Wednesday, June 8, 2011

10. Things That Make Me Happy, Part 3

Fluted Removable Tart Pans

So I made this fun shortbread recipe the other day to crumble on blueberries to make boy bait, and then I thought: This could be the start of a wonderful thing! So I raced to Sur La Table (#bougie) and bought a fluted removable tart pan. I altered the shortbread recipe a little bit, and baked it into a tart shell. There are so many possibilities before me now. I could fill it with pastry cream, and then strawberries. I could put lemon curd in it and eat it. I could put banana puree in it and then a meringue and bake it for a little bit. I could run all sorts of berries in a food processor and spread it all over the top, plus a marzipan or frangipane crust. SO MANY POSSIBILITIES. All due to a fluted removable tart pan. We go together well, like peanut butter and jelly or batman and robin.

Bo Burnham

This kid is like 20, but is so fucking funny and witty. It amazes me what he does with wordplay. Bo Burnham is making puns sexy again. Here are some lyrics: "I love you like a gay geneticist loves designer jeans/I need you like New Orleans needs a drought/Like Hitler's father needed to learn to pull out". If you have access to Netflix, watch his comedy central special, and enjoy.

Unlimited Metrocards

The other day, I went to Borough Hall to read, then the Met to see the McQueen exhibit again, then I went to the library, and then this bakery in Brooklyn, then to BedStuy to take a nice walk home. I took the 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, A, C, J, F, and M trains. And it all costs 3.47 per day. Now THAT I can get behind. I see so many random places in the city and it is just wonderful. I love the freedom to just go where you want to go. This is greatly aided by not having schoolwork, but hush. I can go read my books wherever I want to. Right now, I'm typing this on the steps of the Brooklyn Public Library, and I might go lay in Prospect Park for a while.

Fresh Vanilla Beans

I know, I know, another baking one. But honestly, having a fresh vanilla bean, rather than extract has made all the difference. I am never going back. Not ever. You can steep it in cream to make ridiculously good creme brulee/pastry cream. You can put it in your sugar to turn your sugar into vanilla sugar. Will I flavor my ganache and lemon curd with vanilla beans? No, that would be stupid. However, I will not accept any substitute in all of my custards, cremes, pound cakes, layer cakes, etc. And now I'm going to go sniff my vanilla sugar jar for the third time today.


Warning: do not visit unless you have time. Search your favorite movie, and then click through the list of probably dozens of tropes that it uses. And then click these to see their uses in other works. This is the easiest way I know of to waste much more time than I feel comfortable admitting on the internet. I highly recommend for hours of "Oh I never thought of that!" and "Wow all fiction is very derivative!"

Sunday, June 5, 2011

9. Uses For A Creme Brulee Torch

Some good friends got me a creme brulee torch for my birthday, and I have come up with many uses for it. Here are some of them.

Making Creme Brulee

This is fairly obvious, but I have been making creme brulee like it is my job. And seeing as I don't have one of those, I could consider my job. There are worse things. Anyway, there is nothing like piling on sugar and then TORCHING IT until it turns caramelly and golden and wonderful. Then you have to wait a hot second for it to cool, which is an amazing minute or so, but then. Deliciousness. Also, when you hit the stop with a spoon and it makes that crack there is no better sound in the world. No better sound. I made creme brulee last night (you need to let it sit in a fridge to firm up before you TORCH IT) in four ramekins and I have one left. Needless to say, creme brulee is firmly embedded in my baking repertoire already. Next time I am trying fun flavors because I can't think of a thing I would like as much as six little creme brulees fanned out in front of me: vanilla, chocolate, pistachio, strawberry, maple, and raspberry. And I get to crack all of their tops with a spoon.

Smoking Salvia

So when you smoke weed the THC is rendered into its active form between 351 and 380 degrees Fahrenheit (177 to 191 Celsius). A normal butane lighter accomplishes this very well, and whee weed. But when you smoke Salvia, the active compounds are released at 464 Fahrenheit and above (240 Celsius). This heat is very hard to attain from a normal cigarette lighter, so while you can make due, the best way to smoke salvia is with something with a little more heft. Enter my creme brulee torch. You can control the flame perfectly well, and you get the best salvia smoking experience. And by that I mean, the light from the ceiling will bounce down and then splinter into a million pieces and then you'll get sucked to the center of the earth.

Literally Playing With Fire

Since I got this torch I have spent so much time just turning it on and giggling and watching all the crazy things you can do with the flame. Side note: you can make a seven inch flame! This is so fun. And the clouds of gas are kind of scary, as is the enormous and incredibly blue and hot flame, but it's so fun. I learned from my parents' burn piles on their ranch that I am a bit of a pyro, and this torch is enabling that in a big way.

Defending Against Intruders

If anyone ever tried to break into my apartment, I would not reach for a pan or a knife, and I wouldn't break a beer bottle. I wouldn't even run and hide like a normal person, or even better call the cops. I would instead calmly grab my creme brulee torch, and LIGHT THE MOTHERFUCKER ON FIRE. Yes, I realize that they might have a gun. Yes, I realize that this is incredibly dangerous. Yes, I realize that I would probably light my building on fire, destroying my things and therefore undoing the point of this. BUT. I would also most likely be featured in some sort of local news story about how someone lit an intruder on fire. I would be imitating Lisbeth Salander, which is not a bad thing in this case. I would bring badassery back to the pastry chef title. And I would have the best story for what you did last summer.