Category Archives for "Food"

Death by macaroni and cheese

Because of the holiday, posting is going to be light this week. I figured something of mine ought to be light and if it can’t be my thighs courtesy of Christmas Eve scalloped potatoes, macaroni and cheese and desserts out the ying yang, then it might as well be my blog, right?

Speaking of macaroni and cheese, I thought I’d share the recipe that I like to follow, which I got from someone, somehow, someway, somewhere, sometime ago. I make it only once a year because it takes that long for my cholesterol to recover and come up for air. A word to the wise … before you make it, ask Santa for some stretchy pants.

Here we go:

Go take out a second mortgage and then run to Wegmans for the following:

  • ¼ pound butter, better known as Reason to Live
  • ½ cup flour
  • 5½ cups of whole milk, also known as Udder Butter
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • 1¼ pounds extra-sharp raw goat-milk cheddar, grated. However, unless you’ve won the lottery, beware that the sticker shock might just kill you and if you die before you even eat this dish, then you’re going to miss out on dying after you eat this dish, from the combined fat, calories and cholesterol which is way more fun. So, if you haven’t raided your kids’ piggy banks recently, just do what I do and substitute a really good aged sharp cheddar instead. It will cost you half as much and your kids won’t have to muck up your yard by burying their piggy banks in the rhododendrons
  • 8 oz fontina, grated
  • 8 oz gruyere, grated
  • 1 pound pasta shells
  • 2½ cups panko breadcrumbs. I searched Wegmans high and low for these things and finally found them in the Asian aisle. But only after I made a spectacle of myself in front of the croutons by yelling WHO’S HOGGING ALL THE STUPID PANKO BREADCRUMBS?

Then, do the following:

Try not to gobble the 2+ pounds of cheese sitting before you. You will be in the bathroom the entire night and your guests will be sitting at the table wondering where the hell dinner is and not caring one iota that your intestines have exploded out of your body cavity and are hanging from the bathroom ceiling.

Heat the milk in a pot to just below boiling. I think this is called scalding, but don’t quote me on that. Do you really want to learn culinary vocabulary from someone who thinks Velveeta is a food group?

In the meantime, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. When it starts to bubble, stir in the flour and cook for one minute. ONE MINUTE. That’s what the recipe says and whenever a recipe calls for such a short, exact measurement of time, I feel compelled to use an egg timer and a stop watch and the hourglass timer from the Boggle game and make my kids count to sixty with a metronome.

I believe the phrase you’re probably searching for right now is “batshit crazy.”

Slowly pour the milk into the flour mixture, whisking constantly.

Whisk, whisk, whisk.

Whisk some more.

Watch your right bicep quadruple in size. This only happens if you’re right handed. I have no idea what happens if you’re left-handed. I’d ask Nate but I’m too busy whisking.

Keep whisking.

Whisk until you age into social security or the mixture bubbles and becomes thick. For me, it’s different every time. Sometimes it takes ten minutes, sometimes it’s more like twenty-five. I have no idea why there’s such a discrepancy but my current theory is that my stove is in cahoots with my washing machine and they’re taking turns screwing with me.

Remove the pot from the stove and add the spices and slowly stir in all the cheese until it melts and becomes liquid Heaven.

Try to refrain from constructing a beer bong out of rigatoni and wax paper to funnel the entire mixture into your stomach. You are not in college any more, remember? Act like an adult and use a really big straw. Or a shop vac.

In the meantime, cook your pasta until it’s “al dente.” Don’t ask me what “al dente” means because I’ll just tell you that it means still firm but not actually hard anymore, kind of like your husband after you tell him you feel like getting down and dirty with some stripping in the bedroom and then you kiss him, cop a feel and run upstairs and he immediately chases after you and as soon as he crosses the threshold of the master bedroom, you greet him with a huge smile and a ginormous bottle of DIF wallpaper gel and a scraper.

Then again, that might be an example of  “al flaccid.” Now do you see why you do not want to learn culinary vocabulary from me?

Drain your pasta and then stir it into the cheese mixture.

Dump the whole thing into a greased 9 x 13 dish.

