Monday, December 12, 2011

Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2011!!

Crazy cookies be in my hizzouse!!

This was so much fun to participate in! The ladies at Love & Olive Oil set up a swap whereby bloggers across the nation signed up to bake their pants off and share the spoils. It was a sort of Secret Santa, as you were sent three names and addresses but couldn't blog about who you were assigned to "gift" your dozen cookies to. Your information was also sent off to random participants, who sent you a dozen cookies.

I chose to bake my favorite Sunflower Seed Butter Chocolate Chip cookies. They are great for people who either don't like or are tired of peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. They also don't have dairy.

Sunflower Seed Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yield: about 3 dozen 2-inch or so cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup sunflower seed butter
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon water
1 12-ounce package of chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Stir flour, baking soda and salt in one bowl.
Beat shortening, sunflower seed butter, eggs, sugars, vanilla, and water in another Bowl until creamy.
Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and blend well.
Stir in chocolate chips.
Drop by spoonfuls (about a teaspoon-sized spoon) onto greased or parchment paper-ed baking sheets about 2 inches apart.
Bake for 10-12 minutes.
Cool until you can't wait any more (which for me means not at all and I end up burning my tongue, but that's OK)

I ended up making lots of different sizes and cooked-ness so I could pick and choose the best to send to the other bloggers. Here is the multitude of cookies:

I hope that my Secret Santa bloggers enjoyed my cookies!


The Caramel Cookie

Mountain Mama Cooks

So far, I've received these delicious cookies:

1. Literally Damn Delicious Pumpkin Snickerdoodles
Damn Delicious

2. Totally Tasty Peanut Butter, Toffee and Pretzel Cookies
Life on Food

Thanks you so much for all the great cookies!!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

One of my favorite restaurants!

I love eating out, but, most of the time, I can’t afford to. My budget allows me to cook at home and only occasionally eat out. In such a large metropolitan area, finding the perfect dining spot can be grueling, time-consuming, and expensive work. Your corner bodega just doesn’t cut it. I play in the big leagues when it comes to all-purpose dining. The price has to be right. Each customer should be free to set their own atmosphere. The establishment needs to sell bags of ice. If you haven’t figured it out, I’m about to wax rhapsodic about 7-Eleven.

Where else can you get year-round outdoor dining, three square meals a day, and toilet paper? I’ve always had a soft spot in my gut for 7-Eleven. (Actually, I probably have a soft gut because of 7-Eleven.) No matter - it remains one of my favorite restaurants.

It is damn-near impossible to find a spot in NYC where I can get a buttered roll. Does anyone eat buttered rolls anymore? I want a buttered roll and a coffee either vanilla-flavored via the grinds, or via the sugar sludge that calls itself International Delight. I want to be able to get this buttered roll and coffee at any time of the day. I want to have the option of seeded or unseeded rolls, avec butter. I want there to be a bagel option for those extremely rare times I want a bagel. I want to be able to take my buttered roll and coffee outside and sit on the curb in the parking lot to eat it before I go on my merry way.

I want to be able to have outdoor dining, 365 days a year (a curb is made for sitting on, after all). The only dress requirements are: no shirt, no shoes, no service. During the winter months, be sure to bring your parka so you can enjoy al fresco hard boiled eggs and a Snapple, curbside.

A Slurpee was my air conditioning throughout childhood. There is no equal. All of those fancy iced drinks, smoothies, and other assorted frozen beverages will never win over the silky smooth texture of a Slurpee. Dr. Pepper must have creamed his pants when the Dr. Pepper Slurpee came out. Did you know that most Slurpees are kosher? I just Googled that, but believe me, it is true!

I want to eat a Truck Stopper and a Jolt at midnight, or 6am. I want to buy toilet paper with my vitamin water without walking all the way to the Rite-Aid, one block away. I want to buy smokes and a lottery ticket and a taquito. Those rubbery-looking hot dogs are merely a tool to galvanize your intestines. If you eat like a pansy all your life, you won’t survive in the jungle.

