Thursday, October 21, 2010

Corn Maze & Relay Success: Asian-Style Carb Loading and Earl Grey Tea Cookies

This past weekend saw Baltimore host its 10th Running Festival, an annual event that tests the skills of some of the world's top athletes as well as the patience of drivers and local residents trying to navigate around various closed sections of the city.

Last year, I had the "pleasure" of taking part in the half-marathon. Having taken a prolonged break from running since January's marathon, I opted to take it down a notch and run the anchor leg of the team relay - a mere 7.3 miles.

Now, those of you who have seen me know that I am a notoriously slow runner, but I somehow managed to finish in a decent time frame, averaging 12minutes a mile - probably due to the fact that I managed to finish uninjured this year. The only draw back was that I had to take the Light Rail - which was CRAMMED with loads of fellow, stinky, sweaty racers - to the nearest stop to my house. Which is added another mile or so to my race day activities. Still, I had a great time, and somehow managed to score a $500 gift card to Red Star World Wear. SWEET.

Friday night I was able to indulge in my favorite pre-race ritual: carb loading. The trick is to find something pasta-esque that isn't loaded down with things that will sit like lead in your stomach the next day (i.e., cheese, cream, a bottle of wine, etc.). It just so happened that Friday we were also celebrating my good friend Margi's birthday at a local sushi joint. Admittedly, it was a little difficult to refrain from stuffing my face with rolls and sashimi, but my udon entree suited me just fine.

Plus, I got some green tea ice cream out of the meal - not too shabby!

Post-race I hung up my snazzy new medal, showered, napped hard, and then headed out to Frederick to meet up with some peeps at Summers Farm to check out their corn maze, which is shaped like the Washington Redskin's logo. Seriously.

The Farm proved a bit more entertaining than the previous week's orchard trip, with opportunities to snack on just-out-the-fryer apple cider donuts, kettle corn, and hot drinks; bonfire spots available for rental; a petting zoo/live barn (home to the largest sow I have ever and likely will ever lay eyes on); and surprisingly steep and wedgie-inducing slides scattered among the grounds.


As for the maze, Tony and I were the first to successfully navigate our way out. I still think they're creepy ( *thank you for THOSE residual nightmares, Mr. Stephen King*), but we had a good time nonetheless.

And now for the recipe:

Earl Gray Tea Cookies (or biscuits, for my UK/NZ buddies) are my go-to recipe when I need to bring a crowd-pleasing dessert to a personal or public function. Seriously - strangers have hugged me after eating these things. The trick, I've found, is to (1) use room temperature butter and (2) try adding already steeped earl grey tea instead of water to the recipe. The only other advice I can add is to line your baking sheet with parchment paper to keep the little rounds from sticking.
Feel free to try out other tea varieties to suit your needs. I haven't tried it yet, but I'm betting chamomile would make a bangin' biscuit.
DO NOT use a slip mat. The bottoms will brown but the rest of the cookie
will take for friggin ever to bake through.


Tonight I'm visiting my friend and new momma Monica to introduce her little one to the joys of pumpkin carving. Or the joys of watching adults coo over you while you simply sit there and look adorable. Either way, I'm having pizza and a good laugh before the weekend.
Earl Grey Tea Cookies
(Adapted from Real Simple)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons Earl Grey tea leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into pieces

1. Pulse together all the dry ingredients in a food processor until the tea leaves are pulverized.
2. Add the vanilla, 1 teaspoon water/prepared tea, and the butter. Pulse together until a dough is formed. Add more water/tea (1 tsp at a time) if the dough is not forming.
3. Divide the dough in half. Place each half on a sheet of wax paper and roll into a log, about 2 inches in diameter. Wrap and chill for at least 30 minutes.
4. Heat oven to 375°F. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and unwrap each log. Slice each log into disks, 1/3 inch thick.
5. Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake until the edges are just brown, about 12 minutes.
6. Let cool on sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks.

1 comment:

Sally B. said...

I think some of us might dispute that you and Tony were the first out...