slightly forbidden fruits

while we’re in the midst of lent, what is a better time to look at delicious things that you may or not have given up in your annual attempts at catholicism.  i may have just been talking about me, but….i think i’m not alone.

candied nutshere are some super addicting nuts i found on smitten kitchen.  they are fantasticly easy and almost impossible to stop eating.  i am glancing at them from across the room, like they will sprout legs and leave me before i ca grab another handful.  if you can afford to buy several pounds of nuts at a time, do it because they will vanish.

crackersanother option in my home-made christmas gifts were these cheese & herb crackers.  i saw ina garten make them and after trying it out myself, i really had to refrain from saying her ‘how easy is that?’ catchphrase, because, it really was that easy!  they taste like better versions of goldfish or cheeze-its, and will certainly make you think twice about shelling out five dollars for a sleeve of crackers.  you can probably do any cheese/herb combination  that you fancy.  both of these are surefire ways to impress at your next party, or to give as gifts if you’re not one for flowers or scented candles.


these are the bows and struffoli (back) my mom and i make every year for christmas.  they are an italian specialty.  dough that is cut and pinched into ‘bows’ or wreath shapes, (struffoli are rolled out into marble sized balls) fried golden brown, and coated in honey.  according to my grandma, my grandpa preferred the way she made struffoli to his mother’s.  so what happens?  one day, his mother asks my grandma for her recipe!  the struffoli are much more commonly seen around, because the bows are much more labor-intensive.  passing the dough through the pasta machine, cutting them into strips, and pinching them together.  i think the greater surface area on the bows makes them better tasting, but struffoli are fun to pick at.  regardless of which is better, this is a unique tradition that i am glad to continue on for another generation.

caramellastly, here is a sea-salt caramel sauce i made.  if you have never made caramel before, it can certainly be a scary thing.  i was petrified, but the desire to make my own caramel just edged out the fear, so i continued.  melting sugar until it juuuust starts to smoke?  yes!  adding butter and cream that make it bubble and hiss at you?  yes!  potential for third degree burns?  you bet!  but i have made it three times now, and am injury free.  it’s great on apples, ice cream, or right out of the jar.


About mariel

new yorker. tv freelancer. pork bun enthusiast. cat person.
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