Tag Archives: coffee

Mr Coffee and the Swiss Miss

Although March is coming to an end, and having come in like a LION, should be leaving like a lamb…

Durer_lions_(sketch)1520

Durer 1580

And because there’s SNOW in the forecast anyhow….

And because April weather is Foolin’ us even before it’s April ….

I’m going to share a little secret I just learned from Sally at work this week.

How to make really great mocha with already brewed coffee and the powdered hot chocolate mix that’s everywhere.

Yes, How to match up Mr. Coffee with Swiss Miss.

mrcoffee

swiss miss

I know – it SEEMS so easy…..put the hot cocoa powder (I’m talking Swiss Miss here, not actual cocoa powder and pour the hot coffee over for homemade mocha that is usually just

NASTY.

Which is spelled like tasty but not at all the same.

The mix doesn’t mix, there’s grainy sludge at the bottom, and the whole cup is less than delightful.

That’s because there’s a secret…

And the secret is:

Put the powder in the cup and mix a little cold milk/cream/half and half …..Make a nice paste

And THEN put the hot coffee in over that.

It’ll mix up nice and rich. If it’s too rich, add a little hot water.

Now THAT’S a treat.

A Heavenly Match!

Creamy, delicious chocolatey caffeinated goodness. Just the thing a cold day cries out for.

Thank you, Sally!

 

Kuzu Kuzu

lamb!

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National Coffee Day

coffee-shop-17thc-london

I went to the Coffee Club and heard very good discourse… ~Samuel Pepys, diary, 1660 January 17th

Coffee beans in the shape of a coffee cup. Stock Photo

Coffee beans in the shape of a coffee cup. Stock Photo

A fig for partridges and quails,
ye dainties I know nothing of ye;
But on the highest mount in Wales
Would choose in peace to drink my coffee.
~Jonathon Swift

jean-baptiste-simeon-chardin_glass-of-water-and-coffee-pot_1760carnegie

      Chardin, Glass of Water and Coffee Pot, 1760, Carnegie Museum of Art

 

No coffee can be good in the mouth that does not first send a sweet offering of odor to the nostrils.

~Henry Ward Beecher

coffee-pot-renoir

Coffee Pot -Pierre Auguste  Renoir

A cup of coffee — real coffee — home-browned, home ground, home made, that comes to you dark as a hazel-eye, but changes to a golden bronze as you temper it with cream that never cheated, but was real cream from its birth, thick, tenderly yellow, perfectly sweet, neither lumpy nor frothing on the Java: such a cup of coffee is a match for twenty blue devils and will exorcise them all. ~Henry Ward Beecher

henry_ward_beecher_-_project_gutenberg_etext_15394

 

“There was a special Nolan idea about the coffee. It was their one great luxury. Mama made a big potful each morning and reheated it for dinner and supper and it got stronger as the day went on. It was an awful lot of water and very little coffee but mama put a lump of chicory in it which made it taste strong and bitter. Each one was allowed three cups a day with milk. Other times you could help yourself to a cup of black coffee anytime you felt like it. Sometimes when you had nothing at all and it was raining and you were alone in the flat, it was wonderful to know you could have something even though it was only a cup of black and bitter coffee.

Neeley and Francie loved coffee but seldom drank it. Today, as usual, Neeley let his coffee stand black and ate his condensed milk spread on bread. He sipped a little of the black coffee for the sake of formality. Mama poured out Francie’s coffee and put milk in it, even though she knew that the child wouldn’t drink it. From time to time, she’d smell the bitter sweetness of it. That was better than drinking it. At the end of the meal, it went down the sink

Mama had two sister, Sissy and Evy, who came to the flat often. Every time they saw the coffee thrown away, they gave mama a lecture about wasting things.

Mama explained: “Francie is entitled to one cup each meal like the rest. If it makes her feel better to throw it away than to drink it, all right. I think it’s good that people like us can waste something once in a while and get the feeling of how it would be to have lots of money and not have to worry about scrounging.

This queer point of view satisfied mama and pleased Francie. It was one of the links between the ground-down poor and the wasteful rich.  The girl felt that even if she had less than anybody in Williamsburg somehow she had more.”

treegrows-in-brook-1947pb

Popular Library ed. pp. 15-16

Harper edition published August 1943; 29 printings.

tree-grows-in-brooklyn-coffee

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A little apple pie

I’ve been  telling you I have apple pie on the brain…..

and when I’m studying about a certain food, I  sometimes want to

EAT IT

All the time. Persistent cravings can lead to less then great food choices…..

