Thursday, March 18, 2010


So, around Christmas time, I was invited to a cookie swap. I had never been to one before and it was fun but…I didn’t really enjoy baking the cookies. I couldn’t tell you exactly why except…it’s kind of fiddly. I mean, with a cake or cupcakes, pretty much all the work happens at once, it’s baked and you are done (unless you want to frost them). But cookies, much like candy, seem to go on and on. I tried to bake several pans of cookies at a time, but with an entirely accurate oven and all, I got a little twitchy. If burned one batch, I’d burn all of them, so I stuck to two pans at a time. It was fine. I think I made three kinds of cookies and you know, they were all good, but I just didn’t enjoy the experience as much as I wanted to. I’ve baked cookies many times before and you know, it’s not my favorite thing to bake but…this time…I kind of felt guilty that I didn’t enjoy it more. Maybe it was the holiday aspect, maybe it was because I was taking them to a party. It just wasn’t…my thing.

So, I’ve decided I need to dedicate a little more time to cookie baking. And, since I enjoy the vegan cupcake-baking thing so much, AND there is a lovely vegan cookie book by the same authors, I’ve been baking cookies a little bit more.

So far I’ve tried three recipes from the cookbook and I’ve liked them all well enough on their own merits. I do have to say though that a vegan chocolate chip cookie, while perfectly pleasant, even good, is not a chocolate chip cookie to me. It’s like a veggie burger. I enjoy it for what it is, not what it isn’t. I don’t like beef much but I do enjoy a good veggie burger, be it bean, soy or…other. But they don’t taste the same to me at all. One is not a replacement for the other in my book, and so far, I feel the same way about the chocolate chip cookies. Non-vegan chocolate chip cookies get much of their flavor from the butter. The two versions we tried relied more on the chocolate. One was enhanced by a base of whole wheat pastry flour, which gave the cookie a nice nuttiness. The other was, to me rather bland, but with a nice traditional texture, that half-baked chewy thing. But it was this that made me realize that I actually prefer a cake-like cookie and I liked the texture of the whole-wheat version.

Surprisingly, well…to me…the brown sugar flavor of a chocolate chip cookie really kind of fades into the background without butter. Who knew? Nonetheless…we ate all of both kinds. And yesterday my husband asked me where I had hidden the cookies. Um…in my tum. Sorry.

The other recipe I tried was a peanut butter bar cookie and man was it good. It was ever so peanutty and the recipe described it as fudge like. I don’t like fudge. I liked this bar. There you go.

Next, I’d like to try the recipe for… I think they were Mexican flavor influenced snickerdoodles. And there is a recipe for Rocky Road cookies with and accompanying picture that drives me to distraction.

But, in the meantime, while I haven’t had time for the fiddlyness of cookies, I did whip out a batch of wicked good cornbread muffins and a whiskey cake that was very good but could be better.
(PeeEss…if you are interested in the cookie book it’s Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar but Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romeo. I am enjoying it very much.)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Today I read a Dorothy Parker quote that I had never heard before. Granted, I am not well versed in Dorothy Parker, although she is part of a good era for me, she was an American, and I tended to kind of phase out during modern American lit lest someone mention John Updike.

“This wasn’t just plain terrible, this was fancy terrible. This was terrible with raisins in it.”

Now, personally, I love this quote because it mentions raisins. If you are child of the same 80’s that I am a child of, you probably know the other famous quote involving raisins.

“It’s got raisins in it. You like raisins.”

And if you don’t know that quote…I’m truly sorry that you believe that John Cusack is just now starting to do wacky comedies (don’t get me started though, I am kind of cheesed off about this whole “Hot Tub Time Machine” thing. Seriously, dude, you wouldn’t do commentary for “Better off Dead” but three or four tragic films later you hearken back to your roots? Seriously?).


Yes. Raisins. I could tell you how I am not such a big fan of raisins except in certain circumstances (covered in chocolate, perhaps).

Or I could tell you that I actually own a bracelet.that has another Dorothy Parker quote on it. “I like to have a martini,
Two at the very most.
After three I'm under the table,
after four I'm under my host.”

My husband doesn’t think it’s funny.

He’s should be glad it’s not this one: “Ducking for apples -- change one letter and it's the story of my life.”

