Monday, September 30, 2013

Brownie Pie? Yes, Please!

Evidently there is a new craze sweeping the country, and it's called the hybrid dessert.  Sign me up.

From BuzzFeed's 30 Delicious Things to Cook in September, recipe from Bakers Royale.

Brownie Pies

  • 1 recipe Butter Pastry (recipe follows)
  • 6 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate
  • 2 egg whites, at room temperature 
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 
  • 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar 
  • 1/4 cup of sugar 
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt 
  • 3/4 cup pecans or walnuts (optional) 
  •  Butter Pastry: 
    • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter 
Directions / Preparation
Line bake sheet with parchment paper. Heat oven to 400/350 degrees F. 
  1. Prepare butter pastry. Let pastry stand at room temperature for 30 minutes until pliable. Position Rack to in lower third oven. Heat oven to 400 degrees F. 
  2. Lightly flour surface and roll pastry out to an 1/8 inch thick. Fold pastry in half and transfer to a parchment lined bake sheet. Unfold pastry. Loosely fold and roll edges to form a rimmed crust. Bake for 10-12 minutes or light golden (crust will be a little raw inside). 
  3. Meanwhile place chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on 50 percent power (medium) about 2 minutes or until chocolate is almost melted, stirring frequently and until melted; set aside. 
  4. Place egg whites, vanilla and cream of tartar in mixer bowl and beat on medium to high speed until soft peaks from. Gradually add sugar and and salt and beat until egg whites are stiff and glossy. Add chocolate and nuts(if using) into beaten egg whites; fold until just combined. 
  5. Remove pastry from oven. Reduce oven to 350 degrees F. Spread chocolate filling over partially baked pastry. Bake about 10 minutes more until surface looks dry and slightly cracked (filling will be fudge inside). Remove from oven and place bake sheet on a cooling rack for at least 45 minutes. Sprinkle with confectioner and shaved chocolate. 

To make butter pastry: Place all-purpose flour and salt in a bowl stir to combine. Add in butter, using a pastry blender cut butter to pea size pellets and blend into the flour mixture. Sprinkle 1 1/2 tablespoons of cold water over flour mixture; toss gently with a fork just until moist enough to hold together (if needed add an additional 1 1/2 teaspoons of cold water). Gather flour mixture into a ball, kneading gently until it holds together. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.

via Better Homes and Garden special magazine issue: Chocolate ~ rich, dark, & decadent

Friday, September 27, 2013

Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho - It's Off From Work I Am

Today is a day off of work for me.  Some time ago - I came across this list of "the 20 Greatest Songs About Work."  Discuss.
  1. Tennessee Ernie Ford - "Sixteen Tons"
  2. Sam Cooke - "Chain Gang"
  3. Bob Dylan - "Maggie's Farm"
  4. Lee Dorsey - "Working in the Coal Mine"
  5. Glen Campbell - "Wichita Lineman"
  6. Loretta Lynn - "One's on the Way"
  7. Rush - "Working Man"
  8. Randy Newman - "Mr. President (Have Pity on the Working Man)"
  9. Johnny Paycheck - "Take This Job and Shove It"
  10. The Clash - "Career Opportunities"
  11. John Prine - "Fish and Whistle"
  12. Dolly Parton - "9 to 5"
  13. Bruce Springsteen - "Atlantic City"
  14. Utah Phillips - "Hallelujah, I'm a Bum"
  15. Dire Straits - "Money for Nothing"
  16. The Bangles - "Manic Monday"
  17. Uncle Tupelo - "Grindstone"
  18. Steve Earle - "Telephone Road"
  19. Robbie Fulks - "Let's Kill Saturday Night"
  20. Belle and Sebastian - "White Collar Boy"
I may have to make some additions to the iPod for the work shuffle mix.

When I used to work in retail - I often had to work on Friday evenings and would find myself driving to the store at 5:00, when a local radio station would have it's "5:00 Whistle" to signal the start of the weekend.  The program would always include a little Loverboy, which should be on this list, too.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Hot Fudge Sundae Cake

It's possible I've come to understand why I feel a connection to the Smitten Kitchen.  She understands (and embraces) the beauty of the Carvel Ice Cream Cake.  However, it doesn't stop her from this great recipe.  Hey, Mrs. BA how about this for a birthday cake this year?

