Thursday, November 12, 2009
Okay, so I'm not all that hardboiled.
I found Bruce Hale's Chet Gecko series of books by random chance in my local library, and they are awesome. The series, which currently has twelve books, follows Chet Gecko, hardboiled 4th grade private eye, who just so happens to be a lizard. They are very film noir, reminiscent of Dashiell Hammett, Mickey Spillane, Raymond Chandler and the like. They make me want to re-read The Maltese Falcon. For those out there who still don't know what I'm talking about, here's a few of lines I wrote down when flipping through the books:
"I followed a lead as thin as a dragonfly wafer."
"She was as stiff as a grasshopper popsicle."
"In my time, I’ve tackled cases stickier than a spider’s handshake and harder than three-year-old boll weevil taffy."
Did that help? If not, go on YouTube and search for "film noir." I'm sure that even if you haven't read the books or seen the movies, you'll know the cliches.
The Chet Gecko titles are fun: The Malted Falcon, The Possum Always Rings Twice, Key Lardo, Farewell My Lunchbag, The Big Nap. The only one I've had time to read through so far is Trouble is My Beeswax, but I assure you that I will be reading the entire series. They're that good. I love the writing style - I can hear the piano music and the Sam Spade narration in my head when I read. The plot-lines are fun, they're not girly (which I've found to be an issue lately - too many girl books!), and the names of the characters are great stupid puns: Noah Vail? Natalie Attired? Sweet! AND!! Chet Gecko eats pillbug crunch bars and wolf spider lasagna!
Now, author Bruce Hale has made a Detective Handbook and Cookbook that I have not yet been able to get my hands on, so I didn't want to make any of the specific things that Chet eats in the books, because I don't know what's in the cookbook. I decided to make some generic buggy treats for Chet, in the hopes that I don't repeat what Mr. Hale has already done. Somehow, it seems different to me than using the Anne of Green Gables cookbook for raspberry cordial. So, I made some chocolate covered spider legs instead, and I think they'd be pretty good as an after-school snack.
Chet Gecko's Chocolate Spider Legs
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
2 to 2-1/2 cups chow mein noodles
1. Pour the chocolate and butterscotch chips into a microwave-safe bowl and zap on half-power for 30 seconds. Stir. Repeat this process until the chips are all melted.
2. If your chips are melty but not liquidy (more like a paste), you can add a tablespoon of milk and stir to integrate, repeating until smooth; I needed to do this twice to be able to get a fully-melted and not pasty bowl of chocolate.
3. Stir in 2 cups of chow mein noodles; add more noodles as necessary so there isn't excess chocolate pooling at the bottom of the bowl.
4. Using a spoon, drop piles of the noodles onto wax paper and allow to dry.
This is a simple one, but yummy. And versatile! Don't like butterscotch? Use peanut butter chips, or all chocolate, or white chocolate, or Andes mints! And you can mix in other things with the noodles, too - peanuts! Raisins! And you can swap out the noodles for other things, if you want... The possibilities are endless. White-chocolate-cranberry-chex? Sure! It won't look like spider legs, but it will be tasty.
Here's a photo of one piece - I made them pretty big (unless my hands are very small... no comment). I know they're not actually spider legs, but having told myself that I was making chocolate spider legs, I found myself a little grossed out by them toward the end.