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Hurricane Holiday/When I Finally Learned That Tassie Is Not A Dirty Word

16 Dec

You guys! Welcome to Hurricane Holiday, where all of your dreams have been hijacked by nightmares of strange old women assaulting you in your childhood home, pretending to be personal trainers hired by your parents.

…Or is that just a thing that is happening to me?

Well… moving right along then, let’s talk holiday cookies! And before people start accosting me for using the word “holiday,” ya’ll should really read through this blog a little bit more closely. It gets WAY more offensive, trust. Also, if you’re curious, I personally celebrate Christmas, but I know a lot of you don’t, and hey, cool man, we’re all here because we like cookies. Anyway, a couple of months ago, I came across a badass project called the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, which organized a – youuuu guessed it– cookie swap between food bloggers all over the world. An opportunity to receive cookies from other bloggers? An opportunity to also bake cookies for other bloggers, fret over shipping them, then anxiously panic that they’d been destroyed in transit or suddenly went bad/were always bad but my taste buds are wack and now everyone hates me why why whyyyyyy did I agree to this? Serious anxiety, guys. It ain’t just a river in… never mind.

Ha...ha?

Ha…ha?

But yes, I was terrified to participate. I’ve got Imposter Syndrome real, real bad, and it doesn’t really help that my camera’s busted but I’m trying to work on bettering my food photography skills. Fortunately, thanks to some great pep talks, a little bit of hope, a LOT of blasting Beastie Boys tunes and some serious power-pose sessions, I was able to power through and be a part of an awesome swap that benefited research that will combat children’s cancer. Who could say no to that? I decided to send a cookie that would be different, yummy, chocolate-y and somewhat difficult, because I am a masochist/love a challenge. Enter the tassie. 

So, in the spirit of the holidays, I’ll just come right out and be honest with all of you: I had never heard of tassies until about a month ago. Neither had anyone around me. In fact, Jimmy was so confused that once I told him what I was baking, the only question he had was “that’s what showgirls wear right? Those are edible?” 

The places this boy’s mind goes. (Full disclosure: I also thought this.)

Basically, a tassie is a mini-pie that is so mini it is a cookie. Yes. That sounds about right. And because I was looking at making this ultra-chocolatey, I decided to go fudge-filled. And because I wanted to be different/make my life hard/have lots of chai, I decided to go chai-flavored fudge. Set aside a morning and afternoon, friends. Make a hot Spotify playlist. These are worth it.

For the Tassie shells, adapted from

The Cookie Bible

3 ounces of cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup of butter, softened

1 cup of all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons of sugar

2 tablespoons loose chai for rolling, optional

For the Chai Chocolate Fudge

3 1/2 cups of white sugar

1 1/3 cups of milk

1/4 cup loose chai

2 black tea bags

1/4 cup of light corn syrup

1/4 teaspoon of salt

2/3 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder

2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon of ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon of ground black pepper

Pinch of cayenne

1/4 cup of butter, cut into small chunks

1 teaspoon of vanilla

For the tassies, beat cream cheese and butter until combined. Stir in flour and sugar until dough forms. Cover and chill for at least one hour, until dough is firm.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Shape dough into 24 one-inch balls and place each ball in the cup of a mini muffin tin. Roll in loose chai if desired.

Press dough evenly into the bottom and up the sides of each cup. 

Bake for 20 minutes, until the shells are golden brown. Allow to cool completely before popping shells out of the tin (you may need to use a spoon to help them). 

Time to get fudgin’. Ready a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan and a clip-on candy thermometer. Combine milk, sugar, loose chai and black tea bags in saucepan over medium-low heat. 

Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil, takes on a light-brown tone and smells like my parents’ house on Christmas morning. Oh, so my dad makes a kick-ass chai most holiday mornings, and it makes the house smell spicy-sweet. So, just cook until you start smelling the good stuff (chai. It’s chai). Remove from heat and strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a heatproof bowl. Clean out saucepan thoroughly (or use a new one, rich guy) and pour milky tea mixture back into pan. Add in corn syrup, salt, cocoa powder and spices. Clip thermometer to the side of the pan– making sure the tip does not touch the bottom of the pan– and place over medium heat. Stir constantly, until the syrup and cocoa powder have dissolved. 

