Monthly Archives: December 2010

toast the new year with pomegranate-rosemary royale

pomegranate-rosemary royale

Joseph and I drove from Boston to DC for the holidays and decided it would be fun to bring our cat, Snoopy, with us.  After 3 hours of yowling, she finally settled down and slept for the rest of the trip.  Still, it was a long trip and we were thrilled when we finally pulled up to my parents’ place.  Things improved even more when we got inside to find these cocktails and some awesome brie and apple compote toasts waiting for us, courtesy of my sister and brother-in-law.

The pomegranate-rosemary royale is made with a simple syrup infused with rosemary, giving it just a subtle herbal flavor while the pomegranate juice and Champagne make it both sweet and tart.  Garnish with a sprig of rosemary and it’s pretty as can be.  It’s just perfect for ringing in the New Year!

Happy New Year everyone!  I hope your year is filled with happiness and good food and drink!

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forgotten meringues

forgotten meringues

My family has many Christmas traditions and one of my favorites is the forgotten meringue.  It’s called the forgotten meringue because you whip up the meringue, form cookies on a sheet, and put them in a preheated oven and turn the oven off, and then forget about them until the next morning.  You then begin the day with a meringue or two because you just have to see how they came out.  You nailed it if they’re light and airy and dissolve in your mouth.  Even if you didn’t nail it and ended up with a chewier cookie, you’ll still really enjoy them — believe me, I’ve made plenty of less than perfect meringues and no one has ever complained.

Meringues may appear a little tricky, but if you follow the basic rules and tips, they’re actually pretty easy.  Here are some tips for perfect meringues: Continue reading


triple-chocolate cranberry oatmeal cookies

This is a new Christmas cookie for me and believe me, it’s going to find a place in the Christmas cookie rotation from now on.  It has not one, not two, but three kinds of chocolate: semi-sweet, milk chocolate, and white chocolate.  Now, I was initially wondering what the point of buying milk chocolate was when I could just use semi-sweet and just have two chocolates.  But it didn’t seem as fun and they had a sale on milk chocolate chips at the store.

I wasn’t familiar with Guittard chocolates, but I’m going to be on the lookout from now on.  These milk chocolate chips are awesome.  They’re quite large so my initial thought was to halve them, which I started to do before deciding that I had had enough chopping and enough time on prep.  Dear readers, this moment of laziness made these cookies even better.  Every now and then you get the most amazing bite of chocolate.  And the tartness of the cranberries with the chocolate medley is just perfect, really bringing these cookies together.  And they’re made even prettier with a quick drizzle of melted white chocolate.  Yum! Continue reading


fruitcake cookies

fruitcake cookies

I just spent the weekend baking holiday cookies and have so much to share with you!  I’m beginning with my dad’s favorite: fruitcake cookies.  My mom has made these cookies for as long as I can remember but I’m not sure I ever actually tried one until 3 or 4 years ago.

They’re packed with fluorescent candied cherries (the green ones in particular look like they could glow in the dark) so you’d think it would be the kids that would have been excited about these cookies and not the adults.  But for some reason my sister and I thought they were super disgusting (although I’m not really sure either of us ever tried them) and my parents, especially my dad, really liked them.  So a few years ago I decided I should just give them a try and to my shock (and yes, perhaps horror), I really liked them.  I made them for Joseph who also really liked them so they were the first cookie on my list to attack for the holidays this year.

candied cherries

Joseph helped enormously with the prep by cutting up all these suckers.  I always forget how long it takes because you have to quarter each one and they’re super sticky.  It’s one thing for someone like me who is just a slow cutter, but someone with great knife skills, such as Joseph, may find it agonizingly slow because the stickiness gets in the way of just about everything.  Oh, um.  And while you’re prepping, I would refrain from trying the cherries because they are sickeningly sweet and it may scare you off from what you’re making.  But the finished product is worth it, I promise you!  The cookie is buttery and has a rich brown sugar taste and the candied cherries make them about as festive as any cookie could be while the dates and pecans help them back to earth. Continue reading


chocolate glazed gingerbread cakes

Ok, I know, I know, it’s been way too long since my last post.  But believe me, this recipe should (somewhat) make up for it and it’s just in time for your holiday parties, dinners, etc.!  I came across this recipe from Martha Stewart a few years ago and love to make it for guests.  Love or hate Martha, you’ve got to agree that it’s an ingenious idea to invert a cupcake and pour some ganache over it.  It takes it from average, everyday cupcake to a beautiful, elegant individual dessert.  Ok, well, you don’t have to agree that it’s ingenious, but I sure think it’s pretty cool.  And it makes it look so much more complicated than it actually is.

I first made these cakes on a fall night a few years ago when Joseph, my sister, Jessica, and her future husband, Adam, were all meeting up at my parents’ house to watch a Redskins game.  I think it was an important game.  I don’t remember, I wasn’t all that interested.  I had decided that I would pass at least part of the time by baking something for dessert and I had gotten Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook recently and really wanted to try these.  I asked my sister if it would be weird if I made a fancyish dessert when we were just watching the game (or at least some of us were) and having a simple dinner.  She was thrilled and seemed to think the fancier the better.  Her enthusiasm made more sense when she and Adam announced just before dessert that they were engaged! Continue reading


healthy mac and cheese (aka mac ‘n squash)

Running out of Thanksgiving leftovers? Trying to squeeze in some healthy food to make up for all that pie and stuffing?  Well, look no further than this lightened up version of mac n’ cheese.

I should tell you up front that this mac n’ cheese is not going to be the same as the ooey gooey traditional stuff overflowing with cheese.  But neither is it a sad pile of flavorless, plasticy macaroni.  It’s actually one of my favorite dishes because it it satisfies my craving for mac n’ cheese without making me feel guilty.  What’s the secret? Pureed winter squash.  But don’t worry, there’s still cheese — real cheese — but now you’re also getting veggies in your mac n’ cheese!  Can’t you just feel your reservations melt away?

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pumpkin pie

As much as I love pumpkiny foods, I’ve never really been a big fan of pumpkin pie.  I guess it’s the texture (so mushy).  But it such a classic Thanksgiving dessert that I figured I should make one.  I was also inspired when I found this recipe when flipping through Joanne Chang’s new cookbook at the bookstore. I’m a big fan of Joanne Chang from her bakery, Flour Bakery and apparently this pie has gotten all kinds of accolades, so I figured, hey, why not?   I went home and quickly found the recipe on the Food Network website.

pumpkin and brown sugar

The funny thing is that when I got in the car the day before Thanksgiving, there was a woman explaining a pumpkin pie recipe on the radio and I kept thinking, wow, that sounds exactly like the pie I made the night before.  And indeed it was because it was Joanne Chang on the radio!  It’s a little embarrassing how much I enjoyed listening to her on the radio.  I’m so clueless when it comes to pop culture, so food people end up being my celebrities. Continue reading