Tuesday, November 15, 2011

signs I am not a normal person

There are many signs I am not a normal person, but this is the first time I am posting them officially- totally ripping off the brilliant posts in The Smart Kitchen.

I just came up with a collection of all the crazy things I had done (with recipes) lately, and it seemed a fitting post.

The fact that I was Princess Leia for Halloween is not a sign I am not a normal person. Everyone loves Princess Leia, as evidenced by how everyone LOVED my costume (as well as Han’s, of course).


It is a sign that my boyfriend is not an entirely normal person that he was bored one time and made a life sized cardboard Chewbacca.

The first sign that I am not a normal person is that the main reason I wanted to be Princess Leia (well, okay, like, the third main reason after a general love of Star Wars and a particular love for Han Solo that liked very much the idea of seeing my boyfriend as him) was so I could use these for my hair:


:D Steve snacked later in the night.

Anywhere on the Eastern side of the United States will recall how dreadful the weather was Halloweekend.

Being an abnormal person, I took it as a delightful opportunity to wear my Russia Hat!


Now, it is normal to carve a pumpkin into a Jack’o’lantern on Halloween. (A Darth Vader o’lantern? Borderline…)

It is also normal to roast the pumpkin seeds from its interior (I took a clue from Carrots n Cake and tossed this with Worcestershire sauce and garlic powder, which was yummy)


Not normal at all?

Bringing pumpkin oatmeal to a Halloween party.


But guyyyyyyys, October 29 was National Oatmeal Day! And I hadn’t had any that morning! Don’t you see that I had NO CHOICE?!

Also, as people at the party consumed increasing amounts of alcohol they became increasingly entertained by the fact that I knew it was National Oatmeal Day.

Obvi, there was plenty of other decidedly junkier food.

Sam, our hostess, made Crunk Cakes. They involved Malibu rum and jello mix. Steve ate like fifteen.


I couldn’t step away from the pumpkin dip. Canned pumpkin, cool whip, and melted vanilla ice cream (she was supposed to use pudding but didn’t have any- um, COOL WITH ME!). There were ginger snaps for dipping, but what DIDN’T I dip in this?!

It was also great on pumpkin oatmeal! :D (I was definitely the only person to eat it)


And there was just a general cornucopia, with pizza (not pictured), focaccia (have you ever watched a drunk person try to cut focaccia? It was the funniest thing ever. It was like watching a baby with a bread knife, only less scary and dangerous. I, who had half a glass of wine over the course of the whole evening, sliced a random stranger’s bread for him. It felt very maternal).

Also: a squajillion ice cream toppings, many in individually labeled lovely mason jars. Why?


Erica, one of Steve’s coworker, is in some Wii product… marketing… club… thing? She basically got money from Wii to have a party. And make people play Wii and take pictures for them.

In exchange for getting the all time high score in the skipping stones game (!!), I got to take home a complimentary ice cream kit.

Bowl and scoop.


Another sign I am not a normal person:

I love my job. No no no, I don’t mean that is totally abnormal. Hopefully there are still some people left in this world who are 1. Employed and 2. Enjoying what they do.

No, I am not a normal person because I went into work on a Friday, the day I have off, to participate in a macaroni and cheese competition:


I mean… whatever. I had to. (Well, I also had to meet with my supervisor since she went to Thailand for two weeks and I am currently filling in her position, eesh! So it was a good reason to be at work anyway :D)

I made it more indulgent than usual, cause cmon, this is a competition.

To me, this meant lots of butter.


I also love when my mom blends up an onion in the food processor so it gets crushed into really small pieces and gets this great jam-y caramelization thing happening when you slow cook it in butter.

I attempted to do this with onion, leek, celery and carrot in the food processor.


It smelled positively incredible as I sauteed it on medium low.


Then I added flour to make a roux and it was more of just a… lump.


I was initially gravely concerned as I started adding milk to the flour and veggies to make a white sauce, as it made just kind of a… lump!


But gradually, sauce it was.


Albeit slightly troublingly green sauce.


Unconventional (not normal, even?) additions to my sauce:


Pasta water, because I use it to starch-ify all my Italian pastas, so why not mac and cheese?

And I had a leftover egg yolk in my fridge from a previous kitchen project so I was sure that would have a richening/thickening effect AND I could whip it together with my secret ingredient: HORSERADISH!


I tempered that with hot pasta water and added it to the sauce along with my pasta, which was not in fact macaroni:


But penne.

Entirely normal: lotsa cheeeeeeeeese! I just used cheddar, cause we have a huge block of it.


I made some horseradishy breadcrumbs by heating some oil and butter, stirring some horseradish in, and then tossing it with breadcrumbs.

A trip under the broiler made it competition ready.


And then I got there and saw David’s bathtub-sized vat of pasta and was just like… forget it.


No, that’s not sausage on the top. That’s golden brown cheese that BURST out of the top of his unbelievable jam-packed dish of amazingness.


And what do we think that black pepper mixture is on the top?

And how do you get that kind of DENSITY?!


David works in the warehouse, but apparently has an on-the-side business catering. I want to hire him for like… my life. I want to have some kind of special occasion just so David can cater it.

Because along with being MAMMOTH in every sense of the word, it was also THE BEST MACARONI AND CHEESE I’VE EVER TASTED.

I think the secret was garlic. When biting in, I was reminded of my grandmother’s recipe for artichoke dip which involved minced garlic and a tonnnn of cheddar.

The vat was way too big to fit in our microwave, so we reheated… slabs on plates.

I mean that CRUST!


That CHEESE! Oh my gracious.


I do have to respectfully mention the other very very good contributions to this competition. (I have, you will notice, quit talking about my own. Mine is small potatoes macaroni).

Adrienne contributed a classic mac that was quite good:


And Grace, my boss, made a sort of unreal concoction that involved stuffing cheese into ziti AND doing an extra hidden layer of GOAT CHEESE UNDER THE BREADCRUMBS, and it was great.

But David… oh David. You are a champion.

And everyone in my office ate four servings of mac and cheese for lunch!

Here’s a beautiful demo plate, which I made for Destiny, who had to be manning the phones at the time. I asked her how much she wanted as measured in tennis balls, and she said just one tennis ball containing one or two bites of each variety.

Feast your eyes on all the cheesy goodness:


The mac and cheese off was also a half birthday party for my very very sweet coworker Amy (not my supervisor Amy- we have Two Amys, which is also the name of an extremely popular pizza place in DC).

Soooo I decided it’d be a great time to make a fun dessert, reappropriating some slightly ghetto garden huckleberry jam (great flavor, weird texture; it’s safe to say jam making is not for me) as well as some mini phyllo tart shells that had been sitting in my cupboard forevvvvvvvvvvvver and they were already old which is why my sister got them 50% off.


They made, I must say, extremely and elegant looking tarts.


Everyone seemed to like them, but the real star was Adrienne’s TRIFLE!

She actually tried to make chocolate cupcakes but they stuck to the pan and were a mess so she reappropriated them into trifle with layers of chocolate pudding and whipped cream and crumbled Oreos on top!


Whoa mama.


I got seconds. That was entirely normal :D

1 comment:

Steven Alexander Heathcliff Basil Bert said...

For the record I didn't eat fifteen crunk cakes. What do you take me for some sort of scoundrel? I very tastefully had nine.

Yeah, Leia. When it comes to being normal your pretty far removed. But what would this world be like without someone who goes to bed reading cookbooks, raps like a dynamo, and could lithely land a triple axle, if only she didn't fall over getting poised? The answer is something along the lines of cacawfullybland and inslipidly-uninspiring.