Hot Fudge Sundae Cake
Here’s the recipe for sane people:
  • 2 pints or 1 quart chocolate ice cream
  • 2 pints or 1 quart vanilla ice cream
  • about 14 ounces chocolate cookies, ground (such as Oreos or wafers) or 2 3/4 cups ground cookies
  • bottled hot fudge sauce
  • canned whipped cream
  • jarred maraschino cherries
Below are the instructions to make each or any of these elements on your own. Then, choose your own adventure. What matters is that all roads lead to The Summer Cake To End All Summer Cakes, an air-conditioning unit of a celebration cake to soothe you until the heat wave passes. 

From SK: My only regrets in making this cake were to not have a cookie crumb base (it will be easier to remove slices from the cake pan), so I’ve included one here. I will definitely use it next time. I also wanted much more of the cookie crumb filling than I used (3/4 cup) and have increased it here. Finally, I was in a bit of a rush, but I encourage you to pre-fudge the hot fudge cake, i.e. put a little of the hot fudge on to cover the top, put it back in the freezer for 30 minutes, then — right as you’re about to serve it — put some warmer fudge over the top and sides. It will soften the frozen fudge but protect your top ice cream layer from wanting to melt off, as mine did. We found it charming, but you may not.

Sources: Chocolate and vanilla ice creams were fiddled with (just to reduce redundant steps when making them at the same time) from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop, which should come with every ice cream maker, because it’s amazing. The cookie crumbs are adapted from Wayne Brachman’s Retro Desserts; they’ve previously appeared on this site as Homemade Oreos but I’ve further simplified the recipe here. The hot fudge sauce, previously on this site with a peppermint riff, is adapted from the late print Gourmet magazine. The whipped cream was from scratch but I seriously urge you to consider using a can because the whole whipping cream + piping bag + star tip, all for 12 measly dollops, is a bit of a stretch in the effort vs. reward spectrum, even by my maddened standards.

Serves: 12 to 16

Part 1: Make Chocolate and Vanilla Ice Creams
Yield: 1 quart of each, instructions merged to cut down on repeated processes
  • 4 cups heavy cream, divided 
  • 1 split vanilla bean (for vanilla batch) 
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder and 5 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped (for chocolate batch) 
  • 2 cups whole milk 
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar 
  • Pinch of salt
  • 10 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided 

Part 2: Make Chocolate Cookie Crumbs
Yield: About 48 2 1/2-inch cookies, weighing about 96 ounces, which will be about double what you need. However, they are so delicious and keep well, it seems worth it to make a full batch. Scooped balls of dough can be frozen to bake off later. Extra cookies can be ground into crumbs for future cakes/cheesecake crusts/dessert toppings, or kept in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
Chocolate Cookies
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa 
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda 
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar 
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks), cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks 
  • 1 large egg
For Crumb Crust
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted 

Part 3: Make Hot Fudge Sauce
Yield: 2 cups, likely double what you need, but nobody worth knowing would turn down extra hot fudge sauce.
  • 2/3 cup heavy or whipping cream 
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup or golden syrup (honey should work as well, but I didn’t test it this time) 
  • 1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar 
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, ideally Dutch-processed 
  • Heaping 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt or level 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (or, about 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips), divided
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter 
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Part 4: Finish the Cake!
  • 1 cup heavy or whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Maraschino cherries
  • Colored sprinkles 

Part 1 Instructions
Prepare chocolate cream: Warm 1 cup of the cream with the cocoa powder in a medium saucepan, whisking to thoroughly blend the cocoa. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer at a very low boil for 30 seconds, whisking constantly. Remove from the heat and add the chopped chocolate, stirring until smooth. Then stir in the remaining 1 cup cream.

Prepare vanilla cream: Heat 1 cup cream to a simmer. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the cream with a paring knife, then add the bean pod to the cream. Cover, remove from heat, and infuse for one hour. After one hour, remove bean pod and stir in remaining 1 cup cream.

Make custard for both ice creams: Warm the milk, sugar, and salt in a saucepan, then transfer to a spouted liquid measuring cup. Whisk together egg yolks, medium bowl. Slowly pour in warm milk/sugar/salt mixture, whisking constantly. Then mix yolk/milk mixture back into saucepan. Cook mixture over medium-low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and …

For chocolate: Stir half of custard into chocolate cream until smooth, then stir in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla.

