The weather’s warming up in our area, but we’ve had some cooler, rainy evenings that are still perfect for mint hot chocolate. And with everything that’s going on, the slightly slower process of homemade cocoa feels more satisfying than just grabbing a packet mix.
Using Barbie’s cocoa recipe as a base, I added mint for springtime flavor. I also swapped some of the milk for heavy cream, which makes it just indulgent enough to suit the Jeff Goldblum mug that Alana got me a few years back.
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Corned beef has been on my mind since reading Toothpick Tales’ blog post about the perfect reuben sandwich . (An unexpected side effect of writing about food and cooking is wanting to read what everyone else is writing about food and cooking too.) Reading that post took me from never having had a reuben sandwich to absolutely needing a reuben sandwich. Right now. In my mouth and in my stomach. I’m not sure my first experience with one should be homemade, though? Such an iconic dish deserves an expert touch, at least for the first one.
It’s not a sandwich, but when I was flipping through Easy-as-Pie in preparation for my weekly grocery outing, I noticed that Barbie had a hashed corned beef salad. I didn’t even know if I liked corned beef, but I thought that would be a start anyway.
You have to like beets to appreciate today’s recipe. You will definitely taste the beets.
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We made these Ginger Bump Cookies during the last cooking party we had before cooking parties became a thing to avoid.
They’re a simple entry point into the Candies, Cookies, and Cakes chapter of Barbie’s Easy-As-Pie Cookbook because they just involve adding some extras to a prepackaged gingerbread mix. There are only a handful of other recipes in the book that rely on similar shortcuts though.
The simplicity of these cookies made them work well for a night when there was a lot going on in the kitchen, and they had a ton of flavor for something so quick and convenient. The ingredients are also basic enough that you should be able to pick them up the next time you venture out for quarantine supplies.
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I didn’t make a Barbie recipe this week, but I did make a vintage one. When I use my old recipes, I feel connected back to another generation of women. One for whom work was staying at home and keeping house. In another of Cynthia Lawrence’s Barbie novels, Barbie’s New York Summer, Margaret Roberts (Barbie’s mom! She has a name!) says to Barbie, “You’re the one who has an exciting career ahead of you. This is my career.” while gesturing to her attractively furnished living room. On reading that, my heart sank and I shared Garfunkel and Oats’ horrified realization about the moms.
I miss work. I miss coffee and cleaning the whiteboard each morning and meetings. And all the things you do and say to people every day without thinking about it.
It’s week two of social distancing. Week two of being home and getting dinner on the table every night, unromantic and unexciting. Just a job, like I imagine it was for my grandmother’s generation. For the job of cooking today, I decided to make one of my favorite workaday Betty Crocker recipes. You need ground meat, pineapple nibs, a green pepper, and about 45 minutes.
Continue reading “Waikiki Meatballs”
Since the covid-19 crisis seemed to turn crazy-real on Friday the 13th, a lot of people pointed out that it basically ruined Jason Voorhees’ special day. As someone with a mid-March birthday, it wreaked a little havoc on mine too.
I’m all about following the rules of social distancing, so parties and dining out aren’t options right now. And the world has shifted enough that that doesn’t seem like a very big deal? Anyway, Barbie had the perfect recipe to lift my spirits even if it didn’t come with its own little frame story. (The frame stories are my favorite part of the book.) If her party was half as good as her birthday punch, I bet it was really fun.
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This past week has been strange. But even though travel, large events, and readily available toilet paper have all been cancelled by now, I’m going to suggest a Barbie-approved party you can still throw in your very own kitchen: a Peanut Party.
Barbie’s Easy-As-Pie Cookbook has an entire chapter of peanut butter recipes. I never used to think of peanut butter as a pantry staple, but last year my husband and I adopted a puppy. Cadence is a little over a year old now and is still a
ridiculous vortex of limitless energy delightful little scamp who needs a variety of treats and distractions. So these days, there’s always extra peanut butter in the house.
This no-cook dessert has only 5 ingredients. The process was a bit of a mess, but the end result was surprisingly tasty.
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I decided to go with rye bread for my take on the bacon-and-cheese beauty. I like aggressive flavors, and rye is one of the only carb-y things I ever find myself really craving. In keeping with the theme of strong flavors, I also decided to include horseradish. Bacon, tomato, cheddar, horseradish… How could you go wrong?
Well, I managed. On our big cooking night, I put together a horseradish cheddar spread, put it on a slice of rye, and topped the whole thing with a fat slice of tomato and 3 strips of bacon. It was… soggy. Really soggy. The flavor was there, but it wasn’t appetizing. Oh well. Inventing recipes isn’t going to be a get it right the first time kind of thing. So the next day I tried again, using plain horseradish and a slice of cheese, and… meh. Still soggy. Still not worth the effort.
The tomato was the big issue. Fresh tomato was just too wet. Could I put it on after the beauty cooked? Could I cut it up into little bits of tomato and avoid the juicy seed part? Scowling, I wrote in my journal that what I really wanted was a grilled cheese with a bloody mary on the side. Hmmm…
Though I didn’t get a bloody mary out of it, On The Side turned out to be the answer I was looking for. I present: Cheddar and Horseradish Beauties with a side of tomato bacon chutney…
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For my take on Bacon-and-Cheese Beauties, I swapped the white bread for wheat, the American cheese for fresh mozzarella, and roasted slices of small, vine-ripened tomatoes. I also finished the dish off with some pesto, which is basically basil’s ultimate form. The resulting bacon and mozzarella sandwich takes a bit more work than Barbie’s original Beauties, but it’s worth the extra effort.
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The recipes in Easy-as-Pie are so promising, at least if you like vintage cooking. Bacon-and-Cheese Beauties are the perfect example. What could possibly go wrong with bacon and cheese? The answer to this question lies in the ingredients list, which calls for processed American cheese and white bread. When Friendship Club decided to meet for a cooking party, we agreed to make the beauties as instructed and then each try our own variation on the theme. This is the original recipe and… I don’t recommend it. But we said we were cooking through the whole book, and so in the spirit of completion, here goes.
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Our area hasn’t had much of a winter this year, so the snow day we finally got last month seemed like a great chance to try Barbie’s homemade hot chocolate recipe.
Continue reading “Barbie’s Chill-Chasing Cocoa”