mother’s day brunch

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Last Sunday, the husband and I hosted a brunch for eight at our place for Mother’s Day. My sister, Audrey, helped with the menu as well, and we had loads of fun planning the event. I brought out the frilly dishes, floral napkins, and tarnished cheese knives that I like to call rustic. I plopped bouquets of flowers every which where and made little handwritten menus on the back of scrapbook paper lined with blue and yellow polka dots.

to start:

a small cheese plate with sea salt crackers, charcuterie, and strawberries

mimosas!

first:

asparagus soup with fresh herbs and cream

second:

salmon, dill, and parmesan tart with pickled cucumber and arugula salad

roasted fingerling potatoes with preserved lemon

third:

brown sugar pound cake with yogurt, pistachio rose granola, and mint

french press coffee, tea

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I love to eat as the seasons would like me to, and I think this menu would make Spring proud. The asparagus soup was an exciting last-minute addition after Audrey and I visited The Pantry in Ballard for a “Spring Farmer’s Market” cooking class just a few days prior. When we were tasked with putting the final touches on the soup and it then proceeded to taste as silky and creamy and earthy as one would hope an asparagus soup to be, we were convinced that it must be shared with our family.

I also had my first go at pickling! And now, obviously, I’m obsessed with all pickled things. It was a quick pickle, however, and really no trouble at all. I just sliced the cucumbers thin and let them soak in a mixture of white wine vinegar, sugar, and sea salt that dissolved together in a saucepan over warm heat. I made this salad containing pickled vegetables (see: obsession) just the day before for a barbecue, and I think it’s a nice simple recipe to get started. Although, I’d love to hear the way you pickle!

Oh, and the pistachio rose granola? With actual dried rose petals? It was from my beloved London Plane and absolutely brilliant. I make different batches of granola on pretty much a weekly basis around here, but when I spotted this one, I was instantly inspired and snatched it up! I’m on a mission to make my own version next.

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For me and many others I’m sure, there is no greater way to show love than by cooking a meal for someone.

spring!

Hello, friends!

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It’s been a while again. Happy Spring to you! I think of coming here to write often, but find myself scurrying between this and that far too much. Life is busy and messy and a little fleeting at times, but for me, this year is about being present and finding the joy in it all. Let’s catch up a bit.

In fact, I have been doing a little writing, yet it seems that just as I get going with it, it’s time to leave the house for something or other, and when I come back, groceries need to be put away or a meal needs to be made or a bed needs to be slept in. Something I’m finding amusing: When I write, I get rather flushed and warm in the face (as if I’ve had a nice dose of wine!) the further I plunge into it. What is that all about? I might truly be going mad, but I kind of love it.

I’ve eaten many, MANY lovely things since we last spoke. Honestly, what would life be without good food? I am positively enamored with spring and all of its fresh foods right now. Some favorites, as of recent:

  • These strawberry and rhubarb muffins. I didn’t make mine jumbo as the recipe suggests, as I didn’t have the right pan for the job. But let me tell you, I surely stuffed as much batter as possible into each little compartment, and they graciously puffed up to become quite jumbo indeed! I believe that I used at least some whole wheat pastry flour to bring out the heartiness and nuttiness that I love in a good muffin. Oh! And don’t skip the turbinado sugar sprinkled (generously!) on top – it crackles and crunches between your teeth in the most splendid way.

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  • Tartines, tartines, tartines! Really now, do yourself a favor and drop everything and go make one of these. It sounds fancy and it sort of is, but it’s really just glorified toast. You can put whatever you like on your toast, but I insist that you must (!) use really good crusty bread. I cut it into half slices and spread them on a tray and pop them into the oven to toast. Then, the toppings: For spring, I suggest you spread each piece with a generous smear of fresh ricotta or goat cheese and then top it with thinly sliced baby radishes. Cut little nubbins of chives or tarragon or mint and sprinkle those over, followed by some flaky sea salt. Chopped pine nuts might be nice here too. Or layer some sliced avocado over the toasted bread and smash it a bit if you like (I like). Add some gently cooked pieces of asparagus that are shredded or sliced thinly, or perhaps opt for a tangle of pea shoots instead. Herbs should follow and some maybe some light brown sesame seeds, a drizzle of good olive oil, and more of that flaky sea salt. Really, you’ll be quite pleased with the possibilities. The husband and I tried this version the other day: a shredded egg salad with radicchio, creme fraiche, and fresh dill. We broiled the bread first with lots of gruyere until the house smelled sufficiently divine, piled it high with this salad, then washed it all down with wine and became fantastically happy.
  • Roasted carrots with honey and salted yogurt. This! I could eat platefuls. Gather some thin carrots and slice them in half lengthwise. If you’re so lucky to find some of the multicolored ones that pop up here and there, get those. If the tops look nice, let them stay. If all the greenery is attached, cut them at just a half an inch or so up the stalk. Toss them with olive oil, flaky sea salt, freshly ground pepper, and perhaps some paprika or turmeric or curry or whatever sounds good to you and roast in the oven. In the meantime, spoon some plain yogurt onto a plate. Sprinkle with more flaky sea salt and drizzle lightly with good honey. Arrange the carrots on top and sprinkle with some fresh herbs.
  • And while we’re speaking of carrots, go ahead and make these cookies as well. I’ve got a jar full of them on my counter right now (though not for long, of course). They’re nice and light for spring and could easily pass for breakfast with a bowl of plain yogurt alongside.

