baci di dama (gluten-free chocolate-filled hazelnut cookies.)

baci di dama [chocolate-filled hazelnut cookies].

Baci di Dama: Italian for “disturbingly tedious cookie balls.” Even for me, who relishes a difficult task. And not just part of the process, either: every single step is rife with things which can and will irritate you. Easy to make? Nope. Fun? Not in the slightest; no one is going to throw any Baci di Dama cooking-making parties anytime soon, at least not around here. If you’re interested, hazelphiles (and I know some of you are), this one’s for you. Hopefully my little tutorial will eliminate some aggravation, and you can get right to the best part: popping them in your mouth, one by one, ad nauseum. Continue reading →

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pignoli [pine nut] cookies.

pignoli [pine nut] cookies.

Imagine for a moment that it’s the holiday season, and you have an Italian Nonna in town for a visit.

Now imagine I am that visiting Nonna. Let’s talk cookies.

Blame it on Bravo, or the Real Housewives of New Jersey, but I’ve had an obsession with Italian-American holiday cookies ever since Theresa berated Melissa for bringing sprinkle cookies instead of pignoli cookies to Christmas Eve. I relate to these women for many reasons: there are aspects of my personality which, in another life, would have made me a spectacular Jersey-born Italian-American. I’m emotional and passionate…about everything. I talk with my hands, I’m independent, I have lots of opinions – some founded, some completely crazy – which I will defend to the death, and I relish a healthy argument every now and again. Most importantly, I believe in honoring history and carrying on old school traditions, and I think Italian-Americans in particular do this extremely well. Continue reading →

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feast magazine, december 2014: vietnamese cinnamon + goat cheese individual soufflés with vanilla bean crème anglaise.

feast magazine, december 2014: cinnamon goat cheese souffles with vanilla creme anglaise.

In which I demystify an ingredient that isn’t so mysterious. Vietnamese cinnamon: you probably have it in your spice cabinet. You may be using it right now. It’s not uncommon: Penzey’s sells it by its full name as part of their line of fancy cinnamons (you’ll note that Penzey’s declares the Vietnamese variety “extra fancy,” and I would agree), but it’s available all over, in almost any brand, discreetly named “cinnamon.” Sneaky. Continue reading →

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chocolate-covered cherry, apricot, + walnut biscotti.

chocolate-covered cherry, apricot, + walnut biscotti.

It’s American Thanksgiving week, friends! Are you hosting this year? Are you stoked about your menus? Have you thought about what you’ll do with the leftovers yet? Of course you have, because that’s what food-centric individuals do this year: focus 100% of their efforts on the prepping, pre- and post-game, and general food merry-go-round which revolves around the main event happening this Thursday. Hooray for Thanksgiving, I say. Continue reading →

well-seasoned, part two: popcorn polenta, jalapeño-bacon brussels sprouts, nettle ice cream, and a winterly cake.

well seasoned part two

Listen, if this post looks strange at all, or I misspelled things, or something else is out of whack, here’s what: I’m working on a foreign laptop and you all know how I am with change. It took me roughly 384 hours to type this and get it all situated and published, and at this point, I’m just thankful it worked.

So I’m in Florida right now…surprise! We’re all down here for my grandma’s 90th birthday, which was a surprise, but now it’s not, and I couldn’t say anything because she reads this. So I’ll be busy doing that this weekend, but I managed to eek out the second half of my Feast article breakdown for “Well-Seasoned,” my ode to what gorgeous things can come from seeking out some quality local products. Let’s talk about the rest of them, yes? Continue reading →

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well-seasoned, part one: pastry pockets, a winter salad, and dinner rolls.

well seasoned: recipe collection for feast magazine november 2014.

I wanted to set aside a post or two here to delve a little deeper into the recipes from Feast’s November 2014 issue, if you’ll indulge me. I spent a good amount of time getting each recipe right, and although they could easily (and perhaps deserve to ) be standalone posts, I don’t want to drag it out all month: I have other things to get to, you have other things to get to, and mostly I want you to take the time to see the finished product in the magazine itself, or at the slideshow online. Continue reading →

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Well-Seasoned: a feature article + recipes for Feast Magazine.

well-seasoned: a feature article for Feast Magazine.

As I mentioned in the previous post, Feast asked me to do a feature article for the November issue. Here’s how they asked (I’m paraphrasing):

“Shannon, we’d like to feature some locally-packaged products in the magazine, and we think you’d be a good fit for it. We’ll need an intro and some recipe development. Would you be interested?”

Here’s what I heard:

“Shannon, It’s your turn to make thanksgiving dinner this year…for everyone.”

My sophisticated response:

(trepidation…hesitation…doubting myself…) OKAY!!!” *exceedingly large grin*

I equate November issues of food magazines to the September issues of Vogue: important, defining, and critical to the advancement of the human race. Food-centric magazines I don’t buy any other time of year end up in my house during November because of the recipes. Continue reading →

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feast magazine, november 2014: roasted parsnip + burdock root with pomegranate-soy glaze.

feast magazine, november 2014: roasted parsnip and burdock root with pomegranate soy glaze.

November is here; You can all start worrying about the upcoming holiday season now. If you’re a blogger, you’ve already made yourself sick wondering if you holiday posts will stand up to everyone else’s. It’s also the weekend where – if you live in an area which recognizes Daylight Savings Time – your clocks get set back an hour, and normal people use that hour to sleep. Not me! I use that hour to inadvertently wake up at what is now 4:30 am versus my normal 5:30 am. Should be a banner day. Continue reading →

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copycat Panera turkey-cranberry flatbread sandwich.

copycat panera turkey cranberry flatbread sandwich.

In about 48 hours, you’ll feel a rumbling under your feet. That rumble? It’ll be every food blogger based in the U.S. trashing their pumpkin stuff in favor of Thanksgiving recipes. Canadians and beyond tolerate this only because mostly of the recipes we crank out transcend Thanksgiving and manage to be useful for wintertime meals; thanks, Rest of the World. We’ll be back on the same page  on or about November 28th. Continue reading →

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bloody brains petit fours [for halloween, silly.]

bloody brains petit fours.

That’s not a typo: I said brains.

It’s Halloween week! and around my house, that means Halloween craft projects, a near-constant debate over what costume to wear, and me holding off on buying candy until right before Halloween night due to my lack of control around the sweets of my youth.

allow me to give you this little Halloween project to make, if you so desire, for your Halloween festivities. Totally kid-friendly by design, but adults will love them also; anyone can make these, and if I were that kind of blogger, I’d call these “6-ingredient popcorn petit fours.” Continue reading →

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