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Pie-Induced Spring Cleaning Rage

March 17, 2010

Sweet, Dream Pie

The best part of hosting a Pi Day pie party is that you get to keep all of the leftovers.  But this year, I deprived myself (and my roommates) of that privilege…..

After a cursory post-party apartment cleaning Sunday evening, I took all of the remaining slivers of sweet pie (there was no excess savory pie) and condensed them into one pie pan:

1/4 blueberry pie (winner of best crust)
1/16 chocolate fudge pie
1/16 egg custard pie
1/8 fruit custard pie (winner of best sweet pie)
1/16 key lime pie (winner of best looking pie)
1/16 lemon meringue pie
1/8 pecan pie
1/16 pineapple cream cheese pie
1/8 pumpkin pie
1/16 watermelon pie (winner of most interesting pie)

*Check out photos from the celebration under “Yummy Pix”.

It would have made the perfect sweet pie, had some mysterious party guest not selfishly spooned off the yummy meringue off of the lemon meringue remnants, and had there also been some apple, banana cream, blackberry, and strawberry rhubarb representation.  Anyways, I got up the next morning super psyched to dig into it after not having to dream about it.

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Barefoot Butterfingers

I postponed my usual AM routine.  Instead of putting on my contact lenses and high heels, I headed straight towards the fridge.  With a fork in my right hand, and the buttery bottomed, motley pie resting on my left, I used my front teeth to grip the edge of the plastic lid (to remove it).  I jerked my head upwards, but somehow flipped the entire pie out of my palm and on to the kitchen floor :(.

I made a lot of foolish decisions that morning, such as not resting the pie on the kitchen counter, or not putting the fork down to free my right hand.  But deciding not to put on my heels was by far the most idiotic.  Without them, I am a clumsy, hot mess.  Plus, the additional distance between the pie and floor would have granted me more time for graceful pie catching.

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HHC’s five second rule

Fortunately, I have an abnormally open mind to grossness where food is involved.  And I’m not referring to the Andrew Zimmerman type of gross.  I’m referring to my ability to enjoy delicious pie first thing in the morning type of gross.  And particularly, my ability to eat delicious food right off the floor type of gross.  My personal rule is slightly more permissive than the five second one, and can be divided into three parts:

I.    The food must be really good.
II.   There must be no visible dirt or hair on the fallen food.
III.  There must be 0% chance that a dog has pooped on the spot where the food landed.

Part I of the rule has almost never stopped me, because I usually drop food because I am so excited to eat it.  And I’m only excited to eat really good food.  Which reminds me…

I once ate fried chicken off of the floor at Walter Foods in Williamsburg.  The restaurant was very dimly lit, so I felt pretty guilty for not being fair to my rule… But let me tell you, it was SO worth it.  If you haven’t had Walter’s fried chicken, go get it now (the address is at the bottom of this post).  While you’re at it, don’t forget to try their Pimm’s cup and bread pudding.  And don’t forget to bring a friend to order the Butcher’s steak for you to mooch off.

Read more…

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The Paradoxical Bulgogi Pie

March 14, 2010

Happy Pi Day!


Did you know that…..

The ancient Egyptians were among the first to discover the concept of Pi and Pie.

Pi is the most popular mathematical constant, and Pie is the most popular dessert (in America).

Pi has an infinite decimal representation (irrational number), and Pie has an infinite filling representation.

Albert Einstein was born on Pi Day (3.14.1879).  He spent much of his life thinking about Pi.

Pie is cuter than Pi.  *check out #1 under “the brownie you never knew”

When you take the sun and divide its circumference by its diameter, you get a pie in the sky!

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Pie Poll Results

Thanks to everyone who voted in the Pie Poll for Pie Day 2010!  Bulgogi won with 44% of the votes.  Bulgogi Pie it shall be!

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Pie-ifying Bulgogi

What is Bulgogi?

Bulgogi is a popular Korean barbeque dish that is made from very finely sliced, marinated rib-eye steak.  The marinade can include a number of ingredients, depending on the preference of the cook.  Soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, scallions and garlic are the universal base ingredients, and yellow onion, sesame seeds, vinegar, mushrooms, ginger, and black pepper are common additional ingredients.  Bulgogi is traditionally grilled (but commonly pan-fried), and served with steamed white rice, or with leaf vegetables in a “ssam”.

