Yuzu Meringue Pie

Yuzu Meringue Pie

Per usual, January is dragging her feet and we have been playing this game of tug-o-war where I pull for the days 'til spring to go by faster and she pulls it the other way with days of immense fog and chilling cold.

So, I make pie.

Actually I made this in November, the week before Thanksgiving on a peaceful Sunday afternoon where a friend and I made three of these pies. We juiced a lot of yuzu which yielded so much more juice than the ones from last year and waited forever for the crust to fully bake (it could have used more time, though) and I whisked a triple of the below filling until my shoulder and bicep ached but my stomach rumbled from the tart smell of citrus. 

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Ratatouille

Ratatouille

Like Remy's from the Ratatouille movie.

The first time I made ratatouille was during my sophomore year in college. I was pretty new to cooking at that point and hadn't quite discovered my passion for food. I had a few friends over and they enthusiastically suggested making ratatouille. I don't exactly remember how it tasted but I do recall the joy in putting it together amongst the company of friends. 

The second time I made ratatouille was again with friends where we arranged it in a similar manner as above. However, I've never made it with a mandoline. Obviously, a mandoline christening requires something like ratatouille to be made. I have found that a mandoline works very well for more firm vegetables like zucchini and summer squash. It also works well for peppers but the eggplant was a bit too squishy to yield whole slices all of the time. That was okay because it was all going to be cooked together in the end and the slicing did make the process a lot faster. 

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Nutella Brown Butter Rice Krispie Treats

Nutella Brown Butter Rice Krispie Treats

And the treats continue...

Last year I expressed how my New Year's Resolutions never revolve around eating healthier because I will always balance out my vegetables with a side of dessert. And that mindset continues with the intention to try out some new things (I'm thinking Kouign-Amann), perfecting something I've tried before (like babka) and continue to bake old favorites.  

But, we will see because more often than not I make things on a whim depending what my kitchen has to offer or which recipe grabs me. 

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Swedish Nuts

Swedish Nuts

Also known as Crack Nuts, Nuts on Crack, Incredibly Sugary and Buttery Nuts or "OhmayGod How Come I Can't Stop Eating These" Nuts. 

I am very particular when it comes to nuts. I don't mind them whole and salted as a snack or in a bowl that you pick over at a party. I only like salted peanuts on a plane because that's when they taste the best but will avoid them in say, trail mix and go for the cashews instead. 

I definitely do not like them in most cookies, unless they are ground so finely like in these Almond Crescents or macarons that I don't know they are there. And certainly not in cakes, brownies or doughnuts.  And never, ever in ice cream. Rocky Road and I were not friends as a child. Nor pistachio with chunky bits. 

Maybe it's a texture thing but I have never been one to enjoy the feeling that nuts leave in your teeth, especially in your back molars. 

So of course, it took me many years to like these nuts. 

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Almond Crescent Cookies

Almond Crescent Cookies

I'm in a major baking phase and more so than usual, especially when it comes to cookies. 

I don't know if it's the holidays or the fact that in winter I prefer to be burrowed inside rather than outside or that I have this deeper desire than usual to share food with people but I have realized I could make food all day long and be tired at the end but happy.

So after being abundantly appalled that my kitchen is now fully stocked and prepared for any baking disaster (this includes 4 pounds of butter, 10 pounds of flour, 10 pounds of white sugar, 4 pounds of brown sugar, loads of nuts and eggs), I'll be making whatever cookies I can this December. 

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Lemon Poppy Seed Linzer Cookies

Lemon Poppy Seed Linzer Cookies

When it comes to desserts, I will more likely than not steer in the direction of chocolate.

Except when it comes to ice cream. That is always mint chocolate chip

In general, I am not a fruity sweet treats person. I make my frozen yogurt concoction as chocolatey as possible, meaning that I will skip entirely over all of the colorful candies in favor of chocolate covered type things. At the end, I am always left with a deep need of water that only chocolate can do to you. During Halloween, I avoid fruity candies like Starbursts and Skittles and you will not find me pawing for lollipops or Jolly Ranchers. 

So it was rather surprising to me that when I was waiting around for my family at the library a rainy Saturday after Thanksgiving and randomly picked up this cookie book, it was the recipe for the Lemon Poppy Seed Linzers that stood out to me. Not the Chocolate Whoopie Pies or the Chocolate Chip Cookies, but the ones gloriously dotted with poppy seeds and filled with a bright yellow lemon curd. 

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Sesame Seed Buns

Sesame Seed Buns

Well, here we are at the last month of 2016.

I am always convinced it will never get cold but then one week it does and then I am really cold. That's when I whip out all of the blankets I own, start wearing leggings under all of my pants, boil water for tea constantly and find any excuse I can to turn on the oven.

Bread is always one of those things that begs me to turn on the oven. Plus, stirring and kneading the dough warms up the blood quite a bit. And by the time you've stirred, kneaded, waited patiently for the bread to rise, shaped the buns, waited for them to rise again and finally baked them, there really is nothing better than fresh bread straight out of the oven.

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