speaking of

the recipes on the sides of packages...

i made the muffin recipe off the box of honey maid graham cracker crumbs. so ridiculously easy and tasty. i added blackberries 'cause i had some laying around. even better.

i am leaving town today for a couple of weeks. i will try to remember to post, but, for me, vacation typically means no technology. so we'll see. merry christmas; blake's making breakfast tacos. whoohoo!!!


slumber party.

last night, april and tracy came over for a slumber party, which is the perfect time to eat fun snacks that don't actually have to equate to a proper meal. i made salsa and hummus earlier in the week just for the occasion, but, as far as i am concerned, one does not need an "occasion" for either. in addition, i made spring rolls. they are one of my favorite things to make. (in reality, i like most things that come wrapped up in packages, like burritos and tacos and sushi.) anyhow, spring rolls are super easy and fun. they remind me of houston. lots of tasty asian food there.

how to make a spring roll, if you have no idea. sharing the love here...
1. fry some tofu. you don't actually have to use tofu, but i think it's perfect. especially pan-fried in sesame oil.
2. use the leftover oil to cook some other veggies. i prefer carrots, peppers, mushrooms, and onions in the spring rolls. i also cook them separately, but there are no real rules to this process.
3. get out some rice vermcelli. boil the water and let the noodles sit in the boiling water until they are soft. rinse them under some cold water.
4. the rice wrappers. you get these at any asian market, or fancy grocery store, though the asian place will be cheaper. i go to the pearl river on broadway. fill a plate with hot water and put the wrapper in the water. when it's soft, take it out and put it on another plate.
5. put a small amount of lettuce in the center of the wrapper. then the noodles and then the veggies. not too much; you have to roll it up too.
6. fold in two opposite sides of the wrapper, and then fold one remaining side in over the food.
7. make sure it fits tightly under the that side and then roll it up. the rice paper will stick to itself, so you don't have to seal it like sushi.
8. you are done. eat. yum!

i like my spring rolls with peanut sauce. people seem to think that it is difficult to make peanut sauce, but it's not really. my favorite recipe is actually the one on the side of the smucker's natural peanut butter. (i am a huge fan of the recipes that come on the sides of packages. they are often so easy and so tasty. remember, the companies have food scientists and full-time chefs and so their recipes are super-tested.) this peanut sauce recipe is not on the website so i am including it in this enormous post.

1/3 cup peanut butter (i like the natural and organic kinds, because they don't have the ever-illustrious high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils.)
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. soy sauce or tamari
1 tsp. sugar
1/3 cup water (i use boiled water so that everything dissolves easily when you mix it.)
cayenne (this is optional; i like everything spicy.)

directions: mix it all together. eat with the spring rolls. or use as a sauce for rice noodles. mmm.


candy corn.

i have a minor obsession with corn. or at least that's all i will admit.

it's just that it makes the world go 'round. we put it in our cars as gasoline (ethanol); over-processed foods like soda are practically entirely made of it (high fructose corn syrup); other seemingly-not-so-processed foods like yogurt and whole wheat bread are sweetened with it (also high fructose corn syrup); it's fed to the cows so that they will get fat faster (corn meal and corn starches); the federal government subsidizes the corn growers, making it one of the most commonly farmed items here in america.

the students in my government know more about the corn industry than most 17-year-olds. for christmas, one of them sewed me a bag to look like a piece of candy corn. it's excellent.

if my camera wasn't angry at me, i'd take a picture. maybe i'll attempt it on blake's mac later.

p.s. there's also a new film about corn, if you care: king corn.


an addendum.

the grocery store by my house doesn't sell powdered buttermilk. it also doesn't sell regular buttermilk. i did get amish country farms organic milk. i did research on the amish and visited lancaster, pennsylvania in 4th or 5th grade. it was for history fair and my project was of the amish sitting around a table, eating shoofly pie and other amish-like things. i guess i was already into food.

on another note, my regular grocery store (the met on 139th and lenox) also does not sell shredded swiss cheese, it seems. i can buy demerara sugar for cheap but not obvious goods. it's quite a trip to the fairway, or any "better" grocery store. harlem is full of unfortunate processed foods. it's so obvious why instances of diabetes are so high here. there was something in the store called meat-o-mat or meat-a-mat. i don't even know what kind of meat it was supposed to look like, but there was no obvious animal.

i've got to make those scones. more on the politics of food later.

i like the kitchen.

well, it's early. early for a sunday when i don't have to set an alarm. i was dreaming about buttermilk, which i realize it kind of gross. i need to go to the grocery store and buy some buttermilk because i have some scones to make for my shift at housing works today.

a note: actually, a person can make buttermilk by adding white vinegar to regular milk. just one tablespoon to one cup of milk. it's genius, as no one wants to buy the whole expensive carton of buttermilk; it just never gets used up, and that's such a waste. anyhow, i am out of milk, too, so that's out of the question.

i think i am going to buy powdered buttermilk. i am skeptical of all things powdered in the grocery store, but the other baker says it works and, well, it doesn't go bad.

the photograph is lemon-blueberry bread, from last week. my camera is misbehaving, so no new images from this week's goods. ergh.

thinking about baking reminds me that i should go to the gym. i hate the gym; i like the kitchen.


tonight, tonight.

already, there's something. i made magic cookie bars (though i think i called them something else as a kid) for my office party tomorrow. i lined the pyrex with foil so i could pull the whole thing out and put it in a box. well, the tasty graham cracker-butter crust got stuck to the foil. i got to eat a bunch of it but this foil tactic is not recommended. don't despair; it's still a success.

sweetened condensed milk is a super treat. when it's cooked, it's a bit like caramel. i mean, the only ingredients are whole milk and sugar. mmm...

no picture of this one; it's a bit embarrassing.

so, here i am. on the interweb.

i decided to start a blog. about food, mostly. i cook a lot.

and now i am baking for the housing works used book cafe on crosby, below houston. super exciting. each week, i make quiches, cookies, scones, and sweet breads (like banana-walnut and lemon-blueberry). but i make tons of other things, and i want to post about them, too. you'll see.

i don't essentially see myself as a blogger, as i barely understand computers in general, but i thought it could be fun. and maybe i will understand some more technology too.

oh, and this is a picture is not of me. it's of one of my favorite people, april. yelena took this weird picture of her with the peanut butter-chocolate chunk cookies last week. it's all disproportioned. i love it.


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