Sunday, December 30, 2012
Monday, December 17, 2012
This year, our kitchen (aka: moi) didn't churn out the usual 60-plus dozen cookies - there just wasn't enough time. Making fewer Christmas cookies means careful editing. An opportunity!
For me, the rolled sugar cookie best encapsulates Christmas cheer. You can decorate however you want: super simple or funky fancy. I like vibrant frosting colors and fun sprinkles, personally. It gives the cookies a certain allure, and almost guarantees they'll disappear ahead of other types of cookies.
|Use a toothpick to move around and swirl the frosting|
What you need:
- 1 1/2 cups butter, softened
- 2 cups white or cane sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper (my preference) or silicone pad.
Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Underbake vs. overbake so the bottom and edges aren't too browned. Cool completely before frosting.
- 1 cup confectioners sugar
- 2 tsp milk (plus more to thin out frosting)
- 2 tsp light corn syrup
- 1/4 tsp almond extract
Mix ingredients together until very smooth, adding a bit more milk as desired to thin it. This batch will be enough for at least half of the cookies. I divide it into four or five little containers to color each, and leave one white. This frosting dries quickly, so I usually just do two batches and mix up new colors.
Thursday, December 13, 2012
|We all migrated indoors..|
Tailgater is not a portmanteau to typically describe us, though we are Texans fans. Greg impulsively bought tickets to the first 'Monday Mayhem' tailgate event in the parking lot of Triniti to enjoy the Texans game action against the Pats and 'gin up' on BBQ. This was also a charity event, with proceeds benefiting St. Jude children's hospital and OKRA. Greg is a generous guy, so maybe it was the charity angle that drew him in. Or maybe it was nostalgia, since I moved here from Boston. Or, most likely, it was the promise of BBQ and beer.
|Brandon, a recent import from Trinidad and chef at Triniti|
We loved the lineup of participating restaurants: Anvil, Benjy's, Branch Water Tavern, Killen's, Roost, Soma Sushi, Sparrow, Triniti and Underbelly. Plus, we had the benefit of sampling from our favorite local/regional breweries including Karbach, Southern Star, No Label and St. Arnold.
Mind you, this was a Texas tailgate. So, it was rather ... meaty. I ate more smoky goodness in a few hours than I generally eat in a few months. A lot of months. I noticed that Greg didn't complain, but finally surrendered to the gods of carnivorous carnage and said 'no more.'
What worked so well for me were the deep flavors as the parry and fresh crunchy vegetables as the riposte, and the preponderance of pickling. What didn't work well was the 40-something temperature (I'm a wimp now that I live in the south!).
Here are a few highlights:
|Benjy's sandwich with picked veg and pickled egg|
|With Kevin Naderi, Roost's chief everything & owner|
|Roost's foie gras 'jell-o shot'|
|Monica Pope's crazy great tacos|
|Pork cheek, crunchy veggies and hibachi corn from Soma|
If Triniti decides to do this kind of event again, I'd recommend outdoor heaters if it's cold, some kind of seating to watch the game or a way to inform attendees that they should bring their own tailgate chairs (there were like 20 seats they grabbed from the front patio), and basic handouts from the participating restaurants to describe what they're serving and maybe an incentive to get us into their restaurants (we frequent most of them anyway but this type of event is a great marketing vehicle).
Best part of the evening: eating all that wonderful food offset the pain of losing the game.
Monday, December 10, 2012
Well, I talked him into it again. Fifth year in a row. Either I'm an extraordinarily persuasive person, or Greg is extraordinarily loving. (I suspect it's the latter.)
It's the dreaded 1,800 mile road trip from Houston to upstate New York. My hometown of New Hartford is set to the east of Syracuse in a semi-rural part of the state with rolling hills and snowy winters. Greg handles this trip with grace and aplomb, as you'll see in a post he did last year called 'King of the Road.'
I had declared that this time we'd just fly up for a short visit, but little Cowboy Jack's kidney disease has inevitably progressed, and we're pretty certain this will be the last time my Dad has the opportunity to cuddle with the dog, and slip bits of food into Jack's waiting mouth when he thinks we're not watching.
|Seems like a quick trip to me. I sleep through 97% of it.|
So, you do the crazy long drive. For family. For snow. For tradition. For wings at Cavallo's. For love.
Now, I must get back to some deadlines. And the list for Greg to reassure him that the drive won't be too unbearable....
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
When you live in an international city, it's fun to seek out the world without traveling more than a few miles from home. Recently we experienced some great outings:
Danny Nguyen 5 year anniversary celebration - over-the-top fashions and great vibe (Greg got me a little fashion giftie) ...
... followed by late night Tex-Mex which hit the spot even if it wasn't the healthiest decision (no pic available - we hoovered it up)...
... a very fun holiday party complete with singing (Greg and I decided that our lip-synching was an early Christmas gift to everyone there) ...
... and a really nice lunch and visit with our friend Howard, in town for just a few hours, at The Pass and Provisions. It's a world-class restaurant and it's about a five-minute walk from our house!
People often ask how we know about stuff that's going on - it's easy:
- Find and follow local businesses and clubs on Facebook and Twitter
- Sign up for newsletters from your fave boutiques, galleries and cultural sources
- Become a member of a place you like
- Chat up people at events and ask them about upcoming happenings
- Get involved in a club that focuses on an activity you like
- If you live in a college town, find out about lectures, exhibits and concerts (endowments are a good thing since they make many international things possible)