Baklava

I’ve been obsessed with making baklava since I had a late-night school-induced baklava binge last month. I figured, the ingredients are so simple it must not be hard to make. Most recipes brag that it only takes an hour of prep and then 45 minutes of baking, but they’re all liars. First you have to thaw dough overnight or for up to a full day. And for the prep, I watched exactly three 45 minute shows on Netflix while making this, so it took fucking forever. Also, I brought this to a work potluck, so I basically spent an eternity making a dish and only ate four or five pieces.

Overall, I don’t really recommend that anyone make baklava. Yeah, it’s expensive to buy baklava, but you probably aren’t going to do that very often. Mine was by far the best tasting baklava I’ve ever had, and I’m still probably never making this again. But, if you are under house arrest and someone is willing to get the ingredients for you, it might be worth it.

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How can something with eight ingredients take so fucking long to make?

Recipe adapted from http://natashaskitchen.com/2014/12/21/baklava-recipe/

Ingredients

1 package of filo dough

2 sticks of butter

1.5 pounds of nuts (I used a mix of almonds and pistachios)

1 tsp cinnamon

1 cup sugar

Juice of ½ a lemon

1 cup water

½ cup honey

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I should have just poured the butter on the filo and not bothered spreading it out.

Instructions

Thaw filo dough for 8-24 hours in the fridge and then take out about an hour before you’re ready to start making baklava

Make syrup first so it has a chance to cool. Boil water, honey, sugar, and lemon juice for about 4 minutes and then set aside to cool.

Melt butter and then butter the sides of a 9×13 pan.

Pulse nuts in food processor until they are coarsely ground, then stir together with cinnamon.

Set up a fairly large workspace (you actually need to clean your kitchen before you make baklava or you’ll end up yelling a lot, which will make your baklava taste angry).

Trim filo dough to about 9×13 or 9×14.

To butter the filo dough, I found that it was best to drip a lot of butter on the dough and then brush it around a little. It doesn’t have to be perfect. You don’t want to miss an important part of the show you’re watching since doing this without a distraction would be boring.

Buttering every other sheet, place 10 sheets of filo on the bottom of the pan. Then add a thin layer of nut mixture (about ¾ cup). From there, alternate 5 sheets of filo (buttering every other sheet) with ¾ cup nuts. When you are out of nuts, end with 10 sheets of filo on the top, but butter every sheet so these stick together better. Cut the baklava before baking either in squares or diagonals. Use a very sharp knife because it is easy to fuck up the filo dough. Bake for about 45 minutes, then immediately pour the syrup over the baklava. It sizzles in a very satisfying manner. Cool uncovered for several hours or overnight. Cut again before serving.

 

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It’s best to crush your nuts by hand if you’re looking to make this process take as long as possible. I used a food processor, but I also hand-shelled the pistachios, so I still maximized my cooking time.

I can’t tell you what to do with your life, but if you have like three hours to dedicate to making baklava, you should probably re-evaluate your priorities.

-Serafina

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Southern Style Tomato Sandwiches and How to Make Simple Dishes Fancy

I didn’t want to do another Saturday post, but here we are nonetheless. It’s no excuse, but I’ve been busy working on my heavy metal jazz infusion album, which drops this coming week. So, now that that’s out of the way, I should have a much less hectic schedule. 

When I was growing up, my dad used to make us tomato sandwiches for lunch on the weekends. I loved them. I assumed he made them because we were so poor and couldn’t afford ingredients and also that he was lazy. But it turns out, that it was actually a southern thing I was unaware of until recently. 
The recipe is easy: bread, tomato, mayo. That’s it. I’m sure you can figure out how those come together, but I’ll write down the recipe just in case. 

And I’m going to make it fancy and pretentious. 

There are a few simple rules to make any dish fancy. First, add butter. It doesn’t matter what it is, just add a lot of butter to the dish. Second, buy oddly shaped, expensive baked goods with a French name. And finally, make sure you add in at least seven extra steps to your dish to make it more complicated. It doesn’t matter if they’re unnecessary. Just do it. 

Tl;dr – get all ingredients at Whole Foods and speak in a French accent while you cook. 

The traditional recipe calls for Wonder Bread, whatever tomatoes are on sale, and generic fake mayo. We can only go up from here, people. 

Mary Ellen’s Tomato Sandwiches to Make You Feel Sorry for Her Childood:

Bonus: use vegan mayo to give it the extra “in your face” pretentiousness we all crave.

Ingredients:

  • Mayo
  • Heirloom tomatoes
  • Fancy bread
  • Lettuce*****
  • Salt
  • Butter

Directions:

Cut the fancy bread with a chef’s knife because you don’t have a bread knife.



Melt butter in an iron skillet. No, none of this is negotiable. Go out and buy all these things. What? You want to just toast the bread in a toaster? Wtf is wrong with you? You toast the bread in the skillet!

You will become french toast later, my prettys.

