2/23/12

IMPORTANT NOTICE!!!


If you have been inspired by the recipe entry for the Brown Study . . . For the love of God, read this!

Following the original instructions for layering the elements on that thin crisp cracker base will end up looking like something from Mrs. Havisham's Wedding. That is, if you finish your creation with a dusting of cinnamon and date sugar. It's just too drab and, frankly, dusty looking. Needs some sparkle, sizzle, and shine. Otherwise, your finnicky eaters may not notice.

As always, Cooky Cat puts things right:

DO THIS INSTEAD: Add the drizzle of honey next to last after you have "dusted". Then sprinkle with the bee pollen (careful with that bee pollen, some can be sensitive). It'll now put that needed twinkle that good cooks always look for.

Click here to go to the corrected recipe.

2/21/12

The Brown Study




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The Brown Study


A Kids Kanapé

A Tea Time After School Tasty Treat


Here is a perfect after school snack. Or, for tea time. Or, anytime you want something sweet and nutritious.  The Brown Study. The name sells it by itself, don't you think? No? Well, regardless, here it is. But it has to be the things listed, nothing left out. Or, it's NOT a Brown Study.

This dainty tasty canapé is made with a base of very thin Original Wasa or Kavli Crispbreads. Very important to use this particular variety; the eating experience from this fragile crisp cracker is a big part of the enjoyment of the Brown Study.

Also, since the crackers are very fragile, place them on a perfectly flat surface when spreading the items below.


Layer each with the following, starting with:

+Peanut Butter
+Apple Butter or Fig Preserves or Prune Butter (in Polish stores called Powidła ["Po-weed-wah"]).
+Sliced Bananas (peeled and sliced, or glazed with brown sugar syrup)
+Sprinkle of Date Sugar (crumbled freeze dried dates)
+Light Dusting of Cinnamon
+Drizzle of Honey
+An even lighter sprinkling of Bee Pollen (IMPORTANT: If you or those you are serving are new to bee pollen, taste test a grain or two. Some people are sensitive to this power food.)

A big glass of cold milk or a cup of tasty coffee. Serve chocolate milk and you have the "Valedictory Brown Study". Hot chocolate, and we don't even know what to call that. "Summa Cum Brown Study?"

And, as usual, the quality of the elements will show in the result. And, if in fact you're going to give this to the kid (we know you'll love it too), don't go putting a price on love. Buy the best. Besides "You Know Who" is watching. 

And, we're so sure this will please; so . . . you're welcome.

PS The top photo currently shows the Mrs Havisham's Wedding version of the Brown Study; with the dustings last. It's too drab for us so we put the honey drizzle next to last. (Photo to be revised upon our next go with the Brown Study.)


2/17/12

Yes, he is finnicky. Independent? Of course; he is a cat first, after all. Cooky Cat does have his own strongly held opinions. Yet, he is fair. If you come under his gaze, consider yourself one of the annointed. He isn't adverse to splashing some cold water when justified, however.

Introducing . . . Criticat

Herewith, the gloves come off, the claws are bared, the fur will fly. He gonna give you a piece of his mind. In his own words: "We need a good measure of plain old common sense up intshere. A good firm grasp of the obvious. And, maybe, a little more than just a scratching of the surface." He's not one to cry over spilt milk.

So, now, who's gonna be first?

Comments invited. Any and all culinary topics are fair game.

2/10/12




Filé Gumbo

Gumbo Filé is a thickening agent in creole cooking. You should keep some in your stash of staples. It's similar to how okra thickens stews; but the ground leaves of the sassafras tree adds an extra dimension of earthiness.



Here's Hank Williams and Jumbalaya . . .



Some Louisiana Hot Saucy . . .


The definitive recipe from New Orleans Cajun Justin Wilson . . .

 



Taste

 


We recently shelled out plenty for some farm fresh free range eggs. The farmers market sales person stressed the eggs tasted great, you could tell the difference. (Click here for their website.) Well, fact is, yes you could tell the difference. But was the upcharge over what you can get on sale at the supermarket worth it?

As they say, de gustibus non disputandum est. So, to each his own. But, for us, the price factor is . . . a factor. Which got Cooky Cat to thinking.

When you examine the question of taste more closely, you start to see lots of details in the mix. Think of your first taste of wine. If you liked it, you probably said, "tastes good". Now that you are a wine aficionado (hopefully not one of those obsessive effete wine sophisticate a-holes) when you have a good wine you notice the dryness/sweetness, fruitiness (what kind,), etcetera. (Cooky cat is still at the, "Umm, I likes that!" level.)

