Monday, April 2, 2012

crunch & sip

Have I told you about my french press? En detail? Non? Voila - on parle.

The press is from my father, who is le mot finale on coffee in our family, and I have slowly developed my technique for coffee so strong and pure it may as well be espresso. 
French press.

After all of the baking and slow relishing of puff pastry, goat cheese, figs and prosciutto last night (I keep mentioning it because it is a delicious list to type), I still felt a bit peckish around 11:30 pm. What to do? All that I had was coffee grounds (pas possible - no caffeine after 6 for me) lots of organic sugar packets, flour, and tea. Qu'est-ce que je peut faire? Well, all recipes are possible with a little creativity, and I figured if I could find butter (there were two sticks in the public dorm fridge) there must be something. Biscuits? Need baking powder. Scones? Needed an egg. But then! I discovered Supercook, a site that you enter all of your ingredients into and it gives you a list of possible recipes. 

I ended up making Martha Stewart's Irish shortbread cookies - butter, flour and sugar (I had to throw in a bit of crisco because I ran out of butter) and! I added half a teabag of black tea leaves for zesty goodness. 

Apparently, this is a recipe you cannot ruin, because I re-pounded the dough about 6 times trying to get them to look semi-attractive in my sleepy hunger - Emma was standing over my shoulder saying "you don't want to eat ugly food" - and they still were fantastic! Delicious with coffee from my - guess - french press this afternoon.

Ok ok, this post is getting too long, but be patient, I just have two more things. First, Emma gave me a belated but beautiful birthday present of Sabine Sicaud poetry, in French and English transcriptions. She was a lovely young French poet who died horribly ill at the age of fifteen, but wrote beautiful and thoughtful poetry. Tres deep. 

"Quand l'anemone rouge et les jocinthes bleues
Fleurissent les parcs d'Angleterre,
Une petite fille en robe rouge ou bleue
Descend les escaliers de pierre"

I'll post a bit more later this week when I have poured over the pages more thoroughly.

Recipe for perfect shortbread:

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
(1/2 teabag of black tea, mixed in if you like - I think I want to try it with different flavors of tea)

Preheat oven to 300 F, mix the butter and sugar, mix in the flour until mixture just sticks together enough to roll out 1/4 in. Will be crumbly. Cut into circles with a biscuit cutter (or the top rim of a little measuring cup, if you are me in an ill-equipped kitchen) and bake for 1/2 hour or until just turning a bit golden.

Store in a harney & sons tea tin if you like, or eat them right away!

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