Sunday, November 16, 2008

A day off...from everything but guilt

So, it's Sunday. I'm not where I should be, even though I don't have any plans. You know the feeling....where there's something you've been putting off or someone or some place you have been avoiding, but you talk yourself out of it time after time. I have at least a few of those that are backing up on me this morning. Church, my grandma's, and my parents' house. I'm not totally sure what my reservations are on any of those counts. It's not like I will encounter unpleasantries at any of those places, especially the latter. The only thing I can think of is guilt. 
Competition season makes it easier to rationalize. I'm really busy. They all know I am busy. I know they understand. I drive a lot already, and I know they understand that. I guess what makes me guilty is that I don't really do much on Sunday. I sleep in a little (10:20 this morning). I make breakfast (in this case all I had to do was heat up some of my breakfast casserole leftovers). I indulge in some activity as I eat (today, New Moon...I couldn't stop myself). I take a shower at some point, as I rather enjoy being clean, for no one but myself. If I don't go anywhere, I will most likely finish the next installment of the dark teenage romance novel series...even though I bought it yesterday morning.  
The guilt. It, however, will not go away. It will gnaw at me gently as I continue about my lazy day. I will continue to try to distract myself, be it through a book, movie, video game, or blogging. Ugh. 
I'm going to go get my keys....

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Bacon Brownie Results

So, they were good. Definitely worth building on. I learned a few things, both about bacon and baking in general. Basically, this is how it went down-

I used Duncan Hines dark chocolate brownie mix

I bought a package of Tyson thick cut bacon

I baked 8 slices of the bacon in the oven at the recommended temperature of 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15-20 minutes. I put a sheet of wax paper under it to help catch the grease and keep the bacon from sticking to the pan.
After that was done I drained the grease off into a bowl (we'll get back to it in a minute) and took the bacon off the sheet and set it aside. 
I then started making the brownie mix. It called for 3/4 cups water, 1/2 cup vegetable oil, and 2 eggs. I used the recommended water and eggs, but decided to substitute a mixture of the bacon grease and butter for the oil . They are in the same family basically. I mixed this until it was smooth and turned back to the beautiful bacon. 
I chopped up the bacon (it was basically crisp) into small chunks and added it (a little more than 1/2 a cup) to the brownie batter, mixing it in thoroughly. I was unable to control myself and tasted a little of this concoction. It was sinfully delectable. 
I chose to bake it in an 8x8 pan. It had the highest cooking time of 55 minutes. I was willing to wait. I have no reason that I chose this other than it seemed easier to watch and control if the process seemed to be going awry . I turned the temp down to the recommended temp for the brownie mix and slipped it in the oven. 
55 minutes later they were almost done. I let it bake a few minutes longer after they failed the 'toothpick test'. Finally, they were done.
After letting them cool from skin removing hot to still a little too hot to consume, I tasted....

It wasn't quite rapturous, but it was fairly close. The play of rich chocolate against the savory bacon....the crisp slivers of bacon melted in my mouth as the soft brownie...this is starting to sound almost pornographic....

So, all in all, I think this recipe could be improved upon. While it was amazing, I think it could be taken to a level of palate ecstacy unknown by man thus far. I will do further research. All I know so far- more bacon. 

Upon hearing this news, Pete was instantly jealous that I was jumping the gun, even though I claimed to be doing it as a preliminary trouble-shooting experiment for our BACing session Friday night. It was purely a sacrifice for the cause. Today, he sent me a picture of what I am calling the 'Poor Man's Bacon Brownie'...a cheap imitation of the true delight. 

While it looks tempting, I've had the real thing, and perhaps it's better that you don't know what you're missing, Mr. Licata. It does (as stated in text message) still look like the best piece of sushi ever. 
So there you have it! More reports on the BACing experiments to come!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Bacon Brownies

So, during last year's competition practice, Pete found a crazy chocolate bar while looking for crazy ingredients. It was Vosges Bacon + Chocolate. While it retails for about $9 a bar, it's a sensory experience that any foodie should indulge in at least once. Her description of its creation reminds me of flavor experiences I had as a kid...accidently, of course, as I was a purist. 

"I began experimenting with bacon + chocolate at the tender age of 6, while eating chocolate chip pancakes drenched in Aunt Jemima® syrup, as children often do. Beside my chocolate-laden cakes laid three strips of sizzlin' bacon, just barely touching a sweet pool of maple syrup. And then, the magic—just a bite of the bacon was too salty and I yearned for the sweet kiss of chocolate and syrup, so I combined the two. In retrospect, perhaps this was a turning point; for on that plate something magical happened, the beginnings of a combination so ethereal and delicious that it would haunt my thoughts until I found the medium to express it—chocolate. 

