spices Tag

THIN AND CHEWY DATES AND RUM COOKIES

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DENSE AND CHEWY AND BORDERLINE STICKY

Sometimes, I feel, if a recipe could talk… it wouldn’t be thanking me for lovingly bringing it into this world, nor telling me how it did at school today over a cup of hot cocoa, nor about its hopes and dreams as we laugh and cry together in the kitchen at the end of a sun-drenched afternoon…  Sometimes, I feel, if a recipe could talk, first and foremost, it would probably just gently lean into my ears, and the three little words it whispers with steady breath would sound something like…  Just.  Shut up.

See, it’s not that my recipes are mean, because I assure you that I raised them all with decent manners.  But sometimes I have to admit that they’ve got a point.  Let’s take this instance as an example, shall we?  Cookies.  Very fast, very easy, zero electronic machinery needed.  Tinted with ground allspice and cardamon, and filled with minced rum-soaked dates.  If you like crispy-on-the-bottom-and-edges, but dense-and-chewy-and-borderline-sticky kind of cookies, I don’t know what else the recipe would want me to say except… make it now.

So.  Make it now.

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CHEWY LAYERED ROTI + KICKASS DIP

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” …WHOPPING 90% HYDRATION…
SPRUNG LIBERATED OUT OF THE FOUNTAIN OF SECRET DOUGHS “

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ALTHOUGH extremely rare, there are recipes that seem theoretically impossible at first, but somehow just come smooth-sailing under the first trial.  They make recipe-developers feel invincible even just temporarily, like the lighthouse of success glowing just over the foreseeable shore.  Handshakes with Batali and cold beers with Tony Bourdain, book-signing with fan-blown hair and the next dinner party, Ina Garten is bringing her cake.  These occasions embolden even the blindest of self-confidence.  But then, then there’s the opposite of such.

I call them, the kitchen nemesis… or for times, my baby kitchen unicorns.  It’s a tormented, twisted love-and-hate relationship, with an adored food-item that hides a secret so beyond your grasps that failures of making it has been haunting you for years… even decades.  The recipe of which you have ventured high and low for – with or without the luck of finding any at all – that in the very end, all greatly disappointed, again, and again.  A lover, who’s not completely yours.

For the past 2 decades, my nemesis… my baby unicorn… has been but one thing.READ MORE

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MOLTEN-CHOCO BANANA BREAD

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“CHOCO RIVER… WIDER THAN A MILE”

Today is the third day of the week-long CNY holiday in China, a festive time when binge-eating isn’t only allowed, but mandatory.  Implementing any calorie restriction and self-control during this high festivity, implies unlikable things about one person – uptight, fun-less, possibly anorexic and most of all, non-cool.  So to celebrate such excess in order to demonstrate that I’m a spirited team-player who’s got some very down-to-earth thighs to prove it, I was going to show my A-game compliance.  Only until I realized that it’s a little tricky to come up with things to eat…

When I’m under some sorta house arrest.

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WOODLAND FIRE SICHUAN-HUMMUS

“Tonight… LET’S SET THE WORLD
ON FIRE”

I guess… it really isn’t a secret what unnecessary gimmicks I’ve been occupying myself with in the last couple days.  Hello, my  name is Mandy and I’m a theme-aholic.  In fact, I’m a theme-aholic who also happens to be, tech-intolerant.  Like an alcoholic who’s allergic to alcohol, an UV-addict who lives in Seattle, a real human being married to Gwyneth Paltrow…

Well, you get the point. It’s all been very dysfunctional around here.

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HIGHLY ADDICTIVE PARTY CIGARS

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Oh mah God… I haven’t been under so much pressure, yes, since the time when I realized I needed six more credits to graduate college (SIX!  “Professor, your otherwise gross beard appears unexpectedly dashing today”… just kidding)… and it is precisely the reason why, as much as I may seem to be an ideal candidate to host a dinner party, I shouldn’t be allowed to.  At all.  Because my management skills crumble in disarray when I’m cooking more than one thing.  There’s a large number of oysters that I’m pulling all strings to keep alive inside a fridge that lacks everything else to cook them with, and a whole scale-on, bone-in, head-attached sea bass that frankly… I don’t remember inviting to dinner.  On top of which, a 7 pounds limp-neck goose-beast is going to be dropped onto my doorstep like surprise! any minute now… could be like now!  Plus did I mention I’m supposed to make a tart?  That’s it, time for emotional breakdown.

Hey, nobody said my threshold for stress isn’t delicate at best.

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Deathly Scalloped Potato Pizza

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It’s barely spring and the apartment isn’t even warm yet, but these days every root vegetables in my kitchen seems to be in a hurry to grow up.  There’s a pot that my cleaning lady set by the window with green stalks surging so high that I almost thought she was bribing me back (aww, you shouldn’t have…).  No, the bottom lies the shallots I bought a few weeks back.  And there’s those deceiving heads of garlic cloves each hiding inside its white jacket, only to be exposed when smashed open that they were secretly stretching out mini antennas to listen in on my conversations with my doughs (puff now, my little one… hush hush).  Then there’re these baby potatoes.  Oh my potato-babies… how it hurts me that they are in such hurry to grow up and leave my loving nest.

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turkish kofta platter

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I fancy myself as a divine dinner party hostess.  I fancy myself as someone who embodies the total coolitude of Guarnaschelli’s professional kitchen-wizardry, set on Martha’s pristine estate filled with ponies, and accompanied with Beyonce’s crowd.  Someone who could present a seemingly-casual-and-approachable but truthfully-intended-to-shock-and-stun dinner display with nothing but an elegant breeze in and out of the kitchen, in a spotless oh-so-nothing white dress that belongs in Diane Kruger’s closet.  I fancy.

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Dan Dan Your Face Off

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I’m gonna be away for the entire next week…… (walking away from the computer and doing a little touch-down dance…)(wait… wait for it…)(OK I’m back).  Tagging along on her husband’s every single business trip to Hong Kong may not be the idea of a modern woman, but for me it’s as simple as the most basic survival instinct.  I just have to get the hell outta this, this and this whenever I can.

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