strawberry almond cookies

On my way home from work, I passed a woman, not very old, standing in her yard. I said hi, and she did too, and then she said, “Enjoy your youth.”

Tall order. I’ll settle for enjoying my Wednesday.

If I’m being honest – and I suppose I should; after all, this is the internet – I bought two pints of strawberries today around 4:30 and had used or eaten all of them by 6:00. I made a totally gorgeous salad for dinner, with peaches and mint and strawberries and cheese and sugar snap peas and onion shoots and I don’t really remember what else. I have some very softcore frozen yogurt happening in the freezer, and that’s made of strawberry with a little mint. But the most important of all is definitely this.

The most important because I like all pastries to be almond. And because it can be cookies with just a little strawberry or a big sheet like a lazy tart with a solid layer or more. And because of all the things I made, it’s the only one with butter. I know, I know, I love it too.

I support toasting your almond meal, because flavor, but I am pretty lazy, so what I actually support is starting these in a hottish oven, like 400 degrees, and then turning the temperature down to 325 or so when you put them in. The initial heat will do a bit for flavor, but knocking it down will keep it from browning too much. I mean, if you want brown almond cookies, keep it hot, you do you.

IMAG0112

“Eat with face” is without a doubt my most useful cooking instruction ever. Basically I feel like I write these recipes with the goal that I will understand them, and that one might have been a little beyond me. I also write these recipes to make me think about the way that I think about food, and this one, well, nope, I just wrote a recipe without a lot of numbers. #WHOOPS Eat it anyway,

Not Rolling Out Cookies

I really like various typesof roll-out cookies, but I don’t like rolling out cookies. I’m not really sorry about it. In all cookies, the worst part of making cookies is the part where you get them from the bowl to the pan.

I am spitting some really intense truth at you right now. Stop rolling your eyes and talking about lazy Millennials.

But my distaste for making cookies into cookies, a thing which in the past has often driven me to cake, got turned a little sideways when I got some really great cookie cutters. My favorite is the strawberry, I think. So now I sometimes make them that way. It’s way better for approximately one kind of cookie because they are more fun to eat when they are thin. Sucks for me. I still don’t usually roll out my cookies, because when we get down to it, you could need to clean your whole counter, or you could not need to clean your whole counter.

rolloutcookies

If we are being serious, I usually-like-88-percent-of-times choose door #1 and I’m not sorry.

When you need to bribe my roommate

For the last three months of my life in Beirut, the most important person in my life was named Firas. He was the most important person because he was the one that sold me produce, and like any person who spends all day at work in a kitchen, what I wanted to do at home was hang out in the kitchen. Also because his vegetables were always beautiful, and they changed often enough that I didn’t get bored, and the first time I visited him I said “all your butternut squashes are huge and I am a small person with one small friend” and he sold me just a quarter of one. Also because Firas systematically undercharged me for all of my produce, and also because that one time when he asked me whether he was married I totally turned that one and was like “I am too little,” and then he didn’t try to marry me. When I say Firas is the only kind of friend I want to have, I am exaggerating a lot less than you think I am.

Anyway. This is a salad. It’s just a salad with some stuff in it. If you have a Firas in your life, you can buy a little bit of all the different things and he will just smile indulgently at you and ask you for two dollars. There is pomegranate, avocado, cilantro, and crispy things (broccoli? peppers of various colors? cucumber? jicama? potato chips?). The pomegranate could be kind of any fruit that tastes good with cilantro – once I made a solid version of this with blood orange (the dressing was way louder, too). You could also use different greens, but at some point that might prompt you to take out the avocado/fruit and you might just be making a different salad. Which is okay too. We’re all about doing what you damn well please over here at Master Baker.

courtneysalad

I’m in favor of eating this with rice, because cold crispy salad and warm soft rice go well together in my head. And because I always want to be eating rice, and I usually have it, and actually I’m not sure I really need more reasons to justify this. If you want some more more substance, a fried egg would be great. If you had Couqley’s glorious and life-changing french toast for lunch, well, eggs are optional. Wait, you don’t get bruleed brioche french toast with ice cream for lunch? I’m not really sure this is the blog for you.

orange juice. from a bottle.

