Posts Tagged ‘food’

2010, From Scratch

January 7, 2010

So wow, the entire holiday season has come and gone already! Cannot believe it’s been so long since my last post, and sincere apologies to all, as both the writing and cooking have taken a literal back burner to that stretch of madness spanning three epic food-for-all calendar dates. Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year – all of which, now a blur of belly-blessed treats that cannot begin to be recalled except in creeping scale increments. Kinda like a trip to Whole Foods: somehow you’ve blown $75 and yet have no idea what you’re eating for dinner upon reaching the parking lot. But oh, was it worth it. After all, there’s only so many winter-wonderful recipes and gift basket engineering a girl can withstand before trading the pie tin for pinot and joining the holiday merriment beneath flurries of twinkling lights.

Though, I do think that befitting the occasion, there should be some sort of countdown involved – a wrap-up of the foodie best-in-shows, Holiday Edition 2009. Get those crackers and noisemakers ready…we’re off:

'yule' want to cozy up with a batch asap!

5. Chocolate Peppermint Bark Cookies – Easily my new favorite and the coveted prize of any cookie exchange. Hershey’s dark chocolate and peppermint-white kisses make these as festive as they are delicious. Also solves the dilemma of leftover candy canes – crush and sprinkle on top for added crunch. Using store-bought sugar cookie dough, it just doesn’t get any easier. Special thanks to The Recipe Girl for this gem.

4. Peet’s Coffee – The warm cranberry-walnut scones, pillowy milk froth, dark kenyan roast and a slow-down-&-sip soundtrack is a California morning staple. And what little tree could be properly trimmed without a Peet’s Coffee & Tea Christmas ornament? Love and latte for all.

Flickr photo courtesy of David Lebovitz (daveleb)

3. Christmas Stollen –  Our lovely friend Inge is kind enough to bake up and share her delicious traditional German stollen each year, and it’s quickly become a personal favorite. Forget the doorstop-double fruitcake jokes; this treat is light and crumbly, with sugary icing and an addictive balance of fruit and spice. Orange and green citron add holiday zest. Toasted with a smidge of butter, stollen will disappear faster than you can say “Dankeschön.”

2. Dundee Marmalade – Once confined to a permanent shelf life, my newest flavorite would not have been discovered without the former entry, perfectly paired as they are. I never cared for the orange jelly stuff, but the bits of real candied orange peel make James Keiller & Sons marmalade perfectly sweet while still a bit tart – not overpowering or gummy in the least. It seems the UK company knows they’re doing something right, too, since the spread has been around since 1797. Bonus points for the elegant, white porcelain jar that makes tea time that much more refined.

1.  A New Year’s Eve dinner affair to remember – What better way to ring in 2010 than with good friends, good food and a very good rose from Moet & Chardon? On the menu: shrimp arrabiata pasta, warm spinach salad with gorgonzola, bruschetta trio, vino and a little (okay, make that a lot of) bubbly. 2010, you’re looking good so far… (pictures to come soon!)

So cheers, everyone, to a bright New Year chock-full of tasties ahead!

~ Cin Cin from the grego girl


Too Much Of A Food Fling

November 11, 2009

One of the most unfortunate consequences of growing up is the forced coming-to-terms with the fact that some things just don’t exist. Despite a girl’s best intentions to remain hopelessly optimistic, at some point she will eventually be affronted by the evils of adulthood disenchantment.


Santa Claus. The Easter Bunny. Time Travel. Free Credit. Zero-Calorie Desserts. Style And Support. Fair Salary Compensation. Platonic Friendships with the Opposite Sex. All of these, as it turns out, are mere fictions – the stuff of myth that deludes us into a more pleasant state of ignorant bliss.

(*Author’s note: Still waiting, Real-Life Mr. Darcy…)

That is, until the day we unwittingly bite into the proverbial fruit of knowledge. Or, more appropriately, devour the entire produce stand. Case in point being my latest test of the ubiquitous anthem: “A girl can never have too much of a good thing.”

Now really, at first glance who would argue? I don’t know a single acquaintance that would turn down a truckload of Tiffany diamonds, for instance. Or wave away a thousand free airline miles. Pass on a Grey’s Anatomy marathon? Never.

So when I made my way to the Party of the Senses culinary showcase at Disney’s Epcot Food and Wine Festival this weekend, I had little concern as to how I could carry myself through the three-hour epicurean free-for-all.  The evening’s ‘Italian Cuisine’ theme granted even more confidence with a quick menu glance of savory pairings and sweets: Chianti, Prosecco, Pinot; Veal, Lobster Risotto, Diver Scallops; Cannoli, Nocciolo Gelato, Espresso Bar. Three entire displays of international artisan cheeses… Oh my!

Wine glass and tasting plate readied, I gazed in awe as the curtains were drawn back to reveal my own personal fairytale, a cavernous room beckoning with nearly 50 gourmet spreads and wine flowing in abundance – before the scene quickly turned to a strange, running-of-the-bulls spectacle as evening gown-clad devotees trampled across the floor to claim their front-of-line status (clearly my passion for all things edible has yet to reach category:obsessive).

The straightforward strategy was decided early on: counter-clockwise rotation through the room, saving cheese and dessert for last naturally; anything deemed just ‘good’ would be swiftly disposed in exchange for the next course. Wine should be consumed in moderation (for me, with caution), and same rules apply.

This method began in literal good taste, with highlights like warm pumpkin-thyme torta beneath a creamy melt of gorgonzola dolce gelato, followed by a red wine-braised short rib and ricotta di pecora gnocchi. Martini & Rossi prosecco sparkled alongside a to-die-for veal tenderloin with sweet mission fig glaze. I’ve never had a better pour of Pinot Noir than Q by Iron Horse Vineyards – a 2006 signature that’s one of only 500 bottles produced.

Somewhere into the second hour and my third (or fourth?) consecutive ounce of Chateau Ste. Michelle, an ominous feeling began to take form. But with another half room still to go, and not a single taste of piave cheese or Grand Marnier zeppole to boast of, I resolved to squelch any sense of waning appetite… and helped myself to Sonoma lamb shoulder and the night’s standout: blood orange braised short ribs and vanilla scented parsnip. The rest of the night was fabulous blur of fresh gorgonzola, reggiano, honeycomb, candied dates, handcrafted chocolate truffles, cannoli, tiramisu gelato and espresso, amaretto tartlets… enough to induce the resulting food coma that kept me reaching for the Pepcid well into the wee hours.

Way too much of a good thing? Undeniably and unquestionably yes. The painful repercussions of discovering such truth? Grand-scale disillusionment and more acid reflux than a chili cookoff. Totally worth repeating? In a heartbeat.