Rosé Real Talk

White Stone Fruit and Rosé Sorbet with Thyme-Infused Whipped Cream

thyme whipped cream

It wasn’t until this summer that I decided once and for all that pink is my favorite color wine. A bit embarrassed by my taste for easy-drinking rosé, I’ve stuck to super-crisp whites in the summer. And so, I know very little about rosé—the best makers, the proper prices, the connection between shade and taste or sweetness. I relied on the expertise of my local liquor store proprietor when I needed a special bottle for a gift recently. All I know is that I like it very cold and very dry and that it goes down very easily on a sultry summer night.

But rosé is so hot right now, and no longer just among rappers and large groups of socializing 20-something girls. Rosé has become downright respectable. I’ve eaten at quality restaurants with wine lists featuring more rosés than articles I saw this year that discussed why Beyoncé is/isn’t a feminist.

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Warm Blueberries, Cold Ice Cream

Blueberry Cornbread Brown Betty

brown betty ice cream

I crave an icy-cold, milky-white sphere, melting atop a rocky sea of blue. Snowy arteries, weave through the murkiness below, branching into artistic trails that spread fragrant cream through berries and juice.

I have a food love that I could discuss endlessly, despite it being wildly unspecific. It’s for warm blueberries and vanilla ice cream. The combination grabs me in any form: ice cream bathing in blueberry compote; blueberry pie à la mode; biscuit-covered, ice cream–topped cobbler; crispy waffles + blueberry syrup + heaps of ice cream (which I’d probably never order or make because I’m a civilized breakfast eater, but in my current sleepless state, I can dig it).

My mother and I first made this discovery at The Goldenrod (est. 1896), an old-fashioned candy store/ice cream parlor/soda fountain/restaurant, which is located at York Beach, ME. Just an hour and a half from our Central Mass home, my mom would take me there when I was little and on school vacation. There is always a group of people standing up to the window at the Goldenrod and watching the saltwater taffy being made. Slap, pull, stretch; slap, pull stretch—it’s happy monotony. It was at the Goldenrod that I had my first tuna melt. It was at the Goldenrod that I had my first (and last) cream soda. And it was at the Goldenrod that I first realized that blueberry pie should always be warm and that vanilla ice cream should always come with. Thus, it was at the Goldenrod that I discovered happiness.

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Making Sweet Cherries Sour

White Chocolate–Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Pickled Cherries

dessert tray

Petite and perfectly round, ranging in color from stop-sign red to Burgundy wine, the sour cherries of the Hudson River Valley are tart but fruity. When you pit them, they’re shirt-stainingly juicy—but not too juicy or fleshy. These sour cherries are grown to be baked, their sharpness the perfect foil for buttery pastry and melting vanilla ice cream.

I first experienced sour cherries in a slice of lattice-crusted diner-style cherry pie. Thick, syrupy, and (paradoxically) saccharine, it didn’t set the bar too high for sour cherries or for cherry pie, but it still piqued my interest. It was later in my youth that I learned that sour cherries hold great importance for Iranians. Their growing season in Iran is as fleeting as it is here so folks preserve them in sugar syrup.

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Golden Yolks

Warm Asparagus Salad with Brûléed Egg Yolk, Two Ways

miso sesame dressing
Though I tend to live by a relatively bland color palate, I’ve always had a thing for yellow. Not necessarily on my body (though I try to wear it and usually fail), but on other folks’ bodies. Not necessarily in or on my home (it doesn’t match my design aesthetic), but in or on other folks’ homes. I’ve never bought sunflowers, but I’ve stared at their faces for far too long at the farmers’ market. I don’t have yellow, but I search for it.

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By (kind of) Popular Demand

Rhubarb Poptarts with Rye Pastry and Cardamom Glaze

cardamom glaze

I had no intention of posting this recipe here—one that I quite literally just threw together little-by-little over the course of a couple of evenings (I am so not a weekday baker), hoping that it would work for a breakfast potluck we were having at work. I baked them off the morning of and piled the surprisingly substantial tarts, which were not even done cooling, in a Tupperware container that I left uncovered so they wouldn’t steam and turn from crisp to mushy. I ran to work in half the time it usually takes me, darting through the streets of my town with an open box of warm pastries. It couldn’t have looked as strange as that time I stuffed the remnants of a certain 3-layer cream cake into a bright blue cold-keeper bag and ran it around town in 90-degree weather. But it was still ridiculous. When I arrived, I threw spoonfuls of glaze messily onto just cooled-tarts and set them down.

These are simple tarts, elevated perhaps because they’re encased in my very favorite pastry, whose nuttiness is a warm counterpoint to the clarifying tang of the simple rhubarb filling. But they were very well-loved (in fact there are still shards of their flaky, flaky layers gracing corners of our office), so I thought I’d share them with you, just in case you haven’t had your fill of the stalks yet (or they’re the only thing in your garden). And I’ll take any excuse to get more rhubarb on the blog. I just love the stuff.

