Wear Your Meat Politics

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Meat is Murder: tasty tasty murder
Great t-shirt up on threadless that would fit into Eugene’s meat politics scene splendidly…

“MEAT IS MURDER. Tasty tasty, murder.”

I love the photo. Fits in with the movie Sweets and I saw last night. Sweets and I may have to be meat zombies for Halloween this year.

Wooden Sushi for Grown Ups

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Wooden Play Sushi SetA thought on buying the cute wooden sushi kit for yourself:

gluing magnets to the sushi pieces and putting them up on the fridge would be a great way to play with this kit, and yet not have to deal with having toys stashed somewhere out of sight.

I don’t suggest gluing magnets on if you intend for this to be played with by young children.

I was given a barista action figure as a present in honor of my Halloween zombie barista costume. I think I’ll be sticking a magnet onto that as well!

Tissue Samples and Eyeballs

Thursday, November 2, 2006

Squishy creepy Tissue Samples and firm little Eyeballs were a hit at our work Halloween Party.

The beet marshmallows got sprinkled with an extra bit of straight beet powder, which lent itself to look like blood clots quite splendidly. Putting them in a glass jar and relabeling them to be Liver Biopsy Samples was a bunch of fun!

Halloween TreatsTo make the eyeball cupcakes, I used cake mix with my mini-muffin tins to create 44 little cupcakes out of one mix. Survivors (quality check points and all…) were dipped in Royal Icing, which needed a couple of hours to firm up, then decorated with my favorite food coloring markers.

Drawing Tips

While Royal Icing is firm, it isn’t a fool-proof drawing surface.

When mixing up the icing, air bubbles are likely to form, and rise to the top of your iced cupcakes. Bubbles left in the icing will create weak spots through which your markers will punch, creating an unsightly crater. Careful mixing of the icing by hand can help prevent their formation. If you dip your cupcakes and still see bubbles rise to the surface, pop them with a toothpick early in the process when the icing is still wet. This will allow your popped bubble to self heal.

Give the icing plenty of time to set up firm on your cupcake surface. An overnight rest would be a good idea to ensure a hardened surface to draw on.

To draw a blue eyeball:
- first draw a blue circle
- draw a blue asterisk (*) inside of the circle.
- give your asterisk more arms to fill out the circle, thus creating the iris.
- now add a black filled circle in the center to make your pupil. A nice detail is to leave a white circle with in its edge to read as a highlight on the eye.
- add in some squiggly red veins around the iris and you are done!

Starbucks Zombies

Monday, October 30, 2006

Starbucks ZombieZombie to do list in the works:

Black pants? Check.
Button up shirts? Check.
Green apron? Check.
Zombie makeup? Check.
Logo redesign? Check.

Thanks to the innovators at Ritual Coffee Roasters, Sweets and I have our Starbucks Zombie outfits all squared away.

My Eyeball Cupcakes are waiting to be iced, my beet marshmallows are repackaged as Tissue Samples… I’m just about set for tomorrow!

Beet Marshmallows

Monday, October 23, 2006

I finally did it- I made beet flavored marshmallows, and boy are they pretty!

My plans to attend a fun food centered party up in Vancouver Washington this weekend really called for a fun potluck item. Knowing that several people attending had an objection to eating beets- this seemed like the perfect time to finally try making beet marshmallows.

The cool find of beet powder in the bulk section of the Kiva, our downtown grocery store, makes this an easy and clean recipe. The beet powder is combined with the gelatin following the recipe for basic vanilla marshmallows. Adding a touch of allspice, orange and persimmon sugar I had on hand, makes these cool little mallows evoke the sugar’ed memories of Halloween candy while adding a more earthy note of winter’s fine root offering. The beet flavor is light, and melds almost seemlessly with the allspice flavor. And the color! These babies are beautiful!

