Browsing Archives for Kitchen Tragedies

I have a problem…

There is a bakery…
A bakery that I like to stop by on my way home from work…
And I like to pick out a scone or a roll or bun for my breakfast the next day…
It is my secret little pleasure that no one knows about and it is not hurting anyone.
I eat my secret pleasure breakfast after the kids are off to school and the Country Doctor has left for work.  
I pour a cup of coffee and get my secret pleasure bun or scone or roll and sit down by the computer and catch up on a few blogs and read my e-mail and enjoy the heck out of my little secret pleasure breakfast.
The problem is, that recently, my secret pleasure breakfast has been disappearing!
I get everyone off to school and to work and pour myself a cup of coffee and then I go to fetch my secret pleasure roll or bun or scone and IT IS NOT THERE!!!!
I tried to solve the case of the disappearing secret pleasure breakfast scone by choosing a trickier hiding spot.
Like deep in the depths of the pantry… or behind the stack of dishes in the hutch… or under the sink!
Then I had another problem.
I forgot where my better secret pleasure breakfast bun hiding spot was and I also kind of forgot that I had hidden anything at all… because of the four holes in my head where the babies came out… so I ate a miserable bowl of cereal instead and went to work feeling empty and alone.
Then a few days later, I found my secret pleasure breakfast stash!  Behind the cookbooks above the fridge!  But now my secret pleasure breakfast is very hard and dry and brittle.  Kind of like me… who is also hard and dry and brittle due to four gaping holes in head and also due to lack of secret pleasure breakfast.
So I made an invention!

I call it my secret pleasure breakfast, back to life, not so hard and brittle steamer doohickey thing.

I placed my secret pleasure breakfast re-activator device doohickey thing over a bowl of boiling water in the microwave.

I then sat my secret pleasure dried out ginger peach breakfast scone atop my secret pleasure re-activator hard and brittle personality inhibitor device and zapped it for twenty seconds!

Voila!  Secret pleasure breakfast brought back to sweet, soft and airy goodness!
Yes, even with four holes in my head, I am a genius.
Secret Pleasure Hard and Brittle Breakfast Bun Softener Personality Re-activator Device to hit a store near you soon!  Patent pending.  
But I might need to work on a catchier name.

In Search of A Perfect Cup of Tea

December 15th, 2008

Recently, I wrote a post about socks which was also a post about tea.  In this post I mentioned that socks were the bane of my existence and that tea was the elixir of life, except that all too often my tea was merely marginal and I couldn’t understand why…

Several readers tried to ease my laundry burden by giving me loving sock guidance, however, a small handful of readers were far more concerned about the merely marginal tea I kept making.  They offered me some helpful hints on how to make a good cup of tea.
I’m sorry to tell you this, but I was far more interested in learning how to make a better cup of tea than I was in learning how to better organize my laundry.
What does that say about me?  

Some of the tea making advice that was offered was directly contradictory.  One reader insisted that I should never pour boiling water over tea as this increased acidity.   Another reader said that I must pour the boiling water directly over the tea.  
Several readers counselled me to try loose leaf tea and some said I just needed to add more sugar or milk or grain alcohol to my cup and then I wouldn’t even notice the tea at all.

So I decided to conduct an experiment.  

I gathered three types of Earl Grey tea because we are Earl Grey drinkers around here.
I found some organic loose leaf Earl Grey in a local food co-op.
I found some hoity toity silk bags of Earl Grey in a local antique store.  
And I almost always have either Bigelow or Twinings on hand.  I will say that I really think Bigelow makes a better Earl Grey than Twinings.  But sometimes Twinings goes on sale and I buy it, than I wish I hadn’t because… blah.

For my tea making tools, I dug out this cast iron kettle with dragons on it that the CD gave me a few years ago for a birthday present.  I pretended to be excited that he got me a cast iron kettle with dragons on it in which to make tea… but no… not really into dragons.  

I will also be using a tea strainer for the loose leaf tea.

There will be two variables in this experiment.
1.  The type of tea – loose leaf, hoity toity silk bag, or regular old tea bag.
2.  The type of water – boiling water poured directly on tea or very hot but not quite boiling water poured directly on tea.

Drew was my collaborator in this experiment.  He loves tea as much as his mom.  We both usually pour milk and sugar or honey into our tea, but for the sake of this experiment we are drinking it black.  

The sacrifices we make!

We eventually prepared all the cups for the test.  

Then we tasted them.

We wrote down our thoughts about the taste as well as a rating for each cup with one being low and five being high.

More tasting…

More rating….

Occasionally, we cleansed our palettes.

Drew insisted that I include this photo in the story.