Most of these wants will remain unfulfilled. 7-Eleven doesn’t carry most of the products I adore. The NYC locations are hella different than the ones I knew in NJ. I relish my memories. I love you and I miss you Jolt (classic).

Note: I’ve officially added Slurpee to my PC dictionary.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

[Insert Funny Brownie Title Here]

This has been my go-to recipe for brownies for years. If I want to mix things up I add extras. It's really easy to add anything to this recipe in particular since it is so simple and has so few ingredients. Some of my favorite additions are: matcha, honey, wasabi, chili, or sunflower seed butter. I LOVE these brownies!

Marianne's Brownies (from Scharffen Berger 99% Unsweetened Chocolate insert, dated 10/05)
Yield: Makes about 25 brownies (ed. note: These must be Tom Thumb-size servings, because I usually get about four Michele-size servings when I make them.)

4 ounces Scharffen Berger 99% Unsweetened Chocolate, chopped
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, cubed
1 ¾ cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
⅔ cup all-purpose flour

Equipment: 9 x 9-inch baking pan and baking parchment

Preheat oven to 350° F

1. Grease the 9 x 9-inch baking pan and line the bottom with parchment.

2. Place chocolate and butter in a large stainless steel bowl or the top of a double boiler and set over a pan of gently simmering water. Stir occasionally until melted and smooth. Remove from heat.

3. Mix the sugar into the melted chocolate to form a gritty paste. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the vanilla, if using. Fold in the flour and mix until completely incorporated.

4. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with crumbs but no moist batter (about 25 minutes).

5. Set on a rack to cool.

Broken Heart Brownie:

(ed. note: F U grammar police)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Dream a Little Dream of Me, or B.S.?

Drinking Kijafa and Akvavit reminds me of my maternal grandparents, who were Danish. I love consuming food and drinks that remind me of them because it is always comforting and, to be honest, only brings back the good memories. Memories related to my parents are another story altogether, but let's stick with good ones, eh?

I don't even know if my grandparents drank Kijafa. I know they drank Akvavit. At the Danish club, Aquavit was always present. The caraway sweetness is synonymous, in my mind, with adult beverages since I was never old enough to drink when I saw my grandparents drink it. Now, when I drink Akvavit, I feel grown-up.

My grandparents were together for decades and I never knew much about their past. What I know is made up of the times I remember being with them when I was a child and the the little I picked up when I spent time with my grandmother the two or so years before she passed away. I wish I knew more about them and I wish I could find a partner that would stay with me until the end. It doesn't look like that is happening any time soon.

My grandpa always made rice pudding for Christmas. He would always put an almond in the pudding, which was hunted after by the kids. The person who found the almond won a prize. Now, no matter who it is in my family, or where we are, we all hunt for almonds in our rice pudding. It isn't even because we are looking for the almond. It is because that is the way we eat rice pudding. I like to think that we all have good memories of my grandpa and we honor him when we search blindly for something that we know for a fact just isn't there. I have never encountered a rice pudding that was as good as his. I honestly don't even remember what his tasted like, but I will never think any rice pudding is as good as his was.

Wasa crispbread has the same effect as Aquavit, in that it makes me feel closer to my grandparents. Wasa crispbreads are best when smothered (and I mean SMOTHERED) in soft butter. On a related, and funny, note, baked chicken (that which I despise) was enjoyable to me when my grandma made it. I love mashed turnips thanks to her, as well as celery (Cel-Ray, or celery tonic) soda.

Are memories like this going to survive? I hope so. I can't think of eating roasted lamb with mint jelly without thinking of my grandparents. Currently, I'm gorging on brownies thinking of N. I hope the brownies don't cloud my brain so much that I can't eat them without associating them with what could have been. I am beginning to think I associate food with people a little too much . . .

