Monday, February 28, 2011

One Day, Two FAILS

Dear Bleaders,
    Today was an especially sad day in Kersten Kolache Land. Here's the skinny:

I was chatting it up with my mother and she suddenly gets this tentative, hesitant tone in her voice.

Ma: "Hey, sweetie. Everything goin' okay there at the house..?"
Me: "Um, yea. Why?"
Ma: "Are you still cooking for that blog thing?"
Me: "Yea, I just getting back on the wagon. February was just sort of a tough month. Why?"
Ma: "Well...that picture you put up of the kitchen, and I was just it really that messy?
Me: "Really, Ma? You think that I would let my kitchen get that bad?"
Ma: *Apologetic* "Well, no, I mean, I just, it seems like you were having a tough time and I didn't think you had yellow counter tops any way. I just saw that and I was just not sure. I'm glad everything's alright.
Me: ...

Fail #2:

I would like to start by giving a salute to all of you who are already followers. Thank you for your support. Also, a special thanks to all those who are out there Tweeting, Facebooking and Stumbling my story to the masses. (I celebrate every with a squee and run all euphoric about the house when a new person joins.)

Like you, I am trying to get the word out about generally awesome my blog is. However, there are some haters. I got this lovely diddy from a dude from my very own hometown of Houston.

Consequently, I found a song about this very guy! What a lucky rabbit I am!
I thought you would like to hear it. (Sorta NSFW)

I have also been submitting blogrolls with marginal success. Today, however, I was summarily rejected from a cooking blogroll because it was stated that my blog, "was not about cooking." I was completely shattered of course, because I would like to think 95% of my blog is about cooking. I cried a little and vowed to chronicle more of my actual cooking.

Until I can get up to that magical 101% of my blog being devoted to listing out a recipe with explicit directions on how to prepare it in a dry, regimented manner, please continue to use social networking to tell my tale. I'm counting on you to get the message out there and prove that indeed, more people have read my blog than that guy's shirt. Namaste! Good karma be with you.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Things I Have Been Accused of Lately: What is "Being a Such a Guy?"

Things at the hovel have pretty well deteriorated to pre-wedding conditions. Dishes are piled high in the sink, random take-out cartons litter the living area, and my kitchen generally smells like burned onions and failure. February has been a bit of a tough culinary month for me. My living quarters look somewhat like this:

Okay, maybe not THIS least I don't have Formica counters. Wait...*facepalm*

Since the Puck-cake incident, I have been pretty much on a cooking strike. As such, the consumable food in the house has changed from fresh and leafy to powdery, processed and/or once leafy, now black and rotten. "Meals" have since become quite unusual at the house. Jon is a big boy and can fend for himself in a bachelorish-like fashion. He has no problem eating a can of soup and being done with it. I, on the other hand, ate this for dinner the other day, okay 2 days:

Chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream.
Followed by a "sandwich"
More ice cream
16 straight TIVO'd episodes of "How I Met Your Mother" (HIMYM)

Jon finally had to say something when he caught me eating the following over the course of an evening:

One individual size serving of mac and cheese
-Eaten in front of TV during HIMYM.

One fun-size pack of Peanut M&Ms
-Eaten 30 minutes later while sitting under a giant load of  fresh-out-of-the-dryer laundry....who am I kidding, it was dirty laundry that needed to be sorted.

One single serving size bag of Doritos 
-Eaten 1 hour later while trying to understand "Labyrinth" while not being high, and trying to remember why I loved it so much as a kid.

~~~Passed out on couch from carb overload~~~
Woke up hungry 2 hours later and had...

One slice of buttered toast.
-while trying to get motivated to shower for the first time that weekend, and do a blog post for you guys. Eaten while walking down the hall to the computer room.

~~~I'm staring at my computer's blinking cursor...stomach growls~~~

"You know what I need?" I ask myself.
Self: "Some G.D. Self-esteem?"
Me: "Besides that."
Self: "Better personal hygiene?"
Me: "Shut up! I'll shower later."
Self:  "Bacon!?"
Me: Exactly!

~~Sneak back to kitchen as I have already been chastised for eating nothing but garbage for a week~~~

During a commercial Jon hears a sizzle in the kitchen.

J: "Whatcha' cooking babe?"
Me: "Nothing, I'm on strike."
J: "Ok, I just thought I heard something going on in there."
Me: "mmhmmm"
(His nose must have been really REALLY stopped up. How the hell can you not smell bacon.)
I make myself 4 1/2 pieces of bacon and sneak back to the computer.

Jon's spider senses start tingling. He knows something is up. The smell of bacon always lures a scavenger. I'm deliriously om nomming my bacon in the back when suddenly he sneaks up behind me and scares the piss out of me.

