Archive for September, 2008

Tuesdays With Dorie: Creme Brulee

Posted in food on September 30, 2008 by uglydudefood

I promise that brevity will not be the norm.  However, I’m in the process of starting a tough new job, and over the next few months I’ll be spending a lot of off-time studying.  Look!  Here be my creme brulee!

I used the broiler method, which proved to be successful enough.  Half of my custards caramelized, and the other half got a thick, glassy layer of melted sugar.

I burnt my finger and got a blister.

The dessert was scrumptious and enjoyed by all.

Sometimes I wish the Internet didn’t exist.

Posted in food on September 25, 2008 by uglydudefood

Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to Internet and he’ll masturbate for a lifetime.

Information has never been more available, and it has never been more portable. We are living life On Demand right now. Socialization has given way to the Facebook, friendship to the blogroll, and appointment television to the Hulu. Our attention spans are shorter than ever, which is certainly aided by the fact that we don’t have to wait for anything.

With technology at our fingertips, what is there that’s really worth working toward? Why craft a funny joke when a funnier video is on YouTube? Why write the Great American Novel–or at least a well-crafted short story–when we can just blog? And for that matter, why spend all that time blogging when we can Twitter in 140 characters or less? Why read a book when Google Reader currently has 219 unread items? Why savor an entire album when it’s so damn easy to make a mix of our favorite singles, or to click a button and buy just one cheap song (automatically billed to our credit cards, of course)? And why bother to learn an instrument when it’s easier, quicker, and, frequently, more rewarding to play Rock Band?

If we want to play a game, it’s easy to do so without ever socializing or seeing our opponent’s face. Video games, which once required a friend to sit next to us, are hooked up to the Internet, where twenty faceless foes are more than willing to blow our heads clean-off with a plasma cannon. Instead of playing tackle football in the backyard, we can play Madden. Even board games and card games are played more against computers than with actual people these days.

I feel like I’ve never been closer to people in my life. I know more about one of my best friends, Chris, for instance, than I ever have before. I know who all of his other friends are. I know when he goes to a party. I Facebook him and I MySpace him and I read his blog and I follow his DeviantArt and I watch his YouTube videos. I have seen Chris maybe five times in as many years. There’s a growing social distance between me and everyone I know. My family and I live in the same house at the moment, yet we hardly talk (although my mom sent me a “piece of flair” on Facebook the other week). Why don’t we talk? Because we are all on our own individual computers all evening.

I feel like I can attribute a large part of my depression to technology–or to my obsession with technology: my need to keep up with the latest crazes; to read all “my sites” that provide information useless to my daily life; to update all my social networking pages so that others can keep track of my latest favorite-band-ever or bad haircut. I work, I go to the gym, I come home, and I compute. I compute in the kitchen while I’m cooking. I compute in the den while I’m watching television. I compute in my bedroom while I’m going to sleep. I compute in the bathroom while I…well, you know.

I read a book recently (my first in a year, by the way) called “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollan. The book is one of the key works on the food blogger’s bookshelf, and I won’t belabor anything by reviewing or pontificating on any of the author’s key points. However, I was perhaps most moved by the idea that this guy throws dinner parties. Imagine! Social functions! You don’t have to eat food in front of a computer. You can even–shock–eat the same food as the others around you (which I’m finding one of life’s smaller joys now that I’m trying to break free of this eating disorder business), engaging in conversation all the while. My technophilia has grown into a sort of social phobia, and it’s just another small tick-mark that I’ll need to erase in order to become a fully functioning robo-human once again.

I was also pleased to find, in Pollan’s book, the origin of the phrase “corn hole.”

I’m done typing now. Just plain finished, at least for this nonsequiter entry. I’m Andy Rooney, and I’ll see you next week on 60 Minutes.

Sometimes I wish the Internet didn't exist.

Posted in Uncategorized on September 25, 2008 by uglydudefood

Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to Internet and he’ll masturbate for a lifetime.

Information has never been more available, and it has never been more portable. We are living life On Demand right now. Socialization has given way to the Facebook, friendship to the blogroll, and appointment television to the Hulu. Our attention spans are shorter than ever, which is certainly aided by the fact that we don’t have to wait for anything.

With technology at our fingertips, what is there that’s really worth working toward? Why craft a funny joke when a funnier video is on YouTube? Why write the Great American Novel–or at least a well-crafted short story–when we can just blog? And for that matter, why spend all that time blogging when we can Twitter in 140 characters or less? Why read a book when Google Reader currently has 219 unread items? Why savor an entire album when it’s so damn easy to make a mix of our favorite singles, or to click a button and buy just one cheap song (automatically billed to our credit cards, of course)? And why bother to learn an instrument when it’s easier, quicker, and, frequently, more rewarding to play Rock Band?

If we want to play a game, it’s easy to do so without ever socializing or seeing our opponent’s face. Video games, which once required a friend to sit next to us, are hooked up to the Internet, where twenty faceless foes are more than willing to blow our heads clean-off with a plasma cannon. Instead of playing tackle football in the backyard, we can play Madden. Even board games and card games are played more against computers than with actual people these days.

I feel like I’ve never been closer to people in my life. I know more about one of my best friends, Chris, for instance, than I ever have before. I know who all of his other friends are. I know when he goes to a party. I Facebook him and I MySpace him and I read his blog and I follow his DeviantArt and I watch his YouTube videos. I have seen Chris maybe five times in as many years. There’s a growing social distance between me and everyone I know. My family and I live in the same house at the moment, yet we hardly talk (although my mom sent me a “piece of flair” on Facebook the other week). Why don’t we talk? Because we are all on our own individual computers all evening.

