Posts Tagged ‘recipe’

Tropical Caramel

January 30, 2012 - 12:54 am 1 Comment

Or as I like to call it, the mouthgasm.

It’s been a while since I’ve done a food blog, and I don’t think I’ve ever blogged anything sweet even though my friends would insist I’m a much better dessert chef than a savory chef, which is especially weird because I only very rarely enjoy sweets.

Tonight was one of those nights when I wanted something sweet.

I hope you do too.

What It Is:

Tropical Caramel, an amazing topping for… Fuck, I don’t know, everything ever? I used mine to top some right-out-of-the-box just-add-hot-milk banana oatmeal.

What You’ll Need:

1/2 banana, sliced into coins
3 tablespoons canned pineapple chunks(reserve some juice)
1/4 cup sugar (I used white)
1 tablespoon butter
1 dash cayenne pepper, powdered
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
A small non-stick frying pan

How to Do It (No Not Like That):

Heat yo’ pan, yo’. Put your frying pan over medium low heat, until it’s hot enough that when you drop your butter in it, the butter immediately sizzles but does not burn. If it doesn’t sizzle, turn up the heat.

Add the sugar into the melted butter and add just enough of the pineapple juice so that the sugar is damp. You won’t need very much at all. Let that ooey-gooey mixture bubble a bit. The moment it starts to take on any color, any at all, add the banana coins and the pineapple chunks.

Now wait. Okay, don’t just stand there. If you’ve got teh skillz, you can saute the fruit – and I do mean saute; make sure all of the pineapple bits and banana slices get flipped over at least once. If you ain’t got the skills, you can use a spoon or a fork or something I guess.

Once the fruits have taken on some nice, brown color, add the cayenne and the vanilla.

But wait! It’s time for science!

Why are we adding the vanilla now? Why don’t we just add it at the beginning when the sugar needs more moisture anyway?

Vanilla extract, as you probably know, is like 99% alcohol (okay, it’s actually a minimum of 35% and unless you’ve got the extra-strength stuff, it’s probably not much more than that) and if you paid attention in science class or have ever had a bonfire, you know that alcohol is pretty darn flammable. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean your caramel will catch fire (well, not if you’re careful) (I mean, unless that’s what you’re going for, but I wouldn’t attempt a flambe in my non-stick cookware), but it does mean that if you add the vanilla too soon, not only will all of the alcohol cook out, the flavor will as well and you just wasted, what, a buck fifty’s worth of vanilla.

That was science!

After you’ve added the pepper and the vanilla, another 30 seconds at a slightly-higher medium heat should give your fruits a nice color and a little bit of a singe.

It should look a bit like this:
Tropical Caramel
…but it wouldn’t hurt to be a bit darker.

That’s it. Seriously, that’s it. Use it like I did to top some really boring oatmeal, pour it over ice cream, or, fuck, eat it with a spoon.

Oh, and for the record? You’re welcome.

It’s time for SCIENCE!

December 2, 2010 - 5:08 pm No Comments

Well, almost.

First I’m going to share with you a delightful but simple wintertime treat (for those of you north of the equator) that you should enjoy while reading this blog.  I hope you like coffee.  And joy.  It doesn’t have to be covered in bees.

FIRST!  Set a cup of coffee to brew or press it or use your espresso maker or however ya fix your caffeine fix.

Get a cup, a teaspoon of sugar, and a packet of cocoa.  Preferably with marshmallows.  Dump cocoa and sugar in cup.  Pour coffee on top.

Scrape marshmallows off of top, eat, mix thoroughly, be happy.  Oh, yeah, then read the rest of this blog.  Which starts now.

I. Love. Science.  I was an English major with a creative writing concentration, I only took my mandatory amounts of science in high school I belonged to the English, drama, and jazz clubs, and I. Love. Science.  You will never not find me watching The Universe or crushing on Michio Kaku or wearing my Periodic Table of the Elements shirt or reading about Einstein.

Which brings me to installment’s book: The Quotable Einstein collected and edited by Alice Calaprice.

