Sunday, September 25, 2016

Friday, May 27, 2016

So The Man works at Tractor Supply, eh?  They sell books at a discount--How to Farm Such-And-Such.  How to Live Off the Grid.  How to Make Happy Chickens Even Happier.  Ah, I'm mocking again, aren't I?  Shoot. Sorry about that.  Actually most of them are pretty interesting, and I always try to browse them when I'm waiting on him to clock out and go to Subway.  A good selection of the discounted books are cookbooks.  Anne Byrne--who I think is downright marvelous--wrote the classic baking tome, The Cake Mix Doctor and The Chocolate Cake Mix Doctor.  That particular one was $5, so I nabbed it, having been a fan of hers for years.

The idea is pretty basic for this cake:  add one more egg to a chocolate cake mix and a cup of sour cream. Done.  And it is The Man's favorite cake.  I think I've made it about 20 times, literally. I can mix and bake it in under 48 minutes.  I usually use 3 silkie (small chickens) eggs and a cup of sour cream.  I always use the Duncan Hines  Betty Crocker Triple Chocolate Cake Mix.  I buy the FUDGE chocolate frosting.  Just FUDGE.  Not MILK CHOCOLATE.  Not that profane whipped stuff, either. 
Anyway--when cake is done and still warm, I heat the frosting in the microwave for about a minute and pour it over.  As for the cake pan, I highly recommend the Winn-Dixie brand flour spray. It works like a dream!  I let the cake cool on my glass top stove for at least an hour and it pops right out--every time. 

The frosting puddles in the middle, of course, and that is just awesome.  Sometime, I'll lift the cake with a knife and let the frosting leak underneath to keep the moisture.  It tastes spectacular, and keeps its moisture.

See how spongy the texture is?  It was super-moist and beautiful inside, too. 
You may or may not have noted that I have made this cake at least twenty times in two years.  Do you think, perhaps, that this over-experimental foodie might be a bit bored? Yaaaassss, she would be.

This week I made the cake out of quail eggs just to investigate what would happen.  We have two female quails and the eggs have been piling up--I have't known what to do with them, they're like... Barbie eggs or sumthin'. 

So it weighed them by grams and it took NINE quail eggs to equal three chicken eggs.  Here's the thing about quail eggs, though.  First and foremost, they are a pain pain pain pain pain to break. They shatter on impact, shell-wise, so you have to Dr. Pimple Popper out the actual egginess.  Second--and most importantly--they are almost all yolk.  There's very little white.  Which means:

This cake had a spongy, beautiful texture that was the best of the whole freakin' lot.  I texted Frances and said, "NO QUAIL EGG QUICHE FOR SURE!" but other than that, I highly recommend them for cakes.  Just. Fantastic. 
Now tell me, Samsung, how hard is it to put "Bundt" cake in the dictionary?  Every time I type in "Chris" you clowns suggest "Brown" as the next word, but not Budnt??? What's Bundesliga? 
Freak.  I'm Wiki'ing it right now. 
A football league in Germany.  

Bunchen brings up that model, whom, from the looks of things, has never tried a Bundt cake, ever.  I mean, look at those ribs.  Just LOOK at them. 

Good lord.  I'm mailing her the next cake.  Honestly. 

Another artistic shot to build your confidence in my recipe. Uh, well, Anne's recipe. 

Betty Crocker, I'm bored to death with you, but you sure look good, girl. It's on my North Carolina state plate.  Love state plates.  They make the best cake plates. And my commercial cake pan cover from the Salvation Army here in the Free State of Jones. 

So that's all for now.  But if you want recipeness, here it is:

One box Betty Crocker Triple Chocolate Cake Mix
1 cup sour cream
3 small eggs, or 9 quail eggs (as if, I know)
1 1/4 cup of water (or, 1 cup water, 1/4 cup Coffee Mate French Vanilla Creamer)
1/3 cup oil
Flour Spray (I've tried shortening and butter:  this always works best)


1 container (well, not really the whole thing) melted in microwave.  Be sure to carefully peel off ALL of the foil.  Yes, it can be done, I do it all the time. 