Yell at me because you soon realize that it takes up a lot more than one 9 x 13 dish so have another, smaller dish handy to catch the overflow and then you won’t have to call me bad names and I won’t have to cry.

Cover both dishes with panko breadcrumbs. But first, yell WHO’S HOGGING ALL THE STUPID PANKO BREADCRUMBS because deja vu is fun.

Preheat the broiler and when it’s ready, stick the dishes under it for approximately 4-5 minutes. Or, you can preheat your oven to 350° and then bake the dishes for about 20 minutes or until all the cheese fornicates with all the noodles and it’s just one massive, bubbling, slightly browned orgy.

Put on those stretchy pants and tell your waist to keep in touch and send you a postcard.

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Are you allowed to issue an Amber Alert for your waist?

There were several moments in San Francisco when I thought that I had died and gone straight up to the pearly gates and they actually opened for me without bribes or coercion or a WHO ARE YOU AGAIN accompanied by a DNA swab and eyeball scan.

Like when I saw the Golden Gate Bridge.

Or when I stepped foot into the Harry Mason shop.

Or when, after walking four years up hill to get to the top of Coit Tower I spotted, through my hysterical tears, a bus parked outside the tower and realized that we weren’t going to have to finagle me a pair of prosthetic legs out of twigs and tree bark and then hire a sherpa to get us back down to civilization.

And then … there was the moment I first laid eyes on this in Ghirardelli Square:

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Kara’s Cupcakes. Mmmmmmmmmmmm.

If you asked me to describe this place in three words, I’d cry and run in circles for five minutes and then hide under my bed in a fetal position because being put on the spot makes me channel my inner two year old. I’d drag Nate over here to tell you that I speak the God’s honest truth but I can’t because he asked me an hour ago what I was going to do with the rest of my life and now I’m too dizzy to crawl out from under here and go find him and besides, I DON’T WANNA AND YOU CAN’T MAKE ME SO THERE.

But if you gave me a day or so to think about it, I’d come up with “Bye Bye Waist” but only because “Multiple Simultaneous Orgasms” is way too naughty for this blog.

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Just look at them. I tried to concoct a plan to distract the employee so that I could crawl into the case and shove all of them in my purse or down my throat but Helena refused to stand outside and yell HELP! ANGELINA AND BRAD JUST TRIED TO ADOPT ME because apparently she didn’t want to make a spectacle of herself. I was all “Helena, you make a spectacle of yourself all the time at home, what’s the problem?” and she was all “But Mom, that’s at home and besides, I know you’ll always love me unconditionally, no matter what I do” and I was all “That’s true, as long as you do as I say, so start screaming” and she was all “But what if I get arrested? Or Brangelina sues me?” and I was all “Who cares? It’s cupcakes.”

But she wouldn’t go for it.

So we paid $3.25 per cupcake.

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They were really good. Totally worth the $3.25. And even bail and a few attorney’s fees, I think.

And then, in Monterey, we came across the Eighth Wonder of the World:

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Nestle Toll House Cafe.

Excuse me while I pass out from sheer ecstasy.

When I looked up and saw this sign, angels zoomed around my head on green polka dotted Segways and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir belted out Hallelujah while wearing Speedos and riding plaid hippos down the sidewalk.

Sometimes my hunger-induced hallucinations freak me out.

Nevertheless, I told Nate to just leave me be and go on about his business and come back for me in about eight years so that I could become morbidly obese without distraction.

nestle_tollhouse_cafe2

Have you ever seen anything so obscenely decadent in your life?

I had one of everything.

Twice.

Then we walked down Cannery Row a bit and came across the Candy Factory, otherwise known as Nirvana.

candy_factory_1

We almost lost Helena in the Butterfinger barrel –  she dove in and tried to eat her way to the earth’s core. Luckily, Nate hates candy so he had not slipped into a sugar-induced coma and was alert enough to yank Helena out by her ankles.

I would have totally been there if I hadn’t been distracted by the Milky Way barrel.

