Archives for the month of: October, 2011

But a little unsure about what to do with leftover maraschinos

Any one who meets me will see that I have a lot of energy. I suck at sitting still. You might think, “Wow! If only I could be so productive!” And in our performance culture, I fit right in. I am successful. I had a client (who is very much my senior) tell me that she felt badly for bothering me because I seem so busy.

But this energy is not always beneficial. I can’t channel it. And it gets out of control relative to work. This is where my energy and perfection-obsessed brain mix into some sort of steroidal concoction. I go through weeks where I can’t stomach a lunch which doesn’t consist of simple carbs. I’m paranoid about every e-mail I send. And every conversation I have. “Did I say everything right? Did they understand what I said?” And my favorite lately “Did I end up adding anything of value?”

All of this really makes me paranoid. I work enough hours that I have learned to compensate at work (the degree of success is debatable). But this same line of thinking causes even more distress in social situations. I spend so much energy on spinning around certain social situations that I can’t remember when the last time was that I actually had fun socializing or meeting people.

That’s me-completely disconnected from the rest of you folks out there. Most times I feel like I’m speaking a different language. One that doesn’t rely on the Roman alphabet

I made these cupcakes for a party where I had an uber-moment (suddenly found myself surrounding by a dozen women my age all wrangling their 15-month old children. I couldn’t take it. And I had to leave these beauties behind, but not before DH had 3.

Make these. Black Forest Cupcakes from Annie’s Eats

That’s it- I have to go to bed. I don’t get the world.
Beth

Rally!!!


I'm shameless....these were also an auction item to raise money for United Way

October is my favorite month in St. Louis. It’s always lovely- not a lot of rain and the weekends are still warm enough for trips to the wineries or apple orchards. But the best of the Octobers are the ones when the Cardinals are in the playoffs. I have trouble keeping up during the regular season, but I love the postseason.

During the series with the Phillies, we all learned that we have a furry fan – the rally squirrel! So now St. Louis is squirrel crazy (although not nearly as crazy as the Friskies’ commercial with Puss in Boots – yikes!)

As a transplanted St. Louisan, I jumped on the rally squirrel bandwagon once I realized Kitchen Conservatory had squirrel and cardinal cookie cutters. So rally squirrel cookies are in order!

Gingerbread Cookies adapted from Simply Recipes

3 1/4 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
1 Tbsp ground ginger
1 1/2 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/2 cup unsulfured molasses

Mix butter and sugar in mixer until beaten. Add egg and molasses until combined.

In separate bowl, combine flour, soda, and spices. Gradually stir into liquid ingredients until combined.

Refrigerate several hours or overnight. Using some extra flour, roll out on a cutting board until 1/4 inch thick. Cut out cookies and place on cooking sheet lined with a silpat. Bake at 350 for 8 – 10 minutes or until a little crisp. Let cool on wire rack.

To make royal icing:
2 tsp meringue powder
4 cups powdered sugar
5 – 6 tbsp water

Slowly mix together sugar, water, and meringue powder. When combined, increase speed on mixer and beat for 8 – 10 minutes or until shiny. Separate icing into Tupperware to color using selected gel colors. Thin out with a little water until icing can be piped. If filling cookies, add more water to further thin remaining frosting. Pipe edges of cookies, then fill. Let dry about 30 minutes, then you can pipe decos.

The squirrels didn’t use much frosting, but the filled sugar cookies will use a lot. Recipe made 36 squirrels.

Go Cards!!!

20111008-191136.jpg

The last of the garden is a bit of a misnomer (fancy words from an actuary!) I ended up having two veggies actually grow this year – cucumbers and jalepeno’s. Neither one was my favorite to begin with…I was really hoping that the sweet peas would grow, but the bunny’s apparently like them as much as I do. Needless to say, it’s been a bumper crop of spicy and crunchy.

I made the mistake the other day of deciding to chop up all of my peppers to freeze. It wasn’t just my peppers, it was also the CSA’s peppers!!! It wouldn’t have been such of a mistake if I had worn gloves. But I didn’t. And my fingers stung for the next two days straight. And now there are 3 freezer baggies full of peppers for Indian cooking this winter (poor DH).

I saved one of the peppers to make with this cucumber salad. I don’t really know what else to do with the cukes other than make a salad. This one initially attracted me because of the sezchuan peppers. I love those things. Makes me want a big bowl of sezchuan beef at my favorite Chinese joint (the kind of place where you’re surrounded by Chinese families with huge circular tables filled with food). Oh man is that a sucky thought when I’m hungry and stuck in rapid city south Dakota due to weather and the likelihood of making it to stl tonight is slim to none.

Back to cucumbers. And peppers. Try this if you’re looking to a light addition to an Asian inspired meal. And dream of delish Chinese.

Sichuan Cucumber Salad from Appetite for China

1 large or 2 medium-sized cucumbers. Don’t peel, but seed
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon whole sezchuan pepper
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon chili garlic paste

Cut the cucumber in half, then slice. Place cucumber in colander and stir in the salt. Wait for 20-30 minutes while water leaves cucumbers.

In a small skillet, heat oil on medium heat. Add garlic and sezchuan peppers and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until fragrant. Remove from heat.

Whisk together remaining ingredients. In a bowl, combine the cucumber, spices, and dressing. Is very nice still warm, but will keep in fridge for a day or two.