True old fashioned fudge (not the kind with marshmallow crème) deserves to be elevated to the same lofty status as really good truffles and other high-quality, handmade, small-batch candies.
If you have teenagers, you’ll probably want to skip this blog as the main ingredient in trifle is stale cake. If you actually do occasionally have stale (or extra) cake — with or without teenagers — read on!
If you’re unfamiliar with trifle, it’s a British invention for using stale cake. Which does lead one to wonder if stale cake is a common problem for the Brits because their teenagers are sent off to boarding school.
A great way to use up leftover egg whites, especially during the holiday season. If you have leftover candy canes or peppermint candies, use them. However, if you are making these cookies during the Christmas season, look for the miniature candy canes. They have the most pink surface area. The color contrasts well with the white of the meringues.
The warm, sunny Monterey Bay area got hit with a hefty freeze a week ago, early for the coastal area. My garden has “melted” and, although the weather has warmed up some, today has been cloudy with a damp chill that cuts to the bone. Even worse, the smoke from the December fire in Big Sur added a layer of gloom to the day.
I admit I could never imagine Maple Sugar Pie or Maple Syrup Pie. I flat out love pure maple anything, but an entire pie made with maple sugar or syrup and nothing else to offset the sweetness — like pecans for instance — seemed like it would be cloying and a full-out sugar rush. Then a friend and I drove from Vermont to Quebec City in the early autumn of 2012. I knew that this would be my best chance to try Maple Sugar or Maple Syrup Pie. I was ready to convert — or not.
Anyone with a stove, a pot and apples can make applesauce. But, really good applesauce? Use heritage apples and a few special ingredients and you’ve got yourself a kick-ass good dessert!
In 1969 I moved to a ridge along the Mendocino coast. Through serendipity I ended up in the second oldest farmhouse on the Coast and it came with 29 heritage apple trees! Needless to say, we had apple everything from early autumn until spring. Apple pie, apple crisp, apple cookies, apple cake, baked apples, candied apples and a whole lot of applesauce.
Amazingly enough, I still look forward to autumn for the apples. Let’s face it, there’s nothing quite like the snap of biting into a crisp apple and feeling and tasting the juices flood your palate!
This outstanding fruit dessert recipe was sent to my mother by my Aunt Maggie at least 45 years ago. For reasons lost on me, they called it “Apple Dumb.” When they used plums, it was “Plum Dumb.” This was standard with them — they loved good food and silliness in equal measure.
Isn’t it fun to look at gorgeous pastries and desserts and fantasize about making (and eating) them? When it comes down to it, though, how often do you do it? Really, except for when I want to dazzle someone with a gift or it’s a holiday, I nearly always opt for simple.
Fresh off the press, Jennie Schacht’s latest book, I Scream Sandwich is out in time for summer. Here’s what she says about the following recipe:
The It’s-It company began selling scoops of vanilla ice cream sandwiched between old-fashioned oatmeal cookies, all cloaked in chocolate, at San Francisco’s Playland at the Beach in 1928. By the time I moved to the area in 1978, the It’s-It was a well-established local phenomenon. I’ve filled my version of the novelty with a not-overly-sweet vanilla frozen custard.
In 2011 I traveled with my friends to Cinque Terra, “The Five Lands,” all built on hillsides overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Basil is used throughout the region as pesto and is also blended with spinach and pecorino as the filling for pansoti, a ravioli that is shaped like a triangle. Unless you live in an urban area or regularly make pasta, it’s nearly impossible to find pansoti. Use your favorite ravioli instead. Walnuts and almonds are also grown in this region and the Ligurian walnut sauce that I had over pansoti is seductive! When I returned home and made the sauce, I added just a little vanilla, which accented the walnuts nicely. I used artichoke and butternut squash ravioli in the picture above and served it with a roasted vegetable and white bean salad and Chardonnay. As spectacular as the view walking the ridge from Vernazza to Monterosso! (And, by the way, the sauce would be excellent served over poached chicken or fish.)
The first autumn showers arrived today after two days of beautiful, billowy cumulous clouds hanging on the edges of the Santa Cruz mountains and mildly humid weather suggesting that maybe a few sprinkles would come our way.
Unfortunately, it has been just that — sprinkles. Not enough to make the air smell of fresh rain on the pavement, not even enough to register in my rain gauge. The sky grew ominous — then the clouds moved on. I will need to water tomorrow.
Teasers like the rain forecast are the proverbial “death knell” for summer fruit. For the rest of the month we’ll be pushing pumpkins and apples at the store (with a few grapes and pomegranates for good measure) and the days will grow progressively darker. Which is why I’m sneaking in one more bit of late summer goodness before I fully give in to autumn.
One of my favorite things about travel, actually about life itself, is how every so often, something both unanticipated and delightful pops up when we least expect it. You’re going along with nothing special on the horizon, and then, out of nowhere
This is the most popular cookie at the new King Arthur Flour bakery. Intensely almond in flavor, I have adapted it slightly by adding vanilla extract, of course.
Cherries are one of life’s very special gifts, at least that’s how I view them. As a child I patiently waited for cherries to arrive in our small town’s grocery. My mother usually took me shopping with her, so when cherry season arrived, I’d beg her to buy them. I then would forfeit as much allowance as necessary to buy my own personal stash of cherries, which I hoarded in the back of the refrigerator as my brother made frequent visits to the refrigerator throughout the day and inhaled whatever he could find.
Courtesy of Alice Medrich, Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts
This is a selection from Alice’s book that directs readers to different recipes she has in the book. You will need to read the book for the recipes that are highlighted, but this will give you good ideas for adorning vanilla — or other– ice creams. And, for starts, how about the recipe for Vanilla Ice Cream? or Mexican Vanilla Ice Cream?
This spring I tried very hard to bring together a group of kindred spirits to travel with my colleague Fattah and me to Morocco.
Fattah is Moroccan, living in Santa Cruz. As a way to pay for trips home, he periodically offers a two-week sojourn through Morocco at an unbelievably reasonable price. The trip begins and ends in Casa Blanca and covers a lot of territory, including travels through the Atlas Mountains, an overnight trip into the Magreb (desert) on camelback, a night in a sustainable community where five of the rooms are beautifully decorated caves, a hotel on the beach in Essaouira, Roman ruins, a town of fossils, the souks, casbahs, a few days in villages and so much more. The trip promised to be beyond splendid.
Imagine how it must have been for the indigenous Americans and early settlers who survived
winter on rations of dried meat, fish and roots, when the sweet, syrup was tapped and boiled then poured on the snow.
Knowing how the sweetness promised the change of seasons and broke the monotony of simple, bland foods, I thought of the traditional pygmy peoples of Africa whose third most common cause of death was falling from trees while gathering honey. (The first was being trampled by large animals; the second was falling into the fire at night after smoking powerful tobacco.) What a joy for those waiting on the ground for a mouthful of thick, sticky pleasure in a life of game, grubs and roots and shoots. (And a greater joy if the gatherer survived the climb!)
Ahhhhh, maple everything!! As my Vermont friend Sandra sent me 1/2 gallon of maple syrup, 1 pound of maple sugar, a box of maple leaf candies and a jar of maple butter, I embarked on a maple
desserts splurge. Wouldn’t you??
When I visited Sandra in St. Johnsbury in 2002, we went to the Goodwin Family’s sugaring shack. Although it was April and sugaring had ended in Vermont, the processing was still underway and the place was buzzing. There were molds filled with syrup drying into maple candies. People were picking up jugs of syrup, and boxes ready to ship lined the hallway.