For vanilla: Stir the other half of the custard into vanilla cream, then stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

Chill both mixtures in fridge overnight: You want them fully chilled before they go in an ice cream machine. You can hasten this along by stirring them over an ice bath but it should feel like ice water in coldness to the touch before you put it in your ice cream machine. Meanwhile, make or prepare you chocolate cookie crumbs. You will want them ready to form a cake base before you churn your ice cream.

Part 2 Instructions
Make cookies: Heat oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Blend flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar in a food processor until combined. Add butter chunks and blend until the mixture is powdery. Add egg and run machine until dough starts to clump and ball, about 30 seconds. Scoop cookies out onto baking sheets, giving them space as they will spread a lot (not that merged cookies will matter once you grind them up). Bake for 9 to 10 minutes. Cookies will absolutely look underbaked, but don’t fret. Transfer baking sheets onto cooling racks and within two minutes, they will be firm enough to transfer to cooling racks. Let cool completely. Repeat with remaining cookie dough. Grind about half of your cookies in a food processor or blender until they’re just crumbs. You will want a total of 2 3/4 cups of them.

Make chocolate cookie crust: Mix 1 1/3 cups chocolate cookie crumbs (from about 6 ounces whole cookies, or about 12 of the homemade cookies) and melted butter together in a bowl and press evenly into the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with 2 3/4 to 3-inch sides. Freeze until firm, about 10 minutes.

Churn chocolate ice cream, i.e. first cake layer: According to manufacturers directions. In most cases, ice cream is churned for 30 minutes then transferred to a container to finish in freezer. Instead, once it has been churned to the point of soft-serve ice cream, spread it over the chocolate crumb crust in the freezer. Spread as evenly as possible, but don’t overly fret about a smooth top. This can be “perfected” after the ice cream has hardened.

Chill chocolate ice cream layer: In freezer for 1 to 2 hours, until firm. Once firm, you can use an offset spatula to make it as smooth and even as possible.

Add cookie crumb filling: Wipe off any ice cream smudges that have climbed the springform's walls; this will keep the vanilla layer looking “clean.” Spread 1 1/4 cups chocolate cookie crumbs (from a little shy of 6 ounces whole cookies, or 11 to 12 of homemade cookies) evenly over the firm chocolate ice cream layer. You can press these in a bit with a round of parchment or waxed paper, so they merge a little bit with the ice cream below.

Churn vanilla ice cream, i.e. second cake layer: According to manufacturers directions. Again, once it has been churned to the point of soft-serve ice cream, spread it over the chocolate crumb filling in the freezer. Try to spread it in as few motions as possible, pressing the ice cream to the edges with an offset spatula rather than pulling it back (i.e. and dragging the chocolate cookie crumbs from below into the pale ice cream). Again, don’t overly fret about a smooth top. This can be “perfected” after the ice cream has hardened/set in place.

Chill vanilla ice cream layer: In freezer for 1 to 2 hours, until firm. Once firm, you can use an offset spatula to make it as smooth and even as possible. Meanwhile, this is a great time to make the hot fudge sauce. If you’re taking a longer pause (i.e., you’ll do Part 3 tomorrow), press a circle of waxed or parchment paper against the vanilla ice cream overnight, so it doesn’t dry out or grow icy fuzz.

Part 3 Instructions
Make hot fudge sauce: Make hot fudge: In a 1 1/2 to 2-quart heavy saucepan, bring cream, syrup, sugar, cocoa, salt (if you’d like the salt to remain slightly textured, add it with the butter and extract at the end) and half the chocolate to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in remaining chocolate, butter and extract and stir until smooth. Cool the sauce to lukewarm before serving it so that it can thicken up.

Part 4 Instructions
“Pre-fudge” the cake: Once vanilla ice cream layer has firmed up in the freezer, with the springform sides still one, pour a puddle of lukewarm hot fudge sauce over the top and return the cake to the freezer for 30 minutes. This will help keep the final application of hot fudge from melting the top off the cake.

Meanwhile, make the whipped cream: Beat cream and sugar in a bowl with electric mixer until it forms soft-to-firm peaks. Scoop into piping bag with star tip. Keep in fridge until needed.

