Tuesday, May 25, 2010

At least my cat's keeping me company...

Here we are again... the wee hours of the morning. Me, my computer, and my thoughts. Seriously - I'd like some Doogie Howser, MD sh*t playing in the background - it will help me feel profound! Go on, sing it with me...

Yeah, you're totally humming right now. I am the all mighty and powerful Social Work Jew! I can control your mind!!!!

Alrighty, I need to figure out some better sleep strategies.

I spent the better part of this evening baking Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies. I'm not so sure I like them - I added cinnamon and nutmeg where they really weren't needed. Ech, live and learn.

What a nifty segway! I think tonight/this morning is a perfect time to discuss well intentioned recipes gone awry! Starting with my first attempt at Lemon Parfait with Fresh Berries! Before I get all sorts of awesome and start to display photos, I'd just like to say I don't think I really screwed up the recipe - more just added too much of a good thing. Proving once again, it's not the size, but the intent that matters most! (hehehehehe.... that's what she said!)

Yeah, you giggled at that - I've totally made you my b*tch!

Let's get back to that Parfait!

Although you may think being a social worker is all about money, fame, and glory - I'm actually pretty broke most of the time. So, for holiday gifts this year, I made everyone a little coupon redeemable for one dessert of his/her choice. My first friend to make use of this handy instrument was Cristobel! (That's not his actual name, but it's nearly 2am and I'm punchy - so you're just going to have to deal!) Cristobel turned to me and asked for something light and fruity. And wouldn't you know, my older brother just gave me Crate & Barrels cookbook for newlyweds with a lovely light and fruity recipe all up in its grill!

In order to best tell the rest of the story - allow me to insert some photos to best capture what this was all about....

This, ladies and gentleman, is basically what lemon parfait is all about! Lemon juice, sugar, and eggs. Where did I go wrong? I doubled the recipe all in one batch! What should I have done? Made two separate batches! What can I say - I like my servings large and powerful! (hehehehe... that's what she said.... see? Did it again! Total mind control! You're trying not to laugh, but failing miserably. That's okay, I won't judge you!) By going WAY overboard on how much I was attempting to whisk around in my bowl, the parfait never really fluffed up the way it's meant to - only the top layer worked out correctly.

Okay, see how it's kinda curdled and moveable via Spatula of Awesomeness? Well, after being refrigerated overnight - the whole bowl should have looked like that. I could only get the top layer to curdle. Once I'd removed that layer to top off some berries, the next layer curdled pretty quickly. Unfortunately - I wanted a whole frakkin' bowl of lemony parfait delicousness and I had to work it in stages (okay... that COULD warrant a "that's what she said"... I'll let you judge that one for yourself).

And here we have the finished product - Lemon Parfait with strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and a peppermint patty on top. The recipe actually called for a mint leaf - but I thought that would come off as pretentious... and I couldn't find any. So, bite me. Cristobel got a fresh and fruity dessert and I got 10 gallons of lemon, egg, sugary liquid. I may or may not have let it sit in my fridge for a few weeks to see what sort of science experiment I could create. Interestingly - nothing grew. Just that top curdled layer. Sort of a let down.

Okay, now I'm starting to get tired - time to try sleeping again. This means forcing the fiance back onto his side of the bed and potentially threatening him if the snore factor doesn't come down about 20 notches. We shall see!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Bad, Bad Social Worker!

Yes, it's 2 o'clock in the afternoon, I'm on the clock at work, and I'm totally writing a little bloggerifficness because my level of concentration has completely hopped out the window and I'm hoping if I get some outside thoughts written down - I can get back to the ever so important task of saving the world. Who else loves run on sentences?

Something I've mentioned already - my wedding dress is currently a no-show. This wouldn't really be a problem, but my dress fitting is on Friday and it took several months to get an appointment with a lovely seamstress. So, short of deciding it'll be a toga-themed wedding... I'm beginning to show signs of stress.

My newest symptom - insomnia. Lots of it. I wake up at 2am and don't find dreamland again until 5am. That just ain't cool. I would drug up, but do folks really want to see what a doped up social worker looks like on a work day? I like to consider myself a patient woman, but while recently swirling around in a Benedryl-induced haze, a client was telling me about the various city utility trucks that are (in her mind) stalking her. And I'm not talking about one or two trucks - I'm talking HUNDREDS. I'm talking more trucks than actually are run by the city of Portland, possibly the entire state. They are all chasing my client around. LUCKILY, I stopped myself before spouting off my thoughts... none of which would have been good for my future as a clinician. ALTHOUGH, I did take a moment to myself to consider renting a big utility looking truck and driving around her neighborhood - just to see how evil I could really be. C'mon, that sh*t would be HILARIOUS!

