Restrictions have nothing on her.

Brownie Update

Posted: June 30th, 2009 | Author: rita | Filed under: Rita | 3 Comments »

Red Velvet Brownies: good idea in theory, didn’t come out as expected in reality. Oh but so what? They were tasty.

Couple of problems. First, I’ve never made brownies from scratch before. Brownies in a box, what more could someone want? It’s quick and easy. Apparently there is a whole world of brownies from scratch that I just was not aware of! My whole approach was off and they ended up more like thick pieces of cake rather than the chewy bars of goodness that constitutes a great brownie. (This is why my speciality is not baking.) Next, I don’t have the biggest sweet tooth, so when I whipped up the cream cheese frosting it wasn’t apparent to me that it needed more powdered sugar, but when I handed them out to friends one of them even asked if I had used sour cream in the frosting! Oops. Also, on the whole they were not as chocolaty as I had wanted!

Not making a cake was the whole point. I wanted to bake something portable but not cupcakes and I always love a good challenge. So, red velvet brownies. A friend recommended this recipe but not knowing jack about baking non-boxed brownies, all I did to modify this was use 2/3 cup of all-purpose flour and kept the remaining 1 1/2 cups as cake flour. The cake flour I have already contains baking powder, so I didn’t use any at all. Another mistake was beating the eggs into the mixture one at a time like the recipe says, forgetting that this will make brownies light and fluffy, not satisfyingly chewy like I craved. Oil instead of butter might have helped too, I think.

Does transmogrifying red velvet cake into brownies completely alter what makes red velvet “red velvet”? Will I be making simply red colored brownies? What do you think? I really have no idea.

Oh well. I will try again soon but with regular brownies. Perhaps with Chocolate Brownies with Orange Cream Frosting??


Posted: June 25th, 2009 | Author: rita | Filed under: Rita | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

Just so you think this blog isn’t going to be too “serious”, here’s something I whipped up last night.

BEHOLD! Red Velvet Brownies!

Red Velvet Brownies!

Full update later.

Who Are You and What Are You Doing?

Posted: June 25th, 2009 | Author: rita | Filed under: Rita | Tags: , | 3 Comments »

So, you may be asking yourself, what exactly is kosher? Is that like, deli food?

No. Kosher laws, or kashrut are a Jewish system of food laws that entail, among a lot of other things, what one can and can’t eat. For example, anything with pigs are out. Same for shellfish. Meat and milk together are a huge no-no. Milk and fish are ok cause fish are pareve. So are eggs. This doesn’t even touch upon how to prepare food or slaughter cows to make kosher meat. It’s an intricate, daunting, complex set of laws and the vast majority of humanity (including the majority of Jews!) don’t practice kashrut.

Many observant Jews keep kosher, but I wouldn’t call myself overly observant. It’s more of maintaining part of the lifestyle I’ve lead since childhood.

At this point you might be thinking, No bacon? Ever? Or crab? Shrimp? Cheeseburgers?? Poor thing!

But 95% of the time I don’t feel limited by what I can and can’t eat. Rather, I believe it’s allowed for me to eat healthier — kosher meat is expensive, which means more of a focus on veggies and homecooked foods. Which is not to say whenever I go to a friend’s or relative’s for Shabbat lunch it’s going to be a light meal. Ever heard of cholent? Or gone to your great-aunt’s for a family dinner? “Eat, eat, you look so thin!” as she dumps another heap of, in my family’s case, chicken and roasted potatoes and stuffed grape leaves and white rice and perhaps some marinated string beans on my plate, just enough to cover the whole thing. This applies even if your nickname is Shamu.

Anyway, I like being kosher. Sure, there are a billion rules and you have to watch out for not just what you’re eating but also what plates it’s served on or cooked in or prepared with, etc etc to infinity. But I think allows for creativity in addition to its other benefits; what can I do within these parameters? One thing I definitely want to try and make is an authentic banh mi. Good luck to me, since a lot of what makes it so lip-smacking-good is the crispiness of the bacon it’s stuffed with and its contrasting flavor with everything else, I’ve heard.

So we’ll see. I do also have to say that I am certainly not nearly as strictly kosher as many people I know, since I share my kitchen with non-kosher roommates and I don’t care if cheese contains rennet (which is not kosher), etc. Just putting that out there. But I certainly do try, as I have my whole life.

That being said, I am a damned good cook. Let’s see what happens.