What do they mean by “foam up” exactly?

So my last post was a little slapdash and messy.  I am totally aware of this. It’s also possible that it didn’t really make my point or make much sense.  I’m ok with this, too.

See, I needed to bust through the barrier that I had created in my own head, the barrier that was keeping me from posting anything less than perfect.  So I dashed off a post, did a quick proof read and hit publish.

I’m learning to be ok with my imperfections.  That was a pretty good start.

Anyway, today, I’m sharing my Turkish Coffee frustrations with you. Everything I’ve read says you need to have an cezve (yup.. got one.. it belonged to LB’s dad), finely ground coffee (yup.. got that too… I bought it from a local specialty store) and you need to never stir it and you have to let it “foam up” at least twice.

I always ended up boiling mine and it always tastes gross and burnt.  Also, since we’ve moved into an apartment, I’ve lost my gas stove with it’s tiny gas burner and now I have this electric things and my little cezve doesn’t fit on any of these burners.  I can’t heat the darn thing evenly and I still can’t seem to get the magical “foam” … I get… boiling burnt coffee.

It’s frustrating.  So I finally admitted defeat and went to YouTube.  Turns out the “no stirring” before heating thing is bullshit and this mythical foam isn’t “foam” at all… at least how I know things to “foam” 

It’s.. sort of like a raft formed by coffee grounds that has a bit of bubbles in it. Much more subtle than I imagined.

Seriously…

I have to thank Ancient Girl Kitchen for her excellent video “Making Turkish Coffee and Four Important Tips No One Tells You”

Finally! Finally! I know what the hell “foam” is.

Also, watching her video gave me an excellent idea since she heats her pot on a flat burner. In a merging of Generations and Families, I used my Great Grandmother’s Aluminum pan and LB’s Father’s Pot together and I was able to finally distribute the heat evenly!

Using this little aluminum pan to distribute the heat from the electric burner means I can finally make good Turkish Coffee!

Look a this deliciousness, you guys.

 

This looks a million times better than the last time I made this coffee when I made the World’s Easiest Cookies two years ago (omg)

Here is the “previous” incarnation.

World’s Easiest Paleo Cookies

There is a suspicious lack of that delicious crema like foam (as in real foam) on that coffee from two years ago.

I’m pretty darn proud of my new Turkish Coffee making skills and I may have had more than my share… and I may not sleep tonight.. but anyway…

When researching different methods for making Turkish Coffee, one thing kept coming up .. and that was that everyone who makes Turkish Coffee also has an Auntie who reads the grounds… well, if you ask my brother, he will tell you that I’m the spooky Auntie who does all that stuff so of course I had to give it a try.

Well, it was pretty obvious to me that this is a turtle here in these grounds.. she jumped right out at me.  Since this message is very much for me and how I’ve been contemplating my approach to blogging, social media and learning new skills….  let’s just say that it was a great reminder to me to take things a little at a time.

I have a love/hate relationship with planning ahead

Meal prep is the thing that people are doing now I guess.

I hate it.

and I love it.

And I’ve been doing it before it was cool.  I don’t have the fancy glass containers or the bento boxes. Just plain old take out containers that I’ve had for years.

Granted, I’ve upped my game a bit. I make a more conscious decision and plan more than  “I’ll take left overs for lunch”  but if I had my druthers, I’d only cook when I wanted to, not because I had to.

I love cooking… I hate having to cook. Does that make sense?  When it’s time for us to sit down and plan our meals for the week, I cringe.  I have this internal fight of “don’t want to can’t make me” and it’s ridiculous because we are going to have to eat and I don’t want to stop at the store every night.

I don’t get it.  It makes no sense.

Today, I fought the ridiculous crowds at the grocery store (I forgot Rosh Hashanah starts today and it was CRAZY busy) and when I came home, I got right to cooking so what the hell is my problem, actually?

I made the Orzo and Salmon thing I was bringing for lunch every day, I shoved a half a chicken in the InstantPot to cook and made the curry sauce that the chicken will be reheated in with some green beans. I make LB’s breakfast and lunch for tomorrow (the bananas weren’t quite ripe or I would have made three days worth of her breakfast) and then I made cookies and I blame Netflix for airing the most recent season of Great British Bake Off for that part.

