I know you think I have a new Grand-baby – but it’s really my new Grand-dog – Tilly!
Tilly was a dog Jason & Lindsay rescued from a Boxer shelter, and she’s a sweetie!
White tea is perhaps the rarest of teas due to the limited “picking time” available to pluck these beauty leaves while they’re still young.
This tea is harvested before the leaves have fully opened and are typically covered in fine white “hairs”.
Thus the name white. Some white teas are picked from the very end two buds of the tea bush branch and are obviously then, more hard to come by and usually more pricey. It is the least- processed of teas and therefore very high in antioxidants. Because of its pale silvery color, this teas “liquor” is a pale amber in color as well.
New tea fairers may love white tea, due to its mild, sweet taste and smoothness and its less “grassy’ taste compared to green tea. It is arguably the healthiest tea to drink as it is simply withered and steamed and doesn’t undergo much oxidation.
White teas are primarily produced in China, specifically the Fujian province.
Popular names are Silver Needle (the kingdaddy of white tea) which is only picked in a two day growth period and only uses the unopened buds, White Peony which is similar to Silver Needle but incorporates two leaves into the equation. and Tribute Eyebrow, the third in succession to the white teas in popularity. By far, these aren’t the only white teas around. White teas also hail from India (Darjeeling) and Sri Lanka (Ceylon).
I recently purchased a Earl Grey White from Teavana in my area.
Mine was a little greener than what you’d expect to see in a White, but it could be due to the flavor enhancement of the Bergamot used to make it Earl Grey.
This tea was very mild in comparison to it’s strong Bergamot scent and so far, I’ve enjoyed it.
Steeping: One thing to note when drinking white tea. It needs to be steeped at a lower temperature than Black teas and the water should not be boiled, but should be used at 180º for best flavor. Use 1.5 teaspoons per 8 oz. cup of water and steep for 3 minutes.
Now I’m off to go enjoy my lovely cup of Earl Grey White. Happy Tea Tasting and…
Happy Friday Everyone!
Dating back to my childhood, I have always loved French Onion Soup. The intense flavor of the broth, the sweet, carmalized, thinly- sliced onions that melt in your mouth. The broth-soaked baguette slice, that oozes with warm, buttery cheese just makes me smile in satisfaction.
The reward of this soup doesn’t come easily. Melt-in-your-mouth carmelized onions come with patience and 45 minutes of slow cooking over the stove with frequent stirring.
But the reward is sooooo fantastic. It’s so worth it.
Start by slicing up 2 pounds of yellow onions very thinly.
Take an onion and lop off the ends. Turn it onto one of the now-flat ends and cut it in half right down the middle. Peel off the skin, and place the flat ends you just sliced face-down and begin to slice thinly across them.
Plow through all of the onions so you have a nice pile.
Get out your large pot or dutch oven on medium heat on your stovetop. Add in two tablespoons of butter and two tablespoons of olive oil.
Swirl them together until the butter melts. Please ignore my scratched pan, I know it goes against some culinary rule and I promise I’m getting a new one soon.
This is how we roll in the real world at Dishin and Dishes.
Dump in all of your sliced onions and go ahead and throw 4 sprigs of fresh thyme right in with them. You don’t need to remove them from the stems at this point, we’ll just pull the stems out later after the leaves fall off.
Also add in one teaspoon of salt and one-half teaspoon of cracked black pepper. The salt will help pull the moisture out of the onions.
Now, you’re going to saute these babies for 45 minutes. They’re going to begin to melt and carmelize until they’re oh-so-tender. You can’t just forget about them though. You have to give them some TLC and stir them every few minutes.
This is after the first fifteen minutes.
Keep stirring and loving on these babies. This is after thirty minutes.
You can begin to see browning beginning to take place in small places.
Keep stirring and loving. After 40 minutes, I pressed in 3 garlic cloves. You could just mince them up real fine with a knife though and toss em in.
Stir this up and let it saute for five more minutes. Now is the time to pull out your thyme stems. You can easily slide your fingers down the stem and remove any leaves still attached.
Then toss in two tablespoons of flour. I had to restrain myself at this point not to just take a spoon and eat these onions as-is!
Give this a good stir and let the flour taste cook out about one minute.