Slice some tomato. Apply mayo to bread. Yes, I know, butter AND mayo? Isn’t that too much? Yes, but so what. Lightly salt the tomato with pink Himalayan salt. Lay down some lettuce. Put in mouth. 

This is what a sandwich looks like. Serve with whimsically cubed watermelon.

Make sure to buy my album. I will sign all digital copies, but only if you promise not to sell them on eBay. 

Music is lyfe,

Mary Ellen 

*****Editor’s note: don’t use whatever bullshit lettuce Mary Ellen used. It’s iceberg or bust if you want the satisfying crunch. 

Garden Green Curry

Man, oh, man, I’ve been having a lot of GI issues lately (I wish I could just insert a poo emoji here, but I don’t know how to do that on my computer… I’m only technically a millennial). Anyway, I’ve had a number of conversations with my significant other about how if I die from this illness, he will need to make sure my headstone reads “Here lies Serafina Bearafina, who died out of her butt”

I’m obviously hoping that doesn’t happen, but you have to have a plan in place.

Anyway, prior to my…problems, I was spending a shitload of time gardening. A few weeks ago, I made this lovely dish (I only mention that it was a few weeks ago so no one thinks that this curry will make you die out of your butthole)

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If you’re wondering, no, the broccoli isn’t supposed to look like that, it was basically broccolini, just grown from regular broccoli seeds because I planted it too late.

This curry was born out of the most wonderful of circumstances. My boyfriend, who refuses to eat curry after an incident with his freshman year cafeteria, was away for the weekend. My garden produced about 10 zucchinis and some other unidentified stuff. And (most importantly), I discovered a jar of green curry paste that was about to expire. I know you all wish you can be as inspired in the kitchen as I am, but I’m hoping by sharing these little genuine moments, you can learn how to make edible food.

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Here’s another tip to help you on your food journey: if you think the cauliflower your grew looks weird, taste it before you drop it in the pan.

Ingredients

Brown rice, cooked

1-2 tsp coconut oil

Garlic powder

Ginger powder

Green curry paste

Splash of water

Several cups of garden vegetables (or grocery store vegetables if you don’t understand how to water your garden)

1 can coconut milk

1-2 tsp coconut aminos

1 tsp lime juice

Salt and pepper to taste

Cilantro to garnish

 

Instructions

Cook your rice if you didn’t already (it doesn’t taste very good raw)

Heat coconut oil with ginger and garlic powder for a few moments, then add green curry and a splash of water. Add veggies and saute for a few minutes. Add coconut milk and cook until veggies are soft (maybe 15 minutes?) Once cooked, add lime juice, salt, pepper, and coconut aminos.

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Try not to text your boyfriend a picture of all of the things he hates, unless you want to make sure he doesn’t actually come home.

*poo emoji*

Serafina

Guide to a Happy Marriage (actually I’m just going to make sex jokes) 

Yesterday, Annie and I celebrated our five year anniversary, so sorry the post is a day late. I was too busy having celebratory sex all day. Just kidding. I’m married and have a one year old, so we were both sick with the plague again, after less than two weeks of health. 

We just watched kpop videos until the late hour of 9pm, then went to bed. This is basically the secret spice to our life.
No one has ever asked us about the secret to our happy marriage, which kind of makes me a little resentful. How can I be smug as hell about it when no one asks? How can I bring it up in daily conversation, unprovoked? 

A lot of Mormon mom blogs out there have very nice lists to a happy marriage. Usually the lists consist of having sex whenever your husband wants, and praying to Jesus. I can’t really argue with those list items, I suppose, because they really do go hand in hand. But what about the rest of us, who really just phone it in on a daily basis with, basically everything, until the point where our lives become a shit show? 

Just like how I’m writing this post on the fly, with no forethought, because all my other planned posts will take too much effort and right now I’d really like to take a nap, that’s how I approach marriage. Sure, sometimes I plan things out. I waxed my legs recently. Sometimes I plan dinner in advance. But usually, my marriage is like an improve show, and the audience is throwing up the weirdest shit ever and we just have to say yes to it all in order to not get booed off the stage. There is no Emcee monitoring it, so it gets chaotic. 

I’m so fucking deep. You guys are writing this all down, right? 

We’re always a mess. *giggle*
Serafina was at my wedding, and I’ll never forget what she said to me, because they’re the words of a true friend: 

“I can just keep driving and you don’t have to do this.” 

I’m getting teary just thinking about that moment, when I almost ran away. Maybe it was the love I felt for Annie, or the confusion I felt for the “Call Me Maybe” song Serafina was blasting on the radio, or maybe it was my cousin forcing us to go to the venue, but I’m glad I got slightly buzzed and went through with it all the same. Because now, instead of running away from my problems, I can thrust them upon someone else to carry (and we still run away). 

I hope this helps other couples with whatever they might be going through. If it doesn’t, bondage does wonders for any marriage, as well as your soul. 

50 shades of sass,

Mary Ellen