Tag Archives: file pit

things i’ve been meaning to tell you: february 2017

8 Feb

One: Why is damn near impossible to find a face lotion that is A) cruelty free, 2) has SPF, and III) doesn’t cost an arm and a leg? I don’t think this is terribly too much to ask. I’m just trying to keep my skin, the animals, and my wallet as safe as possible. If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know. Seriously. And for the record, I’ve tried the Yes For fill-in-fruit-or-vegetable here ones, and I don’t care for them because they’re so damn thick I look like a lifeguard from a bad 80s movie.

Two: The other day I had an epiphany when hearing the song Hook by Blues Traveler. The chorus, the hook, if you will, is “the hook brings you back,” NOT “the heart brings you back,” the latter of which I thought were the lyrics for the past twenty-odd years. Why? Hard to say. But the song makes so much more sense now!

In other news, I still have no clue what the shit Eddie Vedder is actually saying in the song Yellow Ledbetter.

Also, this reminds me that I still really love the band Better Than Ezra.

God, I love 90s music.

Three: Baby McSwedolish’s godfather Wild Turkey Dave gave us an Alexa, and one of my favorite features is you can ask her to play lullabies, and she magically emits a station that is full of sweet songs to soothe Baby McSwedolish. There are some classical hits, some songs that are calming, some songs that have become favorites (such as Return to Pooh Corner by Kenny Freaking Loggins).

And then there are plinky-plinky lullaby versions of…Guns N Roses’ Sweet Child ‘O Mine. As well as Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing. And Bette Davis Eyes.

WTF?

It’s not a little disconcerting, to be tidying up the kitchen, listening to the coos and whines of your baby as he tries valiantly to not put himself to sleep, and you’re ignoring him and humming along and then you stop and think, “Wait, what am I humming? What are we listening to? Is that Lullaby Shakira?”

And it sure it.

And it’s not a little fantastic. It’s amazong.*

Four: One of the things I managed to accomplish on my maternity leave, besides becoming inordinately annoyed by certain TV theme songs, was making a cheesecake.

It wasn’t just any cheesecake, mind you, it was a cheesecake that I’ve been wanting to make for nine years.

NINE. YEARS.

It’s this cheesecake.

It has always looked very involved and mildly intimidating to me, but I decided that it was time to just buck up and do it A) Because for God’s sake, did you not read the part about NINE YEARS? And 2) I could make it for the 2nd Annual Friendsgiving, which means that if it sucked or I screwed it up royally it really wouldn’t matter because everyone would be drunk by the time we got to dessert anyway.

Ta da!

Thankfully I didn’t screw it up, and everyone else thought it was a resounding success.**

I thought it was only okay.

The cheesecake itself, and the chocolate ganache topping were extraordinary, I will give the recipe that. But the part that I was most excited about—the pistachio crust—was a huge disappointment to me. It wasn’t really connected, so to speak, to the rest of the cake. You just sort of set the cake on top of it. It would be better, IMHO, if it were baked in, and thus intertwined with the cake, and further thus wouldn’t break off in chunks and go skittering across your plate like candy. (Delicious pistachio candy, but candy nonetheless.)

Now that I’ve made this cake once (NINE YEARS!) and know just how involved it is (and it is on the medium side of involvement, and also requires quite a bit of fridge space to chill the cake and ganache), I’m ready to make it again, this time with a few tweaks to see if I can’t take it from great to Magical by my McPolish standards.

(And sadly, I don’t have any pictures of the cake, but I’ll do my damndest to get some next time.***)

*Amazong—adjective. A step above amazing. Tell your friends.

**Entirely possible they were lying. See aforementioned Drunk by Dessert.

***Look for said photos sometime in 2025. 

 

 

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from the file pit: beer bread

3 Feb

It’s February, which means, yup, still winter. Still going to be for awhile now. Which is awesome, because February is full of days that end in Y, and days that end in Y are perfect for eating bread.

Unless you’re gluten intolerant. And then every day that ends in Y is a horrible day for eating bread, but because I am a nice person I will eat your bread for you. You’re welcome.

I’ve long been interested in making bread, but on my few attempts it has turned out less-than-stellar. Usually super dense and not well-risen. Edible, yes, but not boulangerie-worthy.

Then again, sometimes life is not about perfection, but rather about getting shit done. And if that shit is getting bread into my mouth, then I have achieved success.

ANYWAY, I have some very exciting news for you: I have found a bread recipe that even I can’t screw up. It has three ingredients.*

 

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As per usual, my incredibly thorough directions, if they can even be determined through the chicken scratch. God only knows where I copied this recipe from. For all I know it’s off the side of a metro car. 

THREE.

3.

Trois.

That’s it.

Granted, one of the ingredients is quite specific,** but if you can manage that, you’ll find success. I promise you. Perhaps you’ve heard of Tastefully Simple, and their beer bread that I think you just mix together the dry mix and some beer? Sure, that’s only two ingredients, but this three-ingredient beer bread is just as easy. I like to call it Stupidly Simple.

I made two of these loaves in one day, in the span of about two hours, actually. THAT is how simple this recipe is to throw together. One for Swede and me, and one to give to his sister who had just had surgery. Because nothing says recovery like warm beer bread and narcotic-strength pain meds.

I should be a doctor.

This may be one of the greatest File Pit findings yet, you guys. Seriously. Easy peasy and delicious. Would I make this again? Do I even need to answer that? No. No I do not. Instead I will answer you by saying you should drop whatever you’re doing and go home and make this.

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More butter, please. 

(And if you also choose to pick up Kerrygold salted butter to slather on it fresh from the oven, no one will judge you. Nay, they will applaud you.)

*Four, if you count the egg for the egg wash. Five, really, if you count the melted butter you’re supposed to brush on top when it’s done. But now you’re just being nit-picky.

**Self-rising flour is the key here. I think you could pretty much use any light-colored or amber ale you so choose, but I can’t guarantee success if you try and use a different kind of flour. I could go into the science behind the self-rising flour in this recipe, but I won’t. Because I don’t really know it. I just know it’s different and clutch in this bread.

from the file pit: avocado ranch dressing

6 Jan

We are six days into the new year and it has been WEEKS since I have had a vegetable. Well, no, actually last week I had some artichokes, but they were covered in dill and lemon and some mayo and spread on top of a piece of sourdough French bread, so I’m not exactly sure that counts. I mean, it kind of counts, because at least I was vaguely in the vicinity of something from the earth’s bounty, but it’s not really a slam-dunk in the whole food pyramid thing.

That said, I figured this was a perfect time to pull out a file pit recipe that’s been in the making since June 13, 2007. Yes, that’s right, almost nine years.

Nine.

I printed this recipe out nine (9) years ago, from the Washington Post website. And then never made it. Until now.

I’m going to blame my lack of making this recipe on the fact that until recently I didn’t have a blender. I’m going to blatantly disregard the fact that I did, however, have both an immersion blender and a food processor. So, right: No blender = unable to make this dressing.

But lo! Swede’s parents gifted us a big, beautiful Vitamix for our wedding, and people, let me tell you something about a Vitamix you don’t know: It really is as f-ing amazing as people say. The motor on this thing could puree a sledgehammer. Both the wood handle and the metal mallet. All of it, ground down into a thick, smooth, former piece of destructive construction equipment.

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Hello, beautiful. 

And hence, I could now make the dressing with aplomb, and rectify the lack of vegetables in my diet. Not that there are any vegetables in this dressing (avocado is a fruit, after all), but I could pour it on a salad. And salads are often made of vegetables.  

Stay with me here, people.

So with the food-stars aligned, I finally made this file pit recipe.

And it was okay.

Which was strange, because looking at the few ingredients, they are all things that I love very much: buttermilk, avocado, a ranch dressing packet, and lime zest. What’s not to love? I love all of these things! Mix them up and shove it in my mouth, it should be amazong.  

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Buttermilk is amazong, you guys. 

Except it was only sort of amazong. You know what I think it was? The lime zest. It didn’t really belong, in my opinion, and gave the dressing a funny taste, like when you eat something and then make that annoying noise with your lips and your tongue, smacking them together uncontrollably because you’re trying to figure out what it is you’re tasting, but you can’t quite put your finger on it.

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Damn you, lime zest. 

That taste? It’s lime zest. And this dressing would be better without it.

I think I would make this again, if for no other reason than it’s a reason to bust out the Vitamix. But I’d leave the lime zest out.

And then I’d dump a crap ton over some vegetables and call it a day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

from the file pit: chocolate poundcake

19 Aug

Welcome, friends, to the second recipe plucked from the obscurity of my messy, messy recipe files. I’d like to begin by telling you that unlike the Rocky Road cake, where I could harbor a guess as to how the recipe came to be in my clutches, today’s recipe for chocolate poundcake? I have absolutely no idea. It’s handwritten, as you can see—and yes, that’s definitely my scrawl—and in classic McPolish style it has very few actual instructions. Your guess is as good as mine as to where I dug this one up.

Very detailed recipe, folks. Very detailed.

Very detailed recipe, folks. Very detailed.

