Sunday, March 29, 2009

Chocolate mint, mmmm my favorite!

Making cookies is a creative outlet for me, and this is the second time I've made these chocolate/peppermint sandwich cookies. I got the recipe over at the King Arthur Flour's Bakers Blog. Man, that site gets me going!

Anyway, they call these "faux-reos". They are in a different league from Oreos, but I still need to perfect this recipe a little. The cookies are bigger than I expected, even though I used the recommended cookie scoop and made sure that it was not rounded over the top or anything .

The recipe specifically calls for no leavening, but some folks over at the blog are using an old-fashioned leavening that uses ammonia somehow. I guess the good news/bad news about that is that the cookies have a more tender texture with the baker's ammonium, but the dough is not appealing to eat. Plus it smells funny when you bake. We don't need no stinkin' cookies smells around here.
The filling is made from finely crushed peppermints, powdered sugar and shortning. Not the healthiest, but honestly, real Oreos use high fructose corn syrup. Gimme a break, ok?

The resident "kids" love them. Me too.

Now, on to my back yard. Look what was hiding in the Mexican Bluebell! I am tickled whenever an amaryllis pops its pretty head up unexpectedly. It didn't bloom last year, but maybe it got beheaded by the guys trimming the other plants. Anyway, I just love it. Hello, flower! Now I need to go see if the one on the side of the house will bloom this year. Last year it popped out on Nina and Tristan's wedding day. Has it been a whole year already? Yes.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

It's Raining!

At last,
my rain has come along,
my driest days are over,
and life is like a song...

Ok, I'll stop singing. It's not raining hard enough to make much difference yet, but boy do we need it. I had forgotten how it sounds on the skylight in the kitchen. Yes, rain some more, please!

Edited to add: That lasted less than 5 minutes. It's not satisfactory at all. No.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

I love El Bodegon

Really, I do. For the uninitiated, El Bodegon is a local chain of latino (latina?) grocery stores. A few weeks ago I got it into my head I was going to make fresh tortillas. Corn tortillas, that is. Thanks, Alton Brown, like I needed another thing I just had to try. So I bought a bag of masaca harina and made up a little paste. I tried to roll it out thinly but that stuff just wouldn't cooperate.

Being the gizmo kind of girl I am, I decided to get a tortilla press. Well you would think such a beast would be easy to come by in these parts, but it wasn't in any of my usual housewares spots. They are quite heavy and I didn't want to pay shipping, so I thought it would be better to drive all over WPB to find one. Just as a last minute desparate try I went into El Bodegon. It had been years since I had wandered its fascinating asiles, and it didn't disappoint me. There were 2 different tortilla presses to chose from. And they were cheaper than the ones on eBay, to boot.

As a bonus I found small cans of chipotles in adobo sauce. Publix has them in cans too big to use in one recipe. Alrighty then.

But mostly I love El Bodegon for its entertainment value. I'm sure I must have spent an hour in there looking at all the exotic stuff. The produce is wonderful and I bet the meat would have been good too, if I could have gotten close to it. It was busy in there and the peeps were 2 and 3 deep at the back of the store where I think the butcher section is. There are 2 different places to sit and eat, I didn't notice what the difference was, except the one on the west side seemed a lot busier.

Foodies, try it sometime, you'll see!

The tortillas were awesome, by the way. Problem is, I am the only one in this house who ate them, so I've got to make a little space in the freezer next time I have a tortilla making session.