Posts filed under ‘Baking’

Tiny Desserts and Beer Tiramisu (Beeramisu)

Bear with me while I gush a little about one of my favorite food blogs, DessertForTwo.com by Christina Lane. Girl, you are as adorable as your desserts are tasty. Thank you for finding a way to preserve the waistlines (and bank accounts) for all obsessive bakers out there. I love that you have puff pastry, sugar free detox, cocktails, and a judicious hand with the bourbon. And CROISSANT. Eer-mer-gerd, nom nom nom!

A while back I got it in my head to make ladyfingers. I had mascarpone in the fridge at the time (on waffles and french toast with apple butter) and was looking for other ways to use it. Tiramisu popped up a lot, big sarcastic surprise, and all the recipes called for a package of ladyfingers. I am a paranoid label reader, and if it isn’t already an ingredient in my cupboard, I cringe. Fortunately, the internet provides many ladyfinger recipes and I liked this one and it’s tiny variation. While it is ten more steps to make the ladyfingers, they keep well in a tin and I found it rewarding and fun with my pretend pastry bag. If you would rather go have bottomless mimosas at brunch, by all means, buy a package of ladyfingers or make them on a different day.

Milk stout with vanilla bean = the only flavoring you need

Milk stout with vanilla bean = the only flavoring you need

Enter again, Christina Lane, who has no less than three tiramisu versions and several different techniques. I admit that a full recipe of tiramisu would be overwhelming in dishes to wash after, but not so much when you use tiny bowls and tiny amounts of ingredients. That is especially good, because I didn’t want to sacrifice an entire beer to replace the spirits in a full recipe. Especially this special beer which Shane brought back from his travels, Creme Brûlée from Southern Tier which is so so so so good! So good!

Beer tiramisu is not a new idea and several schools of thought have developed around it; pure expression of the beer in the dessert and the boozier version with added spirits like Kahlua, Bailey’s or Brandy. With a beer like Creme Brûlée, I have to go with pure expression. Other beers that would be fun for pure expression would be Chocolate Sombrero by Clown Shoes and Kasteel Winter. A strong belgian beer version might be pretty good, too.

Below is Christina’s traditional tiramisu method including beer and less sugar.

Beer Tiramisu for Two

Prepare double boiler and in the bowl beat the following until thick and pale yellow:

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Stir in:

  • 2 oz Southern Tier Creme Brûlée

Beat with hand mixer for two minutes or until 160 F. Allow to cool.

Whip the following:

  • 0.25 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp powdered sugar

Fold whipped cream into zabaglione/custard.

Then fold in:

  • 3 oz mascarpone

Dip

  • 8-16 ladyfingers (packaged or this recipe which were not as tall as commercial versions)

for 1-2 seconds in

  • 3 oz Southern Tier Creme Brûlée

and layer with cream/custard mixture in two bowls with capacity to hold two cups.

Dust with cocoa powder. Allow to chill 5 hours.

Enjoy with the rest of the Southern Tier Creme Brûlée.

I may have Miss Partner addicted to Beeramisu.

Now, what to do with the rest of the ladyfingers. Send some to Corbet and Bill. Check. Perhaps make a sandwich cookie like those Milanos? With beer flavored ganache?

 

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January 19, 2015 at 6:02 pm Leave a comment

Immortal Words: Bourbon Apple Brown Betty

As a citizen of the United States (‘Murica!), I am pretty familiar with pie, a familiarity approaching obsession. I’m less familiar with what makes a pie into a tart, though this article makes it pretty clear. That thing called a galette, I’ve heard it is also called a crostata. Another question that needs clarification: Do you know the difference between a crumble, crisp, pandowdy, brown betty and cobbler?

I have since learned that a crumble is the same as a brown betty, described as a dessert made with fruit and sweetened crumbs. I can’t hide my disappointment at learning this and I’m afraid it makes this post less interesting with each word. Time to reinsert some magic. In the immortal words of Miss Partner, “You can, and really, you should, deglaze with bourbon.” Bourbon. Do you feel the magic again? Okay, more about that later.