 

For reasons that I’m sure exist, I just spent about 6 weeks on a dairy farm. Overall, it was an enjoyable experience. I think I could manage being a cow.

And because we were working on a farm all day, we were always hungry, and because we were always hungry, a lot of foods tasted really good, and we wanted to eat a lot of them, sometimes. And occasionally we played a game known unofficially as “How long could I survive on a diet of X?”

It’s not a very hard game. Basically you ask each other, “How long do you think I could survive on a diet of X?” where X is the thing you want to eat forever. At first it’s boring, obviously; you’re just guessing. But then you compare the foods to the other foods. So I could probably survive on a diet of potato pastries longer than on a diet of parsley, because it’d be hard to get enough calories of parsley. And a diet of tomatoes would be better than either of the others, because of actual nutrients.

We’re making this up, obviously. None of us know the actual answers to these questions. Also none of us care about the actual answers to these questions.

Anyway, this morning I went for a walk, and though there was not a lot of intensity involved, the weather was quite hot. This meant that all I could conceive of eating forever – and it’s going to be pretty warm for awhile yet, so it kind of feels like actual forever – was peaches and orange juice. (Why this? Why not cucumber salads?)

So I bought a bottle of orange juice and I had it for lunch. It was a pretty big bottle of orange juice. (It was a liter. I just checked.)

nolunchBasically I felt a little bad that I don’t have a scanner and I just told someone about this blog and I haven’t updated it in months.

I’m sure I can find a place that does scanning. Then I have to, well, make some food. (I cooked a lot on the farm. But all I can remember is just making tons and tons of cobbler. Cobbler is GREAT for non-recipes. So, there’s that?)

 

Chengdu Food

Today I did that thing where I get on the internet at 9 in the morning. My alarm goes off at 8:15 in the morning, and my first class isn’t until 9:50 on Mondays, but usually I waste spend the intervening time making unnecessarily complicated breakfasts, or reading a book, or reading the New York Times, because it gets delivered to the building where I study first thing in the morning. (There’s a little coat rack in there that’s right next to the room where my first class is, and sometimes I sit in it. The other day one of my professors asked me if there was a housing shortage. Casual.)

But anyway, I don’t remember why I got on the internet so early this morning, but I did that, so I got to read this. My parents were in China for (most of) the Tiananmen protests. What? Also, they were the age of me next year. Casual.

I just ended two paragraphs in a row with the word Casual. This should tell you something about my verbal tics lately.

Anyway, then I went to my class, and my first class on Mondays is Liberation Theologies. It’s great. And we’re going to skype with this theologian whose book we read in class, and we’re skyping because our professor also went to grad school with him which is no big deal obviously. So our professor asked us for questions in advance, and I wrote a Very Good Question. I’m not saying I’m super pleased with myself, but I am. The book we wrote was like “So basically the liberation theologians at this point are a bunch of academics so let’s INFILTRATE THE SOCIAL SCIENCES because what if there were LIBERATION ECONOMISTS hey then we could make some real change”

good thing he will never read this; I’m not sure he’d appreciate that characterization

also he did talk about other things. But anyway, in that question, I wrote this question for him:

It’s the 25th anniversary of the most violent part of the Tiananmen protests, which were a major push for liberation in a highly areligious context. You write that liberation theologies should try to basically infiltrate the social sciences as a way of making change. Is God relevant to/part of liberation only as God is relevant to/part of the lives and motivations of the people working for it?

Yeah, I used the word “basically” in a question to a guy after I read his book. It’s no big deal. Acceptable answers from Dr. Petrella do not include “dude God is everywhere don’t worry about it.” Anyway. I thought this was an excellent question. His answer was: “I’m agnostic.”

ANYWAY. This is a food blog. (Just kidding? Is this a food blog?)

Then for dinner I made something that sort of resembles one of my favorite Chengdu foods. There was a connection. It was kind of tenuous.

