Archive for the ‘eating’ Category

April showers

After a gorgeous day yesterday, and a sunny start this morning, it is now gray and rainy.  Luckily I got the bulk of my yard-tidying accomplished before the rain – although I had grand delusions of much more mulching and trimming.

Ah, spring.

I’ve definitely turned to spring eating – I just don’t want heavy food anymore.  Instead, I’m thinking salads.  We don’t have a lot of local supplies, yet, but I am starting to see micro greens and pea shoots as a welcome garnish on dishes.  As we wander through this season of transition, I’ve tried the following recipes which use pretty seasonal ingredients but feel lighter in taste:

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 Tahini Beets

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Spring Green Risotto

(and, no photo but this dish was really delicious)

Crispy Coconut Kale with Roasted Salmon and Coconut Rice

With the holidays coming up, I think I may back-track a little on my (lighter) spring eating so I can try some new recipes and enjoy some old favorites.

Someone was thinking what I’ve been thinking – I’m definitely trying this recipe for Bacon Matzo Brei.  I don’t think The Professor will mind this addition to our matzo brei tradition.  I will also make Matzo Brittle (or matzo crack…).  There will be nothing light about these Passover dishes.

I haven’t figured out my Easter eating, but it will include eggs.  Perhaps I will try a twist on eggs benedict (here or here) or head back to spring eating with this delicious-sounding Asparagus with Eggs and Parmesan.

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If you’re not up to cooking, you could just eat somewhere in town.

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Poached eggs over avocado  at Bonfiglio & Bread – I still do not tire of this dish.

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Or perhaps a simple hard-boiled egg and gougere at Swallow?

Obviously I’m into eggs.

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There are some interesting goings-on over the next month, in case you get tired of gardening or eating:

Saturday April 12 – Chocolate tasting of (Hudson local) Christopher Norman Chocolates, and wine from Fairview Wines at Verdigris Tea & Chocolate Bar, located at Warren & 2nd in Hudson NY.  5pm – 7pm. Taste.

Saturday April 12 – Dine/Art Gallery Stroll on Warren Street below 3rd Street.  Wander and enjoy art and tastes.  5pm – 8pm.  Taste again.

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Saturday April 19 – ThinkFOOD Conference: Culture / Studies / Sourcing at Bard College at Simon’s Rock in Great Barrington MA.  9:30am – 3pm. Think.

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Saturday April 26 or May 3? – Opening of Hudson Valley Distillers.  Applejack and vodka and (eventually) more! Check it out on Route 9 just south of Clermont. Tasting room hours to be announced.  Thirst.

Saturday April 26 and Sunday April 27 – TAP New York, a craft beer and food festival happens at Hunter Mountain in the Catskills. 1pm – 5pm on Saturday and 12pm – 4pm on Sunday.  Thirst again.

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Saturday May 3 – 4th Annual Ramp Fest Hudson 2014 at Basilica Hudson.  12pm – 4pm.  Trample.

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It’s still raining.  I’m just going to keep repeating: April Shower = May Flowers, April Shower = May Flowers, April Shower = May Flowers…

Such a week!

Some little tragedies…

…The biggest and most devastating one being the fire at Love Apple Farm out on 9H earlier this week.  I was very sorry to learn that the farm stand was destroyed and that they are now closed (early) for the winter.  No farmer can afford to lose 2 weeks of sales!  Hopefully they will be able to recover and rebuild, and we will seem them again next summer.

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That makes my personal tragedy this week seem so petty.

I came home on Thursday night to find a dead mouse in my kitchen.  Yes, this was my personal tragedy –  this former farm girl does NOT do well with mice. As in, I was near hysteria. Cockroaches – fine, spiders – fine. I am not fine with mice.  And it was late at night and there was no one I could disturb at that hour to remove the thing. Luckily the next morning the cavalry came, and I worked all day to “re-claim” my kitchen space.  While several people in Hudson now know one of my serious issues and think I’m a lunatic, I survived.

Having my favorite breakfast helped too.

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The next little tragedy of the week?  No pierogies!

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We were talking just this morning about the pierogi sale we had stumbled upon, quite happily, last winter and so today I wandered – and lo and behold I found this sign.  However, only those smart enough to pre-order were getting food since at that point they were pretty much sold out.  The next sale will be at Easter; mark your calendars!

This little bump in the road (as far as my weekend eating is concerned) was balanced out by my fabulous finds at the latest Trash & Treasure sale at St. Mary’s, which continues on today and tomorrow.  I often find a little this or that at the sales, and usually (if my wallet is lucky) it’s only a game being sold for 50 cents.  Today, however, I acquired a new Pyrex pie dish for $1 and this lovely new cookbook for only $2!

Image 2Everyone can use this kind of positive affirmation.

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On to the real purpose of the moment: cooking and eating, of course!

This morning was the final outdoor market of the season for the Hudson Farmers’ Market.  The sun was gorgeous but that wind was cutting, no?  I shopped for the upcoming week which will include an entire meal consisting of latkes (Thanksgivukkah!), a huge Thanksgiving meal with friends as well as lots of baking and comfort food.  I think I bought a little of everything.  I was in denial of the changing of the season for so long, and now I’m embracing it with lots of potatoes, squash, kale, apples, etc.

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This weekend is dedicated to making pie crusts and testing new recipes for nibbles and all sorts of scandalous treats.  Last night, as part of my “re-claiming”, I tried a new recipe for Whiskey Pecan Caramel Corn – it’s a keeper.  A couple of notes in case you decided that you also need this treat and you haven’t made lots of caramel corn in the past.  1. The caramel really needs to get to 300 degrees, which is hard-crack stage.  You have to be brave and know that while the caramel at the edges is quickly becoming very dark brown and you’re thinking you will have burnt nothingness, if you take it off the heat as soon as it reaches 300 degrees you’ll be fine.  2. Rather than use 2 baking pans, I prefer to use a huge roasting pan (so big that it never fit in my NYC oven…).  My pan has 2-3 inch sides which makes it much easier to turn the caramel corn as you bake it.  And finally, 3.  When you take it out of the oven, keep stirring!  Stir the caramel corn every couple of minutes as it cools as you can break it into smaller clumps more easily this way.  You could always let it cool as a big clump and then break it up, but you would have naked non-caramel-covered popcorn bits, and who wants that?

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Thinking ahead…

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Next weekend there is no farmers’ market – they are taking a (well-deserved!) one-weekend break  and opening up again indoors at the church on Union and North 4th December 7th.  But we have a new gathering this one weekend only: Basilica Farm & Flea.  It promises to be big and fun. You will need to walk off all those latkes and turkey sandwiches, and why not do it while supporting more of our local area producers?  I’m hoping to find delectable food things, and maybe even a Christmas present for Mom.

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And then that brings us to Winter Walk 2013 on Saturday December 7th from 5pm – 8pm .  Winter Walk is always lovely and festive, and crowded, and usually the coldest day of the year.  Bundle up, and make sure you don’t miss the eggnog challenge.

Good grief, that means it’s winter.

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Happy cooking and eating as we celebrate the festival of lights and the feast of abundance. Enjoy!

how quickly things change

We had a beautiful full harvest moon on Wednesday.  Which means harvest (duh) and that means it’s fall.  I love this time of year!

I’m still busy eating salads with the amazing produce we have available at our market.  One day our salad was sliced heirloom tomatoes, sprinkled with a little salt and pepper and topped with a lovely burrata (from Vermont, and purchased at Samascott’s Garden Market).  Milky cheese and tomatoes – perfect on a hot sunny day.

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Have you tried the smoked trout available at the Hudson Farmers’ Market?
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I love it!  I’ve used it to make Smoked Trout dip which is rich and creamy and very more-ish.  Local Valatie gardener/man of taste Kevin Lee Jacobs from A Garden for the House suggests a similar sounding Smoked Trout on Toast.  Both of these dishes are great for a chilly evening.  But one of my favorite uses so far has been in a smoked trout salad.  It is simple, allowing all the ingredients to just taste delicious, using a recipe like this.

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As I do at this time every year, I am avoiding winter squashes and roasting roots and potatoes.  And I have yet to buy apples.  We have soooooo much time for that, and it’s right around the corner.  So eat your plums and nectarines and tomatoes before we bid adieu for another season.

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Are you going to Olanafest?  It’s happening tonight, September 21st from 5 – 7pm: a celebration of food, art and farming.  I think we are getting the schmancy kind of fancy up here, don’t you?

eat the farm

If you really want to taste farm to table, more than what is available at so many of the restaurants in Hudson,  you should look into Eat the Farm #2 next month.  It’s at the farm.  Chef Hugh Horner of Restaurant Helsinki cooks a meal entirely from the offerings of Holmquest Farms on Spook Rock Road.  The first one sold out in July; the October 10th happening will likely be the last for the season.  You can’t get more local than that.