In my research, I did find a recipe (thank you, Epicurious) that might differentiate the crumble and the brown betty. Instead of sweetened crumbs, it calls for layering of bread cubes and apples, sprinkled with nutmeg-sugar, kinda like a strata but without the custard or a stuffing without the savory.

Now that you have had magic, it is time for comedy. Miss Partner has taken over running the house recently, perhaps as a test to see if she can still do it or to shhhhhhhh my nagging. I am allowed to cook once a week, so I can keep my skills. We were vying for control of a hunk of stale bread that one of us was going to make into dessert. Well, both of us waited so long that the bread was rock hard. No amount of putting it in a bag with a wet paper fowl could soften it. To break up this bread, I went after it with a meat cleaver. It took longer than I thought it would. Can you see me, just pounding away at this piece of bread with a meat cleaver? The cleaver probably would have hacked through bone faster than this piece of bread. It was so dry, it was splintering into cubes on its own, and I’m glad because if I had to go after smaller pieces with the cleaver I was in danger of chopping my fingers off. I really should have been wearing safety glasses, as shards of bread were hitting my face rather close to my eyes. I wish I had taken a picture of the mess. Maybe next time I’ll try microwaving it in a shallow bowl of water; that would probably be safer.

Now, back to the magic. When this recipe called for water at the end, I was like; water?! Water?! No. Cider or beer, or white wine. Oh, oh, oh. Or BOURBON! I guess the water is supposed to help moisten and steam the bread and apples, but so can cider, beer, white wine and BOURBON! Of course, I’m not going to use water. I was terribly pleased to report that Google could not find a Bourbon Apple Brown Betty recipe, then utterly deflated to learn there were plenty of crisp (and pie) recipes with apples and bourbon. Let’s face it; a crisp is just a crispier crumble or brown betty. Fine! [exacerbated] But, again, more positively, Google couldn’t find any Bourbon Apple Brown Better recipes!

Mmmmm. Breakfast!

Mmmmm. Breakfast!

In the end, the bread on the top does get crispy and I wanted to add some protein and wholesome nut oil; I added oats and almonds to the sugar-nutmeg sprinkle. So I guess this is a crisp-brown-betty fusion. For more brown-betty-ness, omit oats and almonds.

Now recipe, because the inter webs must have a Bourbon Apple Brown Betty recipe. This size will be good for two  or four people.

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup oats (optional)
  • 1/2 cup organic almonds (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cups 1/4-inch bread cubes
  • 2 pounds large organic apples, sliced (remove skins if apples are not organic)
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons BOURBON
  1. Get yourself a loaf pan and butter it up! Set oven to 375 F.
  2. Combine first four ingredients in food processor, and pulse until you have a course meal. Add butter and pulse until only small chunks observed.
  3. In the loaf pan: First Layer bread, Second layer apples, Third layer bread, Fourth layer apples, Fifth Layer bread.
  4. Sprinkle with BOURBON!
  5. Sprinkle with mixed ground oats, almonds, sugar, nutmeg and butter.
  6. Bake 40 minutes tightly covered with foil. Bake 10 more minutes without foil.
  7. Ends up being not overly sweet. Good. That means you can add pumpkin ice cream! Do it. Oh, salted caramel gelato would be good, too.

Throughout this post, I kept typing brown better instead of betty. Laughable and infuriating.

December 4, 2014 at 1:05 am Leave a comment

‘Hood Honey Pumpkin Marshmallows and Other uses for Marshmallows

The first time I heard about homemade marshmallows was an NPR interview with the author of Make the Bread, Buy the Butter. For the last three years, I kept seeing recipes for crazy kinds of marshmallows on Epicurious (Lillet, Champagne, etc.) and a local chocolate shop (sadly closed now) was making wine flavored marshmallows. For a while, I was excited about using leftover egg whites for marshmallows, which you can use, but don’t need. What you absolutely do need is a candy/fry thermometer.

Now, let’s talk corn and avoiding a trip back to the market. Many marshmallow recipes call for light (referring to color) corn syrup. I do not want to buy corn syrup for my marshmallows. Granted, it’s not the evil high fructose corn syrup, which initially caused me to turn away from it. I want to avoid giving more money to the heavily subsidized corn industry because I want that land to grow more heirloom barley and maybe even some hops, definitely for more squash. So selfish.

