November 29, 2016

Sparkling Ginger Cocktails

Lately, it seems like everybody I know is having babies. Not in the weird millenial way, where you get a pet and then tell everybody you know that you have a baby, and then when they find out it's actually a pet they have a weird combination of emotions containing pity, disgust, and the urge to punch you in the face. Real babies. The kind that you can claim as dependents on your taxes. Apparently fecundity is the new fashion of the season (Winter), and everybody's getting on board. So celebration is in the air! And since I can't really post a recipe for cigars, a cocktail to raise is the best I've got.


Ginger Ale
Grapefruit Juice

As you may have noticed, there isn't exactly an extensive ingredient list. That's a good thing. The first rule of making any sort of cocktail is that the more people you're making it for, the simpler it should be. Especially when the celebration is for a birth. If it takes a team of experienced bartenders 30 minutes to traverse your drink (with the aid of experienced sherpas), then by the time everybody's gotten one, the baby will have grown up, gotten married, had a kid of their own, and then you'll have to start the whole process over again. It's a vicious cycle. So let's get started! Get something to put the drink in. It can pretty much be anything, though a glass with a stem is preferable so that your grubby hands don't heat up the drink while you're holding it. If you happen to have the skull of a vanquished enemy lying around, I've heard that making a toast out of that is supposed to ensure that the baby grows up to be a mighty warrior. But it doesn't have a stem, so there are pros and cons.

Fill up your drink receptacle 1/3 of the way with your ginger ale. Then add in a splash of grapefruit juice, and top it off with your prosecco. Then add in garnishes to fancy it up, if you feel like it (strawberry slices go great with the skulls of vanquished enemies. Prove me wrong!It seems simple, right? That's because it is. Remember that part about keeping cocktails simple that I said literally a minute ago? Yeah, this is your payoff. Congratulations! And yes, I know that "a splash" of grapefruit juice isn't exactly....exact. Go complain on your own blog. The grapefruit is there to help balance the sweetness. If you're a fan of excessively sweet things, use less. If you like things a little more tart, add in more. If you really hate even the faintest bit of sweetness, go suck on a lemon in the corner. Isn't it fun when weird insults from the 1920s have actual literal applications? That sounds like cause for celebration to me. Happy child rearing!

November 22, 2016

Mashed Maple Yams

Sure, this is adorable, but it raises some disturbing questions.
It's Thanksgiving time again! Which is exciting for me, because it's my favorite holiday, despite the fact that it's basically celebrating the prequel story to genocide and oppression. Which, when you think about it, so is New Years. The point is, Thanksgiving is upon us and that means that along with eating copious amounts of Turkey and stuffing, we all subscribe to the mass-delusion that is yams with marshmallows on top. If you're one of those guilty parties, who always makes sure that a dish of sliced up yams covered in an impenetrable layer of marshmallows is at whatever Thanksgiving meal you're attending, stop it. Just stop. If I could smack you with a rolled-up newspaper via the internet, I would. Nobody wants that nonsense. Which is not to say that yams aren't awesome, but if you're gonna add sweet on top of sweet, you've got to be more nuanced in your flavors. Otherwise you end up with this gross cloying sweetness that's super off-putting. So, I guess what I'm trying to say is: your food is bad, and you should feel bad.


3 lb. Yams (Or Sweet Potatoes. Or...whatever. They're really the same thing on this continent)
4 TBSP Vegan Butter 
1/4 cup Soy Milk
3 TBSP Maple Syrup
1.5 tsp Salt
1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper

You may be asking yourself "why would anybody willingly use vegan butter and soy milk in a world where cows have not enslaved humanity? Well, some people are vegans. And we want to make them feel like they're welcome in our houses on Thanksgiving by having food they can eat, even though we secretly judge them. Also, some people of the more jewishy variety, like myself, don't eat dairy products and meat together. Which means that we're either sacrificing the butter or the turkey. And I am not sacrificing eating turkey. The point is, shut up. It's happening. Get over it. Now fill up a large pot about half way with water. Then peel the skin off of your yams and toss them in the water, teaching them the valuable Thanksgiving lesson that they were wrong for having skin, and should try harder not to have any in the future. Then, as a warning to the others, crank up the heat and boil them until you can easily jab a fork into them with no resistance.

It may look weird, but it's awesome. Kind of like Jack White.
Exactly like Jack White.
Once your yams have been sufficiently skinned, drowned, boiled, and stabbed, drain the water out of your pot. Mash them into a pulp using any combination of: a potato masher; a large fork; several small forks; your hands, know, you're a man; your mind; the will of a true warrior. Once your yams are mashed, and the burns you got establishing your masculinity have eased, add in the rest of your ingredients and stir until everything's incorporated. Throw that whole mess of gloppy goodness into a bowl, sprinkle some cinnamon on top of that sucker, and go to town on it. By which I mean serve it to your friends and family. Unless you're eating alone on Thanksgiving, in which case you should shovel all of it into your mouth using your already burnt man-hands, and then lie to your co-workers on Monday about what went down. Happy Thanksgiving!