Continue to cook fudge mixture until it reaches 234°F. Watch the mixture closely, as it will get hot very, very quickly. If you’re worried about spillage, you can place a wooden spoon over the pan to stop it from bubbling over, like so:

Once it reaches the desired temperature, remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla until fully incorporated. Stir vigorously for about two minutes until you are sugar no solids remain, then pour fudge mixture into tassie shells.

Allow to set, about one hour, then sprinkle with coarse sea salt if desired. 

Swoon. 

Swoon. 

So, thoughts? They’re mini pies, people. They’re mini chai chocolate pies, people! How could that be wrong? They weren’t. They were so right that I am currently making them– as in I am waiting for the shells to bake up at this very moment. You could pretty much fill them with whatever your hearts desire– that means fudge, ganache (which I’m thinking I’ll go with tonight), various holiday candies, dried fruit (*shudder*), peanut butter– you name it. It’s the holidays, people. Time for weird dreams and decadent cookie. 

 

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Sharp Cheddar/My Ice Cream’s Better

10 Dec

Points and pints [of ice cream, or beer, whichever floats your boat, or your ice cream beer float] to whoever gets the reference in the title of today’s post! Come on readers, I believe in you! I believe less in my ability to transport ice cream to your residence successfully, but that’s a conundrum for another day.

I know I made you all wait a little bit longer than anticipated for this ice cream recipe. Your apple pie/galette is likely long gone, your anger at me boiled over and crystallized into a delicate, angry snowflake. Well, friends, all I can say is that I was truly exhausted after Turkey Day. Before Thanksgiving I had made a cooking schedule for myself, one to which I strictly adhered, and ended up completely spent. My lower back ached as if I’d been kicked mercilessly by a kickboxing banshee. If you’re curious, I made (*deep breath*) corn bread, roasted Brussels sprouts, macaroni and cheese, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, an apple galette, cheddar ice cream and chai ice cream. This was part of a meal for six. In a teeny apartment. And then we transported all of it to my parents’ house. Some of you are laughing at me. I get that. Like why is she all braggy over this? Normally I am not one to give myself credit for, like, anything, but I will say I am proud of my contributions this year. Food is love/love is cooking monstrous amounts of food for your peoples. #noregrets

I rewarded myself for all of the hard work by harassing my parents’ dog all Thanksgiving Day. If you don’t speak dog, I’ll just translate for you. He’s basically saying something along the lines of “seriously, it’s enough. Put me down, we are barely friends. Stop trying to make this happen. “

BUT. I would have regretted not sharing this wonderful, wonderful cheddar ice cream recipe with all of you. Yes, I know a good number of you are looking at your screens right now, throwing me shade and wondering exactly how many Pumpkin Old Fashioneds I downed before deciding cheddar in a dessert was a good idea (Answer: three. #noregrets). Well, this is a thing folks. I believe it’s as American as apple pie, in fact. A good portion of this great country apparently enjoys throwing a slice of sharp cheddar atop a warm slice of apple pie, and I believe in cheese, so I pretty much went for this with gusto. The original notes on this recipe recommend that this treat only be eaten with an apple-heavy dessert, as the cheddar is sharp enough to be somewhat overwhelming without the sweetness of the apple for balance. My family and I, however, found this to be delightful on its own. I leave it to you to decide how best to consume this wondrous creation.

Cheddar Ice Cream (makes 1 pint) adapted from Serious Eats

3 large egg yolks

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of sugar

3/4 cup of heavy cream

3/4 cup of half and half

4 ounces of sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Salt, to taste

Save some to snack on while you work. I'm always looking out for you. Remember that.)

Save some to snack on while you work. I’m always looking out for you. Remember that.)

In a large saucepan, whisk together sugar and egg yolks until pale yellow in color. Stir in cream and half and half until fully incorporated. Place over medium heat, stirring mixture frequently, until it begins to thicken and a custard sticks to the back of your spoon and leaves a clean, sharp-ish line when you swipe your (clean!) finger across it.

 

Remove pan from heat and pour in cheddar. Allow the mixture to stand for 30 seconds to 1 minute, then whisk to combine. Use an immersion blender to fully mix, or transfer the mixture to a regular blender and blend until pureed. Add in salt, to taste (don’t forget that this is cheese ice cream, ya’ll. Really make sure you’re tasting after every salting.)

Pour custard through a fine strainer, into a heatproof covered container. Chill in refrigerator for 4 to 8 hours, then churn in your ice cream maker according to instructions (mine recommends 20 minutes).

Transfer mixture back to an airtight container and freeze until ready to use.

As you can see, this isn't some loud, bright yellow. If you're looking to prank a loved/liked/tolerated one, you could totally try to pass this off as lemon ice cream for kicks. Please try this and get back to me. 

As you can see, this isn’t some loud, bright yellow. If you’re looking to prank a loved/liked/tolerated one, you could totally try to pass this off as lemon ice cream for kicks. Please try this and get back to me. 

So, verdict? Everyone at the table was suspicious. Not hesitant, not wary, but full-on suspicious. My dad thought the cheddar from the mac n’ cheese accidentally made its way into my ice cream and I was just trying to save face (he knows I am a hot buttered mess when I cook). However, once they saw me and Jimmy plop scoops onto our slices of galette, (indeed I did pay Jimmy in personal pumpkin pies for this, and it was worth every hunk of butter) they were curious.

Everything's bettah with cheddah. 

Everything’s bettah with cheddah. 

Curiosity turned to interest and interest turned into pure delight. Both of my sisters even enjoyed scoops without any accompaniments, so I think it’s safe to say this is one strange custard you can surely enjoy by itself, and with #noregrets.

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New Twist On An Old Fashioned, From An Old Lady With New Tastes

24 Nov
Gonna miss this band. :'(

Gonna miss this band. 😥

WHEW I’m beat, friends A few days ago I went to the last-ever Pearl and the Beard show, and it was bananas. In good and bad ways, that is. I think I’m getting too old for the standing-room only situation, especially when that room is packed with 600 people who are all rabid fans and think pressing up against you will get them closer to the stage. I mean, I love me some good music, but when the woman behind you gets kicked out for “wanting to just dance for everyone” and ends up instead shoving everyone around her, you kind of lose your taste for the small-venue game. Oh, also, it was pouring that night and I almost slipped into two different piles of garbage while walking down a narrow street to and from the venue. It’s the universe telling me to slow it way down, guys. (The show was still ridiculously fun and I’ll miss that band like hell. But I am outta the game, folks.)

Speaking of being old, let’s talk fancy drinks. We’ve already talked about snacks to keep us going while we’re cooking our respective feasts, now it’s on to the boozy booze, people! I’ve finally perfected the autumnal cocktail of our dreams (our includes all of my of-age drinking buddies. no babies allowed from this point on, sorry ya’ll! Tomorrow’s post will be fun for all ages, promise).

This is a pretty simple twist on an Old Fashioned that incorporates some Thanksgiving favorites. It’s easy and can be easily doubled or tripled if you’ve got guests and you’re feeling generous. I’d highly recommend it as your signature cocktail if your friends are bourbon people. Also, if your friends are bourbon people, have them call me please. We can be homies. 

Pumpkin Old Fashioned (makes one serving)

1 teaspoon of sugar

1 lemon wedge

1 heaping tablespoon of pumpkin butter (make your own!)

1.5 ounces ounces of bourbon (W.L. Weller is my absolute favorite)

Splash of water

Fresh cranberries for garnish, optional

Place sugar and lemon wedge in a cocktail shaker and muddle with a wooden spoon until lemon fragrance fills the space around you. Add in pumpkin butter, bourbon, water and a few ice cubes and shake until fully mixed. Pour into a tumbler glass and serve with ice and cranberries if desired.

Ok, so, this is POTENT. It’s delicious, but boy is it strong. Drink with caution and make sure you’ve got a designated driver/biker/razor scooter operator nearby to escort you home. Old people priorities, guys.

Woooooo Social anxiety is scaaaaary! It's a Halloween cupcake post.

29 Oct

HI! Have we all calmed down from that Star Wars trailer yet guys? No? I know. It’s ok. This is a safe place.

