Friday, November 9, 2018

Supernatural 14x05 "Nightmare Logic"

Funny story. I didn't really feel like watching the show and doing the recap last night, so I was like well, I'll just wait until morning. Then I went to play the show from the DVR, and it turned out the news had pre-empted the entire thing anyway, so I wouldn't have been able to watch it even if I had wanted to! But, anyway, on to the show...
Jensen Ackles as Dean Winchester and Jared Padalecki as Sam Winchester in Supernatural 14x05 "Nightmare Logic"
Sam has been leading the group of, I guess we'll call them hunters now, at the bunker. One of the hunters, Maggie, was out on a hunt and never checked in. Naturally, Sam was feeling very responsible about the whole thing, though Dean tries to reassure him that they'll find her and it's not his fault, etc. They head out to the place she was hunting and soon discover that Mary and Bobby are already there, and using their same historical society aliases, ha.

Turns out, Maggie had been texting them for tips and advice, and when they hadn't heard from her, they came to check it out. Bobby gives Sam grief for being a terrible leader or something, though Mary tries to diffuse the situation. When they separate into pairs to look into things, Mary reveals that there's something Bobby is hiding, and that also she may be interested in him romantically if he'd quit being closed off. On the hunting front, they discover that a hunter had previously been there and was killed.

I haven't really talked about the monster situation at all. Basically, when they "kill" the monsters, they turn into dust. Not your typical situation, since every monster seems to be different, from a ghoul, to a vampire, to Bobby's dead son Daniel, who apparently was killed by Michael or his angels back in the other world. Bobby, of course, tries to go off on his own when he sees Daniel, and gets beaten up pretty bad, only for Mary to come in and almost get killed by this Daniel figure as well. But Bobby is able to overcome and gets rid of the monster-ish thing.
Jim Beaver as Bobby Singer and Samantha Smith as Mary Winchester in Supernatural 14x05 "Nightmare Logic"
So just what is the deal with these monsters anyway? Well, as is true in almost every procedural-type show, it is naturally one of the first people you meet in the episode - Neil, the nurse for the old dude in the house that they're investigating. It turns out that he's a djinn and has been hiding Maggie in the attic to drain her blood. I thought it looked like a djinn setup, but then I was like I'm confused I thought they were like in visions or something... but ah ha. Right. Michael has beefed up this djinn so that he can make people's nightmares come to life. He did this to djinn around the country (or world? who knows), and they've been laying traps for hunters to pick them off one by one. Fun times.

Regardless, they're able to save Maggie and get rid of the djinn, and head back home to the bunker. Bobby confides in Mary about what happened to his son, and they decide to take some time off while he recuperates from his wounds. Bobby also apologizes to Sam and tells him he's more or less doing a good job. And Dean, of course, is feeling guilty about one more thing that Michael did while in control of his body. It never ends!

Random Thoughts:

- So, I'm thinking this may be my last season doing these recaps. Unless next season ends up being the last season, which at this rate it doesn't seem likely. I just don't have the heart for it that I once did, and it seems like so few people really read them anyway. Who knows, maybe I'll change my mind.

- Having a djinn just reminded me of the far superior episode back from season 2, What Is and What Should Never Be. Man, one of the best. In fact, I named it as my #5 out of 50 episodes of all time, at least up through season 10, though I doubt any of these episodes from these past few seasons would crack the top 10 out of 50 at all.

- I didn't even really touch on the family story that was going on throughout this episode, but it wasn't really that important other than Dean telling the daughter of the old guy to let go of past mistakes and admitting that he was trying to but it's difficult.

Quotes:

Bobby: This case is obviously not a milk run.

Mary: Watching you these last few weeks, you know what I've been saying to myself? This is what he was born to do.

Dean: He doesn't eat, he doesn't sleep. He grew himself one of those Kenny Rogers' beards. No offense.

Dean: What happened to you?
Bobby: I could ask you the same question.

