Sweet Tea Cooking Is On Vacay!!!

Good Morning!! Sweet Tea Cooking is officially on vacation this week so posts will be sporadic but we have some newness scheduled for you. We are traveling to visit TJ’s brother for the weekend then heading over to Universal Studios for the rest of the week. You know we’ll be posting all of the food porn that we come across. Be sure to follow us everywhere that you can so you don’t miss any of the fun! You can vicariously be on vacay with us!

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When we return from vacation we’ll be putting all of our efforts into finishing the new look that the Sweet Tea Cooking design team (shoutout to TJ) has been working on. Hopefully we’ll be ready to launch the lovely looking website at the new .com web address in early November with plenty of regular posts!

If you would like to schedule a cooking session with me please feel free to leave a comment below, email me, or PM me on FB. I will get back to you as soon as we return from vacation. I still have a few openings left in November and December. Let’s get in the kitchen!

I’m also always looking for some new inspiration for Small Biz Shoutouts or #fangirlFriday so send those my way also!

Have a spectacular week and enjoy this song that we’ll be singing as we run through the airport to catch our flight!!!

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Y’all Come Eat Now- Jalebi

Jalebi

Hi friends! We have a really fun dish for “Y’all Come Eat Now” this week. When I first started hitting up my friends and family with cooking session requests, my friend Julie was very quick to reach out to her mom to get the details on a dessert that her family made on Christmas Eve. when she was growing up. In the initial email Julie described them simply as “funnel cakes covered in syrup”, um, funnel cakes at home?! I was definitely intrigued. This also was definitely a sharp left turn outside of my cooking comfort zone. I’ve never actually fried any food before. My parent’s owned a deep fryer but I hated the way that it made the house smell so I let the fine people at Popeye’s do their thing. I was willing to test the waters (or should I say oil) in order to try this dish. This was also my first time working with yeast. I was very excited to learn this dish!

So you may be asking what the heck jalebi are. Jalebi are small, deep-fried sweets common in India and Pakistan that are soaked in sugar syrup. Julie’s mom gave us a little insight on the origins of the version that their family makes:

“I learned to make them from the TA of the Persian class I took in college; Iranians call them zulbia and they have a slightly different flavor from the Indian jalebis. The Iranian ones are not quite as heavy. So what we were making was more Iranian, but we called them jalebis because that was familiar to Riggses. Also, the honey syrup was kind of adapted and made up, not completely right for either culture, but they were still good.”

Julie informed us as to exactly how her family began making jalebis which I found fascinating. Both her mom and dad came from very well-traveled families that lived in other countries while they were growing up. Her mom lived in Chile until she was 12 and moved to Wisconsin and Julie’s dad lived in India until college, where he grew up eating jalebis. It is only natural that they would adopt a variety of traditions along the way.

The actual recipe is very easy. There is some wait time for the dough to proof. This is a great time to order some Indian takeaway, pick it up, pour a few glasses of wine, and stuff your gullet full of Chicken Tikka Masala. I’m not saying that is what we did but it’s a damn good idea…this is definitely what we did.

dough

Dough- ½ tsp dry yeast, add 1 cup lukewarm water, add flour until consistency of yogurt, cover with a dish towel and let sit for 3 hours; spoon into a squeeze bottle when ready to fry

The Riggses have learned over time that a honey bear works best. I learned that it’s the cutest bottle to repurpose!

Syrup- heat 1 part sugar and water to create simple syrup add honey and stir

Syrup

Fry- heat oil (canola or other non-flavorful oil) in a skillet

Now that you have everything made and ready to rock this is when the fun starts! This dish is very interactive. It’s the first time that I’ve been in the kitchen with four people all taking turns in the kitchen and didn’t feel overwhelmed.

  • You squeeze the dough into the hot oil and can attempt to make designs similar to funnel cakes or go fancy like butterflies or flowers like in the restaurants. You let it cook for 30-60 seconds until it becomes a light golden brown then flip it. Don’t splash!!
  • Pull the fried jalebi out of the oil and dunk directly into the syrup and using a fork that is being used for syrup only, fully submerge the jalebi for just a few seconds. You do not want it to get too soggy. TJ quickly became the jalebi syrup expert.
  • Place jalebi on a plate with some paper towels to cool and allow the syrup to harden a bit. It will not flake off like a glazed donut but you don’t want it to be too sticky either.
  • NOMNOMNOMNOMNOMNOMNOM while still warm.

