out on a Friday night.

Day 7: Blueberry Muffins

Though the recipe said I could use frozen blueberries (obviously I did, it's February), it didn't warn me that they would result in ugly bruise-colored muffins. They remind of Violet Beauregarde inflating like a balloon in Willy Wonka. However, when I tried to find a video of that scene I unfortunately discovered that there is such a thing as an inflation fetish. Apparently watching Violet expand is the be-all end-all for this fetish. What about feet, people? Or legs? Or leather? Are those too normal and quaint? The comments on the video were the absolute most bizarre things I have read on an Internet forum in quite some time.
BACK TO THE POINT. I will not be linking to that video. I have no desire to attract "eccentric" fetishists to this sad little cake site. The muffins did not have any butter...never trust a baked good without butter. Lesson learned!
Seriously, I cannot get over how weird this inflation thing is. I am both amused and a little disturbed.
Sorry this photograph is so unattractive!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Day 6: Gouda Penne with Spinach

To avoid the dishes problem, I made this at my parents. However, my camera battery died while I was trying to take the photo, so there isn't one! Plus, we ate most of it pretty fast.
I made this dish in an attempt to recreate my mom and I's beloved Penne with Smoked Gouda dish from Cafe Toscana, a recently shuttered AWESOME Italian restaurant in East Memphis. That dish had asparagus instead of spinach, but asparagus is not in season and the jarred and canned versions of it really freak me out. Spinach is not in season either, but I used frozen so it doesn't matter.
I love Gouda. I'm tempted to make a terrible pun here (I LOVE PUNS), but I will refrain, believe it or not.
I'll charge up the camera for whatever I make tomorrow...there is no way I will be able to complete this project without becoming a major fatty.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Day 4: Whoops/Day 5: Blondies with Reese's Pieces

Yes, yesterday I did not cook anything at all. Only 4 days in and already missing a beat? Not a good track record. To be honest, I just couldn't deal with the thought of more dishes in my tiny sink. I cannot WAIT to move to a house with a dishwasher (or a landlord who would return my calls re: my leaky toilet).
But back to the task at hand. Today, Sunday, yes I'm writing this at 1:30 a.m., Day 5, I made these blondies, which I have made before but just had to make again. They are amazing. So amazing that there are only two left(eaten by others than me, thank you very much). They are a slight adaptation of a recipe in the October 2009 issue of Martha Stewart(there she is again) Everyday Food. I used Reese's Pieces rather than the M&M's the recipe calls for, and I think they make it better. Peanut butter makes anything better.

Day 3: Fruit Smoothie

Probably to the dismay of my neighbors, at 11:30 last night I made a "cold-busting" fruit smoothie from an issue of Martha Stewart Living. I'm not sure if it stifled my sniffles but it did cause me to pucker up quite a bit. It was just oranges, raspberries, and blueberries, which is a lot more pucker-y and a lot less sweet than it sounds. LIVE AND LEARN, that'll probably be the theme of this thing.
Yes, the bird admiring my handiwork (in a woefully overlarge cup), is lame, but I could not for the life of me take a better picture of this thing (I tried). I'll do better next time!

Friday, January 29, 2010


If you get time (which I know you will, the whole South is covered in ice), you should read Andy's really great piece on jay. I am very proud of him!

Day 2: Parmesan Cat Treats

I've baked dog treats before. And Charlotte, being the garbage can that she is(ironic because her worst fear is the dumspter truck), loved them. They're made with ingredients intended for human consumption, which I think my animals deserve, rather than chicken by-product(read: blood, beak, eyes, etc.). So I decided to make cat treats because I was running low on the store-bought kind. Also, since they only have four ingredients--cheese, flour, water, butter--they were super simple. I even used a little fish-shaped cookie cutter. I was so proud.
But as you can see, my fatties were not impressed. Betsy just glared at me for invading her personal space when I gave her one, and Johnny started throwing his around the room. It wound up under the fridge. I gave one to Charlotte, though, and she was definitely interested. So the cat treats became dog treats. (Or possibly human treats? Andy ate two. He said they tasted like a mild cheese cracker. And he calls CHARLOTTE a garbage can...)
P.S.- Yes, Betsy has two front legs. How that fatty is so flexible is beyond me.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

365 Days of Food

In a fit of Julie and Julia-inspired food-blog frenzy (which I'm sure has happened to a lot of people), I decided that I am going to make something every day, for a year. Something edible will be created with my oven, stovetop, blender, and sheer force of will. This will produce an ungodly amount of dishes. Likely, I will not actually feel like cooking (or baking or whipping up) something everyday. But I love cooking and am fascinated by food, so why not? What else am I doing? (Looking for a job, yes, but unsuccessfully thus far).
Yesterday, January 27th, was my first day. I made almond biscotti (see above--the image below is a banana cake with chocolate icing that I made on rich I was actually compelled to EXERCISE the next morning. That hasn't happened since an ill-advised Cici's binge Christie and I had in late 2006). They are VERY crispy, but subtly sweet (from someone who adores subtle in everything but food). Don't know how I'm going to eat 16 of them, but it'll happen!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Yesterday we saw "A Single Man," which I loved. I felt so proud of Tom Ford for making such a beautiful movie, when I know so many people doubted him. It takes incredible balls (which he undeniably has) to completely switch careers like that. The movie was great, despite its criminally short Lee Pace cameo. However, my favorite part had to be the dance scene between Colin Firth and Julianne Moore to "Green Onions," which may well enter into my favorite dance scenes ever. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a clip of it, so I'll show you my two favorite film dance scenes, starring, respectively, two of the most attractive people to ever live, Anna Karina and Marcello Mastroianni. Coincidentally, Band of Outsiders and Le Notti Biache also happen to be two of my favorite movies. Enjoy!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Still definitely feeling the post-funeral blues yesterday, I decided to surround myself with two of my favorite things: pastry and Harry Potter. I made a caramel apple pie and rented Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Watching Alan Rickman bonk Harry and Ron's heads together whilst they were gossiping was very good, but the pie was better. Very gloopy and comforting.
According to the Midwest Living brochure where I got the recipe, this pie is a regional specialty of Nebraska. I have always discounted Nebraska as a state (except for the fact that it gave the world Brimstone Howl), but no more! Bless you, Omaha, for this delicious pie!
I'm considering getting a B12 shot tomorrow. Though voluntarily subjecting myself to a needle is verging on madness, it'd be worth it to have more energy. Do they work? I will see!

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Unfortunately, good Lost Sounds clips are virtually non-existent. So after some YouTube wanderin', I finally found a show I was at. This has been some very sad stuff.