Bored Baker

Bored Baking: Episode 2 – Mrs. Topechka’s Round House Kick Tea Loaf ft. DAVID’s TEA

Hidden amongst our cookbook collection is a battered copy of Culinary Treasures: Centennial 1867 – 1967 by the Saint Basil’s Ukrainian Women’s League. One recipe that I’m particularly fond of is the Cranberry Tea loaf, submitted by a Mrs. S. Topechka. I am a huge proponent of cranberries as I believe they are probably the only food that is capable of surviving a nuclear blast given how utterly gross they are in natural form. Therefore, I try to use fresh cranberries in everyday cooking whenever possible so when the time comes my body will be prepared to live off of them.

I mean, today I didn’t have cranberries, or nuts, or even the orange rind which the directions demand I use but Mrs. S. Topechka clearly forgot to include in the list of ingredients. What a beginner’s mistake.

Nonetheless, I decided that there is no better way to celebrate the 30 degree heat (85 for those of you who refuse to conform to the measurements the rest of the world use) than by turning on my oven and making a variant of Mrs. Topechka’s loaf with my own collection of ingredients.

Ready? Okay!

First thing is first. Get rid of that garlic clove or get a garlic holder or something. Honestly. You have no dignity left.

Repeat after me: Your KitchenAid Mixer is not a garlic holder.  Your KitchenAid Mixer is not a garlic holder.

Repeat after me: Your KitchenAid Mixer is not a garlic holder. Your KitchenAid Mixer is not a garlic holder.

Okay. Now you’ve done that, collect all these things, and don’t argue with me.

1 cup sugar

½ tsp. Baking soda

¾ cup cold, strong tea (Today we will be using DAVID’s TEA’s English Rose black tea, because I live dangerously)

1 egg beaten (or two if you forget to read the ingredients properly)

Some apricots. I don’t know. Maybe, like, a cup? It’s about a cup when I’m done with it I guess.

2 tbsp. cooking oil.

1 tsp. salt

2 tsp. baking powder

2 cups flour

Also: One Tome of Spirit World Recipes as presented by the Ukrainian Women's League.

Also: One Tome of Spirit World Recipes as presented by the Ukrainian Women’s League.

Take all your dry ingredients and sift them together. If you are like the average person and don’t own a sifter, just toss it into a bowl. We aren’t the Kardashian’s here. Sifters are for the rich and well-to-do.

Or for people who can afford to shop at IKEA.

Or for people who can afford to shop at IKEA.

Boil up some water and throw your tea into a hipster mason jar.

English Rose from DAVID's TEA, available at the nearest awesome Tea Emporium near you

English Rose from DAVID’s TEA, available at the nearest awesome Tea Emporium near you

Add water. In reality you should have already done this, probably even before you started reading this recipe. It’s going to take forever to cool down and believe me, you want it to cool down. Whatever, we’ll make do.

We don't believe in proper proportions in this household.

We don’t believe in proper proportions in this household.

Now while you’re waiting for your tea to cool, combine the rest of the wet ingredients together in a separate bowl.

Two eggs are basically just like one giant egg anyways.

Two eggs are basically just like one giant egg anyways.

Okay, let’s check on that tea. Is it cool yet?

Hotter than a witch's teat.

Hotter than a witch’s teat.

Okay, time for Plan B. Grab your dish towel or a cheese cloth if you are a billionaire I guess, and strain out some of that tea.

This is the classiest thing I have done all day.

This is the classiest thing I have done all day.

Now put that in the freezer. We don’t have time to waste.

We... don't?

We… don’t?

While you are being the picture of patience, cut up those apricots. Using scissors is an easy way, unless they bend your scissors which totally didn’t happen here.

There is a certain level of satisfaction found in the destruction of fruit.

There is a certain level of satisfaction found in the destruction of fruit.

Good, you did it without cleaving your hand off. You want a medal or something?

Well, if you're offering...

Well, if you’re offering…

Urgh, I’m so bored. Take the tea out, add more ice cubes.

David would be ashamed!

David would be ashamed!

Perfect. It’s cool now!

Cool as a witch's teat in winter.

Cool as a witch’s teat in winter.

If you add it while it is still hot it will cook the eggs and you will have a nasty egg-tea combo, so try to avoid that.

