I feel like I’ve fallen out of grace. Your good graces, at least. You see, I’d prepared a whole bunch of posts that I was planning on featuring during my time in California, and then I went and had such a flippin’ busy time that almost three weeks went by with hardly a peep. In fact, just about the only thing I did online was add heavily to my secret wedding board on Pinterest, secret because I don’t want to embarrass myself by unleashing the full extent of my wedding mania on you all.
Speaking of which, how the hell am I going to pull off a wedding this year? Last week, I caught a whiff of what the planning process was going to be like: an uphill battle, against the strictures of the industry, the expectations of parents and future in-laws, my own indