City Gay and Country Gay

Friday, June 20, 2008

By the way...

City Gay, you haven't blogged since February. I mean honestly. I'm sure our reader would like to hear from you. Unless you haven't been eating since February and just been living on the General's Juice; then, I guess you have probably turned into pineapple-infused vodka.

An original dish for the pasta file

Dear City Gay:

I've been struggling lately. It's five days until payday, I'm running out of food, and I'm tired of using my credit card to buy groceries. I started digging through my cupboard to avoid running to Sonic for a quick meal. I decided I had enough fixings for spaghetti, but I decided to alter it a bit by using some cream and vodka in the sauce. I have no idea what the exact measurements were, so the following recipe is a total guestimate.

This part's easy. Put water in a pot, throw in some salt, wait for the water to boil, and throw in spaghetti. Duh.

1 pound hamburger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 can tomato soup (I think this is the country part; a better ingredient would probably be real tomato sauce.)
Italian seasoning
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup vodka
Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Brown the hamburger with the minced garlic.
2. Add the tomato soup, Italian seasoning (maybe three tablespoons - I eye-balled this and just kept tasting the sauce), cream, and vodka. I also added about a ladle of the pasta water. Let this simmer for about 1o minutes (or long enough for the strong vodka taste and smell to tone down).
3. Drain pasta, and add the pasta to the sauce.
4. Toss with about 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese.

Serve with grated Parmesan.

Yields: A crapload. Seriously, I'll be eating this for days.

I don't have a picture of it because, frankly, a picture wouldn't have been very exciting, and I was really hungry, so I didn't waste time photographing the meal.

I was surprised how good it was, but because I'm getting rounder by the day, I avoided seconds. I think the cream helps temper the taste and obviously creates a creamy tomato sauce. The vodka taste is subtle. I may not have let the vodka cook off enough because my head feels pretty good. (However, I'm also drinking wine right now, so that is the more likely culprit.) I imagine this would be better using a real tomato sauce, rather than a can of soup, and with fresh herbs, rather than the dried Italian seasoning.

This spaghetti was good in a pinch, and perhaps with a bit of fine-tuning, this could be a pretty good meal.

Country Gay

Friday, June 6, 2008

Hey, cupcake.

Dear City Gay:

It's been awhile. I hope you are recovering from illness and your gambling addiction. Maybe something sweet will brighten your life, and Paula Deen's cheesecake cupcakes could do the trick.

For the traditional end of the year party at which my clique bitches about the end of the school year, I decided to bring a dessert. I thought cupcakes sounded fun, and I thought cheesecake sounded delicious, so thank God Paula Deen combines the two!

The cupcakes are really easy to make, though I found them a bit frustrating. I didn't let the first batch bake long enough, and they pretty much deflated when I took them out of the oven to glaze. However, I discovered this didn't affect the taste or texture. I was more pleased with the second batch that had a nice golden brown color, but they also deflated a bit. I guess the deflation was good so that the glaze would fit nicely, but I was afraid they would just completely sink and be disgusting looking. But after refrigerating for a day and garnishing with fruit, I have to say the were quite tasty.

A bit of the evidence with the recipe to follow:

I bought a new hand mixer just to make these. I imagined the hand mixer my parents received as a wedding gift just wasn't going to cut it any more. The batter is easy to make and full of cream cheese and sugar. My teeth may have rotted a bit just by reading the recipe.

Right out of the oven, the cupcakes don't look incredibly special, even with the glaze. I had a couple of problems with taking them out of the muffin tin, which meant I had to eat a couple. Note: these don't really taste good until they are completely cooled and chilled. They are a bit eggy/custardy when still warm.

I think the fresh raspberries and blueberries make these nice individual desserts and definitely add a summer flair.

Recipe from Paula Deen & Friends: Living it Up, Southern Style
Three 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Kiwi or strawberry slivers, fruit topping or jam, blueberries or raspberries for garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line 24 regular muffin cups with paper cupcake liners.
2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until very smooth. Add the sugar and mix well. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix well.
3. Fill the cups about half full with the batter. Bake for about 25 minutes, until the cupcakes are set and golden brown.
4. Make the topping: Combine the sour cream, sugar, and vanilla and stir well with a metal spoon or spatula. Spoon about a teaspoon on top of each cupcake and return to the oven for 5 minutes to glaze.
5. Remove the cupcakes from the oven. When they can be handled safely, remove them from the muffin tins and let cool completely on wire racks. When complete cool, place them in plastic containers with lids and refrigerate until ready to serve. Just before serving, decorate with slivers of freshly cut seasonal fruit, jam, or fruit topping, or 1 or 2 whole brlueberries or raspberries. Serve at room temperature.

Makes 2 dozen.

The cupcakes seemed to go over well, and I came home with just a few, which I'm sure I'll snarf down tomorrow for breakfast.

On a side note, I had my first escargot tonight. I can't say it was amazing, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. The taste was good. (It was served on a mushroom with some sort of breading; it was kind of buttery tasting.) The texture was a bit iffy, but it was pretty much like eating a clam or mussel.

Hope to see you back in the kitchen soon.

Love always,
Country Gay