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Monday, January 18, 2010

KuKd Bitch in the Kitch

Kitchen Memos from a Knocked Down Bitch

By now, you know my preferred cures for that dead-baby funk: sex, booze, a lot of fuck-yous, and - of course - diving right the hell in to culinary adventures.   Time again to get our hands dirty. 

This weekend, K and I rented a vacation house on the cold, blustery Washington seashore with a bunch of lovely friends from work. There was blissfully little to do except cook, eat, nap, play games, go for strolls, cook, and eat some more.

Did I mention cooking and eating? Oh yeah, we did that too. And what better time to try out some new recipes than while sequestered in a rad house with a rad kitchen and six friends? So I launched into a few culinary adventures over the weekend. Actually, one was more mishap than adventure (Food and Wine Magazine can kiss my large butt!!) but I'll save the most frustrating for last.

Saturday night was the banoffee pie - a decadent concoction of bananas, toffee, whipped cream and toasted sugared almonds - which I originally read in a cookbook by this obscure culinary figure:

Recognize that boyish face? Those eyes? That hair?

Jamie Oliver is the name - and hair product is the game. Anyone who puts that much effort into looking like he puts no effort into his hair deserves some recognition. He's a hipster chef, too - the kind whose recipes involve throwing haphazzardly measured ingredients into bowls and kettles like we're all in some culinary mosh pit together, baking scones to the beat of the Sex Pistols. And finally, he's a Brit - which means he must have a British accent - which is on my list of keen and wonderful things.

Anyway, I got obsessed with his banoffee pie recipe several years ago, and vowed to one day produce it. Which I did, this very weekend. Now, his recipe begins innocently with a few cans of sweetened condensed milk:

Note the grave warning on the label:

But alas, Jamie Oliver - with his fuck-all-conventions attitude toward both his hair and his cooking - told me to ignore that warning!

Ignore the label, and boil the cans unopened for three hours , the recipe says, reminding me briefly of that kid in 7th grade who tried to get me to drop acid with him behind the convenience store (for the record, I did not). Boil the cans and your sweetened condensed milk will morph into dark, carmelly dulce de leche: the base of your banoffee pie! But don't ever, ever let the water boil down, and be sure to let the cans cool COMPLETELY after they boil. Because if a single microscopic nanometer of tin can gets exposed to the air during the boiling process, or if the cans aren't cool when you open them, they will EXPLODE all over your face and kitchen, killing everything and everyone in sight!

Yeah. The recipe basically says that. But I proceeded with caution, because Jamie Oliver is cool, and I want to be like him. So I began my tin-can boiling process, while Tebow - in his infinite doggy-wisdom - watched me from afar, sending me mental urges to think before I do this. I nodded and told him I appreciated his concern, but this was one risk I had to take if I was ever going to get to my banoffee pie.

So I did it, and - three hours of rapid boiling and a cautious ten hours of cooling time later, POOF: I had what Jamie had promised. Three cans of delicious, brown-sugary dulce de leche! Toffee, I guess you could call it:

I felt like the baddest KuKd bitch on the planet!

Next, I made a pastry crust of butter, flour and egg yokes, pressing it into a special fluted pan that I bought just for this occasion. On went a thickly slathered layer of my death-defying, dangerously-produced toffee, followed by sliced bananas and fresh whipped cream. The whipped cream was kissed with a scant tablespoon of strong brewed coffee as Jamie suggested, giving it a very slightly mocha-ish taste.

Then came the icing on the cake, so to speak: a generous sprinkle of almonds that had been rinsed in water, tossed with powdered sugar, and toasted in the oven until golden:

BOO-YA. My banoffee pie. Here it is, mid-consumption:

* * *

Part 3: KuKd Bitch in the Kitch Making Doomed Sandwiches from Hell (aka Food and Wine Magazine can Suck It!)

By Sunday at the beach house, I was feeling confident in my culinary, Jamie-Oliver-ish know-how. So I decided to give my second most-obsessed-over recipe a try - these awesome rectangular icecream sandwiches from Food and Wine magazine:

Look how cool and stackable they are, what with the fudge stripe down the middle! I could see everyone biting into them with amazement, wondering how I'd managed such a feat. And the recipe made them look so easy, like you could do these blindfolded.

