Tuesday, March 12, 2013

VACATION!!

Sorry I haven't been posting much lately. I've been super busy getting everything ready for vacation. I'm leaving today for SXSW. Hopefully, I come back with great stories, new music and a few vintage treasures. Pari and I are also making a stop in Little Rock to visit the Bill Clinton Presidential Museum. If he's there and I don't come back, don't judge.


Have fun for the next week!
- Shelly

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Shelly's Wish List: Ice Cream Dreams

Last weekend a friend surprised me with a peanut butter cookie dough milk shake from the Chicago Diner. If you haven't had one. Get. There. Now. Seriously, you will thank me. I think the only thing I love more than junk food is junk food prints on clothes. Here are a few things I'd like to add to my closet:

Bernie Dexter Dress from ModCloth:


Sugarhill Boutique Sweater



Do you like novelty prints? What's your favorite?

- Shelly

Monday, March 4, 2013

Po' Boy, Oh Boy!

I think I've mentioned this before, but my dad grew up in New Orleans. One of my strongest memories of my grandparents is going to the gas station (seriously), getting po' boy sandwiches and spending the day at the beach. There is a wonderful thing happening in Chicago right now. It seems like vegan po' boys are taking over. This couldn't make me happier. Here are my thoughts on the ones I've had recently:

Portabella Mushroom Po' Boy @ Ground Control:

Like everything else at this newly opened spot, the po boy is out of this world. It has a great vegan sauce and the mushrooms are fried to perfection. It comes with your choice of sides. I've had collard greens both times I've ordered this.

GRADE: Solid A

Eggplant Po' Boy @ Scofflaw

I don't know what to say. Maybe it was the two gin cocktails I had before eating this, but it was seriously one of the best things I've ever had. It had the advantage of house made vegan remoulade and pickled onions. OK, maybe it was the pickled onions and the gin that made me fall in love. It didn't come with a side, but I shared some brussel sprouts with my sister that were also to die for.

GRADE: A+



Tofu Po' Boy @ Chicago Diner

I think this was a special and am not sure if it's still available. It was good, but it came on a hamburger bun and the tofu tasted like veggie chicken nuggets. It came with your choice of sides. I think I had soup. It was good, but I think I'll stick to the Dagwood at The Chicago Diner.

GRADE: B

Have you seen a veggie po' boy on the menu anywhere? If so, let me know. It's my mission to eat all the po' boys in the world.

- Shelly

Saturday, March 2, 2013

200 Cookies


My friends River Rising are playing at Quenchers Saloon tonight. For the show, the bands that are playing wanted a Texas theme, since the show is meant to be a SXSW send-off show for the headlining band. I was asked to help make the show more "Austin-y" and since it falls, coincidentally, on Texas Independence Day, I couldn't say no. One of the things I was asked to do for the show was to make cookies. 100 Pecan Sandies (pecans are the state nut) and 100 Texas shaped sugar cookies. For the sugar cookies, I purchased these cookie cutters on Amazon. They are too adorable for words!



Because this week was super busy at work, I only had about 24 hours to make all 200 cookies. (Good one, Pari!) Much of the battle was won before a single cookie was baked. I figured it was all about planning ahead. I mean, how long could baking ~17 dozen cookies take?

I started by narrowing down my cookie recipes. Baking on such a large scale, I decided simple, tried and true recipes were the way to go. For the Pecan Sandies, I went with this Martha Stewart recipe, and for the sugar cookies I used a recipe that my friend gave me. For the Sandies, I substituted Earth Balance for butter to make them vegan.

Once I had my recipes it was time to calculate how much of each ingredient I would need to make 4x the recipe. From there it was off to the trusty Trader Joe's! What a great place to shop on the cheap!

My strategy was this: Since the Sandies could be baked after the dough was mixed, I decided to make the Sugar Cookie dough first, which had to be refrigerated before rolling. I've been told that you should never more than double a recipe. If you need more than twice the dough, make it in several batches. That's what I did. I estimated I would need 4x the dough, so I did two batches of double. Each batch was wrapped in Saran wrap and put in the fridge to chill.

















Next it was Sandies time. I doubled the recipe and made a batch of dough. Then into the oven with the cookies. While those were baking, I made two more batches of dough and wrapped them in Saran wrap - into the fridge with those, too! The idea was to have plenty of dough that was made to bake, so that my oven did not have any empty time. 12 dozen cookies takes a long time to bake, as you can imagine. Can't waste any time! When reusing cookie sheets, it's important to use parchment paper to line them and to have an extra set to rotate in when one batch is done. Lucky for me, Shelly loaned me some cookie sheets!
Once all the Pecan Sandies dough was made, it was about time to start rolling sugar cookies. I really wanted to get these baked the night before, because it was important to me that they were cool to be Iced Saturday. I rolled out about two dozen cookies and prepared them to go into the oven when the Sandies were done.




 
The Icing was done by eye, mixing powdered sugar with almond milk until the right consistency was reached. For the coloring, I again did it by eye, but you could use this handy frosting guide. For the Burnt Orange color, I just made a plain old orange color and then added one drop of blue and one drop of green. If your resulting Burnt Orange is too brown, add more yellow and red to get it more vibrant.
So there you have it, 200 cookies. Hopefully everyone enjoys them at the show tonight!

w/ <3
Pari