No, this post has absolutely nothing to do with Lucky Charms. (except for the title…can I get sued for that? 😉 )
Anyhoo, this is the (warning: LONG) aforementioned post about post-Valentine’s day weekend..1 week ago? And the wonderful, delicious, belt-loosening noms that came with it. Oh, there’s so so SO much to talk about! The occasion was one for celebration-after having to delay his visit (since making the plans the Bear became a teacher *wahoo!* so, yknow, schools and jobs and such caused issues.) he made it this weekend-hooray for President’s day long weekends and February break! (maan, I want that kind of work schedule!) I was super beyond mega excited to see him (as I’ve said before, long distance is no fun, and we’re lucky if we get real-time contact every 3 weekends..)….but I can’t lie, researching and planning all of the delicious BAKED GOODS (loosely defined to include pancakes) and general foodage that I was going to make in honor of the occasion was super fun! And since it was for a Valentine’s day make-up, let’s be honest: it wasn’t going to be very healthy 😛
Is it weird that I was almost as excited at getting to bake things as I was about being in the Bear’s lovely presence? (a little).
I’ve decided the easiest way to do this would be to go day by day. A calendar of culinary delights! Shall we begin?
Lunch at Valencia’s! (Ok, this doesn’t involve the Bear, but it involves yummy food with lovely coworkers at a Diner’s Drive-ins and Dives location)
Incredibly reasonably priced (hey, in Southern Ct, that’s a rare sight), and BEYOND delicious. For a much more well-written (and more-well photographed) post on this adventure, check out my (very witty) friend’s post on her blog A Working Woman’s Wines and Woes.
After picking up the Bear from the train station after work (HOORAY!), I made dinner at home: HOMEMADE PIZZA! (and by that I mean store-bought dough plus other things baked in my oven-remember, we’ve discussed my fear of yeast!) But hey, I made sauce from scratch, thats something! (excellent recipe taken from Carnal Dish)
That was actually done on Thursday night, since it takes about an hour in total to make, I wasn’t going to have the time to do that after work on Friday and have dinner done before…10. I went a little heavy on the red pepper flakes (the recipe didn’t specify) buuut since I’m a spice-a-holic and the Bear is a fan of red pepper flakes (especially on pizza) it worked out splendidly!
Once I had settled on this idea, I had the best of plans to make one “regular” pizza (above) and then go alll crazy-daring like and make DEEP DISH. I was going to go off of the recipe from Carnal Dish again (same link as above), buuut unfortunately my yeast fear messed things up a bit (at least that’s my story) because I tried to use store-bought pizza dough rather than try from scratch. I’m not 100% sure of all the differences between deep dish dough and regular dough (more butter?) but all I know is when I dumped the olive oil in my deep dish (*cough*cake*cough*) pan and tried to stretch the dough in it, the dough ceased being pliable and stretchy and SHRANK BACK massively when it came into contact with the olive oil 😦
(haha though the sight of me holding this oil soaked sad circle of dough over my sink whine-crying at the Bear about how much of an epic fail I just committed mustve been amusing). Since the Bear also is no enemy of olive oil (or olive oil soaked things), I turned this into a regular ol’ pizza too..
The irony is, this totally turned out better than the whole wheat one. I dunno if it’s because of the baking time (I got Trader Joe’s dough which I read often comes out waaay underbaked if you follow the cooking times on the package), so i think I baked this for a little longer. (#1 was a leeetle too chewy for pizza..), the olive oil addition (hey, olive oil=more delicious) or the fact that muuuch more cheese was on this one (I’m sorry, I didn’t portion out my cheese per-pizza well!! :/) Haha what’s even more amusing (or sad) is that we ate all of the (lesser) whole wheat one for dinner (as I tried to choke down red fridge wine that was waaay too old (read: bitter?) for me to be drinking), and given the underbaked dough (and presumably further expansion in our bellies?) we were waaay too stuffed to even go at the second until the next day 😦 Eh, the bright side is, pizza leftovers are pretty great. (oh, that tiny piece missing in the picture? Despite my impending explosion of fullness, I still wanted to try a piece fresh from the oven just to see how it was. Me=glutton. to the extreme).
Though our fullness might have also been due to the PILES of chocolate we ate as a pre-dinner snack..(hey, I bought Valentines day candy cheap the day after the holiday, AND we both gifted each other additional chocolate *trying to avoid looking at the GIANT Whitman’s box on my kitchen table at the moment..* so there was a lot. A lot of it disappeared on Friday. (From here on out, just assume that each and every day of this weekend involved copious amounts of chocolate on top of everything else. I have no self-control :D)
The big event of that day was making the Bear a Strawberry Pie! He came up with the idea during my last visit when we and his friends were marathoning Pushing Daisies episodes (seriously, this show is awesome. you should watch it. Its adorable. and amazing. and clever. and Kristen Chenoweth!) I won’t get into the plot (as great and creative as it is), but the protagonist is a pie baker by day, so many of the scenes take place in his pie shop while he/others bake pies. Strawberry ones are the focus of a lot of the imagery/the opening to the show (semi related to the plot), so in the course of watching it the Bear expressed his sudden desire for strawberry pie. NATURALLY I volunteered to take on that challenge 🙂
I’d never baked a pie before, so this was going to be interesting. Given the weather/the fact that I DOUBT the pie-maker made cold strawberry pie, I opted to find a oven-baked recipe vs the standard stove top to fridge one.
Turned out pretty well I think!(but hey, add lots of butter to anything and it’ll taste great 😉 ) Minus a little strawberry-sugar drippage (now burnt to a crisp) on the bottom of my oven.
Saturday night involved movies with my cousin and a trip to the local Johnny Rockets esque joint, Lucky’s, for some mega awesome burgers and milkshakes (oh my, those milkshakes are TOO good.)
In honor of (belated) Valentine’s day, I made Red Velvet Pancakes (with maple cream cheese glaze). (Recipe once again from Carnal Dish) I was smart and mixed the dry ingredients together a few days before so I wouldn’t take too long making them that morning (I tend to be slow with making big/complicated breakfasts. Plus with pancakes, you’re always on a fine line between undercooking and BURNING the crap out of them..so mastering the temperature of your stove top can take time.)
In the end they may have been just a TAD undercooked in the middle, but I didn’t really notice. They were thick (the Bear’s preferred pancaked density) with a hint of chocolate from the cocoa powder, and together with the maple cream cheese (*drool*) they were a truly decadent and delicious way to start the day.
Then came a movie (the new Miyazaki one about The Borrowers-very good!) and our (belated) Valentine’s day dinner at Zaza’s (an Italian “gastrobar”) wonderful pasta dishes were had, and RIDICULOUSLY AMAZING molten chocolate cakes were devoured. Oh my goodness. I had been waiting for those forever. (apologies for no pictures (not that this post needs more), but I forgot…plus it was dark, and I maaaybe managed to splatter tomato sauce all over me/my dress within the first 3 minutes of getting my meal and trying to de-tail a shrimp…*shhhh* eh, at least I could laugh at myself :))
On this day, the final remaining pizza piece was devoured, along with enough Chinese/dim-sum takeout to feed an army. Except it was consumed by two. Oh well, details 🙂
All-in-all, a wonderful and relaxing weekend, filled with delicious homemade (and restaurant made) baked treats and more, plus the company of the most marvelous boyfriend a gal could ask for 🙂 (and hey, when he loves sugar/chocolate/baked things as much as you do, things are gonna be fabulous)
Much shorter post next time, I promise! (who reads this again?)