The Paradoxical Bulgogi Pie

Bulgogi is never served with wheat based products, and it is  impossible to make the perfect, buttery, flaky pie crust without using wheat flour.  Furthermore, pie does not exist in Korea!  If you ask for it, you will be offered a pre-packaged “Choco Pie”.  And you know how I feel about store-bought pie.

Read more…

Pie Poll for Pi Day (3.14.2010)

March 9, 2010

Pi (π) Day is on Sunday (3.14), and my sister will be hosting her annual pie party to celebrate.  There is always a dearth of savory pies, and I’m determined to help balance out the sweetness this year.  But not with a plain chicken pot pie…  I want to bake an original HHC savory pie, and I need your help!  If you have a moment, please cast your ballot 🙂

Oh, and if you live in NYC, you are more than welcome to come celebrate with us.  Just make sure to bring a homemade pie with you.  You won’t get passed the velvet rope otherwise.

Meat-ballin’ Madness

March 8, 2010

High Stakes

There are few foods that I have never made before, and meatballs so happen to be one of them.  Nevertheless, I dangerously committed to making yummy, fancy meatball appetizers for a baller-esque party held last week, hosted by three of my beloved friends.

But why were the stakes higher than they were in say, the numerous other occasions I baked/cooked an untested food for a party?  First of all, I would never want people I really like to be known for serving not delicious food.  Secondly, I have an incredibly unrefined meatball palate.  If it is real meat rolled into a ball, I’ll joyfully eat it, whether it’s Trader Joe’s frozen turkey meatballs, or three-day old un-microwaved Ikea Swedish meatballs.  I have been able to disguise this condition by successfully pretending to also be disgusted when eating so-called-crappy meatballs in the presence of others (while somehow keeping others from noticing that I’m still eating them).

I have always stood by the idea that if you know what a food should taste like, you certainly have the capacity to make it right.  So not only did I have no idea how to pick a recipe, but I also felt oh so insecure in my capacities :(.

Fortunately, I understood the value of research, especially in circumstances when important decisions had to be made on unfamiliar subject matter.  I’ve lost a lot of dough to many of my past NCAA picks, simply because I was too stubborn to give up my abstract medium (cuteness) for ranking teams.  This is not to say that there isn’t a strong correlation between cuteness and greatness in life, but I take food much more seriously than the NCAA.  So I didn’t have the heart to not obsessively search for the most reliable sources.

Before moving forward, I’d like for us to get into the spirit, since we eagerly want to be meat-ballerz.  Let me introduce you to a highly relevant H-town classic:

Lil’ Troy, “Wanna be a Baller”:

Read more…

The “food-onality” of the brownie

March 3, 2010

Guess what?  We’ll be baking these!  Mmmmm….

Looks matter

Believe me, we aren’t totally superficial for being offended by an ugly cheesecake, or a dainty rib-eye steak.  When the appearance of a food contradicts its essence, all of our other senses are instinctively put off.

The hunter-gatherers regularly encountered unfamiliar food, and those individuals who could better discriminate between the good/edible and bad/toxic using their sense of sight held the survival advantage.  So it is only logical that we are hard-wired to judge food critically with our eyes.

So then what is the essence of a food?  The essence of a food is its abstract character that can never be altered by external manipulations/experimentations or by changing human tastes.  I like to think of it as sort of like the food’s personality, or “food-onality”.  And I believe that this “food-onality” is what ultimately defines a food’s evolution.  Which explains why 12 oz rib-eye steaks have maintained resistant to cuteness, despite the overall evolutionary advantage of cuteness.

The bottom line is that I believe taking the time to understand and appreciate the essence, or food-onality, of a food is the best way to bring out its best!


The brownie you never knew….

Grasping the food-onality of a food is mostly intuitive.  For example, you probably already knew doughnuts are friendly or that blondies are coquettish.  No?  Not to worry, we’ll get to know our food one at a time.  Right now, we are going to focus on the brownie.

