Wednesday, July 25, 2007

What's On My Desk: I Just Play a Sound System Designer on TV

A few days ago, the fabulous and fellow Daring Baker Peabody of Culinary Concoctions by Peabody posted about all the toys and items on her desk at work. When another wonderful fellow Daring Baker, Elle of Feeding My Enthusiasms read the post, she wondered about what the rest of us had on our desks at work and even offered, tongue in cheek I suspect, to do an unofficial round-up if we posted about our work desks; not unlike Becks and Posh's impromptu "What is in your Fridge" event. This got me thinking about the two sides of every food bloggers life.

Most of us aren't employed full time in the food industry, though some of us are or have been in the past, so even though we blog about food some part of our "real" life invariably slips into our posts. I'm going to take Elle up on her offer and even though I've in the past blogged about my job as a sound system designer, give you a little peek into my whacky and seriously deranged office...

You first know you are approaching the office of someone who has spent too much time in the back of a tour bus (not the band's bus...get your mind out of the gutter) and then transitioned to a corporate office by looking at the window to the left of my office door

Then by looking at the door itself, festooned with cartoons

A few of my favourite cartoons are this Bloom County from the late 80's

And the best Far Side ever for a reformed sound man. Notice the button the sound guy is reaching for...

I find this next piece of paper invaluable for keeping people asking stupid questions out of my office...

On the left wall of my office is a cork board with my dart board, my audio related Magnetic Poetry, and very importantly for others in my office, the "What type of mood am I in" chart; just a gag...most of the time ;-)

I especially like the "Executive Decision Maker" dart board ala the CareerBuilder Monkey characters!

Speaking of the CareerBuilder Monkeys...go check out Monk-e-Mail! Send one to your boss!!! Let him know how hard you are working....

Here is my experiment in growing an herb garden in my office (See, some of my cooking life has spilled into my office!). Basil happy, chives and thyme not so much....

Lest you think no real work goes on in my office...

You'll notice my computer monitor background image is of my favourite place to sit, enjoy a glass of wine or a cafe' and people watch in the whole world , The Brasserie de l'Isle St Louis in Paris to be exact. Best of all, I took the picture while sitting at Berthillon, enjoying coconut ice cream.

If you looked closely at the picture above, see the Office Space Flair! "Um, Yeah...."

There is a serious side to my office with this shelf. On it is a picture of LB (Lil' Bastard for those who didn't know my cat's name), my little Eiffel Tower, two rocks from Lake Huron (in about 10' of water off my parent's dock in Michigan), my Boston mug and my dinosaur mug (I've had a thing for dinosaurs since I was little kid), the Mackinac Rubik's Cube, and a few other sentimental things.

And then there is the toy shelf...

Complete with Mardi Gras bead wearing voodoo doll, my Lego sets, my Peace Bunny, and my Dilbert M&M Dispenser!

I have so many toys, they spill over to half another shelf. Like most upper management at a large corporation, at that other job I once had, I made all my managerial decisions with the Magic 8 Ball...

Which brings us to the last shelf of any interest, my collection of old audio gear and the first custom loudspeaker cabinet I worked on at that other company.

Now, since we are on the office stuff and this is a food blog after all, I did some baking in my microwave the other night! Yes, baking in the microwave.

On Monday, several of us office ladies were standing around in the ladies room chatting about how we never sit down to lunch together or even have a cup of coffee together. Of course, before I was even thinking, I blurted out "I'll make a cake and bring it in tomorrow and we can do a coffee break!" How stupid of me!! I'm in Connecticut where I don't have a real kitchen!!!

I had read that you could bake in the microwave with Jiffy Mixes. So, a few weeks ago, I wrote away to the folks at Chelsea Mills for their recipe pamphlet for Jiffy Mixes and had brought it back to Fairfield with me.

(excuse the picture, the lighting in my room in CT isn't the best for photos)

Stopping by the store on the way home, I picked up a box of the Jiffy Yellow Cake mix and some powdered sugar for a glaze. I got home, opened up the pamphlet and sure enough, there was recipe for a single layer cake with frosting made in the microwave. The recipe in the book is slightly different than the recipe on the box. The recipe on the box basically calls for water and egg. The recipe in the pamphlet says to follow the directions on the box but add 1/3 cup of vegetable oil to the mix as well. Hum...isn't that going to be too much liquid?

Nope!!! It was perfect. Apparently adding the oil keeps the cake from drying out and becoming hard and crusty on the edges from the microwave because the cake came out perfectly fluffy and moist!

Since food doesn't brown in the microwave, you definitely want to use a glaze or frosting to make it look nicer.

Microwave Jiffy Cake

1 box Jiffy Cake Mix
1/2 cup water
1 egg
1/3 cup vegetable oil

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Pour into a prepared round 2 quart casserole dish. Microwave on high for 5 1/2 minutes or until top is set and edges pull away from the sides of the casserole. Immediately invert onto a dish and let cool. Frost with your favourite frosting or glaze.