Julie shows us how it’s done!

 photo 3 (1)Juliesyrup soaked

 I required additional supervision

supervision

I wasn’t scared at all to work with hot oil, nope not at all…

Jessie

I made jalebi nuggets…don’t do that

nuggets

This is my “Oh my god, it’s still sizzling! What do I do?!” face

ah

Chris & TJ got in on the fun too!

photo 3 (2) photo 2 (2) done

TJ was instantly a skilled syrup soaker!

photo 2 (1)

These steps happened VERY VERY quickly. A few tips to make this go as smoothly as possible is to have multiple paper towels or dishes to place your scooper for the oil on while you use a syrup only utensil for dunking and plating. I wanted to use the same utensil for the oil and the syrup which would have ruined the syrup but also made a horrifying sizzling noise. I was still scarred, more so mentally than physically, from my first big kitchen wound earlier in the week.  So that was a little overwhelming. So having prepped stations for each stage before you start will go a long way.

I highly recommend making this dish. It was very hands on and fun. Not many recipes get everyone in the kitchen working together like this recipe did. I can certainly see why this was a great Christmas Eve tradition for Julie’s family. Thank you to Chris and Julie for having us over and to Julie for sharing this recipe with us. We had a great time recreating it with you and watching you as the memories started coming back to you as we cooked.

#fangirlFriday- Flashback

Good Morning and Happy Friday! This week we’re doing a #fangirlFriday flashback. I want to take a look at what some of the inspiring women who have been featured on #fangirlFriday are up to now. Click on the link of their name to see the original feature. I encourage you (if you haven’t already) to check out their websites, podcasts, and/or blogs. I’ve had so much fun writing about all of these women and I wish them many more successes in the future!

JoyTheBaker

Joy the Baker– Joy’s newest cookbook, “Homemade Decadence” will be released on Tuesday, October 14. She is currently offering a free print for anyone that pre-orders the book! Joy has occasionally dropped hints on her blog that details on her upcoming book tour will be announced soon and I couldn’t be more excited! Fingers crossed that she comes to Baltimore (or DC on a weekend)!! In the midst of busily promoting “Homemade Decadence”, she is already writing her next cookbook which is ALL BRUNCH FOODS!!! I cannot wait to get that book in my hands!

taylor-swift-kelly-osbourne

NBD…just T-Swift and Kelly mixing it up in the kitchen

Kelly Osbourne– Kelly is my fashion idol right now! Every item that she releases is available in size 0-24. Everyone deserves to look sassy as hell and feel damn good about it. Who better than Kelly Osbourne to move the fashion industry in the right direction. God bless her! She debuted her clothing line exclusively on HSN last week. There are 15 pieces available with price points ranging from $50 – $150. I am crazy in love with the Union Jack dress and MUST OWN IT.

Cleo-Brock-Abraham-and-Julia-Turshen

Weird & Ravenous– These ladies have not had any movement on their Facebook, website, multitude of websites that they have previously contributed to. They seem to be social media ghosts right now but let’s hope that they are working on some great projects! I am completely smitten with their unique approach to homemade meals and find their videos absolutely charming. I have created a Spotify playlist with the songs that they used as the soundtrack of their videos. It’s such a great mix. I love listening to it while I’m cooking! I have also started making some of their recipes which have been pretty great so far. We made the quinoa con pollo dish in the debut of “It Came From the Internet” and we have their pad thai on the menu for next week. They make elaborate dishes just seem so accessible and I’m all about it.

Have you check out any of these ladies since they were originally featured? Let me know if you have any other people that are worthy of a #fangirlFriday feature. I’m always looking for new people to “gently stalk”.

Small Biz Shout Out- Ice Cream

ice cream

Hello friends! Today’s edition of Small Biz Shout Out is all about ice cream!! I know that everyone buying their Pumpkin Spice flavored treats in full force and is embracing sweater weather but that doesn’t mean that we can stop the hankering for a cup of ice cream and if you’re lucky it may be Pumpkin flavored. We’re lucky that we live in a city that is willing to satisfy our cravings in a variety of unique ways year round…if only snowball places would catch on!