I believe the food-onality of the brownie is best summarized as cute.  People have the tendency to assume that “cute” strictly refers to the physical appearance of something,  but in reality “cute” is abstract and can be used to describe sounds, smells, textures, behaviors, personalities, food-o-nalities, etc., or a unique combination of them.  Keep this all in mind as I attempt to capture (in words) the essence of the brownie.

1. Linguistics: the word brown-“ie” is cute

The “-ie” affix is a diminutive in language structure.  What is a diminutive?  Wikipedia says it is a form of a word “used to convey a slight degree of the root meaning, smallness of the object or quality named, encapsulation, intimacy, or endearment.”  Here are some examples:

doggie (vs. dog); auntie (vs. aunt); Maggie (vs. Margaret)

So as you can see, words ending in “ie” are in essence, playful, endearing and/or mini, or at least more so than their root counterparts.  And playful, endearing, mini things are almost always cute (puppies, babies, etc.).  Below are some other cute sweet treats you might be familiar with to prove my point:

pixie stick; tootsie roll; whoopie pie; cookie; brownie (!!!!)

2. Texture: the texture of a brownie is cute

Texture is a great indication of whether a sweet is cute (vs. pretty), in essence

Texture Examples Cute Pretty
Brittle/Vitreous pulled/blown sugar candies X
Chewy jelly bellies, brownies X
Fluffy marshmallows, cream puffs X
Silky ganache, custard X
Squishy mochi, gummy bears X

But the most reliable reference is YOUR intuition…

When you see and feel a sweet treat, do you feel the urge to be violent exert forceful energy upon it?

If so, the treat is more likely than not cute, in essence.

Read more…

Intro to The High-Heeled Contessa

February 25, 2010

Let me preface this first entry with the note that:

1. There are no pictures today.  Which really sucks.  My camera conveniently broke before starting this blog, which means I am entitled to a fancy new one soon… woohoo!

2. This first entry/introduction is me shamelessly talking about myself.  In the future, I promise to share more useful stuff with you (recipes, music, interesting/weird facts and things to do, people/places to see), but I can’t promise that I won’t also babble on about my life….  On that note…

Welcome to the virtual home of The High-Heeled Contessa!!! Can you smell the freshly baked chocolate chunk cookies?!? lavender?!?  No?  Well, please please pretty please try to use your imagination now and EVERY TIME you visit 😀

Introduction to The High-Heeled Contessa

People who I meet in nyc are often surprised to learn that I majored in molecular biology, and I love that.  For one, it is pretty damn annoying having to convince potential employers that I have no intention of secretly applying to medical school (did I mention that I am an Asian-American + Ivy League grad?).  Additionally, at Yale, the pre-med student is a dangerously competitive creature motivated NOT by intellectual curiosity (unfortunately), but by fabulous marks and lines for his/her resume.  So you can imagine why I’m flattered (too flattered, actually) by people’s assumptions that I was a cool, laid-back art history major.  But I suppose it is only logical since I have never held a job in the field.  And also because I am more often than not talking about baking/cooking, raving about my latest sample sale acquisition, listening/dancing/bouncing to soulful, danceable music, or planning a fun themed party.  Oh, and of course (pardon my modesty), also because I always do keep it real, and understand the value of being as ferosh as possible, at all times.

But in reality, my-so-called passion for science is very relevant to who I obviously appear to be (yeah, people tend to assume i’m cool… don’t be jealous).  First of all, if you talk to me longer than 10 minutes, you will discover that I think of everything in terms of natural selection.   And I mean everything.  This is why very very little actually gets to me… awful people, music, food, etc. ultimately dissipate..  Trust in science, and you will better understand Timon and Pumba….   Secondly, I love love love experimentation!!!!!!  I am CONSTANTLY in search of interesting recipes to manipulate, unfamiliar ingredients, the best bargain shopping experiences, avant-garde music, crazy hats, useless cute gadgets, etc… and this demands TIRELESS testing.  And thanks to my hyperactive nature and tendency to get bored AND entertained ABNORMALLY easily, I am predisposed to stray from complacency.

Read more…