Finish and serving the cake: Once the hot fudge has firmed up, remove the cake from the freezer. Carefully cut around the pan to loosen the cake from the springform sides before removing them. Transfer cake to serving platter. Pour more lukewarm (can be briefly rewarmed — but not too hot — in a microwave or on the stove if it has gotten too firm) around edges of cake, letting it dribble down a little.

Quickly decorate cake: Form 12 or so dollops of whipped cream around crown of cake. Top each with a cherry. Scatter quickly with sprinkles.

Serve! With extra hot fudge sauce. Keep leftovers, should any cake survive, in the freezer in an airtight container.

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Music of Our Lives

Music, of course, plays a significant role for everyone.  Much of the music we listen to and remember comes to us from a movie.  When I used to buy albums (yes, I'm that old), cassettes (yes, them, too) and finally CDs - I would often purchase movie soundtracks.  Even LBA and SoBA persuaded me to purchase the Cars soundtrack for my iPod.

Here's a list from BuzzFeed on "30 Great Music Moments in Movies."  I've added links to videos where I could find them and included a note where the music has touched me in some way.  Enjoy.
Governor Gertrude Lang: Mr. Holland had a profound influence on my life and on a lot of lives I know. But I have a feeling that he considers a great part of his own life misspent. Rumor had it he was always working on this symphony of his. And this was going to make him famous, rich, probably both. But Mr. Holland isn't rich and he isn't famous, at least not outside of our little town. So it might be easy for him to think himself a failure. But he would be wrong, because I think that he's achieved a success far beyond riches and fame. Look around you. There is not a life in this room that you have not touched, and each of us is a better person because of you. We are your symphony Mr. Holland. We are the melodies and the notes of your opus. We are the music of your life.

  1. Moon River” by Henry Mancini as featured in Breakfast At Tiffany’s - Andy Williams will forever remind me of my mother - there were many Andy Williams records in our house growing up.
  2. Trouble” by Cat Stevens as featured in Harold And Maude - I've actually never seen this movie and am not familiar with the tune.
  3. You Should Be Dancing” by Bee Gees as featured in Saturday Night Fever - I own this soundtrack, I may like the Bee Gees more than I should.
  4. Old Time Rock N’ Roll” by Bob Seger as featured in Risky Business - because, sometimes you have to say, well, you know.
  5. Johnny B. Goode” by Chuck Berry as featured in Back To The Future - "Chuck?  Chuck!  It's your cousin, Marvin.  Marvin Berry!  You know that new sound you're looking for?"
  6. Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds as featured in The Breakfast Club - A great song, but this song is the extent of my Simple Minds exposure - movie songs can do that.
  7. Twist And Shout” by The Beatles as featured in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off - "This is for Cameron, who doesn't think he saw anything fun today."
  8. Day-O (The Banana Boat Song)” by Harry Belafonte as featured in Beetlejuice - I actually prefer the Belafonte number from the end of the movie. Harry is well represented on my iPod.
  9. In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel as featured in Say Anything… - "I told her I loved her and she gave me a pen." For musical declarations of love at the end of movies, this one ranks higher than Richard Gere's in Pretty Woman.
  10. Sweet Emotion” by Aerosmith as featured in Dazed And Confused - another movie that I have not seen, but the song is one of Mrs. BA's favorites.
  11. Bohemian Rhapsody” by Queen as featured in Wayne’s World - Just the other day, LBA, SoBA, and I were recreating this scene in the car.
  12. You Never Can Tell” by Chuck Berry as featured in Pulp Fiction - wow, two for Chuck on the same list. Not a fan of this movie however.
  13. California Dreaming” by The Mamas And The Papas as featured in Chungking Express - for this genre of music - I think Good Morning Vietnam (a movie I was watching again just the other day) does a better job and am surprised there are no songs from that movie on that list.
  14. Rollin’ With My Homies” by Coolio as featured in Clueless - not a big fan of this movie or of this genre of music.
  15. I Say A Little Prayer” by Diana King as featured in My Best Friend’s Wedding - the sing along scene in the movie is great fun. Also a soundtrack that I own.
  16. Where Is My Mind” by The Pixies as featured in Fight Club - If you can't talk about Fight Club, can you talk about the music in Fight Club?
  17. Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” by Frankie Valli And The Four Seasons as featured in 10 Things I Hate About You - a movie I've not seen, but the song is familiar to me (I have older siblings)
  18. Tiny Dancer” by Elton John as featured in Almost Famous - another soundtrack in the Brave Astronaut collection, the scene on the plane is awesome.
  19. Cosmic Dancer” by T. Rex as featured in Billy Elliot - another movie I missed and the song is not in my repertoire.
  20. These Days” by Nico as featured in The Royal Tenenbaums - didn't see this one, either - and also begins to prove the point - miss the movie, you don't immediately know the song..
  21. Just Like Honey” by The Jesus And Mary Chain as featured in Lost In Translation - three in a row.
  22. Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)” by Nancy Sinatra as featured in Kill Bill Vol. 1 - four, I think it's a Tarantino thing - but evidently he knows how to pick music.
  23. New Slang” by The Shins as featured in Garden State - I've not seen this movie, but I own the soundtrack.
  24. Everybody’s Got To Learn Sometime” by Beck as featured in Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind - also missed this and I'm not a fan of Beck, either.
  25. Rock Me Amadeus” by Falco as featured in Adventureland - the closest I got to this movie was going to the actual Adventureland on Long Island.
  26. Wait” by Alexi Murdoch as featured in Away We Go - and another.
  27. California Dreamin” by Bobby Womack as featured in Fish Tank - two versions of California Dreamin'? really?
  28. There Goes The Fear” by Doves as featured in (500) Days of Summer - wait, this one I saw.
  29. Le Temps De L’Amour” by Francoise Hardy as featured in Moonrise Kingdom
  30. Come On Eileen” by Dexys Midnight Runners as featured in The Perks Of Being A Wallflower - I know this song, but not the movie.
Movies I think are missing from the list (in no particular order) - see if you can figure out what song I think is missing.:

