Thursday, December 30, 2010

Fruity Feet

Good afternoon! While Liz "enjoys" snowy Northern New York, I enjoyed a meat-filled cocktail time in sunny Southern California! First up was the kiddie cocktail (mocktail): the Desert Cooler. This russipe doesn't even include a suggestion to transform it into a cocktail (Gasp!) for the adults in the room. What was Aunt Sandy thinking?! By itself, it is simply lacking something... probably a kick of booze. You combine equal parts orange jews, pineapple jews and sparkling apple cider- pour it over ice and garnish with pineapple. Yawn. It wasn't horrible, but it also didn't taste like much. My Aunt said it tasted mainly like pineapple, but I thought it mainly tasted like apple (the sparkle gets dulled down by the other jews). I don't know why someone would want to waste good sparkling apple cider (which by itself is delicious and always a kid's favorite holiday treat... at least it was mine) without putting some booze in it! Everyone said it needed spice rum.... and almost everyone threw their glass out.

Next was the return of condensed Campbell's cheese soup (yeay!) with the ridiculously salty Cheddar Cheese Baked Potato Soup. First you take a russet potato and put it in the microwave for 7-8 minutes. Never having cooked a potato this way, I was happy my aunt told me to poke holes in it, lest I want the thing to explode, because the russipie gives no such instruction. After 7.5 minutes, the potato was shriveled and sad looking, so I supposed it was "done." While the nuked potato cools (Sandy warns "it will be HOT!"), you heat up 2 cans cheddar cheese soup, 2.5 cups low-sodium chicken stock and 1/4 c. real bacon pieces into a medium pan. You let it simmer for a bit, add the potato (which you cut into 1/2 inch cubes once it cools) and let the whole thing simmer for 5 more minutes. To serve you garnish the soup with a dollop of sour cream. Okay first, can I just tell you that the low-sodium broth, I imagine, does nothing to compensate for the insane amount of salt in the canned cheddar soup, not to mention the bacon?! My dad took one spoonful and said, "well, that's my daily intake of sodium for the day." He wouldn't eat any more...and my dad loves salt. My sister, cousin and I actually ate some. It tasted good once our tongues were numb from the sodium overload. The potato chunks left something to be desired. Their texture felt like a really poorly made, dense gnocchi: they were gooey, chewy and gummy.

Since the soup was a bust, we moved on to a real cocktail, the Palm Springs Punch. Once 11 oz. can of pineapple jews mixes with 1 L. ginger ale and 1 c. bourbon. You pour this over ice and then add 2 (15 oz.) cans of fruit cocktail. Yes, you heard me right, fruit cocktail in a fruity clever, Aunt Sandy. Now as you will notice in the picture below, the can of fruit cocktail (which looked completely normal on the outside) was completely ruined and void of jews on the inside, so we had to throw away the kind with cherries (my favorite) in exchange for some fruit cocktail cups my mom had stored in the pantry for god-only-knows how long.

I didn't make as much as the russsipe called for, because no one was really interested in drinking in the middle of the afternoon (my family was not interested in following the sacred rules of cocktail time), but they were sports and took a sip. My sister's boyfriend said it tasted rancid, but that was really the worst review it got. My sister and I thought it was quite tasty (I drank mine and then picked out the booze soaked fruit afterwards), but then again we loved fruit cocktail as children, so anything that reminds us of that is delicious. In all honesty, I think it would make an excellent springtime cocktail. It also wasn't nearly as boozy as Aunt Sandy's normal monstrosities.

Pleasantly pleased, we moved onto the final dish: Sweet and Sour Chicken Skewers. In a pan, you bring to a boil: 1/2 c. apple cider vinegar, 1/4 c. brown sugar, pineapple jews, 1 T. cornstarch and 1 T. water. You let the sauce thicken for about 8 minutes, then you reserve half for the dipping sauce. As this was cooking my sister said it smelled like feet. When my Aunt and cousin came over, they said the same thing. It got so bad, my mom had to open a window. As the sauce cooled and the kitchen aired out, my cousin and I made the skewers. We alternated chunks of chicken, pineapple and red pepper, salt and peppered them, and then popped them onto a medium hot greased grill. After cooking for 4 minutes on each side, we basted them in the sweet and sour sauce. These are to be served with the dipping sauce, but my mom threw it out as soon as everyone tasted it (but me). It tasted like feet apparently. The skewers themselves weren't bad. They weren't very sweet or sour, but they had a nice mild flavor to them...and really, can you go wrong with grilled kabobs? That nice charred taste will subdue any nasty foot flavor a sauce may have.

