Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Hot days

We've had many visitors recently with more to come. One of our groups included a lovely couple whom we have known from Hong Kong. The male counterpart is currently studying in Cambridge and is a bit of a dessert aficionado ... obsessed with sweets is another good word to describe him. They were very easy going and since they had been to Paris before, they were in no rush to see all the sights. In their words, they were here to "hang out and eat". My kind of people.

Unfortunately, the lady got sick on the last day and so we decided to stay home to keep her company. Since we had already exhausted the eye toy game the previous evening, we thought we'd do some baking. On the hottest day of the year so far. In my not-quite-sealed gas oven.

The cry from the American gentlemen was for "Nestlé Toll House cookies" (said in a mock French accent, bien sur!). A search was made and ingredients purchased. No almond or vanilla extract or nuts were used and for the chocolate chips, 2 bars of 70% chocolate was chopped up. We omitted the baking soda, using self-rising flour, as it was the only flour I had on hand. While I measured, he beat, mixed and then rolled the dough into perfect balls. I laughed at his obsessive rolling into perfect spheres but I didn't laugh when they came out of the oven exactly 10 minutes later. Perfectly round, pale on top but golden on the bottom, they were the best damn cookies "I" had ever baked, combining a good soft chewiness. I was surprised, given my usual ineptitude at baking. I made them take the majority of the cookies with them as they left. After being left to sit for a day or so, I was disappointed to find that they did not have a good "chew" but was instead, a touch too soft and crumbly.

Determined not to be outdone and due to bananas going black, I made banana bars using this recipe but leaving out the cocoa and putting in a small bag of chocolate chips I had instead. I again omitted the rising agents and used the remainder of the self-rising flour. I had to bake in my 9x9 pan and it took closer to 50 minutes but the results were ... average. They were moist and just sweet enough without being too sweet but the crumb was not light and fluffy, more dense and sticky.

As the oven was on anyways, I also made Greek Ribs for the boy for dinner, using a dry rub recipe of my Dad's. They turned out delicious, if just a touch salty.

Dad's Greek Rib Rub

- 1 part sugar
- 1 part salt
- 1 part white pepper
- 1 part garlic salt (I just minced 3-4 cloves of garlic)
- 1 part msg (my Dad's miracle powder)
- 3 parts oregano

Rub pork ribs generously with the mixture and leave to marinate for a minimum of 1 hour. Can also be used on pork butt or shoulder. Best served with lemon wedges for squeezing over the meat.

There was no time for a picture, by the time I got back from the kitchen, the boy tore into them and they were a right mess!

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