Mix.  Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.
Let cool until it separates from sides. It will contract. 
Turn out on super-cool looking plate, and then cover with frosting, making sure it pools in the middle.

Cut slice of cake being sure to get that pooled stuff in the middle to be smeared over cake so you give your folks an extra heapin' helpeness of good schtuff. 

Enjoy.  Comment if you like it. Please.  I can't just have my brother-in-law be the only commenter. 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Matty Matheson's Fried Chicken

About six months ago, I discovered a YouTube channel called Eater.  And I never, ever miss it.  This was on the cusp of me becoming a Serious YouTube Subscriber as opposed to just watching crap at random, particularly at either or The Twisted Sifter.  (Nothing and I mean NOTHING beats the Shirk Report. I set aside at least an hour on Fridays for it.  I'm warning you:  old Shirk Reports are almost as bad of an internet rabbit hole as and  

When I realized that I could get intelligent, world-opening food coverage from Ye Olde Internets, I was hooked.  Here's the original Eater vid--and I highly recommend that you subscribe, they are always intelligent and enlightening.  (Except for that one from Memphis on BBQ--it was not worthy. Read comments section). 

I am dying to try the underwater salt.  I think I will put them on my "write and beg for ingredients for burgeoning going-to-be-tremendously-popular food blog."  Cause that just fascinates the heck out of me.  I wouldn't mind spending a day learning from them and just slogging away at it. 

Anyway, after I discovered Eater, I happened upon a channel that had a gadzillion (read: million) subscribers called MUNCHIES.  Since the first video I saw of them only featured pizza, I figured it was about... you know, weed-type munchies.  But no.  Munchies is a serious food channel, traveling the world. It is just about as classy as Eater, which is hard to do, especially with the likes of Lucas Peterson whom I think is just the classiest dude eating cheap food ever.  Here he is on his tour of Austin in his Dining on a Dime Series. 

ANYWAY this leads us to my latest FoodTube discover:  Matty Matheson.  He is hands down the most profane food experience on YouTube.  I really like, though, how he cooks in this tiny kitchen, makes no apologies, and by his own admission, doesn't like to eat his own food.  (He also owns 200 pairs of sneakers and never wears a watch, because he "doesn't like people to know how rich or poor I am."  This is stupid, cause, Matty darling, they can always look down and see how much you pay for shoes.

Anyway.  Love him.  Here he is explaining FRIED CHICKEN.  I say FRIED CHICKEN cause Matty, my friends, COOKS IN ALL CAPS. Which is a lesson for us all.  Sometimes, we need food to be a whisper, a gentle comfort experience.  But sometimes YOU NEED FRIED CHICKEN IN ALL CAPS.  Enjoy. 

Monday, April 13, 2015

I wanted to include something in my blog that was entirely pleasant, completely Laurel, and seriously awesome.  See that gorgeous man in that red tie?  That's now my husband.  These were taken the day before he became said husband, a moment he had waited for a long, long time. 

See, we were together, many many years ago.  I got out of school in the spring of 1987 and much to my disappointment, was unable to attend the school of my choice when I wanted to.  I had no clue about financing college, what college really meant in the long term (a job) and what I wanted to do with my life.  So I took a year off, goofing off and working a part-time job at a local department store selling housewares which I stockpiled hoping for the day I would use such items making a home. 

I entered junior college in the summer of '88.  I immediately began having a blast.  I began dating the second semester I was there--no, I mean literally began dating--I was a few months short of twenty before I had my first date--and went out with a guy for a while, then another guy (who stuck around for a while) and then I rolled into my second year of school.

I experienced a new sensation:  I was popular.  I was on the paper, and my columns were funny and well-liked.  I was bumped up my second year in to "editorial editor" of a ridiculously named paper, the Radiodian.  (It was explained to us that when the college formed their paper, the radio was brand new and all the rage, hence the stupid name).  In the first editorial meeting of my second year, there was a new set of faces.  We sat in a series of tables that were squared off.  Cattycorned from me was the table where my current boyfriend sat (more on him later), and my last boyfriend was in attendance, too.  And there was a new guy sitting across from me. 

