Monthly Archives: February 2009

A Little Cake Trivia Before the Ides of March

What’s *really* the difference between yellow cake and vanilla cake? An interesting question, no?

I have a friend whose birthday is coming up — she was born on the Ides of March, believe it or not — and her favorite birthday cake is yellow cake with chocolate frosting. So…she posed the above question and I turned to the Googles.

According to the Joy of Baking, the difference is egg yolks and whole eggs. Citing the Cake Bible! Which is totally part of my baking library now.

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Filed under birthdays, cake, chocolate

Mary, Rhoda, the Girls & Oscar

Who can turn the world on with her smile?

Thank you for being a friend.

These words were slated to ring out repeatedly in my apartment this weekend during a Mary Tyler Moore/Golden Girls pre-Oscar marathon. We ended up taking a rain check, but had planned to order Italian food (Sicilian food?), eat cheesecake and drink rosé (seems like something the Girls would have liked as well as a wine Mary and Rhoda must have enjoyed?).

My oenophile friend who works at a wine store in Alphabet City (which isn’t really called that anymore, is it?) recommended the 2007 Forchir Pinot Grigio Rosadis. What’s more, she said there are plenty rose-tinted bad boys under $20. So! We won’t have to resort to a box after all when the time comes…

But when I started thinking about cheesecake, I realized I have plenty of cheesecake recipes — cappuccino cheesecake; lemon cheesecake; pumpkin cheesecake; peppermint cheesecake…even raspberry cheesecake brownies — but I don’t think I have one for a good ol’ classic New York-style cheesecake. A quick search on Epicurious turns up a recipe from Lindy’s that looks pretty good: New York cheesecake. 5 packages of cream cheese is a little intimidating though. And I’m afraid it will be too tall for any of my springform pans. The square pan seems like *maybe* it’s a little bigger? But, still…I wonder if Lindy’s has larger-than-life pans for *its* cakes?

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Filed under brownies, cheesecake, wine

Meat Blogging, Mickey Rourke & a Journalism-Teaching Doppelganger

So…as I’m sure my faithful readers are aware, I’m still a freelancer…which is really just a fancy way of saying I’m a deadbeat who is not sure how I’ll pay my rent each month. So far, I’ve gotten lucky…but I am particularly nervous about April. I have a check coming in at the end of February…and then? It’s the same “Will I be able to pay my bills?”-game I’ve been playing since August. It’s enough to give a girl gray hair and an ulcer.

But I digress. An opportunity has come up for me to write for a meat blog — unpaid, as these things tend to be — and yet I still hold out hope that perhaps *this* will be the project that gets me the attention of someone with hiring powers, etc., etc. and then I will forever thank this person for inadvertently becoming the missing link (!) in my tediously long job quest.

A bit about the blog: it’s a parody of PETA called MEATA (“Men Eat All Things Animal”) and I can blog about “all things meat.” My MEATA connection said he is positioning himself as a “bacon specialist.” So…it could be an opportunity for me to flex my writing muscles in new and exciting ways. I’m not sure what meat I’d pick (if I had to) and I was worried a little that the vegans would be upset and I would never blog for HuffPo again…but then the editor — in a Glinda-the- Good-Witch moment (“you’ve had the power all along”) — said that I have log-in deets and can use them anytime. So. Huffington Post readers, your wait is almost over.

MEATA, however, I’m still pondering. My mom just made her own pastrami, so that’s obviously a possibility. And the winning recipe at the Simply Manischewitz Cook-Off had turkey in it, so it’s also an option.

My favorite kind of blogging is me cooking/baking and writing about the experience. As I said to my MEATA connection, the punchlines generally write themselves that way. So this whole post is really to tell you not to worry about me — I have options. I’m going to be fine.

In the meantime, I finally saw one of the Oscar-nominated movies — The Wrestler. In real life, I think Mickey Rourke looks kind of like Dale Maharidge, one of my favorite professors at Columbia’s J-School. Thankfully, though, The Ram did not look like Dale in the film…

And for those of you confused as to why I would bring up Mr. Rourke and his journalism-teaching doppelganger in a post about blogging and meat, I will enlighten you. There was a line in the film from the pervy store manager when The Ram was considering a job at the deli counter: “There will be lots of hot, horny housewives begging you for your meat.”

(And now I think of all the people who will Google terms in that quote, looking for Web sites of an entirely different kind and will perhaps see the name “Tasty Lacy” for a moment and think they’re on to something good.)

PS: I finally learned how to say “charcuterie.”

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Filed under entrees, vegan

Simply Manischewitz!

Last week was a busy week!

First it was Kelly Ripa and Electrolux and their Red Hot Red front-load washers and virtual cupcake campaign

Then it was arc90 and a podcast…

And finally Friday was the Third Annual Simply Manischewitz Cook-Off at the Marriott Marquis (which is also where the New York Financial Writers Association holds its Financial Follies each year…so I couldn’t *not* think of the year I got stuck in the elevator and then rode a pedicab 40-some-odd blocks). I was on hand to see Amy Siegel of Clifton, NJ take home the big prize for her Marvelous Mediterranean Falafel Sliders.