Yeah, I know this isn’t much of a post but I read those quotes today and felt the need to share.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


So tell the truth. Do you read certain blogs or websites because you hate them? Hate the recipes, hate the designs, hate the suggestions for improving your life, the sanctimonious tone or the trite ideas? Do you?

I subscribe to a newsletter that I detest. It’s written by a “person of note” and it’s ridiculious. It tells me all the wonderful things I can do in cities I can’t afford to visit and places to stay that will cost more than I make in a week. It gives me recipes that make me shudder and tells me that I should exercise more, eat more fish, and only use organic toilet paper. It tells me why my friends don’t like me, who my friends should be, what my friends should be wearing and where to meet my friends to tell them I no longer want to be friends with them. It’s amazing and spectacular and hateful and horrible. And every time I read it I think, “Man, this is awful, I should cancel it.”

But I don’t.

Because then how could I possible feel so smug about being better than all this? Being better than a newsletter? How could I make fun of it if I didn’t read it every damn time it appears in my inbox?

It’s petty and it’s childish and I am pretty sure we all do it. I am pretty sure that someone is doing it right here, right now. It’s all right. We don’t all have to like the same things. Heck, I rarely like the stuff other people like, but I’m just contrary like that. But yeah…’fess up. You do it too, don’t you?

Soooo…here’s what I am doing for and you can now dislike and make fun of in your spare time…

Soulless by Gail Carriger- my dad says that the Kindle, which he loves, is problematic in one way, he can’t browse the aisles of the book store the way he used to and he has a hard time finding new books. Um…I have the opposite problem. I browse online (he doesn’t really like being online) and I follow links and the next thing I know I’ve got a list of new books and not enough time. I think that’s how I came across this one. And I was given a few gift certificates and I thought, oh what the heck? And I am glad I did. Very entertaining, light but not fluffy. Good understanding of the Victorian age and clothing of, and sexy in a way that worked without being embarrassing. Oh and it has vampires and werewolves. Can’t really go wrong can you? But then I finished that. So right now it’s:
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Yeah, I know, I know, you read it ages ago. Whatever. It’s taken me while to get into it but at about 23% in (hello kindle!) and I am starting to get into the groove and I’m enjoying it a bit more (NO! Wait! I finished I enjoyed it but…well…that’s for another day). After this…well, I have quite a lot of free books I have picked up for the kindle, a few cozy mysteries, a romance (of all things!) and what appears to be a parody of a Victorian mystery. So I have choices to make, but I also just ordered the first book of the Red Riding series by David Peace. After reading about the tv series based on these books which were themselves inspired by a series of murders and…well, I haven’t read it yet, but it looks good. I’ll let you know.

What I’ve been listening to:

I think I have a new desert island disc. I’ve been listening to Pablo Honey on repeat for a while now. I think I kind of dismissed the whole Radiohead thing early on. Well, not true, I liked Creep, from this album and of course Fake Plastic Trees, but then I kind of wandered away from them, as I tend to do, until much later. And then I started kind of obsessively listening to Thom Yorke’s solo album, which I really, really love and that brought me back to Pablo Honey. So, the current list of desert island discs kind of reads like this:

Pablo Honey- Radiohead
The Eraser-Thom Yorke
Fashion Nugget -Cake (I know, what?)
All Over the Place-The Bangles (DO NOT JUDGE ME! It's a very listenable album!)
Django Reinhardt Box Set (sorry, I’ve not yet decided which single disc, I’ll try not to get stranded until then)
Elvis Costello-Mix cod (spell check insists that I mean COD here, and who am I to argue?) that I will have to prepare before being deserted
And I am starting to think that Massive Attack may have to appear here, possibly with Blue Lines (or maybe Protection) and some Rolling Stones...and...and...

Hmm. I think I need think on this. I did spend some time over the weekend tracking down some cds. Don’t you hate when you grab a cod (*ahem, thank you spellcheck) case take it to your car and then go to pop it in and…what? Am I the only person who doesn’t have an mp3 player in their car? Anyway, lots of empty cod (knock it off!) cases later I tracked down my copy of Fashion Nugget and listened to it on the way to work. It remains awesome.

Also, I’Ve been baking cookies. It’s experimental as I don’t really care for the act of making cookies as much as I like the act of eating cookies, but…it’s been slightly enlightening. Which is mostly just a phrase I wanted to use because I like the way it sounds. I’ll get back to you on this cookie experiment later…