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What’s a holiday party with a thumbprint cookie of some sort? Jewel like jam in the center of a buttery cookie? Ok, hold that thought. Turn it around, add some crunchy cornmeal to that buttery dough and fill the center with some sort of savory jam. Say, a cranberry or mango chutney or a tomato or fig jam. Before you know it, you have a delightful cocktail snack. I can attest that these are delicious with an ice cold martini. Oh my.

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I do love a cookie with raspberry jam. The first year there were thumbprints, last year were linzers, and this year jam tarts. The best. It’s funny – the basic dough and the raspberry jam is the same in all the recipes but a few different ingredients in each batch yields completely different cookies. That’s the cool trick about this whole thing. Maybe you should think about doing nothing but raspberry jam cookies this year. I’d be good with that. So, given my fondness of raspberry jam, I threw another one in this round, one that was more raspberry focused and with almonds, because that is the best combination. Today for Day 4, we have Almond Raspberry Strips.   (more…)

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… apologies

I messed up yesterday and for that I sincerely apologize. I offended many of you with a term for an exploration of the foods of recently maligned countries and that certainly wasn’t my intent. At all. But I hear you. My intent is irrelevant. As someone wisely pointed out, I can’t take ownership of this blatantly racist term regardless of my intentions. Got it. After much thought, I have deleted that post as I don’t want to continue to offend. I never ever meant to denigrate El Salvador nor it’s foods. Never.

As for the recipe, dang. I made some crap pupasas. That was made very clear. Honestly, I can appreciate your passionate replies and united hatred of my attempt. As much as it stung, it made me smile a little too. Familial recipes, especially those deeply rooted in our cultures, are intensly personal. Know that I heard you loud and clear. My pupasas were crap. I need to go back and work on these a bit more. I started with what I thought was a solid recipe source but I guess pupasas weren’t their strong point either. Maybe I’ll take another public crack at this one if I can get it right. I might have to track down someone to teach me first.

We all make mistakes. I’ll take ownership for mine. I most definitely did not mean to offend so if I did, I hope you can accept my apology. I’ve heard you.

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I’ve often wondered about Brown Bread Ice Cream. What was it? Who puts bread in ice cream? In my mind, it was a major disconnect. Bread + Ice Cream = Huh? During my research into Irish recipes, this one came up several times yet I’ve never tasted, much less made it. Why would you do such a thing? Cookies yes, but bread? Brown wheat bread? But you know I was intrigued. My friend Meg once made an amazing ice cream with popcorn so how different could this be? I recalled a post David Lebovitz, the ice cream king, did a few years ago so I thought I’d start there. And you know what? It was really good and what better time than around St. Patrick’s Day to try this one out?

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It took me three years to get this one right.  Every August, when the apricots are absolutely perfect, sweet and juicy, I’d pull this recipe out and try it again.  But only for those few weeks.  Beautiful seasonal fruit is fleeting in these parts and this just isn’t as good with mediocre apricots.  I’d make it once, but probably two or three times, and make cursory notes that never made sense a year later. I’d stare at the computer screen wondering what the hell I meant by “too poufy” or “iffy meh” and what I was supposed to do about it.  I have trouble remembering what I was thinking 12 minutes ago, much less 12 months. All my attempts were good yet I always felt it could be better.  And then just as quickly as they came, the apricots were gone and the weather started to cool.  Next year, maybe next year.

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Bastille Day is this Saturday – but you knew that right?  The French national holiday commemorates the 1790 Fête de la Fédération that was held on the first anniversary of the storming of the Bastille on July 14th the year prior.  It’s a day that is celebrated with parades, picnics, fireworks and great shows of nationalism, not unlike our 4th of July.  Last year at this time, I was deep in the Gascon countryside, celebrating a truly unique US-French Bastille Day BBQ courtesy of my friend Kate and a whole crew of mostly American friends at her lovely home, Camont.  It was a fantastic day.

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As I pop my head up from the holiday chaos, I realize it’s been a while since I posted.  And I was on such a roll there for a minute.  Such is life.  Hope everyone had a lovely holiday and is ready for the New Year.

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