So that just about does it for my California Cocktail Time. Liz and I will have time for a couple more entries before our winter break is over, so keep a lookout! Until then, remember to keep it a cocktail, keep it botulism free, keep it footloose, and always keep it Semi-Edible!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

I'm So Sorry Hanukkah.

Hi everybody and welcome to another edition of Semi-edible! After a hiatus to contend with law school finals (lame) we have to two super simple russipies to share with you today!

First up we have Marmalade Meat Balls. You take a crockpot and fill it with 2lbs cooked, frozen meatballs. And then you squirt over it 1 bottle catalina salad dressing, spoon in 1 c. orange marmalade, toss on 3Tbs. worcestershire and liberally sprinkle 1/2tsp. red pepper flakes. The globby mixtures is then stirred, the crockput is cranked up to high and in the blink of an eye (2-3 hours) you have a gelatinous, sweet appetizer. We brought this to our friends' Christmas party, thinking it was a pretty innocuous appetizer. Turns out everyone liked (if not loved) these slimy soft balls, minus one friend Jeremy- which is weird because he loves semi-homemade items like green
bean casserole (blech). The meatballs were soft and mushy, which is not really something I like in a meatball, but they were definitely edible. The only real downside was that the sauce was very goopy and after half of them were consumed, the remaining meatballs had to be fished for with tiny toothpicks- this was gross and I soon stopped eating them.

For dessert, we brought the Star of David Angel Food Cake a.k.a. the Hanukkah Cake a.k.a. the ugly sister of the Kwanzaa Cake. I know what you're thinking- haven't we learned our lesson? Wasn't the Kwanzaa cake offensive and disgusting enough? Haven't we ruined enough perfectly good angel food cake and vanilla frosting? The answer of course, to all of your questions is yes. But that isn't the point. The point is that we committed to this blog and we are going to follow through. And if that means we must make somewhat offensive, wholly inedible desserts in the process, so be it.

So with that I give you the Hanukkah cake: First you take a store bought angel food cake and stuff the crevice with marshmallows. Since we were pressed for time, and the russipie did not specifically call for them, we did not purchase Kosher marshmallows. Now, once the marshmallow center is in place, you carefully, one drop at a time, add blue food coloring to
one container of whipped vanilla frosting. This is of course to avoid making the frosting too blue, and thus unappetizing and unauthentic. The frosting is then delicately rubbed on the cake. Finally, this Smurf-tinted delight is supposed to be garnished with strings of pearls. Not edible pearls mind you, but real ones. They are just for decoration and Aunt Sandy warns they must be taken off before consumption. Beautiful and practical, but alas, very difficult to find at Target. So instead we substituted white M&M's. They don't have quite the same sheen, but on the upside, you can eat them. Jillian did a fantastic job making the M&M Star of David on top. So now comes the "best part"- the taste test! First off, in all fairness, it is not as bad as the Kwanzaa Cake. I think that the absence of apple pie filling and cornnuts here is a big plus. That being said, this is not good.

The angel food cake is sweet. The frosting is sweeter. The marshmallows are also sweet. It is a sugar bomb in your mouth. It is the sugar equivalent of a salt lick. Then there is the texture. The frosting melts in your mouth but the angel food cake is grainy. And then there are the marshmallows. Oh the marshmallows. All chewy and gummy, they just amplify the slight graininess of the angel food. There is too much conflict and competition going on in one bite for it to be enjoyable. Jillian did not find it as unpleasant as I did, and neither did our friend Tony. But they don't have the same texture aversion that I do. Our friend Jeremy, whose house the Smuf cake was constructed in, said the following "That was beyond gross. I don't even want it in my house! Oh, and you better believe I'm salvaging the M&M's before I throw the cake in the garbage today. They didn't ask to be attached to that monstrosity!" You're right Jeremy, they didn't.

So until next time keep it Kosher, keep it Smurfy, keep it overpoweringly sweet, and always keep it Semi- Edible!

