A Fuzzy Navel, please – baked, not stirred.

When I’m good, I’m good.

Long before I became fully immured in the foodblogosphere, I was addicted to the archives of Sugar High Friday over at The Domestic Goddess – we’re talking over 3 years worth of sugary, buttery, sticky smooth sweet silky goodness from around the world. Have an excess of figs? Check out #35. Love ginger? Try lucky #19. Wanna get fancy-pants about it? Sugar art, #26. Feeling po-mo? “Desserts in shades of white,” #31.* Dead dentists everywhere are creating elaborate underground tunnels from all the rolling they’re doing in their graves.

When I started the Smackdown, I knew that Sugar High Friday was one of the first events I wanted to participate in. Of course, the first two themes following my crash landing into foodblogland would be pies – which I’m not really into, except for the occasional key lime** – and cooking with candy, which. eh. Ergo, I was excited when Tartelette, the host for this round, announced the theme for #43: citrus.

So to mark this personal blogging milestone, I give you: Fuzzy Navel Upside-Down Cake.

*For the record, I reject food that is extremely po-mo; I prefer my meals to be firmly grounded in the mo.

**To clarify: not into making. But very into eating.

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Thursday Night Smackdown: Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here

Really, abandon it. Now.

I will give you $10 if you can guess what is in this bowl of soup.

I can make that bet because I know you will not be able to guess, and if you did, you are obviously a cheater. What we have here is a bowl full of “noodles” made of pureed, extruded, poached, fried fish.

Pureed, extruded, poached, fried fish is UNHOLY. And not in the good way, the way candied bacon is unholy. It is a thing that should not be. Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto and your New Art of Japanese Cooking, you have failed me. I should have known better than to trust the Iron Chef most likely to make salmon cupcakes with veal cheek buttercream.

And I gotta tell you, I’m not even that excited to write about it. Never have so many worked so hard only to have to order a pizza at the end of the night.

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This post is either about blondies or bipolar disorder.

I took this bandanna off my head because I needed something for the picture and have no cute dishtowels. I’m not sorry if that squicks you out.

Modern science can be a wonderful thing: penicillin, the polio vaccine, tiny cameras that can be inserted into your veins all Innerspace-style, the iPhone. (Of course, I’m still waiting for a cure for AIDS and a rocket car, but I’m sure that modern science is working hard on them.) So I have to give modern science a hand for inventing depakote, a wonderful drug that helps keep me from being crazy. Because the food in psych wards really isn’t up to snuff, so I can’t really see myself going back there. That, and I like my shoelaces.*

An unfortunate side effect of being sane is that I can sometimes be a little tired and don’t always feel like jumping up to make a 7-layer cake for a party I’d promised to bring dessert to, especially when it’s a bucolic spring day and the empty hammock is swinging invitingly in the breeze under the ginkgo trees.** Luckily, that’s what one-bowl blondies are for. They’re dense and chewy and stuffed to the gills with chocolate-y, pecan-y, coconutty goodness, and they pull together in about 3 minutes.***

*I know people have different opinions and different experiences with drugs of the mental health variety, and I deny none of those. Depakote works for me in that it helps keep me from offing myself, which I take to be a plus. As always, if you want to start some kind of Tom Cruise-style argument in the comments? You know what I’m going to tell you: Just say no.

**I acknowledge that this might have less to do with depakote than it does with my excessive love of napping in hammocks.

***Sorry about all the asides lately.

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The day went downhill from here.

Some years I pre-gird my loins in preparation for Mothers’ Day; some days it sneaks up on me. Either way, Mothers’ Day sucks the fat one when you’ve got no mom.* Don’t get me wrong – I utterly adore my mother-in-law** and feel incredibly fortunate to have married into a family that I love as much as my own. But Mothers’ Day still has the power to make me pretty cranky, and in more than 4 of the past 8 years I’ve wanted to tell it to suck my metaphorical dick.***

You know what can make the day better? Getting into a four-car pile-up on the way to your in-laws’ because the assholes around you were too busy talking on the phone and/or rubbernecking at another accident that had happened less than 15 minutes prior.****  But that’s not what this is about.

*In that she passed away, not that I was asexually created from a single gamete.

**Totally seriously.

***Which is fucking HUGE.

****5 minutes after our accident, while we were waiting on the side of the road for EMTs to show up and check me out, ANOTHER asshole caused ANOTHER three-car pile-up on the SAME stretch of road.

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Thursday Night Smackdown: Charlie Trotter goes "meh."

If Tastespotting doesn’t want this one, they can officially SUCK IT.

Thomas Keller could maybe take the teensiest lesson from Charlie Trotter. Because in addition to his many other cookbooks showcasing his incredible restaurant food, he puts out books like Charlie Trotter Cooks at Home. Do you hear that, Keller? AT HOME. IN ONE’S HOUSE, where there is a HOME KITCHEN, one does not want dinner to take 17 HOURS TO PREPARE and liquids move from one place to another CONSTANTLY without going through the chinois which one does NOT EVEN OWN. AT HOME. HOME HOME HOME.

Possibly I am still a touch bitter.

So tonight, from Charlie Trotter Cooks at Home, we have seared duck breasts with orange vinaigrette, ginger-braised celery and swiss chard. And yes, it was slightly meh, but it also took slightly less than 1 hour to prepare.

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Let's appropriate others' cultural heritages: Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Speaking of appropriating: currently on my TV is a commercial for the Mohegan Sun casino with a jingle sung to the tune of “My Sharona.” Clever, or harbinger of the end of culture?

Cinco de Mayo: A day where office workers everywhere can gather at Mexican chain restaurants for happy hour and get smashed on frozen strawberry margaritas in honor of Mexican independence. Olé!

As the rest of us know, Cinco de Mayo is observed mainly in the state of Puebla and commemorates a victory of Mexican forces led by General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguín over the French in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, duh. I know General Seguín (or Iggy, as I like to call him) is probably a personal hero for many of you, as he is for me.

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