Friday, April 30, 2010

I am my own terroir

Je sais, je sais! All of my characteristics don't exactly go together like chocolate and peanut butter, so I probably wouldn't make for a good bottle of wine. Luckily, I'm just a person so my characteristics can be all over the map and that just makes me more special.

Here is a portion of my characteristics:

baked - I need to maintain just like everyone else
bright - I gots me a brain
charming - I can be very charming ;)
chocolaty - it runs through my veins
earthy - I don't shave
edgy - I have some nerve and acidity, but I'll give you a piece of bread to ease it
expressive - my face does funny things on its own
feminine - I admit this is questionable, but I can be
firm - cartilage
flabby - I have soft spots
gutsy - I have been known to do a gutsy thing or two
herbaceous - an aggressive extraction now and then is not a bad thing
hot - speaks for itself
inky - I've got tattoos
luscious - you should see me eat whipped cream!
peppery - I've got spice
powerful - yes
prickly - I can be
racy - but well-balanced
robust - I'm getting older (not necessarily maturing though)
sassy - that's me!
sharp - as a lure
smokey - it's my dirty secret
sweet - I can be
tart - chocolate pear
warm - I do make a great cuddle-buddy in the colder months

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

No one likes flaccid bacon

Roebling Tea Room
143 Roebling Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211-3365
(718) 963-0760
Lunch - Mon. - Fri. 9:00am - 4:30pm
Brunch - Sat. - Sun. 10:00am - 4:30pm
Dinner - Mon. - Fri. 5:00pm - 12:00am
Dinner - Sat. - Sun. 6:00pm - 12:00am

Brunch-time o’clock on an early-spring morning in hipster Williamsburg, NY will find many folks dining at the Roebling Tea Room. The building is an old industrial brick structure that looks more hunting lodge than tea room inside. The wallpaper has hounds and men on horseback with riding crops and funny outfits (much like the clientele). As beautiful and inviting as the inside may appear, the noise is nigh on raucous and maintaining an audible voice over the din for any extended period of time will require that you drink more tea. It’s a marketing ploy I tell you!

I could tell that the company that the Roebling keeps is hipster to the max. I didn’t see a symmetrical haircut in the place and I could have had a field day counting piercings and tattoos. I felt like I would have fit in better if I had more tattoos or if my hair was pink and crooked-spiky. It wasn’t that crowded for a Saturday brunch, but I’m sure the place is banging at night, especially because they have alcohol.

If only the tea didn’t disappoint as much as my last three boyfriends. When I go to a tea house, I expect a certain level of tea service that the Roebling just does not satisfy. Tea will not stay warm in a pot with no lid. The place is drafty, so the tea needs a scarf and hat. Add to that the fact that the cups/mugs that a pot of tea is served with are tall, thin, white porcelain coffee mugs. Did I just write coffee mugs? Yes, I did. It seems to me to be an affront to tea houses everywhere to serve tea in such a lackadaisical, irresponsible manner. It takes gumption. The tea itself might have been good if I had been able to taste it through my initial haze of unhappiness at its tepid temperature. After that my disappointment was due to my disgust at seeing pieces of porcelain chips in the bottom of the teapot that I just don’t understand were missed by the server.

I have a minor obsession with pork roll egg and cheese (PRE&C) sandwiches. It is one of my many obsessions, but it has deeper roots than even the chocolate obsession. It’s a Joisey sandwich and deep down I’m a Joisey girl. In any event, a PRE&C sandwich should only be served one way and one way only – on a roll. The layers should be particular and why the hell would you put mustard on a PRE&C? Salt, pepper, and ketchup go on a PRE&C and that’s it. I had to order it since it was on the menu though, despite my pessimistic attitude about it not living up to my Jersey standards before I even got it. It came to me on a plate with shoestring fries. The “sandwich”, if that is what you want to call it, was on artisan white bread – with MUSTARD!! The eggs were scramble/fried, not true-fried, and the cheese was hidden in there somewhere. There were only three pieces of pork roll on this joke of a sandwich. Aside from the fact that odd numbers are bad luck, why not throw another slice on there? You’ve already decided to screw with me by putting mustard on the “sandwich”, so go the whole nine yards and put two, or none? Please don’t call that “sandwich” a PRE&C if you care so little about the food to display it and serve it like a scoundrel displays himself from underneath a dirty trench coat.

