At last we've come to the end of 2014 and not a moment too soon. I'm not gonna lie, this was not my favorite year and I'm looking forward to waking up tomorrow morning with a fresh new attitude and endless possibilities.
OK, so Christmas is over and the long Christmas weekend is over and you've eaten all the cookies in the house. You might have even made some public statements about being sick of sweets and ready for a healthy new year. But... the new year isn't here quite yet and you're getting hungry again and you do sort of still want something sweet. Or maybe that's just me.
OK, not long, long ago. Just two years ago. But I'm a little obsessed with Christmas music these days and the song It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year with the line "And tales of the glories of Christmases long, long ago" was running through my head. Just like the line from The Carpenter's Home For the Holidays that reads "I met a man who lives in Tennessee and he was headin' for Pennsylvania and some homemade pumpkin pie" was looping in my brain the other day when I made pumpkin pie. I'll be over this soon, I promise.
I have Christmas music playing pretty much non-stop these days. When I'm at my desk, when I'm at the gym...it's my annual binge. And, come the new year, it will be banished again until after next Thanksgiving. One of my favorites has always been Home for the Holidays by The Carpenters and it's made me associate Christmas with pumpkin pie.
I like giving homemade food gifts because I think the love and effort that goes into making them truly expresses to the recipient that they were important enough to you to make the effort. And so I spent the morning of my dearest friend's birthday in the kitchen, baking these treats for her. I also have a treat for you today because Peanut Butter & Co. will send 4 jars of their peanut butter, in your choice of flavors, to the winner of my giveaway below.
Not gonna lie. The first time I heard about hot buttered rum I thought the idea sounded nauseating. But over the years, whenever I heard the term, I started wondering why I thought so because I certainly like butter well enough. And I definitely like rum. And the idea starting sounding more appealing.
When I finally decided to make my own, I looked up recipes and found it involved making a "batter' so now it wasn't so much nauseating as much as complicated. No wonder it took me so longer to warm up to this drink.
Happily, the "batter" is hardly complicated and the drink lends itself perfectly to different flavors. The creamy part is typically ice cream and so I used some of the egg nog ice cream I have in the freezer. And it turned out so well that now I'm thinking the pumpkin ice cream and chocolate ice cream I have may both needed to be tested too. Cheers!
Per Serving: 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temperature 1 Tablespoon sugar 2 oz. Egg nog ice cream or egg nog 1 1/2 oz. Spiced rum Pinch of cinnamon Small pinch of nutmeg 6 oz. Boiling water
Combine the butter and sugar in a small bowl. Add the egg nog ice cream and whisk in the boiling water. Stir in the rum, cinnamon and nutmeg and garnish with whipped cream if desired.
If you think that I'm capable of walking past a package of chocolate chips stuffed with peanut butter then it's obvious that we've never met. It was definitely one of those "stopped in my tracks" moments in the baking aisle when there, next to the chocolate chips and the peanut butter chips, was the combo of my dreams. Thank you, Nestle, for your new DelightFulls filled baking morsels. Or snacking morsels, as the case may be. Or just buy two and do both.
Today I have the pleasure of working with Mirassou on some great holiday entertaining ideas.
We're deep into holiday entertaining mode around here. Cocktail parties, appetizers before dinner, something special for New Year's Eve perhaps? I have some great wine and that needed a great appetizer to match. Wine and cheese is a given but a savory cheesecake is so much more impressive. And I promise you there won't be a sliver left because it's just too good.
Have I ever mentioned to you that I am a cashew thief? I mean that, if there's a bowl of mixed nuts around, I will surreptitiously steal all the cashews. And if you happen to comment on how few cashews there are in the bowl, I will stand there and complain to you about how the mixed nut companies are shorting us on cashews while pretending there is an equal number of them in the can. This has happened.
Excuse me but can somebody please tell me what happened to the first part of December? These days it seems like I blink and I'm handing out Halloween candy, blink again and I'm roasting Thanksgiving turkey and and now all my get-it-done at the start of the month December plans are late. Some of you may be getting Christmas cards for Valentine's Day if this keeps up.
