Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Mix it up

Fabulous article in WaPo today about mixing your own cocktail ingredients. I'm envisioning a lazy afternoon, and a bunch of girls holding cocktails! Article is here--and don't miss the recipes linked in the sidebar! I have an inexplicable desire to make Falernum, now...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Resources for Veggiesauruses

I'm just gonna put this one out there: I love meat. I love chicken nuggets, bacon, sausage and turkey. Hamburgers make me happy. I have eaten both raw horse and fried cartilage. HOWEVER, two of our members are non-meat eatin' folks, and I myself cook for a no-meat kinda guy. Thus, I'm always looking for new recipes that don't hinge around a big ole slab of meat, and don't consist of a pile of raw vegetables dressed with balsamic vinagrette. (For, as we all know, you just don't win friends with salad.)

All joking aside, I love and respect many veggiesaurs. There's always room for more veggies in your diet, and Tina recently posted a few useful links on her blog to some great vegetarian resources. Check them out there, or from our new list in the side bar, Resources for Veggiesauruses. I can't wait to try the General Tso's Tofu and the No-chicken Pot Pie!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Limey Tea With Cakelets and Pimms

Ah, summer in Virginia. Sunshiney, sticky, thunderstormy, hot summer in the northern part of the South. While I normally don't embrace the fact that yes, we ARE in the south, albeit at its northerly tip, there are a few southy things I can get behind; cocktails at 2:00 in the afternoon, for example. Last Saturday was the inaugural meeting of Teatime Knitting at my friend Wendy's house. (For those that have never met me, or read my blog, or know someone who knows me, I have been known to knit, on occasion.) As the name suggests, we get together and craft whilst taking afternoon tea. Because Matt and Wendy are awesome entertainers, and Matt is a stellar cook, Saturday's host of delights included lime tea cakelets and Pimm's.

For anyone who has not had a cocktail of Pimm's and lemonade, I say this to you: Go out now and lock that down. This is the perfect drink for a hot Saturday afternoon in the summertime. Mix 1 part Pimm's with 2-3 parts lemonade, add a little soda water for sparkle, if you wish, and garnish with slices of lemon. Lawd a' mercy, that's good!

Now, on to the cakelets. Lime is one of my favorite flavors, and while I wouldn't normally pair it with an infusion of Earl Gray, it worked surprisingly well in these. Matt used a sweetheart-rose shaped muffin tin to make them, and dusted the tops with confectioners sugar, resulting in the proshest little cakes I've ever seen. I'm seriously contemplating one of these tins, now.

Lime Tea Cakelets


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbs. Earl Grey tea leaves, steeped in 3/4 cup hot milk for 10-15 minutes
8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, beaten with 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract and grated zest of 2 limes
Confectioner's sugar, for dusting


Have all ingredients at room temperature. Position rack in lower thrid of oven and preheat to 325F. Butter and flour wells of a swirl cake pan; tap out excess flour. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt onto a sheet of waxed paper; set aside. Pour milk through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl. Press liquid from tea leaves; discard leaves. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter on medium speed until creamy, about 30 seconds. Add sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes; stop mixer and scrape bowl occasionally. Add eggs, a little at a time, beating well after each addition. On very low speed, add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with milk and ending with flour; blend each addition until just incorporated. Scrape sides of bowl occasionally. Fill wells in pan a little more than halfway. Bake until cakes spring back when touched and pull away from sides of pan, 10-12 minutse. Transfer to a cooling rack, cool to the touch and remove cakes from pan. Repeat with remaining batter. Dust with confectioners' sugar. Serves 12

Remember ladies, pinkies out and bottoms up!

Dance the Salsa

I may not be known for my prowess on the dance floor, but that doesn't mean I don't know anything about salsa! I've been using this great salsa recipe for years, tweaking and improving little by little, and now I'm finally satisfied with it. Actually, it's really more of a pico de gallo than a salsa. "Salsa" is the Spanish word for "sauce" and conjures up images of glass jars with yellow lids, full of viscous tomatoey goo."Pico de gallo" is Spanish for "rooster's beak," and refers to a condiment made of chopped fresh ingredients such as tomato, onion, and chiles. Chutney would also fall into this category, for reference.

Serving size: 1 party, or 1 family of insatiable siblings who will totally sneak into the refrigerator when you're not looking and demolish your salsa stash


4 large ripe tomatoes
1 white onion
4 garlic cloves
4 jalapeno peppers
1 can corn (or an equivalent amount of fresh corn if you want to be fancy, but it really doesn't make a huge difference)
1 can black beans (frijoles negros)
1 bunch cilantro (this is KEY, if you don't like cilantro you may not want to even bother making this recipe at all)
2 limes
a ginormous serving bowl

This salsa is dead easy to make; basically you just need to devote a lot of time to chopping. I like to quarter the tomatoes and cut out the sloppy, seedy part, then dice the remaining tomato-meat. Also dice the onion, garlic, and jalapenos. Be careful working with the jalapenos not to touch your eyes or any of your sensitive bits until you've washed your hands thoroughly. If you want a salsa mas caliente, leave in the seeds and membranes- if you're a big wimp, or you're preparing the salsa for wimps, leave them out. Drain and rinse the beans and corn. Throw everything together in your serving bowl and mix together gently (you don't want to smash up the tomatoes and make the salsa too juicy). Chop up the cilantro and mix that in too. Halve the limes and squeeze the juice over the salsa, then stir it in. If your limes aren't particularly juicy, pop them in the microwave for a few seconds or roll them around on the counter to get those juices flowing. Season with a pinch of salt to taste, and then prepare to defend your big, delicious bowl of salsa to the death against the hordes of ravenous family members who will no doubt be hanging around the kitchen by this point to figure out what smells so freaking good (hint: it's the lime and cilantro). Buen provecho!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

First Meeting -- TBA

Ugh, forgot about a prior commitment this Saturday, so the first meeting will have to be rehashed. Sorry guys!