Wednesday, December 23, 2009
And I discovered something startling yet wonderful: the slow pace of life resulting from being snowed in makes me calm, methodical and patient. And calm, methodical and patient are qualities found in every great baker. Voila! Recipe for success.
Though I made three types of cookies on Saturday, I’m only including this one (for now): Ginger Walnut Biscotti. Biscotti is the perfect accompaniment for warm beverages, and though found year round, I like ginger as a spicy, seasonal delicacy.
Please note: I adapted this recipe from any standard biscotti recipe you might find online (which is what I did years ago, but didn’t think to properly reference and cite the article at that time).
Ginger Walnut Biscotti
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup candied ginger, chopped coarsely
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat the oven to 300° F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.In a small bowl, lightly beat the eggs and extracts together (no need to “whip them into submission”). Set aside.In the bowl of your stand mixer combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Beat until blended (about 30 seconds). Gradually add the egg mixture and beat until a dough forms, adding ginger about halfway through. Do not overbeat the dough.
With floured hands, divide the dough in half. On a floured surface, roll the dough into two logs. Personally, I prefer shorter biscotti, so I don’t make mine very wide. If you like really long biscotti that will reach all the way to the bottom of your coffee mug, have at it. But that’s how you lose biscotti. Just saying.
Transfer the logs to the prepared baking sheet and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until firm to the touch. Note - logs will spread during baking. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
2009 Snowpocalypse Irish Cream-Honey Steamer
Frothing the Milk: While we all wish we had one of these, we don't. And even if we did it would be sitting on our living room floor since urban dwellings have no counter space (sorry to our readers in Dallas who do not understand this concept). This little goddess likes to froth her milk using a beaker milk frother. Found cheapest as Sur La Table or Target. It is so simple to use and only requires 146.2455 cubic inches of space! Add your remaining 1/2 cup of milk to the beaker, give it about a 20 good pumps then throw it in the microwave for 30-60 seconds (be careful as it has a tendency to overflow). Your result will be a perfect froth that would make any barista proud.
Top your steamer off with the foam and garnish with a few droplets of honey. Enjoy, my lovely, cold friends!
kisses from sunny california
* freelance muses' legal counsel (my husband who is officially 1/9 of a lawyer) has advised that endorsing the consumption of alcohol on the job leaves us liable for any injury (including death or accidental dismemberment) that may occur as a result of our endorsement. When drinking on the job, please use caution. By utilizing our recipe, you accept that you acknowledge our warning and proceed at your own risk. We completely disclaim liability for any injury, awkward social encounters, job loss, foreseeable or otherwise, that may ensue. If you work at a job that requires you to operate heavy machinery or if you send emails to important people that must be free of spelling errors and cuss words, please do not consume alcohol on the job.
Friday, December 18, 2009
E-Christmas cards – lame?
Love, Curious about Christmas in California
If you have not already mailed Christmas cards to friends and family and are contemplating a last-minute e-card instead, stop yourself now. The Goddesses are here to tell you that it’s, well, tacky.
First, consider that many working in corporate America are already inundated with e-cards wishing the best for the holidays – whether they be e-cards from clients, those seeking to become clients in the new year, the building management company or colleagues and peers.
Furthermore, though your intention is to be thoughtful, by sending an e-card days before Christmas (or even on Christmas Eve) the message you send is less, “I’m thinking of you” and more “You’re an afterthought.”
Take the time and energy to mail real Christmas cards – you don’t need to say much; let the creativity of the card itself do the talking (can I get a collective groan for the ubiquitous Christmas letter that beleaguers us all? Just say no, people!). To receive a physical card in the mail from a long-distance friend is touching, meaningful and truly thoughtful.
The Goddesses suggest:
Letterpress - you can't get much classier than this. Here in Washington D.C., I prefer to visit The Written Word. It helps that it's locally-owned and right around the corner from our apartment.
You can also find a great selection online. Some of our favorites this year come from Farrell and Chase as well as Egg Press.
