“It’s a Twister! It’s a Twister!”

COOKING ADVENTURE # 42: Apple Cider Caramel Cookies

So, readers, once again we find ourselves at the beginning of a Cooking Adventure that was for lack of a better phrase, “easy as pie.” I had decided that I was going to make some Apple Cider Caramel Cookies for a couple of readings that were to happen at the Camden and Rockland Public Libraries in Maine. Now, I had figured I’d have enough time to figure out what I was going to read, bake the cookies, make a poster board featuring all of the readers, and prepare my introduction ahead of time. But in all reality, working on both days of the reading had me doing everything the night before the first one was to begin. I ended up writing a ten page segment to read AND baking cookies. Because I rock at multi-tasking. I actually made two batches of these cookies because they were such a hit at the first reading. However, it was during the making of the second batch in which I encountered a supernatural apple cider phenomenon that I will call “The Twister”. In lieu of the Frankenstorm that’s about to hit here in New England, I felt that the title was fitting for this piece.

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The (Not So) Great Pumpkin Cake

COOKING ADVENTURE #41- CO-OP #3: Pumpkin-Shaped Spice Cake

Now, before we begin, there is something you need to know. At the conclusion of this adventure, my friend, Celena, and I have decided that whoever made the original cake, the one that’s perfect with absolutely no frosting errors, must have cheated somehow. They had to have been a professional cake baker. Because the directions for making this thing are beyond easy… for the most part. But seeing just the four pictures and having no directions to go on is a little iffy, too. And that’s what we were working with. The tale that follows is a real account of the frightening and haunting experiences that happened to Celena and I on that fateful night of the Great Pumpkin Cake. Don’t get scared now.

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The Harbingers of Chocolate Death

COOKING ADVENTURE #40: Owl Cupcakes

…. Yeah. I love owls. They are one of my favorite animals, not just because they’re cute. I think they are very intelligent and wise animals. And I’ve discovered recently that owls are associated in many different countries with death. Hmm… sounds like a good idea for a Halloween cupcake to me! At first glance, this looks like an incredibly ambitious task. When I found the recipe, I knew I wanted to try it. But I had also wanted to do it with my friends, because… it’s more fun to do these things with someone else, than by yourself. However, craft night didn’t pan out to be very crafty so I found myself rolling up my sleeves the next night, preparing to dive into a veritable chocolate death. They may look cute and innocent… but deep inside, they are secretly trying to kill you. DON’T LOOK INTO THEIR EYES.

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Hoarding Apples

COOKING ADVENTURE # 39: Apple Crisp

In autumn, most baking/cooking adventures invariably are drawn toward two distinct fruits: pumpkin and apple. Both are in season and both taste amazing with a little cinnamon and some brown sugar tossed into the mix to create something special. It just so happens that last week, I went apple-picking and scored a bag of about 15 or so Macoun apples. I was still being a bit cautious with raw fruit at this time because of the ulcer but I was happy to discover that after eating one right off the tree, no painful side-effects occurred. Bringing these red beauties home, I recognized that I was going to have to put them to good use. I mean, sure I can eat them but… that’s a LOT of apples just to eat. My friend who visited last week, Sean, made an apple pie with a few of the apples which was delicious. I wanted to be able to make something to without taking the same route. After the Lobster adventure, I decided to go a simple traditional route, toward a dish that is universally loved by all. I also expected that it would turn out all right because it’s a practically idiot proof recipe. However, the recipe let me down a little. This, my friends, is the story of my apple freakin’ crisp.

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Pumpkins are a FRUIT

COOKING ADVENTURE #36: Mini Pumpkin Croissants

Pumpkin is probably one of my top ten favorite foods. In my research for this Cooking Adventure, I came across a startling discovery. Pumpkin is actually a fruit. A FRUIT. I knew about avacados and tomatoes, but not this. My mind was officially blown. But, I’ve got to say yum. Yummy num num. These things were delicious. I say ‘were’ because I’ve nearly eaten all of them. But I plan on making more very soon… probably within the next day or so. And once again, I had little to no trouble making these scrumptious treats. They were easy, required very few ingredients and yielded a batch of thirty-two, count ’em, THIRTY-TWO mini croissants. Wait… so when I said “I ate them all,” I may have been exaggerating. I gave some to my parents. I didn’t eat all of them… but I could have. And if you make this recipe, odds are, you might, too.

