Tuesday, October 11, 2011

rounding third toward home.

for some, it's finally finding out your grade on an exam you stayed up til 3am studying for. for others, it's watching our beloved brew crew getting so close to the world series after waiting 29 years for redemption. for me, it's going home.

well... that and the brewers.


it's tough to say what excited me most about going home this weekend. i hadn't been there since the end of july, so it was definitely nice to sleep in a big comfy bed. but was it (a) going to the brewers nlcs game 5? was it (b) making lots of great grub? was it (c) watching braun and fielder smash some home runs to beat the cardinals? was it (d) witnessing a-rod throw his 100th career td pass and take the packers to 5-0? or was it (e) just being able to sit on the couch surrounded by family with a plate full of food on my lap and a cold brew on the coffee table?

gonna have to take option (f) on this one. all of the above. but i gotta say, snagging tickets with my broski to the friday night showdown versus arizona was definitely the highlight.

i arrived at my parents' house around 3:30 on thursday night. i couldn't have been home for all of 15 minutes before my brother was asking me to make chocolate cupcakes.

me: seriously? i just got home.
nate: yeah i've been wanting some for a couple days now.
me: and you couldn't just make them yourself?
nate: i made a cake last week.
me: oh my gosh, fine. were you just waiting for me to come home because you knew i'd make them?
nate: pretty much.

bags were dropped, laundry was scattered, and cupcake batter was in the works.

he also informed me that there was jarred frosting in the pantry but added "it's probably not good enough for you."

so i'm predictable. sue me.
but he was pretty much right. 'aright i'll make some sort of interesting frosting,' i thought.
 so what goes better with chocolate than peanut butter? nothing.
and what goes better with everything? alcohol.
well, that wasn't my original intention. initally, i saw some marshmallows and thought of making a sort of peanut butter marshmallow fluff topping (considering my obvious distaste for grainy, sugar-y frosting of any kind). so that's how i started this "frosting." i melted some butter on the stove and threw in a large handful of mini marshmallows to get them melted. once they were ooey and gooey and marvelous, i threw them in the kitchenaid mixer with a little powedered sugar and peanut butter of the crunchy variety. i then headed to the fridge for some milk to ease the stickiness forming in my mixing bowl.

"you've got to be kidding me."
"we seriously don't have any milk??"
"i can't make frosting without milk! it's like a rule!"
all i heard from the voice on the couch was a snicker. a snicker that sounded to me like 'good luck with tha... the lions are 4-0? monday night football should be a good game...'
in other words, he couldn't care less.

ok, so no milk. water? flavorless. alcohol? bingo.
i opened the cabinet where all the alcohol is kept on the highest possible shelf. not to keep it away from the kids in the family since we're all tall enough to reach by now, but because the dust on that shelf is only rustled up about once a year on christmas for when relatives come over. some of the crap up there has probably gone with us the last 2 times we've moved houses. the only appetizing one i could see was amaretto so i went with that. 

little bit of that thinned it out enough, but it still wasn't tasting or looking quite like the "frosting" that certain people enjoy. so i threw a couple globs of the jarred frosting in and called it a day. and it worked.

 it was actually kind of awesome. and i would be lying if i said i scraped the frosting off like i normally do with goodies of this nature. weird, i know. it kinda threw me off.

day 2 of my brewers-driven, food-packed, family-love-infested weekend, my brother (yet again) suggested i make us the healthy and nutritous lunch of taco dip as we chatted in anticipation of the brewer game later that day. he has season tickets, so my other brother and i decided to go together. oh the bonding that went on this weekend was almost too much to bear. but not quite :)

later at the game, i had to splurge once again and enjoy a miller park junior dog sloppily covered in the awesomeness that is stadium sauce. if you've never had it, i almost feel bad. i don't completely feel bad because sometimes i like knowing about little local stuff without having to share it's wonder with everyone. but those of you who have had it (if there are any of you), you know how great it is. it's basically the only reason i got the hot dog. it's like sometimes i make oven fries just so i can have ketchup.

the other ballpark favorite i had to have were the 'heavently roasted nuts.' almonds heated to perfection and covered in cinnamon, sugar and some nicotine-like drug because they're like lays potato chips: bet you can't eat just one.
oh, and a tgi friday's ultimate long island...

day 3: nothing of great culinary value occured. cereal, an auntie anne's pretzel and leftovers... not that there's anything wrong with that.

day 4: after an awesome sermon at church, i went shopping after church with my mom's debit card in my wallet, mustang keys in my purse, and grocery list in hand. a great start to a day that was only going to get better. brewers game 1 versus 'alberta' and the cards at 3 and packers game at 7:30 against the falcons. first game's menu consisted of the following: shrimp cocktail, cheese/cracker/summer sausage plate, and broccoli salad.

after the brew crew's fabulous win, i was energized and determined to get back in the kitchen to whip up the other things i had in mind. first on the list: chocolate chip cookies.

it wouldn't be a trip home from college without being sent back with a tupperware full of homemade cookies. they're just one of those things that never turn out quite as well when you make them anywhere else.

next: spinach and artichoke dip.

i made the mixture with chopped spinach, artichoke hearts, mayonnaise, sour cream, cream cheese, mozzarella, asiago, garlic powder, onion salt, black pepper and a little bit of cayenne. i spread it in a 9x9 square pan, covered it in more asiago and stuck it on the bottom shelf of the oven, set to broil. that way the mixture would be totally warmed through before the cheese melted and went from golden brown and delicious to dark brown and crispy.

i served it with slices of a sourdough baguette on the coffee table in the middle of the room, which apparently was deemed as "too far away" for everyone except me and jeremy. burning our tongues all the while, we attacked it from both sides and wound up doing some pretty serious damage on it.

 the last appetizer i made were the mini "blts's." ...but it's minus the '"l" so i guess we should call them mini bt's but that doesn't sound as good nor does it get the general idea across so, blah. whatever you call them, they're still awesome. and easy! chop and fry up some bacon, mix it with some sour cream, spread that onto crispy round melba crackers and top with a slice of roma tomato (it's the best size for the cracker). sprinkle with salt and pepper and pop them in your mouth in one big bite and it tastes just like a blt! minus the green leafy stuff. which is ok in this case.

and the best part of all was that both teams won that day! it's absolutely unreal to me that the brewers are so close to the world series  and that the packers are undefeated after week 5 (knock on wood). and as long as they keep winning and i keep watching, there will be food of all kinds for game day. but from burgers and salads to wings and dips, this girl doesn't plan to stop just because the seasons may end. in fact, changing seasons means warmer dinners and hopefully some healthier comfort food. oh man, a bowl of homemade soup, some socks fresh out of the dryer and a good book sounds absolutely perfect. but not yet! i will not bid this summer weather adieu until absolutely necessary. after all, baseball is stil playing, so the sun better keep shining!

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