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for the love of candied citrus peel

Candying citrus peel – those slim tart, sweet chewy delights – takes three or four or more days. I’m sure there are other recipes that might speed up the process, and I’ve tried a lot of them, but to really do it right, it takes awhile. I realize some of you have turned away already, but stick with me, because this is the perfect holiday treat to make during the week. It’s a few minutes here and there. That’s it. I bought a giant bag of organic pink grapefruit with the intention of candying strips of peel, then dipping some of them in bittersweet chocolate. These treats are fabulous at the end of a dinner party or mid-afternoon with an espresso. Chopped up, candied citrus […]

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holiday cookies – a checklist

Here’s a picture of last year’s cookie box. It takes some planning to create this. I’ll let you in on my planning secrets. I have been thinking this over for days. It takes two full weeks to get holiday cookies and candies made, packed and mailed. And it takes a huge number of lists. In fact, I have a little book I use just for this purpose. First, I thumb through my favorite resources for cookies and make a list of everything I want to make. This is the hardest part. I’m seduced by new flavors, but my friends and family are traditionalists and want the same ones year after year. I swap out two, maybe three, cookies every year. Someone is always sad that […]

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latkes and a happy hanukkah

Wishing you all a Happy Hanukkah – the festival of lights – and has there ever been a better time of year to light some candles? Jeepers, it’s dark! When I was a little girl, I loved making latkes with my Grandmother Mary. There was never a recipe. Some potato. Some onion. Some egg. Some matzo meal. Some salt and pepper. I would be given the job of grating potatoes on the four sided grater. A terrible task but I did it happily, knowing the hot, salty, crispy potato goodness would soon be served up. When I was a little girl, I could eat dozens of these latkes. Tonight, we had a delicious dinner of latkes with apple butter (Dennis) and sour cream (Cathy), a […]

beyond leftovers – what was left behind

Today I was brave enough to look in the vegetable drawer. And the boxes from the last week of the CSA – sitting in the cool of the garage. I don’t know about you, but I never get through a big party or holiday meal without completely forgetting to serve something. There were still a few things left. In fact, I found nearly two pounds of mushrooms – half shiitake, half cremini – that were supposed to be in the gravy, but then, this delicious vegetarian gravy was the one I made, and it used dried mushrooms. There were three bottoms/bulbs from butternut squash. I use the long necks for my gratin, mandoline-d into perfect paperthin rounds. One of the four bulbs had already become […]

Cooking Classes Make a Great Gift – Cyber Monday!

It’s the holidaze and while you’re wondering what gift will be just perfect, why not consider a cooking class with Mrs. Wheelbarrow? I’ll create a personalized gift certificate for you to tuck into a stocking (or you can send it electronically.) Check the CLASS SCHEDULE link for the most up-to-date schedule through March, 2011. New classes (April – July) will be posted around 12/25. And here’s wishing you the very happiest of holidays.

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the best day-after-thanksgiving sandwich

My mother’s been gone five years now, but each Thanksgiving she sits on my shoulder and guides me through the rituals. So many of the foods on my table were foods she made year after year. We didn’t ask for a change in the menu – no one wanted anything to change at all. We looked forward to the appetizers – chopped liver on celery stalks (“There will be plenty of bread later.”) The table was piled high with creamed onions, green beans with almonds, sausage and apple stuffing, giblet gravy, cranberry sauce and of course, that big beautiful bronzed bird. Desserts were plentiful, but always included pies: apple for my brother, pumpkin for my Dad, and mincemeat for Mom and me. Since there were […]