Plus, a little soft pretzel action on the side… (and then?) pancakes… (and then?) guacamole. Manic cooking sprees rock. There is nothing more fulfilling than a good cooking blog. Nothing. Sadly, this is not a GOOD cooking blog. This is… cooking with Melia.
It all started with a bag of apples that were on sale. Apples that my kids promised they would eat. Apples that I knew were destined for greatness within some sort of floury suit of armor because my kids are big liars. Those apples sat on my counter for almost two weeks. On Saturday, I heard the apples begin to cry. They felt useless, worthless, unloved and under appreciated.
“Fear not, little apples, I will save you by peeling off your skin and slicing you to bits!” I said.
Well, there wasn’t a protest, so the plan was a “go!” Off to the grocery store I went to buy… uh, groceries. I bought 2 frozen crusts without considering the lattice crust aspect of apple pie. I’m really not a baker. I remember fondly my mom’s apple pies, those that were the “before” and “after” images of a nuclear bomb explosion, and probably tasted just as radioactive. Its nice to know where my skillz come from. So, I bought two deep dish pie shells, unaware of what was to become my pie destiny (dun-dun-dunnnnn!).
Fast forward to Sunday, after tie dying for 3 hours. It was pie/pretzel time! The pretzels… I don’t know, I just wanted a damn soft pretzel, so they became menu items. I realized my mistake with the crusts almost immediately after scanning my favorite recipe site for the best recipe I could steal and call my own find. We, as in the royal “we,” went with: Dutch Apple Pie with Oatmeal Streusel.
I quickly grabbed the apples and swung the bag around my head 20 times in order to hypnotize them (just call me Bonanza Jellybean!) and began to peel their skins away. Its a boring task, and requires both hands, and I’m not one for mindless activity (haha) so I began to see just how long I could make the apple peels. “Damn,” and “crap,” I said, as an apple peel flake would cause my long ribbons to break. Talker just kept looking at me, shaking his head. The Husband did the same thing. They obviously do not understand my need for constant amusement.
Please note, apples are slippery. I somehow managed not to slice off any skin or digits, but I had many daydreams about running out of my kitchen with a finger missing, and yelling at one of my dogs to give it back (Please note, it has come to my attention recently that I can just phone a nurseing student and she will give me fantastic medical advice over the phone when such occasions arise. “Nurse, I’ve sliced off my finger.” “Well, is it a useful finger, or just one that’s there for decoration?).
The recipe called for a lot less apples than what I had on hand, already peeled. In the spirit of not being wasteful, I was making two pies, requiring a doubled recipe (Cue foreboding music).
Meanwhile, The Twitches were busy amusing themselves.
I didn’t have the right flour. Luckily, I had plenty of bread flour, its close enough, right? Right?
I don’t have allspice… and if its really “allspice” then why do I need cinnamon and nutmeg?
When looking up substitutes for allspice, I found this anonymous bit of wisdom: “I always wondered if they could actually sell an empty bottle called “Nospice” “ – Anonymous, you and I are kindred spirits.
Little hurdles aside, things are going well. Apples sliced, flour mixed with spices, add some clove to cover up the lack of “I’m not a spice but I play one on blogs.” I am making PIE!
I didn’t read the part about not using all of the flour in the apple coating part, oops. Time to improvise… again. Things kind of went downhill from this point on. I’ll let my notes speak for themselves.
Just because the ingredients are doubled, doesn’t mean the instructions are doubled, as well. This is a lesson in Pisces math. I’m just going to start throwing powdery stuff in a bowl and chant. That always seems to fix the issue on TV.
Uhhhhh, it says to “dot” with butter. Is that like polka dotting? Crap. I’m also out of foil. Super Husband (already at the grocery store) to the rescue! *ting!* (that was the sparkle of his superhero smile, get it?)
Strusel topping… I’m kind of lost about how much cinnamon is in the flour I reserved, or if I really did screw up that step. At this point, its just me, some apples and spices and the will to produce a good blog pie. Wheeee!
Cut in 1/2 cup of butter. Which is actually 1 cup of butter. I have only 3/4 cup of butter thawed. Crizzap.
Butter cutting is hard work. Bust out hand mixer. Turn it on while holding beater. Ouch.
At what point were you all going to remind me that I shouldn’t use the shallow, but pretty, purple bowls with a mixer? Flour everywhere. Ahhhh!
Somehow, I managed to get it together (its a bit blurry at this point).
Now, its time to get pretzel dough out and start rolling it into long snakes. This is when realize there is no parchment paper. I would like a sous chef so I can go all Hells Kitchen on her for being incompetent. Stupid cow.
6 pretzels in and crap are my arms tired from all of that rolling, and snaking. Oh, and I’m freaking hungry.
Pretzels are rising (RISE! RISE!) and its time to… crap (no, its not time to crap). I still have to make dinner. Sure, Enigma, chocolate chip pancakes sound like a great idea. I’ll even use a box mix, no, better than that, I’ll use the box mix that only requires water! I’m busy cooking food you won’t eat, so, here, have some dehydrated milk and eggs. Nothing says love like mom’s home cooking.
Oh, the pies are done! No, they’re not. Can 1/4 cup of butter really make that much difference? Six more minutes on timer and sacrificial Scarty coming up!
(Six minute pause)
Uh… ok, 10 more minutes. Those bastard pies are not struesling AT ALL.
Then, things get a little crazy. More Notes:
Pancakes. Pies not done. Melting butter. Pratzels rising. Holy shit, what am I doing??? Drizzle butter, six more minutes in the oven.
Annnnd, we breathe.
See my very patient pretzels? (We’d like you to cook us now, please) Remember, its not size that matters.
Uhhhh, ok, six more minutes for the pies. Why six? Because I said so. Because my oven may or may not be cooler than it is supposed to be, but I can’t be sure and I’m too cheap thrifty to buy a thermometer, and because every time I try to put five minutes on the timer, it takes over and says “six, you insipid pile of caca!”
(Another six minute pause while I stroke my own ego and vow to replace my oven out of spite)
While I have time (bwahahahahahha) how about I make some guacamole? Ok? Ok! (For future reference, this is when the intervention should have taken place)
Six minutes later: Give up on struesel topping. Rejoice.
Take pies out of the oven.
The finished pies that burned my tongue, just by getting them out of the oven, in a stellar act of… me… (don’t ask).
Boil the pretzels (MONSTER PRETZELS!)…
Bathe Twitches, leaving pretzels to their own devices within oven from Uranus. Set timer for two minutes more than suggested based on low oven temperature instinct (clearly, those two extra minutes were not needed).
The finished guacamole, a/k/a my dinner (Me to The Husband: “Do NOT eat all of the guac or I will starve to death and you’ll be stuck alone with all of the kids FOREVER!”)
And that concludes this week’s month’s whatever’s “Cooking with Melia” blog. Thank you… no, really, thank you. You are too kind. Thank you. And, you… and you… food never tasted so computer screeny.