Friday, March 28, 2008

The Butcher, The Baker, The Candlestick Maker

Even though I cook a lot, raw meat still leaves me a little squeamish. I mix my meatloaf with one hand immersed in the goopiness and the other holding firmly to the bowl. I have perfected the "plop" method of transferring slabs of steak, jiggly chicken breasts, and other slimy cuts from package to cutting board for seasoning and then on to pan for cooking. I would never make it as a Butcher. I just can't begin to like the touch and feel of raw meat.

Many years ago, I might have thought I was crafty. I would create cross stitch samplers and mop head dolls. I wove things with paper ribbon. The glue gun was my friend. But, now I look back and see that most of it was junk. Why did I think I needed that stuff or that anyone would want it? These days, I am certainly not a Candlestick Maker. I will purchase my household items, and they will be better quality and not nearly as tacky. I hope.

And what about the Baker? Surely someone who cooks all the time would also bake. Ummm...not really. Pillsbury is my friend. I do cook a lot. I toss this and that in a pot or pan with a nod to the general amounts and ingredients of an actually recipe, and usually I come up with some tasty dish. Baking is a different story. It required precise measuring, no substitutions, actually following a recipe. I have trouble with all that. I think of myself as a free spirit in the kitchen...alright, an uptight Virgo-ish free spirit, but still, I do what feels right at the moment in my psycho controlling mind. Baking wants to dictate my moments. That doesn't quite mesh for me.

Still, we can't live on Chips Ahoy and Little Debbie. I must venture into baked goods now and then. A house is not a home without dessert, right? Last night, I whipped up a pan of Peanut Butter Brownies. Yes, they did start with a boxed mix, but if you have your own favorite homemade brownie recipe (I am still searching for the perfect one for us), you could sub it into the recipe. These are perfect for all peanut butter and chocolate fiends. The brownie is rich and chewy, and the peanut butter layer is almost cake-like. I actually could pass for a Baker with Peanut Butter Brownies On My Plate.

Peanut Butter Brownies

1/2 cup oil
1/4 cup water
2 eggs
19 1/2 ounces brownie mix

Peanut Butter Filling
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
2 eggs

Heat oven 350.
Combine brownie mix, oil, water and eggs in large bowl; stir 50 strokes with spooon. Set aside.
With a mixer, combine peanut butter and margrine; beat until smooth. Add sugar and flour; mix well. Add 2 eggs; blend well.
Spread 1/2 of brownie mix into greased 9x13 pan. Carefully spread peanut butter mixture evenly over chocolate mixture. Spread remaining chocolate mixture over the peanut butter mixture.
Bake for 30-33 minutes. Cool 1 hour or until completely cooled. Store losely covered. (Serves 20)

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