Chocolate and wine, mostly

Behold my greatest culinary achievement of the past week: purchasing and heating up chorizo.

And adorning it appropriately.

That's actually Sautéed Asparagus with Chorizo, Fried Eggs, and Smoked Paprika Allioli from Serious Eats and it was a nice little summer dish if you can overlook the fact that allioli is just mayonnaise with a sneaky name. I'm on to you, sneaky mayonnaise.

Though I'm technically still on project-vacation while I devote most my of my energy to enduring the height of this very delightful season that never ends, I have been working in a few recipes on the sly here and there. Cookbook #75: Favorite Brand Name Monster Cookies (Publications International, Ltd., 2001) poses an interesting question: if you are holding a physical item in your hand, yet the internet shows no evidence of its existence, is it real?

What are you?

Provenance: Mom. Previous recipes on this blog: none. Did I really need to let Anna pick one of these for her birthday considering the already Late Roman Empire-esque surplus of birthday shenanigans in play: yes.

Verdict: She went with Chocolate Giants, and who wouldn't? They were very large chocolate cookies with stuff in them. If this appeals to you, you can borrow my copy because I do not think it exists outside of this house or possibly even my own mind.

Cookbook #76: Sangria: Fun and Festive Recipes (Mittie Hellmich and Victoria Pearson, 2004): similarly cried out to me as something that needed to be incorporated into my four-year-old's birthday, obviously. Provenance: I think it was a gift from friends. Previous recipes on this blog: none. Appropriateness for serving at a midmorning child's party: 10 out of 10.

I had the children covered! They had a WATER tank!

I made the Strawberry Mint Sangria, which contains club soda and is a good way to save money on party booze refresh yourself on a hot day. Verdict: I thought this was pretty good, not overly sweet and you could really taste the berries. I'm not sure how necessary a how-to-add-fruit-to-your-wine book is, but then again I haven't yet explored every single variation (stay tuned).

Cookbook #77: Chocolate! Good Housekeeping Favorite Recipes (Good Housekeeping, 2005) has no photographic evidence of having been checked off the list because I gave away the batch of Almond Cheesecake Brownies before I managed to take a picture of them. Also I ate the half batch of Almond Cheesecake Brownies that I kept for myself before I managed to take a picture of them. Provenance: I know someone gave this to me, but I'm not sure who. Sorry, someone! Maybe my parents-in-law? Previous recipes on this blog: none.

Verdict: they tasted like all the things their name would indicate. Also, the book title is yelling the word "chocolate" at you. I don't know how to sell this thing any harder.

This is the part where I have to note that Monster Cookies should have been categorized with other Brand Name things, and the Chocolate book should have gone in Magazine Week. And this is the part where I acknowledge that no one but me would ever care about such a thing, but if one of you did, then I know, okay? I know. Whew! Obsessive bases covered.

The following is a typical result when I attempt to photograph my youngest child.

I would categorize her escape style as more "flamboyant" than "stealth" at this point.