So… shall I make beet rice krispee treats with the remainder of my marshmallow stash?

pdf of basic vanilla marshmallow recipe

Beet Marshmallows
Beet Marshmallowshalf recipe amounts also noted

gelatin envelopes 4 (2)
water ¾ cup (¼ c + 2 T)
vanilla extract ½ tsp (¼ tsp)
beet powder 2 T (1 T)
allspice ¼ tsp (1/8 tsp)
orange oil 5 drops (2 drops)

sugar 3 cups (1 ½ cups)
water ¾ cup (¼ c + 2 T)
corn syrup 1 cup (½ cup)
maple syrup ¼ c (2T)
salt ½ tsp (pinch)

rice flour
confectioners sugar

Line a 9” x 13” (half: 8” x 8”) pan and a loaf pan with parchment paper. Coat the paper with vegetable oil or non-stick spray.

Fit a stand mixer with the whisk attachment. In the mixer bowl combine the ¾ cup of water (half: ¼ c plus 2 Tbs) with vanilla extract, beet powder, allspice, and orange flavoring. Sprinkle the gelatin over the liquid to bloom (soften).

Add the sugar, salt, corn syrup, maple syrup and remaining ¾ cup water (half: ¼ c plus 2 Tbs) to a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil with the lid on and without stirring. When this mixture is at a boil, remove the lid and continue to cook without stirring until it reaches the soft-ball stage (234-240 F).

With the mixer at medium speed, pour all of the hot syrup slowly down the side of the bowl into the awaiting gelatin mixture. Be careful as the hot syrup is very liquid and hot at this point and some may splash out of the bowl – use a splashguard if you have one. When all of the syrup is added, bring the mixer up to full speed.

Whip until the mixture is very fluffy and stiff, about 8-10 minutes. Pour marshmallow into the parchment-lined pans and smooth with an oiled offset spatula if necessary. Allow the mixture to sit, uncovered at room temp for 10 to 12 hours.

Mix equal parts rice flour and confectioners sugar with a tablespoon of beet powder and sift generously over the rested marshmallow slab. Turn the slab out onto a cutting board, peel off paper and dust with more sugar/starch mixture. Slice with a pizza cutter into desired shapes. Dip all cut edges in sugar/starch mixture and shake off excess powder.

Marshmallows will keep several weeks at room temp in an air-tight container. Actually- its pretty difficult to make these go stale, I’ve tried without much success.

Sweets encountered a co-worker buying an afternoon treat from a vending machine. This co-worker was under the impression that Rice Krispee Treats came from coin eating machines… from a machine I tell you!

Sweets took this as an opportunity to show off our mad cooking skillz and brought home marshmallows and a box of cereal. “You mean I can’t make the marshmallows?” I asked looking at the four bags of large marshmallows sitting on our kitchen table. He sighed and rolled his eyes at me. “Ok, ok, I get it- that’s not the point…” I answer as we get to work making up a batch of traditional rice crispy treats. We added extra vanilla and a good pinch of salt to just push them even closer to nirvana.

For our second batch of treats, I was interested in jazzing up the flavors a bit. My memory of eating rice crispy treats for the first time in England, also introduced me to the possible flavor mutations that tend to erupt in these sugar bombs. As a kid, going next door to Catherine and Amelia’s house ushered in my first crispy sweet square. I seem to recall the chocolate and peanut butter permutation showing up at their house for Halloween as well. Its odd in that it was my British neighbors who introduced the States me to the very American treats of marshmallowed rice crispies and creating elaborate environments for our Star Wars figures.

Sleuthing around the web brought forth a nutty recipe from About.com’s website that surprisingly doesn’t call for marshmallows. Instead, you create your own sugar, corn syrup concoction for these salty chewy dense squares, that are sure to be just as addictive as the traditional marshmallow based ones.

Chocolate Cashew Rice Crispy Treats

chocolate cashew rice crispy treats
Lightly butter an 8″ x 8″ baking pan and set aside.
Combine in a sauce pan:

Bring to a full boil and remove from the heat.
Stir in:

With buttered hands, press the mixture firmly into the buttered 8″ x 8″ pan.

Sprinkle the top with enough grated or finely chopped semi-sweet chocolate to cover the entire pan, making sure to get the chocolate in the corners, as well as thick enough to form a layer. As I was working with a large block of chocolate, I don’t quite remember the quantity required. A four ounce chocolate bar is a good place to start.

