Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Vindictive Baking

Recently, an aunt threw a party, and somewhere in this verbal invitation she dropped the "Be a dear, and bring something savory," bomb.

No. No I will not.

Making something savory isn't the issue. Armed with Mother Superior's kitchen and the god-send that is the internet, plethora of recipes that it holds, no wrong can be done. It's the telling of what to bring where the wrong lies. If you have a set menu, and all you need for the table is something highly specific, like Lebanese tabbouleh, yes, ask and you shall receive. But tossing out the vaguest "something savory" brings out the Vindictive Baker, who holds a deep seated issue with being told what to do.

The Vindictive Baker, knowing her aunt's pride in decorative cookies, decided a gingerbread cupcake accompanied by brown sugar buttercream would show off wonderfully. And not one of those faux powdered sugar and butter buttercreams. This baking excursion was the real deal, fresh nutmeg, simple syrup, closed star tip, and all.

Rejected vindictive cupcake (Photo by J. Cust)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Wilty Onions

Typically, I'm subjected to making dinner on Friday nights. A semblance of a social life tends to impede that happening, though, so my dinner shift is moved to Saturday night, seemingly spontaneously. Unless Mother Superior decides chili-dogs sound like a good weekend meal and I refuse to take part in the festivities. At which point I'm ambushed after a two hour trek through the woods and told Sunday dinner is on me.

This was all okay. Was there a fair amount of griping involved? Of course, but in the end, food is good. Most of the time; every now and then there are some rough patches. Like the wilty onion.

With a risotto, a fancy name for a wonderfully creamy Italian rice, one uses a white onion, preferably fresh, and not wilty. Unfortunately, by some misaligned cosmic foray, there were no fresh white onions in the drawer. Instead, there was half a red onion that had been left unwrapped on the kitchen island under the glare of forty watt bulbs. Hence the wilty.

Luckily red onions, when whole, are twice the onion necessary for a solid four servings of risotto. Luckily, there are sharp knives in the cabinet. Luckily, someone taught me how to trim up an onion.

The finished product (Photo by J. Cust)
When the wilty underbelly of that sad red onion-half had been sheared off and tossed unceremoniously into the garbage, things worked. The diced onion sweated nicely, the sweet potato smoothed out, the stove didn't blow up and set fire to the neighborhood. In the end, dinner was dinner. With a little kick. Someone may or may not have accidentally sprinkled a few too many chili pepper flakes in. Maybe.