But just when I think that there will be no more food events for the season in our area, along comes Basilica Hudson.

farm and fleaBasilica Farm & Flea is happening over Thanksgiving weekend, and they promise FOOD, vintage, art, design, culture.  I think this will be worth a look-see.

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Autumnal Equinox is tomorrow.  So, enough with the distractions – go back to your cooking and your gardening.  There is so much to do this time of year, and so much to eat!  Put away some ratatouille, and tomato sauce and maybe a fruit jam or two.  You’ll thank yourself later.

trying to unitask

I’m currently making my way through Michael Pollan’s latest book, Cooked, as he explores the 4 basic elements (fire, water, air, earth) that humans utilize when cooking in order to nourish themselves.  I find myself particularly inspired by something he says toward the end of the water section:

“…the opportunity to work with my hands – with all my senses, in fact – is always a welcome change of pace, whether in the kitchen or in the garden.  There’s something about such work that seems to alter the experience of time, helps me to reoccupy the present tense.  I don’t want you to get the idea it’s made a Buddhist of me, but in the kitchen, maybe a little bit.  When stirring the pot, just stir the pot…. Unitasking.”

How very Ram Dass.

But it spoke to me because my head was still spinning from yesterday’s conference call where I was trying to talk about the importance of social media to engage (my work) community, only to be told several times that this or that was against policy, and that I couldn’t use images or connect with certain people and there’s this policy, etc.  When I finally suggested that it would be more helpful to tell me what I could do, I got my own words spun back at me, but nothing more.  Essentially, I was speaking to people who do not exist in our current social society.

Which made this Dilbert cartoon that a colleague had given me several years ago resonate even more – even though my name isn’t Beth, and the person who kept telling me everything was against policy is named Beth…

I digress.

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2a8955900cca11e3855722000aa800e1_7I decided to practice being present by baking, which is always good for my soul.  I wanted to try a recipe for chocolate zucchini bread – as I’ve been intrigued by the combination since I found Clotilde and her blog, Chocolate & Zucchini.  Just try to look at her site and not get sucked in for hours dreaming of future meals…  But this recipe did not come from Clotilde but instead from (gasp) Better Homes & Gardens.  Yet another sign that I’m becoming old.

b029e4ce0ccc11e3a39822000a9e0344_7And so I measured and chopped and shredded and mixed.   Everything went according to plan (meaning, according to the recipe) and out of the oven came 3 gorgeous little loaves.  And then I went to melt the chocolate to drizzle on top of the loaves.  I was obviously no longer present, as I put chocolate in a pan, over high heat, and left the room.

I worked all afternoon to get the smell of burnt chocolate out of the house.

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Inspired by the idea of going to Hudson Food Studio tonight, but then too lazy to go, I decided it had to be summer rolls for dinner.

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they did not actually look this green in real life

I’ve decided the whole purpose of summer rolls is really just to serve as a conveyance for peanut sauce.  Yum. There are a million recipes out there (I seem to have half of them on one of my Pinterest boards) but I used this recipe as a loose (very loose) guideline.  I used tamari in my peanut sauce because that’s what I had, but I would suggest using a low sodium soy sauce instead.  I thought I wouldn’t be able to find rice paper in our little town, but Olde Hudson has that as well as a number of other Asian cooking necessities.  And you can find all the vegetables you need at the Hudson Farmers’ Market.  Or, you could just go to Hudson Food Studio and have a tasty meal prepared by someone else.

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I’m not sure that I’m feeling any more centered.  I may have to try more baking tomorrow.

catching up…

My brain has melted.

Or drowned – hasn’t it been a crazy hot/rainy summer?

That’s my only attempt at an excuse for not writing for so long.  Well, the brain has been fried by the heat of summer, and huge upcoming life changes and watching the veeeeeeeery slow progress as my house moves from a peely-paint house to a lovely crisp clean abode.  It’s such an improvement that my electrician says that it will raise the assessments for the  entire neighborhood.  Sorry neighbors!

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I intended to have a garden…  However, my harvest this year was garlic scapes.  And I cut those too late, leading to my second harvest, the tiniest heads of garlic I’ve ever seen.  I’ve got them curing in the basement, but I have a feeling I will be buying garlic from the farmers’ market…

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I’ve visited a couple of restaurants in the attempt to escape our very un-air-conditioned house.

