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Matcha shortbread.

Chocolate & Zucchini is hands down my favorite cooking blog.  Those of you who know me might find this surprising, given that I hate cooking.  You also probably know that I am also a poor cook: my toast is always burnt, my pasta overcooked.  I live in fear of it just as much my mother deplores my dislike of it.  D. is the only reason I haven’t already died of malnutrition, and now that school has started and we are both equally busy, he hasn’t had as much time to cook.  One week into the academic year and I’m already faint with hunger.

My aversion to cooking doesn’t mean I don’t like to eat (yes, I am what is known ‘complicated woman’).  I love food.  And I’ll eat whatever you put in front of me (so long as it’s vegetarian-friendly - more complexity).  I just don’t want to have to make it.

There is an important exception to all this, and that is baking.  I don’t do it often, but I have been doing it a bit recently.  I have an insatiable sweet tooth, and sometimes baking presents itself as a cheaper option to acquire the sweet things I crave and to share it with others.

For our department potluck, I decided to make something.  This is the fourth potluck I’ve attended, but it’s the first time I brought something of my own creation.  I’m not sure what possessed me to make this decision - it probably has something to do with Chocolate & Zucchini.  Written by a Frenchwoman who lived for a period of time in the States, it is full of beautiful photographs and descriptions of her culinary creations.  Many of the recipes are simple, a requirement for an impatient person like me who, in addition, has nearly always lived in apartments with the most astonishingly limited countertop space.  Her writing sparkles, too.  I never thought I would find culinary inspiration - but there it is.

In honor of my decision, the choice came down to her Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe, which I have successfully pulled off in the recent past, and her Matcha Shortbread.  The latter won out, in part because I still have quite a bit of the matcha tea powder I purchased at Matcha Box in New York.  I also love food containing green tea, most especially green tea ice cream.

This particular project was probably one of the prettiest culinary experiences I have had.  I love the color of matcha tea: it is a perfect, rich jade hue, the kind of color that I am forever seeking in clothing and failing to find.  And the cookies came out great, crispy around the edges, chewy inside.  And this, despite a burned fingertip - why can I never remember that a pan out of the oven is hot? - and causing the entire floor of my kitchen to be dusted in confectioner’s sugar.  I also concluded today that if I am going to continue this baking habit, I am going to need an apron.

I won’t reprint the recipe here.  Instead, check it out right here on Chocolate & Zucchini - and make sure you explore the rest of the site too. Make sure you don’t leave the cookies on the baking sheet for less or more than 5 minutes: less means they haven’t finished baking and will break apart, more means they will end up crispy.  I was guilty of both errors.  As far as the recipe itself goes, the only aspect I would change would be to add a bit more than 2 tsp. of matcha to the dough, as I would have preferred a stronger green tea flavor.  I say, if you’re putting in the special ingredient, it should be obvious!

..which may be why I’m not known for my cooking.  In any case, try them out and let me know about your favorite matcha recipes!



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