Tuesday, May 12, 2009

recipe overload

Do you SEE that screenshot?! All those recipes underneath the folders, unfiled...they go on for a good 400 more!! I blame Tastespotting. (If you are able to look at that food pile of love and not feel at least a little tempted to bookmark one page, you are deranged. Or remarkably self-controlled.)

The strength finders test says that this is one of my strong suits, collecting things. I subconsciously decided that collecting physical things will probably lead to me being crowded out of my own house, so recipes it is. It has been kind of difficult recreating things I love here, but I've recently made tres leches cake for our cinco de mayo party and cinnamon espresso cake as a last hurrah for the roommates before Lent, and even peanut butter cookie crust with brownie on top (both box mixes)...the truth is that we're living it up here, albeit a bit creatively!

Monday, May 11, 2009

kitchen improv

Well guys, it's no secret that they who love chocolate chip cookies and their like can find East Asia to be somewhat desolate. I try to not hold this country liable for its lack of sweet things, as it is quite clear that its citizenry prefers the sour, spicy, savory, and bitter sides of life (and food). As I have already said...I'm trying to not hold it against them.

So what is a girl to do when she finds herself away from everything she holds near and dear to her dessert stomach*? Here's a possibility: make bread pudding out of what I've got.

You know what? This is actually almost as easy said than done! Jena recently made heart shaped sandwiches for a baby shower we threw for a couple of adorable pregnant friends. I eyed all those leftover bread scraps and some milk in the fridge that was due to expire...the wheels turned. And after a while, this emerged.

The best part of this was eating them from the adorable silver cupcake cups Jena and I got from Vietnam for Aubrey's birthday. I stored them in the fridge, unbaked, and took them out as we needed over the course of four days. They tasted like Americana, like home.

Chocolate Bread Pudding

To maximize satisfaction, make with milk you're about to throw out and whatever bread scraps you can find. It's amazing how these things come together (bound by chocolate of course) to make your day a little sweeter. For those who thrive on kitchen improvisation (Lis, I'm winking at you...), this is your recipe, impreciseness encouraged. (All the measurements are approximate.)

1 c. milk
2-3 tbp. sugar
1/4 c. chopped chocolate (chips, bar, anything you've got...I used a couple shakes from the bag of chocolate chips)
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
couple dashes cinnamon
1.5 c. bread (bread with lots of crust like a baguette is the best, but here in the woods you've gotta rough it a little with sandwich bread crusts)

Heat the milk and sugar over medium heat. Simmering is good; boiling is too much heat. Remove from heat and add in the chocolate and cinnamon; stir to combine. In a different bowl, mix together the egg and vanilla. Slowly pour in the hot milk mixture as you whisk so that the egg doesn't scramble. Toss the bread into the bowl until coated fully. Spoon into individual cups and chill for at least 2 hours, even better overnight. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

*dessert stomach is that interesting physiological phenomenon when you have been completely stuffed by dinner, but at the mention of dessert new hunger presents itself. May be specific to a certain dessert, i.e. ice cream stomach, cake stomach, cookie stomach. Bread pudding stomach?

Friday, May 8, 2009

when pigs fly

People are all buzzing around the world about this purported "swine flu" epidemic. This led to the question: does this country have it and people are keeping hush hush about it? That would be awful because I could breathe on the apple guy outside and he could kick the bucket. Or vice versa. So I took a test just to be sure. Check yourself.