I thought it was kind of amusing that the first reaction my friends had was “Are you cooking?” when I said I was going.

My other favorite part: I had a giant nametag that said I was a blogger and a woman came up to me and asked if it’s a Jewish blog…and then she explained she’s from the National Jewish Outreach Program and that she’s going around and asking people to say “Shabbat Shalom” and she asked if I’d do it. So…I had a quick little panic in my head and thought, “Should I tell her I’m not Jewish??” but then she told me about going to a rodeo and asking all the cowboys to say it…which I assume she told me to put my mind at ease? So…she turned on her camera and I said it and she recorded me. (I forgot they have a Chicken Soup Challenge, too!)

Now I have falafel mix to try out Siegel’s recipe…and will report back (here…or possibly elsewhere?) about my findings!

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Filed under blogs, bread, cupcake, entrees

I said I wasn’t going to lose my head…

Valentine’s Day is obviously a big baking holiday (I made cupcakes for PRNewser…but could only carry 16, so I didn’t cause much of a stir at the I-Heart party.), so that’s how I am justifying including this here. It’s sooo…2 years ago? 3 years ago?…but it was part of a Valentine’s Day with one of my favorite people (who loved to hate this movie), so…walk with me down Memory Lane, will you?

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The Curious Case of the Spinach Dip…and Pi(e) Day 2.0

So…Friday I curled my hair and the social media world freaked out a little and then I technically crashed a birthday party.

At said party, there was a variety of snack foods…including spinach dip that tasted *exactly* like French onion soup (holla at my cousin Kirstin!). I was at a table with a tattooed gentleman from Florida who had previously run into the place, yelling, “I just saw My Bloody Valentine in 3-D and it was awesome!”

As we sat there making small talk, I said, “My goodness! This tastes exactly like French onion soup!”

He tried it, agreed, and said, “Maybe it’s the cheese.”

I gently suggested it probably *wasn’t* as cheese tends to have more of a universal taste…but my best guess was it was onions and/or spices. Then along came a lady who said she thought it was Lipton onion soup mix. Mystery solved? I thought about conducting an experiment this weekend…but, alas, time flew by…and dip and French onion soup seemed kind of dangerous to have on hand anyway.

This birthday venue — Choice Kitchen & Cocktails — *also* happens to be the place where I believe I will be hosting a pre-Pi(e) Day party on March 13 (March 14 is 3.14 — get it?). So…mark your calendars!

Choice is perhaps a little further away (for most) than Greenwich Village Bistro, but there’s a lot more room and there’s a private bar and a fireplace and a giant TV where I could have a pie photo slideshow and include fun pie facts…and who knows what!

I get the feeling this Pi(e) Day will have a much different feel than last time. And then that’s it until at least July 22 (22/7), so…all aboard!

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Filed under birthdays, Food Network, holidays, parties, pie

Things I Learned at the Meat Counter Today

I’m not a vegetarian, but I don’t actually cook with meat all that often. I don’t know why. Perhaps because I make a lot of pasta. Or I secretly hate protein.

In any event, when I *do*, I am always paranoid I’m going to make myself sick by not cooking it long enough, so I end up cooking it too long and it burns a little…which I guess isn’t that big of a deal as I am only feeding myself and I don’t have a vent, so I have to take the batteries out of the smoke alarm whenever I use the stove anyway. It may inconvenience the lady upstairs who has to smell my noxious fumes…but if it truly bothers her, she’s never complained about it.

All this is to say that I had to seek out pork loin today for this — Pork and Pozole Burritos — which is a rare errand. And so imagine my dismay when I got to the meat counter at the borderline crummy Met Foods near me and discovered that all they had were TEN POUND SLABS. That’s right — pork loin was only available in ten pound increments. And, for the record, that’s TWENTY TIMES the amount I needed.

I ended up going with a boneless option that came in a one-pound package…but as I stood there, staring at my options, I was shocked when I noticed boxes of Armour Star Lard in the meat case (I use that link because he seems like a curious guy…and so happy with his coupons!).

I don’t use lard in my pie crusts — I opt for shortening…but Armour Star piqued my interest because…way back when I was working at Good Housekeeping, I had to go through back issues from the 1960s once to photocopy a column called “Every Day is Mother’s Day.” It wasn’t all that exciting and/or interesting…but! I was fascinated by the ads. They were really funny…(or depressing, I guess…depending how you looked at it). They SO clearly played on women’s insecurities…which I suppose they still do today…but it was different then. Less subtle?

There were a few ads that I enjoyed in particular (I think you all know how I feel about Miss Fluffy Rice) and so I photocopied them and framed a couple that now hang in my kitchen.

One of the photocopies? You guessed it: Armour Star Lard…which asked: Whey are the most tender, flaky pie crusts you ever tasted made by someone else?

A: It’s because they use Armour Star Lard.

Who would have ever thought that paranoid crust-makers could *still* procure Armour Star in modern-day Brooklyn?

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