That's the complicated way of saying

That’s the complicated way of saying “Add the tea to the wet ingredients and mix it all together.”

Now slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry until it is all mixed. Mrs. Topechka suggests you stir it until it is barely mixed.

You aren't the boss of me, Topechka!

You aren’t the boss of me, Topechka!

Now add dem apricots. Again, stir it until just mixed.

YOU AREN'T MY SUPERVISOR.

YOU AREN’T MY SUPERVISOR.

Now spoon the whole monstrosity into an oiled pan and let sit for 20 minutes. Take this time to preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Yes, you could have done this first, but there is no point in having your oven on any longer than it needs to be.

There. It's done. What do you think?

There. It’s done. What do you think?

Once 20 minutes have elapsed, put that tasty-ass loaf into the oven. Notice how Mrs. Topechka’s ghost, shamed by how you used the wrong sized pan, magically transferred your loaf to a better pan? PARANORMAL.

If your local Topechka ghost is not available, summon the services of the nearest husband.

If your local Topechka ghost is not available, summon the services of the nearest husband.

Let it cook for about 50 minutes or until a knife inserted into the middle comes out free of ectoplasm. In this case, 39 minutes was more than enough… Topechka.

Nothing tastes more like summer than a loaf imbued with the ghostly presence of a dead Ukrainian woman.

Nothing tastes more like summer than a loaf imbued with the ghostly presence of a dead Ukrainian woman.

Now wait for it to cool, cut into pieces, and enjoy! Make sure to leave three candles lit in your window that night so Mrs. Topechka’s ghost can find her way into your kitchen and get a slice for herself. If she doesn’t approve, she will enter your bedroom and devour your soul.

Bored Baking: Episode 1 – Sour Cherry and Lime Face Punch Loaf

One of my favorite memories from my childhood is baking with my dad. Sunday’s were Loaf Days. We’d pull out mom’s Best of Bridge and find a loaf and bake the hell out of it, because why not?

The tradition didn’t continue into my teenage years, but I like to think it helped enamor me to baking. Now, in my unemployed state, with bits of this and that in my cupboard at home, I went on a baking spree that resulted in a ridiculous amount of loaves. Thank goodness for bulk flour and sugar!

Well, I’m still bored, still unemployed, and recently bought myself of my favorite sour cherries to comfort myself. I realized today that the sour cream I usually use for baking was about to go off, so I needed to use it ASAP. Also, Costco was having a sale on limes ($2.99 for a giant bag of ’em. How can a girl refuse?) Lime and cherry is one of my favorite combos, so why wouldn’t I make it into a delicious loaf? More importantly, why wouldn’t I share my recipe with the world while also being just… uncontrollably vile in my commentary?

Get ready for the Bored Baker’s Sour Cherry and Lime Face Punch Loaf!

1. First thing is first. You’re going to want to preheat your over to 375 degrees. The original recipe called for 400, but a quick scan of the comments on the website I snatched it from said that 400 degrees usually resulted in burning.

It will also result in the summoning of Beelzebub and twenty of his dancing minions

It will also result in the summoning of Beelzebub and twenty of his dancing minions

2. Okay, good job, Einstein. Now, clean your counters because, let’s face it, you live with two cats and they are probably nasty as hell.

Everything about you disgusts me

Everything about you disgusts me

3. Brilliant! Now, time to assemble your ingredients. I want you to get the following:

1 1/2 cups All-purpose flour

3/4 cups white sugar

1/2 cup butter

1/2 heaping cup of sour cream

3 eggs

Pinch of Baking Soda

Pinch of Baking Powder

Some sweet-ass sour cherries and their juice

Half a mo’fo lime.

Not pictured: Stupid-ass butter

Not pictured: Stupid-ass butter

4. Remove the random garlic clove from the mixer and reevaluate your life choices.

IMAG1434

I’m… sorry?

5. Damn skippy. Now cream the hell out of the butter and sugar.

What could go wrong?

What could go wrong?

6. Oh yeah, if that butter is softened first, it’ll help a lot.

I swear, this has never happened to me before.

I swear, this has never happened to me before

7. Okay, don’t worry about it. Now add those eggs and get your heaping sour cream.

Nobody puts baby in a corner!

