You can ask me but I honestly can’t give you answer: Why on earth, of all things, would I have a sudden urge to stuff myself with things made of cornmeal? I don’t know, I don’t know. However I have to be honest with you… I liked it.
I’m glad that I’m having these kinds of cravings to balance out my propensity to stock my pantry with cornmeal, even before I finish the old packet. I’m hoping to correct that, but I cannot be blamed for all the baked goodies I imagine myself making every time I pass by a box of these yellow sandy crystals. It seems only logical to make sure I have enough cornmeal to make all of them.
Next to regular old cornbread, I figured the easiest thing that would vanquish my craving would be to make muffins. It’s basically a one-bowl deal– mix, scoop, and pop into the oven. I’ve made a couple of cornmeal quick breads before, and all of them turned out really well– favourites in one way or another actually. I wanted to go find another recipe to add to my growing list of well-loved cornmeal treats.
Continue reading for the recipe
As a child, I used to hate peanut butter. I don’t know if it’s because of the way that it sticks to the roof of my mouth, or how the very gooey brands tend to make a mess when spread on a piece of toast. I’ve always found it odd since I actually like peanuts a lot. This passiveness toward peanut butter extended until my teenage years, and I only “rediscovered” it, if you will, in the past two years.
Ever since I started long-distance running, a lot of other runners advised me to have a cup of coffee with a peanut butter sandwich and a banana hours before each race. Apparently they help keep you energized while you tackle the long road ahead. I had no problems with the coffee and banana part, but I was skeptical about the peanut butter sandwiches. After that first bite however, I began to wonder why it was I did not like peanut butter in the first place. Nowadays one of my favourite granola bar flavours is peanut butter.
It’s a good thing my Dad is a big fan of the stuff, because he makes sure we always have a bottle stowed in the pantry. It’s useful for when a craving hits, or for when you finally embrace your love for peanut butter and decided to make something out of it. But why is it that the first thing I always think about making with an ingredient I have never used before is cookies?
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I’ve been waiting for mango season to roll around, and in my neck of the woods, it finally has! One of the best perks about living in a tropical country is that we’ve got mangoes all year round, however the best and sweetest of the crop are harvested around this time. The mangoes here in the Philippines are gorgeously shaped, yellow and very fragrant; with an addictive sweetness that makes them extremely hard to resist.
Mangoes are one of my favourite fruits in the whole universe; second only to Chinese Honey Oranges, or ponkan. As a child though, mangoes were my uncontested favourite. I would often have it with my bowl of rice, kind of like Japanese maki only in a big messy pile. Now that I think about it, maybe this was what paved the way to my intense love for Japanese cuisine, especially the sushi with bursts of mango within. Is my mango-adoring childhood one of the reasons why yellow is my favourite colour? Quite possibly.
But I digress.
I only hope you do not think I am biased when I say, this is one of the best quick breads I have ever had in my life! I want to point out, it is simply the truth.
Continue reading for the recipe
I’ve always wondered about snow. The only time I was ever in a country with snow, it had already fallen and was beginning to melt away on the ground, leaving only wet, icy signs that it was ever there. I want to see it falling on me at least once in my lifetime, and then I’ll be okay. However, given that I am afraid of very cold weather, I would have to be wrapped in at least 5 layers of clothing, and I would probably only stay outside for no more than an hour. I guess that would be enough to appreciate the magic of falling snow right?
Snow is ever so fascinating to me, perhaps for no other reason than I’ve never experienced it (I’ll tell you if I think up any more reasons once I do experience it). I could spend some time in a gift shop flipping over snow globes then feel fuzzy inside afterward. I reckon that has to do with how I would likely prefer to appreciate snow, looking at it from inside the warm comfort of my house, behind a glass window with a hot cup of coffee in my hands. But for now I’m settled with just, as the songs say, dreaming of a White Christmas. Watching the snow-like flakes of confectioner’s sugar falling onto these Linzer Cookies definitely made me happy!
Is it just me or do you hear the bells of Santa’s sleigh jingling in the background?
When I was very little, I dreamed about Halloween. I could visualise my tiny self braving those neighbourhood streets lined with scary yard decorations to get my candy fix; knocking on doors with my little trick-or-treat basket, anticipating the sort of person who would answer and the sort of trick and/or treat they would share. There would be other kids pointing to the direction of haunted houses created inside rickety shacks, where flashing lights and screaming would seep from covered windows. There would be important decisions made on what kind of face my jack-o-lantern would have, or what kind of crazy costumes my brothers and I would wear. It was a fun thing to do as the end of October approached, imagining these things.
Sadly, Halloween isn’t that big of a deal where I live. I mean sure, there are those private parties where children would wear their adorable little costumes, walking from table to table asking other children’s parents for candy. These parties have the most “trick or treating”, dressing-up, or Halloween-decorating I have encountered so far. Most people don’t even bother about Halloween. Aside from having a somber day or two to pay tribute to the dead, it would seem that a lot of the locals treat Halloween as a bump to get over as soon as possible so that everyone can move on to Christmas. Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas. It is without a doubt my favourite holiday. But years and years of watching Westerners on the telly have fun during Halloween makes a child’s heart yearn.
As I grew older, I stopped thinking about things like that. My Halloween tradition began involving a tub of popcorn and a good set of horror movies hand-picked by my brothers to get a good scream out of, although some of them defeat the purpose (we ended up laughing at a quite few of them). We had a blast either way, so I guess that’s really what counts. I think it’s safe to say I’ve outgrown the trick-or-treating, costume-wearing part of Halloween, but since I started falling in love with baking, I’ve been having this nagging urge to make some sort of Halloween-themed dessert or pastry.
The first thing I ever baked when I got my copy of Dorie’s book (not counting the recipe I found online before I actually bought her book), if I’m not mistaken, was her Lenox Almond Biscotti. It caught my attention because, for one thing, I hadn’t made biscotti in a while, and for another, they looked luscious from the photo. And really, I haven’t found anything made with cornmeal that I hadn’t liked to some degree. I’m fairly determined to bake through Dorie’s book, mostly because I’ve been pleased with all the recipes I’ve made so far (most of which I haven’t gotten around to writing about yet, but I promise I will). I’ve been so delighted in fact, that despite my hesitation towards recipes that have more than 2 sticks of butter- the same hesitation that has stopped me from making croissants thus far- I decided to make her Golden Brioche Loaves because I just had a feeling that it would work out for the best in the end. I just really trust Dorie and her recipes.
Following my tradition of writing my Dearly Dreaming Dorie posts talking about two of her recipes at a time, I decided the theme for today would be gold, which I guess us the only thing these recipes have in common, aside from the fact they both come off Dorie’s book of course. And as I mentioned, one is a a delectable, dip-in-your coffee biscotti, and the other one is a loaf that is a cross between a full-bodied bread and a flaky croissant.