Posts Tagged ‘guest’

Guest Post 1(d): Homemade Pop Tarts

Monday, June 21st, 2010

Roasty Toasty

This is post 1(d) for Daniel being gone this time, get it?!  Hahaha so clever?!?!?!  Ok fine.

I have recently become obsessed with another food blog (blasphemous, I know).  In my defense, it focuses only on recipes (rather than restaurants) that the blog owner likes then makes and perfects before putting them up with beeeeeoooootiful pictures.  A few weeks ago, a post popped up on my Google Reader that caught my attention right away: homemade POP TARTS!! OMG!!!1!

I luuuurve pop tarts.  Fave flavors=frosted strawb and brown sugar cinnamon, of course.  I think they are far superior to Toaster Strudel, that evil, floppy-even-when-toasted twin that tastes strongly of oil and burns your mouth with its lava-hot, overly runny filling.  Anyway.  Pop tarts.  I think they’re awesome even when not toasted, but some people think they are a bit too hard and chalky when cold.   Thus, the excitement when I came across this recipe that claimed to be the perfect compromise between a pastry and a pop tart.

These pop tarts came into fruition about two weeks ago.  I made them on a Sunday morning and I was looking forward to them so much.  But let me tell you, they were a pain in the butt to make!  It took me almost two hours to get them in the oven.  Probably because I decided to make mini pop tarts with four different fillings: raspberry jam, brown sugar cinnamon, white chocolate macadamia, and parmesan black pepper. First up: preparing the fillings.

Om nom nom.  Jam tendrils.

I made minuscule amounts of each since the recipe only makes around 16 2″ x 3″ pop tarts.  For the jam filling, you just cook the jam down with some cornstarch and then strain the seeds (skip this step if you have seedless jam) and let it cool.  The other fillings are pretty self-explanatory–mix brown sugar, cinnamon, and some flour; cheese and pepper; and chop up white chocolate and macadamia nuts.  I set aside my pretty bowls of fillings and started on the dough.

This dough has SO. MUCH. BUTTER.  Well, only one stick.  But it seemed ridiculous when I pulled them out of the oven and the butter in the dough had oozed out all over the pan.  You can even see it in my crappy iPhone pictures, see?  More on that later.

Ok, maybe it’s not that obvious.  Look closely for glisteny bits.

So, the dough.  You make the dough and then roll it out into two rectangles of 9″ x 12,” which you then cut into your desired amount of pop tart rectangles.  I had some issues rolling my pizza cutter in a straight line, so some p-tarts were a bit wonky and small, but whatevs.  Then you brush one set of tarts with egg wash, spoon filling in, cover with the other side, and use a fork to crimp the edges and poke holes in the top for steam escape-age.

So raw.  So real.

I had some issues with the dough being suuuuper sticky, but not sticking together when I tried crimping it?  Weird and annoying.  But I put sugar on the jam tarts and pepper on the parmesan ones and they looked soooo cute when I was ready to put them in the oven!  BUT WAIT.  Must refrigerate for 30 minutes (arbitrary, much?  why is this necessary?).  So, after waiting 30 more minutes, in which time I stuffed my face with lunch, I popped them in the oven and waited for happiness to emerge.

Let me give you a warning: do not make these after you’ve had a fatty meal.  I had just eaten leftover chicken madeira from Cheesecake Factory (if you’ve never had it, it’s chicken with some sort of eggy coating covered in mozzarella and madeira sauce) and by the time the pop tarts came out of the oven, the sheer amount of butter in them made me gag a little.  I tried a bite of each kind, and was HUGELY underwhelmed.  The recipe just didn’t quite work out.  The pastry was wayyy too overwhelming and I hadn’t put enough filling in some of the tarts.  The best was the jam filling, but it still wasn’t great.  Maybe I just was too full to appreciate them?  In any case, they keep for a week in an airtight container, so I waited a few days and tried again.  Better, but still not nearly up to par with the original pop tart.  CRY.  These babies are still in the tupperware on my counter, untouched beyond my exploratory nibbles.  Disappointing, overall, especially because every recipe I’ve tried from that other food blog has been fantastical.  These were so un-fantastical that I didn’t even want anyone to taste them.

Innards!

Fast forward to tonight, when I was watching The Best Thing I Ever Ate: Sweet Tooth on Food Network and one of the things was a pop tart from Michael’s Genuine in Miami Beach.  They looked sooo good so I might try to make these puppies again.  However, I would use my favorite pie crust recipe (that’s a bomb-ass apple pie, btw) and try to make a fresh fruity-jammy filling of some sort.  And fill the crap out them.  And roll the dough out super thin so it’s not overwhelming.  And not make mini tarts so I can get enough filling in there.  I guess I have to make them again!  Or I could make the super-secret-super-delish recipe for Sour Cherry Pie that I got from my cousin’s gf that she hasn’t shared in 15 YEARS but she shared it with ME.  Damn, I’m special.

Homemade Pop Tarts
Recipe can be found
here.

Guest Post #1: Sauce & the SF Ballet

Thursday, May 20th, 2010

So I think Janet and R2 are in Toledo, Spain right now (I deduced this from R2′s facebook status: “Holy Toledo”).  While she has been nomming away on delicious ham and canned seafood, I have been enjoying my summer vacation since I finished my first year of law school two weeks ago!  Last time I had a vacation was spring break in March, during which I went up to SF to visit Janet for a few days.  Best spring break evar!!  R2 kept taking us out to dinner and drinks and awesome times and we got a tour of Lucasfilm and we went to the Exploratorium and what can beat all that?!?!1!  Maybe I should have been studying.  Oh well.

