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cherries are more patriotic

By on Jul 7, 2013 in baking, dessert, fruit | 1 comment

I needed to make a pie. The farmer’s market was in full swing.  The 4th of July was upon us. If I followed the saying “as American as apple pie,” well… I would be out of luck. You see, this is the Midwest. Apples are still tiny little hard things dangling from craggy branches. Cherries. Cherries are in season. And yes, I could go to the grocery store and find some sad apples that were trucked in from thousands of miles away, but I would rather support my local farmer, and notably cherries are red, and the word “red” is even in our national anthem. Need I say more? Why yes, yes I do. There once was a time in our history where the government actually encouraged people to grow their own food for the greater good of the whole country. Victory Gardens from WWI and WWII. Yes, of course, agribusiness was made very nervous by these, and reportedly they did...

salt of the caramel earth

By on May 1, 2013 in dessert | 0 comments

    I like bourbon. Good bourbon. The velvet smooth kind with a woody subtle sweetness that glides down the throat and makes you wish you were sitting in an overstuffed red leather wingback chair. I try to find reasons to sneak it into cooking, because good bourbon adds a splash of 80-proof joy to whatever you are making. And one grey spring day, when the rain lashing against the windows, begging you to stare balefully out the window while sipping a small splash of distilled rye, I decided it was time to try one more time. There is a small grocery store in my neighborhood that caters to primarily locally sourced food. This does not mean farmer’s market. This is a place chock full of custom made frilly flavored nuts, marshmallows, candies, kombucha, anything you can think of, all for a pretty penny. And I would argue deservedly so, given what goes into making these things. But...

lemony bitchet cookies

By on Jan 8, 2013 in baking, dessert, experimenting, fail... or not | 0 comments

I know, I know… “lemony bitchet cookies? What the heck do you mean?” Well, obviously there is some reference to the delightful children’s books by the fictional Lemony Snicket wherein an unfortunate batch of orphaned siblings battle and endless string of disappointments, but still I know you are thinking, “yes, yes, but isn’t that a rather lame name for a cookie? Isn’t that a little bit much of a stretch?” And I would agree. Except it was catchy sounding and more, shall we say, ‘family-friendly’ than the alternative title I gave them. Which was “When life gives you lemons… well fuck you” cookies. Uncensored. Because who are those three asterisks after the ‘f’ really going to fool? And why, you ask? Well therein lies the story. We all know the phrase “When life gives you lemons, make...

blackberries and basil

By on Jul 29, 2012 in baking, dessert, dinner, experimenting, fruit | 0 comments

I am deeply suspicious of anyone who claims to know exactly what they want. Is it what they want right then? What they think they are supposed to want? What they wanted ten years ago but never got and are still telling themselves they want it? Does it take into account the myriad situations life throws at you that might make you reconsider everything you know? And if you achieve exactly what you want… what next? And what do you do if you can’t get what you want? Do you listen to the Rolling Stones, who sing that you can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you get what you need? In the fluidity of our everyday existence, there is always uncertainty. And uncertainty is an excellent pairing for food. Yesterday morning I found myself finally with the time and means to go to the farmer’s market proper (a big one with multiple vendors, not the single...

crispy sweet childhood

By on Dec 6, 2011 in baking, dessert, love | 0 comments

Crispy, buttery sweet dough cradles the dense chew and subtle grassiness of whole oats. Chocolate chips hide coquettishly amongst the oats, batting creamy eyelashes at the small warm bits of pecan that lie sleepily in the nooks and crannies. Joy has already been found in the slicking of the dough from beaters and fingers as haphazard piles of dough, made spiky with the whole oats, get dropped onto a waiting cookie sheet. The joy compounds when the cookies emerge, freshly baked and smelling of happiness, from the oven. There are those who swear by a chewy cookie, those who swear by a crispy, and who am I to argue with either? This is not an adherence to a strict line of cookie ethos. This is an attempt to return to the beloved cookies of my youth, the ones from before I knew about (rudimentary) baking chemistry, real butter, and parchment paper, when all that mattered was that Mom...

a little tipple of cookie

By on Nov 7, 2011 in baking, dessert | 2 comments

Chocolate. Cookies. Does this bring to mind treacly sweet sandwich cookies of youth? Patently flatly sweet delights meant to be dunked and eaten with great haste before someone took them away? Likely. Or maybe it is a reminder of the cookie so often found even at bakeries, with sugar content so high as to make the teeth ache at the mere thought of them, no longer hold any great appeal. Or maybe… just maybe… there should be a cookie just for grown-ups. One not to be dunked in milk and slurped down in haste, but to be savored. A cookie that gives cause to linger over each bite, delicately plucking up the bits that have crumbled off, leaving no crumb behind. A cookie that is soft, dark, chewy without being dense, yet teases at the edges with the subtle crunch of turbinado sugar. A cookie that sinks down into the chocolate, rolls around with deep round sugary notes just to take...