I’d say like mother, like daughter but that wouldn’t paint a very flattering picture of me, now would it? So I won’t.

candy_factory_2

I don’t think it will come as any surprise that our luggage wasn’t the only thing that weighed more on the trip back.

But at least the airline didn’t charge me for the extra chin.

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*Sniff* I hope she cherishes these moments.

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The above photos are evidence of which of the following:

  1. We are living undercover as a landfill
  2. Our garage smells strongly of WHAT THE HELL CRAWLED IN HERE AND DIED
  3. Ginger Ale is a fertile slut living in suburbia
  4. Nate’s innards are vying for an “after” spot on a medical disease poster
  5. Nate needs a hobby
  6. All of the above

gingerale_cans_1

A couple of times a year, Zoe and I have a fun bonding experience while cleaning up the planet.

We haul out all of the trash bags filled with the remnants of Nate’s addiction and stuff them into the trunk of my car. Then we speed off to Wegmans where we proceed to shove each can, one by one, into the recycling machines and watch Zoe’s college fund almost double.

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It’s actually quite fun to watch it grow exponentially in a matter of fifteen minutes.

Higher learning is damn expensive nowadays but if Nate continues to suck down every single can of Ginger Ale in the tri-state area, we should have her first two years of tuition pretty much covered by Christmas. And a laptop.

Unless the economy continues to tank.

In which case, Nate will have to start mainlining the stuff.

And Zoe and I will be forced to bond and clean up the planet a few more times during the year.

Zoe doesn’t mind, though. She loves to bond and clean stuff!

Except for the clean stuff part.

Unless she’s paid money.

Which she’s not.

So she rarely cleans.

Anything.

Right, Zoe?

returning_cans_3

Sometimes bonding and cleaning the planet is fun!

But sometimes, it isn’t.

Like when the cans are especially smelly.

Or super sticky.

Sometimes they’re especially smelly and super sticky at the same time.

When that happens, Zoe has a quirky habit of screaming loud enough to shatter glass and I think little ol’ grandma standing there behind her was a bit annoyed. Or a bit tipsy, considering the umpteen cases of Genny she had in her cart.

Not that I’m judging.

Hell, I think cleaning the planet would be much more fun if I were a little tipsy myself!

Cleaning anything would be much more fun if I were tipsy.

Or passed out, even.

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Zoe and I share an extra special mother/daughter moment if a big bug happens to crawls out of a can.

That’s when we both shriek EWWWW EWWWW EWWWW in unison and flail our arms wildly about and throw cans in the air willy nilly and jump all around and totally irk the bejesus out of all the tipsy grandmas within a fifty yard radius.

Then I calm down and make Zoe pick up the can and shove it in the machine.

Hey, 5¢ is 5¢.

Besides, I don’t sport four dozen stretch marks and a wicked c-section scar for nothing.

And what matters most is, we’re bonding. And cleaning.

Right Zoe?

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returning_cans_1

Although, there is something to be said about keeping the planet dirty and bonding over a grande strawberry cream frappucino at Starbucks while discussing various ways to earn full ride scholarships.

Right, Zoe?

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If you want to get it on with any of the Cullens, this is not the post for you

Several of you asked for my garlic spread recipe after reading last Sunday’s regurgitation post and I decided to share it because I think the world would be much better off if all of us inhabitants wreaked of garlic instead of only a chosen few.

I don’t know about you, but watching as people trample all over each other to remain upwind of me is getting old.

And weird.

From all over the Internet I can hear some of you shouting OH MY GOD, THIS IS THE SECOND RECIPE YOU’VE POSTED. WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE, A FOODIE?

And to you, I say PISH POSH in a British accent.

Because I’ve always wanted to speak in a British accent and no one in my family will let me and the moment I even try, they all run far away from me, so that leaves you guys to pick up the slack.

Pish posh!

Pish posh, m’gosh!

Pish posh, m’gosh Josh!

That last one had a little bit of an Irish brogue thrown in! Go me!

OK, that’s it for the slack, unless you want me to mix it up with a little bit of an Aussie accent?

I didn’t think so. Thanks for playing.

By the way, I think the fact that I could quite happily bathe in Velveeta excludes me from membership in the foodie club.

