Chapter One, in which Wink makes an experimental pie:

Yeah. Well. They’re not all winners. If they were, I’d have to blog more often. This is shoesandpie, after all. This pie is still a good idea, but the experimental crust requires [secret ingredient] and as that’s not something I often have access to, it may be a loooong time before I get a chance to make a second, improved attempt. Actually, the crust looks okay. It’s the straight-off-the-tapioca-box-label filling that didn’t impress me. I’ve never had luck with tapioca-thickened fruit fillings, but for some reason I keep trying them. Anyway, I’ll cut into the pie-soup tonight. I’m sure it will be a tasty dessert, just not a good pie. There are still plenty of cherries left over.


Kroehler sofa ad, from the May, 1948 issue of Woman’s Home Companion

Not only is one of the suggested configurations exactly what I’ve been wanting to do with my own sectional, but OH MY THAT UPHOLSTERY. And look! It’s CUSHIONIZED! I have no idea what that means, but I’m sold! My own sectional will continue to work just fine, but I really do need a sofa-seat-height corner table. So if anyone spies a Heywood-Wakefield jobbie just, you know, in a Dumpster somewhere, do let me know.

Chapter Three, in which Wink is still quabbling with Facebook:

I AM NOT TRUSTWORTHY. I AM FULL OF SPAM®. (I prefer Taylor Pork Roll, of course. I’m from New Jersey, after all.)

As best as I can tell—and this is from digging through the Help documentation on their site, not from any communication from them, because they haven’t sent me any—my account has raised some vague suspicion and needs to be verified. As I dig deeper to try to find some way to avoid giving them my personal cell number (they already have my email address and business phone number, why do they need my cell as well?), I find that I can work around that only by sharing either my Drivers License or Passport, or two other forms of photo ID. Given the trouble that Facebook has had in the past with actually deleting information that they claim has been deleted, I’m going to answer that request with a HUGE RED NO. A wonderful friend set up a temporary, disposable phone number so I can log back in, but I’m not comfortable with that. Not only does it just feed the beast more information, but it only proves that the information they’re requesting doesn’t do anything to verify that I’m actually me. The number isn’t mine, isn’t connected to anything of mine, and has nothing to do with me. So it verifies…what, exactly? In the interim, the page is still in a coma. It looks healthy to the naked eye, but there’s nobody behind the curtain. How long after the last post until somebody says, “Hmmm, I guess this shop very suddenly went out of business?”


©Tiddleywink Design, 2012

Cake, I love cake, rahhhlly I do.

I’m also picky about cake. That is to say; even shitty supermarket cake is still CAKE, but I swoon over GOOD cake. The kind of cake I grew up with, which was sweet but not cloying, dense but not heavy, and frosted with REAL buttercream. Made with copious amounts of butter.

For someone who likes to cook, and who is so picky about what makes a good cake, you’d think that I’d be baking cakes all of the time. And you’d be wrong. I bake a lousy cake. I blame a certain lack of patience, and the altitude. I was a much better baker at sea level, and try as sporadically as I do, I’ve had a tough time properly adapting recipes to 5,000 feet.

My cakes are so consistently bad that when I decided to bake my own birthday cake last summer, I ran out at the last minute and bought a back-up cake in case mine didn’t turn out. And mine didn’t turn out. The flaws with my cakes can apparently be attributed to over-mixing, so for my next cake I was going to be excessively attentive to how long I mixed the batter.

My regular readers know that I collect vintage cookbooks, and one of my recent acquisitions is a 1957 copy of Mile-High Cakes, put out by Colorado State University. Hey, rather than adapt a sea-level recipe to altitude, why not start with a recipe that was developed here in the first place? And so: let’s bake a cake!

Mile High Cakes, 1957
Mile High Cakes, 1957

I read the intro of the book, where the chemistry of ingredients is discussed. I grease and parchment-line my pans. I read through the recipe three times. I measure out all of my ingredients precisely. And then: I set up my kitchen timer, so I can time my mixing.

White Cake, Conventional Method
High-Altitude Recipe

Following instructions to a T, I mix that batter for far longer than I have mixed any batter ever before. A combined 12 minutes?! I cringe when I think about what all of this mixing is doing to my historically over-mixed batter. But I am determined to follow every instruction as written. Will it be dry? Crumbly? Will it tunnel? Fall? All of the above? I whip up a quick meringue frosting because I don’t want to waste perfectly good butter on this potential disaster.

High-Altitude White Cake
Cake. Cake that is real cake. (With apricot jam filling)

Over-mixed? Nope. It’s the best cake I’ve made yet. It turns out I’ve been UNDER-mixing my batter all this time. Thank you, ladies of the Home Economics Section, Colorado Agricultural Experiment Station. I could hug you. And/or bake you a cake.

Peachy Keen

Peaches & Herb cupcake

Have you ever had Colorado peaches? Ohmigodnomnomnom. Of course, they’re a seasonal thing. Colorado’s farmers can’t grow peaches all year long, but oh man, it isn’t summer until you’ve let a Colorado peach drip down your arm while you bite into its tender flesh. Seriously: food porn.

Well, it’s summertime in Colorado. And I’ll be the first to tell you that I don’t eat very much fruit, but here I am with three peaches on my kitchen counter, because, well, they’re Colorado peaches and they’re like honey, but cooler and more refreshing. The same day that I bought the peaches, I also bought a sad, droopy, reduced-for-clearance basil plant. Which, like Charlie Brown’s tree at Christmas, perked right up into a lovely bush of basil as soon as I gave it some love.

So here I am with peaches that I want to treat nicely, and basil that I’d like to do something more exciting than pesto with. Now, I’ve had mojitos made with basil instead of mint, and they were fabulous, but this is more basil than one gal can drink. Ice cream was my next idea, but what I’ve really been craving lately is a cupcake. And so:

Peaches & Herb Cupcakes (groooooan!)

CUPCAKES (recipe adapted from TopTeddy)
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup milk
2 peaches, pitted and thinly sliced and cut into thirds

– Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
– In a small bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, nutmeg and salt.
– In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together sugar and butter until well combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla, beating well. Alternately beat in flour mixture and milk, making three additions of flour mixture and two of milk, beating until smooth. Fold in peaches.
– Scoop batter into prepared pan. Bake in preheated over for 23-28 minutes or until golden brown and tops of cupcakes spring back when lightly touched. (ALTITUDE ADJUSTMENT: I wound up baking them for closer to 40 minutes.) Let cool in pan on rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool completely on rack. Makes 12 very full cupcakes. (You may want to try for 15 instead)

6oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla
about 5 fresh basil leaves, shredded into a chiffonade
2 cups powdered sugar
green food coloring

With an electric mixer, cream together the cream cheese and butter. Add vanilla and basil and mix until blended. Add powdered sugar and mix. Add food coloring to desired shade (I used one drop, for just a hint of green) and continue mixing until smooth. Pipe on to cooled cupcakes, then mash into your mouth! Omnomnom!

Chunks of peaches! Flecks of basil!