Taharka Bros Ice Cream– Taharka Bros are everywhere! You can find them in some of the best restaurants in Baltimore, scoop shops, local colleges, festivals in the Change Maker Mobile (their recently crowdfunded mobile ice cream shop complete with a retail area for some thought provoking literature…they make it smart to eat more ice cream!), and most importantly in pints in the freezer section of many local markets. Attention White Marsh folks…they are available at Richardson Farms!!

I have devoured every flavor of their ice cream that I’ve had the pleasure of trying. One of the amazing things about Taharka Bros is that they have strong social beliefs and they use the popularity of their ice cream as a platform for their message. Once I read their story on their website I was no longer just a fan of the ice cream, I became a loyal member of the Taharka family. I admire them for standing up for their beliefs, following their passion, and bettering the community in their own special way. They close the above video with the quote, “It’s local, fresh, dope, revolution, empowerment…it’s family.” Here at Sweet Tea Cooking we’re all about family and we welcome Taharka Bros to the Sweet Tea Cooking family.

taharka-bros

Here is their story exactly as it reads on their website:

Having launched as a Benefit Corp. in 2010, the Baltimore based Taharka Brothers Ice Cream Co. is a for-profit and for-community social enterprise managed and operated primarily by college aged young adults. We use our award-winning ice creams, sorbets, and business initiatives to champion the fight for a better, brighter, and more “Taharkafied” world. Our offerings serve as a vessel for the continuous flow of cultural understanding, economic and social justice, civic involvement and, of course, good times!!!

Repping various parts of a city steeped in struggle, we’ve thought deeply about friends, families, futures, hopes, ‘hoods and heroes asking ourselves hard questions. Could we promote peace, social and economic justice to communities both local and non-local via an ice cream business? Could we make a good living and have crazy fun? We also thought on things that have inspired us, both sung and unsung human rights warriors that have made our world a more just place. We meditated on the struggles in the ‘hood, the music that maintains us and the writers and poets that sustain us. And of course we contemplated food – good food – and yes, those who go without food. We believed we could create a little sumthin’ that might, if done right, make a big difference (in a sweet way) in both our lives and the lives of others.

This is our contribution.

Welcome to the funkafied family, loved ones!!

With mad love,

Your new big Brothers

baltimore-charmery

The Charmery– The Charmery is located on the corner of 36th St and Chestnut in Hampden. This shop has the most adorable old school ice cream shop feel but the flavors are far from old school. According to the International Ice Cream Association member companies (which I just discovered is a thing!),vanilla is still the most popular flavor of ice cream in the US. The Charmery offers Pure Vanilla but I dare you to actually order it with all of the other delights that are available. Personally ordering Vanilla (unless it’s going on top of a warm brownie) is a sin…my husband does not share this opinion. Old Bay Caramel, Tell Tale Chocolate, Maryland Mud, Berger Cookies and Cream, Lemon Stick, Coffee by Spro, Duckpin Ale Chocolate, and Crunch Davis, are just a few of the decadent flavors that are available with a Maryland twist. For those of you that do not crave ice cream in the cooler months they have you covered with a variety of hot chocolates with homemade marshmallows that are absolutely divine! I cannot wait to score a hot chocolate at the end of a Terrific Lady Day.

BB_exterior_signs

Broom’s Bloom Dairy– Broom’s Bloom is a delightful place and we lovingly refer to it as “the ice cream farm” in my family. Broom’s Bloom serves around 12-15 flavors of ice cream a day all made right on the farm until they sell out for the day. Which has heartbreakingly happened to me twice…when I was next in line! While Broom’s Bloom can be a hike for some folks just for a scoop of ice cream but they also offer quiches, sandwiches, soups, and salads so you can make a whole meal out of the visit. TJ has yet to experience the ice cream farm so I plan on taking him up there for dinner tomorrow! In addition to the amazing ice cream and meals Broom’s Bloom is a mini Farmer’s Market. They sell soap, cheese, eggs, and pork made on their farm from their animals as well as meats, milk, and produce from other area farms and vendors. I’m pumped to load up on all kinds of goodies while we’re there. Broom’s Bloom is open all year (hours change depending on the season) and they can be extremely busy during the summer months. Wait in the line, it’s worth it! I’ll be sure to post pics from our field trip on Instagram Sweet_Tea_Cooking and Twitter @sweetteacooking.

As Bobby Hill from King of the Hill perfectly put it, “I like my sundaes even on a Monday”. Well in this case it’s a Thursday but we feel you Bobby. Now go and get you some ice cream on this week!