Monday, October 16, 2006

queen of the bakesale

see comments for recipe
Who would have ever imagined that I, a rocker tomboy who refuses to grow up, would be such a hit at the matronly art of baking? Last weekend I had our new friends drooling all over my contribution to the Thanksgiving feast to which we were invited; a rich classic marble cheesecake that I myself admit was sublime but I share the kudos with the high-caliber Japanese sour cream & cream cheese.

And this morning my chocolate cashew crunch cookies, pictured here, are apparently the talk of the embassy, leaving all the other bakesale goodies in their delicious caramely crumb-dust! Poor Alain even bought some, not knowing I had kept aside a small tin for us when I sent him off to work with the big one (duly sealed, since I knew that he'd have trouble resisting on the 3 minute walk to work).

But my newfound sugary prowess is only one reason I'm wiped out this fine sunny Monday morning. We ran around like mental all weekend doing errands, including an Ikea spree. I must soon take new pix of the apt because it's beginning to look less uptight and more like us! We were also shopping for Alain's Halloween costume. I keep telling him to come up with a Plan B because we have not yet found a (cheap) red blazer that fits him. See he wants to go as a character (Lupin III) from a very hot anime series that his Japanese colleagues claim he resembles. And by "go" I'm talking about attending the huge party at the embassy (250 people) with proceeds going to the United Way.

I got my costume, a floor-length black gown made of taffeta & tulle, at a crazy-ass department store called Don Quixote. I found the hideous thing, perfect for the Duchess of the Damned look I'm going for, not in the Halloween section of the store but in the women's formal wear section! Words cannot adequately describe the racks and racks of slutty, sad and many many bizarre numbers I found there. Most had tags that showed them as originally going for around $90. All were not surprisingly slashed way down to $20-$25. Harajuku girls take note.

Anyway, someday I really should shoot some pictures of Don Quixote because it's an experience that is difficult to put into words. The one closest to our house is 6 floors high but the building is quite narrow so each floor is not very big. To make up for the lack of space, things are crammed (yet orderly) into skinny aisles with racks that reach all the way up to the ceiling. The other unique thing is the bizarre mix of merchandise. Aside from the cheap dubious-quality clothing found on most of the groundfloor, and the mostly snack & canned food floor, there's also a floor that sells only designer goods (it's a bit less crammed and contains a lot of locked glass cases) such as fancy-ass watches and the oh-so-popular-with-Tokyo-girls&boys Louis Vuitton handbags.

There's even a floor that's largely devoted to costumes, all year round. Not Halloween costumes though, I discovered to my great surprise. See when I went there last week to look at the Halloween stuff, I found it right by the entrance on the ground floor. However, there were no wigs so I asked the cashier (in pantomime) who informed me (via an English-speaking customer) that the wigs were on the 6th floor. Hmm, that's weird, I thought, why aren't the wigs with the rest of the Halloween stuff?

Up the elevator I went and found a large joke-costume section with samurai & sumo suits, fake moustaches, clown afros, yadda-yadda, and a full wig wall. But also, well let me just say that I now look at schoolgirls in the street differently (is she really?)... I had stumbled into a wonderland of kink: a myriad of styles of maid, schoolgirl and nurse outfits, a plethora of full plushie-suits, etc., etc.!

Oh Tokyo, what a place!


I love reading your blog.
I was worried about you cuz you were sick and hadn't updated in a while.
Miss you tons as always
Hey Miss Carol!
This has taken me far too long, but I just wanted to let you know that I read your blog and love it! I'm glad to hear that you guys are doing well (except for the stomach flu and early-in-your-stay earthquakes). I'm living vicariously through you through this blog. It gives me a chance to get out of my stupid dungeon of a cubicle and adventure it up. (I'm having an existential crisis today. Don't mind me.)
You are very much missed here, but we're so excited for your lonely planet selves. I think of you guys everytime I go by the Running Room.

Take care sweet pea!

Kate (and Stéphan, who can't check your blog because he does not have internet at home and his office bans such highly entertaining websites on penalty of...whatever government does to punish you...listening to Stephen Harper talk or something.)
Duderonopus: Yes, plushies! Want me to send you one? What color do you prefer? hahahhahaha! Seriously, you wuz worried 'bout me? Didn't you get my e-mail Friday (at home)? Check & answer s'il te p!

Katie-pie: How nice to hear from you, even in the midst of your cubicle blues! Start saving your pennies and come visit! You would not have a chance to get bored I tell ya! In the meantime, say hi to your technically-challenged guy for me and pinch each of your team pals on my behalf please. Gambatte (chin up).
Those cookies look AMAZING!!! I wish you were here for our potluck next week! If you give me the recipe I'll make them on your behalf ^-'

Also: Don Quixote?!? Wicked! I definitely have to see that place for myself! There was a shop I really liked called Octopus Army - had a lot of retro Value Village-style tees. I bought a fun button (still one of my prized possessions!) and a really funky bag there. Hooray for fun shopping! *^-^*
My God, my mouth was watering from looking at those cookies. You should post the recipe up for them! Cos I can't very well fly over every time I need to satisfy my sugar cravings ...
Also while you're at it post a pic up of this goth gown you got ... and one of Don Quixote as well!
Yes Carol,

I agree with everybody, you should definitely post the recipe and pictures with your costumes, and others'costume perhaps?
So, what do you say?

Man! Can't a grrl have any secrets? Ok, oky so here's the recipe that i've typed in just for you my dear pals, adding my own useful 2 cents here & there. PS: Yeah, we'll be sure to take pix at Halloween and post 'em! Cats, I want some of your brood ok?

Chocolate Cashew Crunch

½ stick (1/4 cup) butter
½ cup (packed) light brown sugar
¼ cup light corn syrup
½ cup finely chopped cashews
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
6 ounces (around 1 cup) chocolate chips (or chopped block chocolate)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter and flour a non-stick cookie sheet.

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the brown sugar and corn syrup, then bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves (3 to 5 minutes). Remove from heat.

Stir in the cashews, flour and vanilla. Drop the batter in ½ teaspoon mounds 2 inches apart onto prepared cookie sheet (space between is very important as these biscuits spread a lot!). Using a small spatula spread each mound into a circle, if necessary.

Bake 5 to 10 minutes, or until browned, rotating the pan from back to front after 4 minutes. Make sure they’re quite brown or they’ll be sticky toffee rather than brittle as they’re supposed to be. Cool on the cookie sheet for about 30 seconds or until firm enough to transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

In a small bowl set over a small saucepan, melt the chocolate over hot, not simmering, water. (Or use a double boiler. Or microwave on medium for 2 minutes, remove and stir until all chips are melted.)

Either dip the cookies halfway into the chocolate or drizzle chocolate over the cookies. Leave cookies on plate/racks to allow chocolate to set.
Thanks a lot,
Can't wait to try your recipe.
クッキー は とても おいしい です ね! *^-^*
Jacelyn you monkey, you're really testing my baby-like skills but I finally got it! (The cookie and the desu ne were the easiest parts!) So you made a batch, です ね?
We did, actually! The first batch was really burnt (damn you, That 70s Show! *shakes fist*), but the rest were pretty good - we'll get better and better at making them! They taste kind of like Skor bars - tasty! ^-^

Thanks for the recipe!
Hey c,

You should do what I do when people ask me for a recipe that I don't particularly wish to share: somewhere within the ingredients, add something like "2 tbsp anthrax" or "1/2 cup sulfuric acid". Hahahaha.
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