Seriously, do I have an aversion to instructions that I don’t know about? It’s entirely possible, and something I will have to think about at a later time. Maybe. But today, right now, at this moment, instructions are inconsequential because what’s important is that this chocolate poundcake is delicious. I’m declaring it a winner (Of what I’m not sure. The file pit? My tastebuds? The entire Chicagoland area?), and a repeater recipe for the following reasons:

  1. It’s stupidly easy to pull together, few directions or no.
  2. It has a lovely, deep chocolate flavor.
  3. Butter.

If I had to add a fourth reason it would be because I can make this cake in bundt form, rather than loaf form, and let me tell you something about loaf form that you probably already know:

I DON’T LIKE MAKING LOAF THINGS.

EXCEPT MAYBE MEATLOAF.

(SERIOUSLY, I LOVE MEATLOAF.)

(THE FOOD, NOT THE ENTERTAINER.)

Loaf-type baked goods hardly turn out well for me. They’re either raw in the middle, burned on the top or bottom, and in general are a disaster. And not even a good disaster that I could take and reformat into a delectable treat. Loaf-style baked goods, with the exception of mini-loaves, are just a straight-up shitshow for me, more times than not. 

But bundt cakes?

Now you’re speaking my language!

If, for some reason, you’re not into bundts (Why? What could you possibly have against bundt formations? Is it the hole? Do you not like the hole in the middle?) but you like chocolate poundcake, my suggestion to you is to suck it up, buttercup, and make this cake anyway. And then, to save yourself the misery of having to look at a bundt cake (Is it the fluted sides?) or eat a bundt cake (Okay, now you’re just weird) once it’s cooled you can chop it up and turn it into some sort of trifle. Because this cake would make for an amazing trifle layer. Slap gobs of whipped cream in between the layers, perhaps douse the cake with Kahlua or amaretto, maybe toss in some fresh berries, whatever you have on hand or whatever’s in season, you know? Go to town, have some fun, let it all hang out if you really can’t stand a bundt cake. Or even if you are a fan of the bundt cake, this trifle idea might still have legs.

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Seriously. How can you not love a bundt?

I really don’t think you can go wrong either way.

from the file pit: rocky road cake

29 Jul

Sometimes you have an idea, and before you can stop yourself you tell other people about this idea, and then later, once you have time to reflect, you’re honestly not sure if your idea is a good one, or if maybe next time you should shut the hell up and not tell the Internets that you’re going to do something, because now you have to do it whether you like it or not.

Unless you’re talking about training for a half marathon.

But! When I finally reached into the file pit because I was so fed up with myself and was just like, “OH FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY AND DECENT, JUST PICK A F*&$ING RECIPE ALREADY AND GET ON WITH IT,” this recipe was literally the first one in the pile, which I am taking to be a sign that this idea of working my way through the recipe files my younger self hoarded many moons ago was a good one. Also, the fact that there even exists a recipe for Rocky Road Cake is proof that Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit all love me and want me to be happy. Add that to the fact that it was on top of all the other hundreds of recipes, and well, clearly I am brilliant.

The recipe is so simple, though, that I’m not actually sure it constitutes as a recipe. It’s basically like, “mix together some boxed devil’s food cake, some water, some other stuff, and beat that for a couple of minutes, then stir in the chocolate chips and marshmallows and peanuts and WAA-LAA YOU HAVE A CAKE AND YOU CAN EAT IT TOO, SUCK IT, MARIE ANTOINETTE.”

Sorry for the crappy photos taken on my phone.

Sorry for the crappy photos taken on my phone.

I have no idea where I found this recipe, but I have a hunch that my old boss had a book of cake recipes that she brought in for me to check out once, which I did, as evidenced by the fact that there are several similar-looking Xeroxed pages in my file pit, all with different, luscious cake recipes. If this recipe did not come from my old boss, then your guess is as good as mine from whence it came. Maybe it came from the Holy Spirit. I dunno, I’ve never been super clear on what He/She/It actually does, but maybe part of its heavenly mission is to drop cake recipes into unsuspecting file pits. I’m not going to claim I know what goes on beyond my eyes and human limitations.

If you follow me on Instagram, you've probably already seen this photo. Oh well.

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably already seen this photo. Oh well.

With the addition of the chocolate chips, this cake has a fabulously soft and moist crumb. The peanuts add a nice salty crunch, and work better than I think almonds would, as in a traditional rocky road ice cream. Also, it’s a bundt cake, and who doesn’t love a good bundt? What is incredibly disappointing, however, is that the mini marshmallows melt completely into the cake (adding to that good crumb) so you have none of the lovely bits of mallow like you get in the ice cream. Which, coincidentally, is my favorite part of the ice cream.

Would I make this again? Yes, because it’s too easy not to. Would I figure out a way next time to get the marshmallows to not melt into oblivion? For sure. Do I think Young McPolish was right to throw this recipe in the file pit? Absolutely.

Again with the crappy, cell phon photo. So sorry.

Again with the crappy cell phone photo. So sorry.