Monday, November 15, 2010


It has been brought to our attention that we may have tried the Gin Plush russipe before. And it turns out..... we had- during the chili seasoning disaster. When planning for this Friday's cocktail time I asked Liz if we had already done the gin plush, because it sounded too familiar. Liz said no and I believed her. Liz was wrong. But, in her defense, she didn't know she was wrong. Liz had never tried the gin plush, it was something my sister and I did one summer evening.

We, the Semi-homemakers would like to take this time to apologize for repeating a cocktail (to be fair, it was the most delicious Sandy cocktail we have ever had, both blog entries vouch for this so this mistake is not so bad) and we promise never to repeat a russipe again. Scouts honor.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The One Where Nothing Was Bad.

Hey boys and girls and welcome to another edition of semi-edible! Today our menu is light on food, heavy on cocktail and lo and behold we liked ever single thing we made. At this point, Jillian and I thought this day would never come but the Fiesta Fondue, the Academy Cocktail, and the Gin Plush were actually sodalicious!

So first up, we began with the grand semi-edible tradition of enjoying a cocktail (the best part of the day I'll have you know) while we "cook." Enter the Academy Cocktail: mix 1 cup vodka, 1 cup orange liqueur, 2 cups white cranberry juice, and 1 juiced lime. Now I realize that the ingredients listed call for white cranberry juice, but in the photos you'll notice that the drinks are pink. Yeah well that's because I totally failed to notice
that it wasn't regular cranberry juice that would have set this drink apart from a traditional Cosmopolitan. It wasn't until Jillian was putting together the cocktail that she noticed the lack of white cranberry juice. Whoops. Oh yeah and I also failed to add an orange to the impromptu grocery list so instead of a super cool orange peel garnish we have a super cool apple peel garnish. And I think it really improved the visual appeal of the drink. Anyway, the drink is served in a merlot glass over ice and for once, a cocktail was not overpoweringly boozy or sweet. Neither of us cringed or had to plug our noses to finish it! We would even make it again! We were drinking a cosmopolitan after all. Hooray!

Ok so now that we had enjoyed a delightful cocktail it was time to move on to solid food - usually the downfall of these experiments (because while the cocktails often leave something to be desired, they still have a booztastic purpose). The Fiesta Fondue
brings back an oldie but a goodie- Campbell's Condensed Cheddar Cheese soup! We haven't seen this sodium packed slime since the Cheesy Cauliflower Gratin that no one liked. Jillian aptly likened the cheese soup to handi-snack cheese, which she loved as a kid but I didn't. But I digress. To the cheese soup add 8oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese, 1 cup of whole milk, and a cup of chipotle salsa. You basically just heat everything up until it is smooth and then transfer it to a serving dish and enjoy. The dip is paired with dippers. Aunt Sandy suggests tortillas, bread, carrots and jicama. All of these ideas are great, but we couldn't find jicama. Anyway, it should be said that the dip is quite salty, but with a whole can of condensed cheese soup that is to be expected. We enjoyed a baguette, pita chips, carrots and broccoli for dippers. The worst thing about the dish was Jillian's genius idea to use apples as dippers. We both acknowledged that the apples were a bad idea. Overall, we like it. We both sat there dipping for the rest of the night.

So it is usually at this point in the post where our next endeavor reminds us not to get our hopes up about Aunt Sandy's culinary abilities and we muster the courage to continue with this blog. To add to this twilight zone-esque cocktail time, the Gin Plush was really good! And I genuinely mean it. You stir together 1/3 c. of gin and 1/4 c. of guava, pineapple, orange juice and club soda. Add ice cubes in the glass and serve! As a side note, I want to make a statement about kitchen safety. Opening club soda bottles is serious business and should be done with care. I unfortunately learned this the hard way when awash with elation from our first 2 successes that I failed to use proper care when opening the brand new bottle. The result was an explosion of club soda all over my crotch. Fail. Anyway this drink was very refreshing, not too boozy and not too sweet. The acidity of the pineapple and the bubbly of the club soda made this sodalicious. I'm not typically a fan of gin but it was really really nice!

So there you have it. 2 drinks and a appetizer. All Edible!!! So until next time keep it light, keep it refreshing, keep it safe, and occasionally keep it edible!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Way to Go Governor Cuomo!

The Semi-homemakers want to congratulate Aunt Sandy’s paramour, Andrew Cuomo, on becoming the new Governor of New York! We would also like to extend our sincere condolences for the humiliation that Aunt Sandy’s Harlem Christmas specials will surely bring him.

See the political couple here – party boobs in tow.


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