But isn't there more to taste? Something ineffable?

Yes. There is something in the taste of things that feeds the soul. You know what it is like. It's intensely personal, but when you eat something that tastes really pleasing to you, it lifts your spirits, doesn't it?. Let's be clear, we're not talking here about having to have stunt cooking vertical architectural marvel at some 4-star joint by a celebrity chef with ingredients from here there and everywhere. It can be the simplest thing; like a well made plain omelet using superior eggs. It tastes right, true to what an egg should taste like. It pleases, directly and wordlessly.

All edibles have a taste signature, that instantly recognizable taste that you know makes it true to its type. But, not all tomatoes are created equal. Nor just about any other foodstuff and drink. (Licorice is a favorite around here and we have searched the globe for the best. Hint: We can hook you up in Amsterdam. Click to read about a visit there.)

Part of taste which in the modern supermarket distribution system is often lost is the aliveness of a food. Like those free range chicken eggs, they were fresh right from the farm. Or, garden fresh vegetables and fruits. If you haven't gardened yourself, the next best thing is the farmers market. (We once in Arizona went to an orchard to pick peaches at the height of the season. Incredible. The fruit dropped into your hand at the least nudge. As we picked we sampled. Juicy, sweet, with sunshine set right in every bite. So ripe and tender that you had to collect the peaches in flats; in bags they would turn to mush. In two visits we bought nearly 100 pounds. Yes, can you believe it? We did share with friends, but there was a lot of snacking, pie baking, and canning also.)

Produce from your own garden is the very best. Especially so, picked right out of the ground and eaten right there in the field. That's taste. No amount of words will convey that quality of taste.
Spring is coming. Dig yourself up a garden in the back yard, or join a community garden group. It'll feed your soul, in many ways.

Here is a celebration of taste. . .

Today's Question? #6





sqrt(cos(x))*cos(300x)+sqrt(abs(x))-0.7)*(4-x*x)^0.01, sqrt(6-x^2), -sqrt(6-x^2) from -4.5 to 4.5

2/9/12








Introducing...

 LizarRockaMoonBeam®™©





NEW!

And, Only from the Cutting Edge R&D Laboratories of EmCoTech




EmCoTech already has a fortune 500 reputation as a pioneer at the cutting edge. Now, to the moon. Literally. (Newt Gingrich, take notice. EmCoTech is there first.)

By now you surely are aware of the “por favor” party favor of the rich and famous, the Bucket of Mud Kit®™©. Or, the cutting edge culinary kitchen tool, the Vulcomagic Kitchen Appliance®™©. (Click here to bone up on Bucket of Mud Kit®™© and Vulcomagic KitchenAppliance®™©, those amazing premier innovations from EmCoTech)

You may not be as familiar with iToast®™©, the 21st Century appliance that lets you put the image on the toast, instead of you waiting around like a schmuck wondering if the Jesus will show up on your breakfast table. On the toast, that is. Here is the skinny on iToast®™©.

So, EmCoTech, what have you done for us lately?

First a little background so that the avalanche of media scrutiny will have all the facts to work with. EmCoTech is the brainchild of someone who, in fact, is a child herself. The lovely Emma. Just, Emma; sort of like Madonna, Beyonce, Sting, or Prince. The mission she set for the company is emblazoned on the corporate logo, “The Best of Old & New”. Fulfilling that mission, Emma and her associates have a wide embrace. To wit, the LizarRockaMoonBeam®™©

Introducing the first venture of EmCoTech outside the culinary realm. When you understand the basic technology behind LizarRockaMoonBeam®™© it’ll be obvious how this new venture is truly a seamless extension of what has gone before. Think lizards and rockets. And, the moon as a vast underutilized promotional resource.

LizarRockaMoonBeam®™© technology will let anyone, for a price, plaster their message on the moon. Simple as that. Well, it’s not that simple, but the heavy lifting has been done by EmCoTech. Whether you are an advertiser of products and services or just young Larry Smith who wants to surprise his intended with a special proposal of marriage, it’ll sure to get noticed up there right on the moon. If you are thinking this might be offensive to some, like Emma herself says, “Well, silly, just don’t look!” The issues of full exposure owing to waxings and wanings have also been thought through. At times when the moon is not full, LizarRockaMoonBeam®™© will illuminate the entire orb to give the same effect. No worries.

