Yes, I haven't been posting much lately. But I've been making progress on my book, so you can't make me feel guilty about substandard blogging.
I just reviewed the week's lunch menu with Ben, so he could choose which day he wanted to bring a lunch rather than buy hot lunch at the cafeteria. Wednesday, he's excited about hot lunch. Why? Salisbury steak. He exulted in Salisbury steak. He is jubilant at the prospect of eating Salisbury steak. Who can explain this?
Ben's little-man armpits occasionally stink a bit. I think it smells like...armpits. Ben? He has pronounced his armpit stank to be redolent of a burrito. Which begs the question: What the hell kind of burritos are they serving at the school cafeteria?
We'll be traveling up north (but not too far north) for Thanksgiving, to Mr. Tangerine's folks'. I'm going to make pecan pie. Two pies, actually—my mother-in-law requested two rather than one, "so we can have pie for breakfast." I like the way she thinks. I'm planning to make the pie crust from scratch for my very first time, breaking out the virginal rolling pin that has so far served only as a toy. I don't eat lard, and it's so hard to find a frozen crust made with vegetable shortening, plus...shortening? Eww. I don't like the concept. (Yes, I know most store-bought cookies and crackers and so forth are made with shortening, essentially. But I don't like to think about it.) So it was with keen interest that I read an NYT article this week about testing different fats in pie crust. The winner was apparently a combo involving duck fat (!), but an all-butter crust was a definite contender. And I love butter. So I borrowed a recipe from anarchist and pastry chef Emma Goldman, and we'll see if I can actually make a good pie crust. I just bought one of those U-shaped dough cutter gizmos (for cutting the butter into the flour) and some pie pans, so there'll be a lot of virginal baking tools popping their cherry this week.
The pies themselves will be basically my dad's modification of the pecan pie recipe from the Karo corn syrup bottle—only with a skosh more butter and triple the pecans. Because who wants corn syrup pie with a few wan little nuts suspended on top? I know that's how most people think of pecan pie, but we like it when the sweet goop is invaded by crunchy pecans. Num, num, num.
Ooh! If you have a Trader Joe's store near you, try the house brand of chocolate bar. The 500-g bar (that's more than a pound!) of bittersweet chocolate (48% cocoa solids—I thought I liked dark, dark chocolate, but I think bittersweet is the cusp beyond which I don't want to eat chocolate. Semisweet, bittersweet, good good good. Something with 72% cocoa solids? Meh. Yeah, so on Wednesday, I bought a giant bar of bittersweet chocolate with almonds. There are only 2 or 3 oz. left—but I assure you, I haven't eaten it all myself. Probably a 45/45/10 split among me/Mr. Tangerine/Ben. I just might make a habit of buying these jumbo candy bars. There's all that scientific evidence of salutary health benefits from various compounds in chocolate, right?
Damn. Now I'm thinking that maybe I should make one plain pecan pie and one chocolate pecan pie. I could buy a bar of, say, semisweet chocolate, melt it down, stir it in. What do you think? Do you think that if I'm not driving to your house with this pie, you couldn't care less whether the triple-thick pecan pie is laced with chocolate goodness? Ah, but there's something so reassuring and classic about pecan pie without chocolate, and it's certainly rich enough without the chocolate. Maybe I'll just nibble on the chocolate while making pecan pie—is that a sensible solution?