Saturday, March 12, 2011

Irish Cupcake Bombs!

Okay, they could be more beautiful, but I have been under the weather and I was in a hurry. Pretty or not, they are delicious. So come along friends, let us celebrate St. Patrick's Day by getting drunk on cupcakes!

These are full of sugar and dairy products and more sugar. They are utterly devoid of health and nutritive value, they are messy, and they are expensive. But pay no mind...just give in to the power of the cupcake.

Okay, make these three things first, even a day or two ahead of time if you want:


3 parts powdered sugar to 1 part Jameson Irish don't need much, so instead of making a vat of it like I did, try 1/3 cup Jameson to 1 cup powdered sugar

Bailey's Buttercream Frosting

2 sticks butter, room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
6 caps full of Bailey's Irish Cream (the cap off the Bailey's bottle)

Cream the butter and sugar, add in the Bailey's, stir stir stir.

Bailey's Ganache Filling

2 cups Ghirardhelli dark chocolate chips (60% cacao)
1 cup Bailey's Irish Cream
1 cup plus one splash heavy cream

Melt together in a double boiler, or in a medium pot balanced on top of a smaller pot of almost-boiling water. Pour into a storage container and allow to cool. Less liquid will yield a more solid final product, more liquid means a more pudding-like consistency.

Now the best part--the cupcake. I honestly do not recall where this recipe came from, and how much if any I have altered it. I just know that it is alarmingly decadent and way super delicious.

Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes

2 cups Guinness
2 cups unsalted butter (4 sticks), room temperature
1 1/2 cups cocoa powder
4 cups flour (use unbleached--there is no reason flour has to be snow white)
4 cups sugar (spring for the organic kind--these are already costing a fortune anyway)
1 Tablespoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
4 eggs (brown, of course--they are prettier and tastier; cage free is less mean, too)
1 1/3 cups sour cream

I failed to specify mixing instructions to myself in my recipe book, so just smash it all together in whatever way pleases you most. Pour into cupcake thingies and bake at 350 degrees (Fahrenheit, duh) until they reach the springy/clean toothpick stage.

While the cupcakes are still hot, pour 1/2 Tablespoon of glaze over each one. This will create a sticky mess when it dribbles onto the paper cupcake liners/everything else. If this vexes you, devise a solution. Me, I have an eleven month old, I am really not phased by a little stickiness.

With a sharp knife held at an inward angle, cut a little cone out of the top of each cupcake. Eat the Jameson-infused cones as a reward (that is why the glazing comes before the cutting).

Let the cupcakes cool. Or don't, Captain Impatience, but the ganache will get all melty if the cake is too warm for the next step. Spoon 2 Tablespoons of ganache into each cupcake hole. Oodle your finger around to make more room if you need it; you washed your hands, it's all good.

Finally, with the cupcakes cooled and the frosting at room temperature, put the frosting into a pastry bag with a medium-sized tip (or baggie with the corner cut off; I used a disposable plastic pastry bag that I sealed closed with yellow electrical tape; I keep a classy kitchen), and start decorating! If your ganache is mooshy, decorate around it instead of trying to frost on top of it. Then, CONSUME!!!*

*diabetics beware

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Recipe

I do not eat Mrs. Butterworth's syrup. I also have not coughed in front of my mother in roughly twenty-five years. These things are closely related. How so? The Recipe.

The Recipe was devised by some sadistic ancestor looking to cure a cough. Supposedly. It is possible they were just trying to terrorize family members, or medically justify alcoholism. We'll never know. But my mother always kept The Recipe on hand, and if you were dumb enough to cough in the house you soon found yourself leaning over the sink, clutching a dose of the Recipe and gagging. The Recipe was administered in a shot glass, and stored in a glass Mrs. Butterworth's bottle.

Last year, in a fit of nostalgia--or, in retrospect, possibly early pregnancy psychosis--I whipped up a batch of The Recipe. I gave most of it to a friend for her three children, because she deserves to live in a peacefully cough-free household. I kept a little in my fridge for entertainment purposes. Actually, now that I think about it, I don't know that I have coughed since it took up its residency...

The Recipe
1/2 pint Jack Daniels black label
1 pound honey
2 ounces glycerine (so help me, I did not know this was ingestible)
4 heaping teaspoons yellowroot

Yellowroot is more commonly known these days as Goldenseal. "Yellow powdered ass" is also accurate, though less market friendly. You will probably have to go to your local hippie store to find it, and it is kind of expensive for novelty ass powder. But it supposedly has actual therapeutic powers, like breaking up congestion. Possibly via the induction of convulsive gagging. But still, decongestive.

