Flour and Flowers | A Kitchen and Garden Blog

Posts tagged “stories

Cupcake Friday: Chambord Cupcakes – My Baking Addiction

I’m sneaking this one in here by the skin of my teeth, not to disappoint my loyal Cupcake Friday followers.  Once again, I have failed to make cupcakes this week (although I did make my favorite stand-by cookie, stay tuned for that one if I ever get around to writing blog posts again).  It’s been a really busy week, folks, and I know we’re headed into the busiest time of the year, and I haven’t even told you about my Thanksgiving recipes yet!  I’m so sorry.  I’ll try, I promise!

For now, here’s your last minute dose of cupcake lust: Chambord Cupcakes from My Baking Addiction.

These cupcakes combine two of my favorite things (chocolate and Chambord – which in case you aren’t familiar, includes one of my other favorite things, raspberries) into one of my favoritest things – cupcakes.  I have some stories for you about Chambord.  Would you like to hear them?

I invented my own drink once, many years ago.  It’s a very chick drink, but it’s delicious and I highly recommend it.  I can’t give you measurements, because when it comes to booze I basically just pour by instinct, but it’s basically this: start with Mike’s Cranberry Hard Lemonade.  Pour it into a red wine glass (the enormous kind that can hold an entire 12 oz bottle of Mike’s, preferably), then add a shot or two (or three) of Chambord, and then a splash of Bacardi Razz.  If you’re feeling frisky, also add a splash of Absolut Mandarin.  For a long time, this drink didn’t have a name.  Then a friend advised me that you should always name drinks after your invisible childhood friends.  So the original version is the Lisa, and if you add the Absolut Mandarin, it becomes a Crazy Lisa.  Try it, and let me know what you think.  It could probably benefit from a bit of actual cranberry juice to cut the sweetness.  I drank many of these in my early 20s.  They were delicious.

Shortly after inventing the Lisa, I tried to switch to the cheaper stuff.  You know, name brand liquor is expensive, and there are so many knockoffs, surely dropping down just one level wouldn’t be too bad, right?  I bought a bottle of Chateau Monet.  It was about $10 cheaper, but certainly not bottom of the line.  I thought I was safe.  Fate advised me otherwise, at least for Chambord.  One night, when I was about to mix myself a drink in my dad’s still-under-construction kitchen with poured concrete floors, I picked up that bottle of Chateau Monet.  I had carried it half way from the cabinet to the counter (a journey of about 48 inches) when the unthinkable happened – my hand slipped, and the bottle went crashing to the floor.  It shattered.

Did I mention that the poured concrete floors were also cut into large tiles, a continuous pattern of diamonds across the kitchen and eating nook, towards the laddered hole that should have been stairs?

When the Chateau Monet shattered, the thick, dark purple, sticky sweet raspberry liqueur instantly discovered the wonders of that floor.  It found pathways through the tiles that I never knew existed.  It learned to creep both across the floor and under the plywood temporary cabinets.  It crawled, seeped, and poured across the kitchen, filling crevasses with sugar and booze and berry.

I cleaned up the glass, wiped the tiles, and toothbrushed out the seams, thanking whatever gods that I had not just shattered a bottle of true Chambord.  I never bought the cheap stuff again.

One of my daydreams is to make Chambord Ice Cream.  I did actually find a recipe, but I haven’t tried it yet.  I’m expecting I’ll get around to these cupcakes first, but maybe I’ll make them both together.  Chocolate Chambord cupcakes with Chambord Ice Cream.  How could you go wrong?

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10 Hour Chicken

In keeping with the whole chicken theme, here’s a recipe I made quite a while ago that never actually made it up here. This is another one from Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbook that looked simple enough to try, and it turned out really well, which substantially less raw chicken dissection involved.  But it did still involve sticking things inside an empty chicken.  (Bleh – just that phrase “empty chicken” makes me squig. You?)

