It’s not the holidays unless Sam’s Mom and I have baked four award-winning nut rolls, a tradition that we started way back in 1997 as a part of a seventh grade cultural heritage project detailing my maternal grandmother’s Slovakian roots. I’ve always liked cooking, and it’s actually really come in handy in college, since my dorm, Burton-Conner, has a full kitchen and suite lounge for every 6 students. While I could survive on Anna’s Taqueria and get all the major food groups, it’s a lot more interesting to cook for myself.
By the way, I hate hate hate the new food pyramid. The previous one may have had you eating like 60,000 calories a day, but at least it followed the basic principle of a pyramid–larger blocks at the bottom, smaller ones on top. Try to build a structure out of leaning colored scalene triangles sometime and see how well that works.
I used to hear that cooking is just applied chemistry. Ha! It’s really applied chemical engineering. At least, that’s what I figure when I opened my hero Alton Brown’s first cookbook, “I’m Just Here For The Food” and was reminded that the three modes of heat transfer are conduction, convection, and radiation–topics that I’d spent thirteen chapters of this textbook learning about in 10.302 last semester.
Okay, so let’s get right to the…
MORAL OF THE ENTRY: Cook with your high-school-age children! They will eat more healthily, get into MIT and become chemical engineers who blog and know Mitra.
And now, a photography portfolio.
Oh boy! It’s a sour cream crust! Still on MIT time, Sam’s Mom and I made this at 2:00 AM and left it to chill in the fridge overnight.
It wouldn’t be a nut roll without 6 cups of walnuts.
I chop the nuts in this cute little device.
Then fold them into a meringue-type concoction. Note Hershey’s Kisses and Utz potato chips, both symbolic of Central PA, in the background.
Where’s the cream filling? Right here.
While you’re punching the cattle, Sam’s Mom is punching the dough.
You put the nuts on the dough… the nuts… and then you feel better.
It wouldn’t be a nut roll without… roll.
Prior to 50 minutes of baking
After 8 years of making nut rolls, we’re pretty good–only one of them exploded in the oven.
Luckily, we took a page from the book of “lifestylist” Sandra Lee and created a lovely tablescape to draw attention away from our exploded roll. Meet Silv, our large-headed dog.