Loki and Sigyn in the Kitchen

These Things Don’t Just Appear Out of Nowhere, You Know, Part II: …Must Come Out

Some interminible period of scooping, leveling, pouring, mixing, and dithering later, the human female is reasonably sure she has put in eight cups of flour. The dough seems awfully soft and sticky, but it’s supposed to be that way at this point.

Sigyn, if you fall into that, I’m not sure if it will be easier to clean you off or let you be and summon a doppelganger.

Just kidding! You’re irreplaceable and I love you.

Now the dough gets to rest for three hours in the freezer or over night in the fridge. Since I want cookies TODAY, freezer it is.

Covered with plastic wrap, it can be walked on. (stompity, stompity, stomp.) Footprints are fun!

(later)

Because the human female is too bone idle to roll and cut cookies, she and Sigyn are making the dough into balls and rolling them in cinnamon sugar.

Be assured I’m doing my part, too.

About twenty cookies fit on one sheet.

They look like meatballs at this stage, don’t they?

Oven time!

Bake, bake, bake, bake, bake… Peer as much as you like, but be careful not to burn your nose, my love.

Pans and pans of cookies are coming out of the oven, one after the other.

They’re taking over the table, like a sweet little army of calorie bombs.

(thirteen or fourteen dozen later) The cookies are all made, so now there’s nothing left but the clean-up. Which I won’t do, of course, but I have nothing against supervising and making snide comments.

There is no centimeter of this kitchen which is un-gooped. Human female, sometimes I think a palsied gorilla wearing boxing gloves could do a neater job than you!

was here.

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These Things Don’t Just Appear Out of Nowhere, You Know, Part I: What Goes In…

Gaming Weekend is nearly upon us, and you know what that means. The humans are running around like headless poultry. The male is making lists of games he wants to play and the female is worrying about what to feed people. We didn’t do this whole rigamarole last year because of The Plague, so everyone wants this year to be special.

The order of business today includes Gingerbread. I have spoken of the human female’s gingerbread before, and noted how popular it is. Don’t tell her I said it, but the stuff is addicting. And unfortnately, if people want to eat them, she has to spend a good chunk of the day making them. They don’t just appear out of nowhere. Believe me, I’ve tried, and it’s one thing my magic just can’t do.

This time, Sigyn and I are going to help make them. Well, Sigyn is going to help (and hopefully learn how to make them so that we’re not dependent on the human female for our fix), and I am going to meddle. Not too much, because I still want there to be cookies at the end of the day, but enough so that I get banished from the kitchen before it’s time to wash the dishes.

The recipe lives on the computer, so the human female has scribbled it down on scratch paper she can take to the kitchen.

She has amounts written out for both a single and a double batch. Today, I think we’re going for a double batch. A single batch takes less than a jar of molasses, and double batch takes less than two but more than one. Unless she’s willing to do Weird Math and make something like a batch and a half, the molasses never comes out even. (Most people do not suspect my seat on the board of the National Molasses Marketing Association, but it’s a role I dearly cherish.)

Sigyn, I know you’re contemplating diving in and drinking your way out, but I beg you to reconsider.

Next, we need sugar. Plain old white sugar.

You’d think that she’d just use brown sugar—which is white sugar with some molasses added in—instead of white sugar and molasses, but apparently the tang of molasses is what makes these cookies Extra Good, so not even I will muck about with this part of the recipe.

If Sigyn falls in, the cookies will be even sweeter. (But I’ll make sure she doesn’t!)

Shortening is next. The human female refuses to scoop and measure the stuff anymore because it’s so messy. Now she just buys sticks that are exactly a cup. I’ve seen to it that she has two partial sticks and will have to figure out if that’s enough or too much.

And she’ll be all greasy by the end anyway, so mess will not have been averted after all. *I* don’t plan to do the clean-up, so I am more than all right with this!