Today I have the pleasure of partnering with Minute® Rice to create this mouth-watering recipe. As always, thank you for supporting the products I love and use in my kitchen.
We all have our guilty pleasures and, while mine are usually sweet, rice balls have the savory honor. There's a gourmet Italian market dangerously close to my apartment and they make the most perfect arancini. They also have an amazing produce selection which is why I go there...cough, cough...OK, moving right along.
Every year it seems like I spend the month of December coming up with creative ways to feed guests. Oh, planning a dinner is easy enough but what about those in-between, buffet type foods. A cold cut platter, cheeses, crudites, something more special?. But what?
If you recall, a couple of weeks ago I was whining about not being motivated to make a fuss over breakfast and calling it a successful meal when I've actually poured milk into my bowl of cereal. But, it's the holiday season and making a good breakfast for someone you love or visiting guests is such an act of love. And, in fact, it is on holidays and birthdays that I haul out the bacon and eggs and French toast to make people happy at breakfast. But that's kind of the problem because the recipients are happy but the cook is eating leftover cold French toast crumbs while cleaning the kitchen. Wow, I guess I wasn't done whining.
The post-Thanksgiving weekend comes with certain traditions around here. Pumpkin and turkey decorations are put away, I can hear the Christmas tree vendors setting up down on the sidewalk and my kitchen smells like gingerbread.
So Thanksgiving is over. You've feasted and indulged and slept it off. And chances are you have some leftovers in the fridge to last throughout the long weekend. Back to reality, sort of, but not yet. Perhaps just a bit more indulgence before heading back to real life on Monday.
No recipe today, my friends. Those
of you cooking tomorrow’s feast already know what you’re making. But before we
break for the long weekend, I wanted to say a few personal words about life and
love and this past year.
When it comes to Thanksgiving foods, I tend to favor tradition. There's comfort in the familiar and expected. However, what exactly constitutes traditional and familiar is different in every family and culture. In my house, we prefer butternut squash over the better known sweet potato side dish and so that is the flavor we expect.
Apple pie is a Thanksgiving tradition in my house. And Thanksgiving foods are, after all, about tradition. So while I'm not willing to forgo this familiar treat, I've been known to mess with it a little over the years. Last year I did away with the top crust altogether in favor of a peanut butter crumb topping. And I don't recall hearing any complaints about it, either.
Lately I've been thinking a lot about breakfast. And that's pretty unusual for me since it's never been a meal I gave much thought to. It always seems like, no matter how early I get up, I have so much to do before the day "officially" starts and I'm always running behind. So breakfast ends up being a bowl of cold cereal. And I'll admit that I've been known to skip the milk and just eat the cereal bits like little snack bites in between other morning chores. So not inspiring.
Per Serving: 2 1/2 oz. Bourbon 1 oz. Maple syrup 1 oz. Lemon juice 1 Dash of Angostura Bitters 2 Sprigs fresh Thyme
Combine the bourbon, maple syrup, lemon juice, bitters and the leaves from the thyme sprigs in a cocktail shaker. Muddle the thyme a bit, fill with ice and shake well. You can serve this straight up or on the rocks to tame down the strength a bit.
If you follow me on Instagram (and if you're not, why aren't you??) then you know that my tag line says "currently sprinkling za'atar on everything." I'm obsessed with it and with labneh (strained Greek yogurt cheese) too.
What are your cold weather comfort foods? I have a few but pot pies are high on the list because they're fully enclosed comfort. I don't have to make side dishes for a roast or add bread or croutons to a hot soup. Here the hot, creamy, comforting filling is wrapped with delicious pastry dough and served in my own individual portion. Just tuck me into bed with a good movie and this is cold night dinner heaven.
Cookie Week is in full swing and I'm back today with another of my favorite cookie treats. Despite my love of chocolate and my obsession with peanut butter, my all time favorite type of cookie is shortbread. Thick, crumbly, buttery and not overly sweet. Just pour me a cup of tea alongside a good stack of them and I'm a happy woman.
