Unfortunately, cooking awesome recipes and taking photos of food is not all I do (not yet, anyway!). I also work full-time at a bakery, and I try to have as much of a social life as my free time will allow. Some days when I get home after working an 8+ hour shift of frosting cupcakes and making brownies and gluten-free donuts, the desire to spend a few hours in my kitchen creating a new recipe just isn’t there. Sometimes I’d much rather spend my time having dinner with the boyfriend, going running with my sister, or just catching up on Netflix repeats of MythBusters and Friday Night Lights (Oh, Tim Riggins, you dreamboat, you).
Can I tell you about a few things I’ve been occupying my time with lately?
A few weekends ago was Record Store Day. In an effort to find some kickass vinyl, I went out a few days before RSD and stumbled upon a little shop that I didn’t even know existed: Revolver Records. They have a main location in downtown Phoenix but I never knew they had another store closer to my neck of the woods! It was a random Tuesday evening, and I was the only other person in the store, save for the young dude behind the counter. The store is small but it is jam-packed with albums of every genre. From Little Richard to Millencolin, they’ve got it all.
On my first visit, Led Zeppelin II was playing over the store’s sound system (on vinyl, of course). There’s nothing quite like the pops and hisses of vinyl – no other medium comes close to evoking the true feelings behind certain songs, in my opinion. Revolver was just what I needed on that night. When you walk in, that smell of old vinyl practically smacks you in the face; that, and the store’s supply of Nag Champa incense. All those smells coupled with some Zeppelin over the speakers, was like existing in a time that was simultaneously foreign but wonderfully familiar, as if I knew it in the same way that I know the narrow paved roads that lead to the house I grew up in.
Last weekend was Easter. My sister and I made a trip down to visit our mom and stepdad, and I decided I was going to make homemade lemon bars for dessert. Easy, right? Well, I made the crust in my quarter sheet pan, mixed up my filling and poured it over the crust, and prepared to chuck it into the oven. You know how some sheet pans can warp when experiencing wide changes in temperature? Pouring the cold filling onto a hot crust in a hot pan didn’t bode so well. The pan warped just enough to allow the liquid filling to start collecting underneath (!!!!) the crust. I wasn’t sure how to proceed, so I just let the bars finish baking. The top of the crust had the barest amount of filling and, as I discovered after the bake time was up, all of the filling had pooled beneath the crust, but also beneath the parchment paper layer that had been between the crust and the pan! So, what I ended up with was essentially a three-layer lemon bar, from the top down: Crust, parchment paper, lemon filling. Tasty, huh?
That left me with the option of running back to the grocery store around 11pm on the night before Easter, to get more lemons and more eggs and try again. For the second attempt, I bypassed the warping pan issue by baking the lemon bars in a large glass baking dish, and I made a crumb crust from Nilla Wafers that was quite delicious. So, have heart! Cooking failures happen to the best of us. Even those of us who run food blogs.
Hopefully next weekend I’ll be coming at ya with a new, super duper awesome recipe. I’ve been toying with the idea of making mini fried chicken and waffles, or maybe a Cobb salad sandwich? For now, I’m just going to enjoy this breezy, cool, hopefully-rainy Saturday we’re currently having, and bid you farewell…