From there, it was just a matter of time…and what began as a love of salt and sweet quickly unraveled into an obsession. No sooner could I wait to unveil the royal coupling in solid bar form, a deep milk chocolate with bits and pieces of applewood smoked bacon and just a sprinkling of Alder salt. Really, what doesn't taste better with bacon?" 

So, in an effort of flavor exploration tonight, I am attempting to make bacon brownies. I know enough about baking to break the rules a little....bacon grease is close enough to butter, which is close enough to oil. If you can add chopped nuts to brownies, then why not add a little chopped bacon. So far I have only tasted the batter, as it is in the oven with forty minutes to go, but I will let my readers know how that goes...all 3 of them (if there are even that many). If it is delicious I will post the recipe for others to enjoy. In the mean time-

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Post Election...

While everyone else was busy coloring their maps with red and blue crayon I went a slightly different route. This is how the map would have looked if Strong Bad had won...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Yeah...that's right!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Worlds of Fun...well, sort of

So I went to Worlds of Fun today with my roomate, Hope. It was fun, mainly because I hadn't been there in a long time and I had never been with her. There were some memories that came flooding back to me when I was there from previous trips, mainly having to do with one of my friend's boyfriends back in high school and his antics almost getting him thrown out of the park.

I have to say this- their customer service is a bit shoddy. Not that I expected 5 star service by any stretch of the imagination. I'm just talking basics. Like when I attempt to order the Ice Cream of the Future (since 1988) I expect to at least be asked for an order...not stare at 5 people who tell me to wait a minute when I'm the only one in line. Also, when I'm willing to pay $4.50 for a 32oz cup of ice water (and make it clear that I understand it's a rip off) I would think the person ringing me up would say "ok" instead of trying to make me drink a 20oz of Aquafina.

I did get a little people watching in. I have to say that it was refreshing to go there as an adult instead of a dumb teenage girl as I remember constantly judging other girls outfits and other such nonsense. I don't know why we do that. Hopefully we grow out of it. I know I have. One of my favorite things about some of the rides is when grown ups are on a ride that is suspends them where their legs are free. After many years of study I can definitively and empirically state that no one ever outgrows the urge to dangle their feet. It's a fact. I should make it a wikiality...

In summation, it was a good day. Far more exhausting than I remember, and some of the roller coasters had a different effect than they used to. The highlight of the whole event had to be the turkey leg-

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Oh competition...

Week three. Geez. It already feels like week 8 in years passed. Not a terrible thing, as I was worried that I was starting it up too late. Both my guys are already very familiar with the format, so it's really already down to refinement. Sure...we have the dignature drinks ahead of us (ugh) and speeches to prepare, but that's the mutable part. It always is. It will be over again before I know it.
That's the thing that you always hear as a kid- "When you get older time will fly by before you know it." Even as you get into your twenties this doesn't entirely make sense and you just assume that they were wrong. Then one day- BAM! It's been a year it's been 10 years since you graduated high school. It's not a crisis, all right? It's just the truth. It feels so cliche to be feeling weird about being older, but if it's a cliche it has to be based on some form of reality. My last birthday feels like it was a few months ago and I still haven't finished Hope's birthday present (her birthday is in April). Christmas is coming and I haven't even started to think about what I might get for anyone, and have no intention of thinking about it for another month at least. Everything feels busy busy and has too much momentum. Choices seem like they fly at me all the time and I haven't had time to even consider the one I just made. I'm a little dizzy even thinking about it.
The upside is that it doesn't stress me out. It actually makes me have hope for my future. I've been waiting for some strange event to distinguish the 'beginning of my life' but I've finally accepted that it's here...a wild force that I can either ignore or ride like a wave. The second one sounds like it would take a whole lot less energy. At the same time, it seems like the possibilities my life has the potential to hold are amazing. I know there are many great things to come. If my life was a symphony, the musical themes would already be extablished and it would be moving into a variation of themes that wind in and out of eachother in ways that you wouldn't expect when you heard them individually. You know what I mean. When you are watching a musical and you've heard all these different songs and then they sing a song that incorporates everything you've heard into an amazingly constructed overlay of everything. It's almost overwhelming to hear and to think of how someone was brilliant to orchestrate it in such a way. And that's how I feel about my life right now...all the themes from throughout my life are starting to intertwine, revealing unnoticed relation to other aspects of my life. Not too shabby :)

Well, that's enough of blog land for one day. I am ready to do other, more exciting Guitar Hero or Hulu!