Then add in one cup of dry white wine.
Stir this in well and let it cook for about 5 minutes and let the wine reduce to intensify the flavor.
Then pour in four cups of beef broth. I used one thirty-two ounce box. Also add in one and one-half cups of water and one tablespoon of Kitchen Bouquet Browning Sauce.
The browning sauce is one of my favorite secret ingredients to kick up brown sauces and soups. It has an amazing flavor punch.
Now you want to let this liquid reduce again for about 20 minutes on a low simmer. While that’s reducing, slice up a french baguette. You’ll need one slice for each bowl of soup. Make them about one-half inch thick. I made these a little too thick for my liking and will make them thinner next time.
Aren’t you glad you get to go through trial and error with me?
Place them on a lined baking sheet and put them into the oven for about 7-8 minutes per side, flipping them once.
Your bread needs to be toasty brown so that it will really absorb the broth from the soup. After you remove your bread, turn the oven up to broil. We’ll need that in a bit.
Speaking of soup, your broth should be reduced now. Take a ladle and evenly ladle out your soup among six crocks or oven-safe bowl.
Oh my. Look at the richness all that loving produced.
Top each bowl with a slice of bread.
Now, I really want to encourage you to try new cheeses. I am quickly becoming addicted to Gruyere after using it on my Cauliflower Gratin. However, if it’s difficult for you to find, you can use Swiss or even Provolone.
Slice up some Gruyere cheese so that it fits nicely across the top of the bowl. You can also grate it and sprinkle it over the top.
I don’t mind the cheese hanging over the bowls. I think it looks rustic and home-cooked and to me that is good news!
Pop these into the oven under the broiler for one to two minutes or until the cheese melts and gets all bubbly.
See that one strange bowl? That is for my picky son who only wanted broth with no onions. Someone other than his mom please tell him what he’s missing with carmelized onions? On second thought, never mind, there’ll be more for me.
You can let the cheese brown a bit if you want. I couldn’t wait.
And I wasn’t disappointed.
This was the perfect soup to make on one of our cold winter nights. It is comfort food on steroids. It’s worth the work and the wait.
Katie’s Printable Recipe – French Onion Soup
I may be the only person alive who doesn’t know this. I also didn’t know that you could bend in the ends of the tin foil boxes to hold it steady until someone sent me one of those forwarded email. I checked Snopes and it was for real.
So just in case anyone has been living in a Tupperware cave, like me…you’ll be excited for this tip…
See, ever since they came out with those super-inexpensive disposable containers? Well, I mean, what’s the point when either the lid disappears or the entire set disappears out of your cupboard and no one has an idea where they’ve gone? I’m just not going to pay $60 for plastic that vanishes without a trace.
Don’t ya hate it when you put something tomato-ey in a plastic storage container and it stains? Even if it is one of the cheapo ones.
Spray your Tupperware and freezer containers with baking spray before filling them with foods that stain, like spaghetti sauce. It keeps them stain free.
Please be aware of my giveaway still going on. You can read about how to enter here.
Recently I reread this book on tea that I got a few years ago – The Tea Companion by Jane Pettigrew.
I have become obsessed with good tea. I am a tea connoisseur in the making.
See, I used to be a pot-a-day coffee drinker. Seriously, if I didn’t have a half a pot by noon, I developed a migraine. I was that severally addicted to the stuff.
And then I had real tea.
I’m not talking the kind that is wrapped in gauze and hangs by a string on the side of your cup. I’m talking about loose leaf tea. The kind you put in a pot with a filter and steep at just the right temperature and then pour into your cup.
I thought it might be fun to document some of the new teas I’m trying. Thus the new section of my blog -Tea Tastings.
First let me introduce you to tea.
You might be interested to know that all tea – green, black, oolong, and white teas are all made from the same plant – the Camellia sinensis bush and the difference in taste, color or style comes about on how the tea is processed (by climate, soil, altitude, conditions, when and how it is plucked and processed, or the blending, packaging, transportation and storage of the tea.
Most people are familiar with the tea inside their teabag – in the past that would typically have been black tea – like Lipton tea bags. Black tea is actually the most processed, actually using four processing steps to make the tea. This includes, withering, rolling, fermenting and firing of the leaves. The firing results in a darker, blacker tea – thus black tea.
Other continents have been huge tea drinkers in the past. The tea phenomenon has just recently began to creep its way across the United States. Tea is currently the most drunk beverage besides water and the tea industry is growing by billions each year.
My friend Vicki at work brought in something she’d made for her grandkids. This is a super clever and cute. Vicki is a big fan of Where’s Waldo books and decided to try to create a craft that fell along the lines of how those books work.
So she made this…
Material sewed around a plastic window. Inside is the fake snow like you get at Christmas.
Inside are also little miniature objects – like animals, buttons, etc.
Attached at the top corner with a grommet and a chain is a list.
This list is laminated and is a list of the items hiding in the snow inside. The child can press and shake on the bag and try to find the hidden item.
She made Christmas versions of these also with Christmas material and objects…too cute!
Can you imagine how quiet and wonderful these would be for long car rides?
Vicki – WHERE were you 10 years ago when my kids were young and I was making a 20 hour drive to Michigan once or twice a year!
That’s what I want to know…
Before I delve into the wonder that is Crème Brûlée, (which means “burnt cream”) here’s a reminder that my Giveaway is still going on. Click here to get a free pair of handmade earrings at no cost to you!
Also, check out Cheryl’s new post over at Prairie Maid. She has some great words of wisdom about being smart with your money!
This weekend was our February Girl’s Night Out/In. We go out to a restaurant and then come back in for dessert and drinks to my house. We used to cook and stay in, but then we thought..
And we thought…
And we came to the conclusion…why in the world would we want to cook on our night off?
So we headed out to Cafe 501.
And then came back home for Crème Brûlée.
If you’ve never had this dessert, you are missing out. It’s a rich and silky custard, and is capped off with a carmelized sugar layer that has a nice crunch when your spoon splinters through it to get to the luscious custard beneath.
I whipped this up Saturday and it wasn’t half as intimidating as I thought it’d be. You can do it too!
Start by cracking 9 eggs through a separator into a bowl. If you don’t have an egg seperator, you can use a slotted spoon.
Dump them into a mixing bowl, and attach your whisk attachment!
Add three-fourths of a cup of sugar.
Beat on medium-high speed (about 3-5 minutes) until the mixture turns from a yellow to a pale yellow.
While that’s beating, pour one quart of heavy whipping cream into a saucepan.
Turn the heat on medium-high until it gently bubbles. You do not want it to boil or it will overflow your pan and cause a horrific mess.
Trust me, I know these things.
Once it barely bubbles, remove it from the heat.
Enter the vanilla bean. The lovely, precious vanilla bean.
This little sucker set me back eight bucks. I justified it because I thought there were two in the jar. Then I opened it this weekend and realized it was one folded in half. I absolutely am going to try this next time with some good vanilla extract because I think it would work just fine. Don’t stress over the vanilla bean my friends. There are those who say the alcohol content will cause problems, but I am going to try it and I’ll let you know.
Anyway, take a very sharp paring knife, and slice down the center of the bean.
Than take the pointy end of your knife and press down and scrape the vanilla beans out from the pod.
If you’re going the vanilla extract route, wait until your cream and eggs are combined to add in a teaspoon of it..
Now scrape the other side of the pod and then using your finger, scrap the beans into your warm cream.
Toss the pod in also to allow the flavor to infuse. Let your cream sit for at least 15 minutes, whisking every so often so the top doesn’t form a “skin”. Then remove your vanilla bean pods with a slotted spoon.
While your vanilla bean is infusing, bring a teakettle or pot of water to a boil. You’re going to need this in a bit.
Preheat your oven to 325º.
Now, you’re going to add your cream to your egg/sugar mixture, but you don’t want to add your hot cream all at once, or you’ll end up with scrambled eggs, and we’re going for dessert here, not breakfast!
So we’ll add it a little at a time, mixing as we go. This is called tempering. Start by adding about one-half a cup and turn your mixer on low.
Add one more cup with the mixer still on. Mix for 10 seconds and then at this point, you’re probably safe to go ahead and add the rest of it. If you’re using your vanilla extract, now is the time to add it and mix it in well.
