Hot Polka Dot
25Jan/12

Tea Time.


Recently I tried to take up tea drinking. Ever since the great teatastophe of '97 I made the informed decision to henceforth swear off tea in all its guises. Iced tea. Green tea ice cream. Long Island iced tea. Matcha cake. It was just awful. I sipped a bit of my mom's green tea and made a funny face. I was traumatized.

Despite my tainted past with tea, over the years I have acquired a handsome collection of tea related things. Tea towels, tea cups, saucers, tea spoons, cream and sugar sets, cute napkins. It got me thinking, maybe I like tea after all.

I was going to give tea another chance. Maybe we could get reacquainted and become fast friends. I'm sure we just got off on the wrong foot. Perhaps it was high time for some high tea.

I had it in my head I was going to throw tea parties with all my civilized tiny hat wearing buddies. We were going to sit in my dining room all prim and proper with our ankles delicately crossed. We were going to sip fancy earl grey and chamomile out of dainty pink cups with our pinkies out. We were going to gossip and giggle and nibble on petit fours.

I mean what better place to show off my Royal Wedding worthy feather fascinator right?

Alas it was not meant to be. Tea and I just don't get along. I made the face again. It wasn't pretty.

There is one part of tea time I think we can all agree is the very best part. The treats. The tiny individual cakes, the gooey squares, the cute cookies, the powdery truffles, the glazed tarts. Because if you take away the tea isn't a tea party just a swanky buffet?

And none of that roast beef and shrimp crap. The good stuff. The end of the buffet we all save ourselves for. Let's all just admit it. You might have stuffed yourself with more than your money's worth, but you just can't refuse that spread of sugary bliss on top of everything. Even if it means that you don't feel physically capable of eating another bite for at least another week.

Here's my contribution to tea time. The best part. The star. The crowd pleaser. The treat. Cardamom Clementine Cookies. They're light and airy with the floral scent of cardamom and the subtle brightness of citrus. I'm guessing they'd go well with a steaming cup of chai tea, but I'm certainly no expert. You'll have to let me know!

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5Nov/11

These Aren’t The Droids You’re Looking For.

Mind over matter. Power of suggestion. The force.

Whatever you want to call it, that's what I've been wrestling with for the past week. Everyone around me is aching and couching and sneezing. The odds are kind of stacked against me here. I'd have to be some sort of guru of meditation with a fistful of mental placebos to resist all that.

I'm not. I'm not made of midi-chlorians. I'm made of squishy flesh and achy bones.

However. If I were a Jedi I wouldn't bother with curbing the common cold or not looking silly when I sneeze. I'd have way more fun. I would wave my hand casually yet deliberately and tell you how much you need this Maple Pecan Streusel Pumpkin Bread. Struck by a sudden delicious idea, you would calmly rise from your seat, gather the ingredients and make yourself one awesome snack. You'd slice off piece by piece savouring the full flavour of pumpkin, the punch of spices and the sweet, buttery crunch of the streusel topping until it was all gone. At which point you would feel the need to bake yourself another and another and another... Do or do not. There is no try.

Hey... Maybe I am a Jedi!

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21Oct/11

Cloudy With A Chance of Delicious.

You ever had one of those days?

Maybe you put your underwear on inside out. Maybe you just couldn't wait for the dryer to be done and you had to rush out of the house wearing a half damp sweater. Maybe it rained all day and the humidity made your hair interminably frizzy. Maybe you stepped in a puddle and ruined your new suede shoes. Maybe you thought your favourite show was on at 9 but really it was on at 8 and you missed it. Then maybe at the end of it all, when you just want to curl up in bed and sleep away the bad, you realize you left the sheets in the washer.

There there. Tomorrow will be different.

Maybe tomorrow you'll make these deliciously easy, fantastically tasty Sugar and Spice Toasted Pumpkin Seeds. Maybe the world will suddenly be a different place. Maybe the house will smell like pie. Maybe the rain will clear and your shoes will dry. Maybe you'll catch a repeat of that episode you missed. Maybe you'll have something to idly munch on between your clean sheets and your favourite book. Life is good again.

I say maybe because I'm not going to presume to tell you what you should or shouldn't do. It's your life. It's up to you of course. If you want frizzy hair, damp clothes and puddle shoes then far be it from me to tell you otherwise. On the other hand, if you like rainbows, pie smells and snacks in bed, then yes, yes you should make these. And quickly. Before it's too late!

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11Oct/11

How To Tuesday: Spice Of My Life.

Every Thanksgiving since I can remember I would try a tiny taste of Pumpkin Pie and every year it would be the same reaction. Yuck! I wanted to love it. I really did. I wanted to be one of those people that look forward to Thanksgiving all year long. I love the turkey. I love the cranberry sauce. I definitely love the stuffing. But when it came to dessert I had to say thanks, but no thanks.

I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but not liking Pumpkin Pie is just one of those things people don't excuse. It's as though I just sprouted a pair of wiggling green antennae. It's like turning down chocolate, lobster and corn on the cob all at once. It's just not done.

This year was different. This year we enjoyed Thanksgiving with Lee's aunt and uncle in Calgary and, as usual I had to say no to the Pumpkin Pie. No jaws dropped. No spit takes. No questions asked. I had the Cherry Cheesecake instead and it was delicious! We had a wonderful weekend and came home with some turkey leftovers and half a Pumpkin Pie.

That night I took the pie out of the fridge, sat it on the counter and stared at it. I admired the glistening orange filling. I inhaled the intoxicating scent of the intermingled spices. I tentatively poked a little at it then promptly licked my fork. To my surprise and delight my reaction was the opposite of yuck.

It finally happened! I finally like Pumpkin Pie! So for the next little while expect to see a lot of pumpkin-related recipes here. This sort of realization deserves some celebration!

To start off the festivities I've brought you a spicy little DIY. Instead of buying those premade Pumpkin Pie Spice mixes make your own. It's fast, easy and includes spices you already have on hand. The best part is that, when paired with an antique teaspoon and ribbon, it makes a super cute gift for your favourite baker!

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18Nov/10

The Spirit.


As the first snowflakes of the season flutter to the frozen ground I find my thoughts drifting to childhood memories of this time of year. Crackling fires, snowman sentinels, cozy socks and silver sprinkles. Momentary snow blindness after an exciting snowball fight. Mismatched pairs of shoes piled in the front hall. The soft glow of peeling glass light bulbs hidden in a snowbank outside the window. The smell of damp mittens slowly drying over an intermittent floor register. All the while A Charlie Brown Christmas soundtrack lilting in the background.

Over the coming weeks I'll be showing you a few of my favourite recipes to get you in the holiday spirit. Catch-yourself-humming-Jingle-Bells-eat-too-much-fruit-cake-dance-in-your-reindeer-jammies kind of spirit.

Starting with this one. Speculaas Cookies. Think of them as gingerbread cookies with a kick. A seven spice kick. These thin little cookies pack a wallop.

I don't want to be cocky, but I think that my gingerbread cookies could kick your gingerbread cookies butt. Any day of the week. Just saying.

You're probably still thinking, what the heck are Speculaas Cookies? Scooch closer. I'll tell you.

Closer...

They're these crispy buttery Dutch spice cookies and crazy tasty. You'll love them. Did I mention they were tasty? You might recognize them better if they lacked almonds are were shaped like intricate windmills instead. That's the traditional shape, but apparently it's super difficult to get your hands on century old hand carved cookie forms. Who knew? My Mom has diligently perfected this recipe in a effort to duplicate the taste and texture she remembers from her childhood trips to Holland in between care packages from family.

So this holiday season when you're hauling out your clattering collection of cookie cutters consider making these beauties instead. Sure they're not shaped like trees or snowmen or stars, but they are encrusted with toasted almonds. And remember boys and girls, things encrusted with toasted almonds are your friend.

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By: ifood.tv


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