Yum

Pictured on this table: Lebanese salad, tahini, beef shawarma, fried eggplant, homemade hummus, homemade baba ghanoush, fried chicken, hand-cut French fries, and Lebanese rice, along with pita bread, both homemade and store-bought garlic spread (made for the chicken, but also delicious with the fries,) fresh parsley, pickles, tomatoes and a homemade tomato sauce to go with the eggplant. Not pictured: a thousand deserts, including about thirty different varieties of baklava and nammoura, which I had never had before this weekend and oh my God.

I don’t know if I made this clear, but my cousin married a Lebanese woman, and for this and a whole lot of other reasons it is very clear that marrying her was the best decision he ever made. And this was only one meal. Like, these folks don’t cook, they COOK, and trying to claim you were full was just not going to work. I can think of three-day periods where I have eaten better in my life– work trips to Nashville and Raleigh come to mind– but I have never come close to eating this well for three days in a row when literally everything in front of me was home-cooked, and she (well, not just her; my cousin definitely pitched in, but it was clear who was in charge) didn’t break a sweat doing it, either.

(Have I paid for my overindulgence today? Maybe a little, yeah. Worth. It.)


Click is still very much available for pre-order, and to go even deeper into asking my audience for things it would be super duper if a handful of those of you who have already read it would review it over on the Amazonmachine. Currently available for just under five of your American moneydollars, and launching f’real f’real on July 26.

ATTENTION

I am attempting to BAKE.

Traditionally this does NOT GO WELL. My last attempt involved not realizing the temperatures I was using were in Celsius.

Alert the authorities as needed.

UPDATE: this stage was basically “leave it alone for an hour to proof, then add chocolate chips,” so I was able to handle that:

UPDATE 2: I may have done this right. My god does it smell good.

#Recipe: Hawaiian Ham & Swiss sliders

I haven’t posted a recipe in forever; this one is going up because I originally found it on TikTok, of all places, where it is destined to disappear, and I want to make them again:

Line a pan with aluminum foil; apply a light coat of cooking spray. Melt a stick of butter; to the butter add a teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce, a tablespoon of minced garlic, half a tablespoon of Dijon mustard, and a half tablespoon of Italian seasoning. Mix well. Cut a … loaf? batch? Let’s go with batch– cut a batch of King’s Hawaiian dinner rolls in half and put the bottom half in the tray. Use a brush or a spoon and lightly brush the butter over the bottom half.

I used a full pound of honey ham; that was probably a bit too much, insofar as “too much ham” can actually be a thing, and I think you could get away with 3/4 of a pound or so. Fold the slices over and arrange them evenly over the bottom half of the bread. On top of the bread, add a double layer of Swiss cheese; half a pound was about right for us. Put the top layer of the rolls on top of the bread and cheese and evenly distribute the rest of the butter-garlic mixture over the tops of the rolls. Cover the whole shebang with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes; after 15 minutes remove the foil and continue baking for five additional minutes.

Upon removal from the oven, add a liberal coating of Parmesan cheese. Cut and separate.

These were really good; the only thing I’d change is either going with a bit less ham or baking them for a little bit longer, as while everything was plenty warm the cheese in the middle wasn’t completely melted– you can see individual slices in that picture– and I felt like they could be a bit hotter and gooier. The best part was the bread on the bottom which I was expecting to be a bit soggy and toasted up really nicely. We’ll have these again.

It is fall break

… so am I making chili in the slow cooker?

Yes. Yes I am.

How to make delicious sheet cake

Pictured: the remaining 1/5 of a delicious sheet cake.

My mother’s birthday was a couple of weeks ago, and she made it known that she wanted a sheet cake for her birthday. Sheet cake is something that, in my head, she used to make all the time and we’ve had a few times in the last couple of years but not as often as we used to, and then I mentioned it to my wife and it quickly became clear that she had no idea what I was talking about, meaning we had somehow not had sheet cake once in the nearly twelve years that we’ve been married.

So I got the recipe from my mom and … uh, well, my wife made the cake, actually, because every time I try to bake it goes very poorly, but as you’ll see this is a really simple recipe and I totally could make sheet cake on my own and it’s completely Goddamned delicious and go make a sheet cake right now.

This will fill an 11 x 17 cookie sheet. Yes, a cookie sheet. Sheet cakes, as you might guess from the name, are flat.

Obtain two sticks of margarine, a quarter cup of cocoa, and a cup of water. Melt the margarine and bring everything to a boil. Mix two cups of sugar and two cups of flour in a mixing bowl (ideally, glass, as it’ll heat up less readily than metal) and pour the boiling mix over the dry ingredients. Then mix in two eggs, a teaspoon of vanilla, a teaspoon of baking soda and a third of a cup of either buttermilk or “sour milk,” meaning milk mixed with some quantity of vinegar that Mom wasn’t certain about, so we used buttermilk.

Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes.

In the meantime, take another stick of margarine (yes, we’re up to three sticks, dammit, and don’t you complain about it,) another quarter cup of cocoa, an entire fucking box of powdered sugar (that’s what the recipe says; I assume the boxes are standardized, but who the hell knows) and a quarter-cup of hot water, melt the whole mess over a low flame, and beat the hell out of it with a wire whisk until it’s melted and no longer lumpy.

Give the cake five minutes after it comes out of the oven to cool off a little bit, then pour the icing over it. Optionally, sprinkle crushed walnuts over the top; we used to always do it this way when I was a kid but the boy has allergies so no longer.

Let it cool to room temperature and then eat the hell out of it. Eat the corners first; they’re the best parts. Ideally sheet cake is accompanied by a tall, cold glass of milk.

Mmmmmmmm.