Honestly, if I would stop procrastinating and just get groceries after work on Friday, I could avoid a lot of this nonsense.  Part of my issue is that I just want to sit on my ass and do nothing on Saturday and Sunday which is ridiculous because my day job involves me sitting on my ass all day.

By the way, my desk job is exhausting and no one really knows why.

In other news, I’m mostly through the Harry Potter series again because it’s amazing, I’ve started reading Rainbow Body: A History of the Western Chakra System from Blavatsky to Brennan and wow is that blowing my mind… and I have started weeding through the extra crap I have at home that I don’t need but haven’t thrown out because LANDFILL but then realize that it’s a psychic energy hog having all this stuff cluttering up my chi so, I’m actively finding homes for a lot of things.  I have a love/hate relationship with getting rid of things too

Oh, and I’m taking September away from social media. If you found this post in your feed or on mine, it’s because it went automatically.  Being away from Social Media has already given me a lot more perspective on where my mental energy has been going and also on my misconception of what is important based on what my feed was showing me..so now I’m writing on this thing again.. more blogs to come? Who knows.

Right now, the cookies are cool.. so I gotta go.

 

 

{Slidin’ Dirty} After much anticipation, a great disappointment

Pulled Pork Nachos: I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but they would have been better without the pork

LB and I were in Troy today to take a photography class at the Arts Center, which was amazing.  We had to drive a bit to find a parking spot because… Troy.. and we ended up parked in front of Slidin Dirty, which was pretty exciting as I’d wanted to get there for ages (they’ve been open for 3 years now).   I hadn’t actually bothered to find out where it was because we don’t go to Troy very often, so it was a nice surprise to accidentally find it.

We knew we would have a lunch break so we figured we’d make the three minute walk back to have lunch.

This was a mistake.  A big one.

We broke for lunch at 12:25 so we made it to Slidin Dirty by 12:30.  We had an hour for lunch.  We thought that should be plenty of time for an appetizer and an entree, given that it’s essentially pub food.  There was one open table left and we were seated within three minutes and immediately given menus. We thought our timing was good because people started stacking up behind us, waiting for a table.

Our server was at our table to take our our food and drink orders pretty promptly and I had my beer in my hand by 12:40. (I know this because I took a picture of it and it was time stamped).

(Side note: LB went to the restroom and when she came back, she said, that it looked pretty but smelled like a port-a-potty.  I tend to judge a restaurant by it’s attention to details like this.  It makes me wonder what the kitchen looks like.. but I digress)

The appetizer arrived at 12:47. So far, so good.

We finished our appetizer pretty quickly because we were pretty hungry, having had only a bagel for breakfast.   The plates were cleared promptly and because we had to be back by 1:30, I had my eye on the clock.  It was 1:00.

And that’s when things started going downhill.

I had hoped we’d get our sliders and mac & cheese within a few minutes of the appetizer being cleared since we placed our orders at 12:35-ish.  Perhaps this was unrealistic.. and if so, well that’s on me.

However…

By 1:10, I’m trying to catch the eye of our server.. who had walked past our table several times but never checked in.   At least once she actually, intentionally averted her eyes from me.  If she had once gave us an idea of when to expect our food or maybe showed a little interest in us, it would have gone a long way to making me less twitchy.

I looked around and I see other tables waiting for food… people who were seated when we came in…  there was a 3- top of teenagers who had been waiting for food for so long, they stopped looking at their phones and were looking around, hopefully… desperately.. and there are at least 4 families waiting for tables and two of them were there when we were seated (I know because they all had really crazy cute toddlers with them and I had a view of the door).

It’s now 1:15 and we are calculating our tab for what we consumed already and are ready to leave a $20 on the table and head out the door.  Because I cannot get the attention of our waitress….  and not for lack of trying….  she literally walked past our table 3 times.. and actively avoided looking at me each time… I am not exaggerating.

LB says to me that she just saw our waitress go back to the kitchen and that hopefully our food will arrive.

It does five minutes later.  It’s now 1:20 … we have 10 minutes to eat and get our check and pay and get out the door and we will still be late.   Our waitress puts the food on the table, says “there you go!” in a perky voice and she’s gone before I can even ask for the check.. which I was going to do so that we could get things rolling..

