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Around this time of year—the dregs of the winter—Kevin and I are prone to hermitism.  It’s a serious condition that affects those of us in the northern reaches of this country, confining us to our homes, leaving us yearning for turtleneck sweaters and hearty food.  Sure, we leave the house for work, but happy hour?  No thank you!  Dinner down the block?  Are you nuts?  A walk around the neighborhood?  Take a hike!

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So, I was downright shocked to find us triple booked for the Super Bowl last Sunday.  Triple!  Booked!  Frankly, I didn’t even think we had that many friends (or maybe I just didn’t remember them, given that we are weeks into the whole hermitism thing at this point and, I dare say, some of said friends have perhaps fallen prey to the syndrome too).  In the end, we could only make it to two of the parties, which was about as much social interaction as us hermitism-afflicted souls could take.  Hermitism side effects aside, two parties meant one thing: two treats.

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Blood Orange Granita

January 21, 2009

granita

As a kid, I had a thing for magenta. Not red, not pink: magenta. I liked the sound of it, for one thing. Try it now: mahhh-gen-TAH! It also happened to be the hue of my eight-year-old self’s favorite outfit (a stripey multiples number, complete with cumberbund, if you must know). I also adored the book Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, but that’s neither here nor there, is it?

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Magenta also features prominently in one of my favorite childhood memories. A distant cousin (second cousin, I think, but really: what does that even mean?) came to visit, decked out in magenta (knowing it was my favorite shade) and took me to the zoo. We rode camels and ate magenta-colored snow cones, and, well, that’s really all it takes for an eight year old, isn’t it?

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Kristin + This Pie

January 9, 2009

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Sometimes it seems like all I do on this site is fall in love—with a new recipe, a novel cooking method, a city visited for the first time, or that roommate of mine. It’s not all that unlike my middle school years: a new crush practically every week. Except these days, instead of loopy, heart-filled diary entries about the latest gent to catch my eye, I gush about produce and pots and such on this site. What can I say? Cooking is thrilling for me. Maybe because, in the grand scheme of things, I’m relatively new to the endeavor. But, really, I hope it never changes. So I suppose that means that my gushy posts will continue to clutter up your Google Reader.

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Today’s recipe had all the trappings of a gushy post—homemade pastry, hand-whisked lemon curd, billowy meringue. Just thinking about making this pie practically sent me into raptures. But (you had to know there was a “but,” no?) instead of becoming my next new heartthrob, this pie was a heartache, through and through. So much so that I could’ve just curled up with a pint of ice cream and some angsty, croony music (which would’ve rounded out the middle school image, quite nicely, I think), except I made the pie on Christmas Eve and there was no time for a pity party.

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With a Bang

January 4, 2009

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I said sometime last week that I believed resolutions don’t count until January 2, but considering that, when I said it, we were on the verge of a New Orleans trip that revolved almost entirely around food (more on that soon!), I probably should’ve nudged the date even later. But in reality, I’m not all that big on resolutions. They feel a lot like Valentine’s Day to me: made-up, invested with sky-high expectations and bound to make someone feel bad.

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I do, though, think it’s wise—and natural—to take stock: look forward and backward, reflect and dream, reminisce and commit. And I think it’s also quite lovely to start the new year with a bang. And I would say that our long weekend did just that.

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brandyalex

As usual, I’ve gotten a little ahead of myself. I have a history of this: in the fifth grade, I was already dressing like a business woman. Blazers, and sometimes ties (it was 1989), were de rigueur. So, really, my eagerness to talk about New Years Day, before uttering even a peep about New Years Eve, really isn’t all that shocking. Like I said, I have a history—a shoulder-padded history.

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In reality, I have been doing a lot of thinking about New Years Eve. We’ll be cooking and laying low because we have an early flight on New Years Day (New Orleans!). My initial idea for a New Years Eve menu came while we were at my parents’ house in Minnesota for Christmas.

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In My Defense

December 21, 2008

rugelach

Did I say I was done with the holiday baking?  Well, whoops.  As it turns out, I was done with the Christmas baking.  Never—not once—did I mention Hanukkah baking, which, you know, is completely different.  So, I confess, we celebrated Hanukkah this weekend with Kevin’s family and I made rugelach.   (It just might be time for an intervention.  My name is Kristin and I cannot stop the holiday baking.  Surely there is a support group for this?)  I waffled between the recipe I used last year, a pinwheel recipe and a recipe by Dorie Greenspan.  In the end, the third of these won.  I couldn’t resist the traditional shape: cute little spiraled nuggets, fillings seeping out around the edges.

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Into the cream cheese dough, I tucked apricot preserves, dried cranberries, chopped pecans and bits of bittersweet chocolate, but you should feel free to play around with the combination.  These cookies, old-timey and imperfect, are fun to make and even more fun to eat: what, with the flaky pastry and jammy, tart insides.  The bits of chocolate here and there don’t hurt either (and I know chocolate’s not traditional but Dorie said I could).  Because I’ve got about a billion things to do before we leave for Minnesota on Tuesday night (But no more baking.  Seriously.  I swear.), I’ll leave you with step-by-step photos after the jump:

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pbfudge

My chief complaint with the iPhone is that it is entirely unconducive to cradling on your shoulder while you, say, make dinner and talk to your mom at the same time.  It’s nothing like the receiver of the phone that used to hang in my family’s kitchen (rotary! oh, the horror when my friends came over!).  That one was dumbell shaped and clunky, but my mom could cook an entire dinner with it pinched between her ear and shoulder, the curly cord stretching from the stove to the sink to the table and back again.

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The iPhone?  Not so much.  On Sunday as I was cleaning up after yet another baking project, I called my mom.  Before I could even get past the obligatory “What did you have for dinner?” question, the phone slipped out of it’s awkward position bewteen my cheek and clavicle, causing me to drop a (brand new) bottle of vanilla (extra large, extra expensive) on the counter, where it promptly shattered.  Which is when I started cursing.  Which is when I hung up the phone.  Which is when I vowed that the holiday baking was OVER.

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