Monthly Archives: November 2010

Druck Marry Kill Show, Yay!

Saw a great show last week, starring my honestly hysterical and hysterically honest pal Molly Prather.

Meooowrrrr.

She gave great gab on dating, mating and berating ex-boyfriends, finding herself in Europe, dressing up like a sexy cop and upsetting the residents of an NYC crack house (his idea, not hers), love, loss and how sometimes, the universe gives us what we need the most when we least expect it.

Molly’s show was just for two nights in November, but you can catch her at The Moth StorySLAMS from time to time. I wet myself (just a little) when I think of how scary it must be to get up in front of a group of funny people and relay an unrehearsed tale which may or may not be remotely amusing. But this girl is FEARLESS. And she has great taste in footwear.

Molly’s former Brooklyn roomate Kimmy opened the show for her, and now I’m cursed with a fully justifiable girl-crush. (Thanks, Molly!) She is absolutely gorgeous. She sings an ode to her ex long-distance boyfriend and, accompanied by her guitar, describes their dysfunctional phone sex. “Sorry, can you hold on? That’s my mom on the other line.”)

That's my girl in the middle, Cora. Their logo makes me want a bowl of Apple Jacks.

She performs with The Apple Sisters Variety Show and I hear that they will be at Largo on December 15 and I want to be there. For her. I want to be there for her.

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That’s Druckin Crafty! Oreo Snowpeople

Just don't eat YELLOW snowpeople. Okay?

How druckin’ cute is that?! And I made it MYSELF. You can too! It was easy. You can buy the limited edition ‘Holiday’ white-chocolate covered Oreo cookies at your local Ralph’s, Jewel or Piggly Wiggly, then just paint half the cookie with sugary ‘glue’ (recipe below), submerge in sprinkles, shake off excess, then dot with a toothpick dipped in dark chocolate. Or do this:

Ingredients
20 chocolate sandwich cookies
12-oz package of white chocolate chips
1 tablespoon vegetable oil or solid shortening (Crisco)
½ – ¾ cup red sugar sprinkles
2-3 oz. semi sweet chocolate chips
Candy for nose and hat decoration

Preparation
In a double-boiler or microwave, melt white chocolate and oil until melted and smooth. Use tongs to dip each sandwich cookie into white chocolate. Coat evenly. Place dipped cookie on waxed paper. Carefully sprinkle half of cookie with red sprinkles to make a hat, or see alternative ‘tip’ below. Leave cookies on waxed paper until completely set. (Store in refrigerator to speed up the process.)

Once dipped cookies are set, melt semi-sweet chocolate in microwave, heating on full power for 15-20 second bursts, stirring between bursts until smooth. Dip the tip of a toothpick in melted chocolate and carefully dot each cookie to create eyes and a mouth. Use candy dots for nose and hat décor.

Tip: Instead of dipping in or sprinkling cookies with red sugar sprinkles, mix ½ cup powdered sugar with water (one teaspoon at a time) until you reach a ‘glue’ consistency. Using a small paintbrush, paint the sugar ‘glue’ on half the dipped cookie, then generously cover with sprinkles.

And for my next trick, I may just have to make this:

Thank you for the gorgeous picture, flickr photographer/addiction enabler.

That cream-cheese and Cool Whip filling sounds Whiskey Tango good to me, like a ginormous Suzy Q, for those of you who remember that synthetically-flavored, chemical-filled Hostess treat. I think you should have a party so I can make that. For you. Make that for you. When will you expect me?

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Speakeasy & Carry a Big Drucker

As y’all know, I make no secret of my affection for alcohol. (Vodka, specifically.) So you can only imagine how excited I was to be granted exclusive entry into a REAL speakeasy, and a HOLLYWOOD speakeasy to boot. (If you’re so inclined, open the link below in another window and let the music set the mood.)

It’s hidden like a buried treasure in the Stella Adler LA Theatre building, where awesome pal Devon treated me to a play recently (Hello, by Stefan Marks). I’ve never even been in the building, let alone their intimate theatre space, and I was blown away by the performances, as per usual in LA where there are simply too many uber-talented people for them all to be famous.

I have a weakness for LA's palm trees. They're so... emblematic.

Wedged between the wax museums, gazing down at the sidewalk stars and rising above the very common ground of an infamous intersection (Hollywood & Highland), Stella Adler LA gets lost in the crowd. I couldn’t see their sign when I was directly beneath it, and walked right by.

But let’s get back to that SPEAKEASY, shall we? Walk with me. Up the marble staircase, down a hallway with a gently sloping floor, past a life-size picture of a very young Joan Crawford which stands EXACTLY where she was standing when the picture was taken (how cool is that?!):

Not the actual picture, which is full-length. But isn't she GORGEOUS?!