Using a blow torch (or a brief visit to the broiler), melt out the chocolate layer and spread smooth with a spatula. While the chocolate is still soft, drag a toothpick through it to score out the future lines for your knife cuts: 4 x 4 rows and columns.

Pop in the refrigerator and allow to harden. Cut when firm and enjoy showing off to your co-workers.

Taco Girl

Tuesday, May 2, 2006

food outfitsMom called me up tonight to ask me out of the blue, how I felt about green beans now that I was grown up. I love green beans. In fact I had green bean stir fry last night at Saigon Kitchen. Apparently I was forced to eat green beans as a child, and after swallowing a mouthful, promtly threw them up! Well that show’ed them didn’t it.

Fortunately I didn’t remember that green bean event.

Another food memory brought on tonight, by Slash Food, was of my halloween costume when we lived in… Texas I think? Or maybe Germany? Do you remember it Mom- my taco outfit?

take me to your candyGoodness gracious- was that my idea or yours (and do we have a picture!) :)

I wore red tights (we didn’t have beef colored tights…) with a large felt tortilla circle wrapped around me, arm holes for my arms to poke out from. Mom sewed in green lettuce frills peaking out from my taco tortilla… and maybe there was even cheese? I remember the tortilla folded with me in the middle, and tied closed in the front.

Hey- it got me candy!

Halloween Brainstorming

Friday, October 28, 2005

Eyeball CupcakeThis year, Halloween allows for ample weekend celebrating in addition to falling on a weekday. Feel like making some goodies for your coworkers or familiy? Here’s a cluster of great ideas gleaned from Craftster’s Cooking Forum.

Spooky Food Ideas:

thanks to the Craftster thinkers: giggles1100, janakisses, ruckamuck, 16candles, Vanessa Cyanide, Quinston, Ezri_B, DaBunny, patti2.

Bagel Dogs

Friday, August 19, 2005

sit up and begI did a fair amount of babysitting growing up. My two younger brothers are 10 and 8 years younger than me, so they gave me good training for keeping my ground with little boys. Once the word got out that I wasn’t afraid of babysitting little boys, even multiples of them, I found myself with a number of steady jobs. Something about the AirForce and pairs of brothers two years apart…

One of the things I enjoyed about babysitting was the exposure to different kitchens and the associated food complexities exhibited there-in. I was a self described food anthropologist (not a snoop)! Some families were all about healthy eating with out any hidden junk food stashed away in a high cubboard. Some families doled out the poor kids confiscated Halloween candy to make it last the entire year.

One of my favorite families introduced me to BagelDogs not too long after my first bagel. BagelDogs came individually packaged and were stored in the freezer. They fit into the realm of pop it in the microwave cooking, and more importantly were good grasp-food for kids. I’ve continued to think of those dogs over the years; they were one of my first examples of food ingenuity. My BagelDogs were before cereal and candy manufacturers went crazy offering bigger and brighter and newer offerings. In my mind they were inspired.

With my run of bagel making last week, plump little images of hot dogs danced through my head. With my bagel-hole-angst in check I tried my hand at making my own BagelDogs, and found that they are even easier to make than bagels! No hole plunging, no dough unwinding, their formation was simple and intuitive. I think kids could handle this dough project as easily as the resulting product. And did I mention they’re tasty? Though watch out- these doggies remain hot for awhile after cooking! Since these dogs cook in the oven, they are well suited for party situations when you want a large number of servings to finish simultaneously.

good boyGarlic Onion Bagel Dogs

Our favorite tested combination of dog flavors is a sauted onion with garlic combo, though these dogs are just as good plain.

Set yourself up to make the dough recipe from the Mini Bagel entry. One batch of Mini Bagel dough wraps four dogs.

Preheat the oven to 425F.

Since Bagel Dogs are a rather self-contained unit, they don’t lend themselves to toppings very well (they are very well suited for dunking though). I took this as an opportunity to inject flavor into the dough preparation: saute enough sliced or minced onions to yield 1/2 – 3/4 cup of cooked onion. Add the cooked onion to the liquid phase of the bagel dough and continue to combine in the food processor.

