Friday, February 26, 2010

Cream cheese dough - last attempt

Question: you've got 3 1/2 hours left before Shabbat. Do you:

a) Clean the house
b) Finish that garden project you were in the middle of
c) Take it easy
d) Frantically make yet another version of hamantaschen hoping this one will be "The One"

I'll let you know how they turn out.

UPDATE: They freaking rock. But they're more like little triangular pastries/pies than cookies. I'm not complaining.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

No Dough'p

Last night, despite ridiculous levels of exhaustion, I tried a hamantaschen recipe from Amy Meltzer of Homeshuling and they came out a little tough, even though I handled them minimally and rolled them fairly thin. They may be better after sitting for a day or two, though; the toddler had one this morning and was in heaven.

Yeah, you heard me, I gave a 3-year-old a cookie for breakfast. (Part of the wonder of Purim)

The orange/chocolate hamantaschen from Jewish Holiday Style didn’t freeze well – they were AWESOME when fresh (yes, 2 sticks of butter will do that) but defrosted a bit pie-doughy. Very short.

Clearly, more baking is in order. To the kitchen, hamantaschen makers!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hamantashen and Peas

This year, I resolve to write notes to myself freely in my cookbooks. In pen, even.

For instance, I LOVE the orange/chocolate hamantashen in Jewish Holiday Style. However, I do NOT love trying to roll them out and make them. They are luscious with 2 sticks of butter (I know, but come on, it's once a year), which means they are sticky. Really, really sticky.

It took me several tries before I remembered that the trick is to roll and cut them on silpat or waxed paper, then stick the whole thing in the fridge for 20 minutes before attempting to remove them and put them on the cookie sheet, add filling, and bake.

Otherwise you don't get circles, you get mush. Tasty, tasty mush. (And yes, we do eat all the ugly ones. So take this advice with a grain of salt. Or chocolate, as you will.)

Another example:

Last night, I tried to make super-slow-roasted rosemary chuck steak from The Grassfed Gourmet. I think I misread it. Or that last time, I just winged the herb rub, but it did NOT come out the same luscious, lamby-tasting rosemary roast I remember - way too salty. So instead, I wrote down what I remembered doing last time, right there in the cookbook!

However, I will not be following this advice in regards to the garden. We've got gorgeous warm weather in the Pacific Northwest this month, and I'm heading out this afternoon to turn over the raised beds and plant some snap peas and early carrots. Charts and planting schedules be damned! We'll just wait and see what comes up.

A girl's got to leave room for a few surprises, right?

Monday, February 08, 2010

The Prodigal Cat

We have been adopted by the neighbor's cat (our own cat is fairly pissed about this, and smacks us when we let it in, but then again she smacks us if we walk too close to her or don't give her the treats quickly enough).
This cat thinks it's a dog.

It eats Thai curry off our plates when we're not looking. Hot Thai curry, I mean. Even the vegetables.

It also follows us on walks.

(I should probably explain the "it" - the neighbors have given it a girly name, and presumably think it's a girl. However, from its spraying habit, laid-back attitude towards other (esp female) cats, and wide-ranging territory, Bad Cohen and I think it's probably a neutered male. So the cat is an it. Per Betan custom.)

Yesterday morning woke up feeling good, energetic, and it wasn't raining, so I decided to go on a walk. Unfortunately, the toddler wanted to go too. This generally means a slower walk, punctuated by short intense periods of panicked running when he decides to sprint towards an intersection.

But he wouldn't be deterred, so we donned shoes and coats and headed out... as did the ambiguously gendered cat.

Half a block into the walk we noticed it was following us. The toddler was delighted - this was a novel experience for him.

I was not. This meant I'd have to keep track of TWO unpredictable creatures, without letting either one get run over or lost. (Have I ever mentioned how glad I am that I've only got one child to keep track of?)

So, the darn thing followed us 1 block north, 3 blocks east, then 3 blocks south, until we neared the elementary school. It had done fine to that point, only making us pause every couple houses while it sniffed things, then padding along fast as it could after us, mewing.

Finally, it stopped. And hid. Under somebody's car.

The toddler kept going.

'Stop!' He stopped. For about 3 seconds. Then kept going.

'No, Stop! Stay there! I have to get the cat!'

He turned around and came back, quickly, and loudly. I think he was screeching something about Bob the Builder. I was crouched by the car, making "here kitty kitty" noises.

That's when the curtain over the house's door twitched. A young woman looked out, perplexed. I waved.

("Can we build it? YES WE CAN!")

Back to the "here, kitty kitty," now anxiously turning from the cat, to the toddler, sitting on the sidewalk behind another parked car, singing VERY loudly and freaking out the cat, to the still twitching curtain (she went back inside, presumably to get the shotgun).

I coaxed the cat out, and we continued around the corner, at which point some very inconsiderate man decided to walk his dog on the other side of the street (the nerve!) and the cat freaked out and ran back the way we had come.

The heck with that, I thought. We're 5 blocks from home, she'll find her own way back. (Somehow when I'm cranky with the cat it becomes female.)

So, we went on to play at the school playground, troop home via many a mud puddle, and get into dry clothes.

Lunchtime comes and goes - no cat.

Midafternoon, toddler temper tantrums - no cat.

We went out in the late afternoon and didn't return until after dark. My heart sank as I realized there was no furry little ball sitting on the railing waiting to come in.

5 blocks, cat! Come on! It's not that far!

By bedtime, our indoor cat was fairly preening with self-satisfaction at being the only feline in residence. I had retraced our route with flashlight in hand, gone down several dark and muddy alleys, and found no trace of it.

It was a cold night, too.

Luckily, this morning, when I opened the door to go get the paper, in it came, heading right for the food bowl and purring. My other cat smacked me repeatedly until we left for work.