As I start this post, it’s currently 3:30am on Sunday morning. I haven’t slept since Friday, but I’m not terribly tired right now. I’m sure that I’ll crash as soon as I finish typing all this though.
My friend Humphrey and I went out to Pho Long for our Saturday Soup Ritual (there has to be an S-word instead of Ritual – I want alliteration dammit!). It had been a very, very long time since we’ve been there. We finally got around to asking them for that daikon radish in the soup like the first time we went there. Very tasty. Our server, with English as a second (possibly third) language, took awhile before she figured out what we were asking for. Apparently there it’s called “white carrot”. Good to know for next time.
No matter how many times I make my soup at home, and how close I get to the taste of a restaurant bowl, my presentation still needs a little work I think. Take a look at this bowl… that looks frigging delicious. Just chock full of meat too: Huge chunks of tendon, big beef balls, slice after paper thin slice of rare beef… Awesome. I don’t know if I’m just getting used to them or if they just aren’t as hot, but I didn’t find that the Thai chilli all that spicy today. You should have seen how much chilli oil I added too. Oh well. Still tasted great. The big chunk of daikon (sorry: white carrot) was soft enough that I could cut through it just by squeezing it with my chopsticks, but firm enough to pick up. Perfect.
Humphrey found that his was missing something, but mine seemed to taste alright. Maybe his taste buds are all buggered from whatever gel or energy packet he was sucking back on his marathon training run just before this. He’s training to do a full marathon here in Vancouver in a month – that’s 42km. His training run today was 34km. Gah! Fairly certain that he might not be right in the head. If you’d like to record an audio message for him, to help motivate him during his run, you can find out how by watching his little youtube video.
Besides being a big lazy lump, I got a little creative in the kitchen (and at my workbench – more on that later in the post). My furry friend, Reznor, was running low on treats (because Uncle Mark keeps on eating them), so I whipped up another batch and put them on the dehydrator. Kinda made the house smell like a smokehouse for awhile. Nice. A short 10 hours later and they were ready to break into snack-sized pieces. Y’know, I probably wouldn’t eat so many of them if they weren’t made out of meat. If I ever get around to making those peanut butter dog biscuits for him, I’m sure I won’t eat those.
While the doggie treats were dehydrating, I decided to make a people treat for my roomie. He sent me the recipe a week or two ago (he knows how much I like my food porn) and I’ve slowly collected all of the ingredients over the last few days. The recipe in question? Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars. This is a spin on a Paula Deen recipe that looked too delicious not to try. I read through it a few times and it seemed easy enough. Yeah. Might have been if I had all the right tools or my tools actually worked.
I followed the recipe to the letter with one exception: I added 4 apples instead of 3. Just didn’t seem like enough apples for a 13×9 pan. Glad I did. Mixing the crust up presented a challenge without a pastry blender to cut in the butter. I tried a couple of forks as suggested, but ended up just using my hands to break up the butter and get things looking how they should. The three packs of cream cheese and some sugar were supposed to be beaten together using a hand mixer. We don’t have one of those anymore. Brainstorm! I’ll use the food processor! I’m getting the big cup/bowl thing locked into place on the base when the little plastic pole that sticks out of the bottom and activates the switch snaps off. Awesome. I decided to tape a piece of bamboo skewer into it so that it’ll work, but that fails miserably (and I end up cutting my awesome bbq apron). I bring it into my office and bust out my tools. I take it apart and used a zip-tie to permanently hold down the safety switch, effectively turning the food processor into a whirling dervish of finger mutilation. In other words, I made it operate like a food processor from the 80s and older. We just need to make sure that no one uses it inebriated or high.
Back to the kitchen and the food processor processes the food splendidly. The apples and the streusel topping all come off without a hitch. I toss it in the oven for 40 minutes and pull out a beautiful thing. It looked even better when I dumped a whole can of Eagle Brand Dulce de Leche on top. As I type, it still sits cooling in the kitchen, tempting my roomie.
Edit: I left the pan in the fridge overnight and the caramel sauce really soaked into the streusel. I cut it up into 8 big pieces and Allen tried it out. He liked it, but the pieces are too big. I guess it really does serve 16. Heh. When I cut them again, I put a piece on a plate to take a picture of it. It didn’t live on the plate very long though… it hopped into my mouth. –Sigh- Back on the diet tomorrow I guess. After conferring with Allen, I think the next time I make this, I’ll use a graham crumb crust instead. I liked the firm, shortbread-like taste and texture of the current crust, but the graham one might just push it over the edge from greatness to legendary.