Also, I can’t seem to get enough brunch. Seattle is the perfect place to brunch. When it’s raining?  Get thee indoors to brunch! When it’s sunny? Get thee to a patio to brunch! I’m considering a whole restaurant post in the future – my favorite spots and whatnot. I’ll be sure to include places for brunch.

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Oh, and another thing: a new kitchen table and chairs. You know when you walk into a store planning to get one somewhat practical, affordable thing and come out with another extravagant, completely unintentional thing? That absolutely happened here. A sale threatening to end tomorrow didn’t help. Yet, our tiny table from the husband’s bachelor days (!) was long overdue to go and this larger piece gives me that much more excitement to leave the card table in the closet when we host more than one other couple for dinner. Thank goodness for rationalizations.

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What are you loving this spring?

 

 

hooray for the holidays!

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It’s been a busy and bustling season over here. I hope you all had a lovely holiday.

Yesterday, the husband and I popped into a little shop + eatery downtown – The London Plane, it was called. It was one of those places that immediately finds you giddy, the kind of giddy that has you speechlessly tugging at the sleeve of the husband’s pea coat, as if to say, Yes! Let’s stay here a while.

The walls were lined with white shelves stacked with cookbooks, pottery vases in teals and yellows, dainty pieces of handmade jewelry, neatly and crisply folded linens – a larder of things I was already adding to next year’s Christmas list. Small tea candles lined the bar, which could be noticed only after admiring the giant mirror hanging against the wall just beyond, on which the menu of daily eats and wines was printed in a perfectly squiggly cursive.

And then suddenly we were sitting down to two glasses of red from Cotes du Rhone. And a platter of fresh, creamy mozzarella sprinkled with flaky sea salt and really good olive oil was placed before us. And another with the thinnest slices of prosciutto you could possibly imagine, rolled and tucked just right. And another (!) stacked high with thick, hearty bread – the kind that you can really sink your teeth into in the most deeply satisfying way.

I think we were expecting the hustle and bustle that has surrounded us for weeks. But, it was smack-dab in the afternoon, just past three, and we were the only patrons hungry for such a meal. It was just the place to rest.

Maybe it was the wine or the incredibly inspiring and nourishing atmosphere. Either way, I found myself reflecting on the past year and dreaming, rather feverishly perhaps, of the year to come. As we left, having stayed for a quite a while, tying on our scarves and joking with the bartender about such unexpectedly undivided service, I tucked a few ideas into my back pocket and felt immensely happy.

Cheers to finding the little places that lead us down the roads we want to go. Happy New Year, my friends.

yogurt with cinnamon creamed honey, figs + thyme

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I started a new work schedule this week. Four ten-hour shifts. My days are busy seeing ten families each day, and admittedly, I’m a little exhausted. But, change is good sometimes, as they say. Today, at the end of the week, I am embracing the opportunity for quiet, reflection, and rest.

My days of wanting a cold breakfast are waning. Seattle is beginning to show signs that winter is close, but I’m not yet ready to surrender to its bossy ways. The ways that find me regretting a scarfless outing, inching the heat dial up and up, and wanting nothing but something warm to eat when I wake.

But for just a bit longer, on the busy days, I’m still quite alright with a bowl of yogurt. So long as there is also a piping hot mug of coffee and a blanket to wrap myself in. There’s always a warm stack of pancakes to be had on Saturday afterall. And maybe Friday now too.