I feel like I can attribute a large part of my depression to technology–or to my obsession with technology: my need to keep up with the latest crazes; to read all “my sites” that provide information useless to my daily life; to update all my social networking pages so that others can keep track of my latest favorite-band-ever or bad haircut. I work, I go to the gym, I come home, and I compute. I compute in the kitchen while I’m cooking. I compute in the den while I’m watching television. I compute in my bedroom while I’m going to sleep. I compute in the bathroom while I…well, you know.

I read a book recently (my first in a year, by the way) called “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” by Michael Pollan. The book is one of the key works on the food blogger’s bookshelf, and I won’t belabor anything by reviewing or pontificating on any of the author’s key points. However, I was perhaps most moved by the idea that this guy throws dinner parties. Imagine! Social functions! You don’t have to eat food in front of a computer. You can even–shock–eat the same food as the others around you (which I’m finding one of life’s smaller joys now that I’m trying to break free of this eating disorder business), engaging in conversation all the while. My technophilia has grown into a sort of social phobia, and it’s just another small tick-mark that I’ll need to erase in order to become a fully functioning robo-human once again.

I was also pleased to find, in Pollan’s book, the origin of the phrase “corn hole.”

I’m done typing now. Just plain finished, at least for this nonsequiter entry. I’m Andy Rooney, and I’ll see you next week on 60 Minutes.

Tuesdays With Dorie – Dimpled Plum Cake

Posted in food on September 23, 2008 by uglydudefood

I’m in a bit of a hurry this week, but I’ll show off the goods.

In-pan:  looking okay.

Out-of-pan:  flavor explosion.

I think my plums were too big, which created too many dimples.  Therefore, when the cake came out, it came apart.  Science.

Smell you later.

Tuesdays With Dorie – Chocolate Chunkers

Posted in food on September 15, 2008 by uglydudefood
Chocolate Chunkers

Chocolate Chunkers

In deference to the many honorable ladies and few honorable gentlemen of Tuesdays With Dorie, I have decided to bake all future recipes fully clothed.  It will remain this way until Ugly Food for an Ugly Dude becomes a pay site (or until I become a Handsome Dude).

I made a few changes to the recipe this week.  I left out the nuts and raisins, because I seem to have exhausted my welcome with the fruit and nuts lately.  My family deserves better.  Today’s recipe was going to be all chocolate, all the time.  So really, I followed the recipe to the letter (I used white chocolate) and made a few omissions.

I was a bit nervous, because my eggs/sugar mixture never became “foamy” like Dorie said.  My guess:  I didn’t let my eggs get sufficiently “room temperature” before I started.  The final product looked and tasted spectacular, though, so I guess I have no real prob (Bob).

Emboldened by the positive results, I decided to make my own recipe variation disaster.  What goes well with chocolate?  Marshmallows and graham crackers, of course!  I tried my hand at making S’mores Chunkers.  I crumbled up one large graham cracker into the remaining cookie batter, and I stirred in a handful of marshmallows.  How did it turn out?

https://i0.wp.com/farm4.static.flickr.com/3243/2860630989_0932f37ab0.jpg

S'mores Chunkers blow chunkers

Ugh.

The marshmallows melted, leaving a clear layer of carmelized sugar on my parchment paper, and a bunch of holes in my cookies.  Any idea what went wrong?  Was it too hot for marshmallows?  Nothing burned, by the way, and everything tasted great.  I just had less “hero” cookies to donate to my favorite cookie-tasting charities.

The recipe for these cookies will be up at Fool For Food tomorrow (Tues 16-9-08)

Tuesdays With Dorie – Chocolate Whopper Malted Drops

Posted in food on September 8, 2008 by uglydudefood
https://i1.wp.com/farm4.static.flickr.com/3181/2841118353_777dded6aa.jpg

These cookies came out boringly well!  I guess that’s a good thing, but it’s almost embarrassing how little I have to say about the cookies.  I was happy to see that there is far less butter than the previous week’s recipe.  The batter was great, and the cookies came out nicely.  I liked the crunch the Whoppers added to the whole affair.

Let me share a little Ugly Dude baking secret with you:  after a hot, sweaty, extended day at the gym, sometimes you just gotta bake cookies without a shirt on.  So that’s what I did.  Some would say that the secret ingredient was pit-sweat.  I’d say the secret ingredient was extra chocolate.  You decide.

Tuesdays With Dorie: Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chipsters

Posted in food on September 1, 2008 by uglydudefood

Yesterday did not seem like Monday, so I almost forgot to do my baking.  It just seemed like a little extra slice of Sunday.  Luckily, common sense prevailed and I put myself to work baking Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chipsters.

These cookies, they are good.

After my previous disaster run of cookies (the tremendous Granola Grabbers), I was very careful not to burn the Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chipsters, and I still had time to watch Killer Klowns From Outer Space in the meantime.  Nothing of real incidence to note, except that every ingredient was already in my pantry or refrigerator.  No multiple last-minute grocery runs this week, and as such it was fairly stress free.   Everything came together nicely.  I got exactly sixty cookies out of the batch (as the great and wonderful Dorie predicted in her bakebook), and not a one of them came out badly (although a few came out a little too “eaten” to share; oops).

Ten went to my girlfriend’s house to share with family.  Ten went with my sister to share at school.  Five went to my friend Brad for introducing me to sushi and sashimi yesterday afternoon.  Five went to my friend Kelly who has waited long enough to get a taste of this sweet, sweet TWD gold.  Fifteen went to the office for coworker stress binges.  Finally, fifteen stayed at home for my family and/or belly.

Coming soon:  I’ve been reading a cookbook called Eat, Shrink & Be Merry by Janet & Greta Podleski.  A review of the material and some recipe tests are in the cards, and I’ll be sharing my home-cooking adventures.  I hope you enjoy it when it comes.