Here’s what you’ll need for my garlic spread:

  • One head of garlic
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil. I really wanted to say “EVOO which is extra virgin olive oil”  but I was afraid Rachael Ray would sue me for copyright infringement
  • One softened, eight ounce building block of life, also known as cream cheese
  • ¼ cup of Reason to Live, also known as butter – softened
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • A bunch of chopped scallions. Did you know that my husband’s uncle eats them raw? As in, picks them out of the ground and chews them without first washing all the icky nature off of them? I worry about Uncle Pat sometimes, but only after I pass out from the grossness of it all
  • One baguette, sliced thin, on which to serve the spread

And here’s what you do with all this stuff:

  1. Tell your in-laws that the party starts at 4:00 p.m., because that way, when they arrive at 5:30, they’ll be on time
  2. Remove the outer skin of the garlic head
  3. Tune in to your anal retentive side, which comprises 98% of your psyche, and try to peel off every single shred of garlic skin while ignoring the remaining 2%  of your psyche as it yells FOR GOD’S SAKE, IT DOESN’T MATTER, STOP BEING A FREAK OF NATURE
  4. Place your *naked* garlic head on a sheet of tin foil
  5. Tune in to your childish side because heehee, you said naked
  6. Rub some EVOO all over your naked garlic head, making sure to get it into all the crevices. You don’t want to drown it, but you want to make sure the entire head is covered
  7. Try to ignore that this is beginning to sound like a cheap porn flick
  8. Answer your door and get served with Rachael’s lawsuit barring you from ever uttering the phrase EVOO again
  9. Wrap the garlic head in the foil and bake it at 350° for about 25 minutes
  10. After about five minutes, say really bad words as your kitchen fills up with smoke and you realize that you should have placed a cookie sheet under the garlic
  11. Keep saying the bad words as you throw heavy objects, including your last born, at the smoke alarm to get it to SHUT THE HELL UP ALREADY
  12. After about 25 minutes, unwrap the garlic and continue to cook it uncovered for about 8 – 10 minutes until it’s really soft and smells so good that you have to restrain yourself from shoving the entire thing into your mouth
  13. Let it cool. This is a good time to watch Law & Order: SVU and admire Detective Elliot Stabler for the fine specimen of a manly man he is
  14. Remove the garlic pulp. I’d tell you to simply pretend the individual cloves of garlic are zits and squeeze them but that would totally skeeve me out so I’m not going to
  15. Mash the garlic pulp into a paste
  16. Find your mixer but not the beaters. Or vice-versa. Six of one, half dozen of the other. You get my drift
  17. Spend one hour looking for the beaters, only to find them in the last place you look
  18. Beat the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Just like me! Except not really
  19. Beat in the garlic pulp and salt
  20. Stir in the green onion
  21. Chill. The garlic spread, not you. Although you can chill if you want – I know it always makes my family breathe a sigh of relief, even though they think I don’t know
  22. Remove from the fridge about 15 minutes before you serve it
  23. Hide in the pantry and eat the whole bowl yourself together with the entire baguette and then stomp around the house shrieking WHO ATE MY GARLIC SPREAD AND BAGUETTE? NOW I HAVE TO GO TO WEGMANS! THANKS A LOT, YOU UNGRATEFUL CRETINS
  24. Wait until your entire family passes out from your breath, then gargle with some Listerine and scamper off to Wegmans to buy a veggie platter and call it a day

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For those of you who have no idea who the Cullens are (hi Mom!) they’re the vampire characters in Twilight. I, myself, don’t find any of them attractive except for Rosalie and Alice and since I don’t swing that way – not that there’s anything wrong with that – I have no problem eating this stuff 24/7.

Although I do have issues of abandonment when it’s breezy out while doing so.

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How about some buttocks for dinner?

Look what I did! Look what I did!

enchilada_stuffed_shells

I cooked something out of nothing!

I can’t believe it.

The last time I cooked something out of nothing was almost nine years ago and the result is currently running around the house annoying the very first thing I cooked out of nothing.

