Weirdos and Cake

dog.bmpI am henceforth boycotting Expedia.

I had such a ridiculous experience at the grocer’s tonight. I ran in (literally) for some extra-bitter bittersweet chocolate, butter and pistachios–and so there I am, reviewing the lame-o selection of inferior chocolate that Safeway sells and I feel someone watching me… I look up and hello, weirdo alert–and then he actually winked!! So I pick some chocolate and quickly head to the nut aisle–where–while I’m perusing the nuts for about 30 seconds this same creep peeks around the corner THREE TIMES!! OMG. Starting to get annoyed (especially since they don’t sell pistachios at Safeway either), I move on in search of butter. Surprise surprise! Guess who else decides he needs butter?! So he sidles up to me and says–get this–“Hey cutie! How you doin’?” GAG ME WITH A WET NOODLE PLEASE! What a FREAAAAAAAAAAK! I was so upset by the entire encounter and by not finding anything in the quality I needed that I dropped all of my goods onto the pile of butter and left the store! Ha!!

In other news, I have several new favorite cakes. The most interesting is the Gateau St. Honore. What a hot piece of work this is. I really want to make it for Christmas dinner, but don’t think I’m going to have time…this is the picture of the one I made in class a couple of weeks ago. Sooo yummy!

In yet OTHER news, I am extremely disappointed that none of you have enlightened us about what you would like in your stockings this year!!! Where’s the holiday spirit folks?!?! Where’s the creativity?!?!

Lemon Heaven

lemons.jpgThere is something wrong with the world
Very, very wrong, I think
When there is real lemon in my furniture polish
And artificial lemon in my drink.
~Rex Knowles

One of our local grocery stores had GREAT lemons this week!! It’s so exciting (and surprising) to find quality produce in the middle of winter in New York state!! I’ve been hearing a lot about Meyer Lemons lately too–apparently they’re a cross between an orange and a lemon, so one of their many superior traits is that they’re sweeter than regular commercial lemons. Inspired by the unblemished and sprightly skins, I stocked up on these puppies and made some scrumpscious lemonade this weekend. 

Fresh Lemonade (Blend until smooth)
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup-3/4 cup sugar
1 cup crushed ice
4 cups water

Because I had some generic brand frozen lemonade in the freezer that I needed to use up, I made an alternative lemonade by preparing the frozen lemonade according to the directions on the can (i.e. add water and stir), but used 3/4 cup less water. Then I squeezed the juice from two lemons into this prepared lemonade, sliced one lemon and threw those in for color and texture. DELISH! It was just the right amout of tartness and sweetness.
 In addition to providing gustatorial pleasures, lemons have natural medicinal purposes to boot!

Make the most out of your lemons!


Small, pointed pleasures

dimsum.jpgHave you ever seen or tried any of the neat mini-dishes that some Chinese restaurants serve? Well, here’s some trivia for you; these little dishes, which are favored by the Cantonese, are collectively known as dim sum (loose translation: “dot the heart” or “tickle the heart”). Dim sum are little snacks usually associated with yam cha, the Chinese ritual of tea taking. Yam cha is a tradition in which business men or families gather for a long, leisurely morning of tea sipping, dim sum nibbling and warm conversation. This usually occurs very early in the morning (read: even as early as 5AM), and is most popular in Guangdong and Hong Kong.

Looking to enjoy some small, pointed pleasures yourself? There are hundreds of them! Dim sum are usually steamed, deep fried, or boiled and are mostly savory. They are wrapped in all sorts of different leaves–
lotus leaves
, banana leaves… If you’ve got a sweet tooth like I do, there are a few sugary dim sum available: water chesnut cake, coconut snowwballs and thousand-layer sweet cake with egg topping. (If you’re really ambitious, you can make your own sweet dim sum by following this recipe courtesy of a chef in Honolulu. President and Mrs. George Bush enjoyed these exact dim sum during one of their visits to Hawaii!). China is also home to a large variety of delicious teas: black tea, green tea, oolong tea, chrysanthamum tea, pu’er tea, etc. Green tea is especially good for digestion and may even help you live longer! When going out to try some of these tasty breakfast treats, keep in mind some of these important courtesies and tactful behaviors to follow when dining in a traditional Dim Sum restaurant.

Imitation, What?

I LOVE Alton Brown’s food network show Good Eats!! It is extremely entertaining! In my personal opinion, he is the most talented celebrity chef on the entire network and his pop culture humor and outlandish foodie pride are hilariously amusing. On his programAlton shares interesting tidbits about WHY food does the things it does, HOW to make it behave for you and even historical information about whatever he is preparing that day. For example, yesterday he was dealing with chocolate and made some awesome fondue. Did you know that fondue was invented during a Medevil Holy War by a soldier who was trying to make his bread less rock-like?! Ding! Plus, the intro to Good Eats has the hottest food graphics EVER! I highly reccomend this show. But beware, it will make you want to cook. I’m going to try out some of his brownie tips tonight (just to see how these tips work in real life, not because I have any desire to actually EAT a brownie).

In other news, stay away from Imitation Cherry Extract. That stuff’s nasty, son. I encountered it for the first time yesterday out of desperation. Let me just tell you that it tastes worse than the worst cough medicine you’ve ever experienced and smells…ugh, the scent is just indescribable. I wish I could put a little scratch, sniff and taste sticker on here so you could all experience it. The stuff is like toxic waste, yo!

I went to visit Carrie & company this weekend and had an exceptionally great time–fabulous fotos to come!!
Jen’s Birthday Celebration is tonight! Stay tuned in for pictures!

Snow for Gourmands

hershey.jpgHoo Ha! Can you believe all this snow? We enjoyed at least a foot of new snow today in Binghamton–on top of what we already had–making for some pretty exciting outdoor excursions!! Some of the girls and I frolicked in the icy precipitation for about an hour–there is a GIGUNDO snow bank in our parking lot that we happily took advantage of. Dawn and Jen introduced me to garbage bag sledding (in which you sit on a large plastic garbage bag that quickly propels you down aforementioned snow bank). We also experimented with rolling down the bank, which proved to be even more fun (if you can believe it!) than the impromptu sledding. When our limbs were too numb to move, we decided to head in for our Snow Sundae mise en place. This is an extremely easy and highly enjoyable winter treat that all of you who are blanketed in snow should try out!

Snow Sundae
1. Fill a cup with CLEAN (and preferably new) snow.
2. Pour several tablespoons of your favorite syrup on top of the snow in the cup. [Traditionally this recipe calls for maple
syrup, but I tried it today with chocolate syrup and liked it even better. I think it would also be excellent with Godiva’s
(or some other brand’s) chocolate liqueur].
3. Mix with spoon (Go ahead: revel in those crazy textures!), and eat!! Yummers!

4 of 4