Thursday, January 31, 2013
Have you seen The Paperman yet? It's a Disney short film that's been making the rounds since it was nominated for an Oscar. It's the story of two people who meet on a train platform in 1940s New York, then part ways. In the absence of missed connections, he has to come up with another way to find her again. It's really sweet, and kind of reminded me of this story.
ps - I didn't mean to make this week all lovey-dovey stories, it just happened!
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
We're a few weeks from Valentine's Day, but this sweet love story is too good to wait until then. The New York Times ran the wedding announcement of Ada Bryant and Robert Haire this weekend, who are 97 and 86 respectively. They met in a retirement home, going on lunch dates until Robert slipped a sonnet under Ada's door vowing his "friendship and affection." Their whole story is worth reading, but my favorite part is Ada's demure refusal of Robert's first proposal because she's a bit older than him and doesn't "have very many years ahead" of her. Robert's response? "That's all the more reason."
Photo by Robert L. Bryant
Friday, January 25, 2013
Sometimes, you just need a cookie. Just one, maybe two, but definitely warm and fresh from the oven. Or sometimes, the heat in your apartment is broken and you need a legitimate reason to turn on the oven and stand in front of it, and the peanut butter chocolate chip cookie dough in the freezer is as good a reason as any. No? Just me?
Having ready-to-go cookie dough in the freezer at all times is one of my favorite hostess tricks. It's sort of like magic, to have homemade cookies ready in the time it takes to preheat the oven. It's also a great housewarming present, to bake a dozen or so cookies and take the rest frozen so your friends can have more whenever they want. So, how to do it? Easy peasy.
When you make up a batch of cookie dough, set aside a little bit (half the dough, or as few as three or four cookies) for freezing. Scoop out the dough according to the recipe. Meaning, if the dough is dropped onto the cookie sheet in blobs, do that. If it's rolled into balls and rolled in sugar, do that. In the case of my peanut butter cookies, they're dropped by rounded teaspoon then flattened a bit before baking. Set your formed cookie dough onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment or wax paper (or a small plate, if you aren't freezing that many) making sure they're not touching each other. Freeze for at least three hours and up to 24.
Then, take your frozen cookie dough and transfer it to a freezer bag labeled with the type of cookie dough and cooking instructions. Sometimes, if a cookie is better a little undercooked, or when it's browned on top, I'll write myself a note on the bag so I don't forget.
That's it! The frozen dough can go directly from freezer to cookie sheet the next time you have an unexpected guest, or just need to stand in front of a warm oven. Here's the recipe for the peanut butter chocolate chip cookies in this post, they're dreamy.
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup peanut butter (at room temperature)
3/4 cup sugar (plus more for dusting)
1/2 brown sugar, tightly packed
1 large egg
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the butter and peanut butter until smooth and fluffy (about three minutes). Add the sugars and mix until incorporated. Add the egg, milk and vanilla and beat thoroughly. Add the flour mixture and stir just until combined. Add the chocolate chips and carefully fold them into the batter.
Fill a small bowl with 2-3 tablespoons of sugar (I used raw sugar, but plain white sugar is fine). Drop rounded teaspoons of dough into the sugar, then transfer to an ungreased baking sheet. Press the dough down slightly with a fork or offset spatula.
Bake for 10-12 minutes, being careful not to over bake them. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for a minute or two, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Thursday, January 24, 2013
Because their horses wear cardigans. It's part of Scotland's tourism campaign to encourage people to come see all the natural beauty of Scotland, and it is totally working on me. I am, after all, a cardigan addict.
Where would you go, if you started planning a trip tomorrow?
Monday, January 21, 2013
Thursday, January 17, 2013
Is it any wonder that such a beautiful place makes beautiful things? The above photo is the Beekman Mansion in winter, home to Beekman 1802 and The Fabulous Beekman Boys - two city guys who moved to a historic home in the country to have a go at goat farming. I started watching season 1 of the show on Netflix last week when I was trying to get over a cold, and found myself rooting for Josh & Brent to succeed. Happily, the first season of the show was filmed years ago and they have certainly succeeded in the meantime. Their store sells handmade goat cheese, goat's milk soap, and even these gorgeous hand-forged fruit spoons.
Beautiful, right? In addition to making and curating lovely things in their Mercantile, Josh & Brent recently won the Amazing Race! Go Beekman Boys :)
All images via beekman1802.com
Posted by Liz at 1:52 PM
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
I've written about the hot toddy before, but seeing as it's January and we could all use a little warming up at this time of year, I thought it was high time to revisit it. A traditional hot toddy is what you might think of an old world grandmother making for you when you're sick: whiskey, hot water, honey and lemon. I was fighting a cold last week and something about that magic combination calmed my scratchy throat when nothing else would. And there's plenty of other tasty, non-medicinal ways to brew up something warm and boozy. Here's four warming, tasty-sounding recipes!
This Kentucky Hot Toddy is a spin on the classic, incorporating meyer lemon and blood orange juice in place of the classic lemon juice.
Essentially spiked cider, this Bourbon Apple Cider sounds equally perfect for chilly fall evenings or freezing winter afternoons.
I posted this Earl Grey Tea Toddy back in the early days of this blog, with some slightly suspect mason jar bourbon that my dad keeps tucked away in a cupboard. Use your favorite tea flavor, mason jar bourbon not required :)
I love the idea of this Almond Hot Toddy, it's made with almond milk, rum, and almond extract. Don't you want to try it?
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Monday, January 7, 2013
This is the time of year to be making lists. Resolutions, things we'll change in the coming year, places we'll travel, etc. But towards the end of last year I came across a list of a different sort that I've been thinking about ever since.
It's this now-poignant list written by Nora Ephron of things she'd miss, from her book of essays I Remember Nothing, written about two years before her death. I don't mean to be morbid here, but I liked the idea of thinking about what you'd miss about life as a way to remember what you love in your life. And isn't that what resolutions push us towards? The good ones, anyway.
She first writes out a list of things she won't miss, like email, bad dinners, and taking off her makeup. What will she miss? Reading in bed, a walk in the park, butter, Paris... you can read the full list here, but the last two are my favorite:
Coming over the bridge to Manhattan
Photo by Stewart Mader