Tuesday, May 26, 2009

More talk about things that terrify me, but I promise it moves on after that.

All right. Time to type something new here, because I'm a little worried if I leave that last post in top position any longer, any further comments on it will grow progressively more horrifying, and if anyone has a story to top Sauntering Soul's foot-long rat in the kitchen story, I may never sleep again. Gah.

I have actually been in my basement since the enormous bug-sighting, incidentally, and lived to tell of it. So far. I am reassuring myself with the theory that Samsa has scurried away down the floor drain in search of a better home. I am telling myself this because it is far preferable to the theory that he is hiding out behind my furnace, gathering his strength and growing in size until one day he steps out to greet me eye to eye standing upright on the lower dozen or so of his many legs. Shudder.

Oh my. And now, just as I typed that last paragraph, I heard something that sounded very much like tiny rapid footsteps bolting across the width of my house from somewhere above. Is it possible that was merely a squirrel running across my roof, and I heard it all the way down in my living room, with a half story of house in between me and the outdoors? That has to be possible, because if that scurrying actually happened somewhere within the confines of my home, then I think Jess was right: I may need to move.

And that's about enough of the creepshow that is the upper and lower story of my house for today. Let's shift gears to things that are freakish and terrifying in entirely different ways. Like the fact that my mother has decided to join Facebook, and naturally has tried to friend me. She has been on the site for over a full 24 hours, and yet she has only two friends thus far: my two sisters. I can only assume this means her sole reason for joining is to spy on our lives and leave embarrassing, motherly comments for all our friends to see. People, I am well aware that I am a grown-up and I should no longer harbor any qualms about socializing with my mother. But does that really have to include online socializing? Isn't it enough that I no longer mind being seen with her at a movie theater? Baby steps, I say. Ugh. My mother is on Facebook. I suppose that's one way to get me offline...

Also in the category of freakish and moderately terrifying: I was all ready to show you a picture of the mutant space rhubarb in my backyard, which is currently at least six feet in diameter and has sprouted a bizarre white flowery stalk that extends over halfway up my garage wall. I was going to show you a picture of this, but since I haven't yet installed my camera software on my new-to-me laptop, doing so would involve using that ailing, molasses-slow desktop, and we all remember how cranky that makes me. Besides that, it turns out, flowers on rhubarb aren't such an uncommon phenomenon after all. Who knew? (Answer: Not me.)

The rhubarb, by the way, is either wild or was planted by the previous owner, because I have had nothing to do with its existence whatsoever. And I do mean NOTHING. While searching out that rhubarb flower info, I came across this page on a site dedicated entirely to rhubarb (which does not surprise me, obviously, given that I already know there's a site dedicated entirely to baking a potato; the Internet is a vast and all-encompassing place, of course), which provided all manner of dos and don'ts for growing and caring for rhubarb, but also stated that "For the home gardener, rhubarb will tolerate a fair amount of neglect and still thrive." Word. If only tomatoes were known for being so hardy. I haven't had much luck growing anything on purpose, so perhaps if I wanted tomatoes, I should have had one of you sneak them into my yard when I wasn't looking. Somehow I'm convinced that might have been a better way to ensure success. Time will tell, I suppose.

And speaking of domestic failures, despite my near-perfect track record with all manner of baked goods (well, not ALL manner, but all manner I have attempted thus far, admittedly none of which exceed intermediate baker capabilities), the cinnamon pecan blondies I attempted to make for yesterday's Memorial Day barbecue were an utter disaster. I wasted nearly two hours and four cups of brown sugar trying to get things to melt the way they were supposed to, in such a way that the sugar was still melty enough to stir into a batter but not so melty that its heat actually fried the raw eggs right there in the bowl. Outcome: fail. That is, unless you like fried egg bits in your blondies. Personally, I do not. I can't decide if this means I need to try that recipe once more in the hopes of conquering it (the proverbial third time being a charm) or if I should just tear the page right out of that cookbook and simply pretend it never existed.

This post is more than long and scattered enough already, so I promise I will stop rambling soon, but first I would like to redeem myself by saying that despite the blondie disaster, I actually did come out with a win on both the lasagna and tiramisu I made for foreign movie night on Saturday and the spiced brownies I baked before the blondie mishap yesterday. That is entirely more cooking and baking than I generally like to do in any 48-hour span (I still can't believe my grocery list for the weekend involved buying a carton and a half of eggs; NEVER have I needed 14 eggs at one time and in fact could probably count on two fingers the number of times I've purchased them in a quantity greater than six), and as such, the remainder of this week I will probably subsist entirely on cereal, restaurant meals, and the sorts of packaged convenience foods my friends are so fond of chiding me for purchasing. Tomorrow night I'm getting together with a blog friend who's currently in town. Steve, do me a favor and remind me to eat a vegetable, would you? Thanks.


Jess said...

