I have never been one to shy away from the festivities of Valentine’s Day. Oh, I know, it’s nice to show those you love affection year-round…of course. But I’m always up for a celebration, and if it involves chocolate and pops of red and pink against the bleak midwinter grays, you can count me in.
This year I was looking for something simple but elegant that I could make for a few special people, as well as for B and I to enjoy with our bottle of Hellbender port (a favorite dessert wine we discovered on a wine tasting at Red Newt Cellars last summer) that we’ve been saving for V-day. Truffles immediately came to mind — they’re quick to make (basically just ganache that you chill and roll into balls), look pretty in a box or on a plate, and can be flavored any way you please.
For the past three years, my friend Emily and I have gathered at each other’s houses in December for a blitz of holiday baking: about six hours of sugar stirring, dough-wrangling, chocolate spreading and general confectionary bliss. It’s fabulous.
We usually aim for a mix of tried-and-true hits along with a few new recipes: this year, the hitlist included gingerbread caramels, mocha toffee bars, peanut brittle with fleur de sel, hot cocoa blocks.…and this unbelievably delicious mix of subtly sweet, spicy and smoky nuts (they’re from Ina – so I knew before I even made them that they’d be a hit!) These – THESE – were the hit of the day.
We are in full-on baking blitz mode here in the Eggs on Sunday household. December usually finds me whirring around the kitchen surrounded by puffs of flour and drips of chocolate, but this year, I have a little 2-year-old elf to help me, which makes it even more fun! (Though the clean-up factor is dramatically increased.)
I’ve been trying to involve her when I bake this holiday season, which usually means that the recipes I choose are fairly easy and have some type of hands-on step in which she can participate. These chocolate mint crackles, from the December issue of Martha Stewart magazine, fit the bill: mix them up in a single bowl (no need for even an electric mixer), roll them into balls, and roll the balls in powdered sugar. Read more…
Well hello! Long time no blog. In late September, my beloved Macbook died a painful death — hard drive permanently ka-put. But while I was terribly sad to see it go, I am warming up quite nicely to its successor (hellooooo, Macbook Pro. You are so sleek, so fast, so lovely!) But, it meant a longer hiatus from blogging than intended, as I scrambled to recover — unsuccessfully — a batch of recent food photos.
So now I’m making a fresh start with my new, sleek laptop, and I’ve finally gotten my act together to tell you about one of our new favorite weeknight meals: honey-mustard chicken with thyme. It’s a classic combination that I’ve made endless times, tweaking and streamlining the recipe method along the way. One of the realities I’ve had to come to terms with since having a child is that honestly, I just don’t have hours and hours to tinker around in the kitchen anymore with finicky recipes. At least for the time being, the name of the game around here is delicious food with a minimum of fuss.
One of Miss A’s favorite things to do with me is help prepare meals. Now, granted, she’s only just about 2 – so this mainly entails stirring, mixing, pouring, and washing vegetables under my hawk-eyed supervision. But when I hear her little voice chime “I want to help mommy cookin’!,” I pull out the step stool and find her favorite spatula, and we get to work.
Let’s take a little departure here from super-seasonal foods to talk about granola bars. Considering the fact that they’re the perfect back-to-school lunchbox treat (or heck, mid-afternoon coffee-break-at-work treat), it’s a great time to try making a homemade batch.
I’ve been searching for years for a good homemade granola bar recipe. When I was in college, I went through a period where I was hooked on Nature Valley Oat & Honey bars, but I started to get frustrated with how easily they’d crumble into a mess of oats with the slightest bump in your backpack. My tastes have changed with age, too — I can’t stomach the intense sweetness of the commercial chewy brands anymore. Many of the recipes I’d tried didn’t hold together well, or seemed better suited to crumbling into yogurt as granola… Read more…
Late last week, while digging through my fridge for something unrelated, I discovered a pile of zucchini and yellow squash that I’d (oops) forgotten about from the previous weeks’ CSA share. I know most people get pretty sick of the green squash when August rolls around, but as my garden crop has yet to be harvested (I was waaaaay late in planting this year), we’ve been eating zucchini at a pretty steady pace this summer and not yet tiring of it.
We like zucchini a number of different ways in our house — zucchini with parmesan is a favorite side dish of mine — but the steady volume we’ve been receiving this summer has “encouraged” me to branch out a bit. With a 20-month old at the table, you can bet that pasta is regularly on the menu, and this recipe was a huge hit with all of us.
My 18-month old daughter LOVES strawberries, to the point of obsession. Every mealtime, our conversation goes something like this:
Me: “Okay, Miss A, time for lunch!”
A: “sta-WAH-bewwies? More sta-WAH-bewwies!”
Me: “No, we’re not having strawberries right now. Let’s have a sandwich first.”
A: “San-wich. I like it!…MORE sta-WAH-bewwies?”
Seriously, it’s gotten to the point where I have to consume my strawberries in secret, lest we have another meltdown when the strawberries are gone. Good thing we planted a few rows of strawberry plants in our garden for next year!
In the meantime, we’ve been reveling in June’s strawberry harvest: In the past month, I’ve consumed more strawberry shortcake than I can remember eating in a long time. We’ve had it in smoothies, tossed into salads, on cereal, in oatmeal, stirred into yogurt, over pancakes, and (perhaps my favorite) in this easier-than-pie strawberry ice cream.