korean barbecue chicken wings strawberry brown butter tarts roasted tomato soup chocolate hazelnut sandies


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archive for dessert

100 days

Monday, April 20th, 2015

Recipe: strawberry brown butter tarts

We were at the intersection of ALL THE GOOD THINGS this past weekend. It snowed 2 feet at our house which meant: 1) BIG DUMP SNOW DAY! and 2) hours of shoveling dense spring snow. Jeremy says it combats what our friend calls “professor arms”. But the whole reason for shoveling is so you can get to work or… go backcountry skiing! It’s like a warm up before you exercise some more. Plus, it justifies a little indulgence later on.


like this adorable tart



I logged my 100th day on skis this season over the weekend. Considering the paltry snowfall during our prime ski months, I’d say that’s not too shabby. It wasn’t my main goal to become a triple digit girl, just to keep active and fit through the winter. And to get outside often. It has been good for my body and mind, but most of all it has been excellent for my soul.

shoveling out from 2 feet, but it was worth it

jeremy breaks trail in the high country

an hour before sunset

sunday ski with banjo (and erin)

perfect weather, great snow, excellent friends



What I loved about our weekend storm was how it stayed cool and lightly stormy for several days after the 2 feet fell. That helps to solidify the snowpack so it will stick around longer, ski longer, water the mountains longer. It also makes for cozy evenings with warm blankets and Kevin Spacey. This weather is conducive for baking, too.

While recently digging through old photo archives, I came across a series of wildflower photographs from Big Sur about four years ago. Flowers flowers flowers and then – a strawberry tart. Actually, it was a strawberry brown butter tart from the Big Sur Bakery and it was the most heavenly pastry I had tasted in a long time. I think everyone needs a strawberry brown butter tart in their lives. This one starts with a flaky, buttery crust.


flour, salt, sugar, lemon juice, butter, ice water

place the flour, sugar, salt, and butter in a food processor

pulse until the butter is the size of small peas

combine lemon juice and ice water

add liquid until the dough is just combined

wrap and refrigerate



**Jump for more butter**

while you can

Sunday, April 12th, 2015

Recipe: chocolate hazelnut sandies

This past weekend was closing weekend for our local ski hill. We considered the mobs of people trying to squeeze in one last ski day of the season and decided to head in the opposite direction. Backcountry skiing is more effort than resort skiing. In essence, you are your own ski lift. But the rewards are many and include fresh tracks, solitude, spectacular views, and a great workout. The snow is skiing the way it typically does in early May, so unless we get some promising storms, our ski days are numbered.


skinning up

pausing to admire our backyard

whoop whoop!

skiing out



I’m actually okay with the ski season coming to an end – I mean, my big toenail is okay with ski season coming to an end. I injured it in late January on a ski tour and it has since turned dark purple, doing those things that tell you it is going to fall off in 6 or 9 months. The plan is to ski as long as there is snow and just ignore any pain. So far, so good!

Now on to the recipe. As a rule, when I blog a recipe, I try to have double the amount of impossible-to-get-in-my-mountain-town ingredients needed in case something tanks. I’m happy to say that the backup ingredients are rarely (but not never!) required, which leaves me with extra ingredients. Sometimes they get incorporated into our meals, sometimes they get bumped to the next recipe. Other times, they spark new ideas – like these chocolate hazelnut sandies. It’s a pecan sandie, but chocolate with a different nut!


toasted hazelnuts, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, salt, butter, flour, vanilla extract, hazelnut liqueur

mix the cocoa powder and flour together

chop the hazelnuts into a coarse grind

ground hazelnuts, flour-cocoa mixture, powdered sugar



**Jump for more butter**

semifreddo, but todo rico

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

Recipe: strawberry semifreddo

Easter always sneaks up on me because we don’t celebrate it. My heathen ritual is to buy a bag of Whopper mini eggs when they go on sale the following Monday and then promptly forget about it for another year. But I happen to have a lovely dessert that is good enough for spring holidays, weekend projects, special dinners, or basically any time you can get your hands on sweet sweet strawberries. California and Mexico strawberries have been in our stores lately, but I held off until they were the right color and smelled like candy.


here’s what i made



That’s a strawberry semifreddo – creamy, half-frozen, soft, fruity, slightly tangy, like a frozen mousse. I’ve had the recipe for many years, but never made it until yesterday. Back in the day, I took a terrific 10-week pastry skills course in Boulder as my reward for defending my dissertation. It was fast-paced and fun, but there wasn’t enough time to make all of the recipes. We were split into teams of two and each pair tackled a different pastry (or two) each week. At the end of every class, we divvied up our finished masterpieces and took them home. Except I never took the strawberry semifreddo home because it was summer and I had a 45-minute drive back to the house. But it sure looked good. Seeing the strawberries in the market the other day, I realized I wanted to finally make that semifreddo.

grand marnier, sugar, lemon, strawberries

wash, hull, and halve the strawberries

strawberries, sugar, lemon juice, grand marnier

toss it all together and macerate



I adapted the recipe from my class, which was adapted from Sherry Yard’s recipe. Her version has a pâte sucrée base, but I didn’t want to deal with baking anything, so I went with a vanilla cookie crumb base like you might find on a cheesecake. You can use graham cracker crumbs if you like. I thought vanilla cookies (scavenged from vanilla sandwich cookies) would be fun. You can leave the creme filling in, if you like, but I scrape it off. Or you can use lemon cookies or vanilla wafers.

sugar, butter, cookies (nor pictured: salt)

scraping off the vanilla bean creme

pile the cookies into the food processor

cookie crumbs



**Jump for more butter**