Vegan Strawberry Fraisier [Daring Bakers]

This month I made a significant variation from the standard recipe outlined by the Daring Baker Challenge host: I went vegan. My cousin V. was in town, and, among a number of her other dietary peculiarities, she is currently not eating dairy (she does eat fish, and just started eating gluten again, so it is something you have to check in every now and then about). So I used the suggested recipes for making the vegan pastry cream, and vegan chiffon cake, and came up with something that was visually unappealing but still tasted quite good.

Blog-checking lines: Jana of Cherry Tea Cakes was our July Daring Bakers’ host and she challenges us to make Fresh Frasiers inspired by recipes written by Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson in the beautiful cookbook Tartine.

The pastry cream was essentially a pudding – sweetened, flavored (with lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla) almond milk, thickened with flour. It unfortunately didn’t have any stiffness to it whatsoever, and without the ability to put in some whipped cream or gelatin, I was a bit at a loss at what to do. As you can see above, the thing started to collapse within seconds of me lifting away the plastic wrap.

The chiffon cake was pretty dense and chewy–apparently a common problem among gluten-free cakes (I certainly didn’t have to make this gluten-free, since the pastry cream was full of it anyway), according to V.–but not too disagreeable. Most everyone loved the addition of the thin layer of almond paste at the top, and, of course, the big pile of sliced strawberries I had picked up at the farmer’s market earlier that day.

Overly friendly sandwich shop employees

Maybe I’m still an East Coaster at heart. Or maybe I’m getting old and crabby.

Me at a popular sandwich spot. Bubbly hipster employee. All of her delivery using HRT.

BHE: “Hi! Welcome to ____! Can I help you choose a sandwich? We have-”

Me: “I’ll have the ________.”

BHE: “Oh, yeah! That is one of my favorites! I really like the hummus that’s in it. Good choice! Y’know, I think some crispy cucumber slices really, like, add something to this sandwich, and they’re only like 30 cents more. Would you like to give them a shot?”

Me: “Sure.”

BHE: “Awesome! Now, like, what kind of bread would you like? We have, like, sourdough, Dutch crunch, whole wheat-”

Me: “Sourdough.”

BHE: “Awesome! And what cheese would you like with that? I personally like-”

Me: “Provolone.”

BHE: (Looks like she’s about to tell me I have terminal cancer) “Ohhhh, I am SO sorry. We don’t have provolone. I totally understand you wanting provolone because it is like SO great-”

Me: “Cheddar is fine.”

BHE: “Oh, OK. Cheddddaarrr [types it into the terminal]. Is there anything else you’d like? We have a lot of really awesome drinks, like chocolate-”

Me: “Just water, thanks.”

BHE: “OK. A bottle of water. Really a great choice because you can get like TOTALLY thirsty eating one of our sandwiches! That’ll be $13.91 [yes, that expensive].”

Me: [hands over card]

BHE: [looks at card] “Thank you, J___! Now that will just take a couple of seconds here. [5 seconds later] I am SO sorry this is taking SO long. Sorry, J___! It should only take like a FEW more seconds.”

Me: [looks at her incredulously]

BHE: “Awesome. Could you sign here? Now you get to choose a bag of chips. Do you like barbecue-flavored chips, J____?”

Me: “Um, I don’t know. Whatever.”

BHE: “I REALLY like the Funky Fusion chips. They are like this melange of barbecue, cheese, vinegar, pepper and all these other great flavors. They’re really great! [laughs] Thanks, J____! Your sandwich should be out in just, like, 5-10 minutes, J____!”


We should have nipped the “Would you like fries with that?” stuff in the bud when we had the chance…


Why some women love skinny men

The whole hipster movement has brought to the fore a new aesthetic for men: skinniness. Women have wanted to be skinny since time immemorial (i.e. for the last 40 years or so), but it’s only recently that (straight) women have really wanted the same from their boyfriends and husbands. Traditionally, women have liked men to be muscular—a sign of strength, confidence and vitality—but now even waifish-looking men can get love from women.

Why? I know a LOOOOOOT of women and can put forth 2 guesses based on the way I know they tick:

1) They’re hoping it’s catching. Just like women like to hang out with other skinny women, many women are hoping they can catch skinniness from their rail-thin boyfriend or husband like an STD. After all, there have been recent studies that suggest that if you hang out with fat people, you’re likely to get fat, and, speaking less sociologically and more biologically, certain intestinal bacteria can influence your weight, too.

2) They want skinny daughters. It’s only since the era of Twiggy that really thin models have been in, and it’s only been since a number of these models have had similarly-thin, pretty daughters (think Bianca and Jade Jagger, Isabella and Elettra Rossellini, Kelly Emberg and Ruby Stewart, Beverly and Anansa Johnson…an endless list, really) that consciousness that you might want to pass on skinny genes to your progeny has spread. And not only do the mother’s genes matter: witness skinny rocker men with gorgeous, willowy daughters (Keith Richards and Steven Tyler come to mind). NONE of this is lost on young women who are paying attention.

These reasons—the latter, especially—help to explain why gay men don’t like skinny boyfriends; some might want to be skinny themselves, but almost all gay men (except the chickenhawks) like muscular, fleshy boyfriends. They’d rather try to get/stay skinny by hanging out with skinny, bitchy queens.