Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Rosemary, Revisited

It’s hot. So hot, but while it might be as hot as the devil outside, these cookies are cool. Like, cool. Interesting. Kind of British in my mind, for some reason. I want to serve them with lavender Darjeeling tea and talk about Wimbledon and herb gardens while overlooking a hedge of roses.

I love the idea of surprising combos in food… like herbs in cookies (brilliant!) My friend Maria from work gave me a baggie full of fresh rosemary from her garden last week, and I’ve tried to get as creative as possible with the bunch. It makes me want to kick myself for all the rosemary bushes that I haven’t taken full advantage of in my life (in AZ they’re used as landscaping… so common! So accessible! So…far away from DC.)

From The Vagabond Table

So. Rosemary Shortbread Cookies. A) of all, I’ve been wanting to make shortbread cookies for a while now; B) of all, I had this fresh bunch of rosemary just itching to be used creatively, and C) It was Sunday, and there is absolutely no better day to bake cookies. So, I combined all of these factors and figured that A + B + C actually equals Rosemary Shortbread Cookies! (NOT, how you might figure, ABC, which is all those letters added together, technically. I’ll show you how I did this fine math some other time.)

From The Vagabond Table

These cookies are pretty darn easy and kind of fun when you get to break them apart. They’re crumbly. They’re buttery. They’re not too sugary, and have a nice under-hint of rosemary that makes them slightly floral rather than overpowering. I got good reviews from people, even friends who don’t even like cookies! This is progress, people.

Herbs in cookies? What’s next? Chocolate on enchiladas? Oh wait. I think that’s called mole, and is totally on my to-make list this summer. Yay for crazy-good food combos, and for cookies that make you pretend to be British for an afternoon. Cheerio, old chaps.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Party Time, Excellent

I am prone to a deep love for popcorn, especially the buttery movie-theater kind, but I was never one for caramel corn. Too-sweet, predictable…bleh. Give me salt over sugar any day, and I will reward you with a smile and kindly ask you for a glass of water, because I am most likely dehydrated.

When I was a kid I’d sneak past my G-ma during the “nap time” portion of the afternoon, and while she was resting I’d be hauling myself onto the kitchen counter, reaching for that grail of the home kitchen, the Morton salt container,and I would pour myself a little mound of salt in my left palm eating it a bit at a time. Basically, I was like a human deer and that Morton container was my own personal salt-lick. Weird, gross, I know. But like I’ve mentioned before: I’m a salty type of gal, and sickly-sweet caramel corn just didn’t cut it.

From The Vagabond Table

So. Fast forward to a few weeks ago, and the epic LOST finale that I still can’t decide if I loved or felt cheated about, and I needed a party munchie for my faithful Losties. At some point in the last few months, the idea of a good, homemade caramel corn had been planted deep in my brain, and nothing but actually making it would get it out. I found this recipe through Orangette, and it sounded perfect. Brown-sugar caramel? With homemade popcorn in my new stovetop popcorn maker my aunt shipped over last week? With a healthy sprinkling of salted/roasted peanuts? Yes please!

From The Vagabond Table

I might not have been one for caramel corn in the past, but I am now. Homemade caramel corn is sweet in a rich and buttery way, and perfectly balanced out with the peanuts and an extra sprinkling of salt. It is crispy and crunchy and perfect for a party (or a LOST series finale), and makes for most-excellent munchies at any time, really.

From The Vagabond Table

Better watch out though. This caramel corn goes fast so you better have back-up snacks available. And multiple glasses of water for kids like me who love the salty and the sweet.