My friend ordered the drunk beans and they were by no naturally-occurring entity’s definition drunk. They were also questionably beans as there was so much liquid in the bowl that you could barely see them. (The waitress had no answer when asked what made them drunk. Maybe it was meant to be drowning beans?) The temperature of the food was lukewarm, which means that the queso shreds on the beans never had a chance of melting. The bacon my friend got as a side was flaccid and cold (here we go about my exes again). They only gave him 2 slices, which is unforgivable. For a slightly eclectic menu, my suggestion is that they go slightly more eclectic, so the bad food is part of the joke. I mean, part of the menu, of course.

There are, surprisingly, some good things I have to say about Roebling. The service itself was the only reason I didn’t leave in a huff. The waitress and staff were friendly and not pushy. We were also seated when they said we would be, which was after only 15 minutes of waiting. The dining area itself was clean and orderly. The prices were typical NYC brunch prices, so there were no surprises. I would go again if the tea itself was better. I truly believe that a place that calls itself a Tea Room should have higher standards for their tea and teaware.

Nota Bene or whatever: This was just a little ol' review from little ol' me for a course assignment.

Next up: my amazingly positive review of Barcade! Then, a post regarding the angst I've been experiencing after spending so much time in Williamsburg.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Ramps can blow me. I just don’t understand how this dirty little onion, that doesn’t taste any different from any other dirty little onion, can be so popular. Yes, it is seasonal. Yes, it is green, mostly. Yes, it has a cute name. However, I don’t see why all the fuss. It isn’t as if ramps make men more virile or women more fertile or anyone less like an asshole. They are the cupcakes of green veggies: small and trendy. As it is with cupcakes, however, you have a mob of people following other people’s tastes, instead of following their own. Where is the ramp cupcake? I want to see a carob cupcake with some garlic foam for icing. But wait! There will be a magnificent ramp sticking right out of that earthy mound. What do you think?

If I wanted to eat something that tasted like onion and garlic, and dirt, I’d eat an onion and some garlic, and some dirt. The green part I can do without too. Don’t get me wrong, I love green vegetables. They help things move along and they are chock-full of vitamins. Plus, they taste good – they taste green. They taste like you are eating something healthy and you feel better for it. They taste like Spring and sun and earth.

I love broccoli. Where did all the broccoli love go? Broccoli is dependable, timeless, sturdy, and fractal-y. It is just like Kermit, minus the fractal aspects. (I will admit here and now that I’m an old lady in many ways. I’m 32 going on 85. I eat non-dairy products so the arthritis in my hips won’t flare up. Hence, I like tried-and-true veggies.) Spinach? Who doesn’t love Popeye? He has tattoos and eats healthy and defends his funny-faced lady love. (I may have an interest in this scenario for personal reasons, but that’s another story.) Brussels sprouts are pretty awesome too. They are mini cabbages! They are little, baby, cute, adorable little cabbages. If cooked well, they are sweet and meaty at the same time. Let’s talk about cabbage. Cabbage is good too, minus the stink that some people associate with it. Lettuce? Asparagus? Broccoli Rabe? Kale? Peas? Don’t forget all of these other amazing green vegetables this Spring. Join me in the stand against ramps! They’re a’ight, but ‘a’ight’ shouldn’t qualify them for a Pulitzer!

I’m not hating; just venting. To prove I mean no harm, here is a smiley face: :) Those make up for everything! :)

Plus, being contrary is my shtick.