Friday, September 02, 2005


Tonight, for the first time in years, I made dinner. It didn't involve calling for take out, either. My dear Houston didn't feel like making dinner, and being budget wise I couldn't justify going out to dinner twice in one week (we are meeting friends at the GF Italian place Abrusci's tomorrow night), I decided to try a small step forward into the land of home cookin'.

Leftover rice from last nights bountiful experiment had Houston planning a stir fry, so I went with it. Made him stand in there and show me how to cut up chicken. He wasn't nearly as overbearing a teacher as I have seen him in the past. Very particular that I do it his way, but never a terse word. Growth?

Not to bore you with a thousand details, I wok'd the chicken in peanut oil, garlic powder, sea salt, black pepper, and what I hoped would be LOTS of red pepper flakes. It wasn't. Added in some Del Monte canned tropical fruit and the rice. Voilá, dinner is served. It's something that Houston makes all the time (with even less red pepper flakes), so the flavor wasn't all that suprising. Somehow, though, knowing that I had done it made all the difference. Not to mention, crisis averted once again. Houston was about to add soy sauce to the pan when I asked if he had rechecked the ingredients. Carmel coloring! Poor guy! Ehhhh...he and the kids put in in after it was served. I don't think they minded. Next time definitely more red pepper flakes.

Cleaned up the kitchen and got an idea that maybe I should make that gluten free brownie mix that has been hanging around in the cupboard for a couple of months. Pamela's brand. Seems to be a pretty popular one. The directions were just about my speed. Pour mix in bowl. Add an egg, 1 stick of butter melted, and 1/4 cup of water. Mix with a spoon. Oops, guess I deviated. I used a fork. The mix was incredibly thick. It was like stirring wet clay. Took a while by hand. I definitely recommend the electric mixer on this one. I'll be using it in the future. Then the directions said to pour the mixture into the pan. HA! You caught the wet clay part right? The lump landed in the middle of my as yet unseasoned stoneware baking pan. It took some liberties with the instructions and pushed it around and flattened it until it touched all the edges and looked somewhat even.

With the oven preheated to 350 I put the pan in the oven. I licked the fork as the kids made short work of what little remained stuck to the sides of the mixing bowl. Over the next 18 minutes the most gloriously delicious smell wafted through my home. The smell of domestic victory! Freshly baked brownies.

I left the pan to cool for quite a while before attempting to cut them. The kids developed these tortured little orphan eyes as I repeatedly advised them that the brownies were still too hot. Eventually I figured out that the wonderful thing about stoneware is that it keeps your food warm on the table. The downside? It prevents your brownies from cooling to eating temperature.

Once I became the stoneware smart girl that I am now, I cut the brownies up and placed them on a plate to cool. Cutting into them sent rushes of endorphins rushing through my bloodstream. I was definitely on some kind of domestic brownie high. I guess this food thing could really become addictive. They stacked so beautifully on the plate. No crumbling which was very encouraging, but still much to warm to eat, right? Okay, so I now I'm just stalling til Houston is ready to come in from the garage and eat brownies with us.

At 8:30 I was done waiting and went outside to get him. He was finishing up an experiment casting plastic bones for a costume piece. It was easier than expected. I went in and got plates on the table and little glasses of milk for everyone (icy cold, yummmm). I sat down for just a moment to watch the Food Network with the kids when a cleaned up man appeared at my table.

I bit into the first brownie and was pleasantly suprised at the dense moist texture. It filled my mouth with rich chocolate flavor and followed that up with an encore. Chewey edges! REAL chewey edges! The kids are a true test for me, and they loved the brownies. Even Houston had a smile on his face. I VERY rarely drink real milk. It was cold and coated my tongue in some kind of dessert Nirvana I will probably dream about tonight.

So, overall I would recommend the mix. It goes together kind of "funny", but if you use an electric mixer to avoid wrist injury, the results are delicious.

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