The bowl is filling rapidly. Are we sure there’s going to be room for the rest of the ingredients?

Eggs hold everything together.

Ehehehee! I jiggled the bowl while the human female was running the mixer, and there are now greasy-eggy-molasses-y splatters all over the vicinity!

Time for the dry ingredients. The human female likes to start with the spices and whatnot, to make sure they are well mixed in. I distracted her while she was copying the recipe and she left out the cinnamon. Let’s see if she remembers!

Salt, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda… She did remember! (Giggle)

Sigyn has turned the jar around and foiled my next little joke.

Well, they’re both brown and fragrant, so what’s the diff?

Just kidding! I wasn’t really going to let the human female put in cumin rather than cinnamon. As I said, I have a vested interest in these cookies coming out right.

Now, we’re not just going to start dumping these in, are we? I’m usually all about the the chaos, but in this case, I do believe some precision is called for…

Precision, of course, does not always equal neatness. This is a double batch, so we need 2 tsp of cloves. The human female is using the half-teaspoon measure because it fits in the jar better. Watch this. “Hey! Woman! Did you count to four half teaspoons, or did your tiny mortal brain just count to two for a double batch?” Ehehehhehe! She thought she knew, but now she’s not sure. If she only put two, the cookies won’t taste right. If she put in four and adds two more, they’ll be equally awful. “Stupid woman! Maybe you should add one more, just in case, and they’ll only be a little awful.”

In the end, she has decided that she had only put in two and has added two more. Don’t tell her, but that was the right answer. Time for flour! It is even easier to make her lose count of how many cups of flour, since she has to go all the way to eight.

Scoop, level, pour. Scoop, level, pour. Mix. Scoop, level, pour. Scoop, level, pour. Mix. Scoop, level, pour. Scoop, level—

Now is this cup number six, or number five? Five or six? *I* know, but I’m not telling…

To be continued…

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There’s Nothing Like a Good Paella

The humans are food-bored again. The human male has promised us paella tonight! Come on, Sigyn! Let’s see how it progresses!

First, we assemble the ingredients. Says here we’re gong to need some saffron threads. Fancy!

Now, where is the saffron?

Ah. No saffron. I’m no expert, but I do believe that saffron is a critical ingredient for paella. Let’s consult the recipe again.

We do have arborio rice, do we not?

Correct! We do not! Did someone perhaps erase saffron and arborio rice from the most recent shopping list? I’m sure I couldn’t say. I suppose it’s possible.

Clearly, we are not having paella. The human female seems to think she can throw together something that might conceivably be termed “scampi.” Translation: We have shrimp and chicken and lots and lots of garlic.

But first! The yellow pepper.

It was purchased specifically for paella, but we are all agreed that it doesn’t really “go” with scampi. Say bye-bye to the pepper, Sigyn. It will no doubt vanish into the crisper drawer in the cold box, where it will languish, forgotten, until it’s too furry/soggy/moldy to be good for anything at all.

Don’t look, Sigyn. It’s time to cut up some chicken.

Do you know whose idea it was to have boneless, skinless chicken thighs be so weirdly constructed? No, it wasn’t me. Chickens predate me by a good few thousand years. However, I certainly approve of how awkward they are to cut up!

Sauteing the chicken renders it much less queasy-making to look at.

Notice the dried shallots soaking in the background. Also the Hungarian paprika, just for a little flavor.

Now we make a roux for the sauce. We need butter for that.

Sigyn loves butter and would lick a stick if you let her. Sorry, my love. Not today.

Mmm! Smell all that good garlic and butter and chicken stock and white wine and shallots!

(It doesn’t show in the photo, but I keep loosening the small handle on the pan. The human male tightens it back up. I loosen it again. It’s a little game we play.)

Ehehehe! More of my perfidy is discovered! Scampi usually involves pasta, but it looks like we are also out of linguini, fettuccine, and all the other -inis. Whatever shall the humans do for the starchy part of the meal?

By Volstagg’s straining tunic buttons! Gnocchi? That’s preposterous! That’s unheard-of! That’s weird!

That’s… not a bad idea, actually. They’re sort of like pasta, and these do have garlic in them.

We have acquired the shrimp and some asparagus. I suppose that’s so we can pretend we are getting our vegetables when, in fact, this is all pasta, butter, shrimp, chicken, and garlic. Whatever lets the humans sleep at night, I suppose.

Getting closer to done…

I must admit–it smells pretty darn good! But then again, you could put garlic and butter on an old tire and it would smell just as nice.

Time to plate!

Great Frigga’s Corset, that’s ugly!

(nibble, nibble.) You know what? This scampi-adjacent mess is actually good! But don’t tell the humans. I don’t want them getting swelled heads.

Hmm. You know what I think? I think they should find the arborio rice hiding in the pantry tomorrow, that’s what I think.

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I Know! I Know! It’s in Minnesota!

The humans are cooking again. After the pizza debacle last Friday, you’d think they wouldn’t dare to show their faces in the kitchen for a month, but they’re nothing if not persistent. There’s a delicious dish they make which involves a pork tenderloin rubbed with spices, browned and glazed with apricot jam, roasted on a bed of caramelized onions and served with a wild rice blend.

It calls for a very particular blend of spices from the Purveyor of Spices. Northwoods Seasoning, it’s called. And there’s a jar of it… somewhere. They’re sure of it!

Where is the Northwoods?

The human male is looking while the human female is working on the onions.

Great Frigga’s Corset! He’s actually emptying the cabinet, trying to find the elusive jar!

What?! It’s not there?! My, my, my…. I wonder who could have used the last of it without buying more?

I guess you’ll just have to look it up online and reverse-engineer it. Sure hope you have all the ingredients…

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Loki, God of A-gleying Best-laid Plans

The humans are really Into Baking recently. The male, especially, is in search of the Perfect Pizza Crust. Their first attempt used an un-risen batch of French bread dough, and that was all right, but it wasn’t Perfect. So the male ordered some sort of fancy flour especially for pizza dough and found an Authentic Recipe, and that made some rather tasty cardboard. (I distracted the human female and she overbaked it.)

So then he read up on the subject and learned that apparently it’s key to use a preheated pizza stone and a 500-degree F oven, so today we are trying it again.

Are your hands clean, Sigyn? It’s time to make dough!

Behold, the fancy pizza flour.

(For some unfathomable reason, the back of the package has graphics of sprinkled spices and crumbs and I swear to Sleipnir it looks like mold…)

Next we need some AP flour…

Ugh! Flour is so hard to get out of green velvet!

Time for yeast!

Personally, I can take it or leave it, but Sigyn loves the way it smells. She calls yeast her “little fungal friends”.

The flour’s ready to go.

So is the dissolved yeast.

Careful up there, my love. Yeast goop is probably harder to get out of red velvet than flour is to get out of green.

The recipe says to “mix by hand to create a sticky dough.”

Better you than me, human. That looks terrible.

Sigyn, I really think you are becoming too involved in this…

If you end up in there, I’m not sure there’s any amount of bathing that would get that stuff out of your clothes and hair.

Sigyn says the dough is fun to play with.

I will take her word for it…

The recipe says the dough should be “sticky.”

I don’t think it said anything about “spackle.”

The dough’s been divided in two and now it’s rising/resting in a barely-warm oven.

The oven is also a good place because, so far, the cats have not figured out how to get into it.

Well, it stuck to the towels, but we got it off, and now it’s all rested and ready to shape and top.

