In the beginning.........

I thought it would be a good idea to share some of the cooking know-how that I have acquired over 45+ years of cooking for myself and others. A lot of it I learned from Mom, who was a great cook; a lot I got from failing miserably (I still remember a braised short-ribs dinner that went to the dog while I ate an omelet); and some of it I learned from generous people on the Internet.

I like spicy and hot food; if a recipe I post looks to be hot, then it probably is, so cut back on the pepper or whatever when you cook it. I will only post recipes I have tried and like; you may not agree. In that case, don't cook it again. I welcome comments toward improvement. Please read the Do-s & Don't-s, Essential Gear and Versatility, flexibility & frugality pages (below)

Sunday, January 5, 2014

For Valentine's Day - Shortcut to her heart (for guys)

For my first post, I thought the upcoming Valentine's day would make an easy sell for a great recipe that takes maybe 15 minutes.

Years ago, I discovered the holy grail of women's desires. That long-sought-after magical thing that every woman secretly wants and that men throughout the ages have sought.

No, it's not cuddling before a roaring fire on a snowy day; it's not a diamond whatever from the jewelry store in the commercials and it's not even some romantic dinner at an expensive restaurant. Those are all marketing hype from some clueless dweebs at an advertising agency.

That one thing that will satisfy her deepest desires is none other than creamy chocolaty FUDGE.
For Valentine's day: The holy grail of women's desires (recipe on the photo page)

Not just any fudge will do. This endeavor must demonstrate dedication, suffering, pain and commitment on your part, so don't try the shortcut-to-her-heart method of buying some dreck at Wal-Mart and handing it to her with a card you probably forgot to sign. Most gals don't give a wet-slap what you give them; BUT, YOUR GIFT MUST CAUSE YOU PAIN IN THE GIVING!

This must be fudge that you go to great lengths to create, lovingly blending each ingredient in an artisinal way that demonstrates your love. IT MUST BE MADE DURING THE SUPER BOWL or some other activity that you would rather be doing, thus demonstrating sacrifice and commitment. YOU MUST FEEL PAIN IN THE CREATION OF YOUR GIFT, or it will be meaningless and incur wrath and derision, rather than the more-desired outcome. The only alternative to making this with your own hands is to travel to the unforgiving vast wasteland on the high steppes of Tibet, climb the great un-climbable mountain and get your silk-wrapped fudge delicacy from the great Llama of Chocolate himself. Probably easier to keep reading, but if you decide on this path, please post some photos and keep copies for verification purposes.

(Read the rest in private.)

It takes about 15 minutes with a microwave, and you don't need to be Jacques Pepin to do it! It's way easier than changing a spark plug or calculating the right f-stop. Here's the recipe; measure accurately and you may reap the reward of eternal harmonious romantic bliss that is only hinted at by the great poets.

* Large glass or plastic bowl
* Large spoon (preferably a wooden one)
* A small pan or glass dish about 8" x 8" and at least 1" deep. I was lucky and found a heart-shaped one at Walmart for a coupla bucks
* Measuring cup
* Measuring spoons

* 6-pack of your favorite brew (imbibed freely, it makes the whole process easier)
* 1 lb. powdered sugar
* 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa (you can add an extra tablespoon of this for more love)
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 cup milk
* 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla (add another teaspoon if using imitation vanilla)
* 1 stick butter/margarine (I use the the real stuff from a cow. Eternal love does not come from fake ingredients. Let's face it, "I love you Dear, so I made this with partially-hydrogenated vegetable crap" doesn't have the ring of sincerity)
* (Optional) 1/2 cup chopped nuts. (Chop pecans, walnuts or even peanuts pretty fine)

1. Put the sugar, cocoa & salt in the bowl and stir well.
2. Stir in the vanilla and milk. Mix it well until uniform in consistency. It will be lumpy
3. Cut butter into pats and spread around on top of the other stuff (ON TOP, do not mix in the butter!). Save one pat of butter for later.
4. Put the bowl in the microwave and cook on HIGH for 2 minutes and 15 seconds - NO MORE; NO LESS.
5. While the glop is cooking, smear the extra pat of butter all over the inside of the pan. Smear well grasshopper!

-------------------------------- FROM HERE ON, WORK FAIRLY QUICKLY!

6. When the microwave beeps, take the bowl out and start stirring rapidly until the liquid and other glop is a uniform smooth consistency (maybe 1 minute).
7. Add nuts last (if you want them), and mix them in lightly. You can save a few to sprinkle on top.
8. Pour it into the center of the pan. DON'T SPREAD IT AROUND! Shake the pan side-to-side on the table until the glop is spread evenly.
9. Put it in the fridge for 2 hours (or freezer for 30 minutes). If you need to make room, pull out a couple beers to drink before she gets home.
10. Dip a regular butter knife in warm water and cut it into squares. Dip the knife before each cut.
11. I sprinkled the top with Reese's bits (optional)

There are two schools of thought on the final step:
  • a. Leave the dishes in the sink to show how much work it took to present this masterpiece, or

I always opt for b.