Previous Episode

Monday, November 5, 2018

Milk Bar Blondie Pie

Sweetness is something you come to expect from a Christina Tosi recipe. There's no doubt about that. And this blondie pie is no exception. Hoo boy it is SWEET! Can barely even eat a thin slice type of sweet. But! It's not as sweet when you get more of the crust in with a bite, so I think my crust was a little too thin in the bottom versus the sides.


This pie and the crack pie are interesting -- they aren't your traditional type of pie with some kind of specific filling like fruit or nuts. Instead their fillings are kind of...sugar? Basically, you're just eating a sugar pie, is what I'm saying. This here blondie pie does have some added cashews, but they are very, very subtle. You wouldn't know it had cashews unless someone told you, really.


So the question is - did I like this pie? I'm not super sure, to be honest. I probably wouldn't ever make it again, so I guess that's saying something. Do I have a desire to eat it now that it's here and available? Sometimes. It's just a bit too sweet for me, and that's coming from someone with a serious sweet tooth!

I do wonder if making this at home just doesn't translate. In the cookbook, Tosi says that this is her favorite pie, and I can't believe her favorite would be one that's way too sweet. The crack pie is also sweet, but not in the same way. That said, this blondie pie doesn't even seem to be on the Milk Bar menu right now, so maybe others weren't feeling it as much either.


I also overcooked it a little, I think. I wasn't sure whether the middle was done enough, and you can see the edges of my crust got a little burnt. But also, she never uses deep-dish pie tins, and that's pretty much all I have, so the crust went up a bit higher on the sides than it would have otherwise. The middle was still very gooey regardless of whether I actually overcooked it, so I can't really be sure there either.

It's still an interesting pie, for sure! Maybe others would like it more than me, so don't take my feelings as the be-all end-all of it all-all.



Milk Bar Blondie Pie

Christina Tosi's Blondie Pie from the Milk Bar Cookbook.

Ingredients:
  • 3/4 recipe (255 g or 1 1/2 cups) Graham Crust (recipe below)
  • 1 recipe Blondie Pie Filling (recipe below)
  • 1 recipe Cashew Praline (recipe below)
Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325F.
  2. Dump the graham crust into a 10-inch pie tin. Press the crust firmly into the tin, covering the bottom and sides evenly. Set side while you work on the rest.
  3. Put the pie tin on a sheet pan and pour in the blondie pie filling. Bake for 30 minutes. It will set slightly in the center and darken in color. Add 3 to 5 minutes more if needed. Let cool to room temperature.
  4. Just before serving, cover the top of the pie with the cashew praline.


Graham Crust

Ingredients:
  • 190g (1 1/2 cups) graham cracker crumbs
  • 20g (1/4 cup) milk powder
  • 25g (2 Tablespoons) granulated sugar
  • 3g (3/4 teaspoon) kosher salt
  • 55g (4 Tablespoons) butter, melted
  • 55g (1/4 cup) heavy cream
Instructions:

  1. Toss the graham crumbs, milk powder, sugar, and salt with your hands in a medium bowl to evenly distribute your dry ingredients.
  2. Whisk the butter and heavy cream together. Add to the dry ingredients and toss again to evenly distribute. The mix should hold its shape when squeeze tightly in the palm of your hand. If it doesn't, melt and additional 14 to 25 g (1 to 1 1/2 Tablespoons) butter and mix it in.
  3. Use as directed above. Extra graham crust can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 1 week or in the fridge or freeze for 1 month. The extra leftovers you can put on top of some ice cream or something?!