Monday, September 16, 2013

Everything's Better With Potato Chips

Potato chips are a staple at the launchpad.  They appear in lunches, when we have sausage sandwiches at dinner, and are a must with most sandwiches (though LBA and SoBA usually get tortilla chips or pretzels - I'm trying to keep from infecting them with Mrs. BA and my addiction).

Then I saw this post - it's possible that I may have had to take a knee and wept with joy [from BuzzFeed]. I struggled with which recipe to post they all looked so good.  I will point out that I am always on the lookout for good onion rings (they need to be thin sliced and lightly battered) and the one listed in the post might be a winner.  I went with this one because it might make a good entry into a future bakeoff.

Chocolate-dipped Potato Chip Cookies
Yield: About 24 cookies

  • 3/4 cup flour 
  • 1/2 cup reduced fat potato chips, crushed fine (put them in a zippered plastic bag and roll them with a rolling pin to crush them 
  • 1/4 cup pecans, toasted and chopped very fine 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (yes, really! Don't leave it out.) 
  • 8 tablespoons butter, cut into 
  • 8 pieces and slightly softened 
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1/4 cup confectioner's sugar 
  • 1 large egg yolk 
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 10 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate 

  1. Preheat oven to 350 and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Combine potato chips, flour, pecans and salt in a bowl. 
  3. Beat butter and both sugars in a mixer until fluffy, about 3 minutes.Add egg and vanilla and beat until combined.
  4. Slowly add flour mixture until completely combined.
  5. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and place on cookie sheet about 3 inches apart. Flatten dough balls with your fingers until they are 1/4 inch thick. 
  6. Bake for 5 minutes, rotate cookie sheet and bake for another 5 minutes, watching the cookies during the second 5 minutes to make sure they don't get too brown. Cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet, then cool completely on a rack.
  7. Melt the chocolate slowly in a double boiler, stirring until smooth. Dip each cookie almost halfway in chocolate, place on a cookie sheet covered with waxed paper and refrigerate until chocolate has hardened.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

12 Years Later - Never Forget

This past year, traveling home from a conference in Erie, PA, I had the opportunity to stop in Shanksville, PA and visited the Flight 93 Memorial.  It was a very moving experience and I'm glad I stopped.  Every year since I started this blog - I have posted something today, here's the list of the previous posts:
  1. 2012
  2. 2011
  3. 2010
  4. 2009
  5. 2008
  6. 2007
  7. 2006
On this day, as I always say, stop - take a moment - remember.  Remember the ones we lost, remember the ones who helped and gave all.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Butterscotch Popsicles

As some of you may recall, Mrs. BA has made Butterscotch Pudding for our neighbor on a few occasions.  Maybe she can try these.  From smitten kitchen.