So, when I grabbed a coffee at a certain Golden Arches while at the bus station….and they offered

APPLE PIES

2 for  DOLLAR

AND they smelled sooooooo cinnamonly good….

ever so very sugar and spice and everything nice applely good

I knew to resist.

And I did.

McDonalds-Apple-Pie

Mom didn’t have time today so WE MADE YOU THIS BAKED APPLE PIE . Thanks, but no thanks, Micky D

But then there’s the trip homeward bound. I’m tired. My guard might have been  a little bit down. I was hungry and home is still a while away. Pure curiosity compelled me to try the Grilled Chicken Sandwich on Artisan Roll

mcdonalds-Artisan-Grilled-Chicken-Sandwich

100% grilled chicken breast filet seasoned to perfection with ingredients like salt, garlic and parsley – seared in our kitchens, no preservatives added. Crisp leaf lettuce, fresh tomato, and a vinaigrette dressing. All atop our delectable artisan roll.

It wasn’t bad. I’m still not sure what made the roll artisan. I believe artisan has officially jumped the shark in the food descriptor world, though, if it’s on a McDonald’s menu.

And Egad that pie smelled good…..and for a dollar, one little, measly dollar that I had in my hand because the coffee was also only one little dollar….and it

STILL

smelled ever so very sugar and spice and everything nice applely good

So when the kid at the counter asks, “Apple PIE??????”

My head nodded in agreement, somewhat independently of my brain and better judgement. He rang up the order….the chicken sandwich had one bag and the apple pies (I would of had to had been more verbal to get only one.) had their own. Oh, that smell!

The chicken was good, the fries a disappointment – maybe it was BK that had the good fries? but no matter. I had a Little Apple Pie to go with the coffee.

applepieapplepieapplepieapplepieapplepie happy apple pie song in my head

Apple-PieMcD

Apple Pie and Coffee. What could be better?

Just around the corner,
there’s a rainbow in the sky,
So let’s have another cup of coffee,
and let’s have another piece of pie.

Apple pie and coffee. Yes.

The coffee was good, maybe a little better then good. Not great, but really good.

And the pie.

The pie.

How could something that smelled THAT good, have so little taste whatsoever??????

I could feel it in my mouth, but there was no taste there. No too sweet, no too greasy, no tart or bad.  Just no. Nothing.

If I hadn’t been able to SMELL it, I wouldn’t have known it was there at all.

How can something be all scent and no flavor and still be sold as a food item?

I was not at all tempted to eat pie #2……Maybe it was something in the artisan roll or the chicken or…..

But the bag it came in smelled so wonderful., like I always want those little car air fresheners to smell and they never, not even quite, do.

applepie air freshner car

I carried the pie home, mostly because it smelled so pie.

I wanted to save the bag it came in. As it cooled, it smelled less

sugar and spice and everything nice applely good

Hmmm – heat activated scent. Just like my antiperspirant…….

The next day, when I made my Bengal Spice tea and the scent reminded me of apple pie, and I remember the apple pie in the bag. Why not give it another go? Maybe French Fries negate Apple Pies….a stretch, I admit, but still a possiblity.

I put the apple pie in the microwave to heat for half a minute.

My kitchen was suddenly a Great Bakery, where everything

smelled sooooooo cinnamonly good….

ever so very sugar and spice and everything nice applely good

Magic.

And the taste?

Still elusive. Non-existent. Not there. Nada.

I drank the tea as the so-called pie cooled, and for the next little while  lived in the fantasy of having baked a pie because that’s how my kitchen smelled while I transcribed apple pie recipes and poems.

 

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Coffee time

It’s official  – this has been the darkest May on record. The least sun for this much May ever recorded.To think I was reading the weather news to escape the Election news…..A little more coffee seems in order.

Van Gogh, Coffeepot, Earthenware and Fruit, May 1888. Oil on canvas, 65 x 81 cm. Private collection.

Vincent Van Gogh – 1889 Nice coffee pot.

Cezanne 1890 woman w coffeepot

Cezanne also had time for a little coffee – 1890

Chardin coffeepot

Chardin – Glass of Water and a Coffeepot. This painting is at the Carnegie Museum of Art.c. 1761

Renoir coffee-pot

Renoir also had time for coffee

Toulousse Lautrec coffee-pot

Toulouse-LauTrec also had coffee time

Matissefruit-and-coffee-pot

Matisse had fruit with his coffee.

