Saturday, December 31, 2011


Go away.

Go here.

I don't care, but you can't stay here.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Tessa Thai Tea Cookies and Iced Coffee, or The Caffeinated Special, or I'm going to pretend like it hasn't been three months since I've updated this thing!

     We really have so much to catch up on. And I'm hoping this won't take TOO long, because our computer room is the hottest room in the house. And we do have the air on. However, I have been doing nothing but consume caffeine all day, so actually this might be the longest post ever. I mean it IS the Caffeinated Special! (My first special edition! Isn't it so exciting? Should there be a sweepstakes? What did I win?)
     First of all, let me apologize. I have gotten several hundred angry emails that I never let you guys know how the Cookiesperiment ended up. Well, shame on me. I don't even know why I still have friends. Basically, this guy Jacques Torres (that's a French ass name) has come up with arguably the best chocolate chip cookie recipe there is. It is indeed very tasty, and it's pretty much due to four things:
     1. The dough sits in the fridge for up to 36 hours before baking.
     2. They're topped with a liberal amount of sea salt.
     3. They use high-quality dark chocolate DISKS (feves- what?)
         instead of chips, resulting in puddles of molten goodness.
     4. They're huge, resulting in freakin' ZONES of cookie. The rims
         are crunchy and golden, and the centers are chewy and
     So now you know. To catch us up the rest of the way, I will bless you with two artfully prepared photo collages. Number one:
Clockwise from top-left:
1. Spaghetti with home-made pasta sauce, and Ina Garten's glorious meatballs. Seriously, look them up.
2. Hot-cross buns made for my momma, as per request on Easter Sunday.
3. Probably less than half of the cherries picked on a recent trip to Charlottesville.
4. Michael getting in touch with his feminine side.
5. Cherry clafoutis made with aforementioned cherries. Julia Child recipe. Very tasty.
6. Joy the Baker's yummy yummy brownies that I made the night before I had a scary phone interview that turned out to be not scary at all.
7. Michael taking over the whipped-cream whipping (for the cherry shortcakes. with the same cherries.) because my arms were getting tired. Why didn't I just use a mixer? Because Martha says it's too easy to over-whip, and it should always be hand-whipped. Well. You know what, Martha? Screw you. The mixer works fine. I've done it before and it tastes NO DIFFERENT. Also- if you want my favorite fancy shortcake recipe (I love it so much) look no further than on the back of a box of Bisquick.
8. That stuff in the middle? I can't really remember. Chili made by Michael, maybe?

     Montage numero B is Michael building our raised beds that we turned into a cute little veggie gargen in the back yard. I'm missing a few steps in between, but we now have a jungle of tomato plants that give us several yummy tomatoes a day, and some Simpson lettuce. And one beet that's doing quite well. Everything else is taking it's time. I planted approximately sixteen (three) types of carrots, so I hope those turn up soon because we are LEAVING at the end of July and our landlord wants us to DESTROY our veggie garden. Really. If he had told us in the first place (when we asked him for permission) that we were to take them down when we left, would we have even bothered? NO! I'm pretty pissed about it. Also, a dumbass robin built a nest under our front porch roof. I was initially very excited about this, but after having to clean (ok, ok, Michael did it) two dead baby birds off the porch, I no longer support fauna procreating on my property. I hate nature.
     Why are we leaving, you ask? I got a new job near Richmond! I start July 5th, so I'll be staying with family in Midlothian during the week, and coming back on weekends to pack up our cute little house.
     I think that brings us to today. I chose not to go to work due to an unfortunate incident involving my nose deciding to exsanguinate whilst putting in my contacts. I never get nosebleeds. It was terrifying. I made myself feel better by cleaning the kitchen, brewing a batch of iced tea (which is LOVELY with orange mint in it, which I also happen to be growing) and a batch of coffee, and baking some cookies with Tessa (!!!) Thai tea drink mix. I made up my own recipe before realizing that there was one on the back of the damn box. Such is my life.
     First, I will share with you my recipe for ASTOUNGING iced coffee.

