In this Moosewood Mess, Austin eyeballs a mocha cake recipe and absolutely nails it … except for the mocha part (but who has to know?). Austin reflects on how making surprise three course meals that have a dessert is so worth the trouble when you see the delight in your friends’ faces.
I hate being in my apartment alone. Every creak of the floorboards or slam of the front door sends me scurrying to the kitchen for some sort of self-defense weapon. And don’t even get me started on having to kill bugs. So, when I moved back after winter break nearly a week before my roommate, I had to find ways to keep myself occupied. Otherwise, my imagination would run wild, turning the snowman across the street into a lurking kidnapper with a propensity for unsuspecting five-foot-tall girls.
After the epic fail that was my carrot “soup,” all I needed was some good old fashioned comfort food. Surprisingly, between the three Moosewood cookbooks I own, there isn’t a single classic chocolate chip cookie recipe. Even though I wanted gooey, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate chips to chase away the taste of dirty carrot water, I had to settle for the next best thing ー Chocolate Swirled Bread. I’ve always been told that it’s important to define my terms, so I would like to do that before I begin. This is not bread.
Growing up, I was an incredibly picky eater. When we would go out for dinner, my brother would order some sort of fancy beef dish no one could pronounce… and I would get a grilled chicken breast. When I went vegetarian at the beginning of my freshman year, I had to completely reevaluate the way I approached food. I had to abandon the brisket and meat bourekas of my Eastern European ancestors and find a new cuisine to fall in love with. To my family’s surprise (and my father’s chagrin), this was Indian food.
After my brother and I were sent home from college in March, my mom quickly realized that she now had five mouths to feed, including a vegetarian (me) and a teenage boy (not me).
For the first installment of a Moosewood Mess, I started out with dessert because it seemed like a relatively easy first step — something very much within my comfort zone. I invited my friends for the inaugural Moosewood Meal, which only ramped up the pressure. I felt like I couldn’t disappoint them, but I also didn’t want to make something overly complicated and ruin everything before it even started. That brought me to Chocolate Cranberry Crunch bars and chocolate sugar cookies.
When I first looked at the recipes, they seemed to be idiot-proof. However, it appears I’m an idiot.