Anyway… during that trip we went to Sauce(!) before seeing The Little Mermaid at the SF Ballet.  I was hyped up for this meal since Janet kept talking it up and I looked it up on my handy Yelp! iPhone app and it got good reviews (currently 3.5 stars).  And let me tell you, it did not disappoint!  I guess the food genre is re-imagined American classics–oh so clever–but it really was quite delicious.  When we sat down, R2 promptly said “I like girly drinks, any suggestions?” to the waiter, who half-giggled and suggested the pink lemonade: muddled lemon, cranberry, and Ketel citroen. I had the Elderflower Kiss: St. Germain, Belvedere, and Prosecco! Yum!!  We promptly got drunk from these delightful libations, which might explain how much we ate.

We started off with a few of their “social plates:”  scallops wrapped in bacon on a bed of Brussels sprouts with balsamic bacon tomato sauce (pictured top); portobello mushroom fries with fat boy ranch dipping sauce; and the daily slider, which that day was a ham and cheese slider.

I swear I’m not a pile of turds!

Oh.Em.Gee.  The portobello fries.  Holy craptastic happiness in my mouth.  If you look at the picture, they don’t look like anything special–in fact, they kind of look like someone who ate corn just took a dump.  But they were so much more than a good poo.  They had this crispy, herbacious breading that somehow managed to be airy and substantial at the same time.  Portobellos are meaty by nature, but these were juicy and toothsome and the perfect contrast to the crispy coating.  However, the scene-stealer was the RANCH!  I know, right??  I am a believer in Hidden Valley Ranch.  Only two house-made ranches have ever beaten its flavor for me: Hole in the Wall in Santa Monica because they put dill in their ranch and I adore dill; and THIS ONE!!  Oh man.  It was so good that when they took the empty plate after we devoured the fries I think I squeaked out “Wait!!” and grabbed the ranch to put it on the sliders.  And everything else.

Tiny breadnom, huge tub o’ butter.

Oh yeah, sliders and scallops.  Forgot about those.  The scallops were awesome, duh.  They had bacon around them.  And the sliders were also good, with thick-sliced ham, melty cheddar, and mustard on the rolls they gave us at the beginning.  Oh wait!  I forgot to mention the breadnom too!  Cute little round-topped rolls that were so promising, but sadly were cold and thus no fun on their own.  Good as a slider though.

Perfectly burninated.

On to the entrees!  Janet had the baked mac & cheese: David’s old world ham and ham hock, Tillamook cheddar and four cheese cream sauce, served with green beans and bacon. Bacon seems to have been a theme to this dinner.  No wonder everything was so tasty.  I only had a few bites as I tend to have adverse reactions to creamy mac n’ cheese (sad times for me, since cheese is like my favorite food ever) and I didn’t want to be in the bathroom during the ballet.  But the bites I did have were quite delightful, though nothing super memorable.

I only had one bite of R2′s meal: cornmeal crusted Hawaiian butterfish with cauliflower and whipped potato puree, brussels sprouts leaves, and caramelized red onion salad. My bite was of the cauliflower puree, and it was gooood.  I love anything mixed with potatoes.  I didn’t try the butterfish, both because Janet ate most of it and I play favorites– Roy’s misoyaki butterfish will always have a special place in my heart.

My entree was the braised boneless beef short rib “pot roast” with roasted rainbow carrots, yukon gold potatoes, shallot & garlic, finished with fresh herbs, peeled baby roma tomatoes, and pan demi gloss gravy. Pretty fancy description for what was basically a large hunk of short rib on a pile of veggies.  Nonetheless, it was pretty awesome, though I prefer my short ribs melty and not quite as stringy.

Diabeetus.

Besides the mushroom fries, though, the highlight of the meal was dessert.  I am a dessert fiend, so of course I went ahead and ordered the Sauce sampler: PB&J cake, cinnamon sugar donuts, strawberries, and cream, and ice cream smash. I never realized how delicious PB&J can be when it’s sandwiched between vanilla pound cake and ice cream.  Also, the donuts!  Light, airy, melt-in-your-mouth, with the most amazing vanilla bourbon dipping sauce. Even after 3 appetizers, 3 entrees, and Janet’s aversion to dessert, we still decimated the plate.  High fives all around.  Good job, Sauce, you were awesome.

So then we walked 4 blocks (I think) in the bitter-freezing-icy-cold wind to the Opera House, just in time for the Little Mermaid: CREEPIEST BALLET EVER.   It was originally commissioned by the Royal Danish Ballet to be performed for the Queen in celebration of Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday.  If I were the queen, I would be like “What the fuck Hans Christian Andersen?  Why did you write such fucked-up stories?”  In the real fairy tale, the Little Mermaid doesn’t get the guy–instead, he marries someone else, and at the end she turns into “airy mist” and will eventually get to heaven.  So, she learns that unrequited love sucks, and she’s basically stuck in purgatory watching her prince be happy with someone else.  Awesome story, dude.

I’m sure you can imagine how horribly tragic that would be if performed in pretty tutus like a classic ballet, but then throw in a modern composer and choreographer and you get this:

I’m pasty white because I live in the ocean.

Scary Asian ballerina who does freaky arm movements and flaps around in her large pillowcases/pants/”fins.”  The music was also creeptastic–very eerie and clashy, with only a few major chords to ease the tension.  I mean, yeah, I enjoyed the dancing because it was artistic and cool, but this probably wasn’t the best ballet to pop my profesh ballet cherry.  There were only a few moments of pretty pointe shoes, and the rest was angry jumping and spasming.  Sighs.  Next time, we’re seeing something classic like Swan Lake.

Sauce
131 Gough St.
San Francisco, CA 94102

 

 

 

SF Ballet
Tickets available at sfballet.org