Hot Polka Dot
27Apr/10

Holy Muffins Batman!

This muffin has attitude. Just look at them sitting there all unassuming, all casual, all cute. Then you put one in your mouth and it's like, BAM! Flavour town!

You remember the original Batman series right? Of course you do. Silly me. So you would obviously recall those hilarious fight sound animations. If not, here are some examples to jog your memory...

Thwaak!

Zowee!

Blam!

Awwk!

Biff!

Oooff!

Bloop!

Yeah, you remember now. Aren't onomatopoeias fun? These muffins remind me of Batman and Robin, Lemon and Ginger. The dynamic duo. The caped crusaders. Fighting crime and taste bud boredom across the fine city of Gotham.

(Insert Adam West voice over here) To the kitchen! We haven't one moment to lose!

Take that taste bud! Aiiieee!

And that! Gliipp!

And now, to finish you off! (My favourite move) Ker-sploosh!

The thought of Batman in my kitchen is giving me the giggles so here is your recipe.

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26Apr/10

Words of Wisdom and Pudding of Rice.

I'm not sure that I've ever told you that I'm not professionally trained in the kitchen. I think that goes without saying, but I thought I'd just put it out there. I'm mostly self taught though I've gotten loads of good experience with my family. My mom taught me how to make lumpless gravy and my dad showed me how to make a mean lasagna, among other things of course.

I don't think you need to go to a fancy culinary school to learn a thing or two about food. Anyone can be a cook and a darn good one at that. Like most worthwhile things in life, it takes time, practice and an open mind.

Here are a few things that I've learned through my trials and tribulations in the kitchen...

Don't ever, under any circumstances, leave a pot of milk alone on the stove. It will always boil faster than you think it's going to and bubble over into the burner below. Let me tell you if you've never smelled the sickly sweet and sour smell of burnt milk count yourself lucky. It's right up there with burnt hair and baby poop.

It's best to whip cream in a cold bowl with cold utensils. Something about the low temperature creates the best stiff peaks. I imagine that with all that whipping the friction might create a lot of heat as well so it's good to counteract that with chilly tools. Julia Child even suggests to put ice under the mixing bowl but that's a bit overkill in my opinion.

You don't need a fancy schmancy egg separator to divide egg whites from egg yolks. I don't even use the egg shell method either since I've had a few too many pierced egg yolks that way. I just use my own hands. They're much softer than pointy egg shells and much less expensive than egg gizmos, plus they have these built in movable parts to allow the egg white to flow through the cracks, aka fingers.

Less is more. I'm not trying to tell you that you should have one cookie instead of two. I wouldn't presume to have that kind of power over your portion decisions. I mean that the best recipes are the simple ones. Why complicate a good thing with oodles of ingredients that only end up masking and muddying the flavours? Think of the best combinations. Chocolate and peanut butter. Strawberry and banana. Lemon and blueberry. Cinnamon and nutmeg. Tomato and basil. Onion and garlic. Don't mess with a good thing people.

It's important to have fun in the kitchen. I know most of you probably have to cook everyday and you might even struggle to make things interesting for every meal. Don't stress! The moment you start to stress over food is exactly when it becomes a chore. Experiment a little, try something new once in a while, don't be afraid and, above all, keep it fun. I listen to music a lot in the kitchen and I'm not scared to admit that I dance... and sing... a lot... in my pajamas. There, I said it.

And without further delay, the moment we've all been waiting for. Cranberry Orange Rice Pudding. Would you believe I've never tried rice pudding before? It's sad but true. Today was the day and, let me just say, what a good day that was.

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21Apr/10

Ode to a Broken Spatula.


Oh spatula, poor spatula...

You were nothing fancy, but you were my favourite. I didn't tell the other spatulas for fear of making them jealous. We kept that secret to ourselves. You were so beautiful with your comfortable bright orange handle and your one convenient rounded silicon edge.

You were always there when I needed you, waiting and ready to help me out with countless culinary creations. You were there to fold egg whites into chocolate. You stood by me when I poured cake batter into round pans. You even let me use you to lick clean my mixing bowl when I happened to make a particularly scrumptious frosting.

But today, yes today was different. Today I pulled open the drawer where I let you sleep and snatched you out to mix together these rather delicious scones. Not 10 seconds into mixing, with a sudden and final loud snap you broke clean in two.

You lived a long useful life considering I bought you two for a dollar. I miss you spatula. I'm sorry I broke you.

Yours truly,

Lindsey

PS: Thank you for these amazing Cranberry Orange Scones. Your final epitaph. Your legacy. Your masterpiece. Something to remember you by, though they'll not last very long.

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20Apr/10

Double Chocolate Banana “Bread”.

Some of you might recall I mentioned my aversion to bread. I'm not afraid of eating it. Not at all. Or inhaling it's sweet, freshly baked smell.

It's the yeast part I'm actually nervous about. I've never used yeast. Not once. It's a little embarrassing really. Here I am out here on the interwebs claiming to be a baker of sorts and I have yet to tackle the most basic forms of baking. Bread is ancient. It's tried, tested and trusted all over the world. It's intimidating.

Something about the yeast. How you have to add it to warm water and let it...grow? Weird. Then I must knead this dough for...how long? No thanks. Then there's this whole rising part. I mean, what will I do when faced with the inevitability of a hunk of dense, dark, heavy, short, rebellious, un-risen bread? I'll cry, that's what. I'm being a big baby, I know. I just hate failure. And failure in the kitchen just seems to hurt that much more.

I know it's simple. I know it's tasty. Why haven't I made some? Bread. Mysterious bread. You know what the funny part is? I know that once I start making bread, once I leap over that baking hurdle and dive into the fantastic world of bread making, I know I'm going to love it. I won't be able to get enough of it. I'll eat bread morning, noon and night. Foccacia toast for breakfast, french bread paninis for lunch, pulled pork on pretzel rolls for dinner and cinnamon buns for dessert. Sounds pretty good right?

I'll make some. Soon...ish.

In the mean time I made Double Chocolate Banana “Bread”. I always thought It was odd to call it bread when really it's just cake in loaf form. I just like the irresistible alliteration of it. Banana Cake just sounds silly. This is practice for the big day I suppose. I can pretend it's bread, but at least I don't have to pretend it's delicious.

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16Apr/10

Oh, Cookie You’re So Fine!

Oh Cookie, what a pity you don't understand
You take me by the heart when you take me by the hand
Oh Cookie, you're so pretty, can't you understand
It's sweets like you Cookie
Oh, what you do Cookie, do Cookie
Don't break my heart, Cookie
Hey Cookie!

Ahem...

So I took a few creative liberties with the song. I'm sure Toni Basil won't mind.

You're going to have that song stuck in your head all day now aren't you? Why not make the cookies to go along with it. Seriously. Do yourself a flavour favour and make these. The singing is seriously recommended but strictly optional.

In these cookies is the first time I ever ate dulce de leche. Ok wait, scratch that. The first time I ate it was moments earlier with my finger straight out of the freshly opened jar. Could you blame me? I don't regret it. I admit it proudly. Once you just smell it you'll understand. It's irresistible.

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