Thursday, December 9, 2010

Smooth & Smokey

I had a wicked cold this week. I skipped the sore throat phase and went straight to snotty and congested. It was mostly annoying because it cut me off from all of my taste buds rendering me completely useless for any type of cooking. This should not be punishment for Shawn so I decided to make good on the leftover package of ground turkey we had from the weekend. With my fiance in mind I went straight to Mexican genre. Brainstorming through the aisles of Safeway I decided to concoct a Chipotle Queso Turkey Sliders with Mango Guacamole. From what I could taste they were amazing but perhaps spicier than I realized because I couldn't taste the peppers.

Before I get to the recipe, I have some pop culture musings I needed to get out of my head and onto the page.

1. Glee has pulled me back in. Well, at least long enough to watch an entire episode. The thing that has me super bothered and on a creative war path is the new (fat) character Lauren Izes. I get it, fat jokes are funny. I am a fat girl so I hold obese jokes close to my heart and understand it has its place and time. Im not so PC to say we should never have them, but they better be fucking funny if they are there. I find fat jokes to be scraping the bottom of the barrel for an overweight character, and even in that case - for a skinny person. It just feels so tired and stale. Mercedes loves tater tots instead of looking for love and Lauren wants cadbury eggs instead of friends. Weak sauce. I'll continue to watch and just do an obligatory eye roll when Ryan Murphy insists on being played out.

2. True Blood (only 1/2 way through season 2 so no spoilers) - but I just have to say, I was weary but my oh my is this my new guilty pleasure. Its everything I love wrapped into 1: xrated (yum), southern macabre (creepy), the classic war of bad guys versus good guy (oh, Ben & Noel!) - except they are vampires. Currently, I'd rather be home watching the remainder of Season 2 but alas, I have to have a life.

3. The Girls From Ames by Jeffrew Zaslow: We read this for my book club for the month of December (thanks Cindi!) and I more than enjoyed this book. I wouldnt say the writing style is my favorite but I am a sucker for a true story detailing the lives of other close women friends. Of course, I can relate to that because most of my closest friends are women and I love them dearly. Basically, if you want a real life tear jerker I high recommend this book. As we grow up, the stakes grow higher and tragedy and happiness are one revolving door of experiences. It was a lovely way to spend a few hours of my life. If you like things like Ya Ya Sisterhood, How To Make An American Quilt types of things - dis is for you.

4. Eating The Dinosaur by Chuck Klosterman: I just love that man. I love everything about a Closterman book, even the chapters I skipped. He said himself I could skip them. They were on football and basketball so no love lost on those chapters. I spend most of my days talking about pop culture, thinking about, watching it, taking it in - and I love a good commentary and different way to look at things. This book included great rifs on time travel, abba and Ted Kazinsky. Now that it is in paperback, I highly reco. Thanks for letting my borrow, Nats!

ANYWAY - and now for the recipe.

1 package of ground turkey
4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced 1/4 cup sauce
1/2 an onion, sauteed
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 cup of bread crumbs
1/2 cup of queso fresco, grated
1 egg
2 avocados
bunch of cilantro
1/4 a cup red onions
1 fresh lime squeezed juice
mango, 1/2 a mango
Salt & Pepper

Step One: Sautee the onion and the garlic over medium in a pan until soft, around 10 minutes. Once cooled combine with the ground turkey, the cheese (which I put into a food processor) - the peppers, breadcrumbs, egg and salt and pepper. Form into 6 patties and cook in a pan if you dont have access to a grill. About 15-20 minutes depending how thick you make them.

Step Two: Clean your food processor and combine all of the guac ingredients - pulse pulse pulse!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Chili: A Modern Assessment.

And just like that - its official, the holidays are here and in full effect. On Friday we celebrated the holidays with the Ubisoft company party that involved creepy masks and dressing up in black and white. As usual, I wore a blonde wig. Who doesnt love a fake a blonde? I am proud to say on Saturday after a hungover breakfast at the only (non hipster) greasy spoon diner The Lucky Penny - Shawn and I procured a Christmas Tree. I love how Shawn loves his traditions! It makes me think when I have a family we'll be able to say this is our xxxth Christmas together.

