Adventureland

I’ve had quite the adventurous few days, at least compared to my usual homebound-except-for-errands weekends. I trace it all back to Friday night, when my urge for cookies became so overwhelming that I actually baked some. This never happens, as I mostly hate baking, or more accurately, I’m afraid of it. But at least I’m woman enough to admit it. It’s the science, really. The ratios and the measuring and all of that stuff that I can manage to completely ignore when I’m cooking, but which are important when you’re trying to bake things so that they don’t taste weird or fall in on themselves or explode and set fire to the kitchen.

I made a variation of some cookies from Eat, Drink, and Be Vegan, which didn’t involve many normal baking ingredients, like sugar, or eggs, or butter. Perfect.

in the oven; no shots of the finished cookies because, well, I ate them all.

in the oven; no shots of the finished cookies because, well, I ate them all.

Even though I don’t really bake, we do tend to have a few baking staples on hand. Flour (for pancakes and roux), baking soda (also for pancakes), and various vegetable-based oils. These had whole wheat flour, baking soda, oats, ground flaxseed, chocolate chips, honey, peanut butter, cinnamon, and some canola oil. Bonus of vegan baking? You can eat the dough with no nagging fear of salmonella.

That’s fairly low key on the adventure front, though I was quite proud of myself that they turned out well. And were also, I bet, better for me than the cupcakes with 87 ingredients in the frosting alone that I almost sent Matt out to buy.

More adventurous was the trip to Lincoln, Nebraska that we took yesterday. After two years of living here, we finally took the plunge and drove the two hours it takes to cross the Nebraska border and make our way towards Lincoln. We were planning to go in a few weeks, but I got back from the gym yesterday and Matt had directions and was ready to drive.

Lincoln was awesome, with lots of restaurants and places to walk and see (why I wanted to go) and a good comic store (why Matt wanted to go). We didn’t have that much time to explore it, and I forgot to bring the list of all the things Livia suggested that we should check out, so we’re planning to go back again later this summer. We ate at Lazlo’s, which had good food, really good fries, and seriously good beer. The special was a black lager, which was amazing, but what really got me was the vanilla porter. It was like someone opened up a vanilla bean and dumped the seeds in an already good beer. To make it The Best Beer. All of the beers are brewed locally by Empyream, and if you’re ever in Lincoln you have to drink some.

My main problem when confronted with really good restaurants is that I can’t stop eating. I eat way beyond my full point and then I spend hours feeling like I’m going to explode. Which happened. I even asked them to bring me an extra basket of fries after I had finished my meal and had two and a half beers. And yet, somehow I found it in me to enjoy some ice cream from Ivanna Cone, which is apparently famous if the line out the door was any indication. I had butter cashew. I almost wept into the cup, it was so good.

Now we’re home again, but I’m jetsetting again tomorrow, this time to Lawrence for the day for work. To get Matt all set up for the week, I made a batch of black-eyed pea and corn patties from Vegetarian Times.

It’s odd to me how often I want something in burger format, considering that I stopped eating beef many years ago. I used to eat turkey burgers before I stopped eating poultry, and I probably eat veggie burgers that someone else has made, lovingly packaged, frozen, and made available to stores for consumers like me at least once a week. And then there are the black bean burgers, and the chickpea cutlets, and the significantly less successful chickpea patties (I still blame Bittman). And I just keep going back.

These were actually successful. They stayed together fairly well and had nice flavor.

up close and personal, with some salsa

up close and personal, with some salsa

We almost had an incident with these. Let’s just say that even if the recipe indicates that it’s totally cool to put three cups of frozen corn in a food processor and just puree away, it is totally not cool. But I’m a better person for knowing.

I served it up alongside some Bobby Flay-inspired jicama slaw and some chips and salsa.

again with the poor plating

again with the poor plating

I realized about ten minutes ago that I was exhausted. I bet you couldn’t tell. I used my rambling to hide the truth.

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