You look lovely today, btw.
I could have brought you a cookie recipe but that just seems wrong now. I can’t be bothered to turn on the oven, let alone throw measuring spoons and flour sifting into the mix. Ugh.
For me it was a Christmas filled with warm days, mangoes, pavlova, prosecco mimosas by the pool and lots of ham. Not too shabby.
I have a cookie recipe for you before Christmas…it’s not unlike my orange gingerbread cake – with its molasses and spices. But this time, there’s a little sugar-coated crunch and you know, it’s a cookie. A Christmas one.
But before we get there, let’s talk basil.
My love of basil runs deep.
It’s just all warm days, simple meals and pesto to me. It takes my brain to a happy place.
I bought this big bundle of basil at the market the other morning and walked around holding it like it was a bouquet of flowers, sneaking a sniff every now and then. Sure, I looked like a crazylady, so what?
This time of year, Gammy (my totally awesome grandma) always brings out this tiered serving dish with old-timey Christmas trees painted on it. Each of the tiers display an assortment Christmas-colored candies like M&Ms (plain M&M’s in Christmas colors taste infinitely better than regular, amiright?), those spearmint gummy trees coated in sugar, and always always fun-sized, silver foil-wrapped York Peppermint Patties.
I’ve wanted to make homemade peppermint patties since I first realized that was a thing about 2 Christmases ago. Honestly, I don’t know what’s taken me so dang long. Besides the dough being a bit sticky, these little morsels were the easiest and most fun treats I’ve made this holiday season so far.
There are some recipes that call for butter or shortening or coconut oil but this one just uses egg whites…and a generous helping of powdered sugar.
As a life-long fan of the original York Peppermint Patty, I can attest to the fact that these are oh so close to the real thing. The snap of the dark chocolate and the slight crunch of the whipped peppermint filling (which is pretty much the edible equivalent to stepping into freshly fallen snow) – gaahhh. I can’t deal. I’m on a chocolate peppermint high.
I’ve lived on Fire Island, Long Island, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan and even in a fancy part London for a spell. I think those experiences grant me the right to say that Bondi Beach is the strangest place I have ever lived.
Everyone is beautiful. Everyone is fit. Everyone is tan.
And it is exhausting just to look at sometimes.
I know the last thing you want to hear me talk about is how I STILL cannot deal with being in the opposite season of what I’m used to.
But it just doesn’t feel right, you guys.
The symbols of the holiday season are all out of place, for starters. There are no snowmen (or women), disposable pine trees or need for a yule log. And Santa’s apparel makes me sweat just looking at it. Get that man some shorts! Or at least some capri pants.
I started to wonder if the usual heady holiday baking spices were appropriate for the summertime?
I feel like the whole point of using lots of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves is to warm me up when it’s cold and I’m looking for some comfort wrapped in sugar wrapped in cake.
But really, the point of all of these awesome spices is to make it taste unmistakably like holiday time.
So short answer: they’re totally appropriate.
Fabes and I got engaged in New Orleans. We’ve visited the city twice now and have really fallen in love with it – its history, culture and community make it a truly special city.
But I think what sold me (not on the engagement, on the city) was the food – always exciting and often indulgent – it’s hard to be a food lover and not love New Orleans. (Admittedly, you probably want to be a meat and/or seafood eater too.)
Every meal we shared exceeded expectations – from po’boy shops to seafood feasts. There are dishes from our first trip that we still talk about. We’re clearly obsessed.
So when F popped the question we were in the perfect place to celebrate. And celebrate we did.
The city, specifically the French Quarter, feels festive at all times of the year and all days of the week so we were in good company to eat and drink with abandon in honor of our fiancé status.