Blondie Pie Filling

Ingredients:
  • 160g (5 1/2 ounces) white chocolate
  • 55g (4 Tablespoons) butter
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 40g (3 Tablespoons) granulated sugar
  • 105g (1/2 cup) heavy cream
  • 52g (1/3 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 recipe Cashew Brittle (recipe below)
  • 4g (1 teaspoon) kosher salt
Instructions:

  1. Combine the white chocolate and butter in the microwave-safe bowl and gently melt them on medium, in 30-second increments, stirring between blasts. Once melted, whisk the mixture until smooth.
  2. Put the egg yolks and sugar in a medium bowl and whisk together until smooth. Pour in the white chocolate mixture and whisk to combine. Slowly drizzle in heavy cream and whisk to combine.
  3. Stir in the flour, cashew brittle, and salt together in a small bowl, then carefully fold them into the filling. Use immediately, or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.


Cashew Praline

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 recipe Cashew Brittle (recipe below)
  • 20g (2 Tablespoons) grapeseed oil
Instructions:

  1. Grind the brittle with the oil in a food processor until it has completely broken down and almost liquefied. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 month or in the freezer for 2 months.


Cashew Brittle

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup cashews
Instructions:

  1. Line a sheet pan with a Silpat (parchment won't work here).
  2. Make a dry caramel: Heat the sugar in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. As soon as the sugar starts to melt, use a heatproof spatula to move it constantly around the pan to melt and caramelize evenly. Cook and stir until the caramel is a deep, dark amber, 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. Once the caramel has reached that color, remove the pan from the heat and, with the heatproof spatula, stir in the nuts. Make sure they are nice and coated, then dump all of that out onto the prepared pan. Spread out as thin and evenly as possible. The caramel will set into a hard-to-move-around brittle mass in less than a minute, so work fast. Let cool completely.
  4. Either in a food processor, or with a zip top bag and rolling pin, break up the pieces as small as possible to the size of short-grain rice. You can store it in an airtight container for about a month.
Recipe from the Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook


Thursday, November 1, 2018

Supernatural 14x04 "Mint Condition"

That was a pretty fun episode - a nice Halloween-y diversion from the main angel-y storyline of the season. It's funny how these later seasons I tend to enjoy the one-off episodes more whereas back in the day it used to be the other way around. So, yes, this is a monster o' the week episode, going back to tried and true territory for the Winchesters with a classic ghost hunt.

Jensen Ackles as Dean Winchester in Supernatural 14x04 "Mint Condition"
Dean has been holed up in his room at the bunker, not wanting to interact with all of the strangers in what is essentially his home, eating pizza and watching horror movie marathons. Sam is a bit worried about him, so luckily he comes across a case that he thinks just might tickle Dean's fancy - a comic book store worker was attacked by a Thundercats toy come to life! Yup, Dean is IN.

They head on over to investigate, and the dude, Stuart, tries to tell them he made it all up, but it soon becomes clear that he did NOT make it all up when he is attacked again, this time with the Winchesters helpfully nearby staking out his house. They save him from a killer chainsaw, and that's when Dean brings out the EMF detector and figures out that they have a ghost on their hands.

Dean hangs back at the hospital to make sure Stuart's mom doesn't go back to his house, while Sam heads off to try to find out who the ghost may be. He doesn't have much luck at Stuart's house, so he heads back over to the comic book store to check in with Samantha, one of the other workers. It turns out that the former owner of the store died recently, and he was not too fond of Stuart, who was stealing from the store. Just as Sam is asking about where his body is buried (it isn't, it was cremated), the ghost shows up to cause some mayhem.

Jensen Ackles as Dean Winchester, Jared Padalecki as Sam Winchester, Aaron Paul Stewart as Dirk, Genevieve Buechner as Samantha in Supernatural 14x04 "Mint Condition"The ghost takes over the Hatchet Man figure that has been playing a large part in this whole episode, not only the figure, but also the movies he is from that Dean was watching earlier and that he discusses throughout with Dirk, another of the comic book store workers. ANYWAY, the ghost heads on over to the hospital to go after Stuart, much running and fighting ensues, and Sam and Samantha make it just in time to surmise that the item the ghost is attached to is likely the keychain that goes with the store. Torch time, babies!

