In 17 minutes, John Oliver totally nailed everything that’s wrong with food in America:
When I was a barista, I set up a donation program for our morning pastries. After 2pm, whatever wasn’t sold went in the garbage, so I arranged for someone from a residential mental health facility to come and pick them up on a daily basis. Sandwiches and salads had a one-day shelf life, and for all the reasons John Oliver discussed, we couldn’t donate them. Our solution was to bag them and place the night’s sandwiches next to the trash bin on Michigan Ave., rather than out in the dumpster, thus unofficially “donating them” to the homeless in the area.
Our dorms here in Dublin have common kitchens, each consisting of four waste bins: glass, waste, plastic and paper, and food. That’s right, food and waste aren’t the same thing. It’s been really great to live in a place where composting isn’t weird, but also a little bit frustrating to watch my American flatmates try to adjust. Not to rat on them, but I’ve found spinach in the waste bin, and plastic bags in the food bin (bins with labels on them as to what you should and shouldn’t throw in). To me, it’s a sign that we’ve conditioned ourselves into thinking that once we’re done with something it doesn’t matter where it goes. Just stick it in a bin, and it’s not our problem anymore.
I could go on, but if seeing this gets one person to eat around the bruise on an apple and throw the core next to a tree rather than tossing the whole thing in the trash, then I feel pretty good about today.
First, there’s an elephant in the room (and I don’t mean that photo)… It’s been a minute since I posted on this blog. You might think that a January 1 post is meant as a comeback, or that I’m making a resolution to bake and blog more in 2015.
I’m not into making promises I can’t keep. But, I DID recently pay to have this domain renewed, and in light of that, plus a day off and a magnificent Pinterest fail, I thought I’d come off of my crafty sabbatical for a day and share my space cake with you.
It might be the only post of 2015. Maybe. But it’s worth it.
One day last spring, I saw a solar system cake on Pinterest and a theme for the annual NYE party was born.
A few weeks ago, I attempted to find said recipe, to no avail. But then I found this Jupiter cake, which seemed like a way better idea. On top of that, I collected all the necessary goods to make cake pop moons to orbit around Jupiter.
Yesterday at about 4:30pm I realized that all the ingredients were in metric and the battery on my kitchen scale was dead. Rather than do lots and lots of math while sipping leftover Eggnog, I ditched the Jupiter bit, made a big round cake covered in yellow frosting, and stuck cake pop planets into it with a jimmy asteroid belt.
All things considered, I call it a space cake win. And not at all worthy of this list. Should you want to make your own attempt, here are the deets:
Fudgy Cake Pops (Modified from the cake pop pan package directions):
3/4 C. semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used half a block of semi-sweet baking chocolate instead)
1/2 C. butter
3/4 C. sugar
2 TB Cocoa
2 large eggs
3/4 C. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
24 oz. chocolate bark coating (I used more baking chocolate)
Directions (to make my whole space cake extravaganza, double the recipe):
In a medium saucepan, melt chocolate and butter, stirring until smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl.
Add sugar and cocoa, stir until blended. Add eggs one at a time, stirring as you go.
Add flour and salt, stir until blended.
Fill each well of the bottom side of the cake pop pan with a heaping tablespoon of batter. Place the top side of the pan and lock into place. Bake 15-20 minutes.
Cool the pan on a wire rack 2-3 minutes, and then transfer the pops to the rack. Meanwhile, pour the remaining batter into a round 8″ greased and floured pan. Bake approximately 50 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.
Melt the remaining chocolate in a pan. Dip the top of the lollipop sticks into the chocolate and push halfway into each pop. The chocolate is like glue to keep the sticks in the pops.
Frost, dip, or decorate as desired. I included Pluto, because, debates about its planetary relevance aside, why not have more cake pops?
Lemon Frosting (adapted from Betty Crocker’s cookbook):
Ingredients and Directions:
Blend together 2 C. of confectioner’s sugar with 1/4 C. room temperature butter
Stir in approximately 2-3 TB heavy cream and 1 tsp. lemon extract
Add a few drops of yellow or orange food coloring (because this is going to be the sun)
So the rest is pretty intuitive. Frost the cake when it’s cool, add your sprinkle asteroid belt, and decorate your planets, sticking the pops into the sun. The dusted black plate adds a star-studded stratosphere to the whole thing.
There was a time when I balanced my checkbook, when I demanded paper statements, when I held 3 or 4 magazine subscriptions.
I love the feel of paper and the idea of paper. I love handwriting and stationary and print. I love reading a newspaper and getting ink on my hands.
But I think I’m over it.
I’m tiring of the stacks of mail and unread magazines on the dining room table. I’m seeking a less complicated space and a simple home that is free of the mess that paper compels me to make. About a year ago I went paperless on almost all of my bills, and many of them are enrolled in automatic deductions (something I vowed I would never do). Then, tonight, I thought I’d try and sort through the stack of magazines.
It’s not so bad – I mean it’s only about a year’s worth. Every once in awhile I go through a purging. Carefully sifting through Food & Wine, I rip out pages of recipes I’d like to try, and they go into a slightly smaller pile tucked between cookbooks I seldom use. I put up a good front of domesticity and culinary prowess, but I’m also a workaholic who admittedly fed herself a dinner of Ritz crackers with peanut butter and beer tonight.
How’s that for full disclosure?
p.s. Want the old copies of Food & Wine? First in Chicago to say “dibs” wins.
It’s true, there’s a load or two headed down to the washer this morning.
But actually, the point is not to tell you it’s laundry day, but rather to get something off my chest.
I’m all about keeping a to-do list, but am I the only person who finds it silly to post your daily to-do’s as your status on Facebook? It leads me to think one of three things about this person:
1) You are a celebrity and your agent requires you to broadcast your life on Facebook no matter what.
2) You are so self-important that you think people care about what you do all day. Every day. This could apply regardless of whether or not you are a celebrity.
3) You have nothing of importance going on in your life, and/or are so disorganized that doing laundry and eating breakfast is an important event and saying so on Facebook helps you keep yourself together on a number of levels.
Here’s the thing: Silence is golden. I don’t care when President Obama himself does laundry. Save the good stuff for Facebook, like having babies and graduating from college.
Exception: If, in fact, you can’t help yourself and have to broadcast your daily routine to invite adoration of your mundane life, doing so through pictures with a retro filter is always acceptable.
By the way…
Maybe you already know that I have another blog, but if not, I have another blog! Art Intercepts is my main squeeze, with a dance focus, and I’ve entered it in Dance Advantage’s Top Dance Blog Contest. My success in moving on to the next phase of the contest is based on number of comments, so I’d really appreciate your help! All you have to do is visit this post and add a comment (Not this post, THIS POST). You only have until Tues, 1/22 to comment, And, thanks!
As I climbed the step stool and stored jar after jar of tomato sauce on top of the cupboards in my tiny kitchen, I gave myself a serious pat on the back:
Well, Warnecke, you’ve done it. You preserved enough tomatoes to make it through the winter, and next spring too. Well. done.
A pasta dish and a couple of homemade pizzas later and I’m about half way through my stash before the first snow. I’ve been yearning for the full experience of eating and living seasonally, and seriously want to make a pizza in February without buying a mealy tomato from Mexico. I thought this might be my year, but, alas, it seems not.
I realize that my quest to live like Laura Ingalls Wilder is somewhat impeded by living in a twenty-first century metropolis with 8 cubic feet of outdoor space…
It’s a process, but I’m determined to do it, and this year is apparently part of the learning process in what I actually need to do to get through a winter sans the produce aisle.
Next year I’ll be upping my game. I’m thinking, instead of thirty, I should really be canning more like 130 pounds of tomatoes.
I pseudo inherited my crock pot from my mother while foraging her basement on a Sunday trip to the suburbs. This 1975 Sears “Crock Watcher” is older than me, but undoubtedly in better condition.
If the 70’s got anything right, it’s the slow cooker. The idea that I can stick something in there at 6am before I leave for work, cover it with liquid, and come home to a good smelling house AND dinner still boggles my mind, and I do it about every other week…. sometimes more, sometimes less.
Lately Old Faithful has been working overtime cranking out tomato sauce to stock up for the winter. I bought 30 pounds of tomatoes from Midnight Sun Farm over the course of three weeks and have made tomato processing an obsession.
After an epic fail on the stove of sauce that was way more juicy than saucy, I revamped my approach. Ok, it wasn’t entirely a fail, just a misunderstanding between me and the tomatoes, really. After consulting mom (my go-to for kitchen mishaps) and my friend and fellow canning-enthusiast Toni Camphouse, I opted to try the slow cooker approach, and I’m never turning back.
Homemade Tomato Sauce
Canning jars and lids
Core and quarter tomatoes and fill your slow cooker. Prop the lid open with a spoon and cook all day on low.
Using a blender or immersion blender, puree the tomatoes until smooth. Pre-fill canning jars with salt and lemon juice. For quart jars, use 2TB lemon juice and 1 tsp. salt*. Half those if using pint jars. Add sauce to jars and fill to 1/2″ from the top. Cover with lid and band, twisting until hand tight.
Add jars to water bath (making sure the water covers the jars by at least 1 inch). Once water is boiling, reduce heat to a rolling boil and set time for 30-40 minutes (30 for pint jars, 40 for quart). Remove from water bath and set on a level surface to cool (don’t shake the jars). Store for as long as you like, or about a year, whichever comes first.
* You can add seasoning to your sauce before you jar it, but I prefer to do it once I open the jar so the herbs and spices are fresher.