Jeremy's Weblog

I recently graduated from Harvard Law School. This is my weblog. It tries to be funny. E-mail me if you like it. For an index of what's lurking in the archives, sorted by category, click here.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

I just finished reading Bill Simmons' book, "Now I Can Die In Peace," a collection of his columns about the Red Sox over the past 8 years or so, culminating in their 2004 World Series victory, footnoted with all sorts of random fun stuff. Great book. I hadn't read Bill Simmons regularly until a few columns this summer that I loved, and now he's a must-read. So this book was a great way to catch up on what I'd been missing all these years. He's great. His columns are terrific. I can't say enough good things about him.

I wish I hadn't had a chance to finish reading the book yet, but the subways on the weekend are incredibly terrible. Usually I can get to pretty much anywhere I might go in Manhattan in about a half hour, door to door, including train waiting times. Tonight, the train I take was running in two parts, so I had to switch, and so I had two long waits, and it ended up taking over an hour. But at least the book was good.

I was at a friend's birthday party, which was a lot of fun. The first part of the evening was a potluck dinner. The instruction was to bring something weird. Yes, that's a weird instruction for a potluck dinner. But kind of cool, and with lots of potential. So I found a recipe for chile chocolate brownies, which sounded weird but edible. It was from an online cookbook and said they're popular in Texas with barbecue, because of the mixture of sweet and hot. I've used my oven twice before in six months here. I'm not completely inept with food, but usually I do stuff involving the microwave, or the George Foreman grill, or boiling water on the stove for pasta or some experiment with vegetables. Last weekend I cooked some fish in the oven -- bought a piece of striped bass, wrapped it in some parchment paper with rosemary and dill and some lemon juice, threw in some fingerling potatoes, made a salad with mustard greens and some more of the dill -- this is what happens when I go to the farmers market while hungry... I come back with lots of ingredients and an idea for one thing to do with them -- and it was an awesome meal, had leftovers the next day, really terrific, because the fish was fresh, it cooked just right. So, anyway, not inept in the kitchen, but I don't know if I'd ever baked anything before.

So I printed out the recipe and went to the supermarket to get the ingredients. I could have bought a packaged mix and just added the chile powder, but I was in the mood to torture myself, so I figured I'd do it from scratch. The problem -- and I think there's a great business idea here if someone wants to partner with me and jump on this -- is that nothing you need for baking is sold in anything close to the size you need. I wish I could buy one teaspoon of baking powder. I'm never going to use this entire container. So I bought baking powder, flour, sugar, eggs, chocolate, butter, and chile powder. And came home and realized I was missing one thing. A pan to put the batter in. So I went back out and bought that too. Total cost: about 20 bucks. Whatever, it would cost almost as much to buy something from a store, so I was cool with the cost. And now I have enough baking powder to bake, uh, something else, and fifty things more after that.

I also don't have a mixing bowl, so I used a pasta pot. And I used a plastic spoon instead of the wooden spoon, but I think that's allowed. Greased the pan, preheat the oven, mixed the flour and the chipotle chile powder I bought, melted the butter and chocolate, stirred in the sugar, mixed it with the flour mixture, was about to pour in the batter... and then I noticed the eggs still on the counter. Oops. Missed a step. So I did the eggs last, which probably screwed up the consistency, but what could I do at that point. Into the oven, came out of the oven, was a little soft, but tasty. They have a kick to them. But they're tasty.

They didn't go over so well. Too spicy. The strange Guiness-infused cheddar cheese, the olives stuffed with anchovies, and the hummus (nothing strange about the hummus) went over better. But I was proud of myself anyway.

I saved three or four of them for my family to try. Maybe they'll like them better than my friends did... :)