It had been a while since I had had a home cooked meal as we had been travelling, attending parties, not making time for it, etc so Sunday I made us set the time aside and make a hearty, heartwarming pot of chili. This sparked a debate in my mind: do people enjoy chilis that are more mexican tasting? Or more Italian tasting? You see alot of Chilis these days with basil and oregano ingredients but also some that lean towards the cilantro and the habanero flavors. For me its always Mexican. What do you prefer? Anyway, it lead us to this tremendously perfect chili concoction: 3 Onion Hominy & Turkey White Chili.

I know what youre asking - what makes this chili the best? To me the perfect chili must have a mission statement. It needs to say what it means in under 2 bites, nothing more. Often they get bogged down in trying to be too many things. Im a pork chili! No Im a beef chili! Wait - are there potatoes in me? I am a stew, then. Variety is the spice of life, yes - but if you keep it simple the flavors have a chance to develop and really shine. Im not of the school where we throw 10 things in a crock pot and hope they work. When the chili flavors sing, they should be deliberate and have a 3 part harmony behind them, not a rock band with off beat drums and a mid pubescent lead singer who vacillates between a bass and a soprano. In short - keep it simple stupid.

Lastly, this chili is excellent because of its 2nd lead: Hominy. What IS hominy you ask? Its basically like you mixed the color and sweetness of corn with the texture of a bean. Though, it is considered neither a vegetable or a bean - its a grain! I look forward to MANY more opportunities to explore this grain and phase it into something I excel at showcasing.

3 Onion Hominy & Turkey White Chili
1 pound ground turkey
1 can of hominy, drained
1 can of white beans, drained
1 can of butter beans, drained
1 can of diced tomatoes, drained
1 can of roasted diced green chiles, with juice.
1/4 cup picked jalapeno, with juice
1 yellow onion, diced
2 stalks green onion, diced for topping
1 cup red onion, diced
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
1/2 cup spicy & bold bloody mary mix
Dashes of onion powder and dashes of garlic powder.
Cheddar Cheese, to taste.
Salt & Pepper to taste.

Step One: Over medium heat, in a dutch oven - start to cook the garlic and the yellow onions until they appear soft. Throw in the turkey to start browning it. Pour the diced green chilis over the turkey, allowing the juice to cover the turkey. Do your dashes of onion and garlic powder to taste. I like alot! Also, at this stage I salted and peppered the turkey as it cooked. Once it looks white...

Step Two: Add in the beans, hominy, tomatoes. Stir to make sure its all combined them add the bloody mary mix and the picked jalapenos. As a last step before you close the top, stir in the red onions. Let cook for around 2 1/2 hours covered, on low - and around the last 45m uncover it so the juices can burn off. Top with the green onions and the cheese, if you please.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Cluck Recap

It was quite an adventurous trip back to Albany over this Thanksgiving. There was nary a moment to rest between Thanksgiving, planning a wedding, my 10 year reunion and general cuddling with friends and family. Here were some hightlights:

Thanksgiving Day: Shawn was a doll and fried a Turkey at my behest. He injected it with Spicy Sage and Maple rub/butter so when he fried it - it smelled like pancakes. People who hear the phrase fried dont understand that it doesn't TASTE just doesn't taste dry. What Thanksgiving have you been to where the Turkey isnt dry? We capped the night off with my favorite combination: a fire, some beers and Trivial Pursuit. I didnt win which was sad but I do love it.

10 Year Reunion: I think it was a popular night for it in the Capital Region as I saw it on facebook across my local friends statuses. Ours was held at Washington Tavern, which is just a bar. I didnt need it to be fancy and at Jack's Oyster House (Im looking at you Bethlehem).I hate when people do two things about their 10 year reunions: 1. Make a big deal about it. I get it, its "totally weird to see these people" but not really since you came. We didnt just run into each other in the parking lot and make small talk for 4 hours. I appreciated that there was very little of that at ours. A fellow classmate put it well when he said he came because he enjoyed high school and was genuinely curious about his classmates. Granted, facebook ruins it because I am pretty sure what all the people I care about are up to. The second thing I hate is 2. People who had an ANTI reunion. Yeah, I know. THAT REALLY HAPPENED. Emo is so 2000, just like our graduation year. Hang out, separately, its cool - we dont need haters - but to actively call it an anti reunion makes me think people dont change in 10 years. I wasnt popular in high school, by....a mile (maybe more than a mile, like a zillionmiles)....but an anti reunion bothers me. Alot. Overall, I thought it was a success and I had a rad-ass time.
It was a great opportunity to take stock in my life, though. 10 years is a long time. Would 18 year old Kate like 28 year old Kate? Yeah, she'd be pretty proud. Living in a cool city, loving my job, having the coolest friends and the best fiance. Granted, I'm in debt and increasingly overweight (and I still sneak smokes most Saturdays) but its comforting that I am not perfect. We must always be evolving and if its not 1 thing, its another.

