Amuse-bouche

23-delicious-gcode
“Delicious” by Gcode

She stood alone in the kitchen of her small apartment, feeling the cold seeping up and into her feet from the tile floors, through the gel floor pad. Its give did nothing to comfort her, because the ache didn’t come from her feet; it was in her heart. She thought of his words the previous night, his tears, and how he had yelled at her until he’d had no voice left. He blamed her, and with good reason. She had been the one that shrank him.  She took another deep breath, and it came in raggedly. It hurt to breathe. It hurt to stand there, and not look at him. When she finally admitted she was too selfish to return him to his original size, she broke down and started sobbing.

How can I give you up now? I can’t. You are mine. You are part of me now. Please deal with it, and soon. I can’t stand to see you like this.

She opened her eyes, and looked through the blur of her tears. Enough! It’s time to move. Time for action. She looked down at the counter. Dinner ingredients: half a pound of steak, one red bell pepper, one carrot, one small white onion, one garlic clove, salt, pepper, and a bottle of teriyaki sauce. All she needed now was a little man. Her little man. She turned her head to call him, but her lips froze in mid-action. She saw him standing on the floor, by the bedroom doorframe across the hall from the kitchen. He looked so small! How long had he been watching her?

“Hi.”

“Hi,” she saw his lips move, and imagined she heard him.

“Did you sleep well?”

A tiny shrug.

“Come closer. I have something for you.”

He started walking, not exactly at a snail’s pace, but it seemed so slow, when measured against her desire to touch him, to have him by her side. She thought to walk over and retrieve him, but instantly decided against it. Better let him get used to these new distances. He has to get used to how long it takes to get to places. He has to have it all mapped out in his mind. The sooner, the better. She stared at him, wishing her eyes were tractor beams. As small as he was, she could see the beauty of his body, the manly way he took each stride, tiny feet gaining distance slowly, but surely. She imagined those little feet on her skin, again. Her cheeks turned to fire, and her breathing caught on the hook of her thoughts. She tried dismissing them. There was more important business at hand. He finally reached her, and she lowered her body from the waist up, sending her hand down as an ambassador for the rest of her. She opened her palm to him welcomingly, and invited him in.

“Come on up, my darling. I have to show you something.”

He lifted one little foot up and off the floor, and set it on her ring finger’s pad. When he dropped down on one knee and let his arms stretch forward to fall into a crawling position, she felt her body tremble, and had to use all her willpower to stop herself from closing that hand, and bringing it into herself. Instead, she let him find the center of her palm.

“Your hand is cold.”

“I’m sorry, tiny one. My blood is elsewhere.”

She smiled when he gave her a quick look as she lifted him slowly. He no longer shifted from side to side, looking everywhere in a panic, thinking she might drop him clumsily. Progress! It didn’t matter that he didn’t smile back. At least he wasn’t yelling at her anymore. She reached her upright position once again, and brought her hand to the countertop. “Here we are. You can get off, now.” She rolled her eyes inwardly. Everything she said to him had a double meaning. All she wanted to do was talk dirty to him. Focus!

“Tonight, I’m going to teach you how to cook, my way.”

“Wait.”

“What? What is it? Don’t you want to learn something new?”

“Would it matter if I didn’t?”

She didn’t answer, but he had a point. Or she did. He shook his head, as though dismissing her thoughts.

“All I want is for you to measure me again.”

“Oh. Now?”

“Yes, now.”

“Alright, sure. Just let me get my ruler.”

She had been measuring him every day after she shrank and kidnapped him. Every day he had been smaller, until the shrinking stopped. Every day he had panicked more and more, until he seemed to lose his mind. She still forced him to get up, to eat, to accept her cleaning him, holding him, tasting him, loving him. He had been limp, he had fought her, he had cried silently, and noisily. She was very interested to see how he would react now. She stood the wooden ruler on the counter next to him, and set down the paper where she had been writing down his height, every time. He walked over to the ruler, and stood facing away from it, his lovely back gently pressing against it. Her throat closed again.

“Ah, two inches. Still two inches. It’s been two inches for four weeks now.” She didn’t say “I told you so.”

“OK. I guess that’s it then. I’ll be a two-inch-short little bug for the rest of my life.” He looked up at her then, but the fire, the anger, wasn’t the same. She withstood his gaze with equanimity. It burned through her, but the only response she gave him with her eyes was the only response she had: you are mine. She watched him sigh, but his shoulders didn’t slump this time. Progress!

