Friday, October 31, 2008

Culinary Masterpieces

I know I've been awfully quiet on the blogging (and commenting front--sorry, Mom!) so I'm sorry for that. I've been busy! Busy trying to live this thing called life.

Since the chilly advent of Fall (it's been unacceptably cold at 50 degrees...although I know that I will get no sympathy for this) and Halloween, obviously pumpkins have been on my mind. I found a delicious recipe from Pioneer Woman and decided to try it. Instead of making it as a sheet cake, I made them as mini-cupcakes. The mini has become my trademark. Littler is just cuter and better. Instead of using the homemade whipped cream, I made cream cheese frosting and oh my, my little beauties were a smashing success. I have had multiple requests for the recipe and I hope that each pumpkin chef enjoys great success and much tastiness. And PS--the batter tastes like pumpkin pudding.

People say that necessity is the mother of invention. Wednesday night I arrived home, ravenous, and was in a tizzy over what to eat for dinner. (Why the tizzy? I'm still not sure, considering we had a kitchen with at least 3 easy options but still...I had agita.) I quickly decided on the classy standby of mac & cheese. We (secretly) love this dish and maybe eat it a bit too often but whatever. It's so good. I got started and then sadly realized that our milk had gone bad. But! Also in the fridge was a carton of buttermilk, used last week when we made chocolate peanut butter skull cupcakes. (They were awesome!) I took a whiff of the buttermilk to make sure it was still good and was....surprised. Buttermilk smells really, really tangy. Did you know that? I certainly didn't. And in the back of my mind I could kind of remember reading somewhere that if you don't have buttermilk you can mix regular milk and vinegar together to make the same effect...which alarmed me a little. So nervously, I asked Jessica what she thought and in her typical confident manner she told me to mix in a little water and just try it out. Once the noodlies finished cooking, I mixed some of the buttermilk with water in a mini-bowl (thanks again for the bowl set, Mom!!) and then poured the thick, tangy mixture onto the noodles. I added the butter (maybe a little extra butter), the cheese mix, and mixed away. The cheese mix integrated quickly and creamily, to my suprise. Then as an extra helper, I grated some of our medium Cheddar cheese and mixed that in, letting it get melty and gooey. I dished it up and grated fresh pepper over the top, and took a (small) bite to try it out.

I can never go back to plain Kraft out of the box. It was so sinfully good--a more complex taste but so delicious. Sohpisticated comfort food. I was very impressed with myself.

And then (as if that wasn't enough) I made homemade whipped cream for my hot chocolate. I used my new mixer, which I love. And considering that I count frozen Cool-Whip as one of my favorite foods, I will now commit treason and say that fresh, homemade whipped cream really is way better than Cool-Whip. So sorry.

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