Wednesday May 30, 2007

More travel recap:  I warned the airline that my luggage would raise all sorts of suspicion, with the unidentified baggies of powder (green tea powder, almond flour, sugar, etc.) and the odd pastry implements.  The bag-check went fine, but then my little carry-on messenger bag was thoroughly searched on each flight.  My makeup, it seems, is a threat to national security.  I personally believe that forcing me to live without lip balm is the greater threat to my security, but the TSA did not agree.  Fuckers.  The pointy whisk they'll toss back into the bag without a second glance, but they'll dig through the bottom of my makeup bag to find the .33 oz tube of lip balm that means TERRORIST.
While I had access to an oven that works (a shocking luxury), I decided to make this recipe for apricot bear claws from the NYT magazine a few weeks back.  Ignore the twitty name, and focus on the fact that the dough involves both mascarpone and butter.  These were ungodly easy to make, and I think they'll very soon supplant any healthy breakfasts in my future.  Pass the heavy-cream and jam-laden pastries, and don't stint on the sugar topping!
One of those odd domestic skills I've never quite mastered, along with ironing and scaling a fillet, is hard-boiling eggs.  I know exactly how I prefer my hard-boiled eggs:  slightly underdone yolk so it's creamy and not clumpy, and a firmly set white.  Unfortunately, my mom's method of hard-boiling was 1) put eggs in boiling water  2) keep on a high boil for 15 minutes.  Therefore, this is how I made eggs until too recently.  I'd modified that method over time to 1) placing eggs in cold water and bringing to a boil  2) covering and turning off the heat, letting them sit for about 10-15 minutes.  This was better, but still unsatisfactory.  Last week, I thought:  hell, I have an incredible cooking resource sitting next to me (hi, Tim!) - why do I put up with imperfect eggs?  His method is much the same, but once the water boils and you turn the heat off and cover, only let the eggs sit for 4 minutes.  Yes, this will not seem like enough time.  You will hedge this a bit and make it more like 5 minutes.  But then, after putting the eggs in ice water to cool (my GOD, does this make peeling them easier!  how have I gone 25 years without knowing this trick and putting my thumb through the white every damn time?), you will tentatively peel one, expecting a runny icky white, and inside, there will be eggy perfection.  I might even take the cooking time down to 3 minutes to get a runny yolk for euro-style indulgence.  (Which would necessitate the purchase of egg cups, I think.)
(And oooooh, do I want this
Chocolate & Zucchini cookbook!  I flipped through it at the bookstore this weekend, and they may have to discount that copy due to the drool stains I left on every page.  Her blog is
chocolateandzucchini.com, which you should go to every day and marvel at the lovely treats while staring longingly at the computer.) 

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