Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mardi Gras!

Today is Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday. Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent. I'm at a Catholic school now, so I wonder what all of this will mean. I guess tomorrow I will find out. Most likely, it'll mean absolutely nothing to me personally, since I do not participate in Lent. But, I'm curious to see if there are any noticeable changes, especially in the cafeteria.
Anyway, back to Mardi Gras. It's a pretty big deal, especially in the Cajun culture of Louisiana. You probably already know all of this...and I am probably boring you. I apologize. Anyway, to celebrate, the cafeteria was serving Cajun food. Feeling adventurous, I gave it a try. I ordered Bourbon Saute, which was supposed to be prawns and crawfish over dirty rice, but ended up being sans prawns (which was saddening because I love prawns). For dessert, I got a bignet, fried dough covered in powdered sugar, similar in taste to an old fashion doughnut. The entire meal turned into a round of Bad News, Good News.

Bad News: The dumb cafeteria worker put my bignet on top of the crawfish. Nothing tastier than a fishy dessert...or crawfish covered in powdered sugar.

Good News: I got it to turn out looking pretty ok anyway. Thank goodness I have plates.

Bad News: It turns out I don't like crawfish.Or bourbon. Or dirty rice. Which is a shame, because I like other Cajun food. And, when I edit the picture enough, it actually looks delicious.
Also, it was very, very, very messy (partially because the cafeteria worker just dumped rice all over everything). I can't complain too much about the cafeteria worker, though, because I had a class with him last semester and he seems like a pretty nice guy.

Good News: I still like bignets. What am I saying. I love bignets. Some year I will learn to make them myself. And I will be just like Tiana in Princess and the Frog. Boy, I cannot wait for that day. Until then, I must say, this was delicious. Even with the awful taste from the crawfish stuck in my mouth, and the crawfish juices and dirty rice stuck to the bottom, this was SUPER TASTY. 

There is good and bad in everything, I guess, even Mardi Gras.
Oh, and no, I do not have any beads. This is a Catholic university. Come on, guys. We don't party. We study. Or at least, that's what I do...

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Knock You Naked Brownies

I didn't name these. Or invent them. Or do very much in making them. But I did eat one (but no, I did not get naked for these).
Seriously, though....my friends were making brownies Friday afternoon, and I thought I would join them because, well, brownies. And also friends. And, most importantly, one of them happens to be a really great baker...like an AMAZING baker. She was the one who found the recipe by The Pioneer Woman.
The recipe was altered, slightly, but tasted delicious anyway.

Chocolate Cake Mix
Evaporated milk (2/3 cup and 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup of melted butter
30 Riesen caramels (unwrapped)

First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Then, mix together cake mix, 1/3 cup evaporated milk, and melted butter. Stir, stir, stir!
Divide the mixture in half and press half of it into a square baking pan (make sure to grease it pretty well). Be sure to make edges with the dough, so that when you add the caramel, it won't leak.
Next, bake it for about 8 to 10 minutes.
Then, melt the Riesen caramels with 1/2 cup evaporated milk (you're supposed t do this in a double boiler, but it worked just melting it in a pot over the stove). Stir constantly, in effort to avoid burning any of it.
Next, pour this sauce over the cooked brownie in the baking pan.
Then, take the second (unbaked) half of the brownie dough and shape it into a large square about the size of (or a little smaller than) the pan. Then, find a way to get this on top of the caramel and brownie in the pan, without causing the hot caramel to splash. Good luck!
Now, bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Allow it to cool to room temperature. Then cut it, cover it and refrigerate for several hours.
Then, finally, you're done. You have some delicious brownies. Like, seriously, amazing brownies. SOOOOO good. You'd be crazy not to try these.

What else would you be crazy not to try that my dear friend Sarah has shown me? Inbox Dollars. It's great for anyone who checks their e-mail everyday...like me. I just got an account and I totally recommend you to do the same. In fact, just for making an account, you'll get $5! (And for every dollar that you make, they will send me an additional 10 cents...just a little perk that I'll be getting from this). Check it out, if you want. If not, I won't be offended. But do try the brownies...that's a necessity.

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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate

So, I have this favorite drink at Starbucks. But it's a seasonal drink, and one that is not offered at the Starbucks-brand coffee stands on campus. This makes me a really sad panda. That is, it did until I came up with a brilliant idea today. I can hack my way towards a Starbucks salted caramel hot chocolate. It's really easy and I'm not sure why I didn't think of it before.
Step 1: Order a caramel hot chocolate. On its own, this is nothing special. I really actually hate normal caramel hot chocolate.
Step 2: Add salt. Not just any salt will do. It's got to be coarse sea salt. Which my cafeteria happens to have in the spice section by the taco station. I didn't add to much (about half a spoon full for my 12 oz hot chocolate).
Step 3: Stir like no other. This way, there won't be any suddenly super salty bits in the drink. Also, since they tend to make everything at our coffee stands super foamy, this will help get rid of some of the foam so that by the time I made it back to my room, there wasn't any foam at all (which usually isn't true unless I stir it first).
And that's it.
Delicious slated caramel hot chocolate just like Starbucks, that I hardly had to work for. I'm going to be doing this from now on.

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