Brownie in a mug

 This is not exactly a story. But, I am sure there MUST be stories that will flow in your life if you try this!! So, as Manny Gorden used to say, “enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!!!”

I was trolling the internet the other day, and saw a link for this on a friend’s facebook page. Of course then there ensued the relentless google search for the BEST recipe. I think this is it – from simply recipes.com. It makes single serving brownies, in a mug, in a microwave. It only takes 5 minutes start to finish (not counting the time you will HAVE to exercise to work it off).

 From http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/brownie_in_a_mug/

The folks at SimplyRecipes noted that you really should not use extra virgin olive oil for this recipe, it’s too strongly flavored. Rather, corn oil or canola oil work best. A pinch of salt helps make the chocolate more chocolate-y. They also add some vanilla and a tiny bit of cinnamon; and suggest that you could also add a speck of instant coffee to take it up a notch. The brownie lacks for structure (no egg) but that’s okay because it’s contained by the mug. When it’s done, it’s HOT. Perfect for topping with a little vanilla ice cream or whipping cream. The trick is getting the cooking time right for your microwave. Every microwave oven model is different. Our 1000 watt microwave cooked these brownies in a mug perfectly at a minute 40 seconds. If you have a stronger microwave it will likely take less time. Enjoy!

Brownie in a Mug Recipe

  • Prep time: 3 minutes
  • Cook time: 2 minutes
  • Yield: Makes one serving.

Some mugs don’t microwave well because there is metal in their ceramic glaze. They’ll work but they may get very hot. Best to use a plain old everyday un-fancy mug.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup flour (50 g)
  • 1/4 cup sugar (70 g)
  • 2 Tbsp (13 g) cocoa (natural, unsweetened)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Tiny pinch of cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup water (60 ml)
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil or vegetable oil (NOT extra virgin olive oil, it’s too strongly flavored)
  • 1 to 2 drops vanilla extract
  • 1 small scoop of ice cream or 1 or 2 teaspoons heavy whipping cream to serve

1 Place flour, sugar, cocoa, salt, and cinnamon in a microwave safe ceramic mug. Stir with a fork or spoon to mix well and break up any clumps.

2 Add the oil, water, and vanilla to the cup and stir until the mixture is smooth and there are no lumps.

3 Place in microwave and heat on high until the mixture is cooked through, about a 1 minute and 40 seconds for a 1000 watt microwave. You may have to experiment and adjust the time for less or more powerful microwaves. If you don’t know the power level on your microwave, start with 60 seconds and increase until the brownie is done. It should still be moist when cooked through, not dry.

4 Let cool for a minute and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a teaspoon or two of whipping cream poured over.

 

And what does this have to do with justice? Well, in my delusional utopian world of justice, compassion and rights, we would all be able to wantonly indulge in this – with the ice cream, of course – and the end result would be willowy, svelte, sculpted bodies that were all muscle, with just the right amount of curves and with perfect cholesterol readings!! But then, it is summer and I am at the beach.

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Ropa Vieja

Bread may be the staff of life, but in my family food was surely the stuff of life. When you walked into my parents home, if you were friend or family (in my parents world, there were family, friends and strangers, if they knew you for 10 minutes and liked you, you were immediately friend); so, if you were family or friend you went to the kitchen where the entire contents of the refrigerator appeared on the table. We all sat and ate and talked. But there was no talking before there was eating. No one ever left my parent’s home hungry! So, I fell in love with the story of ropa vieja the second I heard it.

If you know any Spanish at all, you know that ropa vieja means old clothes. So, what does that have to do with food? Just this: old clothes plus love (lots of love) equals food.

In the Canary Islands, Venezuela, Cuba and Mexico the story is told of a man whose family was coming to visit him. He loved his family deeply and wanted to prepare a grand feast to welcome them to his home. But he was a poor man and could not afford to buy food for them. But he deeply wanted to show them his love and to feed them. So, he went to his closet, gathered some of his favorite old clothes (ropa vieja) and imbued those clothes with his love. He then put the clothes in his stew pot and cooked them with the herbs and some vegetables from his garden.  By the time his family arrived, the clothes turned into a wonderful beef stew!

Alchemy at its best — the nurturing transformative power of love.

And today, Ropa Vieja is a well loved family meal in the Canary Islands, Cuba, Venezuela and Mexico. The dish might (or might not) have chickpeas or potatoes; sometimes it is just the shredded meat (beef, chicken and/or pork) in sauce. It is often made with mint, garlic, tomatoes, onions and green peppers. It is often served with beans and rice and sweet plantains. For families today, ropa vieja is much like old clothes: warm, comforting and familiar.

Love, let us bask in it. May it flow through all of our lives in abundance. May it nurture us body and mind, heart and soul, even as it knits us ever more closely in the hearts and arms of family and friends.