I couldn’t find a photo of them with honey, so this is my dad with the bees.

Since I have denied myself corn syrup, I still need to get my invert sugar somewhere. What else is gooey and sweet and has invert sugar? Honey (or cane syrup, but I didn’t want to go back to the market, remember). Fabulous honey. We’ve been hearing amazing things about bee vomit lately, but the fun facts I love best are; Alexander the Great was embalmed with it (mellified), and it survived 3000 years in an Egyptian tomb (look for this book at your library for more fun facts about honey).

I am fortunate to have parents that keep bees in their backyard in Oakland (‘Hood Honey), and whenever I ask, they give me some. Their latest harvest is lovely and floral and a rich amber color. And an internet search tells me I can substitute honey for the same amount of corn syrup.

I love squash, especially winter squash.

I love squash.

Remember, my obsession with pumpkin? Oh, I didn’t tell you yet? I collect them to display in my house around Halloween and then I eat them all the way through May, because they last that long. Sour cream pumpkin pie (cans of evaporated milk always sounded gross to me), pumpkin butter, pumpkin soup, pumpkin enchilada, pumpkin gnocchi, pumpkin turnovers, pumpkin clafoutis, pumpkin panna cotta, pumpkin liqueur… I could go on. Of course, I have to do an internet search for pumpkin marshmallows.

The following recipe is adapted from these two: Pumpkin Marshmallow and Honey Marshmallow (Haha! Urban Poser. What a great name for a blog!).

Look at those beautiful, buffy orange, sweet, spicy clouds!

Look at those beautiful, buffy orange, sweet, spicy clouds!

Let’s try the Joy of Cooking format, shall we?

In a small bowl, mix:

a third cup pureed pumpkin

1-2 teaspoons pumpkin spice (any combination you like of cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, clove, and ginger; this way you can choose how spicy and if you want to feature a certain spice more, usually people choose more cinnamon)

Set bowl aside.

Now mix and sift:

quarter cup cornstarch

quarter cup powdered sugar

Set aside.

Line a jellyroll pan or half sheet pan with parchment paper and liberally dust with some of the cornstarch/sugar– let’s call it marshmallow dust. Leave no parchment exposed.

In a stand mixer with whisk attachment, combine (no need to stir):

half cup cold water

3 envelopes unflavored gelatin (I’ve seen vegan/vegetarian marshmallows using agar; go ask the internet)

Powdered gelatin will soften while you…

Heat in a saucepan, (small and tall if you have one):

1 cup sugar

1 cup honey

half cup cold water

It will bubble a lot and look like it’s going to boil over, so stir like mad until it reaches 240 F on your candy thermometer.

Start your mixer on low, and slowly pour hot sugar into softened gelatin. Then whisk on high for 12 to 15 minutes. In the first minute it will get really puffy. In the last minute, add pumpkin and spice mixture. The mixture will still be warm.

Pour puffy cloud of sugar over dusted parchment paper, and smooth with rubber spatula to desired thickness. Dust top with more marshmallow dust, and allow to dry and cool for at least two hours, better for four. Cut to desired shape with sharp knife and coat cut sides with more marshmallow dust. Store in cool, dry place. Eat within a week.

You can put anything you want on pancakes.

You can put anything you want on pancakes with jam.

Now let’s talk about how to eat those marshmallows within a week without getting bored.

  • Obviously, a great layer on top of your Thanksgiving yams or sweet potatoes
  • Great on hot chocolate AND COFFEE!
  • Use instead of meringue on your custard pie! Grab your torch and give it that beautiful golden color!
  • Substitute for whipped cream or ice cream on dessert! Go after it with a torch for that caramelized crunch effect and gooier middle!
  • Creative s’mores! You can use any cookie in place of the graham cracker. Go crazy and use giandua (Nutella) or bacon chocolate. Add raspberry or other fruit jam!
  • ON EVERYTHING YOU CAN THINK OF! within reason.

Happy Thanksgiving, US citizens.

