Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘cereal’

IMG_5105

Before I say anything else, I need to emphasize how gratifying it is to know that few, if any, food bloggers are posting about fake ogre sandwiches this week.

Wait, to backtrack, Shrek is my next show; but right now I’m doing The Imaginary Invalid, a Moliere farce that I prop designed. It includes a character described as having a mind ‘unburdened by sparkling wit’ who clucks like a chicken when he gets overexcited. The director wanted him to be fed something onstage when he needs calming. I settled on corn pops, which I learned are even shaped like corn. Quite successful, especially when the actor deliberately gets the cereal stuck in his mustache.

It’s common to work on two or more shows at once, admittedly loony though it is. Last year at this time I was making a fancy dessert spread out of homemade play dough and baking real popovers for Little Women, all the while tracking down a local music director who would loan me 25 band instruments for The Music Man. This year it’s corn pops and ogre food that’s heavy on the fiber.

The script for Shrek calls these sandwiches s’nothers. They’re Dagwoods, filled with anything and everything a cranky, misanthropic ogre might find in the forest. The one above is for my friend Jay, a most enthusiastic carnivore, who plays Shrek. It’s stuffed with moss, raffia, sticks, leaves, bark, and an unfortunate woodland creature (a squirrel puppet) held together by more raffia and copious amounts of Gorilla wood glue. The girl who plays Shrek’s love interest (Fiona) is a vegan, so I kindly left out the creature in hers. Just a little service I threw in.

Next week I’ll talk about something more or less edible, I promise.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

IMG_4474

From the Couldn’t-Make-This-Up files: When my college boyfriend and his best buddy were working long hours at the pharmacy downtown, I’d sometimes bake them raisin bran muffins as a treat. One time I dropped off a bag of them to the buddy (Jimmy) while my boyfriend (Frank) was out on a delivery. I called Frank later to ask how he had liked them and he said, ‘What muffins?’ Then, ‘Jim—Marisa brought muffins? Where are they?’ With remarkable shamelessness Jimmy showed him the inside of the empty bag. Then he put Jimmy on the phone. I asked, ‘The bag’s empty? What about the paper muffin cups?’ He said, ‘Muffin cups?’

You know what you’re thinking happened? Yeah. Happened.

These are pretty much that good, though, not that I advise you to be as indiscriminate as Jimmy. There are better ways to get fiber in your diet.

This recipe was given to my mom by a fellow mom from our little town. She jotted it down onto a recipe card—women in the early 80s and prior were wont to recipe-jot—and it has been a favorite of mine ever since.

Bran muffins, in my experience, are either oily, dry as asbestos, or weigh as much as a Hyundai Elantra. These are light and finely textured at 20 minutes in the oven. I like them darker and slightly chewier at 30 minutes (see helpful pic above). If you can find non-GMO cereal, I salute you. Extra raisins are a plus, too.

This recipe is another example of what Sara Moulton, formerly of Gourmet magazine, would call a dump recipe. You can make it happen from scratch in the morning with no problem, bake just enough for breakfast, and keep the rest of the batter in the fridge for the rest of the week.

1 15 oz. box raisin bran

5 c all-purpose flour

1 c granulated sugar

1 c packed brown sugar

5 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp salt

4 eggs

1 qt. buttermilk or plain yogurt

1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Combine first six ingredients in a really big bowl. Add remaining and mix until moist. Fill greased or paper-muffin-cup-lined muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes or longer. Serve warm or at room temperature. Peel off the paper muffin cups and discard. For crying out loud.

Batter can be covered and stored in the fridge for up to a month.

Here’s how much it serves:*

IMG_4471

*If you look closely you’ll see that my mom originally wrote ‘halve the recipe’, then scribbled it out. These are addictive. Don’t half.

IMG_4475

Cheerful reminder: June 27 is the deadline for recipe submissions:

https://mcproco.wordpress.com/2013/05/26/project-you-me-and-the-world/

Totally loved the creative and homey recipes I received this week. Please send more. Feed me, Seymour.

Read Full Post »

Seaweed on coral, Tortola

The recent warm days are making me think of barbecue season and the best barbecue I ever ate. Is it treason against the U.S. if I said it was on Tortola, in the British Virgin Islands?

Right, we’ll come back to that. First let’s establish setting.

Tortola and Peter Island are two of the delicious Caribbean islands which we visited in early 2008. I was coming out of the throes of a years-long illness which led, at different points, to assorted travel whims. At this point in my recovery, I needed a change of scenery, just for a long weekend. And if it included pale turquoise water sliced with royal blue and had a view of hazy green islands, the kind Peter Pan and Wendy flew across, all the better.

scan0004

Tortola isn’t really remote, but it feels as if it is. The customs office is the size of a two-car garage. Chickens run around like squirrels everywhere you go; one of our taxi drivers waited to let a mommy and her seven tawny-colored chicks cross the road.* And a rooster was our 5am wake-up call.**

Our hotel, Long Bay Beach, is the kind of place where the cooking staff picks guava off the tree growing outside your window, every suite has its own hammock, and dawn comes up pink over the water. One whole wall of our room, the one that faced the water, was a sliding screen door, some ten feet long. We left it open whenever we were in the room, loving the balmy wind so much that we even put shells and rocks on anything likely to blow away. One morning on our way to breakfast, a blue macaw flew right over our heads.