This is a quick read.  Yes, yes, it’s several hundred pages long, but it’s exactly what it purports to be: a collection of quotes by the man himself, Albert Einstein, who was generally a great guy except he was really bitter about women so don’t take anything he says about us at face value.  He was also a friend of Sigmund Freud so let’s blame his mom and move on (I’M KIDDING).

This collection paints a deeper picture of Einstein as a man who realised he was just a man and did his best to quell any sort of belief that he was anything more than human.  It also portrays how firmly Einstein stuck to his beliefs, many of which were unpopular at the time.  He believed women should be allowed to have abortions up to a certain point, much as we do now.  He believed homosexuality should not be punished, he loved America but saw how it suppressed it’s minorities and spoke out against it, and he was an avid pacifist, believing only in violence when it was to protect oneself.  This isn’t surprising giving the atmosphere he grew up in: pre-WWI Germany was already a hotbed of conflict, more so than many of us realise, and for Einstein, himself a Jew, it was imperative he leave that behind.  Indeed, he rescinded his German citizenship and became a Swiss citizen very early in life, before he was naturalised in US many years later.  For many of these beliefs, though weak and obvious they may seem now, he was suspected of Communism and questioned in the McCarthy hearings, to be subsequently dubbed by Mr. McCarthy as an “enemy of America.”  Incidentally, that was about the time that America decided they weren’t buying that shit anymore.  Einstein had already said previously in a letter, “I have never been a Communist.  But if I were, I would not be ashamed of it.”

The book also delves into more personal subjects: Einstein had an amazing sense of humor, loved music, played the violin, and enjoyed the company of his family pets very much.  Once, during a particularly bad rainstorm, his tabby “Tiger” was upset that he could not go outside.  Einstein commiserated with the creature, saying, “I know what’s wrong, dear fellow, but I don’t know how to turn it off.”  (That’s right, Doctor.  Everyone talks to cats.)  The volume also includes snippets of his letters to his first and second wife, including the period in between where his first marriage was falling apart and he sought comfort in an affair with his soon-to-be second wife, Elsa.  Clearly he was not a perfect man, but if he was, I doubt half of us would be able to relate to him at all, for as hard as that can be already.

My only complaint with the collection is that, in an effort to be thorough, Ms. Calaprice has included several iterations Einstein made of the same quote.  While it’s good to see an attempt to be sure that the most important quotations were included, there are several occasions where this gets distracting.  This is perhaps most obvious in the case of the “God does not place dice” quote.  While it is true that this is something Einstein believed firmly and repeated so often that Niels Borh was prompted to respond, “Stop telling God what to do!”, it is not necessary that the reader see every single instance wherein Einstein restated his belief.  The most eloquent or succinct iteration would have been just fine, and this is a problem which occurs with several other quotes in the book.  It is a problem which becomes very distracting very quickly, causing the reader to pause and say, “Wait, I caught that and the editor let it slide?” which is never something you want to hear said about a book.

Beyond that, though, the book is a good, clear insight into the mind of Einstein through the man’s own words, and I recommend it to anyone interested in his science, life, or personality.

With that, I leave you with these choice Einstein-ian quotes (and hopefully some of that cocoa left over):

  • “With fame I become more and more stupid, which of course is a very common phenomenon.”
  • “Personally, I experience the greatest degree of pleasure in having contact with works of art.  They furnish me with happy feelings of an intensity such as I cannot derive from other realms.”
  • “I have no special talents.  I am only passionately curious.”
  • “That worst outcrop of herd life, the military system, which I abhor…  this plague-spot of civilisation ought to be abolished with all possible speed.  Heroism on command, senseless violence, and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism – how passionately I hate them!  How vile and despicable seems war to me!  I would rather be hacked into pieces than take park in such an abominable business.”
  • “I do not believe that civilisation will be wiped out in a war fought with the atomic bomb.  Perhaps two-thirds of the people on earth would be killed, but enough men  capable of thinking, and enough books, would be left to start out again, and civilisation could be restored.
  • When asked why people could discover atoms by not the means to control them: “That is simple, my friend: because politics is more difficult than physics.”