Looks simple enough, right?  I’ll spare you the gory parts – all I really had to do was give the chicken a salt rub and towel it dry.  Not so bad.  Oh, but I have another story for you later. (more…)


Epic Battle of the Hoses, or, Lessons I Learned In The Garden Today

1. Patience may be a virtue, but it’s one I’m a bit low on.  When the frustration starts, it tends to keep building until I’m headed well into a mini-meltdown.  Or not so mini.

2. Having a handy husband can be the only thing that stands between me and said min-meltdown.  Thank goodness.

3. Hose manufacturers use high quality materials.  Nozzle and splitter manufacturers use incredibly low quality materials.  These things are meant to live together.  Permanently.  As in, if you put a nozzle on a hose on a splitter, you are never ever meant to take them apart again.

4. Don’t buy cheap things, especially tools or hose attachments. You’ll pay more in the end when you have to replace every piece three times (or seven times, or a million times) as often.

5. Even if you buy expensive hose attachments, add an extra brass fitting in between hose parts so that when they do inevitably get stuck together in what seems like a life-long relationship, you will have something wide and brass to grab onto with the vice grips when you heartlessly pry them apart.  The attachment will be permanently affixed to this brass fitting, but the fitting and the hose will not be.  This will hopefully save you from having to sacrifice hose attachments or splitters during this process.

Ultimately, it’s all worth it when I get to come home to this:

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Retro Post: Garbage Disposals Are Not To Be Trusted: A Lesson In Home-Ownership

It is a well-known fact that I don’t really believe in garbage disposals.  We have one in the new house, but we essentially don’t use it. But last night, I had a bunch of peels from beets that I’d already collected in the sink, and it was right there, and I figured, What the heck; let’s give this thing a chance.  So I shoved them all down there, and ran a ton of water through like a good little girl, and then turned the monster on.

It was all okay for a few seconds, and then hot pink water started rising in the sink, and rising, and rising.  And I thought to myself, s***, trust me to find the most dramatic possible way to break our garbage disposal.

So I got C, and he started poking around, and pulled a bunch of beet ends out of the disposal, and stirring things up, but it still wouldn’t drain.  We figured we needed to get it to drain somehow, so C unplugged the dishwasher disposal drain.  He tried to do it carefully, and we had a bucket and everything, but the pressure on the darn thing must have been outrageous, because all of a sudden it started shooting beet juice and pieces all over the inside of the sink cabinet.

So we got a purple towel, and cleaned all that up (there was beet everywhere – that part took a while), and then stirred the thing again, but still no go.  It still wasn’t draining – the dishwasher plug was above the disposal, so it was just draining the sink.  So we figured we were going to have to take the disposal off and dissect it to get everything fished out.

But C couldn’t get the darned thing off with the tools we have.  So I called my dad to get him to bring us the tools, and he started making suggestions for how to get it off with what we had.  He said one place to start was with unscrewing the pipes, which I could do with my bare hands.

So I was sitting there, practically under the sink (I’d already taken off my work clothes and was in black boxers and a black t-shirt, for laundry safety), talking to dad and playing with pipes.  I unscrewed the first pipe I could get my hands on, and popped it off, and lo and behold, the end of the pipe is completely full of beet pieces!

So I say, Hey! I found the problem! Le’me just get the beet pieces out of here and we’ll be all set!

So I poked my finger in and started to pull the pieces out, and all of a sudden all of the beet juice that’s built up in the pipe behind the blockage shoots out at me.  It completely soaked me, the inside of the cabinet all over again, everything.  It was amazing…

All in all, we used about 4 purple towels cleaning it all up (thank goodness I like purple), and filled the ShopVac with beet pieces.  C said aren’t I glad we drained it by accident the first time, instead of ALL of it going right in my face…

When I went down into the basement to put all the towels in the laundry, I discovered that some of the beet juice had run down the pipes, through the floor, and left a trail of beet blood down the cinderblock wall, and splatters all over the dryer.

God, it was everywhere.   It was hilarious.  There I was, under the sink, laughing fit to burst, on the phone, covered in beet and beet juice.  C. says this is proof that we should not eat beets.  I think it’s proof that we should not have garbage disposals.