Check the feel of the dough for proper flour to moisture level and adjust accordingly (the dough shouldn’t be sticky but kind of shiny and plastic looking). Allow the dough to sit covered for 5 minutes.

roll overDivide the dough into four equal parts and roll out each part into a snake that is twice as long as your chosen hot dog. With a rolling pin, flatten the dough snake in both directions- lengthwise and widthwise. Place your hot dog at one end of the flattened snake at approximately a 45 degree angle. Roll your dog, wrapping it up with the bagel dough, allowing the dough to overlap about 1/2 inch as it twists along the dog.

Set your finished dog aside and continue with the remaining three dough snakes.

When finished rolling, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the dogs in batches of two for 3 minutes each. Remove the bagel dogs carefully with tongs or a straner to a lined cookie sheet (I always use silpat). Sprinkle the dog with salt and dehydrated garlic sprinkles. Bake in the oven at 425-450F till the dough is golden.

Remember these dogs remain quite hot for awhile, so cut them in half to aid cooling. Also, these Bagel Dogs can be oven cooked half way to be cooked off at a latter time (Hmmm, finished off on the grill?). Fully cooked Bagel Dogs freeze well and microwave well too.


Crispy Eggs with Instant Toast

Wednesday, August 3, 2005

Crispy Eggs with Instant Toast    ”What is that noise?” exploded Hermione as she burst into the common room. The scene that awaited her didn’t exactly fully explain the roaring noise that had awoken her from her sleep.

   ”It’s eggs!” Ron grinned as he leaned across the table to snatch one of the purloined sausages Dobby had brought Harry from the kitchen. “Er… well not eggs, but toast for the eggs, ” he answered, brushing off an odd assortment of pocket lint, a dead goldfish, and what looked like a corn flake from the link.

   Hermione did not look impressed that Harry and Ron were attempting to make breakfast for themselves. She was feeling the full extent of her first Quidditch practice and wasn’t accostumed to moving with this much pain. She noted two purple chickens sitting quietly on the table next to a small cast iron skillet as she hobbled towards the overstuffed chairs by the fire. “Quietus!” she said pointing her wand at the cloud of white specks whirling above Harry’s head with a loud roar. Lowering herself into the chair, with an “Ommph!” Hermione was so occupied with her soreness she didn’t even notice the extra Cushioning Charm Ron managed to sling under her before she sat down.

   ”Sorry Hermione,” grimiced Harry, remembering the hit from the Bludger she had taken to the head after finally making it all the way around the pitch on Harry’s new hybrid broomstick. Harry remembered how sore he had been after his first Quidditch practice, and he didn’t get socked by a Bludger! Even with the lump on her head still seemingly growing larger, Harry thought Hermione was playing their Quidditch bet rather well. Afterall, Harry did dare to groom Crookshanks in exchange for Hermione’s Quidditch appearence; he even gave ole Crookshanks braids, though they looked like dredlocks from afar.

   ”I ‘spose this racket is from that food blog again?” accused Hermione as she glanced up at the cloud of bits that were still whirling above Harry. A few started to float to the table, landing on Ron who stuck out his tongue to catch a rather large blob that was starting to flutter down as well. Harry quickly disengaged his Reducto charm on the bread crumbs, while turning to face the increasingly bitter Hermione.

   ”And so what if it is?”

   ”Yeah,”chimed in Ron, “so what if it is; it tastes bloody good!” He had extended an arm up into the now still cloud above Harry and was swipping full handfuls into his mouth.

   ”So you’ve decided to try out an unknown, homemade recipe for Culinary Potions homework and see what happens?”

   ”Why does it matter if its homemade?” said Harry preferring to not bring up what other homemade websites he and Ron had been looking at late last night. “Just because its homemade, doesn’t mean it isn’t good!” Harry began the white fluffy bread crumbs mixing in a bowl with olive oil dribbling itself in.

   ”Because it’s probably not Magical Chef- approved,” said Hermione.

   Both Harry and Ron shouted her down at once.

   ”My Mum isn’t a Magical Chef,” said Ron, startling the chickens who began to rapidly cluck. “But she’s a ruddy good cook! You try cooking for six boys and see if you have to be Magical Chef approved to make good food!” Bits of crumb had escaped from Ron’s mouth and were fluttering about the room.

