Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Bed Bath and Beyond is a dangerous place...

I'm slowly restoring from the bed bugs which means more pie will happen soon. I'm thinking about doing a series of apple pies while they are still mostly in season. However, in the meantime I've been busy spending way to much money at Bed Bath and Beyond. Their clearance section has been providing me with too many opportunities to buy things I probably didn't really need. A couple of weeks ago I got a tall cabinet with glass doors that now that I've assembled it has proven perfect for holding my two tea sets. Yesterday though, I went in for a new dish drainer, and came out with two new glass pie plates, a new 9x13 and a 7x11. They were on major clearance, about $3 each, and that's nearly cheaper than buying disposable ones. Plus I didn't have a 7x11. Of course where I'm going to put them I'm not sure, but I guess that is why I'm cleaning the kitchen.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Bed Bugs

I'm sure it comes as no surprise that I am taking an anti-bed bug stance. In fact my dislike of being bitten by the critters has led to several months of trying to trap one so that I could finally have proof to force my land lord to send in the exterminators. Part way through September somewhere around five in the morning, I finally achieved the goal of forcing a bug into a ziploc bag. And that then led to the horribleness that was preparing the apartment for extermination. Mostly this involved hours and hours of putting nearly every item I own in plastic bags after first putting it through the dryer, vacuuming it, or wiping it with alcohol. Then I had to live with it like that for the three weeks between extermination treatments. I give you the pictorial tour of my apartment and belongings.

This is the bedroom pile from front and back.

The precarious living room pile:

The stuff from my kitchen so that they can spray those cabinets too:

And finally my bathtub filled with every stitch of clothing and bedding I have:

I don't remember how many trips to the laundromat I made. Since the first treatment I have cleared the tub, but now all those bags are all over the apartment with the rest of the piles of things. I also probably threw out twenty or so giant bags of stuff.

In six more days hopefully this whole experience will be over. The dog and I can't wait. He still doesn't know what hit him and why he has to jump over bags to try to get anywhere. And then I can go back to cooking and baking and being generally domestic.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The lengths you go to bake...

My apartment continues to be all packed up due to the bed bug extermination process, and let me tell you three weeks of living out of ziploc bags is a bit stressful. Since baking helps de-stress me I decided to descend on a friend's kitchen and bake piles of cookies to take in to the crew that's working on an enormous show right now at the theater. I decided on three different kind of cookies. A gourmet double chocolate chunk that I've made before, and two new recipes - peanut butter chocolate chip and strawberry pie bars.

The double chocolate cookies come from a recipe from one of my favorite places in the world...the bakery at Disneyworld. The recipe can be found here. In the past I've made them with peanut butter chocolate chips or caramel chocolate chips. This time I used semi-sweet instead of chocolate chunks. I like the combination of flavors better than the straight chocolate.

The peanut butter chocolate chip were the first batch I did. Sadly they suffered a bit for that. It's the first time I've made a peanut butter cookie, and it was also the first time this oven had probably been turned on in at least two years. After the dust burned off (setting off the fire alarm...sorry about that!) I was mistrustful that they had cooked all the way through, so the bottoms ended up burned. The top was crunchy and while still tasty I prefer my peanut butter chocolate chip cookies a bit chewier. The recipe came from the first hit on google for them.

The last cookies turned out the best I think. The recipe came from one of my favorite baking blogs Baking and Mistaking and she adapted it from an Anita Chu recipe. I altered it a bit further because I had two small jars of seedless jelly in my fridge. One was actually strawberry and the othe blackbeerry. So half the bars are one and half the other. Though a few in the middle are a mix. I'm not sure there's all that much difference between making these and making a pie though. But they sure were good.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Really McCormick?

I'd like to take this opportunity to rant about laziness. I've used my fair share of time saving things in the kitchen. I also grew up with lots of meal that included quick items like prepackaged rices and noodles, chicken nuggets, etc. But this goes too far.

I went to the Stop and Shop in Long Island City in order to buy more trash bags and ziploc bags for the great bed bug extermination of '09. I wandered the aisles absorbing a bit of that suburban supermarket feel that I miss and I can't get in any of the three supermarkets I can throw a rock from my apartment window and hit. I like to go through the deli section and the enormous frozen food section and indulge in the fact that everything is clean, there's no funny New York City supermarket smell and there are actually options for each item. But then....then I came across this:

Really McCormick? Apple Pie Spice? People are that lazy that they can't mix their own cinnamon and nutmeg? Looking at its product detail it also includes allspice, but even three spices doesn't excuse this. If you're taking the time to bake an apple pie, I should hope that you can handle mixing a few spices. Are there enough people who need to save the 20 seconds it takes to throw in extra spices out there buying this product? McCormick describes it as "A blend of aromatic spices typical of apple pie seasoning" and in case you're wondering it has no nutritional value.
According to their website if you're interested in Apple Pie Spice you might aslo be interested in "Ground Cinnamon", "Ground Nutmeg" and "Pumpkin Pie Spice". Of course Pumpkin Pie Spice for those keep tracking is the same as Apple Pie Spice with the addition of ginger.

Also....$4.99? Are you kidding me? I bought probably a pound of cinnamon at the Indian grocery store in Jackson Heights for $3.00!

Thanks all the same McCormick, but I'm willing to take the effort when I bake to actually create my own spice mixture for my pies.