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Forget Me (Chicken) Not Pie

COOKING ADVENTURE #35: Chicken Pot Pie

I’ll be frank, readers. There have been very few times that a cooking adventure has actually gone the way it was supposed to with no problems. In fact, I can count these times on one hand. However, we can now add this cooking adventure to that list. Not in my wildest dreams did I expect this recipe to turn out so well. And even better, it is something I can eat! It also happens to be one of my favorite comfort foods. While I have been trying to branch out on the things I eat (I ate most of a hamburger this past weekend!), I’m still playing the eating game cautiously. All it takes is one wrong food to send me into a painful ulcer fit. Now that I know how to make this hot comforting dish, I plan on doing it often. It’s not complicated by any means, uses very few ingredients, and there’s almost no way I can botch it up… unless I forget certain ingredients, which… I won’t lie to you… I did once during this adventure. Doesn’t matter. The pie turned out perfect without it and it tasted like something… that someone else besides me made.

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Resume the Cake Beating

COOKING ADVENTURE #34: Angel Food Cake

Dear Lord! I have gone an entire week without posting a Cooking Adventure. I am ashamed of myself. If it is any consolation, I have been dealing with trying to get my new car repaired as it had the following things wrong with it: bad tires, bad brakes, a leak in the head gasket that was dripping on the exhaust pipe, shredded alternator belt, a bad alternator connection, shifter improperly installed, faulty neutral safety switch, and the most disappointing of the problems, a broken CD player. For the record, I’m extremely thankful to the folks at Rockport Automotive for doing all of those repairs for me. You folks are awesome! You can’t really blame me for not having the time to make a cake in the midst of not having a vehicle to get groceries. Not that it really matters anyway. After making the cake, I discovered that it was destined to flop. After thinking I was getting so much better at baking, this recipe has made me reconsider.

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Where There’s Smoke… There’s Baklava

COOKING ADVENTURE # 32: Baklava

I made this purely for you guys, just so you understand. Because of my ulcer, I can’t partake in this fine Turkish culinary beauty, though I desperately wish I could. As you all know, I was unable to make this dish last week because of that gastrointestinal disaster. I’ve been subsisting on a diet of rice, rice products, crackers, canned fruit, and very, very weak coffee. It’s getting old pretty fast. I’ve been craving flavor like you wouldn’t believe. So imagine my jaw-dropping depression, when I realized that the dessert I was about to make before this happened, consisted of dough, sugar, and a life-time supply of butter? You don’t even know, my friends. You don’t even know.

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The (Rather Short) Bland Adventure of the Ulcer

COOKING ADVENTURE #31: Haddock with Mashed Potatoes

So, you are probably wondering why I didn’t make Baklava like I said I was going to this week. I’m pretty sure that the title of this post sums things up quite well. Last Friday, while enjoying my blueberry pancakes, my ulcer decided to flare up and try to kill me. I spent the next couple hours in extreme pain in the emergency room waiting for them to give me a G.R. shake. This shake apparently consists of Tums, Pepto Bismo, Mylanta, and Zantac all in one. It stopped the pain for about three hours and then it was back to moaning and groaning and such. It’s been 6 days of eating very bland food so that I won’t upset the ulcer again, plus taking proton plus inhibitor pills to help heal it. I also discovered last week that apparently watermelon is extremely acidic as it caused me to collapse on the floor in pain after eating a slice. So from this experience, I’ve learned a lesson in what foods I can have and what I cannot. And to put it as plainly as I can, it sucks. Big time.

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Pecan Goo-Pie

COOKING ADVENTURE # 29: Pecan Pie

Some of you will find this hilarious. Somewhere between my Flourless Lemon Cake and my Chicken Tikka Marsala, I managed to completely mess up my numbers on my Cooking Adventures. I was at 16 and then miraculously ended up down at 13 again in the next post. I’ve gone back and edited the numbers so that they are correct. I’m on my 29th Cooking Adventure and it feels kind of crazy. You know why? Because after all of that cooking and baking, I still can’t make a pie. Just one freaking pie. I don’t care what kind it is, I have the damn-dest time making one. And pecan pie, which I considered to be pretty easy based on the recipe from the Joy of Cooking, was supposed to be my redeeming attempt. With a bit of elbow grease and the assistance of a freezer, it was… kind of.

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