I cannot imagine it mattering what order you combine the ingredients; the honey and glycerine repel the powder, making a repellent swirl, an the Jack gives it a nice brown tinge and vomitous smell. The yellowroot won't dissolve, so just stir until the yellowy froth and smell overwhelm you, then slap it in an airtight jar. Preferably not an anthropomorphic, vaguely racist, possibly alive-when-you-are-not-looking ladybottle.

You know you want some.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Yummy vegan oatmeal cookies!

I am not a recipe person--I cook a lot, and I make up plenty of dishes, but I don't so much, like, measure in the strictest sense of the word. Ask my sister, she has emotional scars from trying to take down my mac & cheese recipe. But it yielded a funny blog on her MySpace! Which I cannot locate...must have been a while back. But I digress.

This recipe was born out of a desire for cookies that at least sound healthy, and made vegan by a spousal misplacement of ovum. The Spouse had bought eggs, but three days later we couldn't find them anywhere. There was a brief scare where we thought they might be in the pantry... *shudder* Alas, they were not. But without eggs I figured what the hell, lets go full vegan.

I made a test half batch that I feel was a success, so I made a full batch and actually--gulp--MEASURED ingredients and wrote down the temperature and baking time, etc. It was very unnatural for me, but my discomfort didn't make the cookies any less delicious. So, without further ado, my first reasonable, measurable, followable-by-all recipe:

1/2 C soy butter, softened
3/4 C maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon (or more--cinnamon good!)
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 C whole wheat flour
1 1/2 C rolled oats

Goodie mix:
1/2 C vegan chocolate chips
1/4 C flax seeds
1/4 C red raisins and dried cranberries, chopped
1/4 C black walnuts, chopped

Mix soy butter and maple syrup; add in vanilla, salt, cinnamon, and baking soda; work in the flour, then the oats; finally, add the goodies. Really you can use anything you like here--fruit, nuts, whatev--just use about a cup. I realize my recipe actually totals 1 1/4 cup of goodies, but flax seeds are tiny and fill in all the spaces between the chunkier stuff, and I was sort of reverse-engineering the mix from a bowl of stuff I had mixed earlier...math and recipes make me uncomfortable, just work with me here. Put in a cup or so of stuff, it'll be fine.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 7-8 minutes--cookies won't really get much browner, but theyill look dry on top.

100% Spouse approved!

(full disclosure--I did not use vegan chocolate, I used Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips, which, if you are not vegan, are damn yummy)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Unholy Yarnings

I am a bit of a whore for textiles. And I love horror movies. Hence, Unholy Yarnings--my fledgling line of horror-themed handspun yarns. I use the the term of art "line" very loosely. There is only one, and it is really just a prototype--me thinking with my hands and making it up as I go, if you will.

I call it Coagulating Bride.

It is a strand of white bamboo with a few strands of angelina, plied with a hand-dyed strand of red-streaked bamboo with hand-dyed soy gobbets. Think blood-soaked bride. I don't know whether the dye is vegetarian or not , but the fibers are, which I think is pretty cool.

The most fun was playing with the dye, mixing up the bloodiest red and streaking up the fiber. My kitchen came out remarkably unscathed, despite my basic dismissal of all safety and protective precautions. My garage floor, however, looks a teeny bit crime-sceney.

The first round was too pink, but I got new dye powders and achieved a more satisfying gobbety red. The pic on the left is the bad pinky bamboo; on the right is the soaking soy.

The rinsing part was tedious but very CSI/Bonesy/random innardsy. Or at least how I claim to imagine random innards to be, as of course you cannot prove that I have practical knowledge of such things.

As a side note, Oxy and Magic Erasers can have a white porcelain-coated sink looking like new in no time.

And the final product, coming in at 73 yards:

I will definitely do it differently next time--maybe dye the streaks after spinning, and do it more streakily, and maybe ply the (still pre-dyed) gobbets in with a super-thin strand of bamboo/angelina. I dunno. I have some leftovers, we'll see.

As if you needed proof that I am a wild and crazy gal.


Sunday, March 1, 2009

Wiener Gluttony

As planned, the Spouse and I had a day of backsliding from our recent vege / pescetarianism, culminating in a delectable meat orgy of sorts. To celebrate lucky anniversary #13 (a few days early), we went to Chicago to eat at Hot Doug's (The Sausage Superstore and Encased Meat Emporium). The wait was two hours, an hour and a half of which was outside. February 28th in Chicago was, let us say, a bit brisk. But alas, the legend of these great wieners motivated us, plus after a while we were pretty much numb anyway. And banding together with other masochists is always jovial. The delirium of near-hypothermia helps with the jovial.