Once, you’ve mixed in all of the cream, you’ll need to strain it through a sieve, just to weed out anything that may have clumped up in your cream.
I didn’t have anything major to worry about, but your finished product needs to be silky-smooth, so do it just for kicks.
I poured my mixture into eight (4 oz.) four-ounce ramekin dishes, but you could use a variety of dishes, including six (6 oz.) ramekins. If you’re looking to buy some for Crème Brûlée, these would be your best choice, no question:
Why? You’ll soon find out, after you’ve tasted this loveliness. You really relish the crunchy, carmelized sugar-topping, and these style of dishes give you more surface area and therefore, more sugary-crispiness. It’s kind of like wanting more crust for your pot pie.
Just a tip for you Crème Brûlée newbies.
So now, we want to pour our mixture into our ramekins. I highly advise placing your ramekins in a shallow baking dish first to save transferring them later while full of liquid.
I started with one on the counter and quickly switched gears. Pour your mixture evenly among your eight ramekins (Adjust if using 6 oz. ramekins). I filled mine three-fourths of the way full.
Once you get them all filled up, take your teakettle and pour the hot water around the ramekins, being careful to not splash any water inside of them.
You want the water to be at the same level the cream comes to inside the ramekins. This allows for even cooking and keeps your custard nice and moist.
Pop them into the oven for about 40 minutes.
When you check them, they should be slightly firm without too much jiggle in the middle, but a little is okay.
Remove them from the oven and using tongs, take them out of the water bath.
Place them on a tray and put them in the refrigerator for 4 hours to chill down.
Just before serving, take your Crème Brûlée out of the refrigerator. It’s time to torch them.
My new toy. I know now why men get all testosteroney over power tools. I picked this up this weekend with a gift card to William’s Sonoma I received for Christmas and it’s ohhhhh so fun!
Scorching blue flame at the touch of a button!
You don’t have to have a torch, but doggone it, it’s really fun! If you don’t have a fancy kitchen torch, use your husband’s blow torch out of the garage and turn it down low. OR, you can just stick them under the broiler for a minute.
Now there is wide discrepancy over what sugar is proper for the topping of Crème Brûlée. Opinions vary from super-fine to brown to turbinado. I chose turbinado and it was fabulous. Better known as Sugar in the Raw, we sprinkled a good size tablespoon over each of our ramekins.
Take your ramekin and tip and twirl it around so that the sugar evenly coats the top of the custard.
If you’re going to use your broiler, pop these onto a baking sheet and broil them, watching them very carefully, until the top browns and bubbles. Don’t let them burn.
But if you’re welding the torch, do this…
I found that adjusting the flame to about three-fourths of the way up worked best. Keep the torch 2 inches away from the top of your custard. You’ll get a feel for it with a little practice.
Take your torch and moving it in a circle, flame all the sugar as best as you can on top of your dish.
Keep moving it until you get the top nice and bubbly and liquified.
Make sure you get around the edges as well.
Cindy and Nancy really flamed theirs and they were dark brown on top.
Glenda was a little more reserved.
I opted for somewhere in between.
Oh my gosh, was this good!
Now, follow along with me…
You take your spoon. And you crack it through this layer of glass-like carmelized sugar until it shatters open, revealing the most silky vanilla custard your tastebuds have ever been subjected to.
You will lift it to your mouth in anticipation of the delicious wonder you’re about to experience.
You simply have to make this.
You just have to.
It’s an elegant but fun way to tantalize and make your guests love you. Shoot, I love me for making this…
On account of, I got the leftovers Sunday in a moment alone.
And the blow torch?
I’m thinking about taking up welding…
Katie’s Printable Recipe – Crème Brûlée
This is an exciting giveaway due to the fact that the first 50 entries will win! You pay nothing – no postage – just get a beautiful set of free earrings! My good friend Nancy over at DragonFly In Amber Designs is giving away a free pair of earrings to the first 50 people who enter. You may remember her from the pictures I posted of my boot jewelry Mr. Wonderful got me for Christmas. Nancy’s designs are gorgeous. To enter, first leave a comment on my blog telling me you’re entering and then do the following:
This picture is just an example. Earrings will be made from Bead For Lifebeads which help poverished Ugandan women support their families. Colors will vary.
So get going and get your free earrings! You’ll love Nancy’s designs as well! This giveaway will go on until 50 pair are reached! I will then post a “GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED” at the top of the Blog Post. Have fun!
I always loved the cartoons of Garfield and Odie.
All Garfield wanted to do was sleep.
Unless, of course, there was food. Or, unless there was…
Odie cracked me up. No brains, but full of fun, he never knew what was going on except that he was having a blast in life.
These two strangely remind me of two other animals in our lives.
Meet our Garfield – Abby.
She sleeps no less than 23 1/2 hours a day, has a minus 5 on the metabolism scale, and only awakens for two reasons. I’ll tell you those in a minute.
Put her outside, even though it’s 20 below? She doesn’t care….
She just curls up and goes back to sleep.
She’ll wake up for the smell of food – people food, or …
Meet our Odie, better known as Max.
He even has the tongue hanging out like Odie always does in the Garfield comics. And he loves to bug Abby…incessantly.
Abby really gets annoyed by him.
You can tell by her body language, she really doesn’t want Odie to bug her.
She even flat turns her back on him…again..him with the tongue hanging out!
She gets her wish. Pretty soon Odie bounds off for more important matters…
Like marking every tree within a 3-mile radius. Because he thinks he’s the alpha, even though he’s barely a foot long.
And Garfield’s free to do what she does best..
There’s a Pho place near my dwelling! This makes Mr. Wonderful and I soooo happy! A mere minutes away, we can now go and enjoy pho soup during this cold spell without straying too far. And if Pho is not your thing? There are plenty of other choices here as well. Read on…
PhoEver is located in the strip mall right next to Tuesday Morning Mall. When you walk in, the decor is simple and bright. It has been very clean both times we’ve been. The wait staff has been prompt and courteous and our overall experience has been pleasant.
Let’s start with the star of the show, after all, what do you go to a Pho place for ..what else? Pho. I ordered the P1 or Pho Tai (All pho is $5.95 for small, $6.95 for large) with thin slices of rare beef that cook gently upon dropping into the hot soup.
The pho at PhoEver is very good. I am so partial to Pho Lien Hoa’s broth, that the broth didn’t measure up, but I would say it’s still a good choice. It didn’t have the exotic broth depth of Pho Hoa, it tasted more beef -brothish and the star anise flavor wasn’t as strong as I like it, but overall, with this place being close to my home, I would definately make a stop here often to get a still-worthy bowl of this soup.
The garnish tray was a little smaller than normal. But it worked.
And really, so much of this probably goes to waste from those who don’t like to add a lot to their soup. You can ask for more, and they’ll bring it free of charge. No worries there.
I started out with tea, as I’m a tea freak. I was pleasantly surprised that they had Oolong tea and shock of all shocks -looseleaf!
The only disappointment is, I’m a texture person and I hate floaties in my drinks. Like, I’m talking serious gag factor.
I know – I have issues.
There was no means of straining the tea as the leaves came in my cup. When I asked the waitress if there was a strainer available, she said, “Just let it set for a while and the leaves will go to the bottom”. Needless to say, I still had tea leaves stuck between my teeth and that didn’t work.
The fresh spring rolls ($3.00) were large and good. The hoisin peanut dipping Sauce was yummy.
A nice feature about their fresh spring rolls? You have a choice of shrimp, pork, beef, chicken or vegetable and it’s nice to have a choice as opposed to the traditional shrimp rolls offered elsewhere.
The Crispy Vietnamese Spring Rolls ($3.50) were outstanding.
Not too greasy, and filled with chicken, carrots, bean thread noodles and onions. Again, the sauce, a flavorful, but light nuoc mam was excellent.
Lindsay, our daughter-in-law ordered one of the Vermicelli Bowls with Grilled Chicken ($6.95).
She really enjoyed this. It came with a small bowl of the nuoc mam sauce that you can pour over or use as a dipping sauce as well.
Jason ordered the egg drop soup ($1.50 small, $2.50 large) and he said it was excellent.
The waitress brought him a side of fried wonton crisps and some chopped green onions for garnish.
I mentioned early on, this is not exclusively a Pho restaurant. They have everything from curry to Mussels with Ginger and Scallions. With it being so close to our house, I have a lot of items to try…and soon.
They have a great lunch special that Mr. Wonderful ordered. He got Kung Pao chicken. I believe the lunch special was around $6.95
It came with his choice of rice, a crispy spring roll and a bowl of egg drop soup.
Besides the Vermicelli Bowl choices, the next thing I want to try are one of their Clay Pot Specials ($7.95-$8.95). Filled, with Pork, Fish, Seafood or Tofu, there is a choice for even the vegetarian. These come cooked in their “special sauce”.
That intrigues me for some reason. I must have one!
They also serve many other choices like fried rice dishes, and Cantonese noodle soup. There is also an entire page of Chinese dishes offered and a Vegetarian section of the menu as well.
The drink menu offers the popular Bubble Tea ($2.95), but be warned – tapioca is ordered separately at .30/scoop. Vietnamese Coffee and two kinds of looseleaf tea are offered as a treat as well, which makes a tea lover like myself happy.
Our experience has been positive at this place. Try out PhoEver sometime soon. If you live in NW Oklahoma City, you’ll be going often. It’s even worth a drive if you don’t!
6929 NW Expressway
Oklahoma City, OK 73132-3533
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Dear Mr. Wonderful,
I could buy you a card, but that’s so…someone else’s words.
And hey, it costs $6.00 nowadays to buy someone else’s words.
So I’ll just put some of my own words down for you to read.
Thank you for being my Valentine. Thank you for surprising me with roses and candy at work Friday. You always know the perfect way to make me feel special. I love that about you.
And you looked smokin’ in that suit you wore too!
And those chocolates blew my diet for 2 days. I love them!
Thank you for always opening the door for me and dropping me off at the door as well. In this day and age of lost-chivalry, I love that you do that.
Thank you for turning a flashlight on when I try to stumble thru the dark bedroom to the bathroom without my glasses on at night. That may sound funny, but you are always so thoughtful.
I want to be more like you in that regard.
Thank you that you always put everyone in our family before yourself. You are truly the vision of Christ loving the church. I know you’ll always take care of us.
I love your heart, your love for God, and your gentle nature. You are the greatest blessing God could ever give me in a husband. I am thankful for you each and every day.
Will you be my Valentine forever?
Sorry, but those are the only 2 choices you’re getting!
Mr. Wonderful and I rarely go out to eat on Valentine’s Day. We find it not romantic to go fight the crowds, the parking lots and eat with a bunch of other people around. This year he made reservations at Paseo Grill, however, and this place is really cool as each table is surrounded by it’s own curtain, private and romantic.
And the food is fabulous.
Here are some ideas for you if you’re staying home with your sweetie. Click on any picture to view the post and the printable recipe.
Make my Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Cider Vinaigrette.
And your man or lady will love you for making this.
Fettucini Alfredo with Cajun Shrimp.
Fettucini Alfredo with Cajun Shrimp. It is simply the thing to do.
Or for a meatier dish, try making my Chicken Saltimbocca. It’s to die for.
But if you make that, you’ll need something to alongside of it so serve my Smashed Potatoes.
And for dessert? There is no deliberating needed. Make this.
Whoever your love is, they will fall down and worship you for longer than just Valentine’s Day.
They will be your love-slave forever.
Try a romantic night at home with your Valentine this year. Set up a small table in the living room or your bedroom. Pull out as many candles as you can find. Put on some slow jazz music or the amazing Michael Buble.
And enjoy a night with your sweetie all alone.
It’s the right thing to do.
Happy Valentine’s Day all!
On May 18th my “baby” will graduate high school. I use the term “baby” because that’s what I still think sometimes, especially when I look at pictures like this. That’s him with the blonde ringlet curls with my parents, his big sisters and his cousin Alex when he was about 2. I never wanted to cut off those […]
Red Dirt Chronicles
Red Dirt Ramblings
Refunk My Junk
The Not Always Lazy W
The Steen Style
Beyond The Screen Door
Drink The Earth
Oklahoma Family Recipes
White on Rice Couple
Three Many Cooks
S imple Comfort Food
How Sweet It Is
She Wears Many Hats
Joy The Baker
Dragonfly In Amber Design