You know it’s a slow weekend. When the kinkiest thing you did was whip butter.

About a week and a half ago I had the lovely honor of taking this extremely adorable girl out on a date.  Now I know what you’re thinking “Didn’t she say in a post or 2 ago that she just got married to a guy name Kyle?”….Yes, yes I am; however I am of the mindset that you are capable of loving a large number of people and you can essentially go out on dates with individuals you aren’t in a committed relationship with in order to develop something separate and unique. img_20170128_132301 Or ya know you can ask a friend out for a girl’s afternoon out and ham it up a bit.  Though there is nothing wrong with being polyamorous..  A large majority of my friends are polyamorous.  The girl I went on a date is polyamorous and I love her to utter bits. I am not anti poly.  I am pro poly…ALL THE POLY!

I have been taking the necessary actions to be able to spend more quality time with my friends away from group settings to help strengthen my own relationships with them.  This is just because life has a habit of screwing up stuff and making time pass before you realize that you’ve not hung out or seen someone for months.  I’ve asked each of the lovely ladies in my house out on dates and so far I’ve been able to successfully schedule two.  The first being with Krystal who made the suggestion we go get an afternoon tea.  The only place I was familiar with and was within relatively close proximity to where we both lived is The London Tea Room which is nestled in the lovely Morganford business area in South City, St Louis.  I had been wanting to go for a while now but due to life and the little roadblocks she tosses at you, I had not been able to get my foot in the door to enjoy a cuppa so I was eager to say yes and make plans to ensconce myself within the canisters of earl grey and darjeeling.

img_20170128_132354I was immediately in love as I was wrapped up in the aroma of tea, soup, scones, pasties (not nipple covers folks..not those pasties).  The atmosphere was warm and inviting and while rather small for space (at least in the front room) you didn’t feel cramped or crowded.  We mulled over our decisions and I aptly ordered an earl grey with milk and a few tasty treats.  Krystal ordered some sort of sweet matcha latte which I found pleasant and refreshing.  We hid ourselves in the back room, the front of the tea house was crowded which given the fact it was a Friday afternoon at around noon made me wonder how many of the patrons had played hookie that day or were in fact trying to hide their licentious activities behind a blueberry scone with Devon double cream.  What was only to have been an hour tea turned into a two-hour talk with us exchanging war stories about the trials and tribulations of matrimony.  It was a lovely time and will be a reoccurring date place for the two of us in the near future.

As the grey and dreary Friday melted away in the cold I found myself bored and wanting to be creative on Saturday.  Kyle works till 3 in the afternoon so I find myself with a lot of down time if I don’t go to my day job for overtime.  I had spent six hours of my day already stuck behind a desk and was in desperate need of some decompression time.  The thought of the previous afternoon’s date still fresh in my memory and the taste of scones with clotted cream very vivid and alive in my old noodle.  I crossed my fingers on my ride home to hope that I had the necessary ingredients to make scone and even possibly try my hand at making homemade clotted cream.  I quickly scrapped the clotted cream idea due to the fact that when it comes to food I am very much driven by my culinary IDimg_20170128_133534 and I didn’t have 12 hours to wait before I sunk my teeth into a warm scone (not a biscuit dammit!).  So I opted instead to pair it with some butter and jam.  Only problem was I only had enough butter for the recipe.  How in the hell can that happen when you’re as avid of a chef as I am? And then I remembered the popcorn binge from earlier in the week.  Double damn!   But luckily, redemption was hidden behind the milk and the kimchi in the form of a quart of heavy cream (insert hallelujah angelic chords of happiness here!). I shall have my afternoon tea after all and to quote the Mad Hatter “It’s always tea time!”.

I quickly gathered my ingredients to make my scones.  I opted for lemon rosemary given the fact that I had been able to salvage a few twigs from the rosemary plant outside before the frost set it and I had a lemon that was needing to be used for something other than the garbage disposal.  I had everything else I could possibly need.  It’s not an incredibly difficult recipe and if you’ve had any experience with making biscuits than making scones will be a snap.  The only thing different is you are going to be adding an egg.  The addition of the egg is what makes it a scone.  Other then that the technique is going to be the same.  You’re still going to be sifting your dry ingredients and then gently cut the fat into the mixture to form a fine crumb and will mix in enough liquid to bring the dough together.  You can even cut them out like you would biscuits.  For all intensive purposes, scones are just egg biscuits..No they really aren’t but it’s nice to live in that sort of world where it’s easy to just make something into something else isn’t it.

img_20170128_134303Prior to starting you will want to ensure that your butter is very cold. I will cut it into small pieces and then place it in the freezer while I’m gathering the rest of my supplies. I also have a tendency to keep a stick of butter already cut into tablespoon pieces in a ziplock bag in the freezer as a just in case.  Having well chilled butter will ensure that when its cut into the flour that you wont end up with a gloopy mess.  Cutting the butter simply means taking knife, fork, pastry blender, food processor and incorporating the butter into your flour  to make a fine crumb which will help for a flakier, tender end product.  If you have to big of pieces of fat, as they heat and melt they will leave large gaping holes in your pastry.  The only holes I like are in my cheese and um….well other places but that’s another blog and we don’t discuss such lascivious activities here.

Once you’ve gathered the necessary items you will want to start by sifting your flour and then add your leavening agent and sugar.  If using a food processor which let’s face it that is probably the cleanest and easiest way to do this, pour the dry ingredients in and then add the butter, breaking up any pieces that might be stuck together when it was resting in the cold dark freezer of despair.  Give it a few pulses until it takes on the consistency of sand.  Transfer the contents back to your sifting bowl and make a well in the center so that we can pour the milk in to start the mixing of the wet ingredients. If you are going to mix in add in’s now would be your chance (lemon zest and rosemary, chocolate chunks, raisins,  nothing that bleeds too much).   In your milk you’ll want to mix in one beaten egg until thoroughly combined (i.e no globs of albumin *that’s the egg white* left) because you don’t want little globs of clear goo floating around in your milk like so much chicken jism flotsam cast adrift in a bovine secretion ocean *gags*.  Pour the milk into the well and taking a fork start to mix the flour in.  Once it’s roughly combined and if adding things that will bleed (berries) add them here and finish mixing with your fingers until it comes together.  Lightly dust your work surface and quickly but gently bring the dough together.  You need to work quickly because you don’t want the butter to melt. img_20170128_134337 Taking a rolling-pin which has also been dusted, gently roll the dough out till it is roughly 3 cm in height.  Because of the baking powder added they will rise so don’t fret if you think they are too small.  Dip your biscuit cutter into your flour and slowly press into your dough to cut into your scone shape.  If you don’t have a biscuit cutter a glass with a thin edge will work perfectly well.  If for some reason you don’t have a glass and prefer to drink out of an old rusty can that once housed lima beans and you can’t bring to throw it away because you have too much sentimental attachment that um yeah I guess you can use that,  and get a few rounds of “mild” ECT therapy.  Or ya know, um yeah.  You need help.

Cut out your rounds of dough and placed on a baking sheet that has either been lined with parchment paper or has a silicone mat so they don’t stick or burn.  You will more than likely get around 15 scones if using a 2 inch (5 cm) biscuit cutter.  You can gently bring the dough back together to cut more, just keep this floating around in the back of your ECT addled brain that the more you mix and roll out the dough the tougher the scones will be.  I’d recommend only doing this roughly twice and be satisfied with around 20 scones.  You can always make a second batch should it not be enough.   Brush the tops with the second beaten egg and place in a preheated oven at 375 for roughly for 15-20 minutes or until the tops are a lovely golden brown.

Now if you’re an avid tea fan like I am and you love scones like I do than you’re probably a purist and prefer to enjoy your tasty baked goodness with some clotted cream and jam.  The question that is lingering on my lips is how do you eat it?  Are you a Devon or Cornwall scone eater?  Are you a clotted cream then jam or a jam then clotted cream type scone eater?  My opinion about you won’t really change.  I won’t suddenly decide to unfriend you from life and ignore your existence if you prefer to eat it the way those savages in Devon do and that is the spreading of the cream and then the jam.  Bloody uneducated, unrefined savages.  Cornwall does it best because the cream tastes better on top.  TOP IS THE BEST PLACE TO BE!!.    It’s how I eat my toast it’s how I eat my scones and I’ll never change…^.^  Really there isn’t any right or wrong way ( Cornwall is right, Devon is wrong) to eat your scone.  The only wrong thing is calling it a biscuit or not eating them at all.

Sadly I didn’t have any Devon double cream at home on this scone day but I did have an extra quart of heavy whipping cream lying about so instead of using butter which I didn’t have and only enjoying the scone with jam, I pulled out my handy-dandy Kitchenaid mixer and cranked that puppy on high and walked away for about 10 minutes or so.  Probably not the brightest idea I had that day considering when I came back I noticed the fat in the cream had separated from the liquids (which is what makes butter) but at 10 it caused the whey to ejaculate out of the bowl and all over my countertops.  Yeah not a pleasant sight I tell you what.  Damn bovine secretions being all sexual and orgasming EVERYWHERE…. It did however change me emotionally to the point that I will probably not buy butter at the store unless I absolutely have to because the end product was so delicious and such a lovely pale yellow that I am forever changed and altered.

So if any of you get a chance visit St. Louis I strongly recommend you hit up The London Tea Room for either a proper afternoon tea (they require at minimum 24 hour notice) or a quick-lunch with a friend.  It is totally worth it.  The atmosphere is lovely, the staff is lovely, it’s just lovely.  If you can’t make it here then please take an afternoon and have a few of your friends over and have an afternoon tea of your own.  I am having one in April for a group of friends and am excited because it means I get to make scones and butter and little sandwiches and pastry ^.^

English Scones

  • 500g plain flour (plus extra for dusting)
  • 2 rounded tsp baking powder
  • 2 heaped tbsp of caster sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 110g chopped cold unsalted butter
  • 300ml whole milk
  • 2 eggs (beaten in separate bowls)

Preheat oven to 375 and line baking sheet with parchment paper or line with a silicone mat.  In a bowl sift flour, baking powder, sugar & salt and add to a food processor (you can use your hands for this if you don’t have a food process0r).  Add cold butter and mix until it resembles fine pastry flour. Transfer back to a bowl, making a well and  add milk & egg mixture and dry add ins *zest, dry herbs* and mix with fork until combined.  Place on a floured surface, rolling out gently to 3 cm in height and cut out scones, bringing the dough back together if you absolutely have to for more scones.  Brush with beaten egg and bake until golden brown 15-20 minutes.  Transfer to a cooling rack.

Homemade Butter

  • 1 quart heavy whipping cream

Place into a mixing bowl with a whisk attachment and mix on high for 10 minutes.  Once finished place in a sieve to drain out any whey and transfer contents needed to small serving dishes.  If storing for later, wrap in plastic and then freezer paper and freeze for up to 3 months.




Our tacos are handmade by 20 year old Mayan virgins…

Or Phil, depending on who’s scheduled…It’s probably Phil.  I’m sorry I lied.

S0….2017…We’ve seen some changes recently.  The George R.R. Martin 2016 Game of Thrones Celebrity deathcapades has come to an end finally after claiming our Princess Leia and her loving mother (Damn you George R.R. Martin!!!!!). My wedding is finally over with and I can now settle into the rolls of domestic servitu……yeah I can’t even finish writing that.  The wedding is over and married life pretty much reflects the same as engaged life and living in sin life.  I got a well deserved promotion at my day job which helps finance my passion of cooking and well yeah, other things but we won’t delve into such trivial non sequential things.

About a month ago my husband and I decided to have a spontaneous date night and go grab tacos.  Now we don’t really need a date night to go enjoy tacos.   Sometimes we don’t even need pants but it helps as we get unusual stares at Taco Bell when we show up in our pajamas. In St. Louis there is no shortage of awesome places to get tacos be it traditional Mexican street style or crazy Korean fusion tacos.  Some of our best tacos are found in little parking lot kiosk buildings.  I’ll plug some of my favorite taco joints in St. Louis for you to visit if you’re here as a huge mistake or voluntarily.  But back to date night.  One of the areas in St. Louis which has experienced its own little renaissance of its own, the Historical Cherokee-Lemp District. cherokee-street-old  Twenty years ago you would not catch me in broad daylight wandering that neighborhood due to the heavy drug activity as well as it being a rather popular hangout for those who practice the backseat mambo, which is sad because it is probably one of the only neighborhoods in the city where you could go to find the largest population of Latin grocery stores and restaurants.  But due to it being one of many disinvested inner-city neighborhoods it developed its own little reputation of being “one of those unsafe areas” despite of its centralized location to many inner-city bus lines as well as it being a historical neighborhood chalked full of beautiful buildings.

Now, since its 2011 rebirth, many new and amazing restaurants have moved in and have secured their footing in this area, but one thing that has remained the same and sustained the tests of time is the Latin influence.  On any given block one can visit and patron a wide variety of Hispanic merchants.cherokee-street  Grocery stores attached to taquerias, clothing stores litter the 7 block span of the Cherokee-Lemp district west of Jefferson Avenue.  It is quite honestly our version of Little Mexico City.  During one brief excursion to a grocery store I stumbled across a row of tortilla presses.  The inner Rick Bayless in me squealed in delight at the idea and notion of making my own corn tacos from scratch.  Needless to say $15.00 later I happily was on my way home with my new purchase, where it promptly found its way into my pantry to be forgotten until this week when out of the blue I had the overwhelming urge to eat tacos.  I blame Deadpool and my unnatural obsession with him *I love you Ryan Reynolds! ^.^*

For those who know me, as in they’ve seen me dancing in my kitchen at 2 am wearing pajamas and a slippers, know that my kitchen normally is always at the ready for whatever whimsy that I feel like doing.  I am that shopper who will go aisle by aisle and pick up random items if there was potential that “I might make it in the next month”.  Not produce or fresh meat of course but things like canned jackfruit, ponzu sauce, dashi flakes, you’re not quite so regular items on a weekly grocery list items, so I wasn’t really surprised when I found 2 bags of masa harina in my pantry.  All it told me was that it was indeed…..taco making time.


Ideally I’d have picked up some fresh ground masa but given that this spontaneous urge to taco was last-minute I had to go with what was readily available which was my handy-dandy bag of masa harina flour.  WTF is masa harina flour?  It’s essentially instant corn masa flour.  Think of it as AP flour (all-purpose) but corn.  It’s what we can use if we don’t readily have access to the fresh stuff.  Works in a pinch but requires a little extra flavor to make it taste right.  At least to me personally it tastes a little bland so like all recipes you need to make it your own and tweak it.

tort-mats.jpg.jpgThe packaging recipe states to mix 2 cups masa harina flour with 1 1/2 cups of water.  I find that it is also helpful to add a little sea salt (about 1/2 teaspoon to start) as well as 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, shortening or butter.  I’ve tried without the introduction of fat and they just come out a little meh.  I’ve tried with cold water, warm water, hot water and find that hot water works best as it helps to melt the butter making it easier to incorporate it into the masa flour.  Then we can get down to the fun part.  Getting our hands dirty.  I personally dislike the feel of masa flour on my hands because it feels like I’ve got dried dirt on them and I’m like NOPE NEGATIVE NO WAY! so i put on latex free gloves.  You’re going to want to mix in the water in a slow stream and kneed for about 2-3 minute to ensure it is well mixed and then cover it in plastic and allow it to rest and hydrate for anywhere from 30 minutes up to a few hours.  I.e this is something you can walk away from and like go take a nap or run to the store and get something to drink like tequila!  I find this rest process is essential because it makes the dough more soft and pliable which yields a softer tortilla.  I’ve not gone over 30 minutes but hey I’m open for experimentation.  I mean isn’t that why we cook in the first place?


After at least 30 minutes if you find that you can’t stand not having delicious tacos in your face hole go ahead and start to heat up your griddle.  Now considering on who’s technique you use you will find that some people say use a single heat zone, some say heat on high, medium high.  Some say use two heat zones.  I’ve been more successful with 2 heat zones ala the Rick Bayless technique.  You will want to set your griddle (I have 2 which cover two burners) to be a medium heat in the front and a medium high in the back..Or if you’re me a medium in the back, medium high in the front (the front burner is my biggest one).  If you don’t have a griddle that big just simply use two skillets set to different temperatures.  I recommend cast iron as they retain and distribute heat better.