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I’ve always been one to make time for breakfast. I get up crazy early just so I can simply sit and eat at my little secretary desk - the kind with the top that folds down, revealing cubbies stuffed with paperback journals, scraps of recipes torn from magazines, lists of places to visit, a stack of thank you notes, and a too-pretty-to-use candle. Just to the right hangs a small window. Last week, I watched the sun rise through that window while I sat sipping my coffee. This week, it remained dark.

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With the introduction of my new work schedule, I wasn’t willing to sacrifice this time. The kind of time where I find myself the most passionate, the most humble, the most curious. And so, get up earlier I do. I assure you, it’s worth it.

As such, inevitably I find myself lingering far too long each morning. Up until I’ve realized that my moment has fleeted and suddenly I’m in a flurry of adrenaline, rushing to clear my dishes, giving my hair a final disheveled toss and maybe a bobby pin if it’s so lucky, and grabbing this and that for the day.

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Thankfully, the weekend always comes. There’s a little more time for lingering and hardly ever rushing.

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As I begin to look for a little warmth in my breakfasts, the toasted oats do just that here. Set them to toast in a skillet while you begin to prepare the other ingredients and set your pot of coffee.

The hint of cinnamon in the creamed honey also invokes such a feeling, a sense of fall with winter soon on its way. The husband and I stumbled upon a jar of it at a little stand called “beekind” at the Ferry Building in San Francisco when we visited last September. One lick and I was smitten.

I proceeded to put it on and in everything – goat cheese spread on toast, roasted butternut squash and apples, a sauce to serve with lamb - but found it especially nice rippled on top a bowl of plain yogurt. Having recently scraped the final drops from the jar, I am on the hunt for another as equally good. If you have the good fortune of finding one, use it here. Otherwise, any honey will do.

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Now, I know herbs with a sweet breakfast may seem a little strange, and you can leave them out if you wish. But, I love the way their earthy/fresh/rustic flavors play with the sweet toasted oats, figs, and honey.

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What are your mornings like these days?

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yogurt with cinnamon creamed honey, figs + thyme // serves 1

This isn’t so much a recipe as inspiration for putting a simple bowl of yogurt together. Use whatever toppings you wish here. If you can’t find cinnamon creamed honey, you could spoon a bit of creamed honey into a saucepan and warm it through with a dash of cinnamon. Or just use any honey you have on hand.

my palette contains:

1/4 cup rolled oats

3/4 cup plain yogurt

cinnamon creamed honey, or any honey of your choice

figs, pears, and/or bananas, sliced to your liking

1-2 tablespoons chopped almonds

poppy seeds, sesame seeds

fresh herbs, such as thyme, rosemary, mint, tarragon, or dill, chopped

fleur de sel, Maldon, or another flaky sea salt (optional)

Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add oats and toast, stirring occasionally, until slightly golden and fragrant. You can add the almonds here to toast as well, if desired. Set aside. Place yogurt in a bowl. Drizzle with honey. Add fruit to bowl and top with oats, almonds, and seeds. Finish with herbs and the tiniest sprinkle of fleur de sel or sea salt, if desired.

 

a taste of our trip

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In September, the husband and I took a 10-day trip to the Napa and Sonoma valleys. We dabbled in the hurry and bustle of San Francisco for a few days as well, in need of a bit of city adventure. I’m certain that I’d never been so excited for a trip in my life. Who wouldn’t be when wine begins to pour at 10am every morning, just after the first and last cup of coffee?

I don’t know what all to say except that it was exactly what I needed. I took quite a lot of pictures. Yet, as I was sorting through them, I realized how few I took of food. This may surprise you, but ah! Have we spoken about the silliness one can feel with food blogging in public? Maybe I’ll save that for another post, but in short, some places just don’t seem fitting to pull out a giant DSLR and make all sorts of zooming in and snapping sounds.

If the food simply must be photographed – most often after I’ve pestered the husband over and over about whether or not I should “take a quick picture”, trying desperately to sit on my hands and leave well enough alone until the desperation passes – I’ll feverishly pull out my iPhone and take a few haphazard shots. Not without scanning the room first, of course, to make sure that everyone around is perfectly absorbed in their meal/wine/dinner mate and paying no mind to my neurotic foodie tendencies.

I have fleeting moments of bravery, but more often than not, I try to simply enjoy the dish as is. To breathe in the heady smells of shallot and tarragon as a bowl of mussels, laden in a broth flecked with lemon zest and rippled with cream, is placed before me. To glimpse across the table at what the husband is having, catching the glimmer in his eye as he plots his first bite. To dine and linger for hours – letting go of trying to capture the moment, but rather, reveling in it with such illustrious joy that it becomes unforgettable.