November 27, 2014 at 3:39 pm Leave a comment

Abject Failure; Candy Corn in Chocolate Chip Cookies

Star anise and cinnamon implied...

Star anise and cinnamon implied…

... but not actually there.

… but not actually there.

There is a mostly full bag of Pumpkin Spice Candy Corn that is still sitting on the kitchen table after date night (and I mean definition 2; a weekly get-together of a core group of friends that is pot-luck and games or out for dinner and a movie). While candy corn is Miss Partner’s favorite Halloween candy, she flinches at it being pumpkin spice without any spices in the ingredients list except sesame oil. (Sesame oil? Weird.) To her, they are an abomination, and they are not being eaten. What to do to use them up…

Somewhere on the inter webs (probably a post from Serious Eats or Epicurious on FB), I saw a recipe for Halloween Candy Butter Cookie Bars. Did you know before chocolate chip cookies there was no chocolate and they were called butter drop do cookies? (For more info, this is a good article and so is this.) From these two little info tidbits, I decided to try candy corn chocolate chip cookies.

I carefully opened up the punished-red-and-white-checkered-cookbook with a cleft in the cookie section for my base recipe. I substitute bacon fat for shortening (because I will not use shortening), and a splash of bourbon instead of vanilla; this version of the dough is extra amazing (This is important to me, because I am a dough-eater and bowl-cleaner when desserts are being made. My parents are probably sad they taught me this). The candy-corn-abominations are a complimentary flavor to the spicy bacon and bourbon addition, so dough tastes great and even better after an hour in the fridge.

Usually, when the dough is good, the cookies are great; and they are still good, but the candy corn melted causing this project to be a calamity:

IMG_26721. Cookie texture. The candy corn broke up easily from Jezabel’s beating (my dark red stand mixer). The small pieces act like toffee. WIN. The big pieces that remained melted into a big, glassy, tough to chew interruption. LOSE. (This did not bother my band members.)

2. Liberation. I’m sure there is a more appropriate word (separation? dismount? severance?), but you’ll get the idea. Trying to get these cookies off the double layer cookie sheets was a pain. The cookies broke because the force required to remove the cookie was less than to remove the inadvertently-created toffee. The spatula would encounter the toffee and rip the rest of the cookie in half or fifths. Waiting longer for the cookies to cool didn’t help this much; the cookies might have been stronger, but not approaching the strength of the sticky candy-corn-toffee.

IMG_26713. Cleaning. The candy corn toffee stuck to the spatulas and cookie sheets and is a pain to get off. Lots of water, lots of scrubbing. For the rest of the dough, I lined my cookie sheets with parchment paper.

After noting the state of the candy corn after being exposed to 375 Fahrenheit for 10ish minutes, it occurred to me my candy thermometer could have informed this experiment; 375 F is not in the confection zone, it’s in the fry zone. Of course, little bits of sugar, corn syrup, air and yellow 5 would completely lose shape at that temperature. Oops. Searching the inter webs would have showed me “softbatch” cookies are the way to go with this project.

IMG_2674The addition of parchment paper inspired another experiment. The melty bits of the corn came off easily and had that beautiful gradient and glassy look. IMG_2676It would make a fantastic garnish to stick on some cupcake or mousse. I threw some candy corn on the parchment and baked for five minutes. It looked really scary bubbly but quickly settled into that glass-like state and in 3 minutes was cool enough to touch. It spread quite a bit. I would recommend three minutes and lots of space between candy corns, but breaking up the candy glass is easy, only it creates lots of sharp bits. Well, so do your teeth. Chew sugar glass with care.

I still had candy corn to use up, so I decided on another experiment; a baking project that slightly exceeds the confection zone (230-310 F on my candy thermometer). Blondies with butternut squash and candy corn baked at 325, perhaps? Yeah, they still melted… BUT they are a soft, oozing caramel instead of gum cutting glass. WIN! Especially with pumpkin ice cream and glassy decorative melted candy corn! Mission accomplished, sort of.IMG_2682

My kitchen mantra might protect the pocket book, reduce waste, and keep you from food poisoning, but my substitutions do not always result in resounding success. Abject failure is a little melodramatic. There were some things that worked, like small pieces of candy corn for small toffee effect and parchment paper to keep the candy from sticking to the cookie sheets. Magic was still made in the form of blondies with candy corn at 325 F.