Once your griddle(s) is up to appropriate temperature you’re ready to crack out some corn tortilla goodness.  Taking your tortilla press (if you own one) you’ll want to roll out 1 oz balls (roughly the size of a walnut).  Take 2 pieces of plastic (a large ziplock bag cut to size works great) and place one piece on the first plate, setting your masa ball in the center.  Flatten slightly with your fingers and cover.  When pressing out your tortilla it’s recommended that you want to slowly press out the dough.  Why you can’t go fast I have no clue but everything I’ve read (because I am far from an expert on the art of tortilla) recommends a slow press to obtain the size of 5-6 inches. For all I know pressing the tortilla to hard and fast might cause a bomb to detonate somewhere.   I will honestly tell you that over the course of the last few weeks of me making corn tortillas I still get excited when I lift the top plate and see a perfectly centered, circled tortilla.  I don’t know what it is about it but it feels like success at that point…or it could be that it reminds me of pressing out play dough.  The latter sounds more plausible.

Pre smoosh

The most difficult part of this process I feel is the transferring of the corn tortilla to the actual cooking surface.  So much can go wrong when you peel of the top piece of plastic.  It could stick and tear apart.  I have found that the method that works the best for me is to slowly peel off the top sheet of plastic, lift it slightly off the plate and line the top of the tortilla with your index finger and slowly peel off the back piece of plastic, lifting it up slightly to completely remove.  Or you can click this link —-> Rick Bayless Corn Tortilla and watch the master do it.  He’s kind of my go to guy for gringos who cook Latin food.  That and I really enjoy watching him on PBS.

Post smoosh

Gently lay your tortilla down on the griddle (medium temped side) and allow to cook for 30 seconds or so on one side.  You’ll know its ready to flip when you notice the outer edges start to dry out. The edges will also have started to possibly curl up a little showing you that its ready to flip.  After about 30 seconds you will want to either use a metal spatula or if you have callused fingers like me you can gently pick up the tortilla and transfer it to the medium high section of your griddle to cook for another minute or so or until you notice that its lightly browned.  After a minute you’ll want to flip it a final time back to the original side and I don’t know how Rick Bayless does this but he said if you do it correctly you’ll see it start to puff up like a pita bread.  I have a success rate of like 50% with the puffing and while the unpuffed ones taste good, the puffed up tortilla shells taste the best.  Once I figure out what I’m doing wrong I’ll update you guys.  Until then, fingers crossed and best of luck for the puff.


Transfer your finished tortillas to a towel lined bowl, container.  I have a styrofoam tortilla warmer but I’ve used a plate.  Maybe a plastic bag works also.  But this allows the tortilla to finish cooking by steaming itself.  After that its pretty much self-explanatory.  You fill them up with whatever you want to fill them up with and eat them. If you didn’t want to make all the masa dough you can store it in a plastic bag for up to 3 days and the cooked corn tortillas for up to a week in a plastic bag.

You can reheat these but the best time to eat them is the day you make them.  But if you must reheat them then you will need to use the towel to line a microwave-safe casserole dish (8 or 9 inches in diameter is best). Lay in a dozen tortillas, cover with the towel and the lid, then microwave at 50 percent power for 4 minutes. Let stand for 2 to 3 minutes. The tortillas will stay warm for 20 minutes.


Homemade Corn Tortillas

  • 2 cups Masa Harina Instant Corn Masa Flour
  • 1 1/2 cups hot water
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, lard, butter
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

Mix flour, salt, butter in bowl.  Slowly incorporate water and mix to form a soft pliable dough, kneading for 2 minutes.  Cover with plastic and allow to sit at room temperature for a minimum of 30 minutes up to a few hours to allow the dough to fully hydrate.  Heat your griddle(s): 1 to medium, 1 to medium high.  Take a 1 oz ball of dough (walnut size) and press between two pieces of plastic to form a 5-6 inch circle.  Gently transfer to your griddle heated to medium and allow to cook undisturbed for 30 seconds or until the edges start to dry out.  Gently transfer to the medium high griddle and continue cooking for up to 1 minute or until lightly brown.  Flip back to the original side and if done correctly it will puff up like a pita.  If now allow to cook for another 30 seconds and transfer to a towel lined container to allow tortilla to finish cooking via steam.   Fill with noms and enjoy!