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Sunday, February 24, 2013

Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

OK, as the name of this post suggests, this is the single best iteration of "chocolate chip cookie" I've ever made.

Possibly because the wife and I made it a collaborative effort, or possibly because we put the effort in and researched a whole bunch of recipes, but this was hands-down-awesome-clown.

I'm actually not going to list the recipe here.  Because I'm evil.

Muah hah hah ahh hah ha

No, seriously if you're interested I can send it your way, just give me your email address... but really this was just to boast at how awesome these cookies were.

So I took some lovely photos for all to see and be jealous.

I will say a few things about this recipe.

First, we browned the butter.  Browning butter is a great way to get a tremendous amount of butter "flavour" without necessarily needing to use a large quantity of butter.  Just don't burn the butter.  :)

Also, parchment paper is a must-have.  I don't make any baked goods without parchment liner, but cookies most definitely should be on parchment.

We used an actual Hershey's milk chocolate bar instead of semi-sweet bakers chocolate or chocolate chips.  And it was delightful.

Anyway, swim in jealousy.  Swim in until your hands get all pruney. 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Bodum Ceylon Iced Tea Pitcher

I like pitchers.

Maybe because I like beverages.

Who knows.

Anyway, looking around (at furniture, actually, of all things) I found this pitcher for sale at CB2, and immediately coveted it.

It was only after I looked at it in the store that I even realized it was a Bodum product.  Which is cool.

Anyway, allow me to stun and amaze you with all of its many-splendoured features.


OK, obviously the first, and main feature is the cool filter insert.

The intention (and product images) is to brew your own tea in it, without worrying about getting the leaves in your tea.  Obvious, but still super awesome, and worth the price of the pitcher alone.

Other cool features, however, and only discovered upon later reflection, are the gripped lid wheel (super fun and easy to open and close the lid), and the addition of a second filter on the pour spout.  This filter makes it awesome to keep ice in, while pouring liquid out is not impeded in the slightest.  It also makes for a secondary trap in case anything made it out of the first filter.

Add to all this the fact that the whole thing is dishwasher safe, and you've got a pretty darned cool, if somewhat uninspired-looking, pitcher.

I use it for lemon water right now, and always have a batch going in the fridge, but come summertime I imagine many an iced tea to be brewed, and possibly even a few sangrias to be mixed!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Braised Spare Ribs

For some reason this February is nasty.

It's been the coldest, wettest, snowiest February I've seen since living here.

Not that that's a big deal, but it does affect my motivation for making this dish; I find the cold bleary winters often make me hanker for more stews, soups, and slow-cooker meals.

I'm sure I'm not alone in this.

Anyway, a few days ago I picked up a super cheap rack of spare ribs, and before the weekend I chopped em up and whipped up a wicked marinade for them.

I normally don't believe in marinades.  I suppose I shouldn't say that... I find that it does depend on the cut of meat though.  And ribs are generally considered on the tougher side. 

That, coupled with the fact that I'm not a big believer in the 'boiled' rib method of getting the meat to fall off the bone in which so many people seem to believe, means that a marinade was actually not too bad an option for this.

So, those were marinated in a mixture of water, apple cider vinegar, dijon, worcestershire, and a bunch of spices not the least of which was bay leaves.  Mmmmmm bay leaves...

Anyway, that actually marinaded in the fridge for a couple of days, and on Sunday I pulled em out and decided to braise them in the slow cooker.

So, first - as with all slow-cooked meats - comes the searing.

I saved some of the marinade aside, but dumped most of it, and then carefully - leaving LOTS of room between them - grilled each rib in a pan on high heat.

They're still quite uncooked, but look at that delicious crispy flavour they've developed on the outside.

Anyway, after those are cooked (in batches) I dump them just unceremoniously in the slow cooker.  After searing all the ribs, you can see that they've left behind quite a bit of gribblies in the pan.  We'll have to deglaze.  What a shame.  :)

So, take that little bit of marinade you saved, and use it to deglaze the pan - making certain to scrape all the gribblies up off the bottom and sides.

Then, transfer that to the slow cooker with the ribs, and toss in a generous amount of barbeque sauce.  Or make your own concoction.  Something sweet is generally tradition though.

At this point just pop on the lid and let it simmer all day.  The longer the better really.

When it came closer to supper time, I cooked up some brown rice and some green beans to accompany these bad boys.  You can't just eat ribs after all.  Unfortunately.


Add a little bit of bouillon to your rice to get some good flavour infused.  And, as always, when cooking brown rice make sure to give it extra water, and an extra 30 mins cooking time.

Well, that's it.

Pretty simple stuff... but just look at it!  Do it!!! LOOK AT IT!!!!