So…remember the onion pie? With the paprika?
I guess it makes sense why no one uses paprika anymore…because no one touched the stupid thing.
And I guess I can’t blame the spice entirely. It was probably also because it was cold…and because there was a lot of cheese that seemed so, well, orange…but I’m really kind of surprised – I’ve brought in plenty of gross-looking things before and ultimately came to the conclusion that my coworkers would eat anything! So the fact that they didn’t eat this…?
I guess it’s good that I had that cheesecake to sort of save some face, huh?
One of my coworkers was very nice though…and said that he would try it if I brought some back tomorrow. I don’t know what to do with the rest of it though! It has eggs!
I have a friend who has kind of had a rough time recently…and so I decided to try to cheer him up with a cheesecake. (I also happened to find a totally ridiculous greeting card with a squirrel carrying a cheese plate that said, “Have you brought cheeses into your life?” and briefly contemplated getting that for him as well…but decided it against it.)
I was a *little* short on graham crackers…and thought about compensating with Ritz crackers…but ultimately decided that being a graham cracker or two short wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.
The other problem was that it was so darn hot in my apartment with the oven on that the cream cheese and the chocolate chips really melted! So instead of having actual chunks of chips in this cheesecake (try saying that five times fast?), it’s a little more, um, mixed in this time. But it’s an old favorite…and, like I said, I haven’t baked in weeks…so I think it will still go over well tomorrow.
And learned how to do this:
I actually work with this guy (and I really hope that he doesn’t mind that I’ve linked to him on my blog…but I’m guessing that if he was willing to dress up for the Transformers premiere at Times Square that he’s not one to embarrass easily…).
I also learned ways to boost my traffic here and, you know, build a community. We’ll see. I’m even thinking about breaking down and procuring a MySpace page (I know, I know…what has come over me?). A friend from high school was telling me that pretty much everyone from the George Walton Comprehensive High School Class of 1998 is on there (along with everyone else in the world, presumably…). So it may be a good way for me to get back in touch with long lost classmates, too…
The professor on the blog panel said that if anyone in the audience wanted to give him the address of their personal blog, he would add it to the list in his presentation. That might also boost my traffic…but I’m not sure if I’m quite brave enough to do it yet.
Well…at least this weekend. On Friday, I’m off to Alaska…so the next two weekends are out unless I stumble upon some blog-worthy food topics way up north. (Pretty much everything in Fairbanks – from the Girl Scouts to Denny’s – proudly proclaims that it is the “farthest north.” One of my favorite Fairbanks landmarks is actually the sign in front of the restaurant that says, “Farthest North Denny’s in the World.”) But I know the Internet can be a little screwy up there (and the whole point of going up there is to spend time outdoors anyway), so my blog may suffer once again. And then when I get back, who knows…
But, until then…it just so happens that I inherited the rest of those Vidalia onions, so I decided to make another onion pie. This time, however, I used a recipe from Epicurious rather than the Vidalia onion website. The trouble with finding good recipes for these onions is that most of them are not really conducive to transport or feeding a crowd. So my colleagues will have no choice but to suffer through another onion pie.
I am getting better with these onions though. I made empanadas last week and learned that a smaller knife works better with sweet Vidalias because they’re so squatty.
My one beef with cracker crusts is that the recipe always seems to call for X cups of crushed crackers – it would be so much easier if it said Y crackers or Z packages…because I really end up just marching to the beat of my own drum anyway and using however many crackers seems would be appropriate rather than actually going to the trouble of crushing crumbs and measuring them.
The recipe also called for paprika…which made me a little nostalgic since it’s not really something I ever use (it makes me think of deviled eggs…and I think I’ve already established my position on eggs…ironically though, I went to brunch today and there was a Tex-Mex omelet on the menu that really spoke to me…and it sounded like there was enough stuff in it to overshadow the egg…but when it arrived it was a really huge hunk of egg…so I just ate the insides and was perfectly happy). But back to being nostalgic about paprika: in the far reaches of my memory, I do believe paprika was one of the few spices my grandmother used. She never really thought of herself as much of a cook…but one of my fondest childhood food memories is of her spaghetti with elbow macaroni (no paprika in that though…but definitely in her garlic bread).
(Gawker is a little bit mean…)
“Magnolia Bakery, the house of cupcakes and whatnots made famous by Sex and the City to the extent that lines of the lonely wrap around its corner most every night, has been closed down by the Department of Health. Would-be Mirandas and the like find their lives even more empty, if that’s possible.”
