Unemployment has led me to my previously undiscovered domestic side. I am, by choice, a " textbook feminist," the kind of woman who feels no obligation to the kitchen, laundry, dishes and husband (except I don't have a husband, so I'm taking applications there). This being said, I often find myself glued to Channel 50, Food Network. This has led me to trouble--to pots and pans filling up in my sink, to cuss words hanging in the skies above my parents' country kitchen and dogs scattering left and right at fear of being in the line of fire.
I don't do cook. I do, however, bake. And it's not some simple preferred habit of mine--there are days where I would love to just walk in my kitchen and think: lets cook! I'm incredibly jealous of one of my best girlfriends, Jessica, because of her innate ability to walk into a kitchen with random ingredients and come back out to serve an awesome dinner. I've tried watching her and recreating it at home--it just doesn't pan out. Somehow, through recipes and general feelings about the sanctity of desert, I am able to walk into someone's kitchen and walk out (recipe provided) with some thing like, brownie cheesecake, chocohunka chocolate chip cookies, brownies with homemade fluffn'nutter frosting, etc and so on.
And so, my unemployment leads to habits like marathon sittings with Food Network. My being a woman leads to things like Pre-Menstrual Cravings. This all leads to me to a Thursday, pre-first date, afternoon in the kitchen making Ghiradelli Chocolate Chip Brownies with the aforementioned fluffn'nutter frosting (because hey, I can't use a mix for *everything* and I don't want to cheat myself of a new recipe). The Peanut Butter frosting was super simple. Here's the link to that: Peanut Butter Deliciousness
and on top of those brownies--it was a Reese's-meets-Sex-meets-the Gods of Delicious. So good. The frosting yielded wayyy more than could be put on an 8x8 pan of brownies, so I refridgerated the rest of the batch (please note that you need to let the baked goods cool before frosting, or else you'll get a puddle of peanut butter goop).
The next day, in post-date-why-hasn't-he-called-or-texted-frenzy, I realized that I had this huge amount of frosting in the fridge, I might as well make something to go with them. On the television, my girl, Paula Deen. This woman, in my opinion, can do no wrong--she's the new queen of butter, sugar, and caloric intake. Just watching her puts me into a diabetic coma of sorts. I thought to myself, from behind a computer screen of rejection letters and job applications, "What Would Paula Make?" Answer: Red Velvet.
Great, I was on my mission. Make a Red Velvet cake with Peanut Butter icing. Granted, the tradition RV cake required a cream cheese icing of sorts, but I figured that RV was cocoa-based, so peanut butter couldn't be *too* wrong. So I headed over to Food Networks Web site, and pulled up this recipe
. I looked at it, and thought "Yes. I can do this. Yes" until point B, which was inquiring to my father about the whereabouts of cake flour. Cake flour is not something that people just happen to have around the house. We have bread flour and all-purpose flour, but cake flour? What's the special occassion?
First, I thought about a cornstarch + all purpose = cake flour recipe. But regardless of what I did, it was going to require a trip to the store. A side note, but I live deep in the woods now. A trip to the store is if I have a LIST to take with me. I frowned. I clicked out of the recipe. I didn't have cake flour, I didn't have butter milk--and these ingredients, according to my Martha-Stewart-Loving-Mom, were absolutely crucial
in the creation of Red Velvet.
Bummed, but determined, I tried to see if I could use the Google to find a new way of making the RV I craved so desperately. Finding the unused bottle of Red Food Color in the cabinet during cakeflour search 09' really set me off in a bad way. Damn hormones.
And then it occurred to me, I had seen Red Velvet on a different Food Network show. No, not Ace of Cakes (although I believe there *was* an episode that had it), but on Throwdown with Bobby Flay. Bobby Flay! The Grill Master, or King, or Czar, or something. He has grown on me in the last year. I mean, he *does* host The Next Food Network Star. And maybe he's not *that* cocky. But sometimes, he kills me.
The episode I'm talking about was, if I remember correctly, disappointed. Flay's RV *cupcakes* in comparison to his Throw Down competition were...well, let's just say a little more cocoa-y than Red #5 .Granted, by competition, he wasn't too bad, let's give him some credit. He does meat. He grills. He man. Grunt, Grunt, no bake. Cook. So, when he got his ass handed to him at RV, I wasn't surprised. But hey! I remember the episode because of the commentary I had going while watching it.
Cupcakes. He made cupcakes.
Quick, Caitlin, Quick! double-u, double-u, double-u, food network dot com!
And with that, I found the infamous cup cake recipe
. I had all-purpose, but still no buttermilk. Another prayer to St. Google, patron saint of helping Caitlin's moments of insanity, and it was found: I tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice into 1 cup of milk, set 5 minutes, and voila! buttermilk.
Needless to say, I made some half-decent cupcakes. They weren't red enough, according to Martha-Loving-Momma, and in my opinion, not chocolatey enough--but in a strange way, addictive. Something about how moist they are that combines wth a *twinge* of cocoa flavoring just makes me wanting more and more. Oh, and did I mention the post-batter recognition that our muffin/cupcake pans disappeared somewhere in the move and now sit in a box, in the basement where I couldn't find them? did I mention that I made misshapen cupcakes because I just *set* the liners in baking pans? oh, yeah. So, maybe the word "cupcakes" isn't right. Lets go for, "Red Velvet What-the-Hecks?!" for now.
oh, and with the Peanut Butter frosting? Still delicious.
Afterwords: While writing this blog, I found Paula Deen's recipe
for Red Velvet Cupcakes. Since Bobby Flay's recipe required a 1 fl.oz. bottle of Red color, and Paula's required less (I think?), I'm a bit confused. First, I need to go to the store to stock up. And on second thought, maybe not. I should stick to my low-sugar, high-fiber/protein diet. I've lost about 14lbs so far this summer (5 off from my pre-senior year weight).
ps: yes, I did gain 19-20lbs in one 9-month school year. Go stress, go.
Back later with more updates from the unemployment field,