Wedding Planning. Food tasting? Check. Wedding Dress? Checkeroo and had a lovely time with my chicklet bridesmaids doing it. Band? Not so check. They sort of stood us up. Hello Banjo Joe - dont you want my moola? Hotel -- so awesome it will be a great home for everyone that weeken. Florist - we met with and we'll see what happens. My grandmother dug out like 10 mason jars to start our centerpieces, and has started the bunting. Its going to take a village and I love it!

FOOOOOOD. We had some killer meals over this week and it makes me happy to be reminded that if (or when) we decide to ever move back to the East Coast (or Albany) --- we're not totally going to be taking a culinary dive. We had a great dinner at The New World Bistro Bar next to the Spectrum, we had a great Indian dinner with friends at Lazees (formerly The Shalimar) and on the last night ate at Jose Malones which is a random Irish Mexican joint in Troy. It was alll great! Highlight was my grandmother's Corned Beef for dinner, then hash the next morning!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Tapas & Trivia: Cinco!

Oh yeah. I am in BIG trouble if any of my kosher family members found out about this. Like deep jew pride swallowing would occur, but yes - what youre seeing isnt a mirage. I absolutely made Deep Fried Bacon Wrapped Matzoh Balls for my 5th Annual Tapas & Trivia party. And they were MIND BLOWINGLY good. It wasn't a theme per say but I also made these delicious round Lemongrass Ginger Pork Meat Lollipops that quenched my thirst for round pork products. Some other interesting things you'll see below we made were - Shawn's Scallion Cheddar Cupcakes with Blue Cheese Frosting and Evie's creation - the Dirty Martini Jello Shot complete with olives and a cute martini glass. Lastly, Vegan Grape & Cucumber Almond Gazpacho with a Plantain Chip. Not pictured was the Black Cherry Sangria which was awesome. If you want any recipes I didnt put here please dont hesitate to ask me.

I haven't blogged in a while for many reasons. 1. My friend Natalie launched Haute Housewife and she's really blowing me out of the water. :) go her! so I thought Id take a break. 2. Ive just been super busy. I was blessed by having two of my bestest friends in the entire world visiting me in the last two weeks (Pam and Evie!) so we were running around trying to see jellyfish at the beach, trying new restaurants and bridesmaids dresses. Also, we're flying to NY tonight for Thanksgiving where we'll be doing ALOT of wedding planning.

Also things I was into while I didnt blog: Eating The Dinosaur by Chuck Klosterman, the TV show The Walking Dead on AMC, Gwenyth Paltrow on Glee, (sorry) Sarah Palin's Alaska is sort of good in a I DONT WANT YOU ELECTED WAY, but in a sort of I think you're funny mom way....researching Brooch Bouquet making for my wedding, stalking other weddings online, watching the entirety of Parks & Rec while being sick and Tim & Eric's Awesome Show Live @ the Regency Ballroom.

Bacon Wrapped Deep Fried Matzoh Balls.

Recipe: Make a box of matzoh balls according to the side of the box. Refrigerate over night then wrap them in bacon, stick a tooth pick in them and deep fry them in veggie oil until they are crispy. Let them cool and eat away!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Cooking & Cox

Shawn and I rarely cook dinner together. Friends of ours know that our small kitchen, my controlling nature and Shawn's detailed recipes do NOT mix. It turns into knocked over flour, snipey comments and mismeasured marzipan. But on occasion there's a window of opportunity where the stars align, we are making dishes where not only our kitchen preparation dances are in sync, but so are the flavors. These are my favorite moments with Shawn. I never hesitate to tell him how much I love those days. It makes me feel like we were meant to be! One of those such nights was last night. Shawn's friend Kathe from high school was visiting town and I suggested Shawn make (MY FAVORITE THING EVER) - Chicken Saltimbocca and I would make Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Butternut Squash and Toasted Garlic Pine nuts.