Pablo+Picasso+-+The+Blue+Coffee+Pot+(1944)+

Even Picasso had coffee.

HopperAutomat

Automat – Edward Hopper

coffee hopper

Coffee – another Edward Hopper

And Mercury is in Transit….just a little more shade on the sun…..

Mercury-transit-disk-plot-3

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Caffè eterna

 

Renato Bialette died at age 93 last week. If you ever had a cup of coffee made in a Moka

coffee-Moka2

then you know him. He’s not the man who invented this machine; he’s the one would made it SOOO popular.

Bialetti_image

He identified himself with the moka. He was the little man with the mustache, L’omino con i baffi, 

Bialetti, Renato

bialetti cartoon

And so it is both fitting and no real surprise that his urn is shaped like…a Moka

Renato-Bialetti-Uitvaart-in-Stijl

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10th day of Christmas

There’s a little flexibility, shall we say, on what the tenth day of Christmas is  all about.

There are10 red

pipers piping

or

lords a leaping

or

ships a sailing

MAYFLOWER-II_Photo-courtesy-Plimoth-Plantation1

Mayflower II.

or

 

drummers drumming

or

cocks a crowing

rooster crowing

But enough about the music…..time to review the FOOD.

New Year’s Day had a food change of plans….so I still haven’t made the Overnight Baked Crunchy French Toast, but since the ingredients are in my fridge, I’ll be making that tonight for tomorrow’s  breakfast. And lunches and suppers and Freezer Treasures.

Usually

I have oatmeal for breakfast, which I started doing a few years ago. One month of oatmeal for breakfast  – and I swear no other deliberate or conscious changes –  it really did lower my cholesterol, just like the ads said it would. Still working.

I put different things in it, but not on a day to day sort of change – I just don’t have enough brain before coffee to make those sorts of choices – but more of a week to week thing. The Gracious Pantry  had a whole run of oatmeal add-in suggestions that I still haven’t run through.

I don’t like mushy oatmeal and I’d rather have salt and pepper then sugar and cream. First, coffee, though. No oatmeal before coffee.

Darth Coffee Roz Cummins

Roz Cummins posted this picture today and asked if the coffee maker  looked like Darth Vader, to which I replied, “I like my coffee on the Dark Side..” Enough Star Wars.

Back to New Year’s Day.

Since there were more then enough leftovers from the New Year’s Eve Chinese Food Feast at the ancestral home, making MORE food was uncalled for.

Redundant.

Just plain silly.

Wasteful, even.

No need for French Toast or Waffles or any other food.

take out carton

Carton, carton, what’s in the carton? And there were the things already moved to Tupperware….

There were egg rolls

Eggroll

There were 2 left, so Mum and I each took one. One carton down and out.

Egg foo young (Chinese: 芙蓉蛋; Jyutping: fu4 jung4 daan6*2, also spelled egg fooyung, egg foo yong, or egg fu yung)  – thank you Wikipedia

Egg_foo_young

Again, just one, so we each took half. Another carton down.

Chinese_Chickenfingers

Chicken fingers and Shrimp fingers. We each took a shrimp – which were pretty dang NOT SMALL, downright JUMBO Shrimp shrimp -and then there were NONE.

I’m starting to get groggy…food coma by association …..there was more ….spare me, spare RIBS – boneless spareribs and VERY tasty.

Spare_ribs_with_Chinese_barbecue_sauce

Between the Jumbo Shrimp and Boneless Ribs, these seeming oxymora are beginning to sound  like the opening of a George Carlin routine…

george_carlin_0203

George Carlin 1937-2008

OF course, there were both fried rice AND noodles

Chinese_fried_rice_

Our version had considerably more soy sauce in it creation

 

Chinese noodles

These are more chop suey-ish then the noodles on the table…no flowers in our batch

Keep in mind, there are the leftovers.….

There was also some Beef Teriyaki, but that was put aside for my little brother to eat later, which he did.

Chicken Wings – Chinese Chicken Wings. We took one each.

And we heated the plates in the microwave and sat down and ate.

And ate.

and ATE.

We did not have seconds.

We did have some fruit later, and coffee and charmellas later then that.

