Sunday, April 19, 2009

Doesn't Matter What It Looks Like

"When you have blown your nose,
you should not open your handkerchief
and inspect it, as though pearls or rubies
had dropped out of your skull."
The Book of Manners (1958)

After you have blown your nose,
Father said, it's not polite to look inside
your handkerchief to see what it looks like.
You're not a doctor. What's more important
is getting the handkerchief back into your pocket
without staining your pants. There are some things
it's better not to look at. It should be left
to your imagination, but if you have
a strong desire to look you can always
find pictures of it in a medical book.

by Hal Sirowitz from Father Said

Cream Soda Cupcakes

Makes 18 people smile with no sharing involved

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1/2 cup cream soda (not diet), room temperature
3/4 cup toffee pieces, divided
1 recipe Brown Butter Frosting


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; set aside.
2. In large bowl beat butter with electric mixer on medium to high 30 seconds. Add sugars; beat until well combined. Beat in eggs, one at a time, on low until combined. Beat in molasses, vanilla, and scrape in vanilla bean “seeds”.
3. Alternately add flour mixture, buttermilk, and cream soda to butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition until combined. Stir in 1/2 cup of the toffee. Let batter rest for at least 10 minutes while you line eighteen 2-1/2-inch muffin cups with paper baking cups.
4. Fill cups 3/4 full. Bake about 18 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly touched. Cool in pans on racks 5 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely. Frost and garnish with remaining toffee.
5. Brown Butter Frosting: For brown butter, in saucepan heat 1/4 cup butter over medium-low heat until lightly browned, about 8 minutes; cool. In bowl of an electric mixer, beat 1/4 cup softened butter with mixer on medium 30 seconds. Add cooled brown butter; beat until combined. Add 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, the “seeds” of 1 vanilla bean split lengthwise, and dash salt. Beat in 1 tablespoon buttermilk. Use immediately. If frosting begins dry or harden, stir in a small amount of boiling water. Makes 1 1/4 cups frosting.

*Cream soda varies from country to country, but usually has a vanilla flavoring. Its name originated, at least in the United Kingdom, from "ice cream soda" because it was traditionally served with a dollop of ice cream floating on top. The first patent for cream soda was granted in Canada in 1886. The recipe had whipped egg whites, sugar, lime juice, lemons, citric acid, and bicarbonate of soda. Today, Canadian cream soda is often pink and has a unique taste similar to grenadine. Clear versions of cream soda can also be found in Canada. In the U.S. market, cream soda is often clear or colored light brown and vanilla-flavored, but pink, red, and blue are also available. In some places in the U.S., where the drink is made on location, cream soda consists of soda water, vanilla syrup, and cream or half and half.

Adapted by Cristina Paul

Blah-Blah-Blahg: Food For Nought

Armpits are so sexy - so who gave them that awful name?