Here, a small collection of favorites. The husband took several of these. He loved getting a rise out of me - snatching the camera and snapping photos of me so fast, so recklessly, one after the other, often when I wasn’t looking. And then I’d realize (!) and quickly become embarrassed. These impromptu photo sessions always ended in flushed cheeks, laughter, silly poses, and true emotion. Which, I’m sure, is all he wanted in the end.

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maple ginger syrup

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Hello!

The husband and I just returned from a 10-day trip to San Francisco, Napa, and Sonoma. It was truly marvelous in every way. I don’t think we had one bite of food or sip of wine that didn’t send me into a foodie frenzy, babbling on and on about the texture of this and the flavor of that. I’m hoping to share some photos with you soon.

With our return came the complete opposite of a vacation: my first cold of the season and the start of rainy weather here in Seattle. Quite possibly every child I saw in my clinic this week had a cough and sniffly nose. And so, I sit here on the couch, a cup of tea and honey throat drops at my side, the rain pounding sideways into the window. I realize, it’s my first opportunity to truly write in months. I’ll take it.

The shift in weather has me wishing for warm things. Big pots of coffee and socks on my feet. Long gone are the heirloom tomato salads with fresh basil and burrata cheese I enjoyed so many times last week. It’s time now for big pots of chili, trays of roasted butternut squash, and stacks of piping hot pancakes on a Saturday morning.

Yes, pancakes. Let’s talk more about those.

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Every decent weekend should begin with a stack of pancakes.

Lately, the husband and I have been enjoying them with a simple maple ginger syrup we threw together in a pot one morning. I had purchased a monstrosity of a root for a sudden neurotic obsession I had with Asian and Indian dishes containing lots and lots of fresh ginger. After a week of that, I think the husband was about ready to chuck the rest, but I was determined to find a new use for it.

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This syrup has just enough “differentness” about it that makes you say, “What IS that?” And I’d like to think, at least for today, that the fresh ginger root is helping me battle this cold with all its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial goodness.

We still had a couple pints of fresh blueberries lying around for these pancakes, but anything will do here. Pull berries from a stocked supply you may have in your freezer or caramelize some apples or pears in a skillet to spoon on top.

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I love this pancake recipe made with whole grains and yogurt, but use whatever you like. French toast, waffles, crepes – all will welcome this syrup brilliantly.

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I think I may be feeling better already…

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maple ginger syrup // makes 1/2 cup

This is a simple recipe to build from if you like. Depending on the season, add some zested orange or lemon or maybe a pinch of spice like cinnamon or nutmeg.

my palette contains:

1/2 cup pure maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon peeled and grated/zested fresh ginger root

Place syrup and ginger in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then promptly lower heat and stir as ginger dissolves. Keep warm on stove over low heat as pancakes cook. Drizzle or pour on top to your heart’s content.

 

lately

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a tray of homemade croissants // an honest reward for a whole lot of patience // straight to Paris with the first flaky bite

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a casual family photo shoot // denim + white // the ones I love most

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a quiet patch of flowers // a busy street in Seattle // summer joy

the pantry

assisting with classes at a community kitchen + cooking school // the pantry at delancey // things that make me happiest

coddled eggs

a dish from said cooking class // coddled eggs with spinach, cream, and onion jam // what would life be without brunch?

tomatoes

let there be tomatoes! // a bustling market // Sundays

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the beginnings of a makeshift garden // a teeny tiny porch // a haven for impromptu summer dinners lasting far past a weeknight bedtime

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hiking // a packed lunch on a mountain top // looking everywhere but down

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cherry clafoutis at a favorite restaurant // a tablecloth striped blue // the photo an obvious afterthought

homemade lemon curd

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I know that we’ve coasted into summer, but over the past couple months, I simply could not get enough of all the springtime foods. Asparagus, rhubuarb, spring onions, garlic chives. And lemon. Oh, the lemon! Zested over salads, tossed into pasta, baked into muffins. Everything I ate HAD to have lemon. And so, enter my obsession with lemon curd.

This obsession started back in early April, after falling in love with it at Broder, a fantastic brunch spot the husband and I visited during our weekend getaway to Portland. We were seated next to the counter where the nearly finished dishes are garnished with a final dusting of powdered sugar or sprinkling of herbs. One can only dream of such a lucky spot.