With the ghost mystery solved, the brothers head back to the bunker, having a patented Impala chat about feelings on the way. Basically, Sam tells Dean he can't keeping hiding away, and Dean thanks Sam for getting him out of the house and out of his funk. Aw, bros.

Random Thoughts:

- The moment when Dean is about to elbow the fire hose glass but instead sees if it's unlocked. Ha, too funny.

- Did they name the comic book nerd who is attacked Stuart in reference to the owner of the comic book store in Big Bang Theory? Haha.

- There were a lot of fun little moments throughout this episode. Nice brotherly banter, Dean geeking out over horror movies. Sam finally admitting why he hates Halloween (basically, he puked on a girl he was about to kiss).

Quotes:

Dean: Oh wow.
Sam: What? Oh. Yes. I shaved.

Dean: Since when is okay part of this job?

Dean: She's like your twin. Soft, delicate features, luxurious hair. She's like your wonder twin.

Sam: Can't believe you had her make us apple cider.
Dean: She offered.

Samantha: Where'd you learn how to do this?
Sam: I had a messed up childhood.

Previous Episode -- Next Episode

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Supernatural 14x03 "The Scar"

Dean is back, and not ready to deal with his emotions. What a shocker! Everyone is worried about him, of course, Sam especially, but Dean just wants to get to the bottom of things, which turns out to be something to do with this mysterious scar on his arm. Turns out, something was able to hurt Michael while he was in Dean, so whatever that was is obvi super important.

Jared Padalecki as Sam Winchester, Jensen Ackles as Dean Winchester, Misha Collins as Castiel in Supernatural 14x03 "The Scar"And wouldn't you know it, one Jody Mills just happens to be involved in finding said weapon! She just happens to be working on a case where some dead bodies also exhibit a very similar wound to the one Dean has. So everyone is all gung ho about going up to Sioux Falls and finding the weapon and its wielder. Jack is all ready to go with them, but of course they are still holding him back. Only it turns out that one of the other hunters around the bunker just happens to bring in this cursed girl, so Cas also stays behind with Jack to take care of this girl.

So let's go through the Cas and Jack storyline real quick first. Jack is all ready to run away because he's feeling pretty sorry for himself, but then he decides to stay when he sees the sick girl. While Cas and this other lady work on a spell to try to save the girl, Jack chats her up, and she does some very on-the-nose dialoguing about how she ran away and she regrets it, blah blah. The most important bit of the whole thing is that basically this witch took her and a few other girls in and it is blatantly obvious that said witch used this necklace thing the girl has on to start stealing her youth.

Kim Rhodes as Sheriff Jody Mills, Jared Padalecki as Sam Winchester in Supernatural 14x03 "The Scar"Long story short, when Cas' witch reversal spell doesn't work and the girl seemingly dies, Jack figures out that the witch is wearing a necklace very similar to the girl and figures that the girl's life force might be inside it. Bang bang goes the necklace, and the girl gets her life force back, and Cas is all kinds of proud of Jack for thinking on his feet. He also offers to go on a real hunting trip with him once the Winchesters get back. All would be fine and dandy, except that Jack now seems to be coughing up blood. Dun dun dun.

Okay, on to the Winchester story. They meet up with Jody and start investigating the woods, and soon enough find the person responsible for the wound - Kaia's double from the bad place. The spear she brought over has some kind of special powers and can hurt Michael. Dean is all gung ho about trying to get it away from her, but she's not one to giver over her special weapon so easily, especially not to Dean. That goes on hold, anyway, because some super vamps show up and start beating everyone up. Luckily, Kaia's special weapon is also good at killing these new super monsters, so she takes them out pretty easily.

Dean confesses to Sam that he does sort of remember what happened during the time with Michael, even though earlier he claimed it had gone by in a blink. Rather, he felt like he was drowning the entire time, trying to come up for air. And now he feels responsible for whatever Michael does, because he said yes in the first place. Ah, typical Winchesters, trying to take all the blame on themselves!

