Sunday, May 9, 2010

Quick as a Wink

It occurs to me today that this site is headed straight into a no-cooking zone.  I think we all know why.  It starts with a T and ends with an exas, and friends, soon it is going to be very, very hot in the place where I live.

It’s funny how, whenever I told people I was moving to the Lone Star State, I would get at least one of two reactions.  The first: “Wow, it’s really hot down there!”  The second: “Hey, I hear Austin is great.”  After a while, these reactions started to drive me a little bonkers.  To the first, I wanted to say, “Duh!  That’s why I’m moving there!”  To the second, I wanted to say, “Well, I’m not moving to Austin.  Know anything about College Station?”

To be fair, I’m almost positive that I would have said the same things in response to someone’s declaration of intent to move to Texas.  I mean, what do we Northerners know about Texas?  It’s practically a foreign country to us.  There’s even a movement afoot to make Texas a foreign country.  Maybe I should get my passport now before I become an expatriate?

But those things aside, I like it down here.  In many ways, Texas and I are a natural match.  I was raised to be feisty and independent, and those qualities are the spirit of Texas.  I love the wildflowers and the birds, the big open sky, and Blue Bell ice cream.  Politically, I’m probably best described as a cross between liberal and libertarian, and our lab manager is working hard to win me over to the libertarian side.  To me, Christopher has been a one-man Texas welcome committee, and I count my lucky stars that we ended up in the same lab.  He’s a gem.

As for that prediction that it is going to be brutally and inhumanely hot this summer, well, yes.  I believe that.  Which is why I am stealthfully loading up this blog with recipes to get me through the summer.  I am not prepared for a Texas summer—not by a long shot.  In Chicago, the summers are wonderful—warm and breezy, with sunshine and farmers’ markets and a giddy sense of freedom from long pants and sweaters.  Because the summers are so short in the North, we really know how to party when the temperatures go up.  I brought that sense of brevity with me when I moved, which probably explains why I feel compelled to be outside all the time right now.  It hasn’t quite sunk in that summer is the default weather down here, just like winter is the default weather of the North.

These days, I am finding that the weather isn’t too oppressively hot for cooking.  Last night I made a big batch of black bean chili, and a few nights before that I made a wonderful frittata, both of which I plan to tell you about soon.  But I feel a certain sense of urgency to tell you about my no-cook recipes, probably because I want to squirrel them away for later.  Also, I find recipes that take about five minutes to put together kinda charming.  Maybe it’s an effect of opposites attracting: I love to plan, but five-minute recipes don’t require much planning, just some on-hand ingredients.  So I make a plan to have those ingredients on hand, or for a quick trip to the grocery store, and hey, we’re in business!

Ready for Coffee

Today’s recipe makes me happy just thinking about it: Greek Iced Coffee.  While I cannot vouch for the authenticity of the name, I can tell you that this mixture of instant espresso, sugar, water, and milk is much tastier than the sum of its parts.  I’m not sure I expected much of it—it’s instant coffee—but it was good and it comes together quick as a wink.  Sweet and refreshing, the flavor is surprisingly rich, almost like a mocha.  It’s fun to make too: you shake the first three ingredients together in a jar to make a frothy, sweet coffee.  Then you add milk and you’re done!  You can sit back and enjoy a reward for your five minutes of work, or, like me, you can tuck it into your lunch sack and save it for a 4 PM pick-up.  Either way, it’s delightful.


And that cookie above?  No baking involved.  In fact, it came straight out of the freezer on Saturday.  Easiest recipe ever.  Except that I’m going to tinker with it because I can never leave things alone.  I’m not sure how you put up with me, but I’m glad you do.  Life, Love, and Food turns three this month, and I wish I could invite you all over for coffee and cookies.  Wouldn’t that be fun?  Something tells me that the distance between us might get in the way of a coffee klatch, so I’m going to stop talking now and just give you a recipe.  But I promise there will be cookies in the future.

Greek Iced Coffee

Adapted from EatingWell

Serves 1

1 tsp. instant espresso (I like Medaglia D’oro brand)

1 tsp. granulated sugar, preferably infused with vanilla bean (i.e., granulated sugar with a vanilla bean tucked inside the bag)

1/4 cup cold water

1/3 cup cold milk

1)  Place the espresso, sugar, and water in a small jar with a tight-fitting lid.  Screw on the lid, shake like mad for 15-30 seconds, until everything is frothy and well-blended.

2)  Add the milk.  Pour into a glass and drink immediately, or cover the jar with its lid and tuck in the fridge to save for later.


Life Artist ~ said...

sounds delicious!

thank you for sharing!

and chocolate lover .. check my mars coffee recipe =)
you'll love it!

Rosiecat said...

Hello, Life Artist! Thanks for stopping by. As for that Mars coffee recipe, well, it's hard to beat coffee and chocolate together in the same mug--delightful!

Hillary said...

I'm going to have the Music Man song in my head all day now, " ... starts with a T and that rhymes with P and that stands for pool!" :-) I just wrote about my new favorite no-cook recipe, check it out if you have a minute:

Rosiecat said...

Ha! Hillary, your comment reminded me of a sign that my neighbors had posted on the stairway that led to their pool:

"Welcome to our ool. Please notice there's no p in it. Try to keep yours out of it."

(Or something similar to that.) As a child, I thought it was hilarious: they have a sign about pee posted at their pool! Hee hee!

And about that recipe: that is a seriously green drink you're sipping. I'll take a glass of it if you have any leftovers! :-)

Laurie said...

Texas is precisely a foreign country to me!

Sign on my childhood neighbours' pool, "Please don't pee in our pool. We don't swim in your toilet."

Odd how those things stay in my memory, particularly when I couldn't remember where my sunglasses were this morning!

Rosiecat said...

Laurie, indeed! You have my permission to call Texas a foreign country :-) I do want to point out, though, that before I moved here, Texas felt like more of a foreign country to me than Canada. Canada was like a next-door neighbor--a really friendly one!

And I love the pool sign memory. It's so true! I try not to think about anyone peeing in the pool, but if I do, I just think about the dilution factor and that makes me feel better. Then I go home and take a shower after swimming.

tasteofbeirut said...

sounds good? question: why is it called Greek?

Rosiecat said...

tasteofbeirut, I don't know! That was EatingWell's name for it, and I kept their name as a way of honoring the recipe's origin. That, I suppose, is one way in which traditions are born.