Behind a nondescript door  that could very easily open to a closet or coat room, opened with a key that only a select group of people (including awesome pal Devon) possess, is a box-shaped shrine to the glorious excess of the roaring twenties. (It can be reserved for events. Call for details.)

This is it! Devon tells me that's the original ceiling.

All the people on the walls drank there, and there are some very famous names. Sadly, I can’t remember any of them. (No, not because I had already helped myself at the bar. Because I was OVEREXCITED. And this is why I would be a useless witness to a crime.) For some reason, I do remember this guy, but I bet most of you don’t:

It's W.C. Fields, see?

BEST PART — a bookcase that spins around so patrons could escape up to the roof and down the fire escape if the po po showed up. (In my mind, wearing Keystone cops hats, brandishing night sticks and twirling handlebar mustaches.)

Almost as cool as the labyrinth of tunnels under the Green Mill in Chicago, which Al Capone used to distribute banned booze to a thirsty city. But that’s a story for another day. Until then, speakeasy, my friends, and drink hard.

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LA Macarons Are Druckin Pricey

Everyone seems to be over cupcakes. When did this happen? I’ve heard from more than one reliable source that macarons (meringue-like almond ‘sandwich’ type cookies with fun fillings) are the new cupcakes. As a frosting fiend, I take issue with this. I’m not ready to let go of cupcakes.

But for foodie pal Arianna’s bday, nothing but the trendiest treat will do, so I swung by Paulette Macarons in Beverly Hills. (Take off the ‘s’ and she sounds like a mobster’s wife. “Nobody messes with Paulette Macaron, capito?”)

Like Skittles on steroids.

Those babies are $1.60 a piece, if you can believe it. (It is Beverly Hills, after all. Shocking they don’t charge for the rare air…) The colors are GORGEOUS. Green pistachio, red raspberry, lemon yellow. But are they magically delicious?

These BH babes plumped up for their photo opp. Mine were flatter.

Arianna sampled the coconut one and proclaimed it incredible. I didn’t try one (I like my sugary calories in cupcake, cookie or cocktail form) but I promise that I will next time. In spite of charging for the sexy, platinum-colored sleeve that lines up the cookies like crayons in a box, they don’t gift bag it for you with tissue and bow, and for this, Paulette loses points.

Still, though, that Paulette is one smart cookie to be on top of the trend. And even if these are a little light and dainty for a heavy-handed frosting fiend like me, I can see the appeal. So happy birthday, Arianna! Here’s hoping that this year is the sweetest yet.

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Four Daughters Is a Druckin Happy Place

I have to tell you about this cheeseburger I had last night. We’re in LOVE. It’s called the Big Daddy, and we met at 4 Daughters Kitchen in Manhattan Beach. I want to see it again tonight. And the night after that.

I can haz it?!

Look at it! Gaze upon its beauty! This particular version is from a Chicago eatery called BIG & little’s, but the basic idea is the same.

4DK (as those in the know call 4 Daughters Kitchen) describes it like this: American cheese, fried egg, lettuce, mayo, tomato and special 4DK burger sauce. I would describe it as GENIUS. The ‘special sauce’ is a spicy Thousand Island, with just the right proportion of sweet to heat. (Like any good boyfriend should be.)

California cuties!

And what kind of a monster are you if you don’t love a place called 4 Daughters Kitchen?! Dreamily located in North Manhattan Beach, four blocks from the sand, in a historic surfing district called El Porto, this place is almost too cute to be true, as if it were cooked up by a creative set designer.

Our state is bankrupt and the entire nation is sick of us. But we're cute!

I’m seeing a rom-com wherein La Aniston, a surf-loving waitress, serves the following breakfast sandwich to fish-out-of-water NYC investment banker Ryan Reynolds, who is stuck in town rehabbing his dead father’s beloved beach house. A coast-to-coast comedy ensues:

The 4DK Sunrise Sandwich, which I may never get to try, since choc chip pancakes are on the menu.

4DK owner Clint Clausen may SEEM like just another local parent, struggling to make it in the competitive restaurant biz, but in reality, he’s a former executive VP for ‘dining and nightlife juggernaut SBE‘ (thanks, LA Times!).

He may have traded in his Ferragamos for flip-flops, but this is a man who understands what people want, and where. In Hollywood, they want the Colony, where commoners aren’t welcome unless summoned by the very rich, famous or beautiful. In Manhattan Beach, they want relaxed, family-friendly and inviting.

One daughter out of four. How cute is she?!

I already have plans to see my burger again on Sunday. And this time, I’m getting sweet potato fries instead of salad on the side AND I’m eating that toasty, buttery bun in its entirety. Heck, it’s a cheat day — maybe I’ll get TWO!