Cue obligatory fishing out of eggshell

8. What’s that? The sour cream is awfully liquid? I don’t care. Use it.

Nobody puts baby in a corner!

Nobody puts baby in a corner!

9. Mix the shit out of it. Mix it like you’re Sir Mix-a-Lot and you’ve just been given an order to mix a song that will bring about world peace.

World peace is very liquidy, but that's okay.

World peace is very liquidy, but that’s okay

10. Now you’ve got that sorted, clean up your shit. What are we – animals?

No, we are not.

No, we are not

11. Good. Now you add your flour and start what I presume is a kickass KitchenAid Mixer. If you are a pleb and have to do it by hand, proceed until it is thoroughly mixed.

Oh yeah, just like that.

Oh yeah, just like that

12. Meanwhile, you’re going to take your lime and zest it. If you don’t have a zester, I don’t know why you even bother getting up in the morning. Add that zest to your mixer.

This lime had it coming.

This lime had it coming

13. But wait! What are you going to do with all that delicious lime juice? Let me tell you, you aren’t done ruining that lime’s day yet. Get out a mo’fo saucepan and squeeze the hell out of it.

Oh the humanity!

Oh the humanity!

14. Once you have that lime juice in the pan, you’re going to pop the lid on your sour cherries and add about three tablespoons of sweet, sweet cherry nectar, and three teaspoons of sugar.

And you definitely aren't going to turn it up to medium high, forget about it on the stove, only to remember it when the house starts smelling like burning sugar.

And you definitely aren’t going to turn it up to medium high, forget about it on the stove, only to remember it when the house starts smelling like burning sugar

15. While that shit is cooking up nice and tasty, you’re going to take three heaping tablespoons of those delicious cherries, drain the juice (just add it to the saucepan) and then squash the hell out of them.

HA-HA-HA. WHO IS YOUR MASTER?

HA-HA-HA. WHO IS YOUR MASTER?

16. Add those squashed delicacies to your whole mix.

Might want to scrape the sides of that bowl, Emeril.

Might want to scrape the sides of that bowl, Emeril

17. If the end result of mixing looks like a crime scene, you’ve probably added too many cherries. That’s cool though. Now add your baking soda and powder. The original recipe calls for a pinch of each, but I add 1/4 of a teaspoon because I am not bound by the conventional chains of society.

Tastes like freedom?

Why both? Because I don’t know the difference between the two, and quite frankly I am out of craps to give

18. You’ve mixed it up? Good. Get yourself a pan. I don’t care what size. 9×5? Whatever. Who even cares anymore? Grease that puppy, even if you are using a silicone pan. You aren’t Wonder Woman, after all.

Who indeed?

Who indeed?

19. Back to the syrup on the stove. If you need to, add a bit more sugar and let it dissolve. You want some tiny bubbles to be coming from the middle.

Not pictured: Bubbles

Not pictured: Bubbles

20. Fill up that pan with your batter.

Picture: Batter in pan.

Pictured: Batter in pan

21. Now take that syrup, because you’ve probably run out of patience, and dribble half of it over the whole batter mix. Why only half? Because much like you’re life, there is a significant amount of waste here.

22. Take a knife and swirl the shit out of the batter. It’s like those gross overly-sweet cinnamon swirl loaves from Starbucks.

This time you actually are aiming for a 'violent homicide' look.

This time you actually are aiming for a ‘violent homicide’ look

23. There. It’s done. What do you think? Wait, no. Not yet. Pop it in the over for about 45 minutes or until a knife thrust wildly into the center of it comes out clean.

In all honesty, make sure there aren’t pockets of juice in the corners, because they will get quite brown very quickly. This particular version of the recipe only ended up needing 30 minutes for whatever reason.

And there you have it. Did it work? I don’t know, maybe. The nice thing about this recipe is that if you aren’t a fan of cherries and lime you can replace it with anything. Apples and cinnamon? You bet. Pumpkin and ginger? Why the hell not? Blood and the tears of your lost youth. Always. It’s a very adaptable recipe, unlike you, you are forever trapped in the soul-crushing monotony of your existence.

Om nom nom.

Bitchin'.

Bitchin’.