Project Christmas Cookies: Time

Christmas cookies

Beyond the sheer amount of effort of making a lot of different cookies, the most difficult part of this is the time.  Cooking this much stuff takes a long time and is pretty exhausting.  And when I get exhausted making Christmas cookies I get all cranky and weepy and it’s not good for the holiday spirit.  I am proud to report that 2016 involved zero tears, however! Continue reading Project Christmas Cookies: Time

Project Christmas Cookies: Cost/Resources

Christmas cookies

As far as human resources go it’s primarily just me.  Most years I do all of it.  This year Mr. R assisted a lot.  He was a big help when packaging the (over 70) caramels and wrapping the cookies.  I always think packaging is just a detail but it actually takes approximately forever.

It’s important to make sure that you have enough cookie sheets for this.  In the past I’ve done it with two (do not recommend) and also with two good ones and two crappy ones (better, still not recommended).  This year I sprung for two more high quality cookie sheets for a total of four and I bought three more cooling racks for a total of six.  I also have two sets of measuring cups and spoons.  I also use silpat mats to line my cookie sheets — nothing sticks and I don’t have to bother with cutting parchment paper.  This makes for slightly expensive equipment.  This project can absolutely be done with just stuff from the grocery store, but if you want to invest in some slightly better cooking equipment it will be used well doing this. Continue reading Project Christmas Cookies: Cost/Resources

New Orleans Bread Pudding with Lemon Sauce and Chantilly Cream

bread pudding with chantilly cream

I’m not from Texas and I never had much experience with Cajun food until I was introduced via my inauthentic but delicious Fluffy Gumbo. Then I moved to Houston and ended up with family who live on the border of Louisiana. My image of Texas was very much cacti and cowboy hats before I moved here, but really that’s more West Texas (well, ok, the cowboy hats are everywhere). I haven’t spent much time there, having had much more experience thus far in the odd world of East Texas/Louisiana.

So for holidays we often have Thanksgiving or Christmas gumbo instead of a turkey. It’s full of chicken and sausage and lots of oil and it’s SO DELICIOUS. I don’t know how to make it (yet) so this post isn’t actually about that. It is however about my first attempt at making bread pudding. Continue reading New Orleans Bread Pudding with Lemon Sauce and Chantilly Cream

Two months

A gift of persimmons

It’s been quite a while since I posted.  I was planning a big series on a cooking class I traveled to Tokyo for, but unfortunately while on the trip Mr. R got extremely sick and we had to come back to the US early.  I’ve been cooking here and there, but lately I’ve been feeling distracted and uninspired.  Real life and current events have been hard to ignore lately and it’s made hobbies difficult to focus on.  But I’m striving to find some normalcy in a newly not normal world and giving a lot of consideration to what is in store in my own personal future.

Continue reading Two months

First Time Steak a la Elk

elk steakI don’t usually cook a lot of red meat, but one of Mr. R’s (awesome!) associates at work gave him some venison.  Two packages of deer steak, two of elk.  I grew up eating venison (mostly deer, antelope, sometimes elk or bear) so it’s always the kind of steak I prefer and also why I am not fond of beef steak.  However, I don’t hunt and my father lives far away, so I don’t have venison to cook.  But now I do! Continue reading First Time Steak a la Elk

Reverse Chip Cookies

White Chip Chocolate CookiesAfter work tonight I thought about how much I enjoyed the chicken tikka masala I made this week, but that sadly we were out.  Let’s eat out and get Indian food, I decided!  And then I don’t have to cook!  So then of course when we got home I decided clearly I didn’t really need three hours of free time and should make cookies.

I’d had a bag of white chocolate chips hanging out in the pantry for a few weeks.  They were supposed to become some sort of fancy white chocolate candy that failed miserably after many bags of chips, cans of condensed milk, and cursing.  So let’s make some cookies! Continue reading Reverse Chip Cookies

Tomato-Almond “Meat” Sauce

tomato almond meat sauceEspecially when you are the one who does the majority of the cooking, a home-cooked dinner made by someone else can be a truly wonderful thing.  This is Mr. R’s current signature recipe — a delicious vegetarian pasta sauce, so savory it almost makes you think you’re having a meat sauce.

I was really surprised the first time he made this.  It isn’t a very glamorous recipe and doesn’t look very visually striking.  When he told me he was making a pasta sauce out of almonds and sun-dried tomatoes my response was something along the lines of a skeptical, “Really?  Well ok…”  Oh how wrong I was.  This is savory and delicious and something I look forward to having again immediately after eating it.  You should make it!  Experience this strange and mysterious sauce! Continue reading Tomato-Almond “Meat” Sauce

Late Night Earl Grey Tea Cake

earl grey cake

Somehow doing things late at night always gives them a more mysterious or forbidden quality.  Eleven o’clock at night isn’t the time to start cooking a cake, but it was tonight and Mr. R and I dined on a treat of late night cake at midnight.

I’ve been wanting to do more with flavoring things with teas, but I’ve not had a lot of success previously.  I was recently reading a recipe about making green tea cake that has the matcha powder sifted with the flour.  I didn’t have matcha on hand, but I did have Earl Grey.  So I decided to make this an English tea kind of secret midnight cake.  Green tea cakes can wait for the light of day. Continue reading Late Night Earl Grey Tea Cake

Mugicha, Barley Tea: The Taste of Summer Heat

barley tea mugichaI lived in Tokyo for a year and when summer came I heard people speaking dire warnings about tsuyu, the rainy season which was supposed to last about a month.  How bad can it be, I thought.  Little did I know.  For a girl from hot, dry Idaho, the stifling heat and unbearable humidity was a horrible new experience.  Then, a few years later, I moved to Houston.  Houston, where about 3-4 months of the year feel exactly like tsuyu.  We’re right in the middle of it right now, with 100+ degree weather and high, high humidity.

But unless you live in some magical land where it’s beautiful all summer long (oh Hawaii, I miss you), you probably have your own version of summer suffering, be it hot and humid or scorching and dry.  Well, I have a secret tsuyu pro tip for you to deal with the summer heat:  barley tea, a.k.a. mugicha. Continue reading Mugicha, Barley Tea: The Taste of Summer Heat

of Cooking. of Arrakis.