November 15, 2016

Mint Chocolate Brownies

Mount Vesuvius of sugar, courtesy of my sugar-free sister
So my sister has been in town, which is something of a rarity. In honor of this, it seemed like a good idea to steal a recipe from her instead of making one up myself. Maybe because of family, and togetherness, and all of that stuff that I learned on the "very special" episodes of 90's sitcoms. Maybe because this way I'll have this blog post to always remember her visit by. Maybe because it's easier than actually making one up myself. It should be noted that my sister is a crazy person who, a long time ago, stopped eating sugar, and white flour, and red meat, and pretty much all of the other things that make life worth living. Which is why it's hilarious to me that the first ingredient in this recipe is a buttload of sugar.

Brownie Ingredients:

3 cups Sugar (Told you)
1.5 cups Oil
1.5 cups Flour
1 cup Cocoa
6 Eggs
1 TBSP Vanilla Extract
1 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt

Frosting/glaze Ingredients:

1 lb Powdered Sugar
1/3 Cup Oil
6 TBSP Butter
3 TBSP Milk
1 TBSP Mint Extract
1/2 lb Bittersweet Chocolate

The first thing you're gonna need to do is make some brownies. To start, beat your eggs into submission until they stop judging you for how much sugar and fat you're about to consume. Then, take the oil, vanilla, and sugar, and whisk them into the eggs, like some sort of awful egg foie gras. Then take another bowl, and whisk together your flour, salt, baking powder, and cocoa. Bear in mind that powdered cocoa was designed by a mad scientist hell-bent on covering everything you own in a layer of dust. So maybe take some precautions, like using a super large bowl, wearing a smock of some kind, or cooking at someone else's house. Once your flour/cocoa mixture is finished, along with your friendship, slowly add it into your sugary egg-glop in a couple batches, each time fully incorporating it into a homogenous chocolatey goop before continuing. Grease up two 9x11 pans and throw them in a 350 degree oven for about 40-45 minutes, when they're not goopy in the middle any more. Do not just dump it all into one big pan and expect things to generally kind of work out. Because it won't. And your brownies will be burnt on the outside and raw in the middle. And you'll be sad. And I'll be laughing because for once it won't be me.

And that is the true meaning of christmas. 
Once your brownies are out of the oven and cooled down, it's time to make some frosting. Mix together your powdered sugar, oil, milk, and mint into a sugary minty ooze. You can totally add in some green food coloring here just to let everybody know that you're super classy, and also that mint leaves are green. Or not. In any case, splorp your minty nonsense onto your brownies and spread it out evenly. Then heat up your bittersweet chocolate and butter, either in a microwave or on the stovetop (pro-tip: If you're cooking on a stovetop, put it in a pot first to make your cleanup easier). Stir until the chocolate is smooth, and then dump it on top of your frosting which is on top of your brownies, which are in a pan that's probably on top of a counter of some kind. Let it cool, then cut into it and enjoy. Normally I'd say something at this point about how you can totally not wait for it to cool and just dig in, burning away your hands, mouth, and the shameful feeling of having accidentally cocoa-coated your friend's home and loved ones. And, of course, today is no exception.

November 1, 2016

Peppermint Scnogg

Some of you may have noticed that I didn't post anything last week. This may or may not have to do with the Cubs being in the World Series for the first time in generations. All we know for sure is that during the unscheduled break, Halloween happened. Which means that, legally speaking, it's now the Christmas Season. You can tell from how I was totally able to go buy Eggnog at the supermarket. That's one of the main characteristics of the Christmas Season. The others are trees smothered in pounds of tinsel, popcorn strung up and hung as a warning to the others, and people in weird hats asking you for money. And what better way to celebrate a new season (or month, or day) than with booze?


3 Parts Eggnog
1 Part Peppermint Schnapps (Sure, you could totally buy this from the store like some sort of fancyman who likes spending more money on less quality. Or you could be a man and make it yourself)
Mini Chocolate Chips

The first thing you're gonna need to do is find or steal some holiday cheer. Because it's barely even November, and we're gonna be stuck with obnoxious music and displays in our stores for a long time. Once you're done storing up cheer for the barren winter months, go get some eggnog. I'm experimenting with some eggnog recipes, and may end up posting one in a week or two, but for now anything you find in the store is fine. Within reason. Don't get some weird unmarked carton that has "nog" scrawled on it in crayon. Also don't get some weirdly flavored, artisan, vegan, cruelty-free, fair-trade, bespoke "egg"nog that costs 12 dollars per ounce. Just regular eggnog, like a normal person would.

Santa hat I wore through Ireland added for nostalgia purposes
Take your aggressively neutral nog and mix it with peppermint schnapps. The amounts don't really matter. It all depends on how many people you're serving, or on how sad and alone you are. The important thing is the proportions. For every 1 part of schnapps, add in 3 parts of eggnog. Mix it together and pour it into some glasses. Top it with mini chocolate chips to make it look all pretty and delicious. Because we're full of holiday cheer, and so we're gonna be festive and decorative, you hear? Or else I'm gonna turn this car around and nobody gets to go to Santa's village. It's gonna be a long couple months.