The Best Shortbread in the World

happy groundhogs! the good news is, there are already little green tips coming out of my garden! its a bit early and they might not make it yet, but i admire their enthusiasm. i have also planned my garden already, and this year i want to do my best to utilize marigolds as snail repellent.

the bad news is i've developed a nasty cough. working with kids brings on the germs, and i've already been sick twice in the past month whereas before i'd gone a year and a half without so much as a sniffle. well i guess i got sick once in korea, but i thought maybe that was the swine flu? still not sure, but dang i was down and out for a while. ANYWAYS, this cough. it was keeping me up at night and distracting people in stores, where i would stand hacking with one hand at my mouth and the other thrust into the pocket of my old hobo pea coat, feeling like a bum from the 70's. no one gave me any money.

BUT the good news is my cough has been cured in a day by a miracle herb tea, the recipe which i will include here. it is better for spasmodic coughs than phleghmy ones (sorry, i know this is a food blog, but this is helpful stuff!), it calmed my tickly throat right down and allowed me to catch my breath for the first time in days.

oh also, there will be a brief change made to the format of this blog. i will now be doing a FOCUS food of the week, rather than posting everything i've made. i still may post pictures of it all, but i was getting some carpal tunnel from all of that recipe typing. the rule still holds that if i post pictures of something without a recipe, but you desperately want the recipe, just leave me a comment and i'll get the recipe to you.

please to enjoy!

tapioca pudding for breakfast mm! used a little less sugar and sprinkled with ground almonds for a healthier start on the day.

pound cake. february just feels like a milky, buttery month to me. and nothing is butterier than pound cake.

i added almonds to this too, and leftover caramel sauce. mm!

homemade french fries - they are SO GOOD! healthy-ish too, because they are broiled and then baked with olive oil.

a brioche for my daily bread! delicious -- eggy and buttery.

unfortunately it didn't quite get finished this week. the good news is stale brioche = perfect bread pudding. more on this next week!

mmm i made this shortbread this week. i did it to provide a crust for my 'deconstructed lemon meringue pies' (bowls of last week's leftover lemon curd mixed up with sugar, topped with a meringue cookie and a slice of shortbread), but the shortbread was easily the best part. i MIGHT have finished what was left in one night...while staying up watching 30 rock on hulu...til 2 am...

latkes! too lazy to grind the apples into sauce. they were great as is. they are sprinkled with dried sage from my garden. mmm!

latke closeup! *pose*

finally, anouchka's chocolate cake from Joanne Harris' "My French Kitchen." she wrote chocolat, a book that will make anyone's mouth water, and then kindly put out a cookbook on how to make the food described in the book. she is one of my favorite authors.

it was really good. the inside is kind of like a dry-ish brownie (at least mine was dry, maybe it isn't supposed to be that way. but i thought it was good!). the dry-ish brownie provides an excellent contrast with the thick and really luscious chocolate icing on top. topped with chocolate sprinkles. will recommend to anyone.

well, friends? so what do i write? i think im going to go with the shortbread. it really uh, took the cake.

The Best Shortbread in the World
by Jamie Oliver in "Cook with Jamie: My Guide to Making You a Better Cook"

1 c plus 2 T unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
1/2 c plus 1 T superfine sugar
2 scant cups all-purpose flour, sifted, plus extra for dusting
2/3 c semolina or 1 scant cup cornstarch

Preheat the oven to 300. Butter a 9 inch square pan. Cream butter and sugar together with a whisk or wooden spoon until pale, light, and fluffy. Add the flour and semolina or cornstarch. Mix very lightly with a wooden spoon and then with your hands until you have a smooth dough. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and roll it out until its an even 1 inch thick all over. Press the rolled out dough into your pan, poking it into the corners with your fingers. Prick the dough all over with a fork and bake in the oven until slightly golden - about 50 minutes (took me slightly less time). While its still warm, sprinkle with a generous dusting of sugar. Allow the shortbread to cool slightly, then cut into chunky fingers.

OH YES! and the recipe for anti-coughing tea! it's amazing, and really tastes pretty good.

1 qt boiling water
1 pouch shipibo treasure tea (sold by rainforest's really great if you want to buy some, but if not you can make without)
1 T whole fenugreek seed
1 T grated fresh ginger
1 T dried peppermint leaves (like from a tea bag if you dont have any around)
Fresh lemon juice
1/4 t Cayenne pepper

Pour boiling water over ingredients except lemon and pepper, let steep for 15 minutes. Strain and pour into mug. Give lemon half one good squeeze into mug (save the rest of the lemon for later cups), and add cayenne. Drink hot. To reheat, do not microwave, heat up again on stove. enjoy not coughing.


Vee said...

I'm mostly in it for the commentary, and the sexy pictures! Although you'll have to tell me how you did those fries again, broil you say? My interest is peaked! or is it peeked?, like around the corner or something? Any way love that you do this blog, and it is inspiring!
Also, Hurley from lost is baking bread now too, so your more and more like a celebrity every day! ^__^!

Sondra said...

Anna, I really heart your food blog. And I'm so happy we got to hang out for a little while this weekend! You are so much fun and I want to hang out with you more often. Let's plan a bake/cook day together, kay?

jeannesioux said...

You are simply amazing, Anna.

a. maren said...

aw you GUYS! thanks for being all supportive this week :) it was kinda crappy! but i do love this blog, and i do love getting comments from all of you.

Dede said...

Okay, all I can say is wow. Seriously, what should I make first?? I can't decide, it all looks WAY TOO good! And I'm not just referring to this post either, my friend, oh no. I just might eat it all this week and gain a few pounds. Oh, and I totally want the recipe for the fries...they look WAY better than mine!