6/6/11

Summer Iced Tea



By Mademoiselle Noodle Poodle



Guest Contributor 
By Invitation of Cooky Cat

[Mademoiselle Noodle Poodle is an old friend. Not, like she is old. But, our friendship goes back some. She's one of the few canines that Cooky Cat can cuddle. Not in any seamy way, just cuddle. OK? 

She’s from the Land of Cotton and has her antebellum ways firmly in tow. Her accent even comes through thick in her prose. But, she is now living in the Yankee North and has become a darling of the Upper East Side. No group rate, multi-dog walker will you see her with. She travels solo, or not at all. She is as good in the kitchen as she is at being seen parading down the Avenue in all her finery. Cars do stop. Some addresses prearrange floral tributes at the times she is expected to pass. Doormen always have a big supply of biscuits to tempt her with. But enough about how wonderful she is. The glowing praise is beginning to make Cooky Cat feel a little shabby. So, here is her approach to the prrrr-fect summer cooler.]

Uber Editor’s Note: Any catch phrase coinages in the following are the sole property of Cooky Cat. Take that Rachel Ray!

Mlle. Noodle Poodle, S'il vous plaît …

Well!  On such a day as this, it’s simply heaven, all you sweet things, I must say, to be invited as guest contributor, while my good friend Cooky takes a nice snooze curled up on the porch. So much more of an introduction than I would ever, lands sakes alive, ever expect. Thank you Cooky, sweetie!


(Cooky, Pussycat Sweetie, gets 5 big bow-wows and a long, but friendly "Grrrrr" for the invite! Thanks a bunch, honeybunch.)
But be advised, in the summer we keep it short (just like my hairstyle); this lil’ poodle’s recipe writing is quite “caz” (that is short for casual, y’all) Hope you like it.
Can you ever imagine such a thing as we have these days, with massive solar flare-ups and intense unpredictable heat waves! And everybody in a fuss over some hot dog in the legislature. Sure makes me wish I was a Long Tall Sally from the Deep South, reclining on the veranda, sipping a long tall iced tea, and watching the Spanish Moss wave in the gentle breeze, instead being a northern puppy used to being walked along the (hot!!!) pavements of Park Avenue, as I do.
If only my human companions would add some fashionable booties to save my princess toes! Four matching snappy cute little slip-ons to go with the happy scarf and Cartier pin I always wear — that is so Ladies Who Lunch. Uohhh!  Even in the summer? Of course. Fashion! Don’t you just love it… dahrlin’?
Here are some words to the wise (beverage-wise), for summer days when the sun acts up and does naughty things to the atmosphere. Keep your cool, as I do; prepare this neat and easy treat that will make you feel like you are on a desert isle with white sandy beaches and a beckoning turquoise sea. Throw a stick in the water, and I'm all over it. 
What else would you expect from this Southern Belle. Refreshing iced tea!
First take a medium pot and add a quart of good water; not that tap stuff. Maybe it comes from a deep cool natural spring somewhere in a mountain range far, far away. We suggest



Mountain Valley Spring Water from down in Dixie. A distant cousin of ours was the guard poodle for Mr. Benjamin Lockett way back in 1871 just after the, ahem, difficulties with the Yankees.
Put it on to boil, but don’t let it get that far. First sign of bubbles, that’s the right temperature. Now turn off the heat and add some loose leaf tea. Today I reached into my box of Ceylon whole leaf and put about a small handful in the pot. Since I am a poodle you may not know what exactly a handful would be. For you lesser creatures, that’s about 1-2 level Tablespoons.
Then I got inspired!  Some nice Chinese Green Osmanthus tea leaves went in too!

Oh, the leaves sat in there about 3 minutes before I put the beverage through my trusty strainer with the ever so cute bamboo handle into a bowl and got it sugared up to just the right sweetness, as only oneself can judge what that is. We add the sugar while the tea is hot to be sure the crystals melt quickly. (We are not a fan of endlessly stirring sugar into cold iced tea, and having that layer of undissolved crystals nestled at the bottom. This doggie say, pooh on that!)

Okay, here is the good part. Have a larger bowl filled with ice (you can have the help do this while you are sweetening the brew). Place the bowl with sweetened tea onto the ice, and in less than ten minutes voila! You have your tea at a temperature ready for to chillin’ in the fridge. You keep all the tea flavor strength, and not diluted one bit by adding ice to cool in down! (That last bit, that’s so Yankee.)

Of course, ya’ll may want to add a squeeze of lemon wedge later on for a bit of tang.

Can you stand it?  Anyway, happy sippin’ from your one and only Lil’ Mademoiselle Noodle Poodle.

Ya’ll come back now, hear?


Catch ya’ll later, mmm-wahhh! [= Air kiss]

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Cooky Cat, back again. Hey, that Mountain Valley Spring Water is really somethin' to wet you whiskers with ...




Flippin’ the Frittata
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What is a Frittata, anyway? Just to interject that, just like any issue, the Frittata has two sides. More on that particular in a bit.

It is an Egg based distant cousin — Italian/Spanish — to the French Omelette. The Frittata by this Cat's definition has to have at least one additional ingredient, besides the Egg(s); though, when there are several add-ins, that’s what we like a Frittata to be. Also, it is cooked slowly, flat in the pan. When the bottom crust forms it is turned over in full and served (depending on size) in one piece, never folded like an omelette, or in strips. Wedges ... fine.

A Frittata is not just for breakfast. It’s for whenever, dude.

Once upon a time not too long ago in what was the Germantown section of Manhattan on the Upper East Side on 86th Street, there was a small joint of a restaurant named The Ideal. And it was. Ideal. The Ideal served the best breakfast, anywhere ever, before or since. Homemade Bratwurst and heaven’s own recipe for hash brown Potatoes. They started with whole boiled Potatoes, cut up into bite size pieces. Fried to a nice brown crust in a black steel skillet (of which they had a large on hand battery). [Every Egg dish was fried in its own skillet, not like many diners that get speed on their side by doing everything on a flat top griddle. An Omelette done on a griddle, send it back every time. And, by the way, does anyone know of a diner or breakfast joint that knows how to cook an Omelette. Mostly we’ve been getting something one step away from paper. It’s that dern griddle! And, definitely too much time on it.]

The Ideal shows up here because they had a breakfast item called the Farmer’s Breakfast. Boiled cut potatoes, eggs, Onions, and nicely done Bacon pieces all folded together, then fried to a nice crisp crust in one of those well-seasoned black steel pans. Not quite a Frittata, but close enough, for the Germans.



[It also should be mentioned for posterity that The Ideal had Beer on tap. It was Germantown, after all. One brand only, Schaefer. We understand that Schaefer was the best selling beer worldwide, until Budweiser took that spot around 1970. If you were having your breakfast after 10AM the tap would then be open for business, and you got to have your “breakfast Beer”. If you don’t know the quintessential pleasure of the breakfast Beer (see Robert De Niro in The Deer Hunter for the official cool have-a-breakfast-beer reference), pour yourself a small cold one to go with your next breakfast Frittata. Go easy. Or, expect to crawl back into bed afterward.]

We’re not gonna teach you here how to make a frittata. The sources are many and it is, after all, a simple dish. But, the trick is to know when to turn it over onto the B side. 

Timing in life is critical, and in the kitchen it is also so. We have the Oriental wisdom that says it all on the question of kitchen timing: Wait until the water boils before putting in the peas and carrots. (Young men, take note; this advice is also good to follow in other rooms of the house; or in the back seat of a car.)

Here it is, per the Frittata, how to know when to turn it over. 

There is one question that only you will be able to decide, and that’s about how brown and crispy you want your crust. But the essential point is that it is first ready to turn when the bottom is formed into a crust. So how do you know when that is? Well, you can peek. But we don’t recommend pussyfootin’ with anything in a skillet what is not together enough to lift to look at the underside. You could break the frittata (no biggy, it’ll come back by itself; but we have a better way) and have your fussy little darlings bolt from the table. But it would be your fault for bringing them up to expect the best of everything. Like, sending in the car to fetch the Arturo’s Brick Coal Oven Pizza. (Hey, Donald Trump, Sarah Palin, would it kill "ya" and your gosh-honest blue collar souls to mosey on down to the the village and go to Arturo's for the real deal?) Or, only high end frocks and togs from Bambini on Madison avenue, never any hand-me-downs. But this is not a socio-political rant, where we get to flip our lids. It is about flippin' a Frittata.



You will know that the frittata is ready to turn when it scratches the pan when you vigorously shake it to and fro. Cooky Cat says — we are shocked by his cattiness — "It should sound like your kitty pawing in the litter box". Excuse the offensive and off putting imagery in a food article. But, that’s Cooky Cat for you. 

We say, it should sound like a good pair of nicely worn size 11 ½ bespoke English Peale & Co. cap toe oxfords sliding around on a 4’ X 4’ ¼” plywood panel loosely affixed to a wooden pallet with fine, safe sandbox sand covering the panel at exactly 1/8” depth (5 lbs. should do it). Simple. Cooky Cat is OK with the sandbox sand alternative. (We do keep him away from our test panel, however. Just in case. You know.)