Speaking of safe places, I got some cool feedback on my last post in which I explained a little bit of the Sad in Sad Shibow. That’s heartening: I learned about things like anxiety clubs (brings me anxiety just to think about, but I learned!) and got some very sweet support from some old friends, one of whom I’m hoping to work with on an exciting project soon! Stay tuned…

Are you intrigued? Curious? Slightly spooked by my constant sads and disturbing obsession with The Force? Well, now’s the perfect time to join the fun then, because All Hallow’s Eve is creeping up on us. What are your thoughts on Halloween? Halloween’s like New Year’s Eve for some people, and I admit that in the past I have been “some people.” There is crazy dumb pressure to have a rad time, especially in the age of The Facebook: A Place For Friends/People You Meet On Buses (maybe that’s just me?) and Instagram: A Place To Make Your New Pics Look Ancient But In That Hip[stery] Way. I’m trying not to let too much of that get to me this year, mostly because my last Halloween was all kinds of lame (the heavens rained down upon my homemade “We Can Do It!” headband sign thing and smeared all of the ink and my makeup until I looked like Zombie Rosie the Riveter. I’m sure I could have made it work if I were not freezing and cranky). This year, I’m going to pay more attention to the inside of the plastic Jack-o-lantern we have filled to its brim with Halloween candy (despite the fact that we have never, ever had a trick or treater anywhere near our doorstep. JUST IN CASE, guys!!). No-pressure holidays are the best kinds of holidays. Also holidays where your head is buried in candy like an ostrich in the Sahara are the best kinds of holidays. But before you ask, yes, yes I do have a homemade Princess Leia costume at the ready in case plans do arise and I also decide to arise for these plans. No, it is not the one from the scene where she’s chained to Jabba the Hutt. #feminism

That year Jimmy and I, dressed up as, respectively, the movie The Grey and a flapper. Total couples' costume win, I know. 

That year Jimmy and I, dressed up as, respectively, the movie The Grey and a flapper. Total couples’ costume win, I know. 

I also often think about some of the heartbreaking costumes of yesteryear. The time when I was in preschool and my dad threw one of my poofy dresses at me, applied lipstick to my cheeks to mimic blush, and took me around our ‘hood to collect candy as a “princess,” (bless his heart, I still love everything about this story and will die on this hill telling it). The time I dressed up as the Pink Panther because it was the last costume at Walgreens. Or when I was the Pink Power Ranger (yeah, I recognize the pattern, I guess I was really into Pepto Bismol-colored characters from popular culture for a while there) and tripped over a Snickers bar and almost down some subway stairs as a ten year old. The Snickers bar was full-size, btw, which pains me now–what a waste! And, my favorite, the time I tried to be a Queen by using a wrap skirt as a cape because I was too cheap to buy one. Shockingly, this did not work. Someone asked if I was “dressed like a hurricane,” to which I now realize I should have simply answered, “yes, and thank you for noticing.” 

What about you guys? Best/worst costumes of all time? Talk to me folks. In return, you’ll get candy-stuffed cupcakes. No tricks here, only treats.

Halloween Skull Cupcakes (makes 10 cupcakes)

For the cupcakes

1/2 cup plus one tablespoon of butter, softened

1/2 cup of sugar

2 eggs

1 cup of all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

3 tablespoons of unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tablespoons of milk

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

10 fun-sized chocolates of your choice

For the topping

1 8-oz block of cream cheese, softened

1/3 cup of powdered sugar

Chocolate-covered raisins

Mini marshmallows

Oreos, separated

Mini peanut butter cups

Preheat your oven to 350°F and line a muffin tin with liners. Place a fun-size chocolate in the middle of each cup. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar using a hand mixer on high. When light and creamy, beat in eggs, one at a time. In a smaller bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder and baking powder until mixed, then add into wet mixture. Stir in milk until batter forms, then divide evenly between cups, over chocolates. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the cupcakes have risen and the tops have set. 

That's a Mounds bar sticking out. Mmmmm.

That’s a Mounds bar sticking out. Mmmmm.

Let cool completely. While cooling, make your cream cheese icing. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together cream cheese and sugar using a hand mixer on high until smooth. Spread on cupcakes, then get to decorating.

As you can see, we got creative. Mine, on the left, had mini marshmallow teeth, chocolate chip nose holes (technical term), chocolate raisin eyes, and peanut butter cup hats with Oreo brims. Jimmy’s had marshmallow eyeballs, chocolate chip irises, and Oreo mouths with crooked chocolate chunk teeth.