We start wolfing out food down.. at 1:25, I see our waitress cruising past our table and I’m looking right at her (again) and she doesn’t notice so I hop out of my chair with my arm in the air and say “excuse me! Can we have the check as soon as possible please?”  and she says sure, no problem.

By the way, LB’s Mac and Cheese had very little cheese and was room temperature, My Dirty Colonel Slider was cold in the middle and my Dirty Ninja was overcooked and dry and also not hot.  This is food that was sitting under a heat lamp waiting to get picked up.

We get our check at 1:30 and we leave just enough cash to cover the bill. This is the one and only time in my life I did not leave a tip.  This waitress was actively avoiding us. Either kitchen was slow, or they were understaffed or something but honestly I can forgive all those things. I cannot forgive being ignored.  The poor service was appalling.  Everyone working there had a look on their face like they were either exhausted, annoyed or apathetic.

I’m honestly, truly saddened by this.  In the past I had enjoyed the food from the food truck and one time Tim went out of his way to deliver food to my office.  That was the kind of thing that made Slidin’ Dirty stand out.

Maybe they were understaffed because of the Nine Pin Cider event today but…  for crying out loud, taking 10 seconds to say “your food will be right out” or “sorry for the wait, we are a bit busy today” would have shown some concern for the customer.

When we got back to class, we apologized for being late and said we picked a slow restaurant evidently. Our instructor said not to worry and then she asked where we went and when we said “Slidin’ Dirty” she replied “oh.. yeah, they are really slow there”.

Ugh.

I hope this is a one off… because I’ve met Tim and I like him and I really am happy that they opened a second location..  and perhaps my time table was off… but I know bad service when I see it.  And holy cats, was this bad service.

 

 

 

Cinnamon Apple Twist Bread

Did you know that King Arthur Flour does a Bake Along every month?

Me either!

I stumbled upon it on Instagram and I was like well, I know I have to fit back into my shorts for December (headed to Florida for week) but dammit.. I wanted to make this Cinnamon Apple Twist Bread.

You can find the recipe here at this link.

But of course, I didn’t make it that way because I didn’t have two of the ingredients in the house (instant yeast and potato flour) but that didn’t stop me.

 

I used the active dry yeast in the same amount as the instant yeast, knowing that it might need a little more time to rise as the yeast hydrated and I used all white flour instead of using part potato flour. The potato flour would have added a bit more tenderness. But we still enjoyed it a lot!

Also, next time I would chop the apples instead of grating them in my food processor. They looked like.. well.. squiggly worms and it freaked me out a bit.  Also, I think because I used Penzey’s Double Vanilla, the amount of vanilla in the icing was excessive. I ended up remaking it with just a tiny bit of vanilla.

I was really please with how the loaves came out so I posted my pictures to Twitter and was pretty stoked to get this response from King Arthur Flour

I am excited to see what October’s bake along is, even though the struggle to button my pants is real.

I am unfamiliar with this method of cake making

When I make a cake, I usually do the “cream butter and sugar, add eggs, add dry ingredients and bake”

I am unfamiliar with this “dump everything in and beat the hell out of it” method. I honestly am befuddled.  What if I over mix it? What if the butter doesn’t integrate? (which is what happened, actually)

We are headed to London next week (what? I know!) and since I’m obsessed with the Great British Bake Off  …


(sidenote: Paul Hollywood is officially on my short list of men who I would not kick out of bed for eating cookies … especially if he baked them.  It’s a very short list so Paul really should be honored- and he should send me cookies.. wait… where was I?  right. GBBO)

…I thought I should bake a proper English treat before we head across the pond.

Victoria Sandwich. That’s the ticket.

I really am not a fan of buttercream (and also it really needs to sit overnight for it to be smooth) so I went with Mary Berry’s Perfect Victoria Sandwich, which has whipped cream instead of buttercream.


Can we talk about Mary Berry for a minute?  I adore her. She’s sassy and yet super polite and I’m going to start a cookie eating game. Every time she say “layers” you get to shove a palmier in your face.   “Soggy Bottom” wins you a big glass of cold milk to slam back.  WHOLE MILK, because we live large in this house.

Anyway…

The recipe says to break 4 eggs into a bowl and then dump everything else in.  Which I did.  But it killed me to do it.  I also think the butter should have been… well I should have broken it up a bit because I ended up with pockets of butter in the batter… but I was so worried that I would over work it.  Because, cake.

