Much thanks to Jenny who sent me the most exciting package I’ve ever received in my life! :) Pooh on the US Post Office who can never seem to do anything right. The package was sent out via 7 day shipping, but it never arrived until 3 weeks later as the post office had mistakenly sent it to another office. But I’m just glad it is here and (most) of the food is edible.
The highlight of the package was a book that I’ve had a sinful craving for (yes, you can crave a cookbook): Mario Batali’s Molto Italiano! Not only did Jenny send the book, she sent a hardcover edition. And not only was it hardcover, it was autographed by Mario Batali himself! Oh man! Oh man. This just about made me the happiest person in the world. And to think I lived right next to Babbo’s last year and never ate there (but I did have the olive oil gelato at Otto’s which is insanely good). I hugged the book for 10 minutes and then spent the next 4 hours reading though it. Sigh. I love reading cookbooks. I went to sleep with wonderful dreams of Osso Buco with Toasted Pine Nut Gremolata and Fried Lamb Sweetbreads. Ahhhh, can’t wait to cook all winter break!The book would have been more than extravagant gift itself, but Jenny went all out and sent my favorite brownies from all of the city, Fat Witch Brownies. Clockwise from bottom left is the Blonde Witch (choco chip cookie brownie), Java Witch (coffee brownie), Fat Witch (the original) and the Baby Walnut Witch (original w/walnuts). And on the right is a pack of their “Witch Brew”, a hot chocolate mix that produces a very creamy dark and decadent drink. As you can see I attacked the Baby Walnut first. I love these brownies because they are dense and fudgy. Some complain that they are too sweet, which is hard to argue but this is a good kine sweet! It’s a intense chocolatey sweet, similar to a flourless chocolate cake – you know it will cause cavities but its so good and just begs to be eaten. And so what can you do but eat it? hehe. After I took this picture, the Java Witch was consumed. I need to learn how to share desserts or I’ll die of a heart attack pretty soon. Next door to Fat Witch in the Chelsea Market is Eleni’s, a sweet shop specializing in all sorts of fanciful cookies. Included in the package was a tin of Eleni’s oatmeal raisin cookies. These cookies rock. They’re wonderful light and crispy, with just the right balance of raisins and the nutty flavor of oats. The shop also makes pretty good cupcakes ( they’re 1/2 off an hour before the shop closes). My favorite cupcake is the “George”, a brownie like cupcake with marshmallows and cookie crumbs mixed into the batter.
If the Post Office had done their job correctly, I would also been feasting on Apple Cider Doughnuts and Pumpkin Ginger Bread from Breezy Hill Orchard at the Greenmarket. But they didn’t. And so I don’t want to think about it because food gone bad makes me mad. The doughnuts and bread were all moldy but smelled so good. I actually tried to take a bite (talk about desperate). Bad idea. Don’t eat moldy baked goods!
Also from the Greenmarket were cubes of Maple Sugar, both plain and with pecans. These were great on their own, they seem to disappear in your mouth, leaving behind a faintly sweet taste of maple with a nutty undertone. They also made a delightful addition to my cup of tea in the morning. On the bottom is a package of dried figs from the grocery store in the Chelsea Market. I think I’ll incorporate them into my next rice dish, inspired by Robyn (that was some pretty awesome curry and rice dish you made!), with some spices and hazelnuts.
And that. That was all good. All so good. No, good doesn’t do it justice – I’m exhausted and happy in the best sense of the word. I felt like I just took a walk to all my haunts in the city and indulged in all my favorite sweet treats. Thank you Jenny! (We do a lot of co-cooking over the phone with Batali’s book over break)!
Freelance contribution by: Lucy Wyndham All tea leaves will eventually lose flavor, but properly stored dried tea leaves can keep their flavor for up to two years, depending on how fermented and intact the leaves are. Black tea leaves, for example, are more fermented than green or white teas, and will stay … Continue reading
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If you follow what gets said about prices each year, you would end up with the impression that the average price of tea has gone up. But more specifically the price at the most sought after regions (say Lao Banzhang, Bingdao) have gone completely through the roof. A lot of this narrative is anecdotal. Tales of rich Chinese buying up all the top-end product from X area. Part of it can also be seen when someone in the Sinosphere posts the maocha prices per location. These lists come with all sorts of contextual caveats, but the trend seems real. I don’t see any red flags to really doubt this storyline, but I was curious if it’d show up by looking at some of the data of prices on production by western facing vendors.