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Archive for March, 2010

tipple and cookies

A friend who has very discerning tastes in matters of, well, taste, gave me this combination as a gift, suggesting that they’re best consumed together. I couldn’t wait, of course, and tore into the cookie package and had one (numnumnum..what Bing marshmallow experiment?). You don’t have to sell me on salt or brown butter; I make the latter just to have on hand, in case I get inspired. The cookie was scrumptious, but almost the tiniest tad bit too salty (and I like salt! Despite what all those nutritionists have told me during interviews over the years…).

A couple of days later, I did right by her recommendation.

grown-up snack time

And…balance achieved! The sweet, thick port offset the buttery cookies; I could feel the liquid dissolving the salt crystals, a perfect flavor amalgam of richness and bite. I felt like I had made something by having the combination, too, like how Seinfeld used to say about dumping milk into cereal. How’s that for accomplishment.

I’ve been told by pro food people that chocolate and wine don’t go together—both are acidic and mute each other’s flavors—but this is the cocoa-and-wine combo you can get away with and enjoy.

Do it!

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purple yam bread (purple, lower right corner)

Because I’m holed up most of the time in a kitchen creating foods under someone’s direction and eating meals made by someone else, I rarely have the time to eat meals that I have full control of. When I do, I spend a lot of time—almost too much, one may say—weighing whether I should eat something I’ve eaten before or seek new tastes, and whether this new or old edible means I should buy or cook. Yesterday after a trip to Sripraphai in Queens to scratch an itch for Thai (old, seeking memory), we walked to Phil-Am market (new to us), a store selling goods from the Phillippines, and found this bread above, called ube ensaymada. I immediately reached for it, because it’s familiar; my mother, a nurse, often brought these home, given to her by her Filipino colleagues. I remembered its sweet, cheesy fluffy-ness, when as a teenager I would eat the loaves without knowing or caring what was in them. It was, simply, good.

Different story now! I took care to note, that the label says it’s a brioche, which I didn’t know 14 years ago. It also has ube, purple yam, which is probably good for you if it’s not doused with artificial coloring (other ensaymadas had coloring, which we eschewed). The cheese is actually monterey jack; I don’t know why exactly monterey jack, except that it’s probably one of the milder cheeses that won’t upset the sweet to cheesy balance, and the topper you see that the brioche is slathered with is probably margarine, not the butter—both are listed, but the former probably performs better with a higher melting point, if any. The whole equation, as my other noted, tastes “like a Danish,” sans the shape of a jam or cheese-filled nest or bear claw.

Still, re-jiggered memories, however picked over and made not as fun, are delicious, as are new tastes, like purple yam, that you might file away for your next, precious, short days off.

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