3 Cups Brussel Sprouts, cut
2 Cup butternut squash, cubed
1/2 Cup Pine Nuts
Garlic Powder
Olive Oil
Salt, Pepper
Step One: Preheat oven to 350. Toss brussel sprouts and squash in olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread over a baking sheet and cover with foil. Bake 20 minutes. After 20 flip and bake without foil until its browned and yummy (another 20)!

Step Two: In a bowl toss pine nuts with garlic powder. Over medium heat toast the pine nuts stirring so that none burn for about 5-7 minutes.

Combine and eat!

On another note - Ive been waiting to spread the love but I can wait no longer, - its time. I wont go as far as to say Cougar Town is the best show on television, but I will stand by my statement that it is the best show people arent watching (thanks, Vicki Locke!).

Here's why:

1. No Contrived Plot Devices. There's no docu camera angle (ahem The Office, Modern Family, Parks & Rec, Arrested Development), no Family guy style "cut to" pop culture allusions - and no CBS style lameness - its just a simple good show that relies heavily on its writing and actors. I think the comedy is slick, relatable and relevant.

2. They Drink. For the same reason I love How I Met Your Mother the characters are doing something I can relate to. If you havent met me Im pretty schooled in the ways of hanging out with friends and drinking. I mean, if they had a contest I would at LEAST come in second (only to Shawn).

3. The Cast. No one is ever going to say they are Courtney Cox/Busy Phillips/Ian Gomez's biggest fans but they do what they are doing really well and dont try to be anything they are not. How Christina Miller is still working is BEYOND ME! She's insanely plastic surgery'd but bless her heart, she's probably sitting pretty on Scrubs/Drew Carey money.

So please enjoy this recipe and catch an ep of Cougar Town. If you dont like it, you dont have to - but admit its doing something not many shows are doing - going back to basics.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sweet Victories!

If you dont like Pumpkin, I am going to assume you were raised in a pumpkin holocaust and therefore have never tasted it and have only from this point on have made snap judgements about its flavors. Also, for this purpose lets assume you hate fall, too. In which case I say read no further, you sorry excuse for an American. If you think the Indians (involuntarily) gave up their land for you to hate their crops, you should think again.

Anyway, I made a Pumpkin Mac & Cheese for my book club tonight but with the leftovers I decided to make a Pumpkin Pie Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting. Pumpkin is amazing in that way that it lasts over 2-3 recipes. Shawn made pumpkin soup last week and it turned into a pumpkin bread, too.

It was a pretty good weekend in San Francisco, though. Rained like the devil! Our apartment sprung leaks and we looked like fools trying to catch every drip drop and save our TV from wetness. Friday night we saw Paul F Tomkins at the Elbo Room and had dinner at Weird Fish. Excellent date night, if I do say so myself. Saturday we made dinner with friends and Sunday - THE PACKERS WON!

1 cup canned pumpkin pie
1-1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup of canola oil
3 large eggs
1 package cream cheese
3 cups powdered sugar
2 oz of butter

Step One: Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Line cupcake pan with liners.Sift the flour, baking powder & soda, cinnamon. With an electric mixer - mix the eggs, sugar, pumpkin, and oil until smooth.Slowly add the flour mixture until incorporated. Careful not to over beat.Fill the liners 1/2-2/3 full and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 17-20 minutes.

Step Two: Make frosting! Combine cream cheese, powdered sugar and butter with your electric mixer and frost!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Chili Cha Cha Cha

The weather has been getting cooler here in San Francisco, I know this because on Sunday night I did something we all do in October *except in LA* - turn on our heat for the 1st time! Its a momentous occasion simply because that 1st time is going to suck. Its going to smell like dust and something may catch on fire. But from then on, smooth sailing. This weather has me craving foods that are warm and cuddly so on Monday night I made a quick Spicy Shredded White Chicken Chili in my dutch oven for dinner. With a few more touches and nuances I think this could be a competition level chili (for football season, not real chili competitions).

Spicy Shredded White Chicken Chili
Ingredients (serves 2).
2 chicken breasts
1 box of chicken stock
1 cup water
1 can of navy beans
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 can of diced green chilis
1 onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
Dash of taco seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder, hot sauce.
Olive Oil, splash.
salt & pepper, to taste
Hot sauce, to taste.
Cheese and Avo to garnish.

Step One: In a medium saucepan bring 3 cups of salted chicken stock to boil along with the water. Drop in the chicken and let boil til cooked. 10-12 minutes. Let cool and shred.

