Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Pistachio Polvorones (Spanish Shortbread)

pistachio polvorones pistachio polvorones

Since we last spoke, I’ve spent a great deal of my time testing and revising old and new recipes for the proposal, meeting with friends, and more recently- battling the nightmares of food poisoning (Just mentioning it makes me feel like someone’s going to say, “Kam- TMI.” Sorry.). I won’t go on-and-on about how the past several weeks flew by, as I fear there might be just one too many of those posts in the archives. And I’m definitely not going to whine yap about this entire food poisoning experience and how it’s basically made up my mind (for the time being) on cutting meat entirely out of my diet. Instead, I’d much rather talk about these cookies because in the midst of all this chaos, I took a moment to breath and bake something that can banish any bit of stress at 500 feet.

pistachio polvorones

These Pistachio Polvorones are something I’ve been wanting to share with you since my visit to San Francisco’s Tartine Bakery back in April. After ordering a few of their utterly perfect (traditional) version of these cookies, I was inspired to share a recipe for my take on these half-spheres of deliciousness. So, after months of putting this recipe on the back burner, this seems like a better time than any to finally share it.
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Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

Easy Fig Tarts & News!

fig tarts

Getting my hands on fresh figs during any time of year, is like hitting the jackpot. On Sunday evening, my sister, dad, and I were walking past an Arab grocery store, when something caught my eye- figs. I stopped in the middle of the busy street, turned around, and shuffled back. Large sized punnets of fresh figs were on sale for $1.29, “I need to get a few baskets of these!” I felt like I was committing a crime for buying figs for so cheap.

fig tarts

I pulled each transparent-sea green package haphazardly filled with fresh figs out of the chalk-toned wooden crate, and inspected each package. Nearly every container of the figs were squidged from being thrown into the baskets; some had already gone moldy from the heat, but there they were- two baskets of perfectly ripe, dark teardrop-shaped figs, free of any imperfections. I carefully handed the baskets- treating them as if they were rare objects- to the mustachioed clerk behind the counter; he smiled as he bagged the fruit, and said, “I see you found good one’s. The baskets have been out there all day, I’m surprised any survived from the heat.” I was too.

I had two plans for these deep blackish-purple beauties- to eat them as is, and to bake the rest into-the first thought that came to my mind- fig tarts.

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Tuesday, September 6th, 2011

Roasted Tomato and Thyme Soup

roasted tomato soup

In all honesty, much baking hasn’t been done in the past few weeks. There was a lemon drizzle cake, some cookies, and a few other things, but that’s about it. Days have become busier, and fall is slowly beginning to settle in.

At the very moment that I write this, I sit with a cup of tea, and a notepad filled with notes for this post. Outside, rain collects in small puddles on the cobblestone walkway, clusters of friends gather under umbrellas and walk briskly to class. Some are running to class, and some are walking slowly- balancing an umbrella in one hand, and in the other, a large Starbucks cup.

roasted tomatoes, onions, & garlic

It was like this last month. For an entire week, it rained. That week, if I remember correctly, was followed by a warm week- it wasn’t severe, but it did require the air conditioner to be turned on. After that, Hurricane Irene followed.

During the hurricane, all I could think about was the moment I made a this soup for myself, which I had made during the first week of much needed rain. I was home alone, we had a somewhat significant amount of tomatoes waiting to be used up, and the depressing grey clouds that covered the sky made me long for a bit of color in my day.
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Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

Twice Baked Cheese & Chive Potatoes

twice-baked potatoes

I know baked potatoes aren’t something that most people would normally rave over, but I can’t find it in myself not to rave over these twice baked cheese & chive potatoes. I mean, really, who doesn’t like a baked potato? These aren’t your normal baked potato filled with cheese, salt, pepper, and (dare I say?) a liberal amount of ketchup.

When I last made these potatoes, they were all part of a simple meal that went with this roasted chicken. We called the chicken, a simple salad, fresh bread, and these gloriously sophisticated potatoes, dinner.

twice-baked potatoes

Although I did mention that they are a bit revved-up from your normal twice baked potatoes, I am not stressing that these are entirely sophisticated because in all actuality, my version tastes almost like those ruffled potato chips with cheddar and sour cream that you are secretly obsessed with (okay, maybe it’s just me).

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Monday, August 15th, 2011

Lemon and Herb Roasted Chicken

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I spent the last month baking, cleaning, spending time with family, and brooding. I did a lot more of the latter. It’s one of the main reasons I picked up and went missing for a while. I needed time to collect myself and finish tasks that were long over-due, before I sat down to make anymore photos and posts to share.

During that time, I baked pies and brownies for those dearest to me. I washed dishes more times than I can possibly remember.  I gave my attention to the laundry that patiently sat, piled behind the wooden divider in the corner of my bedroom since (gulp) late May. I ate at a Michelin Star restaurant. And I retreated, languished, and took some time for myself to accept that I needed to be useless for once. I needed to reset myself.

A few hours each day were spent lying lazily on our sofa with a book in my face. The roaring of the air condition in our living room was silenced, followed by a zoop of the windows being slid open. The afternoons were warm cups of tea on a rainy day- as hushed as a sleeping baby, and heavy with languor.

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My last reading session ended with me dawdling into the kitchen, thinking about what would happen in the next chapter of the book, “Maybe Scarlett was kidnapped. No, it can’t be… She probably wandered off into a pastry shop nearby.” I set the oven, and opened the baking cupboard beside it and separated the roasting tray from the other baking pans.  I put the roasting tray on the counter near the sink, and yanked open the refrigerator door, pulling out a carefully wrapped whole chicken from the bottom shelf. My mind immediately jumps to a sentence from the beginning of the book: COULD YOU KILL AN ANIMAL?.

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