Hello, 2014, I’m so happy to see you!
So, so happy. Happy … and a little surprised?
Not that I didn’t think you’d show up, but the highlights of my 2013 included “not getting blown up by that bomb that time,” and “all those great funerals,” so at times it felt like my luck was running out. Guess not, though!
To honor my unexpected success in making it out of 2013 with only some light singeing around my edges, I’ve made some resolutions. As I’m sure will surprise no one who knows me, I don’t believe in resolutions to do more things that I don’t want to do, but seem prudent. Rather, I only resolve to do more things that I do want to do, and might be tempted to deny myself in the name of prudence. And so:
The 2014 Resolutions of A. Taub:
1. Make and eat more desserts and other delicious foods. Self-explanatory. Delicious food is awesome, and shifting the balance between delicious food/just okay food towards the former seems like a clear win. In fact, because I am working from home today on account of Polar Vortex, I shall start right now, and make the Peanut-Butter Brown-Butter Rice Krispie Treats that are described in the recipe at the end of this post, after the jump. (If you have suggestions for the leftovers, you should email me.)
2. Watch more TV. I love TV, it is the best! And yet sometimes there is TV out there that I want to watch, and don’t, because I think I could use the time more productively by doing something else. That is clearly fear talking, and in 2014 I am going to face the fear and do it anyway. And by “do it,” I mean “watch television like a boss.” A boss of television watching.
3. Go to more of my favorite absurdly expensive exercise classes. I discovered Refine midway through 2013, and found that it offers exactly what I look for in a physical activity. Namely: a supervised, encouraging environment with good lighting in which to absolutely fucking destroy myself until all that remains is a damp little heap of Amanda-scraps bathed in endorphins.
I don’t care that it costs a gajillion dollars a class, I need more of that in my life. (That sentence was lies, in fact I do care, I wish they weren’t priced so decadently, but these resolutions are about finding a way to go anyway.)
4. Write more ridiculous blog posts. From the beginning, this blog has been primarily a humorous site about atrocities, so we have never made any claims to seriousness, but I feel that perhaps I have not done a good enough job of plumbing the depths of my own un-seriousness in the last year. So, in 2014, whenever I have an idea to which my initial response is “I think that’s hilarious, but no one else would ever want to read my New Year’s resolutions/brief imagined memoirs of Kim Jong Un’s first ski instructor/travel skin-care advice for places with limited running water,” I resolve to write it and post it anyway, for the non-enjoyment of you, our long-suffering readers. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
(Obviously, with this post, I am starting as I mean to go on.)
Salted Peanut-Butter Brown-Butter Rice Krispie Treats
A perfect choice to brighten up those dreary winter days when you’re inside hiding from the Polar Vortex, South Sudan’s peace talks seem shaky, and Rwandan government officials are being astonishingly dickish – even for them – about a murdered opposition figure.
Ingredients and equipment:
1 stick of salted butter (Unsalted butter is fine in a pinch, but less good)
6 cups of Rice Krispies (Do not use generic puffed rice cereal. The puff/crunch ratio in the generics isn’t right, and this will make your Treats come out weird.)
1 bag mini-marshmallows (The big ones are fine too, but the mini ones melt more evenly, so I prefer them.)
1/3 to 1/2 bag of peanut butter chips (Depending on how peanut-buttery you want your Treats to come out)
Brownie pan (The size doesn’t matter too much, within reason: a smaller one will yield deeper Treats, a larger one, shallower Treats. You do you.)
Large pot (I think the one I used is about 8 quarts. You want it to be large enough to mix all the ingredients into, but if you don’t have one big enough for that, you can use a smaller pot and then do the mixing in a large mixing bowl).
Lightly butter the inside of the brownie pan. If you cannot find a brownie pan, check Melinda’s apartment. It’s probably there.
Drop the stick of butter into a pan set over low-medium heat. If your stove is like mine, this is the lowest setting on which the blue flame burns steadily without occasionally coughing and going out. If you have an adult-person stove that doesn’t suffer from such problems, then just use your solid-gold temperature gauge to figure it out, like the millionaire you are.
Watch the butter as it melts, imagining that it is the face of your sworn enemy. Wait a few moments more, and it will begin to foam – could this fluffy residue be all that remains of your hatred for your now-vanquished foe?
Soon, too soon, the foam will subside, leaving in its place a pool of golden butter that slowly – tentatively at first – will begin to brown. At first, only a few tiny grains of toasty brown goodness will start to appear in the amber liquid, but then they are joined by more of their little friends, and you will feel happy when you think of eating them all. Give them a few stirs of encouragement with a spoon or spatula. Some of these brown flecks may try, in their youthful ignorance, to stick to the bottom of your pan, but you will not let that happen, lest their toasty yumminess be lost to your eventual Treats. Dislodge them.
When the butter is a tawny color filled with darker brown flecks and emits a wonderful nutty smell that makes you seriously consider devouring it then and there, it is done. (Note: do not devour the browned butter then and there. It is hot, you will burn your mouth, do not ask how I know this. Also you need it for the Treats, have you forgotten those already, you cad, sir, you bounder?)
Don’t wander off during the butter-browning process, because the butter might burn if left unattended. Don’t burn the butter. Just don’t. If you are watching it brown and you think it might be about to burn, do the smart thing and remove it from the heat. It probably isn’t about to burn, but if you’re feeling unsure of the situation, err on the side of caution. Burned butter is no use to you. (You may find it helpful, at this point, to stop imagining that the butter was the face of your sworn enemy.)
Now that your butter is browned, turn off the heat. Leave the pan where it is, and tear open your sack of marshmallows. Pour them into the butter, and begin to stir. Because the butter is hot and the pan remains on the stove, there will be plenty of residual heat left to melt the marshmallows, so that is what will happen. Stir them into the butter with a gentle folding motion until they melt into a fluffy, smooth, buttery soup. If your marshmallows don’t melt after a few minutes of stirring them into the butter, you can turn the heat back on to low, but try not to do this, as it can be hard to keep the heat low enough to prevent disaster.
Now get the Rice Krispies. You will need 6 cups of them, which is an annoying amount because it is about half a large box or three fourths of a regular box. Fold the cereal into the marshmallow-butter mix until it is uniformly mixed.
Now, working quickly, pour in the peanut butter chips. Fold them into the mixture at a brisk pace. You are working against time here in two respects: the chips will begin to melt once exposed to the heat of the melted butter and you don’t want them to liquefy completely, and then soon after that the mixture will begin to cool and harden, and you don’t want that to happen in the pan.
So! Onward to your lightly-buttered brownie pan. Pour the mixture into the pan. Use the empty butter paper to pat it down into the corners and smooth out the top a bit.
Grind or sprinkle sea salt onto the top, to taste. (If the thought of salting something “to taste” fills you with fear, then just hold your salt grinder about 8 inches above the pan and give it 3-4 good grinds while moving it slowly in a circular motion. Then stare at yourself in the mirror, bellow “get it together, damn it!,” and give yourself one slap, hard, on the cheek. It’s just salt. You’re an adult. You can do this. Get it together, damn it.)
Set aside to cool for a couple of hours (I do not recommend putting them into the refrigerator, as it does weird things to the texture). Eat dinner and watch the second episode of Sherlock, then eat your Treats. I’m sure you deserve them.
Happy 2014, everyone.
[This recipe is loosely based on one used by my sister’s old boss’s girlfriend, whose name I’ve forgotten because I only met her twice, with some input from this post on Smitten Kitchen]