*SECESSION ANALOGY*
Recipe: Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake

October 14, 2013

Imagine you are a woman who has been in an unhappy marriage for many years. Early on in this marriage, you and your husband adopted a child from Africa and disagreed over how the child should be treated. (Okay, in the real version you kidnapped the kid, but I’m trying to modernize this analogy so bear with me.) Your husband didn’t think your adopted daughter deserved to get allowance for her chores like your other children, and he beat her whenever she did something he didn’t like. At one point during this disagreement, he threatened to divorce you but you wouldn’t allow it. Eventually you won the argument but he’s been bitter ever since. Now, years later, you are arguing again—this time over everything.

Your oldest son, who is now an adult, recently announced his engagement to his boyfriend of five years. Your husband will not allow your son to get married because he believes homosexuality is a crime against nature and claims that your son getting married to a man would ruin your oldest daughter’s heterosexual marriage.

Back when you and your husband were arguing about your adopted daughter’s rights, he built an extension on the house and insisted that she stay there because it’s separate (but equal). The extension happens to fall on the other side of the town line. The other town–the one your adopted daughter technically lives in–has a much inferior school. You’ve argued that this is unfair and she should either be allowed to move into another room and attend the school the rest of your children go to or that you should work towards improving her school. Your husband doesn’t see this is a problem and denies it is a result of his previous animosity towards her. He also votes down the school budget every year and argues with the board of education to get evolution and sex education taken out of the curriculum.

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*JAMES BOND DAY*
Recipe: Pumpkin Cheesecake Mousse

November 21, 2012

Since the holidays are upon us, I feel obliged to write about my favorite one. You may have assumed I’m referring to Thanksgiving, since that’s every food and cooking enthusiast’s favorite holiday. But Thanksgiving is not my favorite holiday; James Bond Day is.

One could argue that James Bond Day is not a real holiday. It’s not on any calendar I’ve ever seen and I’m fairly certain no one outside my immediate family celebrates it. But don’t be too quick to dismiss James Bond Day. First, take a look at this list of holidays in November from a website that my colleagues and I like to peruse when we’re hard up for ideas for our monthly all-staff meeting activities (and in need of a laugh).

November is not just the month of Thanksgiving. It’s also National Georgia Pecan Month (which sounds like code for some kind of drug-centric hippie celebration), National Banana Pudding Lovers Month, Historic Bridge Awareness Month (some of these are quite specific), and National Impotency Month, which makes one wonder why there is no “awareness” in the title—are we supposed to be celebrating impotency? Today, November 21st, is Use Less Stuff Day. Not to be confused with Useless Stuff Day. November also doubles as Movember, that month when men like to torture their girlfriends or wives with unsightly and scratchy facial hair. Continue reading

*A CHEESECAKE ALTERNATIVE*
Recipe: Cashewcake

May 14, 2012

I love cheesecake—madly, deeply, unabashedly. In a perfect world, I could eat an enormous slice of cheesecake every day without becoming obese and developing Type 2 diabetes. But if we Americans have learned anything in the past decade, it’s that cheesecake has consequences. (So does invading a Middle Eastern country on the pretext of eradicating WMD, but the verdict is still out on whether or not we’ve learned that lesson.)

Roughly one out of every three adult Americans is obese. One out of every six American children is obese. Not overweight. Not chubby. Obese. Given this, it’s not surprising that roughly one out of every three adult Americans has prediabetes and one in twelve already has diabetes. In fact, diabetes is currently the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. What’s the number one leading cause of death? Heart disease. And what are some of the major risk factors for heart disease? Diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure.

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*MY LOVE AFFAIR WITH BEETS*
Recipe: Red Velvet Mousse

February 13, 2012

Some people hate beets. Some people hate dogs and happiness and Bob Dylan. Which is to say, some people don’t know what they’re missing.

Presumably, beet haters tasted canned beets as children and hastily came to the conclusion that they don’t like beets. But think about this for a minute. Have you ever tasted green beans from a can? My middle-school cafeteria used to serve those on a regular basis—just thinking about them puts a foul taste in my mouth. What about corn-syrup-drenched peaches in a can? Also vile. And also a usual suspect in my middle-school cafeteria, come to think of it!

So, given that most fruits and vegetables taste abominable when soaked in salty or sugary water and left on a grocery store shelf for a year (baby corn and artichokes being the exceptions), why would you pass judgment on the poor, undeserving beet based on one bite of the canned variety?

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*”BAKING” WITHOUT AN OVEN*
Recipe: Raspberry-Vanilla Pudding Cakes

January 22, 2012

If you read last week’s post, you know I have a problematic relationship with ovens and that this has led me to experiment with alternative ways of making dishes that are traditionally baked or roasted. Ovenless these last few weeks, my focus turned to cake. After all, two weeks without cake? The horror!

I do realize I could have bought cake. And that there are plenty of desserts that don’t require baking—mousse, panna cotta, no-bake cheesecake, stovetop pudding, ice cream, to name a few. And I’m quite sure that in the past I have survived more than two weeks without eating cake. No one has ever died of cake withdrawal that I’m aware of.

However, the inability to eat or cook something, for whatever reason, makes me crave it all the more. When I was living in Egypt, I made my own ricotta cheese, rolled out pasta with a rolling pin until my hands were the color of boiled lobsters, and fried tortillas to make chips for guacamole (actually, tortilla chips are available in Cairo, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to spend $7 on a bag of crumbled Tostitos). And so, for me, not being able to bake a cake is a challenge, not an inconsequential irritation. Thus began my crock-pot cake journey that resulted in these delectable Raspberry-Vanilla Pudding Cakes.

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