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adventures of gastronomic proportions

if there’s one thing like doing, it’s cooking — especially without a recipe.  i made a carrot cake (box mix) for an international student gathering i went to last night, and then, while it was cooling, started making a browned butter glaze/icing for it.  as i sat there stirring the melted butter, i suddenly realized that i had no idea how to make browned butter icing.  i turned up the heat a little, though, and the fat solids began to brown, and it smelled like browned butter, so i thought, oh, this is looking good.  but i can’t just pour butter over the cake.  so i pulled out the brown sugar and put some of that in, then a little more, and a little more, trying to get the sugar/butter ratio to a point where the consistency would actually be something more like icing than liquid butter.  i turned the heat up again, hoping to melt the sugar — and almost turned it in to a sticky, gross, hard, inedible mess.  fortunately low heat saved it.  but  something was still not quite right, so i added some cream, let it cool a bit out in the snow on the back porch, brought it in, stirred it some more, added some more cream … finally it got to the point where i thought i could safely pour it over the cake and not kill anyone with the result.  it actually tasted pretty good, if i must say, and there was only one piece left by the time the night was over.  next time, however, i think i might look up a recipe as a guide.

on another note, how often do you get excited about produce?  i mean, really.  i always thought fruits and veggies were sort of mundane — a necessary part of life, yeah, but not one i really thought a whole lot about eating.  i usually have veggies at dinner … that’s good, right? 

they're not called blood oranges for nothing.

they're not called blood oranges for nothing.

but after starting a job where i have to read about produce every day, i realized i didn’t eat all that many fruits and veggies a day.  so this year i decided, among other things, to lose 40 pounds, and to include several daily servings of produce as part of a healthy way to do that.  i was at my local grocery store today picking up a gallon of milk, and decided to take a stroll through the produce aisles first.  there, among the texas grapefruit and minneola tangelos, was a section of blood oranges.  all of a sudden i got very excited.  i’d seen blood oranges before in magazines or on martha stewart living, but i’d never actually eaten one.  and they were on sale for 50 cents!  i picked one up and trundled off to the dairy cases quite pleased with my find.  when i got home i peeled it open and was surprised at just how dark red the flesh was.  and my goodness, it was one of the sweetest, tartest, juiciest oranges i’ve ever had in my life.  this fruit is definitely a keeper in my book, and i only hope my grocery store continues to carry them, because i’d like to experiment with them further.

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