While I was there and not stuffing my face, I packed up more of my things to take back to the shiny brand new  place. Which included various jars of beans as well as a jar of lentils that I was going to cook for supper.

mason jar storage

This looks like my cupboards. I have lived in houses with moths (do not store bird seed in the house, that’s why we have garages and steel cans, people!) and mice and I got tired of feeding both.

Perhaps, because of the Michael Pollan ‘In Defense of Food” that aired in December,

defense of food tv

it seems that the internet is full of New Year’s Resolutions

to cook.

At home.

As if you could go out and cook in other peoples house without their invitation or out on the street or ….where else would you be cooking? Because people who go out and cook in  kitchens other then their own do it to make a living, not their own meals. Life is not a cooking show.

And I do cook. At home. Sometimes at work, because that’s my job, too.  But even my recent spate of ‘not cooking’ still include coffee and oatmeal each morning; supper each night, although a few of them have been tea and toast.

(FLASHBACK: Ma and Pa Flynn used to have tea and toast each afternoon as they watched Merv. I’m becoming my great-grandparents. Without the Merv. )

mervgriffin

Merv Griffin . He sang, he danced, he played the piano, he  hosted, he created Jeopardy and he married Zsa-Zsa….

But not all of them.  I cooked down a 15 pound pumpkin and have had pumpkin and potato frittata as well as just plain pumpkin and potato ‘dish’; I made rice the other  night, but that dish also isn’t named, and it wasn’t a recipe per se.

Here’s the directions:

I open the fridge and said to myself,  “What’s a deep breath away from compost? What’s a day or two from talking back to me? What’s about to start walking around under it’s own power tonight?? What is that thing behind the egg nog?”

Then,  I  cooked the things that I had. I started with plain ole white rice cooked in the leftover carrot juice (if you cook carrots in carrot juice they are carroty X ∞ (that’s ‘carrot times infinity’), thank you Kevin from Solstice in Kingston. Cooking veg in veg broth or veg juice incredibly improves them!)

I also had some a deep breath away from perky pea-shoots that we great in salad earlier in the week, but were not quite up to salading again, so I added them in half way through. Topped the whole thing off with a little grated cheese. A lovely contrast of golden/orange  rice and greeny greens.If I had to name it, it would be:

Risi e Bisi : Variation for the Autumnal New England Kitchen.

That’s a name that could be twenty bucks a plate.

Or, as I called it : Supper. Actually, I called it, “hmm hm hmmm yum yummm yea” as part of a happy food hum. There was another veg and fruit and pear cider to drink. Hot chocolate with marshmallows later as both the coffee and dessert course.

Not the flashy production values of a new FoodNetwork Show, but pretty tasty and quick and note to myself to try veg juice with rice again.

I did not cook the lentils because….I ate enough food for 2 days. Seriously, I wasn’t very interested in breakfast the day after.

But I don’t have a dainty appetite, and I’ve since recovered.

Now, to make that Egg Nog French Toast…..

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Sunday Brunch

My most common Sunday Brunch this year is a cup of Jamincan Me Crazy coffee and a cranberry-orange muffin at Kiskadee…..

I bought some grapefruits for something, but ate them. Just peeled and ate them. Not the something.

I bought some more, because they were for something…something….something .. what WAS it????

And I just found my grapefruit spoons – I love digging into half a grapefruit at a time with a pointy spoon, but that wasn’t the something, although it will happen, frequently, over the course of the winter grapefruit season.

While cleaning up another unpacking corner I found the pages I ripped from October’s

Food Network Magazine:

FNM_102015-Cover

Bobby Flay’s Brunch Menu

with – ta da – Grapefruit and Mint Salad

It’s a great brunch menu

Here it is –

Creamy polenta with braised greens and poached eggs

FNM_100115-Polenta-with-Braised-Greens-and-Poached-Eggs-Recipe_s4x3.jpg.rend.sni12col.landscape

But

Make you own chili oil? No thank you

My brain immediately translates it to: polenta with chains….been there, done that

He does make the polenta with milk (which you can also do in the slow cooker) which I almost never think of doing because I almost never have milk just about – it’s a separate trip to the store, another new item on my shopping list- and he braises the mustard greens with garlic, red onion and a little red wine vinegar to serve on top of the polenta and underneath the poached eggs. Mustard greens are a good and flavorful green for this. Bless his heart for not suggesting kale. Making polenta and braising greens is so far a no sweat morning, providing there is ample coffee earlier…..