I love going to Bonfiglio & Bread for mushroom toast or the poached egg bowl (how do you describe it?) for breakfast, and even on days where the breakfast chef isn’t there, the kouign-ammans are de-lish.  I’ll be there when they open up again on Saturday the 17th.  I hope they’re poaching eggs that day.  Relish Hudson is also a great option for breakfast – really nice egg sandwich variations.  And I love sitting in the window on a quiet morning, gazing at our cute Amtrak station.

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The Hudson Food Studio is our newest option for dinner and really helps round out the cuisine available in town.  Sam Pratt wrote a nice review of the place here.

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Many days I have no desire to prepare food (what?) and if it’s super hot, it’s ice cream for dinner.  Lick has saved me from a melt-down more than once.  One of my new favorite desserts does take some cooking (baking the crust and making the blueberry sauce on the stove top – best done earlier in the day), but this blueberry ice-cream pie will make anyone happy.  I found the recipe while searching for gluten-free recipes when a dear friend was coming to visit, and I halved the sugar called for in the recipe to make it more friendly for those who watch their sugar intake.  It’s just delicious.  And who doesn’t need ice-cream pie?

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For the most part I’ve been enjoying the bounty of our season and very often don’t do more than wash, peel (if necessary), cut up and eat.  This weekend, however, I found myself with a load of blueberries along with a half of a cantaloupe, and then I bought a couple of pounds of doughnut peaches and plums.  Too much goodness!  I solved this (partially) by attempting a recipe for blueberry refrigerator jam - success!  If you’re not into canning, and I’m not, this is a jam for you.  So is David Lebovitz’s No Recipe Cherry Jam which I’ve made numerous times.  And I haven’t tried this recipe yet but it looks just as easy:  Triple berry quick jam.

Dinner the past two nights has been corn on the cob, just barely boiled, plus some of the above-mentioned fruit.  Don’t you love corn season?  Maybe I’ll have the desire to cook something a little more elaborate next weekend – but I’m not complaining if I have to eat more corn.

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Coming up!

Copake Falls Day on Saturday August 17th – I’m very excited about this as Margaret from A Way to Garden opens up her garden for Garden Conservancy Open Day and I love to wander around and imagine it’s my yard.  Maybe next year.   The Fabulous Beekman Boys will be there for a lecture/breakfast/book signing. Copake Falls, just this side of the border with Massachusetts.

Dutchess County Fair -  August 20th – August 25th – rides! fried foods!  Dutchess County Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck

Columbia County Fair – August 28 – September 2 – a classic county fair.  Columbia County Fairgrounds in Chatham

Taste of Hudson on Saturday September 7th, 11am – 2pm – don’t be silly and think you’ll get any food at 2pm.  Think early, people!  Warren Street below 3rd Street.

Hudson Valley Wine & Food Fest on Saturday September 7th and Sunday September 8th – one of the biggest area extravaganzas.  Dutchess County Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck

goodness

Since I’m just back from vacation, I’m happy to be back in my kitchen.  However, I’ve been reading (a lot) about a particular eating space that has just opened up…  and as soon as I wish to splash out a little, I know where I want to go.

Fish & Game: An Ode to Hudson’s Tasty Past in Rural Intelligence

Where Basic Ingredients Rule in the New York Times

Zak Pelaccio Cutting the Fat, Glazing Turnips Instead in the New York Observer

Straight from the field to the plate in the Times Union

Our Man in Hudson in A Cook Blog (Edible Hudson Valley)

Perhaps once the fuss dies down a bit?

eating elsewhere

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the rooftops of Jerusalem

I was out of town for a couple of weeks, and as usual, eating. While we went to some gorgeous places for dinners, the lunches were my favorite.

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a spread at a restaurant in the Muslim quarter

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fish at a restaurant in Jaffa

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I always love dessert

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goats milk yogurt and cheeses at Nataf, in the hills outside of Jerusalem

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falafel with pesto and goat cheese

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eggplant and garlic pizza in Tivron, north of Haifa

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borekas

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more borekas, and some turkish delight

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The Levinski market in Tel Aviv on Fridays was fantastic

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dried fruit

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favorite garenim: sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds

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spices

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more nuts and seeds

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a corner shop at the Levinski Market

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We definitely should have spent more time here…

As beautiful as all of this was, I am happy to be back in my kitchen again.  What are you cooking these days?

foraging for a festival

Ramps are about to become an endangered species:

rampfest2013_logoThe 3rd Annual Ramp Fest is happening Saturday, May 4, 2013 from 12 – 4pm.  Chefs from Hudson, the Hudson Valley and NYC will participate by making all sorts of lovely tastes featuring ramps.  Don’t be crazy and show up at 3pm – you will not eat.  I am devastated that I will be out-of-town that day.  Since at the previous two fests I seemed to try everything at least twice, that means that there is more food for you.

sigh.