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A Hard Year

Caramelized Milk Chocolate Magic Shell (plus ice cream with duck eggs)

pouring chocolate
I’m having a bit of a hard time letting go of chocolate this year. Every year, around this time (well, actually a bit sooner), I post a recipe with chocolate to get it out of my system as, with the change in seasons, my days turn from brown to color.

I’ve described myself as a chocolate lover but not a chocoholic; the ingredient doesn’t fuel my creativity as much as dough, spices, herbs, and produce do. But this winter—the harshest I’ve experienced—may have turned a friend into a lover. I didn’t post more recipes that included chocolate than normal, just three: Chocolate-Dipped Peanut Butter Cookies with Aleppo Pepper, Individual Sesame-Chocolate Ice Cream Cakes, and Miso S’more Bars. But the ones I did post may have been some of my best and boldest.

I really turned into a lush. I found myself craving warm, fudgy-crumbed brownies, irresponsibly sliced into while they’re just baked and still gooey; the darkest and densest of flourless chocolate cakes, so overwhelming that it needs to be sliced into pencil-thin slivers; and rich ganaches coating just about everything.

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Obsession

Yeast-Raised Donut Twofer: Coffee-Cardamom Cream-Filled Donuts + Browned Butter–Almond Glazed Donuts

short stack
My first donut (no, not doughnut) was not ring-shaped, nor was it round and filled. My first donut, like me at the time, I guess, was a Munchkin from Dunkin’ Donuts. On weekday holidays off from school, my mom would pick up a box from the Dunkin’ down the road from our home while I was still sleeping. Along with it, she’d buy a chocolate milk—a balanced breakfast, indeed. There was always chocolate milk with donuts but never chocolate milk without donuts. Come to think of it, I was really deprived of chocolate milk as a kid…

Dunkin’ Donuts are probably the first donuts that come to mind for folks who live in New England, unless they’re lucky enough to have a small mom-and-pop donut shop in their town. I was not growing up. For those of you who do not live near a Dunkin’ but perhaps near a Krispy Kreme or a Shipley (I’ve had donuts from the former but not from the latter), Munchkins—donut holes, really (they’ve got to do something with them)—come in a cute cardboard box with a handle. They’re staple classroom party, bake sale, and office kitchenette fare. I’m not sure if this is still true, but when I was a kid, they came in plain cake, powdered cake, cinnamon powdered cake, glazed chocolate cake, glazed yeasted, and yeasted jelly.

I have fond memories of those Munchkin’ mornings, but I didn’t realize until recently how deeply connected I feel to the donut, because I just don’t eat them that often; I avoid sugar in the morning, and most establishments have either sold out of their donuts or merely have shelves speckled with a few stale specimens by the time I’d like to eat them. But over the past five weeks, my latent devotion has become quite clear.

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Earth

Roasted Carrots with Lemon Pistachio Butter, Pumpernickel, and Dill

roasted carrots
I’m getting used to the color brown. Dark brown. There’s no green in these parts yet, but mud has never felt more encouraging considering that all has been so white for so long. Well, more like grey in my urban environment, but regardless the surrounding color palate has been pale and dead. Mud is downright vibrant in comparison. Mud can be stepped on without trepidation: I can run on, jump on, and fall on mud without injury. Mud has reminded me that I have legs.

There’s a small patch of grey, maybe 12 inches in diameter and 1 inch thick, that has lingered, gracing the tiny front yard of a neighbor’s house for the past couple of weeks. A few weeks before that, that ice patch was more like a frozen lake that overtook the yard—you’d never know that there was once life underneath. A good 3 or 4 inches thick at that time, the lake spilled onto the sidewalk and hastened my quick pace every morning this winter. When that patch is gone, I thought, it will be spring. Real spring.

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Will Trade Cookies for Spring

Persian Chickpea Cookies (Nan-e Nokhodchi)

nokhodchi
Today, at 12:57 pm, the sun will do something too earth science-y for me to explain eloquently, and it will be spring.

This is my fourth post that mentions the Persian new year, Nowruz, which coincides with the first day of spring. A fourth post is probably excessive considering that only a few people (if any) who read this blog, besides my father (Hi, dad!), probably celebrate the holiday.

But this year, I need this holiday. I need the feeling and the brightness and the newness that it represents, at least, as my soul, body, and mind—mostly my mind—struggle to feel signs of life and to see green instead of grey.

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Dreamless

Crispy Grain, Seed, and Oat Granola

roasted pears
Like most who write a blog, I like to read. I love stories, and flipping pages, and bookmarking, and returning. But I’ll admit to always having been more partial to spoken word than to written word. The stories told by others, out loud, have an inflection, an emotion, a lack of censorship that only a select few writers can achieve (I certainly can’t, though I’m not a “writer”). I find the tangents, and the meandering, and the ineloquence endearing—more authentic than carefully planned sentences, punctuation marks, and astute usage of language and grammar.

I like being enveloped in others’ truth. It is likely for that reason that I am (or was) a vivid dreamer. I revel in those tales told by my unconscious—tales reflective of my life, and my secret desires, and my emotions that my waking self doesn’t have the capacity to know I hold. As The Stepkids sing in “Memoirs of Grey,” “Dreams make the waking life bearable.”

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