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Posts Tagged ‘walnuts’

I stopped across this recipe many times–a couple times here, and another few times here.  Each time, it never occurred to me to bookmark it because it looked strange and… healthy.  It’s as though someone decided to toss a whole bunch of healthy ingredients together and called that a dish.  Hey, that’s what the whole wheat pasta thing does to anything ;)

A year after I first saw the recipe, I bookmarked it, so something must have happened between now and then.  I am pretty sure I haven’t been bought by the health factor because clearly, I have no problem with baking up a storm.  Not only that, the ingredients looked like they didn’t belong together.

At least, at first glance, and a few more glances.

After a while, I saw that perhaps, they do fit together in the nutty theme of things.  Whole wheat adds nuttiness, as does slightly browned cauliflower.  Walnuts are umm, self-explanatory.

Plus, the colors of the pasta look pretty.  I am always bought by visually-pleasing things ;)

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Lately, I have regressed into the toddler-like fascination of classification.  I like the idea of the little Le Creuset pinch bowls, sorting out all of the autumnal spices of cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.  I also like the idea of colorful stacking prep bowls to sort out my wet and dry ingredients.  Sometimes, I think that is the sign of a truly dedicated baker–I have the equipment and bowls to show my seriousness to the craft!

In cooking, this is referred to mis en place, but I tend to think of this an exercise of mindfulness.  No matter how adorable, I do not need the bowls to get through the recipe.  In fact, I tend to keep only an annotated list of ingredients when I am baking because I am familiar with the various baking techniques.  However, the idea of putting everything in prep bowls is an act of visualization or progression–I can see the flow of ingredients right until I pop the cookies into the oven.

This brings me to these blondies from the guys of the Brooklyn bakery, Baked.  While not all of their retro-inspired recipes work out for me (*cough cough* Peanut Butter with Milk Chocolate chunks), I like thinking about all of my favorite childhood treats such as malt.  That’s right–I named that childhood staple Horlicks, which I had virtually every morning before heading off to school!  Plus, I can exercise my categorization skills because they get rusty after two weeks of not stepping into the kitchen :P

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My morning routine consists of answering personal emails and sifting through food blogs.  That’s right–I read food blogs in the morning as inspiration for the rest of the day.  It’s my cup of coffee in the morning!

One morning, I saw a blog post about the CJ Olson Cherry stand in Sunnyvale, I knew exactly where I must go that day.  Although the CJ Olson Cherry stand is considered a Sunnyvale institution and reminder of the days when the Silicon Valley used to be called the Valley of Hearts’ Delight, I have never been to the fruit stand in the 18 years I have lived in the South Bay.  The name would always come up from time to time, but it never piqued me enough to venture on out there.

However, I was suddenly craving for pie, and the lure of an amazing cherry pie was too good to pass up that I had to drag a friend along for the adventure.  The pie, of course, was wonderful and buttery and bursting with cherry.  Then, I wondered over a bite-ful of pie, Why don’t I make pies?

Oh yeah, I forgot that I am terrified (and fascinated) by the pate sucree dough that make or break pies.  It’s an irrational fear, but I realize that while I like the filling, I like the crust much more.  Thus, it is a big deal to me if the crust isn’t “right” and I am left with copious amounts of filling!

I must find the perfect tart dough, and the way I am going to test it is if it works beautifully in something low-key and charming like galettes!

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I have to confess that I am not sure how people who can eat the same meal for days on end.  Take my brother, for example.  At one point, he ate hot dogs for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a month.  He’s a trooper, really, but gosh, I feel sorry for my mother for having one kid who can eat the same meal for days on end and another kid who is about to gouge her eyes out after seeing the dish again for a fifth meal.  How does one cook for people who are so different like that?

However, there’s some exceptions to that rule, and for me, one of those is yogurt with granola.  It’s my go-to breakfast if I am rushing out the door.  Well, especially if I am rushing out the door, which unfortunately is everyday.  I am not really sure why because it is like a drier version of cereal and milk, and I am not fond of cereal and milk at all.  Maybe it reminds me of ice cream and its fixings and the whole idea I can help myself to whatever and however much I want!

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Hamantaschen

Disclaimer: Although my hamantaschen looked as darling as these cookies here, these cookies are from the SF Examiner article.  These are slightly more pyramidal than mine, which actually looks more like Honey Never Spoil’s.  (Duh, because I used the recipe from there!)  Unfortunately, I was clumsy and forgot to bring my camera when I made them, so poo on me!

I first met hamantaschen at at a San Francisco bakery boasting “real NY-style water bagels.”  Ah yes, quite a peculiar place to be for a person who considers herself a California girl.  I mean, “real NY-style water bagels” do not have the appeal of a passion fruit bavarian cake, especially if one has a sweet tooth.

However, I have been to New York and lived there for some time during my early college years.  While I was largely surrounded by cornfields and pumpkin patches instead of the urban jungle of New  York City, I did get acquainted with things like New York style pizza and black and white cookies.  Consequently, I have learned not to question the hype about New York’s distinctive culture–it’s one of those things I have to try and eat to understand and appreciate!  Apparently, I missed the introduction to the New York-style bagels, so I guess this was my opportunity to eat up the hype… literally!

Unfortunately, my introduction to the New York bagel seemed to have gotten upstaged by hamantaschen.  (That isn’t to say the bagels weren’t fabulous, which they were!)  I attribute that partly to my dad, who I dragged along since he likes to eat bagels.  As I began to order the bagels for my dad and me, I noticed my dad continued to stare at the bakery section, as if he was totally entranced by the cookies.  Macaroons, black and white cookies, and hamantaschen–all of which were foreign yet strangely delicious looking to my dad.

“Dad, would you like schmear with your bagels?”

“What?  Uh no!  I am good!”

“Okay.  Did you want anything else?”

“No…”

Of course, he’s still staring at the bakery items while he says this.  Apparently, he is sold on the New York food hype without even tasting it!  Haha, seeing hamantaschen again in the food blogs a few months ago reminded me and was my inspiration to make these cookies :)

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