Victoria Sponge - from Mary Berry

Victoria Sponge – from Mary Berry

It looks pretty good. The edges are a little greasy and the middle sunk a bit and I had to make my own self rising (raising?) flour which is totally not a big deal but that method… I’m just befuddled.  I really think that next time, I’m going to go back to the method I know in cake making. I just… I feel like this isn’t quite right.

The Finished Victoria Sandwich

The Finished Victoria Sandwich

It was really tasty but I think I over-baked it. It want rising like I had expected and the middle really did sink in a bit. I was worried that it was raw in the middle. Because it was dense, it didn’t spring back like I had expected. I just fulled that with jam (yassss more jam)

ALL OF THE JAM FOREVER

I am probably going to do very little sharing of London on my social media so look for a photo dump after we get back. I’m going to make it a goal to try a real Victoria Sandwich!

Inside Out Carrot Cake Cookies

I haven’t been writing much lately because I’ve been busy over on my Tarot Site having a good time and I’ve been wanting to share my progress in dealing with my social and general anxiety (which is AMAZING, by the way) but I’m going to give you just a little snippet today because I need to tell you about these cookies.  These are Inside Out Carrot Cake Cookies and I’ve been making them for years.  And I love them.

I needed something to bring to a Community Kirtan that my friend David told me about.  Two years ago, I never would have considered going to a new place with new people where I knew only one person.   Never would have happened… and although I call David my friend, we really don’t know each other that well, but he’s one of a growing number of people that I hug as a greeting so…  yeah. Friends. And I went and I didn’t explode or freak out when I got lost or hide in a corner the whole time.  I actually ended up doing tarot readings for 5 people!  I had a lot of fun. I probably won’t go again because although it was lovely, it’s not really my thing.

I decided on these cookies because I’m always looking for a reason to make this deliciousness.   There are some important things left out of this recipe, in my opinion. Which is why I’m posting it here with my revisions.

You will make a better cookie if your eggs and butter are at room temperature.   Before we became refrigeration nuts, humans used to keep eggs and butter on the counter.  And to tell the truth, I still keep my butter out.  I refrigerate my eggs because commercial eggs are washed.  If they come right from the chicken, they have a protective barrier to prevent spoilage.

But yeah, take them out of the fridge a few hours ahead and thank me later.

The other thing is the original recipe tells you to beat your butter, sugar and eggs all together at once.

Don’t do that.

Cream the butter and sugar together.  This is where that room temp thing comes in handy.    King Arthur Flour has a great post on this so I’m not going to reinvent the wheel here.

After you cream the butter and sugar, then add your eggs one at a time and mix until fully incorporated

Another thing is the original recipe says it makes 13 cookies.

It lies.

It makes 6 cookies filled with cream cheese and one lonesome half cookie that has no idea what to do with itself except to be a delivery device for any leftover filling … of which there will be none. So, I double it.

So, here it is.   The Inside Out Carrot Cake Cookie Recipe for your next pot luck or emotional eating party.

 

Inside Out Carrot Cake Cookies
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 2¼ cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 sticks of room temperature unsalted butter (1 cup)
  • ⅔ cup plus ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • ⅔ cup plus ¼ cup white sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla (get the good stuff)
  • 4 medium carrots, coarsely grated (about two cups)
  • 2 cups of walnuts, chopped
  • 1 cup of raisins
  • 16 ounces of cream cheese, room temp
  • ¼ cup of wildflower honey
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Line baking sheets with parchment paper (I used 6 sheets total. If you don't have that many, you will need to cool them off before baking a new sheet of cookies)
  3. Whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt
  4. Cream butter and both sugars together until light and fluffy
  5. Incorporate eggs, one at a time until fully combined
  6. Mix in the carrots, walnuts and raisins
  7. Add the flour mixture and stir until combined.
  8. Drop cookies by 1½ tablespoons about two inches apart and bake, turning halfway through for 16-18 minutes. They will spread.
  9. Allow to cool on the sheet for one minute and then transfer to a cooling rack.
  10. While cookies are baking, combine cream cheese and honey until smooth.
  11. When cookies are completely cool, sandwich two cookies together with a big glob of filling.