This dish I like is some green beans with some chilies and some garlic and some SESAME OIL which is the actual important part. Something more or less like what I made is already on the internet here, though I definitely put the garlic and pepperbits in earlier.

Then I took the leftover beans and I put them in a salad with some mushrooms/onions/moregarlic that got cooked together with soy sauce and not much else, and with an egg, and with a LOT of cilantro, and with some white rice because I literally (non-ironic use of the word literally) always want rice, and with some rice vinegar. It was a follow-up success.

Note that my working definition of “salad” at the moment is “a bunch of things eaten together that are not cooked together,” which is Super Technical. Well, which encompasses most of the salads I have consumed ever, at least.

It was delicious. It was a super good dinner. I recommend it. I did not draw a picture of it, but yesterday I did find drawings of a couple old recipes in my backpack, so you might get some s’mores ice cream or Harper’s latest birthday cake (note: not taller than previous birthday cakes, just richer) in the vaguely-foreseeable-sometime-after-term-ends-and-before-I-probably-get-rid-of-this-scanner-because-I’m-moving-across-the-ocean future. In the meantime, just appreciate Minnesota’s odd fruit options (melons are totally everywhere, and I know they come from somewhere else, but seriously they chose melons…but we haven’t gotten to strawberries yet) and eat all the green beans.

Green Soup

I have never eaten something like this before. It is totally possible that you have and it is Super Normal Food, but still, I am offering it to you as the best thing my brain has done since it decided to put stickers of my friend Ivan’s face over all kinds of posters…and it decided that freshman year (though we just implemented it a few weeks ago).

If you were wondering why this blog doesn't include photos of food, well, now you're not wondering anymore

But the soup is way more important; the prank is sort of a one-time game. But soup is forever.

That’s not true. But it’s more like soup can be made over and over again.

If you are one of the people of the universe that doesn’t like cilantro, you shouldn’t eat this. I am sorry your mouth or your brain did that terrible thing to you. But if you are me, you should eat this immediately and all the time.

So, it’s green. That’s cool. It’s light green because it prominently features cilantro and some peas (for more color and for sweetness), but also because there’s a fair amount of coconut milk. There are black beans in it, which I suppose are optional but are also wholeheartedly encouraged. They should, however, be added after you put everything in a blender. Here we care about colors the most.

It’s also fast. It doesn’t need to spend too long making friends on the stove. It’s also got an entire bunch of cilantro and some lime in it, so it tastes like a party. It’s warm (because the weather is not) but green (because we are INSISTENT that it is ALREADY SPRING NOW). (If you have ever lived in Minnesota, you will probably understand the strong desire to declare that winter is over as soon as possible.) (Did this come up in my last post?) (Let me just give you the recipe.)

The new color of all the best hot things

You could add some red peppers if you wanted, after blending. It would look nice, especially if you’re not doing leftovers. (This soup made enough for a dinner and 3 leftover lunches for me, with rice. I’d make more if I were planning to serve it to other people and wanted 4 servings, though.)

 

I have a parsley problem

 

Today I wanted to make this for dinner, but instead I wrote about it on my worse-than-average blog.

Usually when I eat pasta then all I want to eat for the next week is pasta, so I sort of ruled that out.

ALL THE TIME when I eat parsley then all I want to eat forEVER is parsley. I do not know what the problem is, but I do know that since about Christmas I have wanted parsley about 96% of the time. That would not be sustainable in my diet. Also I would probably start to hate it.

But in the meantime, I spend a lot of time daydreaming about new foods that can be parsley-based. And when I see one on the internet, I grab it.

parsleypasta

 

(Not too much pasta water.) (Also, other vegetables according to your feelings, but I quite like this combination on its own.)

