Wednesday, August 08, 2007

An excuse to eat crap on August 9

I usually crave gelato rather than Dairy Queen, but this evening will find me lining up for a Blizzard. Today, August 9, is the day that Dairy Queen donates all proceeds from Blizzard sales to Children's Miracle Network. (In our area, that's Beaumont Hospital.)

I've never actually had a Blizzard because I've been turned off by the utterly disgusting Blizzard combo that my husband orders every time we go to Dairy Queen: A mint Blizzard with Heath bars and Reeses mixed in. Yup, mint, toffee and peanut butter--it always makes the person behind the counter stop, squint at him and say, "are you sure?" when he orders it. I tasted it once and never want to taste it again.

Find out if your local Dairy Queen is participating in the fundraising--this web site has a zip code search. In Ann Arbor, that means going to the one on Stadium Blvd (the other Ann Arbor stores aren't participating) or to the one in Dexter or Ypsi.

We'll be having salad for dinner to prepare our bodies for the onslaught of corn-syrup based confections later in the evening.

Strategies for staying cool while still eating

Eat Chlodnik. I think I could happily replace all my body fluids with this stuff. I know many people have the same feeling about gazpacho.

Cook anything that needs to be cooked at night. Want to make a salade nicoise for dinner tomorrow? Boil up the potatoes, eggs, and green beans at night when it is cool and leave them in the fridge to be accessed tomorrow. Heck, if you have a strong attic fan, like my friend Lea, bake a quiche at night.

Pretend you are someplace where it doesn't feel like a swamp outside and have a picnic for dinner at your dining room table. Buy some good stinky cheese and salami and loaf of crusty bread; uncork a bottle of red, slice up a few tomatoes and cucumbers. Make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the kids. Eat fresh peaches with ice cream for dessert. Let the kids draw pictures of ants on a big sheet of paper and spread it over the table for authentic atmosphere!

Get someone else to feed you. Drop hints to your friends that it is time for them to invite your family over for dinner. Let them heat up their kitchen!

Don't forget that many stouts and porters are rich in B vitamins. Drink your dinner. Or you could be all healthy and make smoothies, if beer-for-dinner isn't your style.
Employ your grill. If you can stand to be out in the swamp air for just a few minutes, make grilled shrimp. They take about 2 minutes per side to grill when threaded on a skewer. Or make a beer can-chicken which cooks almost entirely untended so you can stay in the air conditioning.

But using grill does go with this warning: do not, I repeat, do not leave food untended on high on the grill to run upstairs and break up a fight between your kids. Let them throttle each other. If it sounds like there will be blood to clean up, turn it to low before you sprint for the stairs. Otherwise you will return to this:

Look, I made charcoal briquettes out of sweet potatoes.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Lesson: don't panic

For the love of god, do not make that chocolate zucchini cake I mentioned I was going to try. Dis-Gus-Ting. I wish I had done a little research and looked at more recipes before baking it. The one I made was dense, and oily and totally flat in flavor. I cut one wedge of it, ate about 3 bites and dumped the rest of the (huge) cake in the trash.

Chocolate and Zucchini has, appropriately, a much more palatable sounding Chocolate Zucchini Cake or this recipe, from the Simply Recipes blog sounds decent. I don't know what I was thinking when I made the lousy version--I think I panicked in the face of the zucchini onslaught and just went for the recipe that used the most zucchini.

I did make something good with a substantial portion of the rest of the zucchini lurking in the kitchen, but don't have photographic evidence. (Yes, lurking. If you pick up a dish towel and find a zucchini hiding underneath it, I think it can be accused of lurking.) I made some zucchini feta pancakes with a dilled tatziki sauce and they were terrific; so terrific that we ate them all before I laid my hands on the camera. I'll definitely be making them again and I'll try to write down the recipe (I was improvising and hope I can repeat it) and take a photo before they are all gone.