Sunday, June 28, 2009

White-Trash, Trailer-Park, Ghetto Fabulous… Toffee

This super-simple, inexpensive, addictive toffee is called “Chocolate Praline Toffee Crisps” by the kids at Pampered Chef, but is better known as “White Trash Toffee”, “Trailer Park Toffee” or “Ghetto Toffee”, mostly because of its base ingredient: the humble Saltine cracker. In fact, it should be called “Crack Toffee” because it is cheap and highly addictive. I’ve made this three times now for three different parties/picnics and it gets inhaled every time. I suggest you make some for any picnics you’re going to this summer, you’ll be very popular.


Saltine Chocolate Crunch
(aka “White Trash Toffee”)

1 sleeve (about 24) saltines*
3/4 C. brown sugar
1 C. (2 sticks) butter
12 oz. (2 C.) chocolate chips
3/4 C. chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 400°
Line a cookie sheet or jellyroll pan with foil, spray foil very lightly with cooking spray (or use non-stick foil) and cover cookie sheet with saltines in one layer.

Boil sugar and butter in a non-stick pan until the butter is completely incorporated into the sugar, stirring constantly. This takes about 1 minute. Do not overcook or the butter solids will separate and you will end up with grease with a sugary lump in the middle. Pour over saltines and spread evenly. Bake 5 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips. Let set 2 minutes, then spread melted chips with spatula. Sprinkle with nuts, then press down lightly.

When cool and chocolate is set, cut on a diagonal. You can accelerate this process by cooling to approx room temp and then putting pan in freezer for 20 minutes or in fridge for about 2 hours.

Yields approx. 30 pieces. Pieces can be frozen. Broken bits from cutting are excellent on vanilla ice cream.

*I’ve also seen recipes using graham crackers and matzo crackers. If I was making this with matzo I would add about 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the butter mixture. Or maybe skip the salt there and use salted nuts on top of the chocolate. Or maybe fancy Hawaiian salt on the chocolate. Mmmm, I might have to go experiment now……

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

These aren't the droids you are looking for...

Star Wars creator George Lucas is an architecture buff (who knew?). The Architects' Journal, a British mag, recently chose the top ten buildings from the Star Wars series, and lists the real-life buildings that inspired or were inspired by them.

{from Episode V, aka The Empire Strikes Back, arguably the best of the bunch, Cloud City. Part 1 of the AJ article claims it is mirrored in John Lautner’s Chemosphere House.}

{This is not the home of Luke Skywalker in Star Wars (Episode IV, my favorite) or The Phantom Menace (Episode I), but the Ksar Ouled Soltane, one of the Berber granaries of Tunisia. According to Part 2 of the AJ article, they were the inspiration for the artisanal houses of Tattoine}.
The headline for this post is a line from Episode IV. Yes, I am a geek. But only for the "real Star Wars", the ones from '77, '80 and '83. "Help me Obi-Wan, you're my only hope"

Friday, June 19, 2009

Corn: It's What's For Dinner

I both cannot wait -- yet am scared to death -- to see this documentary.

From the movie, quoted in Roger Ebert's review: "Corn, in fact, is an ingredient in 80 percent of supermarket products, including batteries and Splenda. Processing concentrates it. You couldn't eat enough corn kernels in a day to equal the number of calories in a bag of corn chips."

This is what America is all about right? Little business grows into big business. Bigger, faster, cheaper, better. But at what cost? In a nation that idolizes the thin yet is overrun with obesity, why do we make it so hard for the average family to buy good, healthy food without going broke?

More of Ebert's review here, and Ann Hornaday's review here. I don't think I'll be getting popcorn at this movie.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Happily Never After

{Cinder 3, by Dina Goldstein, from her Fallen Princesses series}

Photographer Dina Goldstein has injected a dose of Brothers Grimm-type reality, circa 2009, into the Disney Princesses. These fair maidens face modern-day issues such as addiction, self-image, illness and war. While the Snow White and Sleeping Beaury scenarios seem familiar, the consequences of Belle/Beauty's vanity and irony of Rapunzel's hair loss are a sad truth for too many real women.

The rest of the series, here.

Friday, June 5, 2009


If God had a cellphone back in the day, he could have saved Moses the hike up Mt. Sinai:

1. no1 b4 me. srsly.

2. dnt wrshp pix/idols

3. no omg's

4. no wrk on w/end (sat 4 now; sun l8r)

5. pos ok - ur m&d r cool

6. dnt kill ppl

7. :-X only w/ m8

8. dnt steal

9. dnt lie re: bf

10. dnt ogle ur bf's m8. or ox. or dnkey. myob.

M, pls rite on tabs & giv 2 ppl.

ttyl, JHWH.

ps. wwjd?

Via McSweeney's. Also, you can now follow God on Twitter, but he's a little snarky.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

New birds on the block No. 26, literally

These baby robins are living in the rhododendron bush in front of my parents' house. Aren't they cute?
I'm just worried that the nest is so low, it's like a buffet for a wandering cat....

{pics by my dad}

Monday, June 1, 2009

Top o' the Pfingstmontag to you!

{Pfingstmontag, Originally uploaded by Lichtwechsel}

According to my calendar (which is French), today is "Pfingst-Montag" (which is German), or Whit-Monday, 'a great festival day of the year with the Germans of the Old World and the New. They celebrate it if they are "city pent," by excursions into the country; if they dwell in the country, they still have their festive out door recreations".'

So basically it is a day off from work, to celebrate being outside.

I'm telling you, those Europeans are so much smarter than us when it comes to time off.....

Give me the splendid silent sun with all his beams full-dazzling.
~ Walt Whitman