It took just one plate of the Swedish style pancakes and lemon curd to pop up on the counter and waft past my nose before I knew that such a dish would surely change my life. Dramatic, I know. Immediately, I declared that we were ordering a skillet full.

Now, these were not your typical pancakes. They were round like an oversized doughnut hole, but soft and pillowy with just a hint of crispiness on the outer edges. I am positively kicking myself for not taking a snapshot, but if you want glimpse at these lovelies, there’s a picture here. We slathered them silly with fresh lemon curd and washed them down with cup after cup of coffee and got completely lost in (as predicted) our life-changing meal.

And so, obviously I just had to try my own hand at lemon curd once I returned home. Since I hadn’t really given lemon curd the time of day until now and had no idea what it entailed, I rummaged up a recipe online. I’m not a super technical cook, but I figured that Alton Brown would have a good idea of how much of this should go with that for such a simple recipe.

The Mother’s Day brunch the husband and I hosted for our moms (and dads!) was the perfect occasion to debut our beloved lemon curd.

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The ingredients here are simple – egg yolks, sugar, lemon, butter – and I left them well enough alone. But, I do think it would be nice to add some fresh chives or basil or lavender if you’re looking to change it up a bit. For such simplicity, use the highest quality ingredients you can find.

It goes without saying that this stuff is LEMONY. A little goes a long way. The lemon curd is brilliant added to almost anything. We served it with good cheese and croissants at our brunch, but enjoyed it on top a stack of ricotta pancakes and swirled it into plain yogurt for the rest of the week.

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homemade lemon curd // makes 1 pint

adapted from Alton Brown

my palette contains:

5 egg yolks

1 cup organic, fair-trade sugar

4 small or medium lemons, zested and juiced

1/2 cup butter, cut into pats and chilled

chopped fresh herbs, such as chives, basil, or lavender (optional)

Add enough water to a medium saucepan to come about 1 inch up the side. Bring to a simmer over medium high heat. Meanwhile, combine egg yolks and sugar in a medium size metal bowl and whisk until smooth, about 1 minute.

Measure lemon juice and, if needed, add enough cold water to reach 1/3 cup. Add juice and zest to egg mixture; whisk until smooth.

Once water reaches a simmer, reduce heat to low and place bowl on top of saucepan. (Bowl should be large enough to fit on top of saucepan without touching the water.) Whisk until thickened, approximately 8 minutes, or until mixture is light yellow and coats the back of a spoon.

Remove promptly from heat and stir in butter a piece at a time, allowing each addition to melt before adding the next. Remove to a clean container to cool. Once cool, add a sprinkling of fresh chopped herbs, if desired.

The lemon curd can be stored in the fridge by placing a layer of plastic wrap directly on its surface, although I’ve found that spooning it into a Mason jar with a tight-fitting lid works as well.

 

virtual coffee date

Why, hello there!

I’m thinking it’s time we catch up a bit, hmm? It’s been far too long. Maybe over a cup of coffee? One of my favorite blogs does this thing called “virtual coffee dates”. It’s a way to catch up on all sorts of topics, only via the Internet instead of the Starbucks down the street. It’s a splendid idea, really. And you all know how I feel about coffee.

So, I’ve got my cup.

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I’ll wait while you grab yours.

I’ve missed you all so much. Life has been so busy since we last talked. But so, so good too. I’ve had many of you reach out to me, wondering when I’ll get back to the blog and the like. Thank you for your kind words and immense support. Adjusting to my new job over these months has left me breathless by the end of each week, but I simply cannot stay away much longer. I’ve got scrap pieces of paper in all sorts of odd places, scribbled with words and thoughts I want to share with you that run through my mind.

So, how is the new job?

It certainly challenges me, and I see some really tough things. Things that stay with me as I drive home from work or show up uninvited in my dreams at night. It’s so easy to feel inadequate. But then a 3 year old taps me on the shoulder and whispers a secret in my ear, followed promptly with a kiss on my cheek from her rubber duck as I talk to her pregnant mom about breastfeeding. Those are the moments when it all feels pretty worth it. I am inspired by people everyday. I really do love it.

And life outside of work has been a breath of fresh air. How liberating to have my weekends free after so many years of school! Most of our weekends these days involve good friends, good food, and good wine. Simple things make me happy.

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Housemade yogurt with honey and toasted pinenuts, a cardamom scone, and a perfectly frothed latte at The Fat Hen in Ballard.