J: "What are you doing!"
Me: "Blogging..."
J: "Is that bacon? Did you just fry yourself up a whole plate of bacon?!"
Me: "No..."
J: ~with a hint of disgust~ "You are such a guy." (Not meant as a compliment)

THEN he does the unthinkable, he tries to steal some bacon. The boy is obviously crazy.

Important Digression: When birds of prey make a kill, they do something called mantling to make themselves look bigger and scarier to potential threats. It is basically a bird giving other animals "the bird". Mantling looks like this:

Look at me protecting my noms! Now leave me & the cheezeburger in peace & no one will get hurt!

I do not know what came over me at that very moment, but I mantled over my bacon with my arms like wings and yelled "CA CAW CA CAW!!!" at the top of my freaking lungs. Seriously, I'm not making this up. God knows what the neighbors thought was going on. Jon did not take my threatening posture seriously and I was forced to do what any threatened animal would do. Violence ensued.

I told that bitch to back up off'a my bacon!

It wasn't pretty, but I kept my bacon. However, I started feeling a little guilty for being a greedy bitch, so I broke down and gave him a bite. Then I had a realization: When you're biting your spouse and not really sure why, something needs to change. That's it kids, I am back on the wagon. More cooking adventures coming soon.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Ghetto Dishwasher Among Other Hovel Accoutrements

Top tray will drop copious amounts of glass on your foot and floor.

Twist tie for holding on the top rack. Obviously, our landlord's solution works PERFECTLY.

For your listening pleasure, Eric Cartman sings, "In the Ghetto"

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

New Zealand Experiences Second Major Earthquake in 5 Months

Dear Readers,
   Very rarely do I appeal to you for causes, but this one is near and dear to my heart. New Zealand just experienced a 6.3 magnitude earthquake. The second major earthquake in 5 months. My heart goes out to the Kiwi people, who were so kind and generous to us during our honeymoon in December. Please take a moment to go to the New Zealnd Red Cross link posted below and make a contribution. Remember that New Zealand is an island so aid and basic supplies not only costs more, it takes longer to get there due to the country's isolation. Your generousity and prayers are much appreciated.

Jon in front of ChristChurch Cathedral in downtown Christchurch. December 2010.
REUTERS/Don Scott/Christchurch Press. Christchurch Cathedral, Feb 23, 2011.

(We stayed in the hotel you see immediately to the left by the yellow crane)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Sad Day in Cupcake Land

Jon and I didn't do Valentine's Day this year. It's a corporate holiday dreamed up to increase chocolate sales around the Great Depression, and we figured, meh, we just got married. That's love enough...for now.

However, I stumbled across a Food Network Magazine at the office with a recipe that I just HAD to try. I nicked the page from the magazine and dashed home with euphoric, klepto-like glee.

The recipe is for homemade chocolate mini cupcakes, frosted with peanut butter icing, dipped in a chocolate ganache. My heart was all a flutter. When I saw this recipe, I felt like this:

Everything in the world is MAGICAL!

I should have known this was going to be a fail from the very beginning, but I was blinded by cupcake glee. Every time I encountered a warning sign that should have signified that this recipe was doomed to fail, I am going to write it in red. For example, I seriously had to go to the store on three different to get all the ingredients. Two of those three trips were to Wal-mart. Even checking out at the register at Wal-mart with these ingredients was a hassle. They just wouldn't scan, and the cashier, for some odd reason, could not properly type in the UPC code. Seriously.

The Sunday before Valentine's Day was going to be the last time that I will be cooking for awhile because Jon and I are going heading to the in-laws every weekend to help with the family business. Yea. Now was the time to cook, and there was no going back. I plowed mixed forward.

With my mise en place rockin', I started making the cupcakes. I must have gone over the directions 500 times with OCD-like precision to make sure every single step was right. I chopped about 900 different types of chocolate:

Chop Chop Chop!
Then I had to scald some heavy cream. After the cream is scalded, you are supposed to pour it over some peanut butter chips, let it sit for a few minutes, and then mix into a smooth paste for frosting. Scalding cream is really no big thing, that is unless your oven coils will not nest flat into the stove. After my pot sat on high for quite awhile without a boil, I began to wonder what was going on. After closer examination, my stove's knobs looked a little funny. Here's what I think happened: The stove's original knob got broken off by a previous tenant, so the landlord went to the hardware store and bought the first stove knob he could find. What he failed to notice during installation is that this knob is the opposite of all the other stove knobs. (i.e. this one has the HI setting on the opposite side of the dial than the other three burner knobs. So that means when this burner says HI when the temperature is actually on LO and vice versa. My hovel gets ghetto-er by the minute.