So, thoughts? I enjoyed these, though I will warn you that the cake portion tastes more like a muffin, so it’s not terribly rich. I kind of think that’s perfect, though, given that these were stuffed with either Snickers Peanut Butter squares or Mounds bars, so very chocolatey. They’re also SUPER cute and would be perfect for any Halloween party.

But oh, back to the “pressure” part, because as adamant as I am about pressure-free Halloween, I felt sort of sorry for myself over how messy these turned out, and had a bit of a pity party [inside the plastic jack-o-lantern full of candy] before Jimmy made me pull myself together. Baking’s hard guys. Sometimes I don’t know what’s harder: sharing all of my personal nonsense with you, or sharing all of the desserts I’ve made, both pretty and pretty darned messy. But I’m trying to realize that messy = real, and I will take real. 

So, from my real– and really kooky looking– brood of cupcakes to you, HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!! Maybe swing by for some handfuls of candy and a cupcake (or three). I’ll be here 🙂

The Force Is Strong With This Post. So Are The Sads. So Are The Pop Tarts.

23 Oct

HOLY BLEEPITY BLEEP BLEEP THE FORCE IS NIGH THE FORCE IS NIGH THE FORCE THE FORCE THE FORCE GAHHHHHHH.

How badass does this trailer look? I can’t stop watching it. Even my boyfriend, who actually saw Episodes 5 and 6 in theatres as a wee little lad, and is super psyched to experience the latest installment, is somewhat worried about me. As well he should be: see that BB8 in the sidebar under “Things I <3,” guys? I OWN IT. I know, I cannot believe it either. I purchased it during my “retail therapy is a legitimate form of therapy, stop judging me Jimmy” phase.  Do I love it? Unconditionally. Unhealthily. Completely. Did it do its job in curing me of the sads? Is this blog still called what it’s called?

Early birthday present from me, to me. #wortheverypenny #nosleeptilBB #BB8

A photo posted by @shibow on Sep 9, 2015 at 4:56pm PDT

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And speaking of that, I’m going to warn you: this post is about to get kind of heavy, and kind of very long. But there are pop tarts at the end of it so it will all be worth it. In case you’re impatient or low blood-sugary, you can totally scroll past all of this. For those of you who’ve stuck around, I kind of feel like it’s time to talk heavy. We’ve known each other a while, right? We’re past the weirdness over who pays for what, if we’re Facebook official… hell, I used your toothbrush yesterday! Real talk about the sads, in a list format:

1. Originally I wanted to post this during Mental Health Awareness Week, which runs from October 4th to the 10th, but a. I was too scared and b. it [Freudian] slipped my mind. But, I have a close family member with a mental illness and have seen all of the misunderstanding, confusion, pain and stigma that comes along with it. We need to talk, guys. 

2. I am ashamed to say I was too scared to write this because I’ve already faced some… I guess interrogation is the correct word, regarding the title and theme of this blog. I’m certainly open to talk about the stigma surrounding depression, but I’ve been caught off guard by the many–and I do mean many— people who have, especially recently, tried to “cure” me of it. And it’s not something that can be cured, unfortunately. If it were, I’d be shakin’ my rump-aa to Beastie Boys tunes on an unhealthy loop instead of dealing with this ish. And while I know that there are many, many people out there who struggle with it every second of every day, I am fortunate not to be one of them. But when it hits, it hits. This essay by the amazing Sarah Silverman does a much better job of explaining all this than I ever could. 

3. On that note, we need to stop asking the question “What could you possibly have to be sad about?” My rational brain knows how bad some people have it, and it pretty much hates my irrational brain for being super selfish and thinking only of my own sadness (thus compounding the sadness, vicious cycle and all that). But, with that said, and believe it or not, I’m sort of obsessively private. When I started this blog, my original plan was to be the Batman of the internets, never revealing my true identity, forever in the shadows, with a killer fancy ride to roll through the mean streets of Queens. But, I was also hell-bent on using the name Sad Shibow, which is very unique to me, and blah blah blah people in my real life know I write this and then ask me that question in the first sentence, and then I have to answer it, but since I’m private I mostly squirm and bite my lip and hold back the ugly cries. 