After a wait like that, we were ready for some hot wiener action, and boy did we ever get it. It may be a hot dog and sausage joint, but there is some real culinarification (shut up, it is too a word--I used it in a sentence, you understand my meaning, ergo it is a word) going on in there. Below is a shot of our $36 worth of fanciness. Clockwise from top left: The Salma Hayek (andouille sausage); Pear and Port Wine Elk Sausage with cranberry mustard and bleu cheese drizzled with honey; Gyros Sausage with spinach raita, kalamata olives and haloumi cheese; Duck Fat Fries (omg, so wrong, and yet so delicious); Spicy Thai Chicken Sausage with Srirachi mustard and sesame-seaweed salad; and two Chicago Dogs.

Close up of the Gyro:

It was all delicious, though I was especially fond of the Elk and the Thai. The Elk was a collision of strong flavors, tempered with sweetness, and was to my Midwestern palette some serious gourmet shit. The Thai was satisfyingly spicy, plus it came smothered in day-glo green alien tentacles.

After the veritable meatpalooza, we waddled out to the car and headed North. After a yummy Caribou Coffee (way cooler ambience inside than the Green Devil), we entered Wisconsin, for a whirlwind shopping trip at the Mars Cheese Castle. Much aged cheddar was purchased. We drove around a bit, too--Wisconsin is sorta pretty, and I bet it is beautiful in the summer.

On the way back home we swung by a Baja Fresh, since ours went out of business. I have never been so disinterested in eating Baja in my life, as I was still stuffed, but hey, we were planning ahead. We chucked our Baja in the cooler and headed home. The long way, because we were so busy riding our meat-high and singing along with the CD player that we actually managed to miss I65 south. Yep, missed it. But eh, we weren't on a schedule, so we just went to South Bend and picked up SR 31. And some South Bend Chocolate Company snacks.

So, in summary, we had a very gluttonlicious Saturday.

We're planning on heading back to Chicago in a couple months to visit Shedd Aquarium; on that trip we're going to hit the Chicago Diner for some tasty vegetarian cooking.

And at the grocery store today, I bought strictly vegetarian fare. I don't feel bad about my nummy Saturday, but I also don't feel any desire to revert to full-time carnivore mode. Plus holy shit is it a lot cheaper!

Now I'm off to celebrate the rest of my long anniversary weekend, by sitting around attempting to metabolize the 47lbs of food I have crammed in my head-hole in the last 36 hours. Beer is a metabolic agent, right? (lie to me, baby)

Seacrest out.

PS--I didn't get a shot of the sign alongside I94 in Wisconsin that said "Bong Recreation Area," but since it was the same exit as the Cheese Castle I found this sign. Tee hee.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Ah yes, that supposedly-gray stuff jiggling about in my cranium. Brainy meaty goodness. The metaphorical muscle that can always be metaphorically flexed, no matter the shape of the body encasing it. Only lately I feel like, while still delicious zombie fodder, my brain has become flaccid. Intellectually atrophied. Boring.

So, this is me, shirking actual academically intellectual pursuits in favor of poking my slumpy brain with a stick, in the hopes that I can at least moosh it into fun shapes from time to time to create a comforting illusion of flexion.

Only I'm sorta tired right now, and I don't have a stick handy, so maybe I'll start the poking next time. This time, I think I'll just talk about meat.

I am a meat hypocrite.

More and more, when I go to the grocery, the slabs o’ meat just creep me out. They look more analogous to people-parts than they used to…hey, if I peeled MY shoulder it would look just like that roast! Or they look more…real. Wow, that is an actual cross-section of a dead thing’s body! I can see the saw marks in the bone! I’m not the squeamish type, either, so I find it intriguing that my brain should choose to toy with me like this. Is this some dawning ethical realization? Or was I bitten by a hippie? Head trauma? I dunno. I DO know that fish do not creep me out, and I am not prepared to live in a world without sushi. Or cheese. So I am down with fish and crustacean slaughter and udder exploitation. And I’m pretty sure that under the right circumstances I would still be a bacon whore (said circumstances being the presence of bacon). A little too hypocritical to claim late-blooming ethics. And I have no visible bite wounds or head lumps, so I guess it is just…me. Cool—fewer rules that way. So I am, at the moment, a pescetarian—no land-meat, but I eat sea kittens* and dairy. And duh, vegetables. Die, vegetables, die!

In a burst of bonus hypocrisy, this weekend I am going with the Spouse to Chicago to shamelessly eat at Hot Doug’s—The Sausage Superstore and Encased Meat Emporium. Hey—my mutation, my exceptions to my rules.

Does any of this mean anything? Is my pescetarianism like the bisexuality of my food orientation? And if so, is it the real thing or a comfortable stepping stone to ease my transition into vegetarianism?

I dunno. But hey, my blog is no longer naked, so that's something.

Now I gotta go find me a stick.

Peace out.

*What dumbfuckery is this, you ask? Well, Peta wants you to call fish "sea kittens" so as to render them less savory and more cuddly-cute. Seriously--I couldn't make this shit up.