Flourless peanut butter cookies

If you want a peanut butter fix but would rather not take a spoon to the jar, these are for you. This batch I made for my coworkers, to help distract me from the leaky nose and hoarse growl I possess at the moment. And a brain is not required to follow the recipe. Seriously. 1 cup of pb, 1 cup of sugar, 1 egg. 1 teaspoon of baking powder if you like. C’est tout. I sprinkled mine with sea salt. Cuz sweet stuff always taste better with a salty finish. Stick it in the oven at 350 for 15 minutes and bam! You a superstar.

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On a tangent, I realized I am better off making the Momofuku ginger scallion sauce without the ginger. In HK and Chinatown, restaurants specializing in roast meats will often throw in a little container of scallion oil — even if they do not, they usually have it on hand and it will appear if you ask.  I smack my lips with delight thinking about that stuff with cha xiu on rice.  Perhaps it is less balanced than the Momofuku sauce but it is definitely closer to my ideal of the catch-all condiment. Speaking of Momofuku, a friend of a friend (a chef in the making) made a batch of the pork buns on Sat night and they were fantastic, a perfect two-bite snack for soaking up the alc.

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A weekend in NYC

The thankfully not so impressive line at Shake Shack.
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My first Shake Shack burg.  Satisfying but not worth the hype or the wait, yet another thing about New York (and New Yorkers) that perplexes me. The vanilla frozen custard with toffee and Valrhona chocolate chunks, on the other hand, I want a deja vu of that mouthwatering stuff. Loved the variety of textures and the strong presence of vanilla in the base (rather than a generic sweetness).

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Latte from Joe the Art of Coffee

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Momofuku cookies.  L to R blueberry cream, cornflake chocolate chip marshmallow, and compost. Again, unimpressed with the much-hyped Milk Bar. My favorite of the trio was the cornflake one b/c of the unique texture from the interplay of the crunchy-chewy cornflakes and melted marshmallows, but they were all toothnumbingly sweet, unnecessarily so (and L concurred). Will definitely keep your sweet tooth in check for a long while.

My foot in union square on a picturesque Sunday afternoon. That, a Giants win, and a home-cooked meal with friends = a happy day.

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Dinner at Nicks Pizza.  Homey but sophisticated ambience with solid thin-crust pizza. Would not make a trip up to there just for the pizza, but would definitely go back if I am in the neighborhood.

Pokemon creature in the bread basket..

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A stellar portobello, parmesan, and wilted spinach salad.

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Small Margarita pie and a large 1/2 eggplant 1/2 sausage pie. That the Margarita was clearly not straight out of the oven was my only main complaint. The pizza had a crisp, flavorful crust and tasty toppings (both the eggplant and sausage were prudent additions).

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Nosh nosh.

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Winners and losers

In life, there are winners and there are losers.  It is just one of those harsh but categorical realities that only reinforces itself with time, and is so beyond reproof it holds true even in the realm of cookies.  See, for example:

winners:

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and losers (with winners pointing and laughing in the background):

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Actually, the real loser here was the recipe, which needs major tweaking.  I was craving thin, crisp, and crunchy oatmeal cookies, which was exactly what this recipe promised.  Instead, I got half a batch of crumbly, chewy oatmeal clusters and what is essentially granola.  Both having a time and place but neither being what I signed up for, I will return to the drawing board, and quickly, as this botched effort has only intensified my original craving.

Tea time buffet: Cafe Andante

There’s nothing quite like taking something quaint like tea time and defiling it with the whole buffet concept.  If all goes as planned, this is the first in a series of tea buffets that I will patronize over the next few months.  An article in one of the local newspapers put me on the scent of this trail, and I need no convincing of the absolute necessity of gratuitous overindulgences such as afternoon buffets.  If you do, this blurb from the article will surely win you over: “Ah, afternoon tea, that elusive fourth meal of the day that no one really needs, but that everyone relishes once in a while. And heck, if you’re going to stuff your face full of goodies, why not plump for a buffet and get your money’s worth?”  While the English leaves much to be desired, the point is as clear as the perfect summer day: afternoon tea buffets exist for a reason and that reason is so people like you and I can fattify ourselves on dainty scones, crustless sandwiches, and the like.

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Week of 14 July 2007: My dad is a divine chef

The following typify the kinds of dishes that I grew up on.

Pan-fried salmon with a sweet and spicy ginger and scallion sauce.

Rotisserie chicken with stir-fried zucchini, carrots, and mushrooms.

Tofu with pig’s ear (a type of fungus, NOT the hearing organ of an ungulate!) and some ground pork. It’s hard for my dad to not incorporate meat into a dish.

Steamed chinese veggies with a touch of sesame oil and soy sauce. Call me old-fashioned, but I LOVE steamed vegetables done like so.

Steamed fish (I forget what kind) with scallions, ginger, and soy sauce…one of the staples of my childhood. I cannot wait to perfect this dish when I get older (sans the ginger). A bite of perfectly-cooked fish with the crunch of scallion, and I’m transported to foodie heaven.

Blanched, then stir-fried string beans with dried anchovies and some more fungus thingies.

Steamed black bean spare ribs with scallion…pretty similar to the ones you would get when you order spare ribs at dim sum. Except exponentially better.

As you can see, I really had to rough it through the years. You can also probably see why it’s hard for me to turn completely vegetarian…I cannot bear the thought of life without fish, in cooked form, of course. Sushi is off-limits for me, just as a matter of personal preference (I know, I know).

I also made some sugar cookies using a Betty Crocker mix I’ve had since the beginning of the century. I subconsciously baked them to come out perfectly like six-packs: the baker’s equivalent of a Freudian slip.

I’m happy to report that they came out well and tasted great. The well-done edges had a nice crunch, and the middle gave way nicely.

I even got a bit nolstagic…

…thankfully, I quickly recovered. In the near future, I will actually attempt to blog about food-related things that require more mental effort, but food porn is just so much fun.