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I dream of zombies

Despite the fact that I was too sick last week to enjoy any Halloween festivities, my brain more than made up for it by presenting me with zombie dreams two nights in a row!

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Schrodinger's Rapist on Shapley Prose

This post on Shapely Prose is both awesome and deeply depressing. If you have the time, the 1000+ (yes, seriously!) comment thread is well worth reading, although it does get rage-inducing at times. Good news, comments are now locked so you aren't chasing the tail end.

While I found it interesting to think about my constant awareness of potential threats in terms of Schrodinger's Rapist, where the article really came in personally helpful was in understanding that when I am in a privileged situation, I am a Schrodinger's Asshole. And this made me come to terms with the knee jerk defensive feeling I get when people talk about checking your privilege. My first response of "I'm not like that!" is totally the same as the guys on that thread who don't get that approaching women who don't want to be approached is gross and potentially really scary. And the best way to not be like that is to not be like that. But people who have been subjected to abuse (verbal, physical, emotional, etc) by people who share similar privileges to me don't know that I'm not an asshole, and they do not have to assuage my hurt feelings by allowing me to prove I am not an asshole. I will just continue to not be an asshole, and if I ever become relevant to their lives my continued non-asshole behavior will be be better proof of me not being an asshole than me getting up in their face about what an awesome and not prejudiced person I am.


Daring Bakers: Vol-au-Vents

My very first Daring challenge: The September 2009 Daring Bakers' challenge was hosted by Steph of A Whisk and a Spoon. She chose the French treat, Vols-au-Vent based on the Puff Pastry recipe by Michel Richard from the cookbook Baking With Julia by Dorie Greenspan.

I did a Boston Cream Pie version, with cardamom pastry cream. I based both the pastry cream and chocolate glaze on the Fannie Farmer recipes.

Puff pastry turned out to be much easier, as a concept, than I had anticipated. It is a little time intensive in that you need to plan a head and leave plenty of time for chilling. But it only takes about 10 minutes to set up the dough, and each turn takes less than that. So you can do other things while the dough chills, like get the filling ready. Don't be afraid of the puff pastry!

That being said, this was a pretty painful experience for me, physically. If you have pain condition like arthritis or fibromyalgia, I suggest having a strong armed kitchen helper do the rolling out. My hands got red and swollen after each turn, and my arms are still shaky and sore the next day. Apparently a little vinegar in the mix when you first blend the dough will make it easier to roll out, but I really doubt it will help enough to make it feasible for me to do it on my own.

Cilanto Mint Chutney-style Pesto


This recipe came about because I love the mint chutney that comes with poppadoms or samosas at Indian restaurants and I ordered a bunch of cilantro on a whim from my CSA and then didn't know what to do with it. I've eaten this as a spread on bread, mixed into tabulleh salad, as a pesto sauce on hot pasta, and as the base for a cold pasta salad. The image above is the cold pasta salad with grape tomatoes and fresh corn.

The recipe
3-4 cups of cilantro
1/2-1 cup fresh mint, depending on how minty you want it
1/2 cup lemon juice
2-3 chilis (seeded if you don't like spicy things)
2-3 cloves garlic (I've also used garlic salt or just omitted)
1/2 T cumin
salt and pepper to taste
About 1/2 coconut cream or milk

Dump everything but the coconut cream in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Add the coconut cream until you have the texture you want. My favorite way to serve it is over hot pasta like radiotori with shredded parmesan.


Amazon Fail

By now I'm sure you've all heard about Amazon's latest efforts at fail, the "glitch" that stripped any material deemed "adult" of its sales ranks. Funny thing is that the glitch is mostly stripping books with LGBT content whether or not the content is "adult" in nature while Ron Jeremy's biography is still searchable from the front page.

The ladies at Smart BItches, Trashy Books have a google bomb campaign going to make sure that while tons of books are no longer searchable at Amazon, Amazon's stupidity is searchable by all. Check out the new edition to the lexicon: Amazon Rank.


Homemade Soda Update

So my two experimental sodas weren't as bubbly as previous versions, but I had to put them in the fridge and halt fermentation because the bottles were ready to burst. But as I discovered today, you can sit them out for a second fermentation after you have strained the bits out to up the bubbles. Or if you want the bits to continue flavoring the soda, just open it up to let out the built up gas and then seal and continue the fermentation. Just keep an eye on the bottles and relieve the pressure when they get taut. So yay for that.


On cupcakes and homemade soda

I made cupcakes this weekend for movie night, and they turned out delicious. They are basically this recipe, but I used almond meal instead of going to the tedious lengths of blanching and grinding them myself. Then I frosted them with whipped cream flavored with some orange blossom water.

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I also decanted my recent soda experiments. Molasses ginger beer on the left, grapefruit on the right. I like them both, although they both have fewer bubbled than previous experiments. Liz tried the ginger beer and also liked it, though she had it with a healthy serving of whiskey so that might have biased her a bit.

And just for kicks, BEETS!


Homemade Soda

About a month or two ago I found a recipe on the internets for making ginger beer at home and my interest was immediately piqued. I ended up using another recipe, or mis-remembering this one, since the way I make it is:

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My precioussss...

I got my new electric blanket yesterday! It is so warm and toasty, and it works so well! It doesn't take an hour to heat up or give out half-way through the night. Electric blanket, I love you.


Guilty Pleasure

So I have the Daily Kitten widget on my iGoogle page because having an adorably kitty greet me when I log on at work somehow makes the morning better. Anyway, today's kitten was begging for a LOLcating.