Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Is this mean? I didn't MAKE it, but it did make me laugh (and, Lord Christ, could I use a good laugh.) when I saw it at Andrew Zimmern's blog.

Edited this way, it's funny (and vulgar, of course.) Watching the show itself is quite surreal, a great example of the little-known genre, Cooking Shows of the Absurd.


Monday, September 28, 2009

We didn't make pretzels today, which bums me out a little; we did run errands, have Korean food for lunch, go out a kick a ball around (me and Ian at first, then we found some other neighborhood urchins to join in.)

Ian and I did another of our favorite activities - the Bug Safari - and saw our first woolly bear - which is to say, my first of the season, Ian's first of his life. But the real highlight: we bagged a gigantic praying mantis, such a dazzling shade of green. He seemed to like us (perhaps Stockholm Syndrome?) and let me wear him as a glorious fashion accessory for quite a long time. Style note: spring green looks great with turquoise! Who knew?

(Ian and Eric also tried him on - he headed straight for Eric's beard, putting an end to that fashion collaboration, and then risked his life by tickling the back of Ian's neck.)

We nestled him among the grape leaves near the front porch.

I made this for dinner, which seemed a little "eh" when I served it, but which grew on us as the meal went on. I think it's a good platform for experimentation.
okay, voting is open on the Mobbies. You can vote once per day in "Best Overall Blogs" without signing in; to vote in categories, you have a register as a Sunpapers user. (I did it this morning - it's not too timeconsuming.)

If you're kind enough to vote for the whole Mitchell family, be aware that my brother's blog is Beer in Baltimore, NOT

Thanks for taking a moment to do it - I'm not in the habit of bothering people about things like this.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

recipe: what we will make on Monday

stolen from Snackrelgious.
(Can a person have a crush on a blog?)

Soft Pretzels
Recipe from The Petit Appetit Cookbook: Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler by Lisa Barnes
Makes 48 2-3 inch pretzels

This recipe is milk free, nut free, and vegetarian. 2 pretzels have 80 calories, if you're interested. It's a good to make with older kids who can roll and shape dough, paint on egg, or sprinkle salt!

1 1/2 c. warm water
2 packages active dry yeast
2 T. sugar
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs
2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
coarse salt, poppy seeds, or sesame seeds for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 425 F. I used a baking sheet with a silicone mat, but you could also use parchment paper on the baking sheet.

Put the yeast in a large bowl with the warm water. Stir until yeast is dissolved. Add the sugar, salt, flours, and one of the eggs. Stir with a fork to combine into a dough. Turn out onto a floury surface and knead until it is elastic (maybe 2-3 minutes), adding a little more flour if it's very sticky.

Tear off small pieces of the dough and roll into any shape you want (classic pretzels, circles, hearts, twists). You know what would be cute? Xs and Os -- they stand for "hugs and kisses" AND you can play edible tic-tac-toe!

Place an inch or two apart on your baking sheet. Brush with the second egg (beaten) and sprinkle with whatever you want to sprinkle them with.

Bake 8-12 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve with your favorite mustard.

Jeanette is the complete bomb of the blogosphere.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Ladies and Gentlemen, please let me introduce my brother.

My brother, Sandy Mitchell, writes a blog: He writes lots of other things too - magazine and newspaper articles, nonfiction books.

But his blog is notable this week because:
within two days, it was

1) nominated for a Mobby, the Baltimore Sun's award for Maryland's Outstanding Blogs


2) selected for a Best of Baltimore award by the Baltimore City Paper!

No matter how much you love beer, we promise you it's not as much as this guy. For the past year and a half, Alexander Mitchell IV has been keeping us entertained and informed with his Beer in Baltimore blog, a frequently updated collection of short thoughts on beer--more nuts, bolts, and flavor than philosophy--news postings, and links. Sure, he dotes on Max's a bit much, but that's to be expected, and more importantly, this is a guy that just doesn't stop thinking about beer. We guarantee you'll get a whole new appreciation for it, too.

It won for "Best Drinking Blog" in the Nightlife category.

I am very proud - I've been a City Paper devotee since my college days (OMG, that's almost 30 years!!) - so much so that I sought out the Balt City Paper even when I lived in suburban DC and worked in the district.