The candy corn season is over. Perhaps, next year, I’ll try the soft batch cookies. Or I’ll just send the leftovers with Miss Partner to work so her coworkers will devour them.

November 9, 2014 at 11:37 pm 2 comments

My kitchen mantra case study; sweet roll options

You may remember a post or two ago I mentioned my kitchen mantra is “use it before it grows fur.” It can also be re-packaged into, “I don’t want to go back to the store.” This laziness– I mean, budget conscious attitude– helps to drive my creativity. It makes me look up new recipes to try or search for substitutions that can be made in a favorite recipe.

Yeah, you wish you could come over.

Yeah, you wish you could come over.

I chose sweet rolls for the following case study. I had some orange juice to use up. I kept seeing all these sweet roll recipes I’d saved on my two favorite smartphone recipe apps (Epicurious and Whole Foods Recipes) and more recipes popping up on the internets. My favorite dough recipe is from the orange bow knot recipe in the red-and-white-checkered-paperback-cookbook-that-has seen-better-days (The New Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook 11th Edition). To make the large amount of dough easier to work with, the recipe directs you to divide the dough in half and each piece gives you 8 rolls, 16 total. For each piece of dough, I decided to do different fillings, because I just don’t like to be bored. Thanks to Epicurious and their 15 delicious ways to use jam article that suggests English Jam Bag Pudding, I was inspired to use jam as a filling as the recipe is not much different from sweet rolls. I have a pile of jam that I have made and been gifted. I thought I should use Erik’s strawberry jam as a filling to sweet rolls. (As it is near Halloween, it pleased me to think of the dark red jam as a sickly gore and reminded me of Walking Dead) Mixing a half cup jam with 2 tablespoons melted butter is an excellent replacement for the cinnamon sugar filling. The other half of the dough got a Garam Masala (one teaspoon), brown sugar (quarter cup), ground almond (quarter cup), and butter filling (2 tablespoons).

The frosting/icing issue uses mantra version 2. I have no cream cheese for frosting and I have no powdered sugar for icing. But goat cheese, check! Honey, check! One part honey to two parts goat cheese makes a great substitute for cream cheese frosting. You could also run for another breakfast staple; maple syrup!

To summarize, I was able to use up Orange Juice, Jam and Goat cheese with this project. Yes (I am fist pumping)!

For my next roll experiment I may decide to cut the sugar and make the filling savory… cheese and spinach… bacon and brussel sprouts… homemade mushroom pate…

Okay. Go be creative with stuff you have and save money by not going back to the store to get stuff you don’t have. And please comment so I feel good about putting myself out here on these inter-webs.

 

 

October 27, 2014 at 6:07 pm 2 comments

Frankenstein waffles

My mantra in the kitchen is, “use it before it goes bad,” and this drives most of my creativity. So, while Halloween is approaching and we are trying to use up Burning Man and house sitter provisions, I decided the best way to use up some spinach would be to make a green waffle, evocative of that monster made by Dr. Frankenstein and made green by Hollywood. What goes good with spinach, I asked myself. Cheese. Spinach and cheese waffle.

IMG_2492

Frankenstein batter in my favorite mixing bowl.

Yeah, that’s different. Most recipes I peeped on the interwebs (I’ve been watching Thug Notes) just have you chop up spinach to throw in waffle batter. Well, I decided to mash it all up together with my immersion blender.

As far as formulating the recipe, I used these thoughts;

I started with a cornmeal waffle recipe that came with my stove top waffle maker years ago. I figured adding a spinach puree probably won’t effect the moisture content of your favorite base waffle batter, since it seems pretty equal moisture/fiber already. As for the cheese, it’s used as a mix in for waffles in all cheese waffle recipes I’ve researched. So I just grated that gruyere right into the green batter.

Well loved recipes.