“So… what am I learning today?” She could have kissed him. He didn’t call her monster, or bitch, or monster bitch, or grow me back, you monster bitch. She smiled and said, “I’m going to teach you how to deal with food, this size.” And she made an exaggerated flourish with her hand, to show him the parade of ingredients on the counter.

“I don’t know- what can I do? How can I cook any of this stuff? I’m too small.”

“Well, let me get the pan preheated, and I’ll show you.” She leaned over to turn on the burner, on which a non-stick sauté pan sat. She added no oil to it. It could splash onto him, and burn him to disfigurement. Then, she gingerly picked up something from the counter. Something she had kept hidden from him until now. She thought she could trust him with it now. She set it in front of him with a tiny clink.

“It’s a… a sword? You’re giving me a sword.”

“A katana, specifically. I had it made just for you.”

“And what am I to do with it, specifically?”

“I want you to chop this garlic clove,” she pointed at the curved shape, white, covered in a thin, tissue-like membrane. “Have at it.”

He bent to grab the katana by the hilt. He lifted it slowly, and stood there for a moment, wielding it. He cut a languid slice of air with it, and she could have sworn she saw the corner of his mouth lift a little, for an instant. All she wanted at that moment was to kiss him. Focus!

“While you do that, I’ll chop everything else.” She watched him attack that garlic bulb with unequaled fury. Soon he was coughing, his eyes tearing up as the bulb attacked back with its oils, but he didn’t stop. He brought his katana down on it, into it, over and over again until it was a pulpy mass. She broke into infinite smiles as she watched him, and almost lost twenty fingers, he so was distracting her own work.

“Very well! I think we’re all done with that. Now, I want you to stand right here, and toss what I hand you into this pan.”

“What!? Into that giant pan? What if I can’t do it?”

“You can do anything I put my mind to, sweet, tiny man. You’ll see. Now, stand here, and get ready.”

He obeyed, rolled his shoulders, his neck, and cracked his knuckles. “I’m ready.”

She started handing him bits of food. Very small to her, but enormous to him. He stood his ground at the edge of that counter, next to the stove, and he tossed each bit in a long arch, into the awaiting pan. Each time his grunts were louder, and his skin glossier. She didn’t stop handing him food until every bit but the garlic was gone. She let it all sizzle without looking at it. All she wanted to do was feel him, so she did. She brought one single fingertip to his forehead as he stood there, panting, and she swept a lick of sweaty hair off his forehead. His head was forced backward, but he did’t slap her away this time. Progress!

She smiled, “thank you, my tiny darling,” and moved her finger away, to give the food a quick stir, and add the garlic, pepper, salt, and sauce. It smelled wonderful. “Now, we eat!”

She put a portion of food on one plate, and offered him her palm again. He climbed it almost expertly now, and she moved them to the kitchen table, where a candle burned on a tablecloth where she had already set a napkin and flatware. She sat, and set the plate in front of her very carefully. She then brought him to the edge of the plate, where he finally accepted a seat. She started pulling a piece of beef apart, and offered him a shred. He ate it. She then mashed a piece of pepper between her fingers, and brought the resulting paste to his side. He scooped it up with his tiny fingers, and brought it to his mouth. She couldn’t eat, she was so happy to see him take nourishment on his own, for the first time.

“Good, eh?”

“Yes,” he said, between bites. “Aren’t you- gonna- eat?”

“I am. I will. When you’re finished.”

He shrugged delightfully, and had his fill. He licked his fingers and lips, and looked up at her. “I’m done.”

“No, my love. You’re not done. You’ve only just begun.”

“What do you mean?”

“I’m hungry, so hungry. But for you.”

He only looked at her in horror. He made to move off the plate, but knew there was nowhere to go. She reached for him, and in an instant he was in her grip, between thumb and index finger, riding, flying from table to her lips. Her face grew closer, and larger, until he saw nothing else. The kitchen was gone, the ceiling had disappeared. All there was, all he could see, was the curve of her half-opened mouth, the rounded tip of her nose, and her eyes, black as night, beginning to cross as she looked down at him. Then she closed them, and lifted her upper lip.

“No!” he screamed, but she stopped herself, and his body, right there. She began to kiss him, the entire length of him, slowly. He felt his body dip into those bed-sized lips, and be lifted again by her fingers, as she wet him completely with deep, hot kisses.

“Oh, my little guy… you taste wonderful.”

“I thought- I thought you were gonna eat me…”

She let a single gust of laughter out from her nostrils, and bathed him in her warm breath.

“Eat you? I could never eat you. Don’t you know how I feel about you? You are everything to me, my tiny man. Everything.”

And she kissed him again, endlessly.