While the peanut butter set, I went to filling cupcakes sleeves. The batter was dark, rich, and absolutely fabulous. However, it was so thick, it was difficult to get it off the spoon into the muffin cups. I made a huge mess, but that was no surprise really. The real surprise came when I filled up 36 muffin cups, realizing that the recipe was only supposed to make 24 cupcakes. I put the first 24 in the oven and set the timer.

Afterward, I went to work smoothing the PB chips. I only had a shallow bowl left to mix in. I pulled out the hand mixer and started it on the slowest setting. Peanut Butter Creme Fresh soon splattered all over my kitchen because the bowl was too shallow to use a hand mixer.

You can see splatter on my hand and on the counter there.

This recipe, I swear, took every bowl, whisk, measuring spoon/cup, and spatula I owned. I had to stop 3 times mid-recipe to wash a dish that I needed. I sighed and carried on. I sadly misread that the PB mixture is to go in the freezer to harden after mixing. It was supposed to go in the fridge.  
About this time, the timer is going off for the cupcakes. I take out the first batches and put in the second. Something seemed terribly wrong. Jon and I tried a cupcake to see what was up. Guess what we found:

This means that my oven temperature gauge is off as well. I had made 24 mini hockey pucks. Twenty-four f-ing Puck-cakes from scratch. I decide to carfully monitor the remaining 12 to see if they could be salvaged. 

While they were cooking, I had to make a ganache and finish up the PB frosting. The recipe said that I was to mircowave the chocolate pieces with buttermilk for 2 minutes. By now, you should know how I feel about chocolate in the microwave. I started at 30 seconds and pulled my now rock hard PB frosting from the freezer. I pulled the chocolate out of the microwave and was able to ganache it right away. The PB frosting, on the other hand, required an ice-pick to get it out of the bowl. I was supposed to whip it into a fluffy paste, but it only came out as a thick turd log. I piped that shit on the salvaged second batch of cupcakes.

Look kids! Poo cupcakes!

Then came the dipping of the turd-frosted cupcakes into the ganache. Sigh. The frosting didn't really adhere too well to the puck-cakes.  It fell into the ganache bowl and had to be fished out and squished back on. Here is what resulted:

Hockey Puck-cakes with Turd-Burglar Icing Dipped in Diarrhea.  Yummy.
I walked out of the kitchen in disgust, both of my sinks full. My counters were covered in chocolate. Why you ask?

Dripped all over the kitchen.

Since this incident, we have been living on pizza, sandwiches, take-out, and dinner parties at other people's houses. Fuck cooking. I quit.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Winner of the Recipe Contest

Sorry for the delay, things have been a bit crazy around here. Thank you to all those who submitted a recipe or two to the giveaway. It was such a hard call to choose a I chose two.

Lis G. wins for her "Spicy Garlic Lime Chicken"


Txbruno wins for "Pot Roast in Foil"

Congrats to the winners! Please send me a private message on the Kersten Kolache Project Facebook Page to claim your prize! Or, I just added my a contact me link on the FAQ page. You can claim your prize that way. Congratulations again.

Monday, February 14, 2011

No Sincerer Love...

  “There is no love sincerer than the love of food.” 
-George Bernard Shaw

Happy Valentine's Day 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Pie For Friends & Other Wordlessness

"Three things are needed for a good life: good friends, good food, and good song.”

~Jason Zebehazy

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Time I Stole Eggs from Bobby Flay

Last weekend was a particularly busy week for Jon due to his company's semi-annual convention. Being the awesome spouse-like person that I am, I tagged along to get in the way and distract him from his duties as much as possible.

What I enjoy most about going to his conferences is the nice dinners that we are occasionally invited to. This time, we were invited to a place that served bone-in Filet Mignon. It was awesome. Afterwards, we went back to the hotel bar for a drink.

Just one...

Well, of course, I was dressed beautifully and made my man proud to sit with me while we were at dinner. The bar, however, always seems like a different story. Things usually end up going South fast when we drink with Jon's coworkers. Why? Because we can never get away with just one drink, and I can't hold my liquor.

Enter the Lemon Drop Martini.

I always imagine myself looking all glamorous and sophisticated as I sip my martinis, all dressed up in my fancy pants. (whoops, just typed panties...must still be fighting that hangover). In my mind, I look totally rad like this:

 However, I probably look a little more like this:

After two nights of closing down the hotel bar and enough lemon drops in my system to...well...piss a lot of lemonade, my nights got a little bizarre. While Jon was holding his liquor and snoozing next to me, I was overcome with the most realistically odd dream imaginable.

It all started out normal enough: I was in my kitchen cooking...


...this recipe that was going to be a masterpiece. After looking through the cookbook, I casually walked over to the fridge to get a few ingredients. To my horror, I had no milk, eggs, or butter. I start having a panic attack and dash around the apartment as if the place is burning down. Alas, there is none of these products any where! I glance over to my skillet and the concoction is boiling! Boiling without the necessary staple ingredients! It will be ruined!