4. I don’t know if I’ve become sadder as I’ve gotten older or if I’ve just become more open about it. If I had to guess, I’d guess the latter. A whole hell of awful situations rained down on me and those around me in my early twenties, and mercifully this time in my life is nowhere near as dark as that was. But as I get older, tough times do seem to hit me harder. Losing a best friend, losing a few friends, being disappointed in where I am professionally, the FOMO, (OH THE FOMO!) and the weight of knowing I’ve disappointed other people I love can all routinely send me into very unattractive bawling fits. It happens. It creeps up on you. Some days I feel like I can handle all of the garbage and more, and sometimes I feel like burrowing into a hole I dug for myself in the shady park behind my building. It’s scary to talk about, but I’m talking about it in the hopes that other people will, too. At the risk of sounding nauseatingly corny, sometimes you send signals out into the universe in the hopes of locating your tribe. Sometimes, instead of “buck up and stop your whining,” you want to hear “I understand, and I can relate. Let’s be friends, despite your weird Resting Bitch Face and affinity for nerd stuff.”

5. Different things get different people out from under that dark cloud. For some people, it’s medication. For others, it’s exercise. For me, it’s writing. And baking. Oh, yes, this is a baking blog isn’t it? This is the part with the Homemade “Pop Tarts.” The ones filled with homemade pumpkin butter.

Homemade Pumpkin Butter-Filled “Pop Tarts” (makes about 20 tarts)

For the pumpkin butter (adapted from Minimalist Baker)

(makes 1 pint of pumpkin butter)

1 15oz can of pumpkin puree 

1/3 cup of sugar

2 tablespoons of maple syrup

1/4 cup of unsweetened apple juice

2 tablespoons of lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon of ginger

Pinch of allspice

For the tart shell

3 cups of all purpose flour

1 teaspoon of sugar

1/2 teaspoon of salt

12 tablespoons of cold butter, cut into small chunks or grated 

1 egg, beaten, mixed with enough cold water to produce 1/2 cup

Now, let’s start with that pumpkin butter, yes? You could go the store-bought route, but this is a crazy easy recipe and you’ll be so damned proud of yourself for going DIY. Place all pumpkin butter ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a rolling, bubbling boil, stirring frequently. 

Bring heat down to a simmer for at least 20 minutes, then pour into a heatproof container. Let cool before refrigerating until ready to use.

Now let’s work on our tart shell. We’re basically using a pie dough. If you’d like, you could halve the above recipe and use the other half of your dough for a kickass pie at a later date. In a large mixing bowl whisk together flour, salt and sugar. Add in the butter, then mix in with a pastry blender or fork. Use your fingers to continue to mix everything together just until it feels like wet sand. Stir in your egg mixture with a fork until a dough begins to come together. 

Turn the dough out onto a flat surface and knead it until it holds together. Divide the dough in equal halves, then wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour or up to one week (dough can also be frozen for up to 6 months, for those emergency pie sitches that I KNOW we all have). 

Working with one half, roll out dough into an 11 x 13 rectangle, then cut into smaller rectangles, about 5″ x 3″ or, you know, Pop-Tart size, and lay on a baking sheet. Spread about a tablespoon of pumpkin butter onto a rectangle. 

Top with another rectangle, and crimp the edges with a fork. Pierce the tops of your tarts with a fork to allow heat to escape, unless you like your tarts exploded and unavailable. Sprinkle a bit of sugar on top of each tart if desired. Cover and freeze for at least 2 hours. 

Preheat your oven to 375°F. When your tarts are fully frozen, send into the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until the tops are fully browned. Allow to cool for ten minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to cooling racks to cool completely.

I know what you’re thinking…LOLOLOLOL. It’s the glaze, guys. I won’t even get into it. It was hell on earth– delicious, but messy, messy hell. If I were you, I’d top these with powdered sugar and call it an evening.

BUT if you can also see the giant bite in that picture, you know I could not resist trying these. And damn am I happy I did. If I were you, I’d toast these before munching on them, just like the real deal. Use The Force. Or, um, a toaster. Whatever floats your houseboat. 