Random Thoughts:

- Wonder what is wrong with Jack. Seems like he might get his grace back just in time to save himself or something?

- I always find it funny in episodes where people mention others a lot, but they're not in the episode at all. Like, we didn't get to see Dean and Mary's reunion. Claire and the other girls were mentioned a bunch, but not seen, even though they were in the same town. I know it's budgetary and whatever, it just doesn't always make logical sense in the story.

- The bewitched girl storyline was ridiculously predictable. And talk about SUCH an on-the-nose talk about running away when he had literally just been about to run away. Good grief.

- What do you think of Sam's beard? For some reason it almost looks fake to me? Or maybe just too meticulously groomed or something?

Quotes:

Dean: Duck Dynasty called, and they say they want it all back.
Sam: Some people say I look good.
Dean: No. No, Sam, no people say that.

Dean: I didn't mean to be a dick.

Previous Episode -- Next Episode

Monday, October 22, 2018

Outrageous Oatmeal Cookies

After taking my first bite of one of these cookies, I said to my boyfriend, "You know, I think these might be the best oatmeal cookies I've ever had." And seriously, I stand by that statement.

These are SO. GOOD.

Outrageous Oatmeal Cookies by freshfromthe.com.

Generally, I'm not a huge oatmeal cookie person. Give me a choice between a chocolate chip and an oatmeal, and I will always choose a chocolate chip. But if you told me that the oatmeal cookie was going to be one of these, I might just choose it instead.

Why are they so good, you wonder? I could tell just from the dough they were going to be good, but  I think why they're so good is a combination of the browned butter, and said browned butter being swirled around with the cinnamon while it's still hot. That just really opened up the flavors.

Outrageous Oatmeal Cookies by freshfromthe.com.

Now, they do have a tendency to get crumbly, but heck, if that's the case, get yourself some good vanilla ice cream and sprinkle those crumbles on top! Or even make yourself an oatmeal cookie ice cream sandwich. I didn't have any vanilla ice cream, but man that sounds amazing.

They also aren't going to stay moist for very long, but that's probably not going to be a problem, right? They're going to get eaten pretty quickly, duh.

Outrageous Oatmeal Cookies by freshfromthe.com.



Outrageous Oatmeal Cookies

The best oatmeal cookies you'll ever have? You be the judge. For me, that's a yes.

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup (5 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg plus 1 large yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups (9 ounces) old-fashioned rolled oats
Instructions:

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour, salt, and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.
  2. Melt butter in 8-inch skillet over medium-high heat, swirling pan occasionally, until foaming subsides. Continue to cook, stirring and scraping bottom of pan with heat-resistant spatula, until milk solids are dark golden brown and butter has nutty aroma, 1 to 2 minutes. Immediately transfer browned butter to large heatproof bowl, scraping skillet with spatula. Stir in cinnamon.
  3. Add brown sugar, granulated sugar, and oil to bowl with butter and whisk until combined. Add egg and yolk and vanilla and whisk until mixture is smooth. Using wooden spoon or spatula, stir in flour mixture until fully combined, about 1 minute. Add oats and stir until evenly distributed (mixture will be stiff).
  4. Divide dough into 20 portions, each about 3 tablespoons (or use #24 cookie scoop). Arrange dough balls 2 inches apart on prepared sheets, 10 dough balls per sheet. Using your damp hand, press each ball into 2 1/2-inch disk.
  5. Bake, 1 sheet at a time, until cookie edges are set and lightly browned and centers are still soft but not wet, 8 to 10 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking. Let cookies cool on sheet on wire rack for 5 minutes; using wide metal spatula, transfer cookies to wire rack and let cool completely.
Recipe via Cook's Illustrated

Outrageous Oatmeal Cookies by freshfromthe.com.
<