I dash out my door, across the landing, up the stairs, and start banging on my neighbor's door. My neighbor ends up being this lady who interviewed me for a job over a year ago (in real life). Not at all phased about why this Ph.D. is living in the same ghetto hovel as me, I begin begging her for all the ingredients I need. She made it very clear (in real life and in my dream) that she didn't really like me. Then, she proceeds to berate me, deny me all said perishables, and slam the door in my face. I weep.

*Weep, weep.*

Then, I just happen to notice a really nice set of stairs leading up to a penthouse suite. "When did my apartment get a penthouse suite?" I think to myself. I am slightly awed and scared at the same time. The steps are so clean and brilliant white.

(Was this a metaphor for heaven? Not sure.)

I felt compelled to climb these stairs in my desperate search for perishables. I slowly crawl on my hands and knees up the flight of stairs to the penthouse. I get to the front door, but I can't bring myself to knock. Then I notice the door is imperceptibly ajar... 

I give the door a tiny push and see a beautiful apartment loft filled with all kinds of luxury furnishings. The floor is gleaming marble. Panoramic windows flood the room with brilliant sunlight. Then, in the distance, I notice a man watching TV on a white couch. His back is to me, but I know who he is ...

Iron Chef Bobby Flay
"Holy Fish-sticks!" I think to myself. "I live two floors below freakin' BOBBY FLAY!" I admire his gleaming, white chef outfit from the floor where I am still hunkered like a scared mouse. He does not notice my presence. I can't bring myself to knock on the door and ask Bobby Flay for the things I need. I feel very small and I'm in a place I don't belong.

I think to myself, "If I ask Bobby Flay to borrow eggs, milk, and butter, he will think I am the most inept cook ever! What will he think of me not having these staples in the house!? STAPLES I TELL YOU!! He will be totally disgusted with me and will refuse to grill in my presence." I feel tears coming to my eyes.

*An idea forms in my brain...the room darkens...a chill fills the air...*

I must steal from Bobby Flay.

My logic is this: If he never knows I took these things, there is still a chance that we can still be best friends.

I see it all playing out in my head like this:
Perhaps we run into each other on the staircase and I can be all casual like, "Oh hey, aren't you that Bobby Flay guy?"
And he would be like "Oh yea, I am. Are you a fan of Iron Chef America?"
Then, I would be all nonchalant like "Oh, well, I watch it every now and then..."
And he would be like, "Well that's cool. Maybe we could grill together sometime."
And then I would be like, "Sounds like it might be fun. I'll bring an apron."
Then, when he turns to head up to his apartment, I squee like a teenage girl.

Time to get serious: I must preserve the future BFF-ness potential of me and Bobby Flay.

I notice a gourmet kitchen staged to the left of the front entry. The only problem is that the kitchen is in direct line of the living area where Bobby Flay is watching TV. Any false move and I would be discovered.

I scamper on my hands and knees across the cold floor in a bold dash to the kitchen.

*Scamper, Scamper*

I dive behind the kitchen's center island as if I am stealing homeplate just before Bobby Flay turns his head away from the television. He must of heard me. I chastise myself. I must be quieter. He returns to watching his program.

I stealthily tip-toe my way to his refrigerator and open the door.

Bobby Flay owns a Stainless Steel Frigidaire Gallery 25.8 Cu. Ft.
 French Door Refrigerator with Thru-the-Door Ice and Water.

I carefully collect the eggs and milk. I peer around the door. He is still tuned into the TV...

Quietly, I close the refrigerator and start my escape when I realize I have forgotten the butter. I break out into a sweat. I glance over my shoulder towards the TV...the coast is clear. I reopen the fridge door and notice the butter is all the way in the back on the top shelf. I MUST get the butter. I move the eggs and milk to one arm and stand on my tip toes to reach for the butter. Just then, the egg carton opens and a couple eggs go tumbling towards the ground.

*Splat, Splat*

The jig is up. I see Bobby Flay rise from the couch all slow-motion style like a giant in "Jack and the Beanstalk".  He starts coming right at me. I snatch the butter from the shelf and make a dash for the front door. Screaming like a mad woman, I run all the way down the stairs, across the landing, and back to my apartment.

I slam my door and lock it behind me. Bobby Flay is coming for me and he is not happy. I dump all the stolen perishables into a pot. All evidence must be destroyed. I try to whip up an omelet. Perhaps if I invite him in for an omelet, he will forget how angry he is about me stealing his food. Everyone likes an omelet, right? RIGHT!?!

*There is a knocking at my door*

I startle.
I look around panicked!


It's the hotel maid...

Jon looks over at me. He says I look frazzled. "What's wrong?" he asks...