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Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Yum!
Yum!

I had a nice Thanksgiving Day, and I hope you did as well. I ate everything on my plate, which you see above, and then I had a bit of pie. I was in terrible pain, but what else is that food there for, if not to hurt you? I remember my first Thanksgiving Day celebration here, in the United States. I was brought a dark beverage that turned out to be root beer. Never have I been served anything so foul, not before, or since. And I used to drink molasses water when I was a child. I drink green smoothies all the time now, but those are delicious, even with the heavy inclusion of fresh sprouts. But… where was I? Oh, yeah. Thanksgiving Day food. That year, or the next, I had my first taste of cranberry jelly. What the hell, people? You can’t do that to me, not without warning.

This is how it’s done:

Cranberry Apple Under-relish

Ingredients

  • 1 (12 oz.) package fresh cranberries (3-1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 large orange, grated rind removed, and juice reserved
  • 2 medium apples, cored, pared, and sliced (I’ve tried Golden Delicious, but Golden Russet were also excellent)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

Preparation

  1. In saucepan, combine cranberries and maple syrup; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for five minutes, or until mixture thickens. While it cools…
  2. Combine juice and grated rind from orange with apples; stir into cranberries; add the nuts.
  3. Chill to blend flavors.
  4. You’re welcome.

This year, I’ve been thankful for many things, and upset about a few. I feel both about the emails from my readers I never answered. Sure, my computer exploded (not really, it just died), and then I lost all desire to blog, but how rude of me. My blogging apathy included never deleting my emails, so don’t be frightened if you see that I’m finally answering an email you sent me in 2011. To try to make up for my rudeness, I will soon include a blog entry with a recipe for turkey soup, and instructions on how to throw away pie. I’m sick of it. I’ve had three slices, including the one I had on Thanksgiving Day, and now I can’t stand the sight of it.

The ABCs Game – B is for Brownies

A little crumb would be enough for him.
A little crumb would be enough for him.

B is for Brownies. I published this recipe at my old blog about eighteen months ago. I only have a few old ABCs entries left to publish, and playing the game—even if only by myself—means I will be following the order of the letters of the alphabet from this point on, when I create new entries for this series.

I’d been planning to create a collage to accompany my brownie recipe for quite some time, but only after I found a suitable shrunken-man source image was I able to figure out the sort of photos I wanted to take of my brownies; so the image you see above is of my window, of a curtain I sewed years ago, and of brownies I baked. I think this is the first collage I’ve published that include raw images I created, instead of stealing downloading them from the Internet.

Underbrownies

  • 7 T. butter
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 c. cocoa
  • 1/2 t. aluminum-free baking powder
  • 1/4 t. sea salt
  • 1/2 c. chopped, toasted walnuts
  1. Heat oven to 350° degrees. If you have a toaster oven then you don’t have to heat up the entire kitchen to make these.

  2. Grease and flour a small pan of any shape.

  3. In food processor, combine butter and sugar until well mixed.

  4. Add vanilla and mix until incorporated.

  5. Add eggs and mix until well blended-

-Or add it all at the same time, for all I care. The result is the same when I blend it all lovingly and in order, than when I dump it all in the processor (I do recommend mixing the butter and sugar first), nuts last, and pour into pan.

  1. Bake for about fifteen minutes. Don’t overbake, or you’ll end up making chocolate rock.

  2. Cool, cut in sixteen pieces, and eat one with your sweetie before you kiss him/her. Brownie breath is a guaranteed shrinking potion. It only works on men, of course.

If I receive one single philistine comment about how baking is women’s work, I’ll crush ya like a twig and snap ya like a bug. 🙂

* * *

As I chose the elements for the collage above, a scene played in my head. Some will understand when I tell you that events between a shrunken man and a woman don’t always have to include sexual activities. Daily routine can become their prelude, and activities such as visiting, making friends, listening to music, cleaning the house, etc., can lay the foundation for an emotional state ripe with the right kind of tension.

In this case, the emotion I use to color interaction is a deep sense of trust combined with size-related frustration. A man that shrinks to a mere few inches in height will remember a time his wife might have baked him brownies, and he would have polished the entire plate as he watched TV, later burning those calories in the yard, or in the bedroom.

He will recall there was a time he could have closed his hand around his wife’s delicate wrist when the doorbell rang announcing relatively unwanted visitors, and he could have pulled her into his arms as he whispered, “Let’s pretend we are not home, and maybe they’ll go away….”

