Curation Corner: Following up on Writers, Ink

As I was curating for my previous post on podcasts for writers, I ran across Writers, Ink, a team effort of J.D. Barker, J. Thorn, and Zach Bohannon.

When I clicked over to their website, I signed up for the free revision course (see above).

Am hoping it will A. offer some helpful strategies B. nudge me to open some work that needs my attention [i.e. is collecting digital dust].

Hope this help, writers.

I should be writing. Instead, chocolate forgiveness cake.

T: Just asking…Shouldn’t I be making a rich chocolate cake into which I then poke holes and onto which I then slather a thin ganache that will seep into the afore-poked holes?

C: What is stopping you?!?

T: I needed personal affirmations. 🤓

C: Go for it!

T: Shame and guilt also work. I am Catholic, after all 😇. Okay then. I’ll tell L that you insist. 

C: It is a little known fact that chocolate can absolve sins! I insist you search for forgiveness!

T: You’re kidding! I could have skipped that spooky confessional and chowed down on a Nestle’s Crunch Bar? …My ‘chocolate forgiveness cake’! I love it! 🙏.


So there you have it. Thanks to my texting pal, making my chocolate forgiveness cake (my name–website calls it The Best Chocolate Cake Recipe {Ever}) was a moral imperative.

This recipe calls for a cup of boiling water as the final ingredient.

As addapinch’s Robyn Stone tells you, the batter comes out very thin. Not to worry, the cake’s consistency came out just fine.


Besides enjoying the cake with my wife,
this was the best 12 seconds of the day.


And now, thanks to addapinch.com…
today’s chocolate forgiveness cake


Note: Back to the opening text conversation, and as if this recipe isn’t solid enough, I added the ‘poke cake’ feature. We tried two icings–chocolate for cake #1 and vanilla for cake #2.

I should be writing.. Instead, apple crisp…and apple cake.

This off-kilter shot is all about featuring our beloved former dog Bear’s watchful eye.

I really had no choice.

It’s officially apple season and the golden delicious tree is burgeoning.

So, last Sunday I slapped together an apple crisp sans recipe, though my trusty assistant in culinary crimes–my wife and herder of Buddy the Rescue Dog–pulled up an Epicurious recipe for a crust topping as a guide. For the filling, I just knew what ingredients I wanted and went from there.

Result: a caramelly ooze —gee, go figure, when the cook indiscriminately tosses in plenty of brown sugar and enough flour…well, there were the sweet cherries and their juice, and the chunks of golden delicioius–well, you get the picture… and the crust was as good as the apple-goo. 

Autumn…I love you.**

***

A few days later, within hours of finishing the crisp, and with plenty of Act of Kindness Writing chores I could/should be dealing with, it was time for an apple cake…or, as the recipe calls it, a ‘moist’ apple cake.

On its own, this is a ‘will bake again’ item. As always, though, I did stray ‘just a bit’…

  • I added allspice to both the apple mixture and the flour mixture.
  • When it comes to cinnamon, I just don’t get the low doses in most recipes. Can’t remember the last time I actually measured cinnamon.
  • I added rehydrated Craisins.
  • I made my own ‘apple sauce’. I just mashed away at, and then seasoned, chunks of golden delicious with the pastry cutter. And mashed away some more.
  • Figuring on a more moist result, I used a loaf pan instead of a 9” x 13” pan.
  • Fearing there might be spillover, I scooped out about a cup of the mixture and slathered that into a greased pie pan. Gotta say, when revisiting this recipe, I’ll be tempted to go exclusively with pie pans. It’s a quicker bake and four smaller cakes open the door to more experimentation, say a little creme de cassis reduction for one of them…and Ree Drummond’s Easy Caramel Sauce for another. Come to think of it…I guess it wouldn’t hurt to have those on hand for slices of this current version…

The problem with a spillover cake is its insistence on immediate measures for quality control.
Buddy anxiously awaiting ‘his’ afternoon coffee time.
He fully approves of fall flavors.

**“No, deeeear! I don’t know anyone named Autumn!”

A day of putoffedness

I just noticed that I want a new default font on this program. I can’t move ahead with my day of extreme productivity (cool that I italicized it) until I change my default font.

I mean, it’s an expression of who I am and in 2020, it’s absolutely all about me.

So, what do I think?

Comic Sans?

Bodoni?

And do I want to bold it?

And god forbid, what font size do I want?

I might need a day to work through this and move my day of extreme productivity to tomorrow and keep today as my day of extreme angst over more important issues. (Still deserving of italics, I see.)

Yep, the life of a listless, shiftless writer is not an easy one. No one seems to understand that. 

So I guess I am here on this earth to share that ugly truth with the world.

Stuck on a writing project?

Here is one possible solution:

https://www.newyorker.com/cartoon/a24040-dailycartoonjpg

***

Oh, sure, you might actually be serious about writing. In that case, here are a few ideas:

  • The tangential method
  • The switching gears method
  • The backstory method
  • The undoing method

***

I generally resort to turning on the oven. Matter of fact, I’m overdue for another version of my olive oil dough tear-and-shares.

My process:

  • pre-seasoned the dough [oregano, basil, granulated garlic],
  • rolled it out
  • spread out generous portions of grated cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, and sausage
  • rolled it back up
  • cut out portions
  • dipped them in beaten egg
  • placed them in the pan
  • poured the rest of the beaten egg over the portions
  • gave them another 20 minutes of rising time [not sure if I should have let them rise first and then poured the egg. Shrug.]
  • baked them at 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes

For lots more tear-and-share ideas:

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/tear-share

I should be writing. Instead…bread pudding.

