Entries tagged with “brown sugar”.
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Wed 20 Feb 2013
Posted by Dana under Sweet
Wedding countdown: 101 sleeps!
For as long as I can remember, I’ve imagined that if and when I got married I would change my last name. Call me old fashioned, or bending to the patriarchy, but I did. Well immersed in being hopefully (never hopelessly) romantic, I admit that I was one of those girls who would imagine being Mrs. Dana NewLastName.
Here’s the thing though, now that my last name’s days are numbered I’m feeling a little bit more apprehensive about the change.
My last name goes really well with my first name, my parents did a really good job picking out Dana to go with our last name. Being that I have two short names that flow together beautifully, I’ve got a number of friends who commonly refer to me as Dana LastName rather than just Dana. (Hi Dan! Hi Artemis!)
My last name is also really convenient. It’s short. People know how to spell it because it is fairly common and it’s spelled how it sounds. My last name starts with a letter close to the beginning of the alphabet. You know the nice thing about being close to the top of the alphabet? You only have to pay attention to the first couple of names called and then you’re free to daydream.
Also, in a way that might be kind of weird, I really like the way my last name makes me feel connected to my dad. Due to his passing away when I was so young, I never really got to know him in a way that I can remember him. He feels more like a concept or an idea than a person who once was. Having his name at the end of my name makes him feel more tangible, less ethereal in my mind.
Mr’s last name is none of these things: I’d be graduating from 6 letters to 11, it sits after the middle of the alphabet, it isn’t spelled how it sounds, and it is very unique. There aren’t a lot of HisLastNames in the world. When someone asks his last name he often just spells it rather than saying it because it saves on confusion and typographical error.
I really like his last name, it has great character. It’s a little bit funky and that is kind of how I like things to be. But his last name is so opposite, so different from the last name experience I have had so far that it makes me feel a little scared. But maybe that’s just fear because it’s change and change tends to be kind of scary?
I want us to have the same last name because I feel like it helps make a statement that we are a team. If you put together a sports team you don’t get to name it the Winnipeg Boots and Cats. It’s Winnipeg Boots or Winnipeg Cats, you know? At the same time though, people don’t need to have the same last name to be a family or to act as a team. In my idea of the concept you don’t necessarily even need to be related to be a member of a family. Still, part of me sticks on the team feeling of having the same name, of being united under a single banner.
Rebecca Woolf wrote a great piece on this whole business of last names, and the conversation that ensued was great as well (if you’ve got some time for reading). There is a small part of me that feels like grumping about the patriarchal naming system our culture decided on. Why is it that the only real discussion on the table is whether I’m taking his name or not? We’ve talked about him taking my name, or using a mash up name that combines the surnames you both started out with (hilarity is the only result in our case), or going with something completely new for both of us, but none of these options are things that we’re actually really considering. Parts of me wonder if this is the situation just because of our case in and of itself, or if we’re following social conditioning to go this ‘normal’ route?
My Mr really owns his last name, it fits him and he likes it, so of course I’m not pulling for him to change his to mine. His involvement with the military also kind of quashes changes to his last name, all of those tags are in his last name and would be a pain to change out. Mr has jokingly suggested that we be Mr and Dana Danger. The only real discussion, though, is whether not I’m Dana LastName or Dana HisLastName, and while it does not make me upset, I do find it curious.
Mr would be more happy for me to take his last name, but tells me he wouldn’t be upset if I wanted to keep mine. Experiencing no pressure coming from him is a fortunate position for me to be in. What a charming diplomat!
Either way, it’s taking someone’s father’s name, isn’t it? Barring any changes that were made when our predecessors crossed the Atlantic from Europe, it is either his father’s father’s father’s name or my father’s father’s father’s name. One of the commenters on Rebecca’s post, Catherine, said something that has stuck in my mind, “When it was time for her to get married, she decided that she could either take the name of the man her mother chose or the name of the man she chose.” It’s not an answer for everyone, and I don’t know if that’s the answer to what I’m feeling so disquieted by, but I do think it is making me feel more settled.
I believe I know what my decision is, but alas, I hesitate.
Have you got some magical insight?
Either way, if you’re here for regularly scheduled The Funky Kitchen, fear not! I still have a recipe for you!
Granny’s Chocolate Cobbler
(recipe adapted from not from my Granny, but from Susan Hawkin’s Granny)
1 Cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
7 Tbsp cocoa powder (divided into 3 and 4 Tbsp)
1 1/4 Cups sugar (divided into 3/4 Cup and 1/2 Cup)
1/2 Cup milk
1/3 Cup melted butter
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 Cup brown sugar
1 1/2 Cups water from a recently boiled kettle
- Start the oven heating up to 350° F.
- In a mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, and the first measures of sugar and cocoa.
- Mix in the milk, melted butter, and vanilla to form a simple batter.