Homemade cards – get creative and use rubber stamps, hand-drawn calligraphy, a montage employing many of those old magazines lying around the apartment, clever use of paper layering or photos printed from your nearest drug store or with your home printer.
Photos – particularly if you have children - whom but Scrooge doesn’t love to coo over a fat and happy baby? However, take special note: two photos of your kids - cute. A trifold brochure documenting all 365 blessed days of your child's past year - obnoxious. Please spare us.
Postcard - we're in a recession, and every cent counts. Try creating a postcard using your home computer and printing it out at home, too. Not only do you save money by doing it yourself, but postcard stamps are 20 cents cheaper than regular stamps. Double score.
And for those of you who think we’re a load of crap and still wish to send an e-card, for the sake of those receiving it please opt for a brief and sweet personal message – just say no to mass e-mails with a link to dancing elves or singing Christmas trees!
Thursday, December 17, 2009
High tea. Could there be a more perfect way to be girly? What other event shouts “Wear vintage lace gloves!” When else is it completely appropriate to don an ostentatiously large floppy hat? And frankly, it couldn’t be easier.
There are a few key elements when throwing an afternoon tea party.
- a spot of tea
- a sampling of savory snack
- some sweet treats
- dainty friends
- flourishy embellishments
Pink Tablescape by Country Living, Four Calling Birds Mugs by Rosana, Rose-Water Madeleines from Martha Stewart, Raspberry Soiree Green Tea from Teavana, Radish-Chive Tea Sandwiches from Bon Appétit, Gold tea strainer from chef tools, Red Ruffle dessert stand (because cupcakes deserve their own cake stand!) by Jeanette Zeis
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
And to make matters worse it’s the middle of the week.
In celebration of Almost There Day, we goddesses have a little pick-me-up that serves as a warm-me-up, too: Eggnog Spiked Latte. How’s that for a year-end bonus?
This recipe is adapted from many we experimented with in search of the perfect concoction. Of course, perfection in terms of taste is relative, so do what you gotta do to make this recipe all yours.
Eggnog Spiked Latte
(adapted from the kitchn)
What you’ll need (to serve two):
½ cup milk (or soy milk if your tummy gets wonky from dairy, like me)
1 cup egg nog (or a soy-based alternative to egg nog – you can find this at Whole Foods or the like)
½ cup prepared espresso (see notes below)**
¼ cup Frangelico liqueur
A smidge of ground nutmeg
Two cinnamon sticks
Combine the milk and egg nog (or their soy counterparts) in a small saucepan on the stove. Stir often and be sure not to curdle the milk (if you happen to have a kitchen thermometer lying around, make sure the milk does not exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit – it will burn and that’s no bueno). In the meantime, combine the hot espresso and the Frangelico. Once the milk has warmed, add the hot, prepared espresso to the sauce pan and stir well to combine. Pour into two mugs and sprinkle nutmeg on top, to taste. Throw in a cinnamon stick for each mug and voila! Your day is suddenly warmer and brighter.
**Regarding the espresso. We prefer to make espresso the old-fashioned way – with a Bialetti Moka Express. You can find these little guys just about anywhere, and they come in lots of sizes. In my house we have the big one – I think it’s the 6-cup size (we don’t play around). To prepare the espresso is simple: fill the base of the Moka with fresh, cold water. A good device by which to measure is to fill it no higher than the little screw in the side. Place the coffee filter inside the base, and fill it with ground espresso (make sure that your coffee grinds are ground super, super fine). Screw the upper chamber of the Moka on top and set it on the stove. (Be sure that when you turn on the burner, the handle is not directly over the flame/heating element – just say no to burned fingers!) You know your espresso has finished when you hear it bubbling and gurgling – you can lift the lid to be sure that all the coffee has brewed up into the upper chamber. Turn off the heat, and allow the coffee to rest for approximately one minute before pouring.
Oh, and an alternative - if you prefer to have this as a little nightcap or a late-night snack, use decaf espresso.