Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Review of a Food You Can Buy at Trader Joe's: Chewy Egg Nog Cookies

This time of year the little nutmeg shaker lives on my counter. I don't bother putting it away and getting it out again night after night. What a waste. In fact, I leave it right next to a bottle of rum, just so the two don't get lonely.

It's egg nog season. Try and describe egg nog to someone. It's hard to find any other adjective to describe it except that it's "noggy." And "creamy." And if you're doing it right, "boozy."

Trader Joe's is selling egg nog in cookie form. They're about the size of a Nilla Wafer (oh God I JUST NOW realize Nilla was short for 'vanilla'. The lie I have been living.) but they're soft with a drizzle of icing.

Not surprisingly, they taste noggy. There's a hint of spices, maybe some of that nutmeg, and the icing melts fast under your fingertips. I find it hard to eat less than five in one session. And that's okay, because they're tiny, and noggy, and it's the season, right?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Will the Real English Muffin Please Stand Up?

Like me, you probably grew up knowing an English Muffin as a small, bread-like substance with no observable similarities to an actual muffin. It's sold in a little rectangular box of six. It might have chewy little raisins, and if your mother was like mine and you were only ever allowed the low fat Pop Tarts, it might be whole wheat.

We've been lied to. Those things in the box at the grocery store? They aren't English Muffins. They're the bread cousin of hockey pucks. If you want to experience a real English Muffin, you're going to have to pay a visit to Blue Oven bakery. Even after they sell out of every other kind of glorious bread they haul to Findlay Market on a given Saturday morning, they're bound to have their English Muffins on hand.

The Slim Shady of English Muffins.

When you bring your muffin home and take it out of the bag, you'll think to yourself, "This can't possibly be an English Muffin. It looks too delicious and smells kind of like a donut." Stop wasting time asking questions, find your serrated knife, cut it in half and get it into your toaster pronto.

You will know your Blue Oven English Muffin is almost ready when it starts to sizzle. Ideally, you'll pull it out just before it catches on fire. Unless you have a very robust toaster, it won't actually "pop" when it's done because the muffin halves are too heavy. Yeah.

Remove your muffin and apply toppings. I'm partial to jam on one half and a fried egg on the other. It's crucial that the yolk soaks into the muffin properly, spilling through the internal nooks like rushing subterranean rivers.

It has a richness and mild sweetness and little pathways and tunnels running through it. It's dense and soft enough to soak up egg yolk, with a nice crust and crunch on the exterior. This, my friends, is an English Muffin worthy of its name.