Wednesday, May 19, 2010

This and That

I love you guys for wanting an iced coffee recipe. It's, like, coffee? With, like, ice in it? No. I'm kidding. Because the truth is: I happen to have an excellent method. It involves my trusty Melita Coffee Cone--one of those plastic things a filter sits in, and then you stick it on top of a mug and pour boiling water into it. (Although now I just hurt my own feelings by looking it up on amazon and seeing that it comes in porcelain! Oh! Mine is cruddy old brown plastic. Sigh.) I put a lot of dark ground coffee in it and brew the coffee right into my to-go glass: strong and short, that's how I do it. An inch or so of nearly espresso-strength coffee. Then I fill the glass with ice cubes and then with milk. If I'm needing something sweet, then I add a dash of vanilla and a small spoon of agave syrup or sugar. Voila!

But I forgot to say that there's another to-go cup option you can use in a pinch, and it's this:

Can you see that? It's a mason jar, but instead of the metal lid insert, you screw a piece of wax paper under the ring, poke a hole in it, and insert a straw. Voila! It's not as leak-proof as the one below, but it has the added advantage (if you use a skinny jar) of fitting in a cup holder.

Okay, moving on from summer drinks. Wait--not yet. Okay, now. I have some recipes over at that I'd love for you to check out. One is meat on a stick, more graciously known as satay, that has actually inaugurated a crazy eating-everything-on-a-stick phase at our house (we actually did make that Greek salad on a stick, and it was awesome). And then there are homemade corn tortillas, which are a delight in every way. I'm going to post a related recipe soon for classic Mexican rice, but I keep trying to make it work with brown rice, because I've just completely lost any remaining shred of interest in white rice. So I've been trying to adapt my excellent white-rice Mexican-style pilaf, but with poor results--the brown rice seems so disinclined to cook. Thoughts? I'd appreciate any ideas you have on this front. {edited to add: the actual cooking of brown rice is not the problem--I do that in a rice cooker, which I love. It's the pilaf-style cooking of it with broth and tomato sauce that's not working so well: the rice persists in its rawness for an almost uncannily long time.}

And, finally, another book give-away! My friend Jennifer has just published her first book, and it's this:

and it's here and it's beautiful. It's a memoir about raising her two hearing-impaired daughters, who happen to be two of my favorite kids and also very good friends of Ben and Birdy, and it's moving and real and redemptive in all the best ways. She has given me a copy to give away here, so I'm going to do just that. Leave me a little comment if you would like the book. Don't worry if there are also comments about Mexican brown-rice pilaf or to-go cups. I will figure it all out.

xo Catherine

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

A Gift to You, for the Summer

Ready? It's this.

I have been making all my summer to-go drinks this way for years, and it just occurred to me to share it, because reusable to-go options can be so cheerless and/or toxic. Not this one, right? It's a large Luminarc glass with a lid, like these (if you don't want so many, look around: it looks like you can buy individual glasses, but the lids you have to get in packages of 6 I think) and a glass straw, like this. (Wow, there are now tons of glass straws online, I see. These were the cheapest I could find in a quick search, though there are some truly lovely ones. Also stainless steel straws. We've broken only two of our four glass straws in six years, which seems pretty good, considering that we have tile floors.) It's all machine-washable. No. That's not right. Dishwasher-safe. And eco-friendly and exciting to drink out of. The only problem is that they're too big to fit in a cup holder--but hey, if having too much iced coffee is a problem, I must love problems. Oh, wait, I almost forget: use an x-acto knife to make a small x in the middle of the lid to poke the straw through. It still manages to be amazingly leak-proof and durable: I've been using mine this way for years, and I can still use the lid for other things (needless to say, these glasses and lids are also a favorite way to store leftovers).

Meanwhile, incredible smoky, garlicky shrimp are here.

Have a wonderful week, and please do stay tuned: I'm going to be doing a massive board-games round-up soon! The fun is more or less nonstop.