- Pour the batter into a high walled 9 by 11 baking dish (or dish of similar size). The batter will be slightly stiff, so use a spatula to spread it out over the bottom.
- In a different bowl, mix together the remaining 1/2 Cup of sugar, 4 Tbsp cocoa, and brown sugar. Sprinkle this over the batter in the baking dish.
- Pour the hot water slowly over top of the two layers already in the dish. Do not stir!
- Bake in the oven until the center is set (~40 minutes).
- Allow to cool a few minutes before digging in.
I know, you read the recipe and think that something is wrong there. Batter with dry ingredients on top, and then water on top? With no mixing? Yes. That’s how you do it. And it is amazing.
You get a gloriously moist chocolate cake floating in a puddle of gooey chocolate sauce. And when you scoop out portions of cake, ladling the sauce over top you forget any doubts you had about the strangeness of the recipe. A scoop of ice cream on top, and maybe a smattering of colorful nonpareil sprinkles? That’s what I call comfort food.
Also, it’s nice to have something that is so easy to make, and requires such ordinary everyday ingredients in your repertoire when the spoils are so comforting and lovely. If you get a phone call and a friend is going to stop by in an hour, you can have this warm and ready for when they arrive, likely without having to run out to the store for ingredients.
I know I haven’t had anything but gushingly good things to say, but I will say that the original recipe calls for a dish that is too small. There was a minor overflow in the oven, which was too bad, but easily ameliorated by using a larger dish.
Mr says: It’s awesome! Like a brownie over chocolate pudding.
This time last year: Black Pepper Cookies
And the year before: Balsamic Roasted Vegetables
Thu 17 Jan 2013
Posted by Dana under Sweet
Yes, the recipe that follows was something I brought to a brunch potluck (we had so much fun!) but first we need to talk about this awesome potluck idea:
When we go to potlucks I’m always asking for the recipes of things that people have brought to contribute, and sometimes people ask me for the recipe I brought along too. Then, because you’re inevitably eating and milling around when these questions get asked, it’s either, “Oh I got it from this cookbook…” or you give a brief rundown of what you did. Either way, unless the person is willing to put in a bunch of effort to try track down a cookbook or contact the person who brought it at a later time (who they might not even know well), you’re unlikely to come away with the recipe that you were so eagerly munching down on at the potluck. You miss out on the recipes for the fantastic foods you’ve sampled!
Why don’t we all bring the recipe with us when we go to a potluck?
The industrious of us might bring photocopies in case multiple people want the recipe. Or a person could bring just one copy and people could copy it out. The organizer in me wants to suggest that everyone brings a copy and gives it to the host, so that if someone asks, the host can get it to them after the party. There wouldn’t be any awkward copying out of things during a social function, and you wouldn’t have to run off a stack of copies not knowing if anyone was going to ask. The host is going to know everybody at their party after all, so they could send recipes out as needed.
Yes, this could be made simpler by people just not swapping recipes, but where is the fun in that? We intrepid food explorers are always looking for something delicious to add to our repertoires. At least I am.
So this particular recipe is one that I brought to a brunch potluck that was well received:
Gooey Monkey Bread with Caramel Glaze
(recipe adapted from Julie Albert and Lisa Gnat’s Bite Me)
for the dough
1/4 Cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
2 1/4 tsp dry active yeast
3/4 Cup milk
1/4 Cup butter
1/4 Cup sugar
1 tsp salt
3 1/2 Cups flour
for the sugar dredging
1/2 Cup sugar
1/2 Cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
5 Tbsp melted butter
for the glaze
1 Cup brown sugar
1/4 Cup butter
2 Tbsp coffee cream
- First stir together the warm water, first measure of sugar, and the yeast. Set aside for about 10 minutes to bloom.
- Melt the first measure of butter into the milk. A microwave does this quickly but you can also do this on the stove top.
- If you have a mixer with a dough hook: pour the milk and butter into the bowl and stir in the 1/4 Cup of sugar, salt, eggs, and bloomed yeast mixture. Get the dough hook going, and add the flour in portions until it has all been incorporated. Let knead for 3 minutes.
- If you don’t have a mixer with a dough hook: Combine all of the same ingredients together, incorporate the flour, and then knead on a floured counter top for about 5 minutes.
- Let the dough rise until doubled in size in a lightly oiled bowl covered with a tea towel (~45 minutes).
- Butter the inside of a 10-inch Bundt pan.
- Assemble your sugar dredge by combining the sugar, brown sugar and cinnamon in a shallow dish. Put the melted butter in another bowl nearby.
- When the dough has risen, get it out of the bowl and punch it down. Cut it into about golf ball pieces and roll them into balls, you should end up with between 40 and 50 dough balls.
- Dip each ball into the butter and then dredge them in the cinnamon sugar.
- Tumble the dredged dough balls into the prepared pan and give it a bit of a rap on the counter so that they settle to the bottom.
- Make the glaze by combining the brown sugar, butter and cream in a small saucepan and bringing it all to a boil. Stir often, because it will burn easily.
- Remove the glaze from heat and pour it over the dough balls.
- Cover the pan with a cloth and let it rise until the dough takes up most of the height of the pan (~45 minutes).
- Bake in a 350° F oven until golden brown (~30 minutes).
- Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before carefully flipping the monkey bread out onto a serving plate.
Monkey bread is so tasty and comforting. Cinnamon and sugar are like a hug, they just make a person feel good.
Why does monkey bread make for a great contribution to a potluck? It easily divides to feed a crowd. And if you aren’t scared of getting your fingers a little messy, it doesn’t need serving spoons; just pluck a gloriously caramel and cinnamon bite of bread (or two) from the stack. If you’ve got the chance, get some from the very bottom of the stack. They’ve got extra crispy bits from being exposed to the air during baking. Delightful!
Monkey bread is another lovely June Cleaver kind of retro rewind sort of recipe that shouldn’t be left in the past. For more retro fun, maybe try some cocktail sausages! We could put on our tea length dresses and have a Mad Men party!
Mr was too busy brunching on everyone else’s potluck contributions that he didn’t eat any of my monkey bread, so he has no Mr. says for this recipe. I’m going to have to make it again so that he can have some.
This time last year: Pounchki
And the year before: Spaghetti with Spicy Italian Sausage, Roasted Acorn Squash and Labneh
Thu 20 Dec 2012
Posted by Dana under Sweet
Hello lovely readers, I’m looking to hear your opinions on this one:
Have you ever been subject to the ”it’s good, but it’s just not as good as my mom’s”? (Insert other name here: Grandma’s, cousin John’s, Penelope’s)
In Mr’s family there are these rolled out oatmeal cookies that they traditionally have at Christmas. His mum makes them from a recipe that came from her grandma, Mr’s great-grandma. Being that these are the years that Mr and I are going to form the Christmas traditions for our little family, I thought it would be good to get the recipe and include it in the list of Christmas Baking recipes.
Mr’s mum, Heather, gave me the recipe and some very helpful hints: the cookies don’t work if you switch out a different fat for the lard, and never ever EVER add cinnamon. (You know what I said about listening to your Mum? The same goes for future mother in laws, they’re smart cookies too!)
Doing my best to not mess with tradition, I weighed carefully, measured precisely, and followed the recipe to the tee. Hurray for cookie cutter fun, and hurray for some mightily tasty cookies!
Mr was very pleased with the results of our labors; he helped me roll them out and cut out the shapes. And when Mr’s parents came over, they were as well. But then Tom, Mr’s dad, said: “These are good, but they aren’t quite the same as Heather’s.”
Now I’m not upset, really I’m not. Part of me is wondering could it be that despite my care I just did it a little differently, or do you think that they’re different simply because they know Heather didn’t make them? Maybe I copied the recipe out wrong?
The differences in variables are pretty minimal; we’ve got the same recipe and I followed it closely. I mixed them up in a metal bowl, maybe she uses a glass one. Superstitious bread makers claim the type of bowl you use effects your dough, maybe it is the same for these cookies. Could that really be the difference though? Maybe I worked in too much flour in the rolling out process, but the recipe directs you to use flour to make the rolling process easier.
I guess, what I’m really trying to ask is: Do you think that the person making a recipe can effect how it turns out? Is it that the minute ways in which things are done differently by different people that leads to the food coming out noticeably different? Or is it more psychosomatic, our brains tell us that what you’re eating can’t be the same because it didn’t come from the same person so we taste them differently?
These things have been mulling around in my head; I’d be curious to hear what you think.
Rolled Oatmeal Cookies
(recipe from Grandma Chegwin)
2 Cups brown sugar, packed
1/2 pound lard
1/2 pound margarine
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
4 Tbsp hot water
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
2 Cups flour
5 Cups oatmeal
- Cream together the brown sugar, lard and margarine.
- Dissolve the baking soda into the hot water.
- Mix the baking soda-water and vanilla into the creamed mixture.
- Work in the dry ingredients.
- Put the dough in the fridge to cool.
- Roll the dough out thin, using flour to keep it from becoming a sticky mess, and then cut out shapes.
- Bake in a 350 ° oven for 8-11 minutes, or until golden brown and fragrant.
- Eat plain, or sandwiched together with raspberry jam.
These are such a lovely cookie. I know you might be thinking, oatmeal cookie – kind of mundane, but this is not a mundane cookie. They’re crispy without being overly crunchy. The oatmeal toasts up during the baking and makes the cookies almost nutty. They stand up pretty well to being dunked in milk.
If you don’t know what you’re going to leave for Santa this year, I can tell you that he would like a rolled oatmeal cookie.
Mr says: These literally taste like Christmas to me. A holiday classic!
This time last year: Caesar Cocktail
And the year before: Lemon Roasted Potatoes