It began with a package of break-n-bake cookies. I opted for the au natural variety, free of chemical preservatives, as my contribution to everyone's personal health:

These got pressed into baking dish. For the record - and this is important - nowhere in this recipe was there any mention of applying GREASE to the baking dish. So, having come down off my wild-n-crazy rule-breaking spree with Jamie Oliver, I stuck to the rules this time, and did not apply any grease.

Baked'em, and out they came, looking golden delicious. I was certain that all was going well.

Of course (and here's where those fools over at Food and Wine can suck it), the recipe made it sound so wonderfully simple to flip the cookie rectangle outward, causing it to land in a neat rectangle on the counter. But it simply wasn't so:

BASTARDS! My confidence rapidly falling, the cookie rectangle stuck like a piece of glued-on cement, I had to resort to drastic cookie-excavation methods.

"Parchment paper would've worked well," said my friend M, watching with borderline amusement.

"Take your twenty-minutes-too-late assvice and shove it!" I thought to myself, hardly in the mood for advice and retroactive solutions. What I really wanted was some verbal confirmation of how crappy and deceiving this recipe was.

After piecing it back together in the pan like the great Pangea continent, I grumpily moved on to the next step - which was to press a bunch of vanilla icecream down onto the cookie layer, cover it in plastic wrap and freeze it:

Next came a layer of fudge topping - followed by another hour in the freezer.

Then, my fudge-icecream-cookie-layered-Pangea-continent had to be sliced into two halves, and sandwiched together into one gigantic hunk of frozen chocolaty layered goodness:

Finally, it was time to slice this hard-arse brick into smaller icecream sandwiches, which could (and maybe even would, if the bastards over at Food and Wine had any technical writing skills whatsoever) look like the lovely stacked up sandwiches in the orginal recipe photo.

M, the assvice giver himself, found twisted amusment in my crabby attempts to stab the gigantic cookie bar, and snatched up my camera to document the carnage:

TAH-DAH: my icecream sandwiches.

A far cry from the recipe picture (note to Food and Wine: thanks for making me feel inferior to the whole world!), but at least I could count on K to eat one with a smile on his extremely handsome unshaven face.  God, I hope I get laid tonight.

Redemption, I guess.

* * *


Lara said...

use to boil those cans every night for 2 weeks with my outdoor education students. Damn does that Dulce de Leche taste good after weeks canyoneering with a bunch of kids. Never exploded or kiiled anyone with the boiled can. Glad your survived and the dessert kicked but. I had a more tragic experience than your ice cream sandwiches following a thanksgiving recipe from that damn magazine. My best friend and I now refer to every kitchen trauma as "croqembaque" now.

Thanks for the fun read.


Rachael Taylor said...

Hi Monica-

I have to say that both those desserts look yummy, yummy, yummy! But I will say it comes at a time when I would eat a chocolate covered boot, so not the pickiest audience member... Anyway, please consider listing my blog again.

The haphazard commentary on my everyday existence

I talk about my experiences dealing with stillbirth, infant loss, and 2x miscarriages as we've struggled to expand our tiny family of 3. In all honesty, I started the blog to aid in my journey of healing, but I've evolved to the point where I can now also say that I hope to help and find other women who may also be struggling as well.

KuKd Chick said...

Rachael - THANKS! Yes, your blog will be listed - I want to get'em all back up again. My list just got deleted while I was shifting stuff around....durh.

Lara - oohhh, glad I'm not the only one with Food and Wine issues!

Anonymous said...


Thank you for a very nice light-hearted post. I loved how you mentioned Tebow being concerned for your well-being during the fate-tempting culinary adventure, and the picture to match was hilarious! I'm sure people ask you enough, and l have even looked back through a few old posts, but l can't remember what breed Tebow is?

I do not have a knockalicious blog for you to post, but l'd really appreciate it if you could post the recipe for Banoffee Pie! :)

myskytimes said...

Ha... the advice about heating up closed cans... I should've known that when I was 19 and tried to heat up a can of tomato-sauce. I can confirm the danger of explosion. Had to repaint the whole kitchen-wall (looked like the set of a horror-movie).

Your desserts: Yummy deluxe. Shouldn't have read it while hungry. Off to the bakery to get something sweet.

As for my blog: My blog Skytimes is about living the new normal after the stillbirth of my son. It contains cusswords, my love for arts and my itch for traveling. You can find me here: You're welcome anytime.


Barbara said...

I see I'm already on your list but I just wanted to say that I am envious.

