Tuesday, February 8, 2011

When Things Aren't What Quite What They Seem

Happy post-Superbowl (with condolences to my fellow Steeler fans out there). BHE is still sulking after the loss, but I find I can't even muster up the anger. Green Bay just plain played better.

Which sucks as I am now responsible for a bet that I made with my BFF, who - in addition to being a very excited Green Bay fan - welcomed the birth of her first child this weekend. Loser has to buy Baby Button (as in "cute as a") the winning team's gear, to be worn next season. Assuming that takes place. Looks I've got some online shopping to take care of...

Funny story: Baby Button came out with a little something extra from the womb. Namely, a penis.

Yup! My goddaughter is actually my godson, which is totally cool by me. Even if this means that I have to take back a few pink items or that his baby blanket is currently embroidered with the name "Mia Grace." I've already promised to teach him about rugby and take him out for his first tattoo, which I'm sure thrilled his mother to no end.

Baby Button, in the (tiniest) flesh.

I can already tell he's a future heart breaker. The kid has dimples for DAYS.

And now, for your recipes..................

For this post I figured I'd throw in some items that, like Baby Button, are not quite what they seem. Little tweaks and such just to change things up a bit.

Except for the creme brulee. That's just a basic. The only thing that may seem different is my thumb, which went numb from trying to work the friggin brulee torch. It was a good hour before I could manage the fine motor skills required to write a text message. Note to readers: When the recipe calls for turbinado sugar, USE TURBINADO SUGAR. I used Cook's Illustrated's recipe for this bad boy, but Alton Brown's version is equally delightful.

The brulees were part of the menu at an annual post-holiday party thrown by a group of grad school friends in the DC area. Last year I was in charge of the entrées, but this year I was put in charge of dessert. In addition to the creme brulee, I also tweaked Paula Deen's recipe to come up with a White Velvet Cake.

(Sorry - I forgot to take a photo before the starving crowds attacked it.)

How do you make a White Velvet Cake you ask? Simply head to the grocery store and promptly forget to pick up red food coloring. Piece of cake! (pun intended)

I usually shy away from Paula's recipes. (I mean how many ways can/should a person incorporate Velveeta into their dish?) But this one was serious winner. The key (I think) is the baking soda and vinegar - the resulting fizz makes the cake extra-light and fluffy.

And finally, the surprise hit of the winter: my Quinoa and Black Bean Burritos!

Potential Vegan Yum!

Simply toast 1 cup quinoa in a mid-sized pot over medium high heat for a few minutes. Add 2 cups of water, bring to a boil, and then cover the pot with a lid. Turn down the head to med-low and simmer for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Meanwhile, go ahead and saute some onions/shallots and green peppers (1 each) with 1/2 tsp canola oil. Add one can of black beans (RINSED, please!) and stir to combine. Add the mixture to the finished quinoa.

Add one packet of your fav taco seasoning (or you can make some of your own) and mix to combine. You can add a bit of water, 1 tbsp at a time, if necessary.

Spoon a few tablespoons of the mixture on a flour or corn tortilla. Sprinkle with shredded cheese. Attack taco-flavored goodness like a starved wolf or pleasure delay a bit by placing the burrito in a panini press or Foreman grill for 3-5 minutes for some added texture.

As always, Enjoy!

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