Butterscotch Pudding Popsicles
No popsicle molds? You could any kind of tiny cup to mold them instead, but my favorite is a champagne flute for shape; you could even use those disposable plastic ones. When the mixture is halfway frozen, insert a popsicle stick and now no retro popsicle mold needs to come between you and Popsicle Week.

  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream 
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar 
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature 
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt, or to taste (use less of a fine sea salt) 
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch 
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk 
Combine the cream, brown sugar and butter in the bottom of a medium, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally in the beginning and more frequently as it reduces and thickens. You’ll know it’s done when it becomes a bit darker, more syrupy, and smells toasty.

Add cornstarch and slowly whisk in milk. Raise heat to medium. Cook mixture, stirring frequently, until it thickens slightly, anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add vanilla and sea salt. Taste mixture and adjust salt, if needed.

Cool mixture to lukewarm before pouring into popsicle molds. You can hasten this along by setting the pot or bowl with the butterscotch pudding batter in a larger bowl partially filled with ice water, and stirring it for a few minutes.

Pour into popsicle molds and freeze as manufacturer directs. If using makeshift molds, let popsicles freeze about halfway (30 to 60 minutes, depending on size) before inserting popsicle sticks, then freeze the rest of the way.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

More Back to School Memories

Today is the day that I will always associate with going back to school.  In New York, you always started the Wednesday after Labor Day.  In my school district, there was a high Jewish population so you almost always had time off very soon for Rosh Hashanah and then Yom Kippur in October.

Here's a list of "Things You Learned in School That Are Now Completely Useless" [from BuzzFeed]
  1. How to write in cursive - it disappoints me that this is not taught anymore.
  2. How to drop an egg from a five-story building without breaking it - I must have been absent this day.
  3. How to climb a rope - I really wanted to be absent on this day.
  4. How to play Hot Cross Buns on the recorder - would that I still had mine, I might be able to do this.
  5. How to make the most badass erupting volcano - I was not a big science guy
  6. How to find a book using the card catalog system - I worked in a library for a while and became quite familiar with Melvil and his card filing system.  To this day, the scene from the Breakfast Club where Judd Nelson rearranges the cards in the drawers gives me the heebee jeebees.
  7. How to use long division - remember to show your work!
  8. Memorizing the periodic table of elements - yeah, not so much.  But I did what I had to, to avoid the wrath of Mrs. Feit.
  9. How to forge a river on the Oregon Trail - and with its resurgence, so can LBA and SoBA!
  10. Memorizing the preamble to the U.S. Constitution - duh, Schoolhouse Rock!
  11. How to spell boobs on a calculator - no, I never did this.
  12. How to do the limbo - that was in "elective gym."
  13. Reciting the state capitals - my mother used to be able to do this.  I could probably do 40 of them.
  14. How to make a potato battery - again, more science, not so much.
  15. Learning to sing in a round - Row Row Row Your Boat, anyone?
  16. How to make a Cat's Cradle 
  17. How to make paper snowflakes
  18. How to make a cootie catcher - I had no idea that's what they were called.
  19. How to play foursquare - and it does not involve "checking in."
  20. How to do the Macarena - luckily, I just missed this.
  21. How to keep a Tamagotchi alive - also I'm older than these.
  22. How to make papier mache anything
  23. How to make a shoebox diorama - I loved making these
  24. How to care for a fake infant egg - why?
  25. How to grow a plant in a wet paper towel
  26. How to line up by height
  27. How to color in the lines
  28. Latin - semper ubi, sub ubi.
  29. Memorizing all of the presidents in order - Bruce Farbstein used to be able to do this forward and backwards in under a minute.  I can do it, but I usually screw up the order pre- and post-Lincoln.
  30. How to navigate the Encyclopedia Britannica - what's an encyclopedia?
  31. How to find arrowheads
  32. How to dissect a frog - again, the wrath of Mrs. Feit came down on me when I nearly passed out.
  33. How to say 'no' to drugs
  34. How to put a condom on a phallic fruit
  35. How to differentiate between different types of dinosaurs
  36. How to cite a source using MLA 
  37. How to build a styrofoam solar system - hey, and mine included Pluto, it'll always be a planet to me!
  38. How to extract liquid from a pouch - that's not a euphemism for anything.
  39. How to use WordArt for fancy fonts - similarly there was using BASIC to create banners with your name or writing loop "go to" programs.
  40. How to write poetry
  41. How to make an acrostic
  42. How to write a book report - or the dreaded "five paragraph essay"
  43. How to jump out of the back of a bus - that was always a fun way to start one's day.
  44. How to decorate for a dance
  45. How to sell worthless coupon books
  46. How to scratch and sniff
  47. How to care for your Pokemon cards - LBA has some of those around somewhere - wait are they worth money?
  48. How to make a tornado in a soda bottle - before Mentos and Diet Coke that is.
  49. How to spell - so you mean that red line doesn't automatically appear when you misspell a word when writing longhand?  What's up with that?

