As I sit at the keyboard, my mind drifts to the moment tomorrow when I'll christen my newly cleaned kitchen with its annual glaze of powdered sugar, flour and butter splatters. In other words, Christmas cookies. I'd like to share the recipe for my family's favorite one, the one that despite our forays into each year's cookie trends ultimately defines the taste of the holiday for us. It's a recipe for Mexican Wedding Cake Confections, adapted from a booklet published in1970 by the Wisconsin Electric Power Company. Start by creaming 1 cup of unsalted, room-temperature butter with 1/2 cup of powdered sugar, blending it to a soft yellow. Then, on low speed, blend in 1 teaspoon of vanilla, followed by 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 2 cups of flour. The mixture will be slightly stiffer than your average chocolate chip cookie dough. Lastly, with a wooden spoon, stir in 1 cup of delicately chopped walnuts or pecans. The original recipe instructs the baker next to pinch off pieces of dough the size of a walnut, spacing them evenly on an ungreased "cooky" sheet. Slide the cooky sheets into a 400-degree oven and bake until the dough begins to golden. Send the cookies for a roll through powdered sugar while they're still hot.
In my review of Cafe Negril (Nov. 27), I erroneously reported that Cecil Palmer is the only Jamaican chef in town. My apologies to Noel Brown, the Jamaican-born chef at the month-old Wadadli (1933 Tulane Ave., 525-3727). Wadadli serves both Caribbean and Creole-influenced fare at prices that hover around $6 to $7 at lunch and between $9 and $16 for dinner. On Caribbean Saturdays, you'll find oxtail, curry goat, escoveitch fish and ackee with saltfish, which is known to be Jamaica's national dish. Entrees from the daily menu include jerk chicken or pork, Caribbean-style lamb ribs, stewed conch and po-boys. Hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday.
I'm thrilled to report my first sighting of bubble tea in the New Orleans area, at Tan Dinh (2005 Belle Chasse Hwy., Gretna, 361-8008) on the West Bank. Originally from Taiwan and Hong Kong, where the beverage's status is reportedly up there with Coke, bubble tea at Tan Dinh is served in a variety of sweet flavors, always with a handful of black tapioca pearls at the bottom of the cup. The tapioca pearls are roughly the consistency of wet gummy bears and get sucked up with the tea through fat straws. While I'm crazy for the drink, it might help to take along a sense of adventure for your first try. Bubble tea flavors at Tan Dinh include avocado (the most popular), passion fruit, lychee, strawberry, honeydew melon, cappuccino and Thai iced tea (yum). Bubble tea is also known as boba, pearl tea and tapioca ball drink. Check out this Web site to order your own bubble tea supplies, or to get a clearer portrait of the new rage: www.bubbleteasupply.com. -- Roahen