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I will have to do my own foraging.  I once thought I had found *a* ramp under a tree in our yard – but I am quite sure that whatever I found was not edible.  We can usually find ramps at the Hudson Farmers’ Market, but they’re not out yet (it’s too cold).  However, I consistently find dandelion greens in my ever-so-organic lawn (meaning, I don’t do anything more than mow it).  Last year I tossed dandelion greens with a simple vinaigrette and it made a great crostini.

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This year I think I may try a dandelion soup with chives from a recipe I found on Chefs Consortium – it looks lovely and sophisticated.  Once I uncover my garden from its lasagna garden layering and let the sun shine through, I will surely have purslane and that often makes a nice little side salad.

The anticipation that accompanies Spring is sometimes overwhelming, no?

reading and eating

Officially it’s Spring but it’s still cold outside, and I haven’t seen the self-serve spinach stand pop up at Eger Brothers (corner of 23rd/9/10 just outside of Hudson).  However, it feels like things are really heating up, at least online.

This weekend the thing to do is go to Verdigris Tea & Chocolate Bar for their latest chocolate tasting – and this is a chocolate and chocolate tea tasting!  Hmmm….  curious.  The tasting is Saturday 3/30 at 5pm at Verdigris, 135 Warren Street.  Call ahead, just in case – I would hate to steer you wrong.

If you haven’t yet bought your Easter candy, head now to Vasilow’s Confectionery, who recently had a nice feature in the Daily Freeman.  I’m always torn between the malt balls and the great variety of licorice…

Haven’t you been curious about Verdigris’ former space at South 3rd?  Michael Davis of 3FortySeven gives us the scoop on what’s been happening inside the future Fish & Game.

And while Zak Pelaccio and Lady Jayne are working out the details on Fish & Game restaurant, he wrote a great guide to eating and doing in Hudson.

The Crimson Sparrow has gotten a couple of great mentions lately, in the Times Union and in Chronogram.  And they’re involved in a friendly face-off with Berkshire chefs in the ChefX Dinners, happening April 7 at Crimson Sparrow with Berkshire chefs, and April 29 in Great Barrington featuring Hudson restuarants The Crimson Sparrow, Helsinki Hudson, Grazin Diner, Swoon Kitchenbar and Local 111 (from Philmont and YAY for a female chef!!!).

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I’ve eaten my matzo brie and matzo crack, and it’s about time for hot cross buns and way too much Easter candy…

and so we begin again…

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Where did December (or the year) go?

December 1st started off with a lovely little snow, introducing the beginning of holiday baking as well as our latest Winter Walk.

Recipes I tried this month included shortbread with white chocolate/pistachios/cranberries, toffee, pfeffernusse (still looking for the perfect recipe), gingersnap/rumballs, pumpkin bread, pumpkin bourbon cheesecake, pumpkin soufflés with bourbon molasses sauce (see a theme here?), chocolate peppermint cookies (like pepperminty brownies), and a simple chocolate glazed chocolate tart. I feel like I’m forgetting something.  And yes, I tasted/ate all of these.  That sounds scary when I actually write it down.

We had latkes on the first and last nights of Hannukah.  I can never have too many latkes and thankfully Passover is spread over 8 crazy nights

I took a trip to the great Northwest where I was rained on a lot, and drank far too many lattes.  I also bought yet more cookbooks at Powell’s.

We survived the end of the world with no excitement whatsoever.

And we survived the Christmas gift exchange  getting no scary gifts (trust me, it was a close call).

The winter weather makes me want more comfort food.  This usually means some sort of cheesy carb fest, but instead I’m roasting some nice acorn squash and drizzling with a garlicky peppery vinaigrette before serving on simple rice.  I think I need a little new eating, to at least make up for any excesses this past month.  Or to allow space for the new excesses to come.

In the new year I’m looking forward to trying more new savory dishes, although I will continue to bake bake bake.  I have a monster butternut squash just staring at me, daring me to come up with something other than roasted winter vegetables.  I’m also looking forward to Zak Pelaccio‘s Fish & Game restaurant opening up on South 3rd, sometime in the new year.  I may need to get a 2nd job (and an exercise routine) to support my eating in Hudson.  I wonder what else might open up in our little  town of eaters?

And so we begin again…

Happy New Year’s!

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