There is a weight pressing on him that has nothing to do with his wife’s finger or toe; a heavy feeling of helplessness as he watches his life shrink and be absorbed by his mate’s actions. The only thing that rescues him from despair is the absolute trust he feels in his beloved. It carries him as safely as her hand during moments when it seems even the air he breathes is something she allows him to have, and can take away if she so desired it; those times when his responses to disappointment regress to a child-like state; those instances when events slip away as he’s shown a shrunken man may control only that ever-changing sphere the woman that loves him declares his province; those times such as these….

“They are mine,” he said, his hips pressing possessively against the brownie closest to his hips, the one sandwiched in the middle of the stack. That tiny thrust was almost imperceptible given his size, and he seemed too angry to have meant it to be seductive, but his naked body was glued to those baked goods as though they were some sort of salvation; and that moist, warm brownie molded like clay to the shape of his body sent her thoughts adrift to other times he had moved similarly against her body.

“Honey, I can bake you more brownies after they leave, ” she said placatingly. She could see wet chocolate stains beginning to spread onto his torso and his delicious thighs, and forced herself to look away from his midriff, up to his chocolate-colored eyes. He looked good enough to eat, and he would probably taste delicious at the moment, but that sort of fun would have to wait until they were alone in the house again.

She looked over her shoulder at the bedroom door, and listened to her friends chatting in the living room. Again his voice, as diminished in volume as it now was, seemed to somehow get louder. She faced him again as he stood next to the brownies on the plate.

“I don’t want different brownies later; I want these, and I want them now!” his words ended with the whine of a child threatened by willpower much greater than his own. “You baked them for me. I’ve been waiting for you to bake me these brownies for weeks! You are going to have to give them something else to eat.” He stretched his arm along the edge of the top brownie, and his little fingers clasped it greedily. They hadn’t been out of the oven very long, but he didn’t seem to mind their warmth.

“Unfortunately I can’t help the whole house smelling like them, darling. If I had known they were coming I would have baked a double batch. Sweetie, be reasonable! You are too small to eat them all anyway! One of these little squares would last you a month- alright, a week, the way you eat sometimes.” She threw him a playful smile, but he didn’t return it.

“They should have called you first, before butting in and interrupting our weekend!”

Beginning to feel a touch of annoyance, she sighed, and watched his hair be blown back by gust of wind she had created. “Sweetie, this is the South. People don’t do that. They expect to be able to drop by casually and be served iced tea and comfort food in an impeccable home. They expect impromptu politeness, and hospitality at the drop of a hat.”

“But you are Hispanic. They can’t expect you to behave that way.” He realized immediately he had put his little foot in his mouth when her lips tightened, and when he spoke again, his voice was little more than a squeak.

“Tell them they can’t have-”

“What do you mean ‘they can’t expect me to behave that way’? And do you see me doing that? Do you really think I’m going to go back out there and tell them ‘Sorry ladies, my tiny shrunken husband is a greedy, selfish baby, and he refuses to yield even a single brownie square. We’ll have to scavenge the fridge for any leftover Chinese food that hasn’t turned, and whatever cheese we can slice away from mold we can put on Ritz crackers.”

His gaze, no longer blazing with anger, dropped for a moment.

“Well, er… um-” He shook his head softly, sinking his chin into the brownie corner the heat of his body had rounded out. His fingers dug into the still warm mass of chocolate like fish hooks, as though he could still prevent her from taking the plate away from him.

“I’m offering my friends these brownies, and there isn’t a thing you can do about it. They will stay in my house for as long as they wish, and they they will eat anything they want from my fridge. And after they leave I’ll come back here and we’ll have a long conversation about your manners, and your small place in the grand scheme of my things.”

She reached for the plate, and he barely had time to jump off it and onto the bedside table where the stack- his stack of brownies had been cooling off. His pressed lips turned into a pout as he watched her walk away with them in hand.

Only now did he begin to realize there might not be any sort of sweetness headed his way this Saturday night if he didn’t work his way to her good graces. He looked down at his body. Almost the entire front of it was painted brown with melted brownie marks. He thought they could be useful.

Careful not to accidentally wipe clean any of it, he sat on the lamp base. In the distance, in the living room that felt as though it was a town away, he could hear laughter and womanly conversation, interrupted by moans of culinary appreciation as his wife’s friends devoured his brownies.

Alone, he waited.

* * *

And here‘s the example file, the way I initially composed the image. There isn’t that much difference between the former and the latter.

Well-Guarded Walnut Raisin Cookies

As we all know, small men spend a great deal of their free time stealing cookies. Mine, however, are well guarded by armed action figures. Attempt to steal at your own peril.
As we all know, small men spend a great deal of their free time stealing cookies. Mine, however, are well guarded by fiercely protective and armed action figures. You've been warned.