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If You Like Pina Coladas (And Reading Blogs About Depression)

16 Oct

First off, THANK YOU for all of the birthday wishes, every single one of which warmed my normally cold, deadened heart. The ol’ 2-9 started off with bagels from my favorite shop and ended with a creepy lady tickling my neck at a Brooklyn cocktail bar. I swear all of this is true. Even the stuff about the bagels. As much as I like to complain, I’m very aware of how… interesting life can get. 

…But back to the complaining for a second, because that seems to be a point of fascination for many who read this. I wish I could explain what it’s like to go through a blue spell. The thing I understand the least about depression is that not everyone experiences it. Life can seem great to outsiders and you can still feel totally stuck, sunken, sucked of energy. Some people cry a lot. I cry a lot- sometimes over The Office, sometimes because I panic and dry-heave unattractively over what my next move in life will be. Sometimes I freak out over how easy things seem for other people that feel completely impossible for me. You know. Totally normal stuff.

<img src="http://static1.squarespace.com/static/560c33fee4b03211bc646bbc/560c3a88e4b00340a4b982d1/5620583de4b0674069d5aff7/1444960328619//img.jpg&quot; alt="Jimmy says my hands are doing a "pretty Indian lady thing." Who the hell knows what that means, but thanks Jimmy! Also, this badass pie plate was one of the BEST things about turning 29– a birthday present from my darling sister Sylvapotamus. Jimmy says my hands are doing a “pretty Indian lady thing.” Who the hell knows what that means, but thanks Jimmy! Also, this badass pie plate was one of the BEST things about turning 29– a birthday present from my darling sister Sylvapotamus. ❤

So yes, there’s that old problem that I imagine many of us face– because my imagination is that vast and uninhibited– but that I just can’t seem to get anyone else to talk to me about. I mean have you amazing folks all really figured out how the hell life works?! Am I really that maladjusted that the frightened/suspicious side-eye is now everyone’s resting face around me? How are you all so… so cool

I guess we can blame my sad spell on the change in weather, or Stamos, but there are other factors that I’ll be brave enough to talk about after this blog post, because they’re difficult emotions and there is some booze in this. I was bored and feeling down and had a can of coconut cream to use up, so here comes some Pina Colada Pie.

 

Pina Colada Pie (makes one 9-inch pie)

For the graham cracker crust

6 graham cracker sheets, finely ground

1/3 cup of butter, melted and cooled

For the Pina Colada filling

1 14oz can of cream of coconut

1 cup of pineapple chunks 

1/2 cup of sugar

3 eggs

1 1/2 cups of shredded coconut

To start, preheat your oven to 350°F and set aside a 9-inch pie plate. For the graham cracker crust, mix together your cracker crumbs and butter in a small bowl, then press evenly into the bottom of your pie plate. Send into the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until lightly browned. 

Set aside to cool while making your filling. For the filling, you’ll need a large, large bowl and the ugliest/baking-est clothes you own, because this is messy. 

Mix together your coconut cream and pineapple chunks, then, using a hand mixer or stand mixer on medium, mix in your sugar. Be warned that if you did not heed my earlier advice about the bowl and ugly baking clothes, you will be finding pineapple chunks for a long time in places you did not know your kitchen had. Maybe it’s better to use a blender for this. (I never promised genius-level tricks here guys, just posts about how sad life is and PIE.) Beat in eggs, one at a time, then add in your salt. Fold in shredded coconut until evenly distributed– batter should be runny. 

Pour into pie plate and send into the oven until pie is set and the sides are lightly browned, about 45 minutes. Leave to cool, because… SURPRISE! We’re making Rum Meringue! I know! I love you too!

To brown your meringue, set your oven to broil. 

Rum Meringue

3 egg whites

1/3 cup of sugar

3 tablespoons of dark rum

Very rummy,very yummy.

Very rummy,very yummy.

 

In a very clean, dry bowl using equally clean, dry beaters, whisk egg whites using a mixer on high speed. Beat until soft peaks begin to form, then gradually add in sugar until peaks become stiffer. Beat in rum until fully incorporated, then gently spread evenly on top of pie using a rubber spatula. Carefully place under your broiler for 2 to 3 minutes, until the top is lightly browned.

So you’re all like “LOL that’s not lightly browned!” Well, fine, but to be fair I’m still a little traumatized from that time I set a S’mores cake on fire. You’ll be better, I know you will.