Please contact the Customer Service Department for more information. Please, no looky-loo’s. This thing ain’t cheap; so if you have to ask, it probably isn’t for you. But, consider this: you know how pricey and scarce advertising time is during the Super Bowl television coverage? LizarRockaMoonBeam®™© gives several multiple factors more of impact and reach. You tell us what that’s worth. The cost per thousand is pennies.

Here is Emma in the early days. The photo was taken when she ran into the house with her inspiration for the Bucket of Mud.



And here, in her official corporate portrait.





Emma is a red carpet star. Here she is vogueing for the paparazzi. Notice the rocket ship, a hint early on prefiguring things to come.


Here are just a few treatments. All graphics customized to your own requirements.













2/8/12







Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

With the news that Hostess Brands has filed for bankruptcy protection and the Hostess Twinkie may become but a fond memory, our friend David Wronski sent this:

When I was an Ad Biggie the maker of Wonder Bread and Hostess Cakes was a client. Part of the assignment for advertising established brands was an ongoing project to develop new products. You should know that generally when a marketer has a #1 brand such as Twinkies there is reluctance to introduce a new variety of that proven format. The risk is a new version will only fragment the market share of the original; net, net, you lose money because your sales remain constant but earnings are reduced due to the additional the marketing costs for the line extension. That’s the general rule of thumb, anyway. It’s not an immutable rule of marketing, and there is such a thing as test marketing to test such ventures on a small, lower risk scale. Even so, when you have a brand such as Twinkies which is such a sales powerhouse in your company, there is a mythic aura of immutability to its status, often so much so that the idea of a line extension is virtually out of the question.  

The exception that I know of is the brand Chocodiles. It is simply a chocolate covered Twinkie. Butand this is importantit was not marketed as a chocolate covered Twinkie. It was a whole new brand identity in itself. I was not there as part of the discussion that led to Chocodiles, but it would probably be a good story by itself.


There also had been some limited time offers with flavored creams such as banana, strawberry, and chocolate. And, much later after the brand ownership changed from ITT Continental Baking. But nothing like what I had in mind. (If they only listened.)

Just after this was posted a former colleague added . . . "my  experience: being sent . . .to Tokyo to introduce a healthy Twinkie, filled with raisins.  I have no idea if [it was] a success."

I come into this because the recent Twinkie news reminds me of my own two new product suggestions. One was during the time of the Jimmy Carter presidency. How about a peanut butter cream filled Twinkie coated in chocolate? Let’s call them “Jimmies”. Maybe with a big toothy cartoon smile plastered on the packaging. Or, how about a jelly filled Twinkie? Call them “Twinkles”. I personally liked the idea of a fruity, juicy filling; but the name Twinkles probably was a little too close to home for comfort. Don’t mess with big #1 Twinkies.


But all that was back in the day. Nowadays, it seems the line extensions are introduced right on the heels of the original product debut, well ahead of the original having time to establish a market hold. That is an arguable point, but I do have a rather solid example in mind; one that I will talk about at a later time. 


So now we have Twinkies going bankrupt. I don’t know if Jimmies or Twinkles would have made a decisive difference. But, hey, they would have tasted good.

2/4/12

Today's Question? #5

What's the Story?


What's the Story?



Well, the young lady on the right has just tossed back a skol with Linie Aquavit and is showing her enjoyment. The other girls are getting ready to see what the excitement is all about.

Go here to read the full article on that most exotic Linie Aquavit. At the end any perceived impropriety will be redeemed when we take you to church.
Linie Aquavit   

We were introduced to Aquavit at the venerable Stockholm Restaurant in New York City. It was famous for its world class smörgåsbord, both hot and cold tables stacked high to overhead with everything you could imagine.


And, waiters always at the ready to refill your pony glass from bottles of syrupy, ice cold Aquavit encased in one inch thick ice collars. And, as is the custom, to chase each skol down with a gulp of Carlsberg Elephant Lager.


Ever since, we have had a fondness for a nip of Aquavit. As an apéritif with some savory nibbles or in an Aquavit Bloddy Mary or Martini. And, when it comes to Aquavit, we recommend Linie Aquavit. Here’s what Saveur Magazine has to say, December 24, 2011 from its Top 100 Issue:

Linie is the smoothest, richest aquavit we've ever sipped. Distilled from potatoes, with a robust caraway flavor, it's aged, per Norwegian law, in oak. But the Oslo-based makers of Linie take it even farther—literally—by sending their casks off in the holds of ships, on a 19-week voyage that crosses the equator twice. Along the way, the spirit sloshes around with the movement of the waves, and the barrels—formerly used to store sherry—swell and contract in extremes of heat and humidity, imparting the character of the wood and polishing the flavor, so that the gold-hued liquor tastes rounder and nuttier. While many aquavits overwhelm in cocktails, Linie mixes beautifully, providing a layer of deep, warm, woodsy spice. 