Monday, September 2, 2013

Labor Day - Grill at least one Extra Steak

I think it's a law - that you should grill on this unofficial last day of summer.  Of course, LBA and SoBA have been back in school for a week but had the day off today for Labor Day.  We savored the dwindling days of the pool and enjoy some grilled meat for our dinner courtesy of the Domestic Goddess.  A fine feast was had by all

Of course, Mrs. BA's favorite summer dinner is flank steak and baked potatoes.  So, next time we have steak, if there are any leftovers, we might try this.

Steak & Potato Barbecued Grilled Cheese
from BSintheKitchen via BuzzFeed

  • Top Sirloin Steak 
  • Provolone Cheese 
  • 1 Potato 
  • 1 Green Onion Stalk 
  • Butter 
  • Garlic Salt 
  • Salt & Pepper 
  • Olive Oil 
  • Yellow Onion 
  • French Bread 
Start off by taking your steak out of the fridge (if it’s in there), patting it dry with a paper towel, brushing with olive oil and salt and peppering to taste. Allow it to warm to room temperature for 30-45 minutes. While you are waiting for your steak to warm, start getting your other ingredients together. Evenly slice your potato (I used a White Potato), toss them in some olive oil, with a little bit of garlic salt, and salt and pepper to taste. Cut a slice of onion and start caramelizing it in a pan on medium-low heat with some butter. Next, slice the provolone (I used three fairly large slices), bread and chives.

Once your steak is about at room temperature, start your barbecue and let it heat on high for a few minutes. Once it’s heated up, reduce it to medium-high heat, place your potato slices directly on the grill along with your steak. Cook the steak for about 3-4 minutes per side, you want it rare to medium-rare, as it will cook further once you grill your sandwich. Once the steak it done, put it on a plate and allow it to rest for 10-15 minutes before thinly slicing against the grain of the meat (this maximizes tenderness!). While your steak is resting, watch your onions and potatoes. The potatoes should take around 20 minutes to cook, so flip them after about ten minutes, or once they start browning.

When everything is finished cooking, butter each side of your bread, sprinkle some garlic salt on the inside of both slices and put the provolone on each side as well. On your bottom slice, sprinkle your green onion, layer the potato, your steak slices and top it all off with the caramelized onions and your top slice.

After forming your sandwich, place it on the grill, allowing it to cook until grill marks begin to form and the sandwich starts browning, flip it over cooking until browned and toasty! If you find your barbecue is cooking the sandwich a little too fast, or you’re scared of burning the sandwich, feel free to turn down the heat to medium.

That’s all! Slice in half to reveal all its glory and chow down on this seriously amazing sandwich.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Thirty Years Later

On September 1, 1983, Korean Airlines Flight 007 disappeared from radar after passing over Soviet territory as it approached its final destination.  Soviet fighter pilots had intercepted the plane and tried to make contact with the plane.  Receiving no response, one of the pilots fired a heat seeking missile, downing the plane, killing 269 passengers and crew.

Shortly after this tragedy, I was on a plane myself returning home from a trip to France.  It was a little troubling to pick up the issue of Time Magazine above in the Paris airport and then get on a plane to fly home.