All week long, several of my fellow bloggers and I are celebrating Cookie Week with great recipes and an awesome giveaway. But today I have an extra special giveaway for you. My friend Susan of The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen now has an online bakeshop and her cookies put mine to shame.
Welcome to Cookie Week. Several of my fellow food bloggers and I have some great recipes for you and an awesome giveaway. Scroll down past the recipe for prize and entry information. And, as a bonus, I'll have an additional, extra special giveaway (hint: it involves free cookies) for you tomorrow.
Welcome to the second annual Cookie Week, hosted by Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic and Susan of The Girl In the Little Red Kitchen! We've teamed together with 10 other talented bloggers to bring you 5 fantastic days of cookie recipes to get you in to the holiday spirits. Now is the time to break out the flour, butter, sugar and eggs. Bring your friends and family together for cookie exchanges or a giant baking party, we have got you covered!
It's finally chilly in New York and the leaves are turning fast. Actually the whole month was fast and I'm not sure how it can already be almost November. The food around here has definitely taken a turn toward autumn fruits and warming comfort. It also seems to have been fixated on caramel, not that there's anything wrong with that.
Have you all noticed how popular coconut oil has become? Everywhere I look I see recipes with it and articles talking about the health benefits. I confess that I'm not the biggest fan of coconut flavor and I mostly just like it in my pina coladas. Still, this merited some research.
Sundays in the chilly autumn make me want to cook something low and slow. Something mouthwatering that will make my whole house smell delicious and dinner will be an eagerly awaited event. Something like a Sunday roast
My good friend Renee and I are bonded over our mutual love of food, cocktails, photography and doggies. Not necessarily in that order, of course. She's also the creator of the Magnolia Days blog where she shows off her talents. But today she's on vacation, eating and drinking her way through Germany, and she asked me to keep her readers entertained with a good recipe. My pleasure, Renee! And I expect you to bring me back a strudel.
I'm a big fan of our city's green markets so it was a huge honor to be invited to do a cooking demo at one of them this past Saturday. I spent the week before going over everything with the market director and wandering around the various stalls, with their dizzying array of options, trying to decide what to make. For all the possibilities, though, my eyes kept coming back to the glorious display of apples.
When summer fruit season ends, I usually mourn until I hit the market and discover the autumn bounty of figs, apples and pears. Especially the pears. For out of hand, sweet juice dripping down your chin, eating, I'm partial to Bartletts. But for any cooking or baking, I turn to the slightly firmer Boscs. I also happen to think they're the prettiest. What? You don't think pears are pretty? Pfft.
I don't understand how it's nearly the middle of October already. And I certainly don't understand why this is my first pumpkin bread of the season. I normally like to greet the first nip in the air with the aroma of fresh baked pumpkin bread. Oh, well, still not to late.
Check out today's post on A Cocktail Life for this boozy dessert treat! Per Serving: 3 oz. Half & half or milk 2 Tablespoons cream cheese 1 1/2 oz. Vanilla vodka 1 1/2 oz. Unsweetened pumpkin puree 1 oz. Simple syrup 1/2 oz. Buttershots liqueur Pinch of cinnamon Tiny pinch of salt Crushed graham cracker for the rim
Place the crushed graham cracker in a shallow bowl. Rub a tiny bit of pumpkin puree along the rim of your cocktail glass and dip it into the cracker bowl. Refrigerate for a few minutes to set.
In a blender or small food processor, puree the milk, cream cheese, vodka, pumpkin, simple syrup, buttershots, cinnamon and salt. Pour into the prepared glass and keep in the refrigerator for approx. 15 minutes to cool and thicken.
Hey, was that a nip I just felt in the air? Is that quiet from the fact that the constant hum of the air conditioner has been turned off and the windows opened? This weekend was the first time this season that I wore a jacket and enjoyed warming up under my down comforter. I love summer and I tell myself I will hold onto it as long as possible but every year, the first chilly day, a leaf falling at my feet and a display of pumpkins sends me into a daze of autumn happiness. I love autumn!