If you purchase a bottle of Linie Aquavit you can go on their website and get a map of the exact route and on what ship your bottling travelled in its around the world voyage. Below is ours.


Here is the Linie Aquavit TV advertisement that tells the whole story . . .


BONUS SPECIAL: Since we’re on a Viking quest, perhaps you might want to know about the monthly luncheon at the Norwegian Seaman’s Church on East 52nd Street in New York City. Once a month (except some of the mid-year months) they host a buffet of homemade Norwegian specialty foods in the beautiful church building dining hall. The hosts are warm and hospitable, if somewhat reserved. The food is delicious, with both hot and cold tables; and of course, too many choices. Dress nicely; this is a conservative and respectful place. Wonderful people go there. Last time we went they were also hosting a show by a native Norwegian artist.






















2/3/12

Bottoms Up
On a charmed day in New York City I bought a book from an unassuming man set up at a little stand on a street corner on the Upper West Side.

It turns out that Bottoms Up by Ted Saucier is a classic cocktail recipe book. The copy I bought for $10 is a 1951 first edition in excellent condition, with the dust jacket, and signed by the author.

There are twelve plates with exotic-erotic illustrations each by a different artist. There is a cocktail recipe named for each of the sexy images. Also, most pages feature small brush drawings of cocktail accoutrements and more sexy ladies in delicious poses.









2/2/12

Today's Question? #4


What's It Called?


\M/I\S/O\ /C\U/T\


What Is Miso Cut?

We would be remiss to not mention the miso style cut. Me so like it! It is more commonly called the roll or rolled cut.

At first, we could not find anything on an Internet search under "miso cut" [we just don't remember where we picked up that term]. Our friend Phyllis Kirigin at Sweetpaprika (Cooky Cat Approved Culinary Website, by the way) put us back on track. She knows it as the "rolled cut" as a student of Madame Grace Zia Chu, THE authority on Chinese cuisine. With "rolled cut", the Internet opened its treasure. Props to Phyllis.

How To You Do?

(Ming Tsai also shows us how in the video below.)

Using a carrot for example: Place a peeled, prepped carrot on a cutting board in line with the counter edge. Begin at one end and cut a bite sized piece at a 45 degree diagonal to the axis of the carrot. Next, roll the carrot toward you (or, away, same thing) 1/4 turn and take another bite sized cut as before. Continue to do this until you don't see any carrot as such (silly!), only pieces. That's miso pieces. It "pleases" us. Great in stir fried dishes and soups. Maybe even adjust the size a bit bigger for the crudités at your next posh soirée on the penthouse patio overlooking ... (you can add your particular local loveliness).

The miso cut is easiest with long slender produce like carrots, daikon, or zucchini squash. In Oriental style cooking it is favored because it increases the surface area for faster cooking. In any event, it just looks good too.

Oh, and don't throw away those broccoli stems. Peel thoroughly and use in just about anything savory, raw or cooked. Miso cut? Well, yes. However, once you get the idea for the miso cut, you can go on and do the same for any other appropriate solid flesh vegetable. Mainly, it's in taking the 45 degree angle cut. Also, if you have a more comfortable layout for cutting, go ahead. Just to keep to the required angle and 1/4 turn. The miso cut mantra: cut 45, quarter turn, cut 45 . . .

Aside tip: Try cutting scallion at a sharp angle. Really gives eye appeal. It turns Cooky Cat's head every time. Ultra-thin for garnish, medium to add in at the end of a stir fry, large for cooking in with the main dish.

Here it is from Simply Ming . . .

(Mr. Ming mistakenly says turn "180 degrees"; for sure it's 45 degrees.)

2/1/12

"Hair" of the Dog

It is not too often that our friend David Wronski sees something that knocks his socks. But here is on that took his breath away.

Admittedly, not the most exotic dish, but certainly surprising.


An internet search, however, reveals that there is nothing new under the sun.

Today's Question?

#3

What is going on here?


They're Enjoying Ortalon Bunting, but of course.