Like I was saying, I'm faced with insomnia and I've discovered a way to be useful during the wee morning hours - BAKING! I surprised my future hubby with a huge ready-for-work lunch the other morning, and I've even begun to pre-set tools and ingredients before bed... knowing I'll be popping up during the night and need an activity to keep me sane. Next up, Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate Chips.

Which brings me back to the original point of creating this blog- what could Strong Cupcake Bakery look like? Is it feasible to have a working bakery up and moving 24/7? Seriously - the city of Portland closes its eyes by 1am and everything shuts down. How sweet (pun intended) would it be to have a bakery open all night? Students craving a sugar fix during finals? Drunken Old Port Tavern idiots needing a cookie to get over their frat boy fight? Future brides FREAKING OUT because the dress they'd purchased over a year ago that was supposed to arrive nearly one month ago, but now it's nowhere to be seen and the invitations should have already gone out, but now they are trapped in printer hell and the bar service that should be easy is actually a pain in the ass because the state liquor inspector may be Satan's evil twin and what if my ass has officially expanded to the point where it needs its own zipcode and the Spanx I purchased will cause me to stop breathing during the ceremony, most of which may be in a language I don't understand anyway and I think may translate to my fiance purchasing me from my father for the grand total of 12 goats begging for something drenched in chocolate?

Yeah... a 24 hour bakery could offer some solace in the above mentioned hypothetical situations. Just a thought.
Okay, back to saving the world!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Things that go bump... in the early, early morning

Well, HELLOOOOOOOO! (Please imagine that "hello" was provided with the proper Mrs. Doubtfire inflection, and not just that I'm wickedsuper enthusiastic to greet you... even though I am).
It is officially 2:43 in the wee morning hours and I can't sleep. Normally, I would blame my lack of REM bliss on my future hubby's ogre like snoring, but it's actually not his fault this time. I'm wide awake for a number of reasons:

1. I'm sick, sick, sick and my nose has become a scaled down version of Niagra Falls. It's gross, and I'm starting to become concerned I may drown my cat in my snot-snottery goodness if she continues to insist on sleeping right near my head. Oh, and I sound like a 90 year old chain smoker when I speak - which has my co-workers thinking I'm Typhoid Mary and I should be quarantined like one of those Rage Monkeys from "28 Days Later".

2. Today is May 18th - officially making the arrival of my wedding dress 18 days late. I'm doing my best to be all zen about this fact, but in truth, I'm starting to get concerned. It doesn't help that the woman making my dress thought my wedding was mid-September... and it's actually on August 1.

3. Let's pretend I actually get my wedding dress before the wedding - my fitting is next Friday. Well, ladies and gentlemen, I can pretty much GUARANTEE I'm not the same size I was last summer when I made my dress purchase. I'm breaking out in hives imagining my spare tire of a midsection busting some seams. (**Put on checklist - purchase Spanx**).

4. I'm in charge of dinner for my peeps on Thursday night - aka Burrito Night. Burrito Night has a long and majestic history and you're about to get the short version:
Once upon a time, folks that all worked together at Waldenbooks all had Thursday nights off and decided to make one dude cook burritos every week. Now fast forward 6ish years, give or take, and this ragtag group of misfits continues to gather each week and eat food... not always burritos, but the name Burrito Night stuck, so why ruin a good thing? (If you'd like to read the biblical version of Burrito Night, holla at me and I'll try to get you a copy).
Okay, now back to focusing on me. I very much enjoy making delicious food items for this posse, but for some reason, I'm stressing out over the menu. Right now, I'm thinking of creating The Second Coming of Thanksgiving... cause who doesn't love turkey and its various accessories? Okay, that's what's going to happen. Turkey, cranberry sauce, green beans or salad, and MAYBE stuffing (if I'm feeling sassy - and I do feel sassy on occasion). And the crew has made a dessert request of chocolate and peanut butter...hmmm. I'll have to think further on that one.

5. Law and Order may be canceled before it has a chance to complete 21 seasons! I'm sorry, but if that's not a reason to lose sleep... I don't know what is! That show and its various spin-offs have been a security blanket for me for YEARS. Seriously, no matter what time of day - it is nearly guaranteed Law and Order is on and Sam Waterston is KICKING LEGAL ASS! (and Jerry Orbach, your witty one-liners were a thing of beauty.. RIP)

So, there you have it. Not very bakery related, but I needed to purge some concerns before trying to fall back asleep. I've decided to give the dirty bastard hippies of the Portland Farmer's Market another try and will be headed there on Wednesday. Maybe they've matured over the winter and will actually peak their eyes out from behind their grime filled dreadlocks if I fall on my tuchus again. A girl can dream!