I baked these a couple of night ago. I got sixty units out of the mix, which are a scant serving for a giantess, and a lifetime’s supply for a shrunken man. Either way they are delicious, and I don’t feel the lack of oatmeal one bit.

Raisin Walnut Cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Ground cinnamon to taste (I added half a teaspoon)
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 1/3 cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup walnut pieces, toasted
  • 1 cup raisins

Preparation

  1. Using an electric mixer, cream butter, brown sugar, and vanilla.
  2. Beat in eggs, one at a time.
  3. Stir in flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Mix well.
  4. Drop the walnuts and raisins into the mix and continue beating at low speed until all ingredients are incorporated.
  5. Drop by tablespoons onto baking sheets. These can be greased, or can be lined with parchment paper.
  6. Bake at 350° for 12-15 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

The Presets – Cookie

Chocolate Salty Balls

Uh-oh, now they are in trouble...
Uh-oh, now they are in trouble...

This is a collage I worked on last year, partly to acknowledge a very good story I had just read, written by Canuck, who’s given me permission to share it here. I’m sure many of you have read it, but here it is anyway.

Venus Attacks! by Canuck

How does my collage relate to the story? Well, in both cases the little guys have balls. Huge ones. However, in my collage, they came into unlawful possession of their balls, and shall have to be punished appropriately… until they escape and / or plot a comeuppance. In Canuck’s stories, little guys are always planning something wicked against much taller women (such as stealing their doughnuts).

And the title of the collage? Well, it was the only chance I had to name a collage “Chocolate Salty Balls”, and here’s the recipe, from Isaac Hayes’ book, one of my favorite in my cookbook collection, and not because it’s autographed. The meatloaf recipe is probably the best I’ve ever tried.

Chocolate Salty Balls recipe
Chocolate Salty Balls recipe

Let's pretend you want to stop eating meat

If you would just stop that silly screaming I would explain that I only want to share a delicious recipe. See, I have nothing against the death of another living creature so I may roast, boil, fry it, and eat it. When I was six years old I had a pet chicken (the sort that you get at a county fair when it’s a tiny baby chick) I’d play with sometimes, after returning from school. One day my beloved chicken was nowhere to be found, and coincidentally I happened to wonder where he was while observing that my mother had deposited a plate of chicken stew before me.

She casually mentioned the chicken had flown south to seek adventure. I looked at my mother and knew she was lying. I knew the golden pieces of flesh in that bowl were parts of my pet. I shrugged, allowed her to think she had fooled me, and ate my meal. My pet was yummy. At that age I understood that baby chick was no longer the little creature that my father had bought me months ago when I oooh’d and aaah’d over its cage as it chirped. The large chicken had entered the food classification.

Yet I cannot, and will not eat squid. I simply refuse to devour an animal I admire.

About a decade ago, I was a vegetarian for a year, and I quite enjoyed it back then. I’m thinking about repeating the experience, because I’m reaching meat-related boredom, and because I’m not liking what I’m reading and finding out on the Internet about the way our food is treated before it dies. I’m not only referring to animal cruelty, but the hormones and antibiotics and soylent green-like feed. I’m not the only one I cook for, so there’s a serious level of responsibility there as well.

Here’s a recipe I like for

Stuffed Ancho Chiles

Ingredients

  • Ancho chiles
  • 1 jar of Newman’s Own salsa, the Cilantro one is best
  • A block of Monterrey Pepper Jack cheese

Preparation

When I looked into the procedure of cooking the chiles, I found that most recipes indicate they must soak for a number of hours, or overnight. I had no time for such foolishness, so I was glad to spot a recipe with shortened steps. I only had to boil water and 1/4 cup vinegar with bay leaves, marjoram, and thyme to taste, and soak the chiles in the water (after removing it from the burner) for fifteen minutes.

I believe the reason for soaking the chiles is to soften them, but I don’t mind the harder texture at all. It’s the flavor that makes them delicious.

So I did the above, and once that was done I halved the chiles, and removed the seeds. Now I had six halves, and I had no idea what I was going to put in them, so I looked in my fridge and saw some leftover Newman’s Own salsa, cilantro flavor, and I spooned a couple of tablespoons in each chile half.

I grated about half a block of pepper jack cheese and placed it in lovely mounds over the chiles.

I created a foil tent over the baking dish (I like pyrex for this) and inserted it into a 350° oven for 35-45 minutes. By then the cheese was deliciously melted. I ate mine with rice.

And some meat. 🙂