Poached eggs are – well, poached eggs. Since I’m a huge fan of the hot hard-boiled egg, I would probably do that instead because not eating food prepared the way you like it from your own kitchen is just a little twisted, although poaching is pretty easy, and a broken poached egg on top of the greens and polenta would be layers of yumminess…..

Grapefruit salad with honey mint dressing

He uses both white and ruby red grapefruit, with the chopped mint on top sure looks pretty – but it also smells mouthwatering with that little dab of honey, in my minds nose.

FNM_100115-Grapefruit-Salad-with-Honey-Mint-Dressing-Recipe_s4x3.jpg.rend.sni12col.landscape

Why was this sooo familiar?

Oh, right – grapefruit salad with black olives

And then he makes sausage – homemade chorizo – into patties, which is the absolute easiest way to make sausage. He even uses ground pork from the market.

Genius.

Easy-peasy.

Like I didn’t already have a Kitchen Crush on him.

Homemade Chorizo Patties

FNM_100115-Homemade-Chorizo-Sausage-Recipe_s4x3.jpg.rend.sni12col.landscape

Although my grandmother’s grinder is around here somewhere, should I take it into my head in a fit of total insanity to buy a pork shoulder and grind my own while I’m still unpacking and it’s the month with Christmas in it. The grinder was in one of the boxes that was moved with my brothers; I saw it and we even talked about it. It was in a storage box that was part of a system of storage boxes, which means there’s more than one of those boxes, so far, none of them is the grinder box. I’m pretty sure.

My other grinder – the one I bought for sausage workshops – is in the kitchen…what, you don’t have more than one grinder?

It will be needing a place to live, either here, or, as soon as I find Nonna’s, somewhere else altogether. I also have a sausage stuffer I’ll never need again, between my Kitchen Aid (which has a stuffing attachment) and the stuffer attachment that goes with the grinder, that I think works with the old Nonna grinder. I just need to find it and try it again. Moving is so much more work then just packing and unpacking.

The boxes of things to be given away keep growing.

Back on the brunch front ….This menu really needs a sweet muffin/roll/biscuit/coffee cake something to enjoy with a second pot of coffee when all the heavy lifting eating is done.

Maybe some Jamican Me Crazy coffee and  cranberry muffins…..

coffee hat

Of course he looks sad – the coffee is missing his mouth! Cruel fashion!

 

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Filed under Autumn, Breakfast/Brunch, Recipe

A cup, a cup, a cup, a cup, a cup

It’s a coffee kind of day….

It’s National Coffee Ice Cream Day. Really.

and then there was a coffee making discussion on a Facebook group…which caused me to look up Arbuckle coffee and cowboy coffee before my second cup here….chuck-wagon-coffee

Then I learned that in Quebecois the cardboard sleeve that slips over the paper togo cups of coffee are called

 un manchon.

cafe-manchon-sleeveBut I digress……

When I was little coffee at home was made with a peculator

coffee-Perkulator

Oh, that distinctive sound…

Now the ancestral home is perfumed daily with Mr. Coffee

It beeps when it's done brewing and it beeps when it's done heating for the morning. But it makes coffee.

It beeps when it’s done brewing and it beeps when it’s done heating for the morning and all that beeping is a wee bit annoying. But it makes coffee.

I use a French press pot

I use a French press pot. No beeps.No music.

And now I’m at the coffee shop…kiskadee exteriorIt’s also the day, in 1620, that the Pilgrims departed England and eventually ended up here in Plymouth, on the street where I am RIGHT THIS MINUTE.

I’ve also been up to my eyeballs in Pilgrim food info, so my mind hasn’t been on food of this century…..

  • 17th century gingerbread recipes almost all call for bread – in the form of bread crumbs; but several do not call for ginger. Should you add it anyhow? Karen Hess has a theory (why don’t I ALWAYS read her first?)
  • So, so very very often the suggestions to keep meat from spoiling have to do with venison, and not other meats in 17th century sources…hmmmm – venison is different then other meats somehow….like it’s something you would hang on to, and not just gobble up because you were hungry. Perception, perception….
  • Repasts from the Past, where I’ll talk about bread and sops and Indian Pudding, at the Partnership of Historic Bostons on Friday September 18th at First Church Boston has tickets available
  • HardCore Hearth Cooking Workshop is ready to roll on Saturday September 19th at Plimoth Plantation- still time to join in the boiling/frying/roasting/baked goods fun with me
  • And…..it’s just the beginning of the Pilgrim and Thanksgiving food madness season. How did the Pilgrims ever do it without coffee?
Cream, please. No sugar, thank you

Cream, please. No sugar, thank you, I’m sweet enough the way God made me.