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Stumbling upon this sign, rummaging through the bin for the reddest and ripest, plucking away the stem, and taking the very first bite, which is always the best of the season, simply because I’ve been waiting for it for many long months.

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Transporting these lovelies, finding it unbearable to wait to take a picture before arriving home. Their bright color makes even a car ride a beautiful thing.

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A carousel ride with my niece, who clutches the bar with all her might and takes the task very seriously. Experiencing joy, albeit dizzy joy, through her eyes.

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And a little silliness in a photo booth, which is as good for the soul as a good meal.

There is plenty more to catch up on. I look forward to it in the coming days. So, what would you tell me over your cup of coffee?

theo peppermint stick chocolate chunk cookies

Okay, so I know it wasn’t that long ago that I blogged about cookies. Or chocolate. Or Theo chocolate for that matter.

I’m due for a vegetable or main course or something that balances all the cookies you might already be eating this holiday season. BUT! Last weekend, I had the most incredible “foodie” weekend that I’ve had in months and that weekend included these cookies.

I just had to share. We’ll get to those.

The husband and I went on a bit of a “restaurant freeze” when we got back from France in late September. I really don’t recommend it. So when he offered to take me to dinner on Friday night at Cafe Juanita to celebrate my new job and moving to our new area, I more than jumped at an opportunity to put on a cute dress and have an evening out. Nevermind the beans soaking on the countertop for dinner. Those could wait.

We promised ourselves that we’d each just get a glass of wine and an entree and call it good. Those thoughts flew out the window when our server brought us a glass of complimentary Prosecco to welcome us. Good times were already flowing. The night was young and the table was ours.

Then! My cookbook club met over the weekend. The group is brilliant and diverse and fabulous. Here’s how it works: After choosing a cookbook to cook from, we each prepare a dish from the book and bring it to share. We try to focus on choosing seasonal recipes and using local ingredients as much as possible. Foodies cooking and coming together to eat and talk about food? I cannot think of a better way to spend my time. This month, our choice was “In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite” by Melissa Clark. She writes a food column called “A Good Appetite” in The New York Times.

Everything everyone made was fabulous. I made her Rich and Nutty Brown Butter Cornbread in my cast iron skillet using local corn that was frozen and saved for the winter. I love the stories the author tells before each recipe and how she often uses yogurt for baking, as I like to do. Balances the brown butter quite nicely, don’t ya think?

And then! I went to a holiday cookie exchange party. I didn’t have time to come up with something fancy with all that’s been going on with the move, so on the day of the party, I simply decided to whip up a batch of my mom’s chocolate chip cookies.

(Wrote down this coveted recipe in my best handwriting in 1996 when I was almost 12 years old.)

But, I pretended to be super creative with the cookies I brought by throwing a chopped up Theo Peppermint Stick chocolate bar into the mix. Genius, I tell you. I love a good gingerbread or frosted Christmas tree, but I think these are my favorite Christmas cookies to date. You just can’t go wrong with chocolate chip cookies. Especially pepperminty ones.

I wanted to keep these cookies pretty classic. They do have some whole-wheat pastry flour, but I didn’t go over the top with trying to “healthify” them. Sometimes I put quinoa in my cookies and sometimes I bake with browned butter. Either way, when it comes to desserts, I like to focus on using really good quality ingredients and truly savoring each delectable bite. Good quality, to me, means ingredients that have been grown and harvested in pure, responsible, and sustainable ways. Here, I strived to use ingredients that are organic, local if possible/fair trade if not, and haven’t been messed with too much. Ingredients that haven’t been messed with too much always taste the best.

If you aren’t able to find Theo chocolate where you live, you can certainly toss in some other peppermint chocolate here. Or try another holiday flavor. I have plans to make these with some spiced gingerbread chocolate or toasted coconut.

What foodie experiences have you stumbled upon lately?

theo peppermint stick chocolate chunk cookies // makes about 3 dozen cookies

my palette contains:

1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup pure cane sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 3-ounce Theo Organic + Fair Trade Peppermint Stick chocolate bar, chopped into small chunks

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, combine whole-wheat pastry flour, all-purpose flour, baking soda, and sea salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, combine softened butter, pure cane sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla extract. Beat with a mixer until creamy. Add eggs and beat again. With mixer running, slowly add flour mixture. Once incorporated, add chocolate and stir to combine. Drop batter by the spoonful onto prepared trays. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until nicely browned around the edges. Cool on a wire rack.