   ”Using Reducto Charms to make bread crumbs?” said Hermione as she brushed stray white bits from her robes. “That isn’t even in Culinary Potions and You. And what are in these?” she said smelling the crumbs that were stuck to her finger. “Who uses garlic in breakfast recipes?” Hermione wrinkled up her nose as she sniffed again. “Or is that something you ate, Ron?”

   ”I use garlic,” said Ron, “to chase away those dingy Gnomes that sleep under my bed…”

   ”My Dad used garlic,” said Harry. “Flagrate!” he continued while drawing a circle across the bottom of the cast iron skillet with his wand. “He would make garlic omlettes. Besides, I’ve read the recipes on Brownie Points a ton of times; they sound good…”

   ”Well, maybe your Dad did use garlic in his breakfast,” said Hermione, “but I bet he never would have been influenced to perform April Fools pranks like those awefull tricks listed on that website!”

   Harry stared at her. The warm smell of toasting garlic and breadcrumbs started to waft upwards. His and Ron’s April Fools tricks hadn’t gone undetected by Hermione. Fortunately the Ministry of Magic was clueless.

   ”That wasn’t awefull!” Ron said robustly. “Willett’s little brother ended up keeping the snake. Besides, it even said it liked Golden Puffs didn’t it Harry.”

   ”What?”said Harry his head snaping up from the chickens. They were needing more coaxing than usual to give him eggs this morning.

   ”The snake,” said Ron. “He liked the Golden Puffs didn’t he? I mean we could have gotten Wheat-a-bix…”

   ”Diffindo!” said Harry cracking two eggs he had finally wrestled from the chickens into his pan of breadcrumbs. “Yeah, Golden Puffs.”

   ”But in the long run you really don’t know how these recipes are going to turn out!” said Hermione, her cheeks reddening. “I just think it’s irresponsible, what if you get poisoned?” she said sniffing at what definitly smelled like vingar in the air. ” And stop talking about ‘Brownie Points’ as if its a real name, it’s just a silly website name, and they aren’t even a chef!”

   Harry clamped a lid on top of his skillet and started to count under his breath. “Well, we can’t all be chefs Hermione,” Harry checked under his lid at the eggs progress in the skillet. “Accio!” a plate came zooming across the room, upsetting the candle that had been sitting on top of it. Ron ducked quickly, the plate just skimming over his hair. Harry slid the contents of the skillet onto the plate, which he wiped off on his robe, not sure how well PoisonBerry Candle smell would go with breakfast. “We can’t all be chefs” Harry continued, “some of us have to be eaters!” He held the plate out to Hermione as Ron rushed over with a glass of orange squash.

   ”Oh!” exclaimed Hermione eyeing the plate held under her nose. “For me?” She was awefully suspicious, but she began to realize she was more hungry than wary of what that website was feeding to its readers. “The garlic would kill anything wrong with the eggs…” she trailed off as she reached over for a fork. The egg laying chickens clucked at the implied insult to their eggs and flew up to the fireplace mantle where they started to turn green as they began to peck at the dead flower arrangement. Hermione’s fork crunched down into the eggs. She looked up at Harry startled that such a sound should come from the eggs.

   ”Go on,”said Harry, waiting to see what Hermione’s verdict of the Crispy Eggs with Instant Toast would be.

   ”Gosh these are really good Harry!” she said putting a second forkfull in her mouth.

   ”See I said they tasted good!” said Ron grinning.

   ”Well, they’re even better cooked,” she said hovering a forkful at Ron who snaped on it like a turtle.

   ”Blimey Harry! You’re legit!” Ron beamed, as he looked back at the table to see if there were more ingredients for a second batch.

   ”So do you still think you might be poisoned by a Brownie Points recipe?” said Harry sarcastically.

   Hermione looked up at Ron and Harry’s expecting faces. Picking up her fork she waved it over her empty plate.

   ”Ovo Disapparate!” she grinned as she bent over to lick the last lingering breadcrumbs over the objections of the clucking chickens.

Continue reading Crispy Eggs with Instant Toast.

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