Sunday, August 22, 2010

New Toys and Happy Memories

Santa came a little early this year for Bobby and me. We've been keeping our eye out for used goods on, the Danish equivalent of CraigsList. It was through this website we found the used TV we mentioned in the previous post. Aside from household needs, we also look for new toys: accordions for Bobby and kitchen gadgets for myself. Bobby lucked out this week with this great German-made Weltmeister piano accordion, which was purchased for the unbelievable price of $50! Now Bobby just has to relearn how to play a non-button accordion.

I also got a new toy this week. We have been searching for a slightly used KitchenAid stand mixer on We thought we lucked out last week but it turned out to be a scam. The guy wanted us to wire him money before he would send the mixer. Seriously, who runs a scam with kitchen appliances?!? Anyways, I was a bit disappointed and had resigned myself to hoping for a mixer for a Christmas gift. On Saturday, Bobby went to a local store to buy a DVD player. He game home with a brand new stand mixer instead!!

I was so excited and put my new toy to use right away. A stand mixer is one of those appliances that lasts forever and can be used to make so many different things. My Mom has had the same KitchenAid stand mixer since I was born. I remember helping her make chocolate chip cookies when I was little, so I decided to break in my own mixer by making these cookies. You may notice that some of the cookies look like they don't have chocolate chips in them. That's because they don't. I love chocolate chip cookies without the chocolate chips. If I weren't making cookies for other people to eat, I would leave out the chocolate completely. But, since I am kind-hearted and wanted to share the cookies, I made a separate batch for me sans chocolate chips.

I also made carrot cake earlier in the week using Grandma Townsend's recipe. My paternal Grandmother was an excellent baker. Whenever I had dinner with her and Grandpa (which was pretty often, since we only lived 5 miles apart), she always had a dessert prepared. At her funeral, my second cousin told this lovely story about Grandma:
"When I was a little kid, I ofter went over to Uncle Don's and Aunt Frieda's home for dinner. One day, I came home from such a dinner and asked my Mother why she doesn't make desserts for us like Aunt Frieda does. She responded, 'Oh, that Frieda, she spoils Don.'"
I love this story. My Grandma baked with love and happiness, which is the best way to bake. This cake, which was my Grandpa's and Dad's favorite cake, is very moist and bursting with flavor. I miss both of my grandparents, but some of the heartache is mollified by cooking Grandma's recipes while recalling the wonderful moments we shared.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Nothing to Report but Food

You might have noticed that Bob and I don't write as many blog posts as we used to. The reason why is there isn't much to report. We did buy this used TV! The woman we bought it from told me over the phone that the TV was light enough for a woman to carry. Well, she must have some pretty strong muscles, because it took two people to walk it to our apartment. But we finally have a TV!

Bobby's work is going well. Here he is pictured eating dinner after a long day of work. He wears a helmet to dinner because his brain pays the rent. I still don't have work, though not from a lack of trying on my part. In fact, it has been a bit frustrating receiving so many rejection e-mails. Oh well, I will keep trying.

I have licked my jobless wounds by cooking. And drinking wine. Don't judge me. After one particularly painful rejection letter, I decided nothing would heal my deflated ego better than salsa, guacamole, and Reisling.

Some cooking experiments have gone better than others. One kitchen catastrophe was these cinnamon rolls. My ultra cool retro baking dishes are a bit too small, so the dough baked over onto the oven floor. A lot of smoked followed, which gave the rolls an ... interesting ... smokey flavor. Smokey cinnamon rolls. Not the best thing to come out of my kitchen.

Other experiments have ended in success, like this Coq au Vin. Though it took two days to cook, the results were worth it.

This chocolate mousse dessert didn't taste of smoke, thank goodness. However, the spiced shortbread cookie didn't turn out quite as I had hoped it would. I was planning on having the cookies sticking out of mousse, but my ultra cool retro baking dishes aren't very thick so the cookies cooked unevenly. Perhaps my ultra-cool retro baking dishes aren't so ultra-cool... Anyways, I was able to salvage the unburned parts of the shortbread, crumble it, and add it to the mousse. Top if off with some vanilla whipped cream and you've got dessert!

We had company over for dinner last Friday. Two of Bob's work colleagues, along with their 20-month old daughter. Bob and I never remember to take photos of our guests, but we did catch this photo of on of the guests passed out on our couch. I guess we are just too much fun for some toddlers!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Rainy Days = Baking Days

Our July family guests left at the right time, because it has rained every day since they've left. In my opinion, there are two good ways to spend a rainy day: 1) baking, and 2) going to the movies. Lucky me, I got to do both this weekend! On Saturday, I spend the better part of the afternoon baking. Along with the usual batch to zucchini bread, I also made these Snickerdoodle cookies (shown here, with Bobby's yearning hand). When we lived in Santa Barbara, Bobby and I would go to Borders on the weekend. We'd order a chai latte and a snickerdoodle cookie, which made us feel a little bit less guilty about reading books we had no intention of buying. The Snickerdoodle cookies at the Borders' coffee shops are really awesome, so I decided to make some. They turned out quite nicely, if I may say so myself.

On Sunday, Bobby and I biked into Copenhagen and saw the movie Inception. We both really liked the film and it was a nice treat for us. Since it was the first Sunday of the month, the S-Tog (commuter trains) was free, so we took that home (it's a mostly downhill ride into Copenhagen, which makes biking back to DyssegÄrd a bit unpleasant).

Today turned out to be a baking day as well. A fellow baking friend sent me a recipe for a no-knead garlic cheese flat bread. Since I have some awesome retro baking dishes that Bobby found on the street (the blue one is pictured here, behind the bread), I decided to try out the new recipe. The bread turned out great!

The bread accompanied Provençal tomato spread. Our new house troll kept the evil spirits (aka gnats and flies) away from the food. Thanks, troll.

I also tried another new recipe tonight. Bobby and I both have an unhealthy and childish fondness for Mac n' Cheese. I hate to admit it, but while in college, we'd make the Kraft version pretty often (though we'd dress it up with peas and broccoli, which Bobby called O n' G, short for Orange and Green... the added vegetable make it healthy, right?). However, we're all grown up now... ok, truth be told, I haven't found Kraft Mac n' Cheese in Denmark. But, even if I did, I would rather eat this Spicy Man n' Cheese (though I don't think my colon agrees with me). This dish is livened up with some chipotle chilies. Next time I make this (don't worry, it'll be about 6 months. Michael Pollan was right... when you know what goes into your meal, you make healthier choices... but that's a whole different post), I'll add a bit less chilies. Bobby and I no longer have our California-trained spice resistance!