I know his blog is good, and now a few thousand other people will know too.

Incidentally, I too have been nominated for a Mobby. I have no illusions about winning - the list includes a bunch of blogs I read regularly, and they all do good work and deserve the award more - but it's an honor just to be nominated.

Voting starts Sept 28.

Just sayin'.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

fascinating (via Charm City Craft

Apologies by Proxy
Saturday, September 12, noon-2 p.m.
In front of MINÁS, 815 W. 36th Street Baltimore, MD 21211




The concept behind “Apology By Proxy” is simple: In three minutes or
less, you tell the tale of an event regarding which you feel you are
owed an apology. We then give you that apology. You keep your apology
for when you need it, and, when you are ready, you pass the apology on
to someone else who needs one.

Apologies have been given by proxy:

for boyfriends
for wives
for drama queen roommates
for schoolyard bullies
for parents
for sisters
for God
for the U.S. healthcare system
for bosses
for a dry cleaner slut
for the NY art world
for landlords
for family businesses
for being lied to at work
for yourself

What began as a small piece of performance art has shown itself to be
a powerful tool for change and learning. The sudden moment of intense
intimacy with a complete stranger can be overwhelming. The apology is
genuine and, through some mysterious force, it works. Tears were shed,
hugs were given. “I’m Sorry” proves to be a potent phrase.

The Apology desk is often approached on a lark with an attitude of
gaiety, with stories that have often been honed, over the years, into
humorous tales, although the original hurt is still there. While
receiving the apology, the layers of concealment fall away as the
words “I’m Sorry” wash across the face of the apologee. Events can be
10, 20, even 30 years old, and still the apology that never came is

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

creative endeavors

1. My brother was so smitten with my new banner that he asked me to make him one. How many readings does it take you to spot the Classic Betsy Mistake?

Source Credits: Photo. "delicious beer" by Tim Boyd, Nicked off flickr and used through a Creative Commons liscence 2.0.

Don't freak out. I made him a corrected one.

2. While plowing through videos for this week's no singing, no dancing service, I found this, which sums up some of what I've been going through this year:

3. The famous macaroon recipe:

Preheat oven to 325, move racks to center.
Line a cookie sheet with foil or parchment, and then grease that well. Seriously. These things are unbelievably sticky.

In a bowl, combine:
14 oz sweetened condensed milk
14 oz flaked coconut
a scant teaspoon of salt
a slug of vanilla extract.

That's it. Check the weights and volumes on your cans of milk and bags of coconut. Don't forget the salt. You can throw in some chocolate chips if you like.

Drop by spoonfuls onto the foil. Bake for 8 minutes, then start checking on the cookies. I like the brown chewy carmelized parts around the edges, so I always make small ones and leave them in as long as I can stand it without actually burning them. (They're safe to eat unbaked, so how long you cook them is strictly a personal taste thing.)

When you think they are pretty close to done, remove them from the over and slide the foil or parchment, with the cookies on it, onto a cooling rack. (If you leave them on the pan, the heat from the pan will send them over the edge from delectable to inedible.) Once they cool, they're pretty easy to peel off the foil. Usually.

Make a zillion cookies, because I make really small ones. (More brown surface area.)

To make these a grown-up cookie, don't add the chocolate chips. Flatten the spoonfuls a little so the size and shape are somewhat uniform. Once the cookies have started to cook, melt some chocolate chips with some butter in the microwave, and dip the cookies in the melted chocolate.

I have only ever used cheap sugar-sweetened coconut from the baking aisle for these - I can only imagine how dreamy they would be with good-quality, less-sugared coconut.

4. Baked Zucchini bread yesterday afternoon. It's a massive hit. My friend Sarah brought me HALF of the largest zucchini in world history (plus some other homegrown delights) and I made 3 big loaves.

Recipe variations: I substituted whole wheat flour for half the all-purpose flour, was quite generous with the shredded zucchini, and since I found I had no orange zest, threw in some canned crushed pineapple and a dash of lemon extract.

5. Made pineapple sorbet for dessert.
recipe: put canned pineapple juice in your ice cream maker. Flip the switch. The end.