Friday, April 3, 2009

Vacation Reading

I've spent the week on something of a reading vacation, polishing off two China Bayles mysteries back to back. Not good for blogging--or other work. Fortunately, I had no pressing deadlines this week so I could do this. Wednesday I spent the entire day away from the computer and found myself completely engrossed in the second book. I haven't done this in years and it was difficult to get back on track the next day, as difficult as though I had been away on a trip for reading a good work of fiction is a kind of trip to another place.

This book includes a recipe for a cookie that I am going to try soon--a sugar cookie with the addition of Habanero powder. So that was the next part of the vacation reading--searching online for Habanero powder. Ah, ha, found it! The Spice House in Chicago has it along with a number of interesting things.

Then I topped off the week by adding Chipotle powder, which I already have from Mountain Rose Herbs, to my chocolate. One tablespoon of Ghirardelli unsweetened cocoa, about one tablespoon of sugar, and a smidgin of Chipotle powder, probably 1/8 teaspoon with enough water to make a frosting like consistency. Very good, very soothing, got the endorphins going and I felt much better than I have in some time. Next I will try the cookies. (Maybe lavender and Chipotle powder, or would the flavors simply fight it out? Lavender is not a hot spice--er, herb--but it is a very pronounced flavor.)

I am also wondering what the addition of chile powder would do to my favorite cappuccino flats. Chocolate, cinnamon, nutmeg and espresso powder are there already. Last year I made a batch with Chinese Five Spice and a hint of orange zest. Very good, but I have misplaced the recipe.

I remember reading one of Robert Farrar Capon's books in which he says that cooking is an intellectual endeavor. That rang a bell. Cookbooks are another kind of favorite read, but that is another post. (Maybe I should add a few to my books list!)

I am grateful for the time off, for the fun of reading a good mystery and for the friend who brought the books to me from the library.

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