Saturday, February 28, 2015

Laziest birthday weekend ever

When your birthday is at the end of February, there is absolutely no chance it will ever fall on a holiday. There are no holidays at the end of February. Plus, everyone hates February. I can't explain it, but it's true.

(Actually, I can explain it this year. The average high for Feb. 28 in Lubbock is 62 degrees. When I went outside at 2 p.m. today, when the temperature was 22 degrees, it felt downright balmy after the "feels like zero" we'd all endured for the last 48 hours. Yes, Texans are that wimpy, and we're not ashamed. This is Texas! It's supposed to be warm.)

Well, this year my birthday did not fall on a holiday, but it did fall on a Saturday. Then work was canceled on Friday because of the snow. I just got a text that church is canceled tomorrow. Birthday weekend! Granted, since the city does not appear to believe snow plows are a good investment (not even the ones you can attach to the front of a truck. Come on, son!), the weekend will consist largely of staying in and wearing layers, but still, I get a 3-day weekend for my birthday! That puts me right up there with Washington and Lincoln -- in terms of 3-day weekends. Not anything else.

Besides cursing the city, trying not to fall while running this morning and taking a nap two days in a row (I'm going for a hat trick tomorrow), I've cooked. I spent a good chunk of the week planning my birthday menu. Have I mentioned lately how much I love food? I love food. Like, a lot. Like a Liz Lemon lot.

Welcome, friends, to my day o' food.

My family has a birthday breakfast tradition of pancake pie, which comes from a book called "Pancake Pie," in which a man and his cat have pancake pie on their birthdays, which conveniently happen about six times a year each. It's brilliant, really. The book never describes exactly what this dish is, but we've honed it through the years until the Toth family pancake pie is pancakes topped with berries and whipped cream. It's delightful.

Instead of pancakes I made waffles of the lemon and poppy seed variety. For whatever reason (I was trying to be healthy), I decided I didn't need whipped cream on top. Between the waffles and the fruit I'd be good.

This was both true and not true. The waffles are just fine by themselves. They do not need whipped cream to be good.

However, it's also true that everything needs whipped cream. Everything. Don't question me. It's my birthday.

I didn't eat lunch, on account of I'm not sure how many servings of waffles I had during my late breakfast, but I'm quite sure it was more than one. Possibly more than three. It's hard to say. I did, however, make pesto -- not for anything in particular, just because I had basil and spinach veering dangerously close to slimy in my fridge. (Fact: I've washed my food processor and juicer three times today.)

Dinner was a knockoff of Noodles and Co.'s Indonesian peanut saute. I haven't actually eaten this in a couple of years, so I can't remember if it tastes like the restaurant's dish, but it was good. Like, burn my mouth on the hot sauce because I wanted to keep going good.

I mostly followed the recipe, but I used rice noodles instead of linguine. I actually looked for a recipe that would allow me to use rice noodles because they're fantastic. They have absolutely no flavor of their own, making them the perfect conduit for a sauce that includes peanut butter, chili garlic sauce (which I used instead of sriracha) and lots of garlic and ginger. Oh, and I'm pretty sure I doubled the garlic. I lost count. I'm sure you can have too much garlic in a dish, but I've never experienced it. If this phenomenon has happened to you, please let me know so I can subtly distance myself from you. 

Haha! Just kidding. Maybe. My loyalty to garlic is pretty strong.

Then I called my nephews, who left the saddest happy birthday message on my Facebook wall. It was like they were singing a dirge. I insisted they sing again. They obliged. Ish.

He might be high? I'm not really sure. There was also some discussion of a clog, if you know what I mean.

Somewhere in there is Isaac's face.

Dessert time! Dessert is why we have celebrations. I don't know about you, but cake is why I go to weddings. It's the main draw at baby and bridal showers. I love that a belong to a society in which food=love, so I can legitimately show up at someone's door with cookies as if I'm doing them a favor instead of shamelessly using them as an excuse to bake.

I didn't make a cake this year, on account of I'm trying to not eat much sugar during my marathon training period and I didn't want 17 leftover servings of cake, that I would then eat the next day with a fork straight off the cake plate. (Don't judge. At least I'm using a fork.) I made a pizzookie, which really has nothing to do with pizza except it's flat like a pizza -- and also like a large cookie, so it didn't really need the first part. But it sounds cool. You put cookie dough into a pan (usually a pie pan, I put it in a small frying pan because I don't want to eat an entire pie pan of cookies), bake it until it's hot all the way through but still very gooey and doughy (basically until you've killed the possibility of salmonella), then  you pull it out, put ice cream on top and eat it straight from the pan, which is allowed here because it's part of the pizzookie's charm.

I used the best chocolate chip cookie recipe ever, no matter what Slate, The New York Times or those other people who have less good chocolate chip cookie recipes say, but added a twist. Or several. Instead of chocolate chips I used 85 percent cacao chocolate chunks from Colombia; if you don't speak chocolatese, that means there's basically no sugar in this chocolate and it tastes just a wee bit fruity. Colombia is fast becoming my favorite origin for chocolate. Then I threw in those caramel- and peanut-butter filled chocolate chips Nestle is charging way too much for. It was a pan of chocolately, caramelly, peanut buttery diabetes precursor that is the way to go. They're my version of sumbitches. (Tracy, it should have been you.) 

On a side note, I haven't made chocolate chip cookies in two months. I've been looking forward to this -- not eating the cookies or eating the dough, but actually making the dough -- all week. Baking rocks. On another side note, if I make these again, I would not get those filled chips; Sprouts has miniature peanut butter cups, and then I would cut up caramel candies. I just think it would work better.)

Then Pippi and I both ate our dessert. The difference is, hers made her sleepy and mine made me hyper.

Happy we're one-sixth of the way to 2016!

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