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Druckin Delicious Popover Recipe

I wrote about BLT last year, as you can see here. And if memory serves, I even waxed rhapsodic about the popovers. Recently, I went to BLT here in LA, and fell in love all over again. How the hell do they DO this?!

Why don'tcha pop on over and see me sometime?

It’s just EGGS, for cry-y. Milk, flour, salt, gruyere. And yet, like so many good things, it transcends the sum of its parts. An unholy hybrid of custard and brioche, popovers beg me to pull them apart and butter their delicate insides like a popover-cidal maniac. Mwahhahahahaha.

Even with the nutty, salty, slightly Swiss-cheesy hint of gruyere, I would happily wake up to a warm basket of these for breakfast and shamelessly slather them with jam. JAM.

JAM!

The most annoying element of this recipe (other than the fact that things like this never actually ‘popover’ for me, and instead sit sullenly in their little cups, pouting and refusing to rise) is the need for a popover pan.

Could also double as rows of tiny flower pots. Or cat bowls.

Generally, I’m opposed to things that require their own fancy pan. (What Alton Brown likes to call a uni-tasker.) I live in a studio apartment that I have semi-affectionately named “Tokyo Smalls.” Therefore, storage is a problem and how many occasions really require a popover pan? Very few, I assure you.

So unless I move on up to a deluxe apartment in the sky, I’ll just hope that rich friends and family members with more spacious kitchens will purchase popover pans for my periodic use. Here is BLT’s recipe. If you A. have a popover pan and B. want me to come over, you know what to do.

BLT Popovers
Makes 12

Ingredients
4 c. milk, warmed
8 eggs
4 c. flour
1 ½ heaping tbsp. salt
2 ¼ c. grated Gruyere

1. Place the popover pan in the oven. Heat the oven and pan to 350º.

2. Gently warm the milk over low heat and set aside.

3. Whisk the eggs until frothy and slowly whisk in the milk (so as not to cook the eggs). Set the mixture aside.

4. Sift the flour with the salt. Slowly add this dry mixture to the egg mixture and gently combine until mostly smooth.

5. Remove the popover pan from the oven and spray with nonstick vegetable spray.

6. While the batter is still slightly warm, fill each popover cup three-fourths full.

7. Top each popover with approximately 2 ½ tbsps. of the grated cheese.

8. Bake at 350º for 50 minutes, rotating pan half a turn after fifteen minutes, until the popovers are golden brown.

9. Take out of oven, remove from pan, and serve immediately.

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Cream Cheese Frosting That’s Tasty as Druck

Cream cheese frosting can be tricky. There are many factors. Room temperature. Ingredient temperature. Ratio of butter to cream cheese to powdered sugar. Often I’ve frosted a cake only to watch an oil slick of frosting slide right off, leaving an unappetizing, transparent snail trail of sugar and fat on the cake top and sides. FRUSTRATING.

Alternatively, I try to coax the frosting into spreading consistency by adding cup after cup after cup of powdered sugar. This means that after sitting out on the counter for awhile, the frosting dries out enough to take on that sugary crunch that I like, and won’t smear on my shirt should my boob bump it as I walk to my car. (These things happen.) But all that sugar makes it sickeningly sweet, and cancels out the tang of the cream cheese and the butteryness of the butter.

So, I made applesauce cake this weekend:

See? Needs half as much cake, twice as much frosting.

I didn’t love it. The cake to frosting ratio was WAY off, for me. And it was so dense and thick, the outside edges were dry as dust by the time the center finally stopped sticking to my toothpick. However, in the not-a-total-waste-of-time department, the ginger, cinnamon and cloves mingled with the appley goodness, filling my kitchen with an unmistakably autumnal scent that no Gladé (that’s gla-day) candle could ever quite capture.

And one other good, perhaps even revolutionary thing: THE PERFECT CREAM CHEESE FROSTING RECIPE.

This clever blogger mentioned MAPLE cream cheese frosting. I like the way you think, Eggs on Sunday.

This is a big claim, and since we tend to overdo that in my family (‘This is the smartest cat we’ve ever had, best bologna we’ve ever tasted, biggest tree we ever put in the yard’) I’m going to offer the disclaimer that I haven’t made it twice and thus don’t know if environmental considerations (the aforementioned temps, etc.) played a significant role in frosting quality.

But that said, this stuff is DAMN GOOD, and next time I make a carrot cake I plan to double this recipe if not triple it, because someone finally got the ratio right.

For frosting

  • 5 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup confectioners sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional, obviously)

This frosted an 8″ square cake generously, if the cake itself hadn’t been freakishly tall.

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