Archive for October, 2012

Favorite Shots: Rules of Walking

I read this sign very carefully, worried that I might have been living too long in the burbs and forgotten how to walk correctly in the midst of other humans.


Pipe Dream #144: To Emulate, Appreciate – Beignets

These beignets are kind of embarrassing, so I’m just going to show them to you. Saturday breakfasts, babyyy. They pretty much look like sugared chicken wings, but they were pretty much delicious. I mean fried dough and Paula Deen? You know what’s good.

Once, I went on the second best mission trip of my life to New Orleans. My 15-year-old self was young and inxperienced in the ways of the world. For example, I was oblivious to the horror that my youth pastor must have experienced when our 15-passenger van took a wrong turn and chugged down Bourbon Street. But more importantly, I was completely unaware that the day we went sight-seeing, we ate beignets at the most famous beignet place ever, the Cafe du Monde. And so I totally took it for granted.

After making these, I regret taking that experience so lightly. These donuts are an attempt to copy what was the best unappreciated donut experience of my life. Now, beignets are a bread, so you have to deal with the yeast issue, and then you have to deal with the cutting and the frying and the artery-clogging…

But that does not mean that these were not delish.



French Quarter Beignets

Slightly adapted from a recipe by Paula Deen

1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 envelope active dry yeast
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup evaporated milk
7 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter
Nonstick spray
Oil, for deep-frying
3 cups confectioners’ sugar

Mix water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl and let sit for 10 minutes.

In another bowl, beat the eggs, salt and evaporated milk together. Mix egg mixture to the yeast mixture. In a separate bowl, measure out the flour. Add 3 cups of the flour to the yeast mixture and stir to combine. Add the butter and continue to stir while adding the remaining flour. Remove dough from the bowl, place onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray. Put dough into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Let rise in a warm place for at least 2 hours.

Preheat oil in a deep-fryer to 350 degrees F.

Roll the dough out to about 1/4-inch thickness and cut into 1-inch squares. Deep-fry, flipping constantly, until they become a golden color. After beignets are fried, drain them for a few seconds on paper towels, and then plate them. Sift a generous amount of confectioners’ sugar over them. Serve warm

Double Sunset SOOC

Look at this! Two in one night! Straight out of camera. Straight to me soul.


Pipe Dream #143: To Not Wear It Out – Earl Grey Cupcakes

Earl Grey tea is such a treat. I don’t even let myself buy it, because I’m afraid I’ll wear it out and not appreciate it. Once, when I was like, 10, I was telling my grandpa how much I loved Cool Whip. I said something ridiculously gluttonous and over dramatic like, “I just want to eat the whole bowl!”

And he said, “If you ate the whole bowl, you would be sick of Cool Whip. You wouldn’t even like it anymore.” Which instilled some fear in me. Heaven knows I’ve gotta like Cool Whip for the rest of my life. Actually, I was just thinking that I haven’t had Cool Whip in a really long time. This is probably just fine. There are better things in life, like whipped cream. I didn’t know that at 10, I guess. I should make something with Cool Whip in it sometime. Hm.

Anyway, I saw this recipe in The Great British Bakeoff (book just won’t quit), and I knew it was meant for me. I allowed myself a few tea bags and set to work.

Just because this recipe was meant for me does not mean that it was the best recipe ever. I thought the cakes were a tad dry, and they lacked a serious Earl Grey flavor. I even increased the amount of tea bags called for in the original recipe. The simple lemon buttercream was a bit sharp, too, so you might want to adjust to your taste. That being said, they weren’t bad, and they actually were a perfect complement to a real cup of Earl Grey tea, which is how this afternoon turned into a tea party.

I piped all of these with a medium Wilton rose petal tip, but I forgot which one I used. Any one will do really. And go crazy! You can make up a whole garden!



Earl Grey Cupcakes

From The Great British Bakeoff

For the cupcakes:
200ml semi-skimmed milk
3 Earl Grey tea bags
115g unsalted butter, softened
225g sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
250g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

For the icing:
75g unsalted butter, softened
grated zest & juice of two lemons
375g icing sugar, sifted

Preheat oven to 180C. Heat the milk in a pan until it is steaming hot. Remove from heat, add the tea bags and leave to infuse for 2 minutes. Squeeze the bags gently, then remove them. Measure 150ml milk and leave to cool to room temperature.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar until creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well. Add in one-third of the flour to the creamed mixture and beat well. Pour in one-third of the milk and beat again. Repeat until all the flour and milk have been added.