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Gingerbread. Man

A confectionery tale

Once upon a time, in a time not so very long ago, a messenger or two brought glad tidings of great joy.

“Oh, Yoo-Hoo, Oftabakin! In a village nearby The Historical Society shall soon choose the best gingerbread. Send your gingerbread as the best.”

Man, oh man, replied Oftabakin. Cakewalk.

And over the clatter of baking pans in and out of the oven, much like the clatter of hooves of twelve tiny reindeer on the roofs, Oftabakin heard ‘historical’ and ‘gingerbread’ and as these were great words, among her favorite words, she smiled with delight. For like ‘chocolate’ and ‘peanut butter’, some great words are even more great together.

So she cleaned up the kitchen and got out the historical books and the gingerbread books and made a study of historical gingerbread.

She discovered all sorts of strange and wonderful ways to spell gingerbread:

Blah blah blah

She found that honey was very common and then – like magic – sugar replaced it, only to later be replaced by molasses. Except that sugar never went completely away and in some places and cases came back stronger than ever.

That not all gingerbread had ginger in it.

Whodathunkit.

That gingerbread was pressed and rolled and cut and caked and iced and frosted and gilded, served hot and cold and could be crispy/crunchy or soft and even gooey.

The more she studied gingerbread the more fascinating it became.

And so Oftabakin made lists and notes in margins and scribbled on different colored sticky papers and stuck the papers out of the books and on the sides of the fridge, and had to re-write several of the things she wrote for she could barely read her own handwriting.

And she slept on it and dreamed sweet angel dreams.

Gingerbread angel mold - 17th century

Gingerbread angel mold – 17th century

 

She made charts and lists and other charts….and then she saw the time, and it was time to bake.

So she shopped, for she had a mighty list.

Oftabakin checked and double checked the bowls and mixers and pans, and removed boughs and boughs of holly to clear the decks.

Boughs-of-Holly-Border-Roll-12.99

Decks cleared, she commenced a-measuring and a-mixing. Stirring, folding, warming, cooling, dropping, spreading, smoothing, timing.

A-baking. A-humming. Fa la la la la la la la la.

The kitchen was alive with the fragrance of sugar and spice and everything nice and the sound of angelic harps, very Celtic it seemed, but then they would be.

Oftabakin tasted the gingerbread and the gingerbread was good.

When Oftabakin said Cakewalk, she thought that the Historical Society wanted plates of gingerbread, to judge the gingerbread and choose the best gingerbread. Like a real cakewalk.

So she went to their magical website to get an entry form and directions and to see if she needed particular plates to serve it on, and would they need a copy of the recipes, for she had decided to make FOUR gingerbreads, to demonstrate Four Hundred Years of Gingerbread History on one plate. History you could eat.

What The Historical Society wanted was….

GINGERBREAD HOUSES.

(Duh duh DUUUHHHHH)

Oftabakin was many things, and when not a-baking could be a-gardening or a-cleaning or even a-humming, but Oftabakin was not a carpenter.

Oh, sure she knew the difference between a thwart saw and a sawzall, a screwdriver and a screw, timber framing and balloon framing – although that there were no actual balloons involved in balloon framing was the source of perpetual disappointment for her and a real shortcoming for carpentry in general she thought.

So she sharpened her knives and disinfected a T-square and covered the correct sized base with tin foil and made gobs and gobs of royal icing and got a pastry bag with different tips and cutters in different shapes and candies in different colors and went to work.

Hard hats were now required in the kitchen.

This is a Martha Stewart Gingerbread House. It bears no resemblance to any house in this story.

This is a Martha Stewart Gingerbread House. It bears no resemblance to any house in this story.

The list of things that Oftabakin was not continued to grow.

Not a construction worker.

Not an engineer.

Not an ice cubes chance in you-know-where for a career in fancy pastry work, either.

gingerbread house

This is not the actual house under construction. It is a re-created facsimile….minus the royal icing and gumdrops – and it is standing up straighter…..

 

And when it was done, she took some photos of The Little House, made with 4 kinds of gingerbread. And copious amounts of royal icing. And gumdrops. With a little Gingerbread Man.

