food

Brownies!

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It was time to bake something sweet, so I settled on brownies. My usual recipe is one from Recchiuti made with melted unsweetened chocolate. But I uncovered some Callebaut cocoa that had been in the back of a cupboard for way too long, and decided to find something to use it in. Hence, Mexican Brownies, courtesy of Aaron Sanchez from the Food Network. They’re spiced with cinnamon and cayenne pepper. I also added a teaspoon of espresso powder to boost the chocolate flavor, used white whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose, and added a half-cup of bittersweet chocolate chunks because I could.

Mexican brownies

Mexican brownies

I was reluctant to bake with cocoa because I assumed the flavor would be weak. But these brownies are really good. Different flavor because of the spices, with the cayenne pepper adding just a touch of bite. I added the 1/4 tsp that the recipe stated, but if you like really spicy chocolate, you could add 1/2 tsp. Or as much as you wanted, because you have thumbs.

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Drive-by post

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Busy busy for the next week. Did take time out last night to listen to the latest Welcome to Night Vale podcast.

The thing with Welcome to Night Vale is that for the most part it’s weird and loopy and Twilight Zone Meets Mayberry until every so often it hits you with a touch of sadness or even downright horror. Not enough to put you off. Just enough so that after the episode ends, you sit quietly for a few minutes before moving on to whatever else.

food weather

Pesto and stuff

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Busy morning. Took Gaby to playcare. Then it was off to the dentist.

After that, farmers’ market at the place from which I’ll be getting my CSA veggies. It was a very small market–it would fill only a tiny corner of the Sauvie Island market. But they had small freezers of beef and pork, honey, popcorn kernels, eggs, spinach and salad greens. I stocked up on said spinach and greens, and added a small bag of popcorn, pork chops, Italian sausage, and uncured bacon. A dozen eggs.

Of course, I had bought a pound of arugula just the other day. It wasn’t going to make it through the week, so I jammed it into the food processor with 4 cloves of garlic, salt, pepper, half a cup each of grated parmesan and toasted pine nuts and olive oil. Presto pesto.

Arugula pesto lacks the weighty flavor and aroma of basil pesto. I find it brighter–some folks complain that it’s “grassy”–and lighter. The pound of arugula rendered down to about 3 cups of pesto, which is a good amount for breaking down into single/double serving sizes in either tiny containers or ice cube trays. I went with tiny snap-top containers because I wanted to protect the stuff from freezer taste as much as possible.

It’s still cold–upper 30s today–but we’ve had some thawing and rain. Most of the snow is gone, and the sump pump has been working its little heart out. No sign of sprouting greenery yet, and most nights are still below freezing. But maybe, maybe, we’ve turned the corner.

Lunch was a toasted half a whole grain ciabatta roll with smears of homemade hummus and fresh pesto. It was really good. Garlicky, but really good.

gaby life with dogs

Mud season

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‘Tis the season where I have to towel off Gaby’s feet before letting her in the house. Except today we awoke to rain, which added in with temps above freezing for several days in a row and the resulting thaw and someone named Gaby’s overwhelming desire to bury something…

MUD. I mean, paws like snowshoes except snowshoes made of MUD. I tried toweling them off. Then I tried wet paper towels. Then dipping paws in a pan filled with warm water.

I finally gave up and bundled Gaby into the tub. Directed the detachable shower head at her paws, and marveled at the never-ending stream of filth. Dried Gaby off, then cleaned the tub. The floor. Bundled towels into the washer. Vacuumed.

I should learn to ignore the muddy footprints until they dry, at which point I can vacuum the resulting fine dirt. But then I need to put up with a floor dotted with paw prints, like a canine Marauders Map.

I will have to admit that once I got Gaby into the tub, she stood still like a good girl, and needed to be urged to jump out so I could dry her off. I gave her a cookie. She is dozing on the couch now, where she will remain until July.