Family members should skip ahead to the recipe if they want it. If not, just go ahead and opt out of reading this post entirely. Thanks.
About 18 years ago I made a bad mistake, and it's on my personal list of stupidest actions.
Then I lied about it.
I don't lie anymore- I've given it up. It's just not worth the time, worry and trouble.
Well, let this be a lesson to you, kids (if you can take something from it). Don't lie, lying is bad.
Confession time. Well, I've been to Confession confession. Years ago.
Anyway, once upon a time I made a cheesecake. When it came out of the oven, I needed to test it, but I couldn't find a toothpick or anything else that would have been good for testing.
In the end a fork would have been preferable...
Well, I found a thermometer. Not the battery operated kind (I don't know if those things were around yet). Nope, I got a glass thermometer- with mercury.
Since when was it a good idea to use a thermometer to test a cake that's more than 350 degrees in temperature? Since never.
The thermometer broke. Little pieces of glass and mercury were in the middle of the cake, and let me tell you, they don't call it quicksilver for nothing! Time to panic.
To remedy the situation, I dug a hole out of the middle of the cake. It was a huge, gaping hole in the middle of the cake... I made a donut-shaped cheesecake.
Who looks at a cheesecake with a ginormous crater in the middle and doesn't want to know what happened? I made up an answer.
I was worried about safety, but I was more worried about being in trouble.
I worried about mercury poisoning and death after the cheesecake had been eaten.
Decisions, decisions. Poison your family or be honest?
However, after 18 years, I think I can safely say that no one has exhibited mystery symptoms.
I'm sorry! No, not for the lack of symptoms, but that I did what I did, lied, and still served the cheesecake. I can be good at keeping secrets, but sometimes it's not such a great quality.
Did my family read what I asked them not to read? You bet they did! Will I be in trouble for it? I don't know, but I don't think people will be happy to read about some of my past actions.
No one's turned out like the Mad Hatter through contact with mercury.
I'm a little wacky, I enjoy tea... but I don't think I've ever known anyone by the name of Alice.
Allison, Alistair, Alfie, Alex, Aloysius (yes, I went to school with a kid by that name, but he went by Al and he had bright red hair), Allen... nope, no Alice.
Masala chai = Indian spiced milk tea
While it can be fair to good in flavor when bought, the "drink me" volume is exponentially increased when it's freshly made.
No mixes, just fresh tea and spices.
Plus, this is great masala chai weather.
And it won't poison you.
Adapted from Gourmet, October 2009
8 cardamom pods- cracked, seeds removed and pods discarded
1, 1 1/2 inch long cinnamon stick
3 black peppercorns
1 whole clove
1/4 t (scant) fennel seeds
2 c whole milk
3 1/2 T packed brown sugar
1/2 t ground ginger
1/8 t nutmeg
1/8 t salt
2 c water
5 t loose black tea
Grind together cardamom, cinnamon stick, peppercorns, clove and fennel in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle. Bring the milk to a simmer over medium heat in a heavy saucepan. whisk in brown sugar, ginger, nutmeg, salt, and ground spices. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently about 3 minutes to infuse the spices into the milk, stirring occasionally.
While milk infuses, boil the water in a small saucepan. Add the tea and boil for one minute.
Pour the tea through a fine-mesh strainer into the milk and spice mixture, discarding the tea leaves. Cook the tea and milk over low heat 1 minute. Stir before serving.
P.S. Aren't spices beautiful?
Additional link on mercury poisoning and the Mad Hatter...