Step Two: In pan bring olive oil, onions and garlic to medium heat and cook til soft. Once soft add in the navy beans and the green chilis and let cook together. I sprinkled in some taco seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder and hot sauce! If it gets too dry add more stock. Add in shredded chicken and drained tomatoes. Let cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Step Three: Garnish with cheese and avo!

Mad Men Round Up: Spolier Alerts = A.
What a season! I cant say I wasnt a first few episode hater. I feel really uncomfortable if I cant say where a season is taking us and in those first few arcs, I thought we were falling flat. Leave it to Mad Men to slowly crescendo from an intense slow moving season into a frenzy at the end. High points of the season for me were: Trudy's nightgowns, Peggys growth into not just a "get ahead" broad but into a woman truly worthy of the men's work place notice and Don's journaling. I mean who doesnt love a man who journals?! And swims. I really admired how the show had us watch all the uncomfortable moments we thought we'd miss by the episode just ending.

Oh, Betty - will you ever learn? ( I say this like once an episode!).

Concerns for a 5th season: Sally. She's a wild card. She keeps getting older and if we skip another season ahead, she's just going to get older and pull a walt from Lost and have to get written off. Newly Married Don. We as viewers dont WANT to see a happy Don so even though he's engaged to Megan we know he'll ruin it just because we want to see him spiral downward. A happy Don isnt interesting tv.. Its like seeing an un-sarcastic Garfield, he just turns into a happy cat. BORING. Joan's Baby. Roger will cause some trouble, no doubt. I just hope we dont kill her husband off just to make it easy.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Palm Springs And Other Things

If you looked up Palm Springs in the dictionary *ahem dated reference alert, revise* - Wikepedia you would see four words: sun, pool, gay & retired. This weekend I had the pleasure of experiencing 2 of the 4, though reserve the right to return to experience the other 2 in the future. It was my dear friend Jenny's birthday and she was kind enough to pull us from the SF fog and thrust us into a pool weekend Hockney himself would be proud of. I wouldnt call the weekend gluttonous but we did in fact have a great weekend foodwise. I love being friends with Foodies, it adds inches to my belt and yards to my heart. Happy 30th birthday to one of my favorite people in the world, not just the zipcode.

FOOD AMAZINGNESS #1: Thursday night our friends Pam and Lev took us to an all you can eat Korean BBQ place on the West Side of Los Angeles. When I say all you can eat I mean ALL YOU CAN EAT. Like 5 pounds of meat, no joke. I think it was called Tofuya. It was heaven! and we finished everything we ordered. It was only $16 per person too which was a steal.

Food Amazingness #2: After we arrived in Palm Springs we took some relaxation time and played by the pool we decided to make a 5 course tasting menu from apps to dessert. We got a book by Top Chef and Anthony Bourdain and each prepped and presented a course and drank LOTS of wine, hence the pictures being blurry. The courses were as follows:

  • Vegetable Course: A light Peppered Bacon salad with Crispy Shallots, Diced peaches and homemade croutons.

  • Seafood Course: Seared Scallops with a Citrus Fennel Salad.

  • Pork Course: Pork on Pork: Roasted Pork Loin wrapped in Bacon and dressed with a garlic confit and paired with a sauteed spinach.

  • Beef Course: Steak Au Poive with Salted Crispy Brussel Sprouts.

  • Dessert Course: Individual Cheesecakes with a Berry Kraken sauce. Kraken is a spiced rum mostly known for its shot taking, but here was masterfully incorporated into the dessert.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Here's The Thing About....

Here's The Thing About These Cupcakes: They were delish! I made Sour Cream Chocolate Cupcakes with Nutella Frosting for my friend Leslie's 30th Birthday Hoe-down partyon Saturday night. This was my only outing on both Saturday and Sunday due to sickness and mental strungoutness. I got the recipe from this blog called Ming Makes Cupcakes. It was incredibly simple and it showed how awesome these beauts were. Freaking amazing for choco lovers.

Cupcake Ingredients:

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 cup cocoa
2 sticks butter, room temp.
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
2 tsp vanilla
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda

Step 1: Preheat oven to 350. Combine all dry ingredients, then combine all wet and mix with an electric mixer until fully combined. Makes 24 cupcakes. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until passes toothpick test.

Frosting Ingredients:
1 cup nutella
10 tablespoons heavy cream
3 cups powdered sugar

Step 1: Combine with electric mixer and frost once cupcakes have cooled. I used the fake piping bag trick. It looked great!