Carefully spoon the mixture into the cup cases, dividing evenly so they are about two-thirds full. Bake for about 20 minutes. Remove for the oven and leave the cakes in the tray for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

To make the icing, beat the butter with 5 tablespoons of the lemon juice and half the icing sugar until smooth. Gradually add the remainder of the icing sugar, beating well until smooth and creamy. Taste and add a little more juice if needed. Pipe or spread swirls of the icing onto the cupcakes and decorate with the lemon zest.

Favorite Shots: I, Too, Dislike It

I wrote this intending to follow these instructions early the next morning. I barely understood them 12 hours later.


I, too, dislike it: there are things that are important beyond all
this fiddle.
Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one
discovers in
it after all, a place for the genuine.
Hands that can grasp, eyes
that can dilate, hair that can rise
if it must, these things are important not because a

high-sounding interpretation can be put upon them but because
they are
useful. When they become so derivative as to become
the same thing may be said for all of us, that we
do not admire what
we cannot understand: the bat
holding on upside down or in quest of something to

eat, elephants pushing, a wild horse taking a roll, a tireless wolf
a tree, the immovable critic twitching his skin like a horse that
feels a
flea, the base-
ball fan, the statistician–
nor is it valid
to discriminate against ‘business documents and

school-books’; all these phenomena are important. One must
make a distinction
however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the
result is not poetry,
nor till the poets among us can be
‘literalists of
the imagination’–above
insolence and triviality and can present

for inspection, ‘imaginary gardens with real toads in them’, shall
we have
it. In the meantime, if you demand on the one hand,
the raw material of poetry in
all its rawness and
that which is on the other hand
genuine, you are interested in poetry.

-Marianne Moore

I Got It Right: Pumpkin Pie Dessert

This recipe has remained in my family’s cooking annals for years courtesy of one ‘Kris Scherer.” I don’t know who this is, but let’s just say I am very thankful that she is alive.

Since the beginning of college, I have made this recipe at least once every fall. I scaled it down this time because although my family is capable of I am capable of eating a whole 9 x 13 pan of this in a couple days, I figured I had better impose some limits in order to supplement my already tenuous self control in the matter of pumpkin pie dessert.

Now, there are a few reasons why this recipe is in the ‘Got It Right’ category of recipes.

1) It is extremely simple.

You literally dump everything in  a bowl, whisk it together, and top it with a box of cake mix, butter and nuts. Oh, and you bake it at 350. 350–easiest baking number to remember ever.

And now, for a small commercial break.

Oh, Cinnamon, pervader of all things autumn delicious. As one dude in my class at church said, “God, how would you even come up with something that tastes the way cinnamon tastes? How would you even conceptualize how delicious that is?”

A good question, my friend, a good question.

Back to our regularly scheduled programming.

2) This recipe is all the taste of your classic pumpkin pie, but without having to make a crust! I hate making crusts! So finnicky! And bonus, it replaces a crust with streusel and nuts. I mean, come on people. It deserves some love.

The above is the layering process I mentioned before, the result of which is…

Ok. Ok. I can’t even write this blog post. I think I need to go make this. K see ya,


Pumpkin Pie Dessert

by Kris Scherer

I halved the recipe and reduced the sugar a bit. Serves 9, approximately.

15 ounces pumpkin puree

2 eggs

6 ounces evaporated milk

2/3 cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 box yellow cake mix

1 stick (8 tablespoons, 226 g) butter

4 oz pecans, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Whisk together the pumpkin, eggs, evaporated milk, sugar, spice and vanilla until well blended.

Pour into an 8 x 8 or 9 x 9 baking dish. Sprinkle half of the box of cake mix evenly over the top of the pumpkin mixture. You can reserve the other half for next week when you make this again. Melt the butter and pour as evenly as possible over the top of the cake mix. Don’t worry if there are a few dry spots though.
Follow with the nuts.

Bake for 45 minutes on a center rack, but check it at 30 minutes. The center should be set and the top should be golden. If you find that the nuts are starting to toast a bit too much (aka burn), cover with foil to finish off the baking time. No one likes burned nuts.

Serve warm with a dollop of fresh whipped cream.

Duluth Familial Extravaganza and the Compromising Chinese Food That We Ate

Sometimes you just give in to the small town Minnesota Chinese college kid food. It’s ok. It happens.

Dad…wutter you doing?

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