Iced Coffee
You will need:
Ground coffee in an amount that you deem necessary
Water in an amount that you deem necessary
Whole milk (don't be a pussy)
Sweetening agent of your choosing

With which you will:
1. Brew a really strong pot of coffee.
2. Chill it unless you like watery ice-melt coffee.
3. Pour over ice and top with WHOLE milk and mix in sweetener.

     I know. Revolutionary, right? Really this whole thing was just a way for me to let you know that when it comes to cold coffee beverages, just use the damn whole milk. Plus, the handle on my spoon is fancy, no?
     Without further ado: more cookies. Tessa Thai Tea is something that came into my life thanks to my friend Andrella, who found a box of it somewhere and brought it to me at work one day. She had no idea that I actually LOVE Thai iced tea, she just thought it was awesome because it had my name on it. Which is clearly also true. So I went through that box pretty quickly. About two years later, I found a box at T.J. Maxx- of all places! So tonight I was trying to come up with something new to make, and decided to make these. I mixed up a basic cookie recipe batch, subbing most of the sugar with tea mix and throwing in some vanilla for good measure. They weren't quite sweet enough, but then I came across the damn recipe on the back of the box- which calls for almost the SAME ingredients and proportions, with the exception of more sugar. And shredded coconut. So I decided for the second batch to go in the oven that I would top them with a coconut macaroon-y mixture. They turned out much better.

Tessa Thai Tea Cookies
You will need:
4 oz butter
1 oz sugar
1.5 oz tea mix (if not thai tea mix, any instant mix that has sugar listed as first ingredient)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
.5 tsp baking powder
6 oz flour
.5 cup sweetened coconut
1 egg white
1 tbsp confectioners sugar

With which you will:
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Cream tea mix, sugar, and butter until light and fluffy.
3. Add egg and vanilla and beat until incorporated.
4. Add flour and beat until dough forms.
5. Roll dough in wax paper in a log and chill until slice-able.
6. Meanwhile, combine sugar, coconut, and JUST enough egg white to make it stick together.
7. Slice cookies 1/4 inch thick and top with a little coconut mixture.
8. Bake about 12-15 minutes until lightly browned.

     And The End.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Kitchen Awesomeness (Buttermilk Panna Cotta Round Two, Perfect French Toast, Hoisin Glazed Shrimp, Mushroom and Caraway Soup, and the Cookiesperiment!)

     Prepare thyselves. This will be an epic posting. And not because I've been up to a lot in the kitchen in the two weeks or so since I last wrote, but because I've done a lot in the past two DAYS. It really has been a mini-marathon.
     First thing's first. I know you all have pretty much been sitting on the edge of your respective sitting machines just WAITING for me to tell you how the Buttermilk Panna Cotta turned out using real buttermilk instead of the reconstituted powdered variety that I used with great success before. Well, exhale, my friends because I am about to tell you. It tasted remarkably similar. The real stuff turned out a custard slightly lighter in color and a bit lighter in flavor, perhaps, but all in all about the same. Now that that is out of the way, I will share the first of several recipes.

Buttermilk Panna Cotta
You will need:
2 cups of buttermilk, fresh or otherwise
1.5 tsp unflavored gelatin
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar

With which you will:
1. Sprinkle the gelatin over 1 cup of buttermilk and set aside to soften.
2. Bring cream and sugar to a boil, turn heat to low.
3. Stir in gelatin mixture, whisk for 3-4 minutes until dissolved. Remove from heat.
4. Stir in remaining cup of buttermilk.
5. Pour into serving dishes, cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

