Sunday, August 10, 2008

The New York Times Cookie

These cookies
have been making the blog rounds for a few weeks now, so I decided they were worth a shot. While they aren't terribly different from my standard recipe for classic chocolate chip cookie, the sugar content is markedly higher. I also decided to make these at 2am the night before leaving for a long weekend at a friend's cottage and so wasn't as patient as I could have been. Regardless, the rather long resting period did not make quite the difference other bloggers reported it did in that the supposedly caramelized/rich toffee notes didn't quite emerge.

Overall, I found the cookies a bit dry upon baking, but they do retain a remarkably shelf stable quality and taste a bit like a particular brand name store bought cookie up to a week after. I don't know that I will ever make them again, but they were fun to make the first time. Plus, I finally broke out my ice cream scoop to shape them and was highly amused at the fact that they retained their scoop shape.

Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from the New York Times recipe, in turn adapted from Jacques Torres

Yield: Approximately 30 1.5" cookies.
Active Prep Time: 30 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 36 hours ( to chill in the refrigerator)
Total Prep Time: 36.5 hours

7 oz of all purpose flour
7 oz of whole wheat flour
3 oz of corn starch
1.25 teaspoons of baking soda
1.25 teaspoons of baking powder
8 oz of salted butter at room temperature
8 oz of brown sugar
8 oz of granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1 lb of bittersweet chocolate chips

1. Combine the flours, corn starch, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl or measuring jug and whisk well to combine.

2. In a large bowl, combine the room temperature butter and the two sugars. Using an electric beater cream until fluffy and very pale in color. It should look like this. Once the mixture has reached this ethereal stage beat in the eggs one at a time. Following the eggs beat in the vanilla until completely amalgamated.

3. Switching from your hand held electric beaters to a wooden or metal spoon, gently mix in the flour. Be careful not to begin too vigorously or you will cover both yourself and the counter top in lovely white dust. The finished product should look something like this.

4. Stir in the chocolate chips and cover the dough tightly. Leave to rest in your refrigerator for anywhere from a minimum of 24 hours to a maximum of 72 hours. I suppose if you would like to leave it for longer than that, shape the aged dough into logs, which you can then wrap tightly in plastic wrap and freeze.

5. After your dough has aged, bring it to almost room temperature. You do not want to use it straight out of the fridge as the butter will be far too cold and the dough will be unworkable. Also, pre heat your oven to 350 degrees F.

6. Using an ice cream scoop to portion the slightly warmed dough, mound 6 scoops onto a parchment or tin foil lined baking sheet. Bake the scoops for approximately 15 to 18 minutes, checking every 30 seconds after the 15 minute mark. I found the cookies didn't spread very far and so judged level of doneness primarily by smell.

7. Cool the cookies on their baking trays for at least 5 minutes before moving them to a cooling rack.

8. Consume any which way you'd like ( I'm thinking crumbled into some vanilla fro-yo). These cookies keep well in airtight containers for up to a week.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Pink Drink

This is by far one of my favourite drinks to make at the restaurant for many, many reasons. I enjoy it primarily because we don't make cocktails and so this is the only way I get to engage in the mechanics of mixed drink making. Secondly, it's pink. Shockingly so. While I'm not the kind of girl who is all about the pinkness of things in life, this is just so terribly, ludicrously colored that it makes me laugh. That, and it reminds me of summer because at the peak of summer I often make 20 or so of these a day.

As with the smoothie in the previous post I feel a bit silly giving you instructions as to how this drink is made. You will however need a handful of ingredients that I don't think most of you have stocked in your pantry. These are however relatively simple things to find, especially in your neighbourhood east Indian grocery store. However, should you live in an especially remote area, i am relatively certain you can mail order all of the following products, and should that prove impossible, I would be happy to mail them to you.

1. Rose Syrup. This is the pink, viscous, sweet and wonderfully floral syrup that gives this beverage is charactertistic color, flavour and aroma. While you can waffle about with the other ingredients, without this one, you're making a different drink entirely.

2.Faluda or glass noodles. These are generally available in most asian grocery stores. The only difference in preparation is that instead of cooking these in boiling salted water they are gently simmered in a lightly sweetened syrup and then refrigerated in the syrup to maintain pliability.

3. Basil seeds, or tukmaria. These little black seeds are larger than poppy seeds and sometimes confused for nigella/black onion seed. The beauty of these is that a quick soak in cold water results in a gelatinous bloom forming around the seed. These are stored in their cold soaking liquid and for some reason do not germinate while in this state. You can leave these out but they add a wonderful textural note with the slight slipperiness of the exterior and the crunch of the seed coat.