Then our tea party got crashed.

But we let him stay.

Here are the results of our little tea sampling party…

The hoity toity silk tea bags covered in boiling water.

Drew – “normal” 2 stars
Mom – “smooth, very nice, not bitter” 3 stars
Ethan – “really great, but strong” 2.5 stars
The hoity toity silk tea bags covered in water that is very hot but not boiling.
Drew – “not as strong” 4 stars
Mom – “tastes almost like hot water” 1 star
Ethan – “plain, terrible” 0 stars

The organic loose leaf tea covered in boiling water and steeped in the cast iron dragon pot.
Drew – “tastes like a leaf, tastes like a stick” 3 stars
Mom – “strange, earthy” 1 star
Ethan – “tastes like you ate it out of a dirt spoon” 1 star

Organic loose leaf tea covered in water that is hot but not quite boiling.

Drew – “bad after taste” 3 stars
Mom – “much milder than boiled, but less flavor, bland” 1 star
Ethan – “really great, but tasteless” 2 stars

Bigelow tea bag covered in boiling water.
Drew – “stronger taste” 3 stars
Mom – “more bergamot flavor” 3 stars
Ethan – “not the best tea in the world” 1 and 3/4 stars
Bigelow tea bag covered in hot water that is not boiling.
Drew – “very hot and thick” 4 stars
Mom – “tastes like hot water” 0 stars
Ethan – “tastes like hot water” 1 star
As you can see, our results did not amount to much cohesion, nor do they seem to make any sense at all.  My favorite cup turned out to be a Bigelow tea bag covered in boiling water, but the silk bag in boiling water was a close second.  The loose leaf variety that we tried was so vastly different from any Earl Grey tea that I have ever tried, that I almost wonder if the store placed the wrong tea in the bulk jar.  
Unsatisfied with the results of our test, I turned to my investigative journalism skills and found a good, concise, yet photographically satisfying article on how to make a good cup of tea on the BBC.  You can read it here.  
Now that I think about it… every once in a while I pour milk and honey in the bottom of my tea cup and then pour tea from the tea pot on top of it and well… that just might be the magic mix. 
So please disregard our research and try out the BBC version.  I imagine they are probably right being all British and everything.   Now I am going to go try and make a good cup of tea…

This is what I ordered on my birthday at a local eatery called Coco Bolos.  

It is a divine pasta dish combining shrimp and crab in a fiery, creamy, cheese sauce.  I order it almost every time I visit this fine establishment.  
The tender pasta… the plump shrimp… the delectable crab… 
I love this dish.
They serve a generous portion at Coco Bolos, so I typically box up half my Shrimp Crab Pasta Toss with Diablo sauce and carry it home for my lunch the next day.
All day long at work I think about that pasta.  I think about how wonderful it will be to eat that pasta dish waiting for me at home.  I think about how nice to have such a fabulous meal waiting in the fridge.  
And then when I get home…
I discover that the Country Doctor ate my pasta for his own lunch.  
And I eat a bowl of cereal instead.
I mourned my leftovers for a few days and then I decided to make mountains out of molehills… wait… no… that’s not right…  
I decided to make lemons out of lemonade…
No… not quite…
I decided to make my own Shrimp Crab Pasta Toss with Diablo Cream Sauce! 
Let’s make it together shall we?

First collect your ingredients and carefully arrange them for maximum cuteness.

Snap photo.

Try another arrangement just for fun.

Aw… what the heck… one more…

Using your thumb nail, jab a hole in the side of the Mac and Cheese box.

Rip the top off.

Remove the sacred sack of powdery cheese and set it aside.

Cook your macaroni.

While waiting, peruse the old magazines that Darla gave you for your birthday.

Find yourself very absorbed in the marriage difficulties of Sammy Davis Junior and Mai what’s her face.


Holy Crap!  This is exactly what I need!

And this TOO!!!!

When your macaroni is “al dente” (whatever) drain it, and add one huge can of “shrimp and crab”.

Sprinkle in that elixir of life… that fabulous concoction… that ancient delight of the palate… the powdery cheese packet (minus the packet).

This is the base of your “Diablo sauce”.

Mix it in.

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Allow the butter to make it’s contribution.

Pour in the milk and stir.

Your “Diablo Sauce” is now complete.
I know… I know… you probably thought it would be a lot harder.
But I think it is my job as both a blogger and a chef to make these recipes simple and bring them down to the “common folks” level.  
Yes I know… and you are VERY VERY WELCOME!!!

Don’t forget those peas!

Serve with a fall floral arrangement.

Eat a handful of chocolate chips for dessert.
Bon Apetite!