So easy, right? SO delicious! Has a nice tangy quality to it. It's great with sweetened strawberries on top, or by its lonesome.
     That happened a week or so ago, but it didn't really make for an entire blog post, so I waited until the urge to get cooking hit me again, and it did a few days ago. And again, our story starts in Harris Teeter. After I ceremoniously spread some sample Irish Butter on a piece of sample Pecan Raisin Oval loaf (which was very tasty, and when I found the loaf, it was tiny and more than five bucks! CRAZY!), I stumbled upon a loaf of challah bread. I'd been toying with the idea of making french toast with something other than supermarket sandwich bread for a while, and here was a lovely loaf of challah! For an outrageous price. Eff that. So I moved on. But the next day I was back to pick up some lunch, and lo and behold! My challah loaf was now a day old and less than two bucks! Cha-ching! Sold! And day old bread is perfect for french toast!
     This recipe is from good old Alton Brown, with a minor tweak, and it was very tasty. Apparently he's lost a good bit of weight recently, and good for him. But it probably was not by eating this every day for breakfast. Yeah, I know you want in on that bacon action.

Perfect French Toast
 You will need:
6 thick-ish slices of slightly stale bread (brioche and challah are great choices)
2/3 cup of milk or half and half
2 large eggs
1.5 tbsp honey, heated in microwave for 20 seconds
Pinch of salt
Splash of vanilla
Butter for cooking

With which you will:
1. Preheat oven to 375. Whisk milk, eggs, honey, salt, and vanilla together. Pour into a dish good for dipping bread into.
2. Dip bread into mixture, allowing each side to soak for 30 seconds. Let slices rest on a baking sheet for 1 or two minute before cooking.
3. Melt butter in pan over medium-low heat. Working in batches, cook slices for 3-4 minutes on each side until nicely browned.
4. Slide slices directly onto oven rack and bake for 5 minutes. Serve with topping of your desiring.

     It's a really great recipe. I know it's a little more high maintenance than most french toast recipes, but the baking really makes the insides fluffy and decadent. I topped mine with sugared strawberries and it was perfect. Michael stuck with maple syrup.
     That was yesterday's brunch. But that wasn't the end of the day. We still had to have dinner. It was a doozy of a dinner, too! We decided to go lighter since we had already had an insane amount of french toast, so we went the shrimp and rice route with a side of homemade quick pickles (another batch, made with my mandoline this time!). Remember those? From my second post? My, how time flies.

     The shrimp was kind of insane. Three ingredients: Shrimp, hoisin sauce, sesame seeds. I'm not even going to type out a whole recipe for this. Just stick some peeled and deveined shrimp on some skewers, baste it in hoisin sauce while grilling, and then top with sesame seeds. Kind of stupid easy, and totally stupid delicious.
     Which brings us to today. Another light-ish but super good dinner consisting of garlic bread (the rest of the challah) and Mushroom and Caraway Soup. If you like mushrooms and/or rye bread, you have got to try this soup. It came from Food Network magazine, but I tweaked it a tiny bit, too. I can't help it.

Mushroom and Caraway Soup
You will need:
2 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp caraway seeds
10 oz sliced mushrooms
Salt and pepper to taste
3 carrots, sliced thinly and chopped into soup-sized bits
4 cups of low-sodium chicken broth
Sour cream for garnish

With which you will:
1. Melt butter over medium-low heat. Add caraway seeds and cook for about a minute, until it starts to smell awesome.
2. Add mushrooms and cook until they wilt a bit, season with salt and pepper.
3. Add carrots and broth, bring to a simmer. Cook for 10-12 minutes until carrots are tender.
4. Ladle it out and garnish with sour cream.

     Food Network mag also adds a garnish of red onion, but I hate raw onion. So it did not even slightly happen. The soup was broth-sippingly delicious, and I will probably make this over and over again.
     That's pretty much it for tonight, but I feel a Cookiesperiment blog coming on Thursday, and I will leave you fine people with this to think about: This chocolate chip cookie is inappropriate. Look at that slut showing off it's redonk chocolate filled interior to God and everyone. For shame, cookie. For shame.