Friday, December 19, 2014


Hi there.

You've reached the blog of Jessica Suss. I'm sorry I'm not here to post right now, but I will be out of the country until after the New Year. Please leave a message after the post. If this is an emergency, please close out this window and dial your nearest Sur Le Table.

Happy holidays and stay hungry!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Faux Sho

If you know anything about me, you know that I'm not about the faux unless it's fur. I don't wear knockoff designers and nothing makes my lip curl like fake Armani Code perfume. I'm sorry, but it smells like a baby prostitute. And typically that fake Gucci bag looks just that--fake. I'd much rather have my no-name bag that I paid a reasonable price for and that won't fall apart after three months than a questionable representation of the greatest the fashion world has to offer.

Because let's not kid ourselves, everybody can tell.

Sometimes, however, you just have to go faux. Fur is a notable example because unless you live in Saskatchewan, Russia or the North Pole, it's just not cold enough to warrant wearing a dead animal. Yes, I'm judging your chinchilla coat. I would throw red paint on you too, you heartless wench. My future chinchilla George Costanza and I hate your guts.

Another slightly less politically-charged reason to go faux is if you can't digest spaghetti Alfredo but are having a terrible craving for it.

Wait, what?

Oh yes indeed--faux spaghetti Alfredo is on the menu tonight and it is goddamn delicious with about a third of the calories. Plus spinach!

Since normal Alfredo uses a ton of butter and heavy cream, I can't eat it unless I want to be miserable for anywhere between the next four and 24 hours. This alternative, "faux" spaghetti Alfredo nicely captures the richness of the sauce with its combo of cheeses while not sacrificing too much in the flavor department. It's not an exact replica but I would say it's pretty close. And because it's not so fattening, you can eat more of it! Isn't that how the whole healthy eating thing works?

The recipe is incredibly easy but does involve blending to make the sauce smooth so be prepared for that. Whisking will not cut it.

Feel free to adjust seasonings as you see fit. This recipe would work equally well with fresh garlic as garlic powder (maybe even better) and you can nix the crushed reds for a more traditional flavor. I just put them in everything. You can also use whole grain spaghetti if you hate both yourself and food.

1/2 lb. spaghetti, cooked al dente
1/4 c. reduced fat cottage cheese
1/2 c. plain nonfat yogurt
3/4 c. milk
1/4 c. fresh parmesan cheese, finely grated plus more for serving
1/2 tsp. each kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, garlic powder
1/4 tsp. crushed reds
2-3 c. raw spinach, rinsed and drained

1. Combine cottage cheese, yogurt, milk and parmesan in a medium pot. Heat over medium heat, whisking constantly until it reaches a simmer. Add spices and whisk again to combine.

2. Remove from heat and blend carefully until very smooth. Return to pot and add cooked spaghetti, mixing to combine over low heat.

3. Add the raw spinach to the pot. Stir and cover for about two minutes, or until spinach is wilted. Serve with extra grated parmesan.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Spice Up Your Life

As many of my friends know, I love a good latte.

Pumpkin spice, vanilla, plain old skim milk. My go-to Starbucks order in the winter is, 9 times out of 10, a grande skim latte with an extra shot of espresso. I have tried many of the seasonal varieties as well, with varying results. I found the eggnog latte to be palatable, but overly sweet towards the bottom. The gingerbread latte tasted like a plate of burned Christmas cookies. The toffee nut latte was absurdly delicious but definitely not worth all those calories.

Back in Alicante, I experimented with making my own pumpkin spice lattes with incredible results. I recently bought too much pumpkin for the filling of my Friendsgiving 2.0 (coming soon, I promise!) pie and decided to reserve some for later pumpkin spice lattes.

However when I slit open the vacuum-sealed package today, I was greeted with an unpleasant smell and some very squishy pumpkin. Ever the optimist, I rinsed the pumpkin and steamed it briefly in the hopes that it would perk up. It didn't. It tasted like an acidic dishrag.

Into the trash it went.

But I really, really wanted a pretty latte to perk up my afternoon. Unfortunately they don't have things like molasses or flavor extracts here so both homemade gingerbread and almond toffee were out. What I did have was a cabinet of spices at my disposal and some very good quality coffee, so I decided to experiment.

What I came up with was delicious: a combination of warming, wintery spices and strong-verging-on-espresso coffee topped with fluffy mountains of whipped cream.

Take that, pumpkin spice. You've got competition.

I know it seems like there's almost too much seasoning in the milk but remember that the coffee is very strong and you don't want the flavors of the spices to be masked. Of course if you like your coffee weaker, add less spice.

But if you like weak coffee then I don't know if I want to be friends with you. Dunkin' Donuts drinkers, I'm looking at you. That shit is vile.

Now without further ado, I give you....winter-spiced lattes.

PS: aside from coffee-brewing time, these take about 5 minutes to put together. That's less time than you would have to wait at your local coffee joint. And you don't have to change out of your pajamas.

2 c. milk
1 1/2 c. strong, freshly brewed coffee
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
2 tbs. vanilla extract
Whipped cream and another pinch of cinnamon to finish, if desired (you're a monster if you don't want whipped cream on this latte, just saying)

1. In a medium saucepan, combine milk and vanilla extract. Whisk well to combine.

2. Add spices and scald milk (heat until it's too hot to comfortably dip a finger in).

3. Combine coffee and milk mixture in two mugs. Top with whipped cream and extra cinnamon.