Saturday, December 13, 2008

Kate is Betty Freakin Crocker

If ever you are trying to flour a baking pan and it doesn't seem to be working out, ask yourself this question:

"Am I using flour? Or am I maybe using confectioner sugar?"

Once you conclude that you are, in fact, using sugar to flour the pan, ask yourself if you're qualified to be using knives and appliances. This is why I don't usually try to bake early in the morning.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Kate Misses Yale; Cooking Ensues

Recently, I've found myself experiencing the pangs of Yale withdrawal. They started in the early fall when I realized that our neighborhood reminds me of Orange Street. (Yes, it's true, I was nostalgic for the grad school ghetto. I definitely felt a little twinge of sadness when I looked up 19th Street and saw the Hilton looming instead of East Rock.) They intensified when the leaves started to change and the air turned crisp.

But tonight, I reached a new low. And it hit me in the most surprising of places: the produce aisle of Soviet Safeway. It was there, standing in front of the vegetables waiting to be inspired, that I realized I would basically kill a man for a taste of the organic Indian-spiced cauliflower they used to have in the Davenport dining hall.

"Kate," you say, "you miss dining hall food? Have you discussed this with someone? Perhaps a mental health professional?"

I know, and I promise I haven't lost my mind. But seriously, that cauliflower was amazing. So I turned away from the anemic green beans and the squash that looked like it had fallen off the struggle bus. I grabbed some cauliflower and--after a detour for some curry-- headed home to reincarnate that delicious, delicious dish.

Mine turned out a little different from the Dport version, mostly because I used vastly less oil than is included in the original. But it was pretty good, so here is a vague guide. Really, these directions are probably not at all helpful, since I didn't measure anything except the oil, but you'll get the idea.

Curry Cauliflower, as inspired by Yale University Dining Services. (Really, stop laughing.)

1 head of cauliflower
1/2 tsp extra virgin olive oil (or really whatever oil you want, I suppose)
curry powder to taste
garlic powder to taste
onion powder to taste
salt to taste

Cut the cauliflower florets (technically, they're not actually florets, but whatever) off the head into large-bite-sized pieces. In a large skillet, heat the oil. Sprinkle curry, garlic, and onion powders into the oil; they will sizzle and brown. Immediately add the floret pieces and cook over medium-high heat for about 7 minutes, stirring often and adding additional curry, onion, garlic, and salt. (Do what looks good to you; I went with a light, even dusting of onion and garlic, a heavier coat of curry, and a pinch of salt.) After about 7 minutes--at which point the cauliflower should be a little bit browned but still pretty firm on the inside--transfer the cauliflower to a vegetable steamer. Steam for 8 to 10 minutes or until the cauliflower is as soft as you like it.

Serving suggestions: if, after finishing your cauliflower, you can get Billy to come sing his song or Joanne to compliment you on your hair...well, now I'm all nostalgic again.

Adventures in Christmas Spirit

There's nothing quite like the D.C. Metro, especially when its riders are dressed unusually. Tonight, Marissa and I were on our way home from a Christmas party, and--as luck would have it-- so were three Santas, two of whom followed us onto the train.

Given that my last Santa encounter involved bumming some Jack Daniels off Bad Santa at a Halloween party, I was pretty confident that Santas leaving Adams Morgan at 11:45 on a Saturday night would prove entertaining.

They nodded at us solemnly. "Merry Christmas."

"So, I have to ask," said Marissa. "Do you rent the Santa suit, or is this something you own?"

"Oh, you definitely need to own," said the more Santa-shaped of the two.

"Yeah," I said. "It seems like a good investment."

"Well, maybe, " said cute Santa, as he pulled a chunk of white faux fur from the trim on the jacket. "I don't really know how much is going to be left next year."

"Hmm, you appear to be molting." I know, I'm astute.

"Well," he replied, "the word 'molting' suggests that it might grow back."

At this point, it was time for Marissa and me to disembark--which was good, since the other Santa was starting to explain that a lot of the, um, fur loss was from the crotch region of his costume--but we nevertheless found it hilarious that we had encountered a.) multiple Santas and b.) a Santa who would challenge me on my diction. Merry Christmas indeed.