I'm sorry your blondies didn't turn out, but on the other hand this has brought a new (to me) revelation upon my head: eggs are so VERSATILE. It's AMAZING. They're so GOOD in baked goods until they FRY and then they are OH SO BAD. But fried eggs NOT in baked goods are OH SO GOOD.

OK, now I want some fried rice. Which is unfortunate as that does not have a place in my future eating plans, even once I'm off the puree diet.

-R- said...

Tiramasu sounds like it is much more complicated to make than blondies, so I think you can still list yourself in the good baker category.

3carnations said...

You normally only buy 6 eggs at a time? I usually get 18.

With all the cupcakes for my son's upcoming birthday (preschool, daycare, etc...) I will definitely be going through more than 6.

MplsMel said...

I also tried to make blondies once and they were a disaster. I am afraid to try them again.

Perhaps you could have fed the bad blondie batch to the bug? Maybe that would scare it off.

lizgwiz said...

I DID have some tomatoes sneak into my yard this year. Aside from the expensive organic ones I planted deliberately, I had a couple of others pop up on their own in my neglected compost bin. I transplanted them into their own pot--any guesses as to which bears more fruit?

Stefanie said...

Jess--See, that's where you and I differ. I'm not a fan of fried eggs even on their own. At least we both agree that in baked goods they're an all-around bad idea.

R--Actually, the tiramisu wasn't that hard! I was making it at the same time as the lasagna, though, with both recipes taped at eye level to the cupboard door above my counter. I'm just glad I didn't have an incident like Rachel in that one episode of "Friends"... "I wasn't SUPPOSED to put beef in the trifle!" Thankfully, no beef entered my tiramisu, and no custard in my lasagna. Whew.

3Cs--I don't eat eggs, so I buy them pretty much just for baking. Making three desserts and a lasagna in one weekend is not the norm for me, so nope, rarely do I need even six at a time.

Mel--What's weird is I swear I have actually made that recipe before and had no issues with it! I'm working off the theory that I actually did something WRONG the last time, and when I did things the way the recipe dictated this time, things went awry.

Liz--Well, they do say compost works wonders, right? Feel free to leave some of those plants in my yard any time.

Shelly said...

We had an errant tomato plant as well. When we were building our house, one of the crew threw a tomato off his sandwich into the edge of the woods and a tomato plant sprouted up. We didn't even know it was there until it started bearing tomatoes!

Allie said...

I had crazy tomatoes last year. I've never grown rhubarb before - let alone crazy flowering rhubarb. I want to see pictures even if it is common.

Alice said...

i think i need a yard, because the thought of a rogue rhubard plant growing in it is AWESOME.

Anonymous said...

If it makes you feel better, my mom is one of my facebook friends and she has yet to post any info on my potty training or give me public advice on how I can improve my appearance (she saves those for my in-person visits)

PS- you are awesome!

Courtney said...

I'm all for not telling anyone when my baking experiments go awry. But you already told us, so ripping the page out of the cookbook sounds like a good alternative.

flurrious said...

I'm a bad baker, so you shouldn't necessarily listen to me, but did you try tempering the eggs? That should solve the bits of fried egg problem, which I agree is sort of nasty in a baked good.

Also, now I've got Joey Tribbiani in my head saying, "Lady fingers? Good! Custard? Good! Meat? GOOOOODD!"

footprint1979 said...

As to your egg problem, place the beaten eggs in a separate bowl and sloooowly (a little at a time) add the hot mixture. This allows the egg mixture to heat up without actually cooking it.

Stefanie said...

Shelly--Really?? Tomatoes totally grow under complete neglect?? If that were the case, I should be AWESOME at growing tomatoes. Unfortunately, I think you're just luckier than I.

Allie--And I would love to show them to you. Unfortunately, I forgot about that until right now, and I don't feel like waiting 20 minutes for the desktop to boot up. :-(

Alice--Does the thought of a rogue rabbit digging holes in your yard sound awesome, too? Because I have one of those as well.

Monkey--Your mom is on Facebook, too? Is there a support group for this? (Surely there's a Facebook group for it; there's a Facebook group for everything else!) P.S. Thanks; so are you! :-)

Courtney--Even when I say I'm not going to tell anyone something, I usually spill it eventually. I'm actually more baffled than embarrassed by the blondie disaster, so you know, whatevs.

Flurrious--You say you're a bad baker, and yet I'm the one who had to consult my friend Google to find out what the hell tempering the eggs meant. You doubt your skills, I think. That or your cookbook pages are just routinely stuck together.

Footprint1979--Thanks to the Googling I did on Flurrious's comment, I think that means tempering the eggs? I was actually wondering if last time I made these, I errantly added the eggs to the flour mixture instead of the melted sugar mixture. If I attempt these again, I was going to try that, but now I've another option as well.

steve said...

Holy crap, not only have I fallen behind on my reading, but I have failed to remind you to eat your vegetables!

Eat your vegetables, young lady!

I will be checking up on you when I'm back for the reunion.