Sweet potato bread pudding, to be specific, inspired by an episode of George Hirsch Lifestyle

I had leftover monkey bread/pull apart from a local bakery–the parts lacking anything resembling sweet, syrupy, or nutty [i.e. the dry stuff that should have been drenched, but wasn’t. Okay, so I’m a hard-nose when it comes to unhealthy, but oh-so-good pastries.]

And I figured it would be a great springboard for a bread pudding.

Anyway, I steamed the sweet potatoes and worked in plenty of vanilla, cinnamon, and brown sugar. The resulting mash sat peacefully in the fridge for a couple of days and this morning mixed well with the sweetened custard, then the bread, chopped pecans, and rehydrated cranberries.

I can’t seem to track down the exact recipe, sorry. So, bakers, just mix it all together and keep an eye on it. At 350 degrees, the pudding–about 2.5 inches high– took about 70 minutes–foil-covered for the first 40 minutes, then crisping up the rest of the time.

L. convinced me that the sweet potatoes made this a health food. Worked for me.

I should be writing. Instead…mini-pies.

dog looking up at counter with pies
Other than the restricted access, we think Buddy approves.

Yep, not getting out much over the last week, so…

Substituted one cup of almond flour. [2:1 ratio–all-purpose:almond.] It added a nice [no surprise] nuttiness and richness to the crust. I’d do it again.

Filling: caramel-dried cranberry-pecan-apple.

Topping: a basic streusel I threw together [flour, brown sugar, butter, cinnamon]

Caramel: I think I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s actually what Ree Drummond calls her ‘brown sugar sauce.’

Why mini-pies?

  • Lots of different flavors.

  • ‘Fails’ aren’t as drastic. Therefore, it encourages experimentation.

  • Practice with different fluting techniques [though–as the photo shows–the almond flour gives the crust more of a ‘mind of its own’ once in the oven.]

  • Built-in ‘portion control’.

I do like the America’s Test Kitchen approach of high heat on a pre-heated cookie sheet for the first ten minutes. I go with 450º, then drop to 375º.

When was it done? We just waited for the inevitable ooze from the middle.

Need a justification for stress-induced baking? I’ve got it covered.

Stay safe, you all.

I should be writing. Instead…a culinary escape

Better yet, just pour yourself some coffee/tea, snag a treat, and follow the links below…
I have watched these shows multiple times and inevitably dream of a pastry/bread-driven road trip. Note: The people are just as appealing as the treats.
No interest or time? At least fast forward to 15:17 of  A Few Great Bakeries to meet my culinary ‘hero’. This guy is classic.

And for those writers who choose to just sit back and enjoy, how about a couple of rationalizations for your productivity hiatus?
The Holstee Manifesto My favorite nugget: “When you eat, appreciate every last bite.” Glad I found this.

I should be writing. Instead…expanding my vocabulary.

brain and its traits

Mentalfloss.com comes through again.

38 Wonderful Words with No English Equivalent

Such as, from the nation of Georgia, shemomedjamo–the inability to stop eating a food item or meal. Usage: He reached for the unopened bag of kettle corn, knowing full well that shemomedjamo was inevitable.


Or, from Ghana, pelinti–to move hot food around in your mouth. Usage: Viewers were subjected to a full minute of pelinti when Guy Fieri chose to dive right into the queso that came straight from the oven. 

I dare you…weave a few of these gems into a conversation this week.

I should be writing. Instead…facing food fears**

Anxiety lurks around every corner.
War ain’t great.
Ditto nuclear devastation.
**And painful alliteration? The worst.
But that all pales compared to…

cinnamon roll

cinnamon rolls without the ooze.

And there it sat, taunting me…Do I have enough cinnamon/sugar/butter goo coursing through my folds and crevices? Or am I just a lifeless, arid mass of flour and yeast?
Taunt away, dough boy! I’m ready for you!

Thank you, Ree Drummond. [And thank you foodie friend, L.O., for the recommendation.]
To quote the Food Network star: “It really should be called ‘Brown Sugar Sauce’.”
Not one to quibble over semantics, I share with you, The Pioneer Woman’s Easy Caramel Sauce.
• 1 cup Brown Sugar
• 1/2 stick Butter (4 Tablespoons)
• 1/2 cup Half-and-half Or cream (Cream will make it thicker.)
• 1 Tablespoon Vanilla
• Pinch Of Salt
— Mix everything in over medium heat. Whisk gently for about six minutes.
— Stop when you’ve reached a desired thickness.
— Serve warm or cold.

Added musings:

  • I’ll be mixing in cinnamon to a portion of the remaining sauce before reheating.
  • I may well add a little maple syrup to another portion.
  • Well, gee, how about some pre-reduced brandy or amaretto to another portion?

Conclusion: Whether it’s straight or doctored caramel, dry, disappointing cinnamon rolls are now a thing of the past.

Two other relevant photos:

cinnamon roll cross section
Question 1: Did this roll’s interior call for the sauce? I say, yes. I give it a C-. Where’s the cinnamon?

My first attempt a month ago had a richer, darker tone, but a certain someone ran out of brown sugar.

Lest you think I’m leaving without another little morsel on writing…

Nine Authors on What They Eat While Writing