Toppings. What is a waffle without toppings? Simply a differently shaped piece of bread. Really, you can used whatever you want. In the moment, spinach and gruyere reminded me of a scrumptious breakfast at Le Barricou in Brooklyn last May. They have an apple gruyere omelet! So I sautéed apples and added pecans that we trekked out to Black Rock City and back. I threw them in a pan with a bit of bacon fat, a tablespoon of brown sugar and sautéed a bit. Voile! Spinach Cheese waffle with apple pecan topping, good for dinner and breakfast. But hey, you should top it with whatever you want. Garlic chips? Aioli? Mushroom Gravy?

Pecans and Early Times Apples

Recipe as follows

0.5 cup cornmeal
0.75 cup wheat flour
0.5 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
salt to taste
1 egg
0.75 cup milk
0.5 cup packed spinach (or kale, or steamed broccoli, or other green easily pureed)
0.25  (or more) cup shredded gruyere (or cheddar, or goat gouda, or aged fontina, or whatever strikes your fancy)

Blend everything but the cheese with your immersion blender or a blender or food processor. Stir in cheese. Follow waffle maker instructions. Makes 3-4 waffles. Want more? Double the recipe!

IMG_2496

Looka that green waffle!

This turned out to be a pretty heavy waffle. So we go again with something lighter and this time I used broccoli and one of those amazing cheeses from Fromagerie Sophie. Uh, it looks like cheddar, tastes like a mild cheddar and is called Appleby’s Chesire Cheese.

Belgian Broccoli Cheese Waffles (3-4 waffles)

6-7 oz. of broccoli (steam 5 min.)
2 eggs, separated
a couple dashes of nutmeg or sprig of thyme or turns of the pepper grinder
1.5 tablespoon BUTTER
0.5 cup whole wheat flour
salt to taste
0.5 cup milk
0.5 cup grated cheese (Appleby’s Chesire or cheddar or brie, whatever you think will go well)

1. Throw steamed broccoli, egg yolks, milk, and butter into a bowl. Go to town with immersion blender (or use a real blender or food processor).
2. Stir in flour and cheese.
3. Torture your egg whites until they have stiff peaks.
4. Fold into broccoli batter
5. Cook in waffle maker.

IMG_2535

Is your mouth watering yet?

Miss Partner made a lovely beef stew, and I thought this would look and taste just GRAND with it. And it was. Also fantastic the following day with broccolini and a fried egg! I know, you want to come and live with us. Who could blame you.

September 12, 2014 at 8:19 pm Leave a comment

Where Art Meets Survival; Burning Man Provisions

Embrace sculpture burn

Embrace sculpture burn

That’s right. Miss Partner and I made the trek from the central coast of California to the dusty desert outside Reno, Nevada; Black Rock City, population roughly 70K for one week out of the year, a Mad Maxian landscape complete with Thunderdome, teaming with art cars and art installations. The festival induces a metamorphosis of normal looking people into sparkly, animal printed, post-apocolyptic, sometimes naked, sometimes shirtcocking (I just learned about this), furry, tutu’d beings called Burners, who enjoy an idealistic culture guided by the ten principles of Burning Man for a week.

A ticket costing about 400 USD gets you the following amenities:

A scrap of land on a dry alkaline lake bed
Porto-johns
Medical facility (hope you don’t need to visit, but if you must, it is pretty cool!)
2 radio stations
Center Camp, including a post office, bike parking, and a stage

It also provides the following entertainment:

Burning of the Man
Burning of the Temple
All the other participants and whatever they can afford to bring with them

Center Camp

Center Camp

Miss Partner is excited by the challenge of survival in the extremely harsh environment; very dry, sometimes very hot, sometimes very cold, sometimes raining, sometimes 70 mph winds. Mostly this terrifies me. I really dislike the wind. I especially loathe it in dusty environments after spending eight years monitoring breeding endangered species on a central coast dune complex. Just place yourself there; chilly wind coming off the ocean, making your eyes water and chilling any exposed skin, sand scraping any exposed skin and falling into necklines and ear holes and your lunch, the smell of the sea air marred by exhaust, and the calls of birds drowned by the whine and roar of ATVs, UTVs and all other manner of crazy vehicles. At Burning Man, it is sans ocean. The sand is replaced with a fine alkaline dust and the noise becomes diesel engines on art cars and the heartbeat like bass of the house music stage, playing 24-7 in the near distance. We were lucky last year with the weather. This year, it was windier, and we skipped the rain earlier in the week. You’ll be happy to know, MP’s silver dome withstood the 20 mph winds like a champ and did not fall apart like some did. Yeah, girl!

