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’ve always loved the phrase “old soul”; it brings to mind an image of a very whimsical creature — one untouched by the mundanities of life. It tends not to describe an early bedtime, insomnia or creaky joints. Unfortunately, the only reason someone would ever refer to me as an “old soul” is if they were referring to my 10 p.m. bedtime.
This is why I’m completely baffled as to why I thought it was a good idea to start baking a Moosewood recipe at 11 p.m. At 11:30 p.m., as I awaited my Blueberry Cobbler’s exit from the oven, I fought to keep my eyes open in an effort to not burn my house down.
As I progress through this Moosewood journey, it is becoming harder and harder to choose a recipe every week. Because I prefer baking to cooking, I’ve been disproportionately relying on the Moosewood Restaurant Book of Desserts for my weekly “experiment.” Sadly, I’m a college student on a budget and don’t have the funds (nor the justification) to pay for an ingredient that I’ll only use once.
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.
Normally when people write articles about their cooking experiences, there’s always a picture attached of the dish they made. Have you ever wondered why there are never food pictures in my articles? It’s because nothing ever looks good. I don’t know if it’s my inability to plate food or my lack of understanding regarding “angles” and “lighting,” but no matter what color the dish is, it always looks brown and sad on camera. I’m not a very aesthetically pleasing cook.
Normally, I’ll cook one stand-alone recipe or two dishes that go together every week. But this week I was feeling very productive and made two completely separate dishes — one sweet and one savory. For my sweet dinner, I made Cottage Cheese Apple Pancakes, and for my savory dinner, I made Spanish Couscous Paella. Please do not eat these together. I am a proud card-carrying member of the Breakfast Club.
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.
I’m a mess in the kitchen, both literally and figuratively — just ask my roommate. When I moved to Collegetown my sophomore year, my roommate and I figured out a solid routine: I cook and she cleans. This works for us because I would like to think of myself as a relatively decent chef, but I am a HORRIBLE dishwasher. My kitchen techniques definitely leave much to be desired (more on that later), but I enjoy cooking and sharing it with others. I don’t like recipes.
Once I tried the brunch, it was a game changer; I have to hold myself back from going every weekend. This October, I tried their lunch for the first time. For the sake of journalism, I forced myself to review their vegan options to help you all decide whether to go to Moosewood for a special lunch, brunch or both.