The G-Man

The G-Man

“But the lightening isn’t very good,” Oftabakin said to herself. “I can’t find the good side of this house.”

“It’s not the lighting, Toots”, said the Gingerbread Man. “It’s the House. It doesn’t have a good side. Well, it does – INSIDE…someone’s mouth

Great. Of All the Gingerbread Men in All the World, Oftabakin managed to make one who was also a Wise Guy.

But daylight was burning, delivery had to be made, so the house and the icing and the gumdrops and the mouthy G-Man were all packed up and maps came out and it was time to roll.

On the highways and byways, the roll came to a sudden stop – there was an accident ahead. “Hey, Toots,” said the G-Man, “That’s not the only accident on this road – look in this box.”

Before Oftabakin could answer, she saw a sign, a sign that had colors and shapes that spoke of the Sunrise and the Sunset, and she was drawn to it, so she pulled off the highways and closer to the sign. “What would you like?” asked the Sign, and Oftabakin told the Sign.DD drive thru

Oftabakin had a Gingerbread Coffee and it was good. Oftabakin liked her coffee with cream, and no sugar, for she was sweet enough just the way God made her. Sometimes a little sugar on the side made coffee even better. So she reached to box with the Little House and picked up the G-Man and dunked his head into the coffee.gman headless

And it was good. And he was quiet. At last and for always.

And then she went home, for she realized the gingerbread was never meant to go away, but was something she could share with her own Village.

And so she took apart the house and made plates of the four different gingerbreads and shared them.

And the Villagers said, “This is Good.”

 

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Wine with a Twist (cookies)

These are cookies that have wine IN them.  They are better with coffee then they are with  wine. This is a variation that I had to depend on one year when I LOST THE RECIPE. It wasn’t really, really lost, and I have since found it. The problem was

I ORGANIZED MY RECIPES

recipe box

I have since found it, but , of course, I couldn’t put my hot little hands on it this morning. Because I organized my recipes – again. Or some of them. Sorta.

Now, I have organized my recipes more then once. More then twice. More then….you get the picture.

Boxes

recipe box image

And by boxes, I mean more then one. More then 2……

Binders

recipe-binder-

and by binders, I mean more then one. More then 2….you get the picture

Recipe cards

free-recipe-card-template

Assorted sizes and designs. Most of them are as blank as this one.

and then then there are odd slips of paper tucked into cookbooks……and the digital diaster….but but enough whine

…on to wine cookies …

Wine cookies have already been requested for this Christmas.  My mother asks for them. So they’re on the list. I’ll be baking them her kitchen.

For the last several years, I’ve gone to the ancestral home for cookie baking marathons because

  1. there’s just plain more room at the ancestral home and
  2. my mother tells stories of her family when there are cookies in the oven
  3. and…it’s more fun with other people around. Who come around when they hear that cookies are being baked.

One version of

WINE BISCOTI

4 2/3 cups of AP flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ cup sugar

¼ – 1 teaspoon anise seeds (How much anise taste do you like? If you prefer, ½ teaspoon anise extract or 1 teaspoon anise flavored liquor. Add the seeds with the drys – the liquids with the wets….)

¾ cup red wine

2/3 cup EVO

Topping:

¼ cup sugar

2 Tablespoons sugar

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350° and line a baking sheet with non-stick foil, parchment paper or a silpat sheet.
  2. In a bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar and anise seeds. Mix well with a whisk.
  3. Add the wine and olive oil (*and extract) and stir all together with a wooden spoon to form a soft dough (adjust with more flour if too wet and more wine/oil if too dry).
  4. In a smaller bowl, combine the ¼ cup sugar with the cinnamon and set aside.
  5. Scoop out Tablespoons of dough and form them into ball 1inch in diameter. Roll the balls into the sugar/cinnamon mix and place 1 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet.
  6. Bake in a 350° oven for 15 – 20 minutes or until golden.
  7. Remove from baking sheet and cool on a rack.

From Italian Cooking and Living May 2006, p. 16.

Italian Cooking and Living  not the issue with the cookie recipe

Italian Cooking and Living not the issue with the cookie recipe

wine cookies made with white wine and formed into rings

wine cookies made with white wine and formed into rings

 

Wine cookies made with red wine and made into a snail

Wine cookies made with red wine and made into a snails

 

Wine cookies with a twist

Wine with a twist cookie

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Filed under Christmas, Holiday, Italian, Recipe