Home sweet dome.

Home sweet dome.

In anticipation of anything that could go wrong, we filled Penelope (Miss Partner’s Mini) with solar panel, air bed, sleeping bags, clothing, food, camp stove and camp cooking utensils, and hooked her up to a 7-foot trailer with pieces for the geodesic dome MP built, the janky dome cover I made (I really did mean to redo it for this year), ladder, step stool, marine battery, swamp cooler, water, ice, etc. It’s like a backpacking trip without the hiking. Pack it in and pack everything out, except for what you leave behind at the porto-johns.

While Miss Partner updated the trailer sides, prepared the new solar panel and inverter system, I prepared the provisions. As there is a no-spill-nothing-on-the-playa policy, the regular camping cleaning procedures are difficult to apply. Water used for washing dishes is limited by the amount of water you have left after you calculate 1.5 gallons per person per day and the amount you can evaporate in a day, because otherwise you have to bring it all home. While we will probably have space, 24 gallons is a lot of water and will take up a lot of space. When Miss Partner first told me this, I replied, “Screw it. I’m not going,” but I did; it wasn’t so bad.

All meals were prepared to be frozen, pre-cut, with no need for pre-heating. It worked out pretty well. Dishes were eaten right of their containers, with a light dusting of playa (because you can’t escape the dust), and the containers were set aside for the dishwasher when we returned home. This year, Miss Partner wanted to do a little more cooking, because it looked like the nights would be much cooler, but they weren’t really. I think she just wanted coffee, because the first year we only had chocolate covered espresso beans; I thought making coffee was too messy.

So, now, the moment you’ve be waiting for; the menu.

IMG_2444

Mini Apple Pies!

I have been obsessed with pie forever. A muffin tin is an excellent vehicle for mini pies of all kinds. So far it has given us;

Mini Gruyere Black Trumpet Mushroom Strata
Mini Apple Pies
Mini Gorgonzola Picante (thank you, Fromagerie Sophie) Chantarelle Polenta
–at this point I ran out of butter, and for some of you it may get a little weird–
Chocolate (Apple Sauce) Muffins
Avocado Coconut Muffins
Apple Spice Muffins

The casserole dish has given us the following; pre-cut and packaged in tupperware:

Piquillo pepper, etc. Strata

Piquillo pepper, etc. Strata

Piquillo Pepper Squash Blossom Goat Cheese Strata
White Bean and Hazelnut Blondies (gluten free!)

So (clapping crumbs off hands), that ought to take care of some breakfasts, lunches and desserts. Now the hot meals.

Miss Partner had the forethought a few years ago to purchase a pressure canner. It’s pretty awesome when we run out of freezer space for my made-with-love black beans. Now it shall be used to can the following for our burn;

French Onion Soup
Beef Stew
Chili

Other Items:

frozen sausage, bacon, homemade scones, hot chocolate mix, coconut water, beer, wine, mead, cider, MP’s bacon bourbon chocolate chip oat cookies, several varieties of apples, coffee, grilled cheese sandwiches with roasted eggplant

Well, we and our two friends brought more food than we needed. We could probably bring half the amount of food and booze next time. There were a ton of food themed camps and pop-up bars everywhere. We drank so much water, we couldn’t drink much alcohol and barely got drunk the entire Wednesday through Sunday (We like to get there early and leave late to avoid the incredible lines to get on and off the playa). I achieved my goal to eat and gift all the muffins I made, so I have earned the playa name Dusty Muffins (I’m just glad it has nothing to do with fainting). Yes, I realize there is some innuendo there, but hey, that’s part of Burning Man. I gave out muffins to our fantastic Cleu Camp neighbors, people enjoying coffee on the coals of the Man the morning after he burned, random people caught at art installations during a white out on the playa, etc.

So. A different plan next time. Less food and booze. More costumes.

September 5, 2014 at 6:31 pm Leave a comment

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