Tuesday, September 21, 2010

ain't no party like a tea party

So...this happened a while ago. I hosted a tea party! Cue the harp music, pinkies crooked just so, and overly genteel manners. [top to bottom: lots of cookies, fruit, lemon olive oil cake, Dorie's cafe volcano cookies]

Cue the dainty pieces of fudge.

And the cookies! It wouldn't be a tea part without cookies. This party presented a special challenge: one of the guests, due to some dietary restrictions, sticks to a non-bad fats diet. I had to toss some traditional favorites out the window (scones and devonshire cream) because butter is fairly irreplacable, but in came some other fun things, like that lemon olive oil cake and these peanut butter cookies. Oh, the cookies. You can stud them with chocolate chips or do the traditional criss-cross with a fork after rolling them in sugar. The best part of it all is that these are so easy to make, it's downright embarrassing. You need this recipe in your back pocket/up your sleeve/wherever on your person you keep your recipes...I promise.

Also, you're welcome.

The Easiest Peanut Butter Cookies known to mankind

1 cup peanut butter (general convention states that you should only use highly artificial peanut butter for baking (i.e. Skippy, Jif, etc), but I used natural and it turned out wonderfully)
1 cup sugar
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350.

Stir ingredients together in a bowl until combined. Shape into balls. Roll in more sugar and do that criss-crossy thing with a fork or throw some chocolate chips in the dough. We love it all.

Place on parchment lined cookie sheets and bake 8-10 minutes, definitely depending on how big you made the cookies in the first place. They should be just starting to brown on the bottom. If they start browning on top, they'll turn out crunchy and not chewy (and everyone knows that peanut butter cookies should be chewy, not crunchy. Am I right?!)

And cue the doggie in her perfectly pink party dress! Go big or go home, people.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

this vichyssoise of verbiage

I have been composing this entry in my mind for a long, long time. The words aren't pairing up right, and the mental wastebasket is full of mentally crumpled up pieces of paper containing only silly opening lines.

I'll stop beating around the bush. Someone dear to me left me for grad school (sadly, this is a very common theme for me this year). In a somewhat recent email conversation, she mentioned that we are more like sisters than friends because a) she can make me angry over nothing at the drop of a hat and b) we have almost nothing in common but continue to love each other fiercely. As I think more on this, I wonder what ties us together, and it comes to me: food. Of course.

I don't think I really knew how to love food before Donna. The girl loves food. Living together opened my eyes to all sorts of new ways to orient my life around what soon became our favorite shared activity. We would text each other during class, discussing what to eat for lunch (burritos? pad see ew?).We loved beef: Donna was the steak grilling queen, and my signature dishes were shepherd's pie and mapo dofu. Oh wait, there was also the pasta carbonara I explicitly warned her not to eat because I got immediately sick afterwards. (She ignored me (and was fine).) We would drive way out of our way for the fastest pho service in the world. And once, 10 minutes before it closed for lunch, I saw on the Cheeseboard website that their pizza of the day was my absolute favorite, and we booked it over there, not quite in time, but managing to finagle our way in with our winsome smiles anyway. She would make me coffee and leave me post-it notes telling me to drink it. We drank Coke in bottles at a rock on campus and shared insanely deep conversations, documented here and here and here. I would beg her to do well on her tests so we could get free garlic fries from Smart A's. She would beg me to just try Indian food--I finally broke down senior year.

We've grown since then, naturally. She's upgraded to classier Indian spots, and I am way less picky, hallelujah. But vestiges of the old still remain: I still think the sun rises and sets on a fantastic bowl of freshly fried tortilla chips, and I'd like to think that if Carvel suddenly opened again near us, we'd be first in line on Wednesday for our buy one get one free sundaes, giddy as kids and refusing to share. We are the same, and yet we are not. I cherish the food person you've helped me become, and all the shared food memories I carry around with me could fill a book. I know I'm a little bit late, but happy first week of the rest of your life.

Eggy in a Basket

One morning Donna announced that she wanted to make me "eggy in a basket, like on V for Vendetta". I swiftly integrated it into my own breakfast routine...may have changed a few minor things, but the spirit of it is most definitely still there.

First, butter a slice of bread. Liberally. In the movie Evey is so excited that she is eating butter--she hadn't eaten it since she was a kid. Thus, thumb your nose at your local totalitarian state and butter that bread, one side only. You'll also need to cut a circle out of it. You can do it before you butter or after; it doesn't really matter, but I like doing it after.

Heat a frying pan on medium or so. When it's hot, melt some more butter on it. Yeah, this is necessary. The other side of the bread needs butter love too! When the butter melts, fry the bread just briefly, non-buttered side down, and then crack in an egg. If the bread circle doesn't also fit in the pan, just do it afterwards.

You'll have to flip it at some point, so do that. Cook it for as done as you like your egg. Then, remove to plate, sprinkle with salt and pepper...

and dig in. Use that cute bread circle to mop up the unctuous yolk. Your breakfasts will never be the same. (And yes, D, I know that you don't actually like runny yolks)

What's your favorite breakfast? Mine varies based on the season and my particular mood, but coffee is a given. Eggy in a basket probably shows up about once a week. (And for some breakfast inspiration, check out simply breakfast!)