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December 2010

December 31, 2010

Food Blogger's Best of 2010: Recipes and Reflections

01.01.10: skeletal magnolia leaf

Farewell, 2010.

As years go, you were...well, let's just say that all years are not created equal. Also, were it not for the bad, we would have a hard time appreciating the good. That which does not kill me makes me...blah, blah, blah... yeah, whatever...

On the other hand - and what is with the contrary other hand anyway? Can't it just get along for once? - many would insist that food on the Internet must be completely upbeat and happy. While I don't buy this, I can leverage it; if I am not feeling it, I can borrow it.

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Happy New Year from Lunch Lady Land!

I debated posting this, sure that Farley's portrayal of the lunch lady would offend someone. My trepidation was assuaged by the number of schools that posted video of their lunch ladies performing in a cover skit of the song.

Happy New Year, everyone!

December 18, 2010

Sandra Lee's Kwaanza Cake - the Rest of the Story

If you hate love love to hate Aunt Sandy, you know this cake.

An abomination made with all sorts of semi-edible crap, with bonus cornnuts, this cake is the epitome of all that is wrong with celebrity food media today. Tone-deaf, ugly, disgusting and just a bit of cultural offensiveness thrown in for good measure...that's the Kwanzaa Cake.

Here's what you don't know...

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December 17, 2010

How to Shape Christmas Tree Bread

From the archives...

I really dislike posting a recipe I have only made once. What seems to be a simple bit of culinary magic one day may fizzle on second try. Even well-tested recipes can run into problems when moved from one region of the country to another: the moisture level of flour changes noticeably from a wet climate to a dry one, for example, and altitude screws with baking and boiling, not to mention your alcohol tolerance. (My brother-in-law who works as an EMT a mile up in the mountains tells great stories.)

There are, however, a few writers whose recipes I trust enough to go with a single pass at a recipe when I am short on time and I turned to one of them for the sweet roll dough I used for the tree. Modifications were made, of course: I zested an orange, toasted and ground cardamom, sprinkled in cinnamon, and tipped in a splash of vanilla; milk became buttermilk; sugar was reduced a little bit - there was a LOT of sugar. Ten minutes after I put it in the oven the house was filled with a heady mix of spices and I was regretting not putting an extra 'tasting' loaf in the oven. (After I took photos, I tore into a golden ball of dough; I can report the flavor lived up to its aroma-vertising.)

The crumb, sadly, did not. Dense and chewy, not tender and light. Totally wrong.

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December 01, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Beet Geodes

beet geodes

The first step in drying beets is cleaning and peeling to reveal the beauty beneath.

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