Anyway, you’re going to want to serve this cake either at room temperature or cold, and then…

Sweet mama. It’s like a pina colada nestled inside of a hug. The rum from the meringue gives it just enough of a boozy treat feeling, and the filling tastes like vacation. Yup, yes, I am sticking to that. Must. Make. 

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Sad Shibow Buys An Ice Cream Maker, Just In Time For Unseasonably Cold Weather.

3 Oct

* Looks around *

* Is confused *

* Dips toe into slushy, creamy, sugary water-like substance that appears to be ice cream *

Sad Shibow? Is…is that you?

HI FRIENDS! For those of you just joining, pay no attention to the above disoriented blabbering. This place has always been…this place! For those of you who’ve been homies for life… it’s a site redesign! What are your thoughts on the matter? I quite like it. Longtime readers may have noticed (and praised) the disappearance of my creepily large, bloodshot eyes from the header image, a change that was made a while ago, after People I Work With–capitalized because, important and scary– began questioning what exactly was making my peepers so red (I had terrible sleeping habits for many years. I know. I wish that story were less boring too.) Ever since that small change, I’ve been slowly working on improving the look of the site over the past year, likely because, selfishly, I feel compelled to continue to talk about sad things but simultaneously hope you’ll all be too enamored with the things I bake and the general look of the site to actually pity me. CHECK OUT THAT WORD CLOUD IN THE SIDEBAR (I’m having a crummy time of it and am trying to buoy my spirits by changing it up around here). Now which part of that last sentence spoke to you?

So, with that bit of housekeeping out of the way, let’s chat. Remember when I told you that I was engaging in some serious retail therapy to beat the blues? WELL! I can’t stop. Guys I really can’t. I need my credit card number Eternal Sunshine’d from my spotty mind, for I have discovered the art of earning miles with my purchases, and I am taking far too much advantage. Do I have a particular destination in mind, you ask? Well, of course…not. But I’ll sure as hell be able to pay for it with miles I’ve racked up from buying the ice cream maker of my dreams and Star Wars-themed Halloween costumes for the family dog.

Indeed, just in time for an extremely cold, windy, possibly hurricane-y October, I have finally purchased a machine that will allow me to make any and every frozen dessert I desire. And did I start out with something simple? Pish posh! Vanilla schmanilla! Also, I couldn’t find vanilla beans! But I did find the giant basil plant in our kitchen, and that baby needed snipping. Oh yes. It happened. Classy new layout, classy ice cream flavors… what is this place?!

Basil Ice Cream (makes one quart)

2 cups of fresh basil

2 cups of whole milk

1 cup of half and half

3/4 cup of sugar

2 tablespoons of lemon zest 

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Pinch of salt

3 egg yolks (Save your egg whites! Make meringues!)

Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until combined. Pour puree into a medium-sized saucepan and heat until simmering, whisking constantly. 

Remove from heat and pour through a strainer– don’t worry if some basil comes through. In fact, I would encourage such a circumstance. Chill in the refrigerator until cold, about 2 hours, then pour into your ice cream maker and let it churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions (every maker has different rules. Somehow I know this applies to life as well). Serve with something else fancy, like lemon egg white souffles. 

Top left and right: lemon egg white souffles. Yes, I know they fell, but they were still pretty damned delicious, airy and not at all bad for you health-wise. They complemented the basil ice cream (bottom center) quite nicely. Recipe will possibly one day follow if there's interest.

Top left and right: lemon egg white souffles. Yes, I know they fell, but they were still pretty damned delicious, airy and not at all bad for you health-wise. They complemented the basil ice cream (bottom center) quite nicely. Recipe will possibly one day follow if there’s interest.

So, thoughts? Well, I am writing this post about a week after this ice cream was first made, and my boyfriend has not stopped asking when we can make it again. It had a refreshingly light touch of basil, and mercifully wasn’t too sweet. Jimmy kept referring to how “fancy” it felt to have such a “decadent” ice cream in our humble household… and then he went and made it fancier! If you’re looking to gussy this ice cream up, or you’re looking to make some sophisticated milkshakes for your classy friends, combine two scoops of basil ice cream with a tablespoon of strawberry preserves. You. Are. Welcome.  

     

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