World Tapas and Dormant Taste Buds

Last weekend I hosted my first potluck party. Because my apartment is so small and my dining china is so non-existent, I figured finger friendly tapas would work really well.
And my guests came out in full force with bacalao topped plantains, sushi, chicken wings, samosas… I’m talking tiramisu, arrepas, and Italian style rice balls (arancine), and it all tasted sooo disgusting. Every bite I had was like moist cardboard chips even my own quesadillas warranted a quick spit into a napkin. I’m quite sure that any of my guests reading this post are now thinking ungrateful b****! But before we break up for good, let me just say it’s not you; it’s me. Until about an hour and half before everyone arrived I was completely bedridden with some kind coughing sickness that made my abs feel like I was on my 10,000th sit up, my head feel like it was wrapped in a giant rubber band and my throat feel like I had spent the previous night doing Drano shots. I was a hot freakin mess. I can safely say that in my lifetime I have only lost my appetite about three times and wouldn’t the night that I convince twenty people to schlep out to Brooklyn loaded down with food stuff just have to be one of them. Please do not doubt my sincerity when I say, enjoyed your company everybody, and I’m pissed I didn’t get a chance to enjoy your food.

Chocolate Ginger Snaps

For those of you who were around for my previous ginger snap adventures, you may find it odd that I dared to venture back into this realm of uncertain baking, but I have good news. Last night I was about to give my old ginger snap recipe another go when my boyfriend, in what I am now sure was an attempt to save himself, suggested I call his Mom for the chocolate ginger snap recipe they had talked about.

Wouldn’t you know about 45 minutes later I was munching on a delightful little, low stress cookie that was too puffy and chewy to be called a snap, but hand a nice ginger undertone to remind me of it’s roots.

Here’s the recipe. Go for it…I promise it won’t hurt...

Whoa, in typing this recipe I just realized that I also skipped the molasses when I whipped these up last night. If you make your with molasses, let me know how they come out.

Wet Ingredients
1/2 cup butter
3 tablespoons cocoa powder + 1 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons molasses
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

Dry Ingredients
2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and add all other wet ingredients one at a time. Sift all dry ingredients together in a separate bowl and blend well. Gradually add dry mixture to wet ingredients and mix until everything is well blended. Using your hands form dough into 1 inch balls and roll in sugar. Place balls on cookie sheet and bake for 10-13 minutes.

The Virtues of Curry Paste

For years I’ve been trying to figure out how to make the curries I love without spending a huge amount of money on spices I’ll only use a few times a year. I tried the pre-made curry sauces that have instructions like, just add chicken or tofu, and they always turned out flat and one dimensional. But then I discovered curry paste, which is like a high concentration of all the curry ingredients stuffed in a jar. I can now make chicken tikka masala at home by blending yogurt with my masala curry paste. The same goes for Thai curries and coconut milk. The best thing is that curry pastes give you a lot of room to add and adjust flavors and really make a dish your own.

Growing Pains

I’m feeling betrayed, so just for today I need to digress from my usual subject matter. About a month ago, I landed my first article in a national magazine. I worked hard on my little 250 word piece. I was getting paid $1 a word after all and this piece was my national debut. Well I turned that piece in and it was full of rhythm and pep and I was really proud. When I was asked to revise I understood, but when I read the final edited piece it looked nothing like me. Sure it was my subject matter, but my voice was gone, and my rhythm was gone. I had been hacked. And now I’m wondering if I’m being too sensitive. Is this normal? Is this what I should expect as new-bee in this industry?

Non-Fat=No Fun

Lately looking into the mirror my face seems to be about 3x larger than I remember it looking before the holidays. There were a number of days in the past few weeks where I was perfectly comfortable popping cookies like tic-tacs. And now my calorie clogged body is begging for a reprieve. Once again I must respect product labels instead of giggling at the grams of fat listing as if I were completely immune, but lover of food that I am, I have to draw the line somewhere. Have you ever tasted non-fat cottage cheese? The metallic alkaline taste that emits from those innocent looking curds is more apt to whiten your teeth than cure your hunger. But here I am, a red blooded American with the whole go all the way or go home thing implanted in my DNA, but I feel to grow I must be stronger than those urges and go for the 2% lowfat version. Yes, it may take me a few more pushups to burn off the calories, but I’m trying to succeed here and there is nothing that will throw you of a healthy eating schedule straight into a bag of Oreos like force feeding yourself tasteless dairy products marketed to make you feel like you’re actually doing yourself some good by eating them! I urge you all to side-step failure this resolution season and read your labels. A few extra calories won’t kill you, but aspartame sweetened non-fat yogurt just might.

What Else is On your table?

The holiday eat fest is coming to a close. I will now spend the next couple of weeks doing double time at the gym in an effort to make my jeans feel comfortable again, but it was all worth it. Every last piece of chocolate and forkful of stuffing was celebrated at a level of indulgence that is only permissible during the holiday season.

Completely food drunk I’ve been wondering what everyone else is eating. What’s got you loosening your belt besides the turkey, mashed potato, stuffing standards? There’s nothing like the holidays to resurrect family traditions, so what’s your family got that every other family should be jealous of?

In my family it’s macaroni and cheese. Every black family in America has their own recipe be in soupy, creamy, with bread crumbs or not, but my Mom’s baked macaroni made with a rue style cheese sauce, cheddar cubes distributed throughout, and a nice sprinkle of cheddar over the top is the epitome of eating good and simple. Now that I’ve shared mine I’m curious to hear about yours.