Vegetarian Japanese Polka-Dot Rice

June 15, 2010 - 8:41 pm No Comments

Welcome to a segment I’m going to call Adventures in Being a Dirt-Poor Foodie.  Today I bring you a recipe I just concocted.  The inspiration for this was how much I love veggie dogs and how lazy I truly am.  What it is is pretty much the title: white rice with Japanese clear soup mix and polka-dots (maybe this is a Pittsburgh thing, but ‘polka-dot macaroni’ is when you cut up a hot dog and put it in a bowl of mac n’ cheese.  For this, I used a veggie dog, being the meatless sort I am, and put it in rice instead. Because, that’s why).


1/2 cup white rice (though I’d imagine any grain or variety of rice would work just fine)

2/3 cup water

1 veggie dog (if you’re a veggie person, go ahead and use whatever hot dog you please)

1 packet Japanese clear soup mix (though, once again, I’d imagine you could use miso mix or even a packet of ramen powder, butthat would seriously up the sodium content.  Additionally, it may make a difference that this mix is one packet to eight ounces of water.  It’s Sushi Chef brand, if we’re getting super technical)

Baby spinach leaves (as many as you like; I used four big’uns)

White mushroom caps (again, as many as you like, and probably whatever mushrooms you prefer. I used three)

1 medium garlic clove, chopped

2 tablespoons shallots, chopped (or onions, though you may want to use more, especially if you’re using white or sweet onions)

A pinch of habanero (if you’re into spicy food like me)

Margarine or butter (or vegetable oil or non-stick spray, it’s not really the flavor that matters here, it’s the fact that garlic is sticky)

Sounds yummy, now what do I do?

In a small to medium sauce pan, melt about a tablespoon of margarine (or butter).  Over a medium-low heat, saute the shallots, garlic, and habanero lightly.  Add as much margarine as it takes to keep the herbs scootin’ across the pan.  As they begin to brown, chop up the mushrooms and put them in.  You may need more non-stick.  Saute them, but only very lightly, since they’re going to continue to be cooked.

Splash in your 2/3 cup of water.  Now, I know most rice only requires as much water as rice, but there’s a lot going on in this pan already, so it might get soaked up.  Let the veggies mix in a bit with the water, then add the rice.  Mix it up, and add the packet of soup mix .  While that cooks, prepare your veggie dog.

Cook the hot dog however you prefer; boil it, fry it, grill it (though that would be a lot of work for one stupid hot dog).  For the record, I put mine in the microwave wrapped in a wet paper towel and nuked it for 45 seconds, because i am truly lazy.  Then, just let it hang out and cool.

Now, de-stem the spinach and chop or tear it up, and put it in with the rice.  Don’t forget to stir occasionally.   Let the spinach cook down just a smidge, and turn the heat down to low.  While that last bit of water is cooking away, get a bowl.  Chop up your cooked veggie into bits (I like mine dime-sized) and put it in the bottom of the bowl.  Then just pour the rice on top and voila! Dinner!  With plenty of food groups!  Enjoy with a spoon or chopstick and milk or Coke or whatever.  I’d imagine this would also be good as a side for something, though perhaps sans hot dog.  It might even be good with fish.

Now, as you figured, pretty much everything in this recipe is optional except for the rice and the soup and the hot dog, hence it being Japanese Polka-Dot Rice (don’t even hafta be vegetarian).  It’s really whatever you like; add carrots, celery, potatoes, whatever, just be mindful of individual cook times.  Pretty much everything in this recipe cooks up fast, but say, potatoes, not so much.

Since I am a giant foodie (read: a huge pig), I’m hoping to include more recipes in here, of my own styling, and maybe even of yours!  If you want to send me a recipe to try and/or post, just email it to me or even leave it in the comments (though if it’s got meat in it I can’t promise I’ll try it, though I may use Chris as a guinea pig).  And, if you’d like to be on my much neglected blogroll, hey, just drop me a line and let me know.  I’d love to get some affiliates, which I’m under the impression are internet friends.  I love friends!

That’s all for now.  I’m off to continue playing Rhapsody: A Musical Adventure on my pink DS, because secretly I’m nine years old.