I think I’m going to call this dish Andy’s Rocking Sensational Enchilada Shells or ARSES for short, because the word “arse” means buttocks and the word buttocks has always made me giggle and I think the world would be a much nicer place if people giggled more.

Don’t you?

Anyway, I’m pretty proud of myself because, as I’ve mentioned before, I can rock the heck out of any holiday meal but the heinous, gut-wrenching, loathsome, I’d-rather-chew-off-my-own-eyelids task of weekly dinners? They suck my will to live.

But this time I yanked on my big girl panties and channeled my inner and somewhat less crude Die Hard Bruce Willis and screamed a wicked Yippie Kai Yay Fluffenutter and kicked in the door of my pantry and went to town.

In a figurative sense. Because if it had been in a literal sense, we would have had take-out from Pizza Hut instead and I’d have nothing to blog about today and where’s the fun in that?

Here’s my recipe, in classic Creative Junkie fashion. Oh, and lest you think I’m going to become a *gasp* cooking blog, I just have one word for you:

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

Here we go:

  • 1 box of large shells
  • 1 pound hamburger, or, as Helena would say, one pound moo.
  • 1 jar salsa, which reminds me … can someone tell Max from Dancing with the Stars to call me already? I’m tired of waiting. Geesh. Men.
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 1 can of OH  MY GOD, PEOPLE ACTUALLY EAT THIS? IT LOOKS LIKE A JELLY ROLL OF POOP which, loosely translated, means 1 can of refried beans. UGH.  How people eat this stuff plain is simply beyond me.
  • 1 can enchilada sauce
  • 8 ounces of shredded taco cheese, or 6 ounces if you’re a dairy whore like me and can’t help gobbling it up once the package is opened.
  • 8 ounces of cheddar cheese which should be 8 full ounces because you learned from your mistake with the taco cheese and stapled this package shut until you were ready to use it. Right?

Now here’s what you do with all this stuff:

  1. Cook your shells, rinse them under cold water, drain and tell your eight year old to stop asking if she can have gum every two seconds and give you a minute’s worth of peace for the love of God.
  2. Brown up your hamburger in a large skillet and drain the fat and tell your arteries YOU’RE WELCOME.
  3. To the cooked hamburger, add in the jelly roll of poop, salsa and corn and cook over medium-low heat.
  4. Tell your fifteen year old to knock it off already or you will knock it off for her and she’ll never find it again.
  5. Add some salt and pepper and cook the meat mixture for about ten minutes over medium-low heat until it’s all blended and has the consistency of … well, you don’t want to know.
  6. Tell your eight year old that you are perfectly aware that it looks like BLECH but it won’t taste that way. Hopefully.
  7. Say the “hopefully” part under your breath.
  8. Take the meat mixture off the heat and then fold in whatever taco cheese is not currently residing in your small intestine. Shout at your kids that if they don’t stop yelling each other to death, you are running away from home and taking the Skinny Cow Truffle Bars with you.
  9. Spray a 13 x 9 casserole dish with non-stick spray and say a really bad word when it gets on your hardwoods and turns them into a skating rink.
  10. Repeat the word over and over as your back gives birth to a slipped disc because you never did learn how to skate.
  11. Take a little of the meat mixture and spread it on the bottom of the casserole dish. It will be lumpy and look like … well, you don’t want to know.
  12. Fill each shell with a heaping scoop of the meat mixture. I was able to make 24 shells and still had some meat mixture left over.
  13. Smoosh as many shells as you can into the dish and then pour the can of enchilada sauce over them. I only used half of a small can because it smelled funny and I was scared.
  14. Tear open the 8 ounces of cheddar and dump it all over the top. See now, aren’t you glad you had the forethought of mind to staple it shut in the first place?
  15. Cover with tin foil and cook at 350 for about 30 minutes or until heated all the way through with the cheese melted in such a way as to give you an orgasm.
  16. Eat way more than can possibly be good for you.

I’m going into my kitchen now to figure out how I can disguise the leftovers so that I can serve them tonight because Nate believes that leftovers are a plague upon humanity.

Much like my opinion of weekly dinners.

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