I’m watching the episode of Sex in the City that is all about insecurities – Attack of the Five Foot Ten Woman (coincidentally, both my mother and sister are 5’10”) – and Miranda’s new housekeeper just gave her a rolling pin. Miranda asked where it came from and the cleaning lady said it was to make pies because it’s good for women to make pies.
My aunt says, “It seems that everywhere I look there’s something about pies lately!! Our newspaper, the Contra Costa Times, has a pie contest going on”:
“Ratatouille and today’s all-American holiday got us thinking about another great food movie, Waitress. We thought it would be fun if readers came up with their own pie creations, a la Keri Russell, whose character Jenna dreams up killer names such as “I Hate My Husband Pie”, chock-full of bittersweet chocolate and spite. We’ll select the 10 most tempting and imaginative creations, taste-test them and pronounce a winner. Flavor gets four points, title three points (ingredients should somehow reflect the title), ease of preparation two points and clear and concise directions one point. The winning entry, to be announced in the August 15 Food Section, receives a year of pies (one a month) from Walker’s Pie Shop in Albany. All 10 finalists will receive a pie from Walker’s and have their recipe printed in the Food section and/or the Times Web site.”
My aunt also says, “Now that’s any easy contest….you don’t even have to bake the thing!!”
I think this would be a great way to redeem myself after blowing off the shoofly contest! But…I don’t really know what my “I Hate My Husband” equivalent would be. I have a vague notion, thematically speaking, I guess…but how to express that with pie stuff might prove tricky.
I don’t know about residency requirements either…my aunt joked that I could email the main food writer at the Contra Costa Times and we could start corresponding and then he will hire me and I can be a food writer…stranger things have happened, I suppose…
I forgot! One of the other highlights of my trip to Wisconsin was fried cheese curds! I’ve had cheese curds about a million times…it’s sort of tradition now for my mother and I to stop off at the Mars Cheese Castle in Kenosha on our way either to or from O’Hare. (We almost died during an episode of that TBS series My Boys in which the gang was going to surprise Andy for this birthday and blindfolded him and asked him where he thought he was going…and his first guess was the Mars Cheese Castle.)
And I’ve heard my family talk about fried curds over and over again (a state fair delicacy?), but I’ve never had them myself. So…my family indulged me, little Richard cleaned out his fryer, we whipped up some beer batter, coated the suckers and fried ’em up. And they tasted remarkably like grilled cheese sandwiches. According to my relatives, they are normally eaten with ranch dressing…but there’s one brand (perhaps at the state fair?) that is supposedly so good, you don’t need ranch.
One of the best things about visiting Wisconsin is getting to make pies with Auntie Jan. She’s the one who taught me pretty much everything I know about pie-making…so I took advantage of my time with her this weekend and we made an apple pie for my cousins’ birthday (yes, they’re twins). She’s pretty amazing – she doesn’t measure anything. (“That looks like about a cup…” and “That’s just about enough Crisco…”)
My aunt also had a 10-inch pie plate – it was the biggest I’d ever seen! And she recommended I use a Feemster’s Famous Vegetable Slicer when slicing my apples. And, being that she is my aunt and the most organized person in the entire world, she just so happened to have an extra Feemster’s Famous Vegetable Slicer in her cupboard and I got to take it home with me. She also gave me a large round Tupperware container that she says will make it super-easy to transport pies on the Subway. (I made out like a bandit!)
The added bonus this time was that my four year-old niece wanted to help out. And as she was stirring the sugar/cinnamon/nutmeg mixture (with just a little flour in for good measure to prevent any big leaks), she volunteered to open a bakery with me. She says we have to open it in Grafton though. And that we should call it The Apple Pie Bakery. We’re only planning to make six pies a day though, so I suppose our pies will be in very high demand.
I also got very excited when I was killing time on Michigan Avenue and passed by this gigantic wedding cake. Believe it or not, my mother and I were wandering around on Michigan Avenue after attending my cousin’s wedding in Wisconsin two Septembers ago (that’s me and another cousin in our bridesmaid dresses way back then!) and passed by this exact same wedding cake. We marveled at it then, too. It’s hard to tell because of the glare of the glass (and the reflection of my capri pants), but there’s something like ten bridesmaids and ten groomsmen on that cake. It’s sort of spectacular in its own gaudy, overwrought way, isn’t it?