Ehehehehe! Snort! Ehehehehehe! Great Frigga’s Corset, I can’t catch my breath! I’m laughing so hard I can’t hold the camera steady so I’ll just have to tell you…

The recipe was adamant that the pizzas should be constructed on a well-floured peel, so that is what the human male wanted to do. The female had her doubts but went along—spread out the dough for the first pie, spread on the sauce, sprinkled cheese, artichokes, mushrooms (on a sector of it the human male won’t touch), and spices. Then the male tried to slide it onto the the pre-heated pizza stone…

…and it wouldn’t come off the peel. No quick jerk, no little jiggle, no nudge with a spatula could dislodge it. It just sort of sagged and flopped and s t r e t c h e d until the toppings started sliding off, and there was NO WAY in Hel that thing was coming off the peel.

At that point the human male gave up and was ready to go out for pizza, but the human female, to whom wasting food is a cardinal sin, figured that maybe she could fold the whole mess over into a calzone, lift it up carefully, and cook it on a regular pizza pan, pre-heated pizza stone be damned.

Except.. Ehehehehe! The dough was, by this point, stretched so thin that it just sort of oozed/ruptured and– bleeeeargh, disgorged a bunch of its filling.

Her disastrous creation is baking now, and it is the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen go into that oven.

And one of the worst coming out.

Ehehehehehe! My stomach hurts from laughing, and I’m crying over here! Even Sigyn can’t find anything good to say about it. It…it looks like a Horta monster from that old sci-fi show:

That’s right, Kirk! Set phaser to “kill!”

Because it has mushrooms, the human male won’t touch it. I sure don’t want to try it, and I won’t let Sigyn go anywhere near it. The female and the Perennial Bachelor dinner guest are going to split it and try to choke it down.

Eehehehehe! Ow, my tummy! The thick parts are underbaked, there is hardly any filling, and the female has given up after just a few bites. The Perennial Bachelor has managed to keep his half down and polished off the bowl of extra filling as well.

What to do with the second half of the Disaster Dough? The male is still in favor of going to get take out, but the human female who is, as I have observed before, part terrier, is doggedly (ha!) insisting that she can at least make it the way they did the last one, on a pizza pan, no peel involved.

(a bit later:) It resisted.

It’s edible, and the thick part is a bit underdone, but at least the human male got something for dinner. Sigyn and I are going out to eat.

What’s that? Some of you would like the recipe so you can try and see if you have better luck?

Um, yeah, no.

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Loki and Sigyn in the Kitchen: Salad Time!

The humans have been whining again–“It’s too hot for March!” Look, mortals–A month ago you were moaning about Fimbulwinter. Make up your puny minds! If you want it cold again, I can arrange that for you…

Because it’s warm, and because it is another no-meat day, the humans are in the kitchen making salads for dinner. You know, Sigyn, we help out in here enough that we should have a new category for this blog: Loki and Sigyn in the Kitchen!

First, we should wash the spinach and take the stemmy bits off.

The human female says they’re properly “petioles” and not “stems.” Pedant.

Spinach, romaine… What else?

Cucumber! Definitely cucumber!

And carrots! Sigyn really likes carrots because orange is red and yellow together. What else?

Artichokes! Good choice! The human male likes them more than the female does, but I will happily eat the rest of her share. Let’s put in some tomatoes too. Now what?

Oooh! Fancy! The human male won’t want any, but the rest of us like them! And that gives me an idea. If the human female likes peppers…

…she won’t mind if I slice this one up and put it in her bowl. It’s so tiny, after all. She’ll never notice...

That’s all the rabbit food taken care of. Is there going to be any protein in this salad?

Odin’s eyepatch! Goat cheese?! Fig and black pepper goat cheese? I’m not sure about this…

Oh, now the goat is offended? No offense meant, goat. It’s just that I never thought of goat cheese as a salad item.

Of course Sigyn is making friends with the goat.

Well, that was predictable. Sigyn, love of my life, when you are done dallying with your caprine companion there, we have salads to construct. And I hear there’s a balsamic reduction to drizzle over them…

Sigyn, we make a great team! This looks delicious! Now, let’s get to the croutons before the human female hogs them all…

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