On my way to Spain to finish up my Master’s degree, I fell prey to one of my great weaknesses: buying everything in sight at the airport. When you travel alone internationally, you really don’t have many other choices. You are required to show up hours early then wander around the terminals amidst happy displays of tourist gear and snacks, bars and miniature shopping centers. So I’ve now started budgeting my time in the airport into my travel spending plans. Know thyself.
This time around, I impulse bought the Gourmet Magazine Holiday Special. I was in love with Gourmet Magazine, then they shut down. So when I saw that familiar calligraphy on the stand while I bought my anti-ear-squeeze gum for the plane, I snatched it up without an ounce of remorse. Totally worth it. It’s a compendium of holiday favorites from years past, and since I came to the game late, a lot of the recipes are new to me, though not all.
One of the recipes was for a delicious eggnog and cranberry cheesecake, which I attempted as my first every cheesecake. Visually, it was a disaster. But the flavor came out so beautifully, it’s already queued up as my next attempt – I’ll post it then. But what did come out beautifully was the cranberry jam component, which ended up doing double duty as our cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving. It was so good, I snatched up the cranberries when they went on sale to stick in the freezer for future batches. I did jazz it up ever so slightly, but this is a soul-warmingly good balance of tart and sweet and perfect for any winter table, holiday feast or otherwise.
Continue reading ‘Cranberrry sauce – not just for turkey’
I’m still slogging through my backlog of pictures from the holidays. Next up is Alida’s and my second annual biscotti bake-a-thon. Just to be clear – this is separate from the cookie party. Last year we made biscotti on a whim and then handed it out as Christmas presents, and this year my stepmother specifically requested them, so that was easy.
Hello, I am biscotti. You know you love me.
With the rise of the coffee shop, biscotti are venturing out of obscurity and into ubiquity. When they pop up in bags at your local grocery chain, you know something has gone mainstream. Before I go about making something from scratch, I often weigh whether or not it would be easier or tastier for me to buy it at a store, compel someone else to make it for me, or go to a restaurant. I think that biscotti truly deserve to grace your kitchen, because of two main reasons: 1) they are easy and 2) I don’t like the gum-scratching shattery biscotti that are mass produced. If I make them myself, I can underbake them slightly and enjoy a more sensuous cookie that still holds itself up to my caffe latte.
Continue reading ‘Belated biscotti’
Well, my big plan was to post a how-to on pie crust after making 5 for Thanksgiving, but unfortunately I’ve been afflicted with a glitch on the memory card of the camera I was using. Hopefully I can get that sorted out before Christmas.
But let’s turn away from digital mishaps and towards what’s really on all our minds: Holy crap I have to assemble Christmas presents. Yes, there are still two or three weeks left, but I have finals, so if I don’t plan NOW, those presents around going to get shoved into a three day rush to assemble everything.
Second thing that pops into my mind: Holy crap I have no money. Nobody does! Because of the total systemic break down of our global economy, luxurious presents are one of the many casualties scattered in the wake of our scramble to keep our lives together. And really, it’s not something to get too broken up about, because there are great, cheap(er) ways to check everyone off your list, from your friend’s friend who you don’t really remember their name but they’ll be showing up at that party to your neighbor who refuses to cut their lawn to people you actually want to give a gift to.
I’ve decided to give everyone booze. Holidays make people drink anyways, so why not aid and abet? By investing in some shockingly large bottles of alcohol (thanks to my mother’s trip to Nevada, where the liquor taxes are MUCH lower than Washington’s) and some small jars scrounged from Goodwill, I have a gift that can be divvied up and spread around.
Continue reading ‘Christmas time is here…’
Published November 6, 2009
Food , Recipes
Tags: Cake, Cranberry, Pear
Midterms may be the unholiest of unholies. Well, that’s most definitely an exaggeration, but when you are in the middle of the stink pit, it’s hard to remember that you have been in stinkier places. What to do when you are up to your elbows in WTO agreements, annuity formulas, and other mind-mushingly boring bits of paper?
Replace the funk of midterms with tasty scents: cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove. Oh yes: Desa bakes a cake to deal with stress. Not necessarily eats the cake, but bakes it, admires it’s beauty, then calls up all her friends to gather, bitch and moan, and THEN eat the cake. Guilt isn’t so bitter when shared; it becomes decadently delicious as more shoulders bear the load.
But which cake to make? I knew that I couldn’t handle anything too complicated because my mind had been macerated like so many limes at a mojito bar, but I wanted something new and exciting to distract me from all the catch up studying I had yet to do. In my tizzy, I turned to Gourmet, my monthly descent into food snobbery and whose demise I’m still mourning. I decided to mark its passing by cooking up something from it’s final issue. Still yet feeling lazy, I looked around my kitchen and my eyes fell upon the pears that came in our organic produce box and rejoiced in the lack of shopping I’d have to do if I made the Pear Cranberry Cake from the Final November Issue (pause for labored sigh of pain).
Put down your pencils and pick up your forks.
Continue reading ‘Midterm Madness Coffee Cake’