This is a pretty minor variation on something that came up on Food52. But today for dinner I made something that was like this-crossed-with-tabbouleh-crossed-with-my-love. I cut up a whole bunch of parsley and added some peas and some chopped red peppers and some chopped onions. Instead of pasta, I cooked farro – maybe 1 part farro to 2 parts parsley. We didn’t have any plain yogurt, and I am not vanilla-yogurt-and-parsley adventurous, so instead I put in just a little salsa (my house buys cheap salsa that doesn’t actually contain any flavors that are definitively Mexican; basically it’s some tomatoes and vinegar), some lemon juice, some thyme, and a not-insignificant amount of feta. The farro was an A+ choice, but I think I really wanted farro with parsley and yogurt. That said, with salsa instead it was more like a salad, which means that while I eat it I can pretend it is spring. (At least – and this is really not a minor thing – we’ve moved from moaning about winter to pretending it’s spring. This is life in Minnesota.)

On the plus side (where the minus side is the absence of plain yogurt), my house does currently contain bacon (weird) (REALLY atypical) (I think it happened because my housemate wants me to make white bean soup) (can do).

Thursdays

Thursdays have this great characteristic where lots of times I get home at like 11:30. So then lots of times I just want to put everything in my mouth, except this is winter, so first I want it to be warm.

One optimal fact about when you get home really late is that sometimes your housemates have gone grocery shopping. Food just magically appears. Combine this with aforementioned desire to EAT EVERYTHING and basically there can just be a whole bunch of vegetables in a pan in my mouth. Except not that many, because you have to cut them and it is Thursday night at like 11:30 and there is still homework. So.

I took a humanities class once and on the second day I was like, maybe I think spectrums (spectra?!) aren’t working for me right now and I want to plot this in two-space. (Basically that is as many dimensions as you can have on a blackboard…so.) And my professor was like, “Okay, you have to remind me how graphs work.”

PRO TIP: as you make your way right, look up and see what’s going on.

Also note this isn’t a real graph. It shouldn’t be a line graph because it’s not really continuous, but I put the lines to show it’s over time. And it shouldn’t really be a bar graph because it’s over time, but since these are Actual Quantities of Things I didn’t just want little dots. What can you do when you want to have a graph and a blog at the same time?
thursdayOne time I went to a talk by a job candidate and he used a line graph for something that was NOT LINEAR AT ALL. The order of the things on it was ALPHABETICAL. And I told my professor not to hire him. And then my professor made fun of me after a test for having been really annoyed by this but also I was totally justified.

I think this post might be about graphs and not food. My bad awesome.

Making Decisions

Deciding about birthday cake is superfluously complicated. I was just sitting around innocuously and thinking about how much I like pound cake and how much I like ganache, and then I realized a fun way that I could put them into a cake. and I thought I was totally set.

Then I realized that I could make literally infinite other cakes the SAME WAY I could make that cake, and decision-making became difficult.

How can you rule out chocolate and orange? But how can you rule out pound cake?

I’m going with the chocolate and vanilla and all of the almonds. I’m not sure I even have the capacity to say no to almonds. Amaretto whipped cream? I can’t not make that.

Basically, the deal is this. Make two loaf cakes. Cut them both in thirds or quarters where your cuts are parallel to the counter/ground (so they look like normal layers). Swap alternate layers so you have a striped cake. Put something like ganache between the layers.

Then cut both reconstructed cakes in thirds or quarters along their other long axis. Again, swap stripes. Hold the cakes together with something. Cover them with something so no one knows they’re secretly all checkered. Eat the cakes.
birthdaycake

Lemon yogurt cake/orange yogurt cake can be found at smitten kitchen, as can a solid chocolate loaf cake and a pretty great pound cake, actually. Deb’s looking out for us.

By the way, there should be an update eventually regarding the cake I had for dessert LAST night. I’m confident you’ve never met a cake like that one.

Crucial New Information

In today’s issue of “Names of Blogs that Actually Exist,” we bring you The Orgasmic Chef.

Naming your blog “The Orgasmic Chef” is either more or less socially acceptable than naming your blog “The Orgasmic Kitchen.” Discuss.

Both of these are either more or less socially acceptable than naming your blog “Master Baker Cunning Linguist.”

 

 

In unrelated news, my grandmother is reading this.

Stay tuned for birthday cake (and by stay tuned, you know I mean you’ll get it in a few weeks, right?).