Dawn, Long Bay Beach, Tortola

Sand crab, Tortola

A very, very shy sand crab taken with a very, very good zoom.

Pelican, Tortola

A pelican we watched from our balcony as he dove up and down in the water, looking for fish.

Breakfast at the hotel was just my bag: fresh pineapple, banana, guava juice, cereal, yogurt and perfect homemade lemon poppy seed muffins.

First we took a day trip to Peter Island, population 1, because we planned to kayak from there to Dead Chest. This was the place where folklore says Blackbeard marooned 15 men–that’s a one-way island vacation in the middle of bloody nowhere—with just a bottle of rum between them. Everyone we spoke with on Peter Island told us it was nothing more than a giant rock, and dissuaded us from going.

Dead Chest Island, from Peter Island

There it is, across Deadman’s Bay–the appropriately dark island at left.

So we didn’t. Next time. But no worries; instead we hiked the island, which was all at once a glorious tropical Eden…

Peter Island, B.V.I.

Peter Island

and the American southwest, featuring spiky vegetation…

scan0005

…and spikier animals.

Sunning iguana, Peter Island

He didn’t budge in the 20 minutes we spent admiring him and his comrades on the rocks. Showboat.

The hills along the three-mile path we hiked were also home to mountain goats, skittish things that would tiptoe near you to get a better look, then would scamper away through the trees.

One more detail about the day trip to Peter Island is worth noting, and that’s the ferry ride. No sitting in the lower cabin and looking through the fogged-over windows for me. I only like ferries if they move at a really good clip and if I can stand right on the bow, letting the sea spray wash over my face and hair and dew-dropping the outermost layer of my clothes.*** This one did. And the view of the islands we passed was hypnotic.

On the way back from Peter Island to Tortola we shared the ferry with several locals returning home for the night. And we witnessed something so charming that it has stayed with me. Up on deck one of the gentlemen broke out some Dominoes and set them on a table. I deducted that this game was played on the ferry every night because other men fell in very smoothly, in a loose and easy choreography. Empty five-gallon buckets were upended for seats, and players joined and left from time to time, including a uniformed kid in charge of the ferry and a grizzled older sailor, an American ex-pat who now lived on Tortola. ‘I haven’t played in 25 years, but what the hell,’ he said, and stayed in for the rest of the ride back. What struck me most was how relaxed and comfortable everyone was with each other, and it was a reminder of how much joy is accessible in the simple. I could see why one would want to slide out of an old life, as if out of a jacket worn too thin at the elbows, and sink happily into a life like this.

Time to eat.

We asked our cabbie about the Bomba Shack, which Frommer’s listed as the ticket for barbecue in this part of the Caribbean. And apparently on Wednesdays and Sundays they offered all you can eat for $10/plate. Hello.

He stopped next to a set of shacks that looked as if they’d been decorated by a group of pre-teen surfers after a ten-box Mallomar binge.

Bomba Shack, Tortola

scan0007

How to explain this place? Here’s one way: The owners apparently have created a god of sorts called Bomba whose nature isn’t clear, and Google was no help. But you’re encouraged to offer sacrifices to it (note underwear, above).

Here’s another way: The Bomba Shack serves shroom-spiked tea when the moon is full.****And they give it to you for free because they aren’t allowed to sell it. The menu is scrawled onto plywood out front. Music—emanating from speakers taller than me—is cranked up to levels that could orbit Jupiter, and grill smoke and customers alike float between the shacks. We paid the cabbie right in the middle of the street and went looking for dinner.

The party is on one side of the street. There, to a very friendly American woman behind a counter, we shrieked that we wanted two plates’ worth; she grinned, took our money and gave us tickets. The cook (a single woman) and picnic tables are on the other side of the street.

You have a choice of barbecued chicken or ribs. Both come with corn on the cob and red beans with rice, and I’ll stop here to bring up a concern that I’m sure is swimming through your logic-loving minds: Exactly what kind of lunatics eat at an open-air shack on a dirt road, one whose owners hand out drugs and worship a deity with a preference for women’s panties?

I’m not saying you don’t have a point. But we did it. One bite of that meal and all sense floated out to sea with the grill smoke. The barbecue sauce had a no-BS kick, and the meat from the chicken and the ribs slid off the bone with no embarrassment whatsoever. It was delectable—one of the great meals of our lives. We shared a table with some amiable Australians, licked our fingers and grinned at each other. Lunacy loves company.

Then we crossed the street to watch the surfers cut through waves shimmering from the apricot-colored sunset, soaking even further into a place where the night wind smells like earth and salt water.

scan0008

*For the obvious reason.

**Click the rooster link. Long Bay Beach is yellow–but a muted yellow. Not a biggie.

***My first name comes from the Latin word for ‘sea’ (mars). The genitive is ‘maris’ (of the sea). Put an ‘a’ on the end and you make it feminine: Girl of the sea. Yes, I’m a mermaid. My parents didn’t do this intentionally, but there it is.

****No, we didn’t. The moon wasn’t full, anyway.

Read Full Post »