fig and brandy jam fried vietnamese spring rolls (cha gio) brie fig apple prosciutto sandwich huckleberry sorbet


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archive for December 2012

great balls of peanut butter!

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

Recipe: peanut butter truffles

You know when you get sick and you feel awful and then when you’re well again it’s completely amazeballs awesome? That’s me times a million. I get that same feeling of elation as I would every time I came out of a chemo round. It makes me want to burst through the front door and go running into the mountains. Because I was sick for most of last week, I decided to lay low over the holiday, listen to my body and rest. I do get a little stir crazy after a few days indoors, but managed to find several projects to keep me occupied. And it helped to just stay off the computer.


cardboard tube light saber fight: the light saber lost

nothing beats a hot bowl of chinese noodle soup when you’re sick



We had received a club shipment of sparkling wine the week prior – four magnums. I was on the mend, so we decided to have some folks over to help us put a dent in the bubbles over the weekend. I mean, magnums are so festive, no? I was psyched to be able to cook for friends or do anything for that matter! We were treated to a blazing sunset off the deck and an evening spent with wonderful people. I’m feeling good and ready to plunge into January!

bubbles

i had to stop folding dumplings to run out and catch this one



Jeremy and I walked off the party food Sunday afternoon. It had been a week since I’d been outside in the woods or even remotely active and I missed it. It’s my battery charger to get out and breathe that clean air, to walk through the pristine snow. And now that I’m nearly back to normal, I can look at the computer monitor without getting a headache. In the baking madness of mid December, I dug up an old recipe my elementary school teacher had made for my class back in the 70s. They’re called peanut butter truffles, but I always thought of them as peanut butter balls. It called for margarine in the filling and paraffin wax in the coating, so I made the appropriate adjustments.

butterscotch chips, chocolate chips, peanut butter, confectioners sugar, butter



That’s right, I subbed butter for the margarine (we don’t use margarine on this blog, EVER) and omitted the paraffin wax altogether. It’s a simple treat to make, which is probably why my teacher thought it would be a good project for her class of second graders. I just remember bringing home a small canister filled with cupcake papers that had three peanut butter balls in each paper and wanting to show my grandma what we had made that day in school.

beat the butter and peanut butter together

add the confectioner’s sugar

it should be fluffy when mixed



I haven’t made these in a long long time. I used organic ingredients where possible and mixed the filling in no time with my stand mixer. I considered skipping the butterscotch chips and just tempering dark chocolate for the coating, but there was that whole nostalgia thing going on in my head. So the butterscotch chips stayed. But if you are interested in tempering chocolate for a coating, I describe the seed method in this post.

grab a pinch of peanut butter filling

roll into balls

now melt the chips



**Jump for more butter**

seasons greetings 2012

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012


happy holidays to you and yours



Our year in photos is up for the eighth year in a row. I’m going to nurse this cold while you guys hop on over and view the card. Wishing you all the very best in 2013!!

wrapping it up

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

Recipe: bacon-wrapped boursin-stuffed dates

It snoooooowed! It’s snooooooowing! *running around with joy* I can’t tell you how happy this makes me (and Jeremy and Kaweah)! We’ve gotten over a foot at home and more than 18 inches on the local hill the last couple of days. And it’s not just the skiing, it’s the precipitation we desperately needed. But… THE SKIING!!


my first day of the season at the local ski hill

the prettiest morning commute – on the way to get first tracks!

a quick afternoon ski tour before dark

jeremy pretends to take a rest on a trailside bench

sunset from the trail



Despite the jaunts out in the snow, I’ve finished my baking and packaging and most other holiday-related stuffs. The oven has been working overtime (as have I) and the house smells of ginger and spices and baking. Several varieties of cookies are packed, tagged, and nestled in their gift boxes or gift bags to be delivered. We’re looking forward to wrapping up 2012 with some skiing, Kaweah snuggles, work (it never ends), and good food. If you’re in search of an easy appetizer for a holiday party or maybe nibbles to tide folks over for a big holiday meal – might I suggest this super easy little old party in your mouth?

bacon, dates, and boursin cheese



Three ingredients, minimal preparation, and ten to twenty-five minutes of baking. Say yes with me. And hello, there’s bacon. Start with the dates. I like to use medjool dates as they are large, sweet, and have a nice chewy, almost velvety texture. They are also sticky as all get out. You can purchase them pitted, but the only organic ones I can find are not pitted. It’s not hard to pit them, though. Just take a sharp knife and slit the side open and pop the pit out.

slice the date open and remove the pit

pitted dates, sliced bacon, and boursin in a pastry bag



I made the mistake of cutting my bacon into thirds. In hindsight, I should have cut the bacon into halves since it shrinks when cooked. As for the Boursin, you can let it soften to room temperature and put it in a pastry bag, or keep it cold and crumble it. Either way, the goal is to stuff some Boursin into each date.

piping cheese into the date

wrapping the bacon around the stuffed date



**Jump for more butter**