Here's the thing about The Town: It was a B movie with A acting. I couldnt help but compare Blake Lively's amazing performance to Amy Ryan's in Gone Baby Gone. There were some unbelievable scenarios and unexplained character motivations but its really all about Boston and crime so who cares about the rest? Also, Jeremy Renner is one ugly fuck.

Here's The Thing About The Social Network: Yeah man! Best movie of the year. Who cares that its about facebook? Its not even about that at all. Its a true story and Justin Timberlake rocks out with his *ahem* out. I see Oscar for Fincher. Little Known Fact - the twins are actually played by 1 person. Second Little Known Fact: Ive crashed a Harvard party that was alot like that Harvard Party. I absolutely say RUN dont walk to this "film" not movie.

Here's the thing about Boardwalk Empire: its ok. We as Americans love looking back at our history and we're lucky as fuck that there are people out there willing to explore and let our modern society get a peek into our recent history.This is also why Mad Men works. Boardwalk Empire's first novelty "I CANT BELIEVE WE USED TO BE LIKE THIS" is prohibition. Yeah, its hard to believe right? What the crack were we thinking? Second is Women's voting rights. The plots are thin so far and the acting - meh - but at the same time Im willing to stick through it all just to see the costumes and the music because its better than most OTHER things on television right now without trying very hard. My only other issue is - MICHAEL PITT (who you may remember from Dawson's Creek and Hedwig And The Angry Inch) you are just a the poor mans Leonardo Dicaprio and thats all youll ever be and that makes me sad for you, but its clearly why youve gotten this far.

Here's the thing about Pellegrino: It's delicious and for the last 4 days I have been drinking it like its the last liquid on earth. My coworker told me I am going to get kidney stones from drinking it. They say Ill get cancer from Diet Coke - should I put that comment on the same level as the prior? If so, I will keep at it. Advice?

Here's the thing about Glee: You're fun but youre really just copying music now. I liked last season when the arrangements were different and the scenes were integrated. Liked the Britney ep but it was really contrived.....I just fast forward through it now. On a positive note, I just realized Ryan Murphy also did the show Popular when I was in high school which Ive always felt beared a similar resemblance to Glee so there's some street cred in my book going towards Ry.

Here's the thing about The Nerdist Podcast: If youre not listening to it, youre probably not not my friend. Okay, revise - I bet none of you are listening to it but if you are my friend I know you'll like it. Here's a phrase you will NEVER believe you would have heard before - CHRIS HARDWICK IS ONE OF THE FUNNIEST PEOPLE on the Internet. Best guests if youre catching up to download: Jon Hamm, Jim Gaffigan, Donald Glover, Alison Brie, Paul Scheer and Matt Besser.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Russian River Shenanigans!

This weekend was a very special weekend. It was my first extended trip to the Russian river and it was Natalie's golden birthday. About 15 of us loaded up the cars and spent the weekend cooking amazing food, drinking alot of beer, floating in the river and petting dogs. We hadnt been able to do many things since Labor Day weekend when Shawn's car died so it was nice to be able to get out of the city. While it wasnt a camping trip, it felt outdoorsy and whats an outdoor weekend without Smores? This required a little creativity on my part so I made Smores Brownies! I tried two different versions, 1 with marshmallows and 1 with fluff. Marshmallows won out so I will only blog that version. There was also an insane Apple Cinnamon French Toast Muffin served with ricotta cheese and syrup. I must get that recipe!

It was a great house with many levels - no hot tub tho! It was 90 degrees out which made for an excellent summer excursion while the rest of the country is embarking on fall. Looks like a heatwave is upon us in the bay area so we'll all be happy and complaining at the same time til next weekend.

Smores Brownies

1 sleeve of graham crackers, smashed to a crumb.
1 cup of melted butter
1 package of brownie mix
1 bag of brownies.

Step One: Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 13x9 pan. I probably should have baked the graham cracker layer alone by itself first, but I didnt. You should.

Step Two: Combine graham cracker crumbs with butter and spread evenly for a 1st layer. Spread brownie mix (made from the box) over evenly. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

Step Three: Let cool for 2 hours. Then spread marshmallows evenly and put under a low broil, watching carefully while it melts. I had to take a fork and press down mid bake so it would create a layer and put back to broil and finish browning it.