Has anyone acclimated to post-Christmas mode yet? Every year it amazes me how something that takes weeks to prepare for can pass by in what seems like a matter of minutes. I don't know about you, but for me this is kind of a bittersweet time of year. The Holidays are such gracious hosts, introducing us to the snow and the cold, and making everything festive and harmonious. But like a fleeting will-o'-the-wisp, they disappear all too soon, leaving behind all their belongings and a lingering fragrance. The one thing the Holidays do take away with them is the truce between Winter and myself. Winter and I are suddenly left alone together, and without the diplomacy of the holidays, it's only a matter of time before the gloves come off and we turn on each other.
Merry day-after Christmas! I hope that everyone had a happy, safe, dessert-filled holiday and that your medicine cabinets are well-stocked with antacids. Because of any potential sugar-induced coma's, I was going to hold off on sharing this recipe, but I just can't wait. Besides, you still have a few self-indulgent days left before the guilt-ridden new year hits. And trust me, this monkey bread is worth having to undo that top button...again.
Tuesdays with Dorie: Ginger Crumb Cake
This week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was chosen by Jill, of Jill's blog. Thank you Jill, for choosing something which I may not have wanted to try myself, but which proved to be a nice surprise. The original recipe is actually called Cardamom crumb cake, but the only cardamom I had was old...very old. I realized this as I tried to break the primordial force that was sealing the jar shut. Never one to back down from a challenge, I finally removed the lid only to discover clumps of pasty powder.
The comforting aroma of brown butter, especially during cold wintry days, is the culinary equivalent of your favourite over sized-sweater...the one that comes down to the knees and can be worn over leggings (mine is grey, and nubby, and super-warm.) When I'm freezing, I can't wait to throw it on, sit on the sofa, and curl my legs up into it. The scent of Brown butter makes me feel the same way.
Limoncello Cream Cheese Tartelettes
Did you know that food can teach us a little bit about ourselves? Really, it can. Think about your favourite flavour, it can be sweet or savory. Now ask yourself why you like that particular taste-what is it about that flavour that keeps you coming back for more, and do those reasons co relate to who you are or what you're looking for? For example: I crave lemons and limes. They're airy, bright, and spontaneous. I'm controlled, precise, and deliberate. So to me, they taste like happiness, because happiness for me is being able to let it all go...and to be ok about doing it.
Peanut Butter Mocha-Maple Brownies
When you just want to relax, pull out the stretchy pants and indulge in something rich and satisfying, I can't think of anything more suitable than a brownie (or three...who's counting?) Especially when the brownie is laced with peanut butter. Dark chocolate and peanut butter are deliciously deadly, the Bonnie and Clyde of the confectionery world. Lethal, dangerous and undeniably, irresistibly intriguing. I would mar my perfect record and do time for these.
During visits to relatives in Avignon as a child, if I'd had even the slightest inkling that their rooftop tiles inspired these cookies, I would have been climbing up the walls like a monkey and clinging to the eaves like a famished koala bear (you should see the way I've learned to scamper up my mom's high-shelved farmers cabinets in search of a rogue tart pan.)
When someone asks me if I'll make something for them to bring to a party, it's like asking a fish if it would like to go for a swim. Really, you don't have to be nervous about asking. The only string I attach is some time and space for picture taking (without the eye rolling/complaining/looking over my shoulder to see if I'm done.) I think that's a fair deal. Plus it gives me an excuse to make things that I may not have wanted to reattempt after a series of let-downs...such as these cupcakes.
Dear summer, It's been fun but I think it's time to let go and start seeing other seasons and countries. This just isn't a healthy relationship anymore. You're always giving me the silent treatment, I'm always angry...still trying to make you happy by wearing the flip-flops and shorts that brought us so many great times. So please, go do your thing at the other end of the equator, and I'll begin to move on. Fall looks interested, and I've had a few random reminders from the mysteriously aloof Winter that he'll be in town shortly. Let's just make this a smooth, drama-free, break. We'll see how we feel in six months.
Your fickle, fair-weather friend, Valerie.♥