After the meeting I went downstairs to leave the building when I saw the new guy in the cafeteria, leaning up against the glass wall waiting in line.  I thought--on a whim--I'll go eat with him--new guy.  He was tall and very thin and very tall and thin and sort of blindsided by my approach.  He thought I was butting in line, but I really just wanted to eat with this new staff member.  

He was sunk by the end of lunch.  And after hanging out with me for a few months, leaving flowers on my screen door and clearing away some wild hedges from my front yard, I decided to give him a chance.  

We dated six months when he broke up with me.  And for the only time in my life, I shook off what happened and moved on.  

Forced to move back home soon after, I married my ex-boyfriend after he showed up and proposed.  He had gotten wind that Chris and I had broken up and wanted me back, in a desperate way.  I was desperate.  I had left my abusive home at 20 for a reason.  Winding back up there a year later was more than I could handle.

It lasted six months.  The first person I told it was over was Chris.  He was thrilled.  And I left.  Feeling like I had no options, I went to live with my aunt in California.  And the letters followed.  

And followed, and followed and followed, till I had a three inch stack.  And I came home after a glorious year and a really silly near-miss marrying yet again, the wrong man.  

And there he was, feeling the same way.  I spent a lot of time with him that fall, and left, again, to go to school in Oklahoma.  And the letters followed.  And I married, again, this time to the man who seemed to fit all the stops:  he was a theology major, he talked a lot about family, and Lord, did we have fun together.  He made me laugh--a lot.  

He had, though, a fatal flaw that involved stability--economic stability. The end came when he moved us across country for a dream job that wasn't so dreamy. I was trapped in a strange town without a vehicle, without money, and two devastated children who were falling apart in their new circumstances. Even with a lucrative job offer, I looked around and saw that I had to get them out of there. I fled, once to Indiana and then to my mother's on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. There was a spring in my step knowing that I didn't have to live that way anymore. And proceeded to be devastated and grieved--hard--for the next two years.

But there were beautiful moments in there, too.  I knew that I had a future with Chris, and that it was all coming back around.  Slowly, on my Facebook feed, I started referring to him as "The Man".  Eventually, we came together and started a life here in Laurel.  I make it my mission to spoil him rotten, particularly for what all he has done for me. I have had an absolute blast cooking for him.  He's not hard to please:  he is such the Meat and Potatoes guy.  His favorite dish I make is ranch mashed potatoes, which I will include on the blog. 

In coming together, I moved to his home in Laurel.  I was still battling hard with anxiety issues, but over time, those faded completely away.  It was lovely to be with someone who knew me so well and was so observant who made my life better with each day without really meaning to.  He is an excellent step-father, and slowly over time his little girl has come to feel at home with me as well.  

Many of my friends my age complain about having to come back to Laurel for all sorts of reasons:  having to take care of elderly parents, having a hard time finding work, not satisfied with the social scene, it's too redneck, etc., etc.  Not so with me.  I remember when we were driving away from my place on the coast for the last time and Chris turned to me and said, "I'm bringing you home to heal."  I have. 

We were married on December 12 at the courthouse 25 years and 4 months after we met.  I forgot to have someone take pictures of us on my phone during the wedding.  But we had this, driving away, and it's pretty much my favorite picture of all-time.  We posted it on Facebook with one word:  Married.  

When Chris eats, he turns over the utensil he's eating with when he really enjoys it, particularly with deserts. It is an absolute blast to cook for someone who you don't have to worry about getting fat.  He has the most amazing metabolism you can imagine.  He's asked me what my blogs are about, and I can't really tell him except for love.  And some knitting.  And stuff. 

And pictures like this. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Moving Shop, Peeps...

I am deeply grateful for each and every person who comes by the blog.  Brown Bird Diaries has set up camp with a different format.  I'm now at

I made the switch because the format is so much easier to work with.  I will be re-posting material from here and focusing more and more on cinema.

Thanks for stopping by.