My cooking of late has been terribly healthy and worthy and I must say I would rather be doing science experiments with cans of condensed milk and stabbing huge cookies.


'Murgdan' said...

Um. YUM.

Also--Jamie Oliver and his wife are of the infertile and needed IVF to conceive thier daughters's THAT for making him even more perfect?


And you know my blog.


Hope852 said...

Yummy - I'm so hungry for some of that now. Re. the condensed milk - there's always the easier option of buying it pre-caramelised off the shelf ;o)

P.S (Jamie Oliver Rocks)

KuKd Chick said...

Anonymous: Tebow is half Westi, half mini-poodle.

Jamie's banoffee pie recipe: I can't find it "offically" on the web, but it's on this forum if you scroll down:

Reba said...

hilarous!!! anything that can make me laugh at 8:24am when i've been up since 3:34...huzzah! also, i ended up having a brownie for "dessert" when my breakfast was done...hmm...i love trying those food tv recipes, they NEVER come out the way they're supposed to!

therootofallevel said...

you just made me really hungry, jerk!

my blog is called the root of all evel

a dumping ground for all my emotions after losing our first born, still. we'll be TTC soon, look out though!!!!!

Abigail W. said...

All the tastiness on your blog today has made me decide that I am going to the bakery after this (because my culinary experiments are more decorating and less, you know, culinary-ing). Like birthday cake for my eyes (hey, it actually is my birthday today, so it counts, right?)

As for your new blogroll, submitting mine:

1) the name of your blog and its URL (web address)

Isaac's Journey

2) a 1-2 sentence description of your blog and why it's cool

My thoughts, pretty much limited to my experience with losing my son. Kind of an intimate chronicle of this loss.

Sharon said...

You are SERIOUSLY domesticated! Those desserts look YUMMY!
As for your blog list, well Mon, I'm not really sure where I fit in these days so I'll trust you to slot me in wherever you think is best!

AnxiousMummyto3 said...

Hey Monica,
I recently made Banoffee pie also, but it was a helluva lot different to Jamie's recipe. Firstly, I used the canned caramel that you can get-no boiling necessary! I loved reading about your death-defying feat tho! Also I thought the ice-cream sandwiches looked yummy :)
Anyway I've had 2 cups of chamomile tea which is putting me to sleep, so in closing, my blog:
I write about my two pregnancy losses and my current TTC journey. We are having IUI shortly. EEEK!
Anyway, huge hugs :)
PS. There is a public holiday here next week!

Andrea said...

Wow, those look yummy. I probably would have tossed the rectangle cookie base that wasn't coming out, you're dedicated!

Tiny Angels

General chat about what pisses me off or makes me happy in my life after losing twins to miscarriage. Living children mentioned in blog.

mekate said...

Hi Monica,
I have not commented in a billion years, but am so happy to see you doing so well. I love your writing and your honesty-- and you seriously rock that bikini.

Ok then

I am Kate of I can't whistle
It's a blog about infertility after 40, trying IVF one last time, and then probably the hunt for some way to pay for donor eggs. I write a lot about other things too since this whole life-thang is work in progress.


Michelle said...

Those ice cream bars sound so yummy. That is totally what would happen to me if I attempted to make them...which I may soon. I think you did a great job on both!

Abby said...

My blog is
I would like it listed because it is about surviving the loss of my Firstborn twins and TTC, but also because it covers the horrific decision we made to turn off the life support after 12 days in NICU which in our opinion was the best decision for our boys.. Thanks Monica and I LOVE your humour!!

gwinne said...

That looks delicious.

My blog is the exploration of a thrice knocked up, twice knocked down single mother by choice, still trying to conceive.


lis said...

hmm well i dont eat bananas anymore. they are on my list of foods i cant ever eat again after getting a stomach virus after enjoying a perfectly innocent banana flambe' and puking banana for 4 days.

i recently started blogging after giving birth to twin girls at 20 weeks. i have one ovary who doesnt live where shes supposed to and a tube that could double as a bendy straw. the other side of lady junk was cleared out with a 10cm endometrioma when i was 26.
so IVF it was. currently waiting for health insurance, to win the lottery and my brain back after pregnancy. would love to be pregnant again but scared shitless at the thought. i miss my babies though they are with me and i talk to them all the time.

im wordy. sorry.

if you want to check me out, click my name. if you like my blog and want to add me to your blogroll, id be so excited, today is the first day i saw my site on someone elses page!