The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

IMG_9326If you’re anything like me, you are constantly in search of the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe. And not one ever, quite lives up to the hype. Too crunchy. Too Chewy. Too sweet. Etc. etc.

Well, search no further. This is, literally, the best cookie I’ve ever tasted or made (of the chocolate chip variety). And good news to all you gluten-avoiders: it’s got no flour in it!

“Oh, geez.” you may say, “Another one of these silly ‘healthy’ desserts. Desserts aren’t supposed to be healthy. Stop trying!”

Well, I promise you, that’s usually what I say. Don’t mess with a good thing and all that. I mean, if I’m going to ingest sugar, it had better be as tasty as it possibly can be. HOWEVER, in this situation, it works excellently. The recipe replaces wheat with almond flour, and the absence of gluten makes for an extraordinarily tender cookie.IMG_9323 These are more on the crunchy side of the spectrum, but they are by no means hard. They’re a little like shortbread – melt in your mouth.

Seriously, you have to try these – if you’re not converted – well, I don’t know what to say… Recipe

Cocktail of the Week: Northern Spye

IMG_9510For those of you who like bitters, I would like to introduce you to a new bitter on the market. It is the Orleans Bitter from Eden Ice Cider of Vermont. The Orleans has the bitterness you expect from this kind of aperitif, but it also has a different and lovely underlying note of apple from the cider that serves as its base. It is lovely sipped alone, on the rocks, but it also pairs quite nicely with rye.

We have a recipe in one of our vintage cocktail books called The Soother, a rum and cognac based drink that calls for a bit of apple juice. This drink got me thinking about adding cider to cocktails; cider got me thinking about the Orleans Bitter, and from there, the Northern Spy was born.  Continue reading

Perfect Pastry Pie Crust

Thanksgiving time is pie time. No question about it. This year we had a bit of a pie disaster. My sister has been experimenting with Einkorn flour, which is actually quite good. 969434_669408952378_958001088_nHOWEVER, we had no experience with working with it in pie dough – which is a finicky process. The result was – less than ideal. The first blind baked crust stuck like mad to the parchment paper. The second one basically collapsed. It was getting late on Wednesday and there was no pumpkin pie, never mind apple pie! My dad and I hopped in the car and made a run to the King Arthur Store in Norwich. There we found a bag of their Perfect Pastry Blend flour, which, of course, has a recipe for pie crust on the back.
When in doubt, turn to the experts.1470063_669444885368_1560865055_n
As promised, it was perfect. So I thought, why not share it. I’m sure I’m not the only one out there who always struggles to find the crust recipe I want. Next time, I’ll just have to leave a little more time for experimenting with the Einkorn flour.

The only change I made was to add a little sugar – I think when making a sweet pie you need that touch to balance the flavors. I also didn’t use the optional buttermilk powder they called for – I’m honestly not sure what the point of it is, so I haven’t put it in here. But at the bottom of this post, you’ll find a link the the original recipe. Continue reading

Cocktail of the Week: Bonny Doon Verjus

For six years, I worked at a tiny Farm/Restaurant in Woodstock, Vermont called Pane e Salute. Among the many perks of Verjusmy time there was the opportunity to taste a lot of different wines. During my last autumn with Pane, I got to taste the Bonny Doon Vineyards Verjus de Cigare, which is actually a non-alcoholic beverage made from grenache grapes. It’s pretty much the best grape juice you’ve ever tasted in your life.

Because Bonny Doon recommends using Verjus as a mixer for cocktails, I naturally set to work experimenting. The following two cocktails are what resulted from these experiments (with expert input, of course, from my bosses). They were very tasty, and I recommend checking out the Verjus. It is not terribly expensive and it offers a world of interesting possibilities. Use these two drinks as a jumping off point. Play around; have some fun.  Recipe

Cocktail of the Week: The Secret Cocktail

1376646_664877044358_1518962928_nThe other day, while looking for something a little different to mix up, I came across “The Secret Cocktail” in our Classic Cocktails book. Secret? Well, I’m intrigued. Tell me more.

Now, this is not the real name of this drink, as the description in our book was quick to point out. However, because of its true identity, many people tend to shy away from the drink, despite its excellent flavor. The thing is, the name is a bit of a misnomer, because this drink is anything but ‘girly’ – it is in face quite strong. So brace yourselves for the original…

French Style Supper: Apple Cardamom-Cream Tart

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Last but certainly not least in this series: the apple tart. For this tart, a loose bottom pan is also ideal, but not necessary. However, don’t use a deep one like I did – it takes forever to cook! A 9-12″ shallow tart pan should be good.

You’ll want the same Pâte Brisée recipe from the Quiche. However, since this is a sweet tart, I like to up the sugar just a touch (maybe a scant tablespoon). Whether or not you do that is totally up to you. Now for the filling: Read More:

French Style Supper: Bacon and Onion Tart

IMG_1083Ok. Now for recipe number two in the French Style Supper series: the tart, or quiche. First of all, for this recipe, you will need a free-bottom tart pan. Second of all, don’t do what I did; make sure the crust is thin enough – especially down in those corners! – otherwise your tart will be heavy and the crust won’t be crisp.

Alright, crust comes first. For my crust, I used Julia Child’s Pâte Brisée recipe, which can be found here. HOWEVER, PLEASE don’t use vegetable shortening! Use lard – it’s real, and it’s good for you. Anyway, that’s all from me. Once you have your crust all done and pre-baked, you can start on the filling.

French Syle Supper: Steak Tartare

IMG_1086Rather a long while back, I posted an entry about a French Style Supper that I made inspired by Becoming Madame and Market Day Canelé – but, me being me, I never posted the recipes. Shame on me! So, here is the first recipe of three. A little disclaimer: this is not a recipe for the squeamish – it’s got raw things in it. 🙂 Steak Tartare

Cocktail of the Week: Sandy Sour

297149_618586111758_1854603337_nI was shuffling through my collection of cocktail recipes, when I found this one. As we are approaching the first anniversary of Sandy’s devastation here in New Jersey, it seemed appropriate. Our family was very lucky – we live in a relatively sheltered house, we had just had a generator installed, and we have a fireplace. No trees fell on our house (though many fell around it, and one very large tree took out the power lines to the house); the water ran around us. Our house remained standing (though, to me, sleeping on the second floor, it sure didn’t sound like it would). So, after the storm passed, and we could not leave the house, we were comfortable. Many, many were not nearly so lucky. I’d like to dedicate this drink to them. When you mix it, remember those who lost loved ones, homes and livelihoods in Super Storm Sandy. See Recipe

Cocktail Of The Week: Piña Coladas

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When the summer begins to heat up, there’s nothing like a good tropical drink to get you in the summer mood. If only that drink came with a white sandy beach… well, I guess you can’t have everything. You’ll just have to make do with an awesome piña colada – and perhaps a pool if you’re lucky enough to have one. Otherwise, post a picture of the beach on your wall, and look at it while you sip your drink. Breath deep. Exhale. Can you smell the ocean? Almost? Recipe