The Royal Faluda ( a.k.a. The Pink Drink)

5 or 6 ice cubes
1 oz of cooked faluda noodles
1 tsp of tukmaria seeds, soaked
2 oz of rose syrup
8 oz of milk ( I like 2% here)
1 scoop of vanilla ice cream

1. In an 11 oz glass begin by layering the ice, noodles and basil seeds in the bottom.
2. Coat the sides of the glass with 1.5oz of the rose syrup. This is easiest with a squeeze bottle, gently poured against the side of the glass.
3. Pour in the milk and stir until a uniform colour is achieved.
4. Top with the vanilla ice cream and the remaining syrup.
5. Serve with a straw and long handled spoon.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Blissful Breakfast

Days at the restaurant are long and the hours are kind of crazy. We open at 11:30, which means I am out of bed at 10:30 to shower and make it down stairs and into the car. More often than not we make it in just in time to adjust the thermostat, give the tables a quick dust, and to fill the water pitchers before our regulars arrive for lunch. The lunch rush doesn't really die down until 14:00 at which point I'm just a little peckish. With the restaurant nice and quiet it's the perfect time to dig into the stash of frozen fruit and make a round of smoothies that provide the perfect hit of sugar to make it through the last hour of service.

It feels silly to give you a recipe for a smoothie - but I will in any case.

Breakfast Bliss Smoothie (for 4)

1/2 cup of bran flakes (wierd, I know, but you won't notice them)
1 banana, frozen
1/2 cup of diced mango, frozen
1/2 cup of diced apple, frozen
1 cup of diced pineapple, frozen

1. Pour approximately 1 cup of warm water into the bottom of your blender jar and add the bran flakes.
2. Plunk in the rest of the fruit either in the listed order, or whatever order you see fit.
3. Blitz into delicious smoothness.
4. Pour into receptacles and consume.


1. This is also stellar with 2 tbsp of melted nut butter blitzed in.
2. Even better with 1 block of silken tofu - at which point in turns into a very sexy pudding.
3. For an extra hit of vitality add a 1/2" chunk of ginger.
4. Swap up the fruit with whatever you really want - mine is always frozen, but this works great with fresh produce.
5. Mint is also delicious.
6. Don't stop at fruit, cucmbers and celery make fun mystery back note flavours.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Green Pea and Mint Pesto with Pasta

Every spring my parents have a long argument about what to do with our backyard. Since no one is ever really home to tend to it, the grass withers each year and dies away, leaving a progressively balding expanse. My mother argues for replanting the grass and raising the property value. My father argues for growing useful things like fruit and vegetables. This year they came to a relatively happy compromise. Mint. Spearmint specifically.

Mint is quite hardy, surviving this July's incredible 192.3 mm of rain as well as the hot, dry days. Further it grows like a weed, spreading quite widely. As it stands it has taken over one side of the yard and is threatening to spread further. While this makes my dad ecstatic, it leaves my mother and I wondering what to do with all of it.

Last night I culled some of our straggling lot and turned it into pesto. It is actually deliciously simple, dairy free and can be quite easily made after a long day of work. As a bonus, the pasta cooks up in about the same amount of time that it takes to make the pesto - so save for the washing up (which is minimal) you can have this on the table in approximately 10 minutes.

Green Pea and Mint Pesto with Pasta Ingredients for the Pesto
1 clove of garlic peeled
1/2 cup of olive oil
1/4 cup of cider/white wine/rice wine vinegar
1 tsp of mustard
1.5 cups (12 oz) of frozen green peas, thawed
5 or 6 tbsp of chopped mint leaves
2 tbsp of peanut butter

Ingredients for the Pasta
3 cups of dry pasta (I used penne)
3 tbsp of salt
6 litres of water

1. Set a large pot on the stove, over high heat. Add the water, salt and the garlic clove from the pesto ingredients and bring to a rolling boil.
2. While the water is heating, pour the olive oil, vinegar, and mustard into the bottom of your blender and blitz to combine.
3. Once the water comes to a boil, remove the garlic clove and add to the blender. Pour the pasta into the water and stir briefly to ensure it does not stick to the bottom.
4. Blitz to mince the garlic and then add the peas and mint. Blitz again to break down the peas until they are creamy. It should look like the image below.
6. Once you've achieved a consistency you like, and once the pasta is al dente and drained, stir the pesto into the hot pasta.
7. Then stir the peanut butter into the pasta, making sure that the peanut butter melts into the pasta.
8. Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly.
9. Pile onto plates and consume.