At the very beginning of strawberry season, I try to steer clear of that fruit, especially in overpriced restaurant desserts. Let’s just say I’ve had too many bad experiences spanning from too-tart and unripe to utterly juiceless and flavorless. I’d much rather wait a week or two until the farmers market berries are deep red, plump, and gushing with sweetness. Then it’s time.
This year, while visiting Boston in the pre-humid days of early June, I took a risk ordering a “first of the season” strawberry-topped ricotta tart at Mistral Bistro. And for once, it paid off.
From the decadent filling of creamy ricotta, infused with what I originally thought was thyme but have now come to believe was lavender, to the juicy strawberry topping drizzled in local honey, the dessert was one to remember. And to recreate. (more…)
Mark Twain might be well-known for his witticisms, but he wasn’t joking when he said that the coldest winter he ever spent was a summer in San Francisco. While the rest of the country is melting, I have been shivering through city streets after sundown. But when the afternoons are confusingly warm and sunny, I still manage to stock up on summer produce; it’s just that a post-dinner dessert of berries with yogurt or ice cream no longer sounds very appealing when I need to bundle up in a blanket just to stay comfortable in my apartment.
After picking up some olallieberries at the farmers market on a deceptively beautiful day, I found myself looking for an easy dessert that would give me an excuse to use my oven and warm up the room that chilly evening. Having not tried olallieberries previously, I found this particular basketful quite tart. Being a bit too exhausted from the work day to fuss with them too much, I did what any reasonable person would have done: (more…)
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and after 3 straight years of late November and early December law school exams putting a celebratory restraint on this national holiday of excessive cooking, drinking, and feasting, I’m making the most of it this year.
This weekend, I attended my second Friendsgiving dinner for the month and celebrated even more jubilantly thanks to receiving the very relieving news that I passed the California bar exam (little yay; BIG SIGH). And now, mere days before actual Turkey Day, I broke my usual week-of-Thanksgiving rule of not eating any remotely American food before the big day.
I have no defense. I’ve been sick, sitting in pajamas and slurping on soup and sipping up tea all day for six days straight. I needed a change. I needed some crunch. I needed to use up the rest of the 1-pound bag of pretzel sticks I’ve been munching on since last Wednesday. And, because I’ve been almost entirely without energy, I needed a super easy, slap-it-together, stick-it-in-the-oven-and-let-it-do-its-thing answer.
So after 5 minutes of prep and 12 minutes of lounging on the couch while it baked, my spoon dove through the crunchy, crumbly, cinnamony brown sugar and pretzel topping into a ramekin full of warm, gooey apples, and I forgot all about that silly little pre-Thanksgiving rule of mine. (more…)