**disclaimer: I don't currently have a camera, either, so all pictures are from my Blackberry.**
I made candy sushi for an April Fool's joke for my Big. It was Rice Krispie treats wrapped around delicious candy bits like Swedish fish (only the red ones, obviously), Glo-Worms, and green Twizzler cucumbers. My friend Ali and I also made Fruit Roll-up nori, Fruit-by-the-foot ginger, and frosting wasabi. (Wow, that was a lot of licensing.)
The final product looked surprisingly real. We tucked it into a real sushi container and couldn't hand it to Helen before busting out laughing. In hindsight, it really wasn't that funny. But she was a good sport about it.
At the same time I was fooling around with my Rice Krispies, Ali was doing this:
Yeah, that's a basket weave... made with frosting. She is frightening with a pastry bag and nozzle. Girl can do anything with a little royal icing! (And yes, that's a recipe written on the back of her hand.)
We were making a cake for a charity competition for our sorority, and the theme was spring, so we made a strawberry cake with lemon buttercream filling, marzipan flowers, and crystallized lemon. I managed to lose the pictures of the cake itself, but it was BEAUTIFUL. Ali is really, really great at cake decorating.
And I maintain that the sushi wasn't so bad, either.
Spicy Guinness Mustard
1 12-oz. bottle Guinness Extra Stout
1 1⁄2 cups brown mustard seeds (10 oz.)
1 cup red wine vinegar
1 tbsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1⁄4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1⁄4 tsp. ground cloves
1⁄4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1⁄4 tsp. ground allspice
1. Combine ingredients in a nonreactive mixing bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 1–2 days so that the mustard seeds soften and the flavors meld.
2. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a food processor and process, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, until the seeds are coarsely ground and the mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a jar and cover.
The farmer's market really sucks in Baltimore. I don't care how many people say Waverly is awesome (and apparently it's the best in the city): it sucks. Every vendor is selling the same thing. The only good thing I can say about it, is that it has nice cheeses and good cooked foods. But don't go there expecting good quality, reasonably priced fresh produce.
On to the best dorm meal. We started with brie cheese and granny smith apples (my friend didn't like apples so she brought crackers). I thought baked brie was overkill considering how much food was to come. I will post my mom's baked brie recipe later, though, because it is delicious.
After the cheese we moved onto...
Creamy Mushroom Tarts
You will need:
- Puff pastry cups
- Olive oil
- 2 cups mushrooms (I used canned)
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 small shallot
- Salt and pepper
- 1 can condensed milk (I used low fat)
- fresh dill (sprinkling on top)
I think adding cheese to this would be nice, or some kind of acid... It's very, very rich. Anyway, put in cups and sprinkle with dill.
THEN THE MAIN DISH. Steak with a rosemary cabernet sauce, green beans (from farmer's market) with caramelized onions, and garlic mashed potatoes (my friend brought them, from a box).
I won't say much about the steak, because honestly it's just a steak. The sauce is just carrots and more mushrooms (half-cooked in the microwave with four cloves of whole garlic tossed in the steamer, then soaked in wine with rosemary for about half an hour), then cooked in the pan after the steak. Add more wine, reduce, and voila! Sauce! It was done just as the steak was finished resting.
So, there it is! The best dormitory meal ever. Oh, and we had Dominion for dessert. I didn't have time to bake anything AND go shopping AND cook!
Aaaaah, celebrity. "Gossip Girl" is possibly the greatest show ever. Mmmmm.
And now that I've destroyed any credibility I once had, let me tell you about the joys of Dominion Ice Cream, in Charles Village. Despite having the weirdest hours ever (I won't even bother listing them, because I think they change every couple of months or maybe I just never remember) this is my favorite ice cream! The woman who owns it makes vegetable ice cream. That's right, ice cream out of vegetables.
My favorite flavor is carrot, because it has just the right sweetness. Jalapeno, spinach, and tomato ar epopular as well, and Dominion also has unique flavors like Cardamon for more adventurous palates.
However, I do not get ice cream to be healthy, and my favorite thing at Dominion is the brownie sundae with Cappucino Crunch and chocolate ice creams. Yuuuuuum, first she warms up one of those Little Debbie plastic-wrapped brownies, then the ice cream goes on top, and some other magic happens with fudge sauce and sprinkles and BAM! I am in heaven.
Speaking of ice cream, back on the West Coast I am a frozen yogurt FIEND, and my favorite place is the much-hyped (and never disappointing) Big Spoon on J Street. Chances are, if you're between four and twenty-four, you've been there on a Friday or Saturday (or Tuesday) night (or afternoon). Every time I go I run into someone from my high school.
There are other "fro-yo" venues that I frequent, like Yogurt Monkey on Fair Oaks, near Sierra Oaks, and Mochii on O or P street and 13th. Both of these have wonderful, fresh flavored yogurt and many fruit and chocolate toppings to choose from. I always leave satisfied and happy that I made a semi-healthy dessert choice. These places are great on any summer afternoon. But they are not Big Spoon.
The beauty of Big Spoon lies in the toppings. The yogurt flavors are pretty standard: vanilla, chocolate, peanut butter, raspberry, mango, cookies and cream. Seasonally they have unique flavors, like eggnog and peppermint (yum), and snickerdoodle (not yum). But they have every kind of topping you can think of, from marshmallow sauce to magic shell and hot fudge, Scnickers, Kitkat, Reeses, Butterfinger along with carob chips, chocolate covered raisins, and yogurt pretzels. They have mochi and granola as well as cheesecake, brownies, and cookie dough. There is something for everyone at this place, and it won't feel healthy.
My Big Spoon recipe:
- Cookies and cream OR peanut butter and chocolate and vanilla
- peanut butter sauce
- "hard hat" (magic shell)
- brownie bits
- cookie dough
- Reeses chunks
- graham crackers
See, not healthy.
My Mochii Recipe:
- "Plain" yogurt (it has a wonderful yogurt flavor, not at all like King's Skate's vanilla soft serve that it resembles)
- green tea mochi
- graham cracker
- chocolate chips
- granola clusters