Happy (almost) Thanksgiving, y’all! I have been feeling all warm and fuzzy today, which may be due to the glass of wine I just consumed while baking for the big day tomorrow. More than likely, though, my gratitude results from the amazing support and encouragement I’ve received from real-life friends and online friends alike regarding the recent name change of my Instagram account from @gradschoolfoodie to @politicaljunkfoodie. I thought of this name last Friday when I was writing the first draft of my most recent article for INDY Week, Your Thanksgiving Food is Political. I spontaneously changed it after hearing from friends and my mom that it was not, in fact, stupid, and it was in fact, clever and arguably more representative of me as a person than my previous handle. The name change was inevitable, though, as I plan to finish grad school sooner rather than later.
After a day of grading papers, working on my never-ending dissertation, and catching up on emails, I enjoy relaxing in front of the TV at night. However, I am trying to get back into reading because I sleep better when I minimize screen time, and so far, my efforts have been semi-successful. I’ve been slowly making my way through Anthony Bourdain’s books, but I long for the days when I had the time and energy to reread the Harry Potter series every summer. The characters and their many adventures continue to comfort me, as they transport me back to the days of my youth. I may pick up a few of the books this summer, as the stories are truly (*cheese alert*) magical…just like these cookie butter bars.
Hello, internet friends! It’s been a minute since I’ve written a blog post. The last few weeks of the spring semester were full of challenges, some expected and others unexpected, just like most semesters. Anyway, I try to minimize talk of graduate school in this space for two primary reasons: 1. This blog serves as my escape from the ivory tower life I’m living. 2. Grad school is an incredibly stressful experience for us grad students, but it’s a particularly boring subject for most people in the real world.
Prior to the shit show that defines the end of every semester, I managed to take a long weekend getaway to Charleston with two of my best gal pals. After I read John T. Edge’s The Potlikker Papers last summer, I vowed to visit Charleston at least once while I live in this part of the country. Edge explains that New Orleans and Charleston are the main Southern “foodie cities,” so I obviously had to experience them both. I was fortunate to present some research in the Big Easy in January of 2017, and I fell in love with the city. NOLA seems like a polarizing place, especially after Katrina, yet I loved every part of my trip from the rich cultural heritage of the city (e.g. street art, architecture, jazz music) to the delicious dishes and strong drinks I consumed while taking in the sights of this progressive place. While New Orleans is not a favorite among some groups, I had never heard of anyone who disliked Charleston. Thus, I could not wait to explore Charleston to enjoy more classic southern fare and see if the city lived up to the hype!
The week before Spring Break, my parents surprised me with the Kitchen Aid standing mixer of my dreams as an early Easter gift. It’s a beautiful blue, almost Carolina blue, but a bit darker! While I’m a sucker for jelly beans, Peeps, and other Easter candy, this was a million times better than a traditional Easter basket. As soon as I returned to North Carolina last week, I began experimenting with different recipes, so I could experience the true power of this new appliance (I sound like Emperor Palpatine explaining the dark side of the force, but I’m ok with that?).
Two posts in one week! I’m killing two birds with one stone because I missed a post last week, and I’m coming to you live with a clutch recipe just in time for Valentine’s Day. This recipe is so simple, yet it is one that my friends continue to request I make for parties, picnics, or random get-togethers. It’s so simple that it’s not really a recipe. I’ll call it a non-recipe for the fellow food bloggers out there.
I first discovered this recipe hack on Pinterest when I was in undergrad, back when I had even less free time than I do now. This non recipe first trended because it reduces the amount of fat that is usually present in a boxed cake mix. Instead of adding oil, eggs, and water to a dry cake mix (store bought, sorry Ina!), you add a can of soda or seltzer water.
I recently realized that my three most beloved desserts begin with the letter B: bourbon pecan pie, baklava, and brownies. On Friday, I created a poll via Instagram story, so I could decide what to write about this week. The participants indicated they wanted me to post a recipe. There’s no Electoral College equivalent here, so I’m giving the voters exactly what they want, an original recipe for one of my favorite desserts. Obviously it contains alcohol, and also obviously, it pairs wonderfully with more alcohol!
Wine and chocolate combine to create the most stereotypical and appropriate girls’ night feature, so this recipe is perfect for Valentine’s Day and Galentine’s Day this week. Not only do these treats complement each other individually, they also play nicely together. The red wine in these brownies brings out the sweet flavor of the chocolate, while adding an overall richness to a typical brownie.
Almost two years ago, I entered a baking contest at Steel String Brewery, one of my favorite local establishments. Judges from surrounding bakeries judged contestants, as they created original desserts that contained Steel String’s Thick Freakness Imperial Stout. While I was a bit nervous to participate in my first culinary competition, I was excited by the challenge to include one of my favorite beers in a sweet treat. I ended up winning the contest, and I’m now stoked to share my recipe for Texan Truffles with y’all.