Lavender Lemon Scones

{Food Memories}

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You and I probably don’t think of the same thing when we hear the word ”scone.” The American version is typically a triangle-shaped sweet cookie, while the New Zealand scone bears more resemblance to a Southern-style biscuit: It’s tender and flaky, it can be sweet or savoury, and it never lasts more than a day.

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Happy Easter!

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Each year, I have a brief fling with marshmallow Peeps that stretches from February until Easter Sunday. I buy them by the dozen and eat them, chick after chick, until I can’t stomach any more. They’re one of the few junk foods that I make an exception for. The little faces and beaks just tip me right over the edge.

As of today, the Peeps body count is hovering around eight dozen.

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Farmhouse Ricotta

{Two Ingredient Tuesday}

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I grew up thinking that ricotta was nasty. Having only met it in soggy baked dishes, I thought ricotta could only ever taste like bland, wet, gritty rubber. Then I tasted homemade ricotta. Did you know that ricotta can actually taste like milk? That the texture can be rich and amazing? It has two ingredients and requires almost no effort. Continue reading

Moroccan Preserved Lemons

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I’m not part of the mason jar parade. Some people jelly everything, right down to corn cobs. There are businesses that stake their livelihoods on the bottomless and rich inspiration of the Ball jar, from homemade soap dispensers and wine glasses to thousand-dollar hipster chandeliers. Continue reading

Tarte au Chocolat à la Parisienne

{Fancy French Desserts}

New series! I’m cooking my way through a laundry list of gorgeous French desserts. This was the final destination for the candied mandarins I made earlier in the week.

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I showed my love for my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ this week by OBLITERATING the competition at the annual church bake-off. The centerpiece of this contest is the chili cook-off, but since the intensely competitive family spirit prevents me from competing against my mother’s chili, I opted for the dessert category instead. This never-fail tart won me first prize. Continue reading

Candied Mandarins

{Two Ingredient Tuesday}

Aren’t they just a gallon of sunshine in a one-pint jar?

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The Lord in his kindness granted us citrus fruits during the grey and unloved month of February. Just when we can’t stomach one more casserole, one more out-of-season New Years’ Resolution salad, the markets blossom with blood oranges, grapefruit, lemons, Valencia oranges, and mandarins. It’s all the sunshine that we summer-starved New Yorkers have been craving. Continue reading

Spice and Fire Broth

Once you get past the polar vortexes, outbreaks of norovirus, black ice, triple layers of thermal socks, puffy unflattering winter clothes, snow-shovelling-induced backaches, toddlers determined to share their microbes with everyone, and oh-my-goodness-that’s-what-34-degrees-below-freezing-feels-like, winter is really quite a pleasant season.

Especially because of soup!

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Avocado Halves & Soy Sauce

This recipe is my earliest food memory. I remember standing in my living room in New Zealand, four years old, and I could see out the window that it was already dark outside. My parents were trying to put me to bed, but I caught a glimpse of a late-night snack in the kitchen. I wanted one too.

“You won’t like this, Catherine,” my mother insisted. “It’s avocado. The flavour is too strong for you.”

Issue a challenge like that to a child, and you will get a declaration of war.

When she did give me some, a soft green avocado half with a little spoonful of soy sauce nestled in its hollow (“And don’t spill it on the carpet, Catherine.”), I sat carefully on the couch with it and finished the whole thing, bite after bite of salty umami richness.

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