Somewhere, at some time, I’m fairly certain that I read or heard in a TV show or movie that tea was seen in all civilized society. Perhaps not those words, precisely, but something to that effect.
With every thank you card that arrives in the mail or is hand-delivered I think of this idea. I’d like to add thank you cards to the list of signs of civilized society. Not that my name appears here in curled calligraphy. (Any civilized list is written in calligraphy.) Thank you cards seemed a waste of money and paper and tediously redundant. You said thank you when the present was opened, when the guest arrived, when they left. Really, did it need to be written down in a formulaic note? As a result not a single thank you card has been stamped, sealed, and delivered by me.
In recent months, all these newly received picturesque rectangles of 67 pound cardstock have started hanging from the crow paper-clips-on-a-wire on the wall behind the couch. It might be the peripheral slides into fond remembrances or having a reason to check the mail or maybe my current fanaticism over specialty printing, design, and paper that has me longing to join the list. It’s not a list comprised of the elderly either — every card was written by someone my approximate age. (Take that anti-millennials!) I’d fit right in (or “write” in).
Oh, and I’d also like to bring back visiting cards. Instead of sending a single word text message or silently stalking facebook updates here’s a simple, beautifully designed card to let you know I visited.
Earl Grey Honey Ice Cream
adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz. Yes, yes, I really think I did enough to this recipe to call it my own! As always, my notes are a little confusing — lots of arrows, proceed with caution.
Steep, for 1 hour, 1/4 cup Earl Grey tea leaves, 1 1/2 cups warm milk, and 1/4 cup sugar. After steeping rewarm. Lightly beat 2 egg yolks and add to the warm milk while stirring very fast with a wooden spoon. Remember about your forgotten 1/2 cup honey and go ahead and add this to the milk mixture. Stir until thickened — lift out the wooden spoon and run your finger along the back (yes, it’s hot), if the line remains it is done.
Pour 1 1/2 cups heavy cream into a bowl. Place a strainer over the top. Pour the milk/tea mixture through the strainer into the cream. Stir until cooler. Place in the fridge for several hours.
Freeze in your ice cream maker.
Poppy Seed Lemon Cookies
adapted from these found on Epicurious, originally published in Bon Appetit March 1997 (Isn’t easy access to archives a really cool feature of the internet?)
Set out 1 stick (1/2 cup) of butter to soften. In a large bowl, beat the butter. Gradually beat in 1/2 cup sugar. Then beat in 1 egg followed by 1 tablespoon poppy seeds, zest from 1 small (or 1/2 a large) lemon, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract.
In a small bowl, mix 1 plus a heaping 1/3 cup all purpose flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon baking powder.
Mix the dry ingredients into the beaten butter in three additions. Place in the fridge for about an hour. So, these were supposed to be roll out cookies which means they were wrapped, as a flattened disc, in plastic wrap first. However, by the time I got to this point I wanted something faster. Just putting the whole bowl in the fridge would probably be just perfectly effective. I do theorize (untested) that since the dough is really soft it needs that extra time in the fridge.
To bake: Set your oven to 325. Get out your ungreased baking sheet. Roll the dough into balls (however big you want), place on the sheet and then flatten with your fingers, the heel of your palm, the back of a spoon, or whatever floats your fancy. Since they don’t spread quite a few can fit on the sheet.
Bake until lightly browned around the edges. For the first batch, I took the dog outside, started talking with a neighbor, and suddenly remembered about the cookies in the oven. Though not burnt they were slightly more done than desired. I didn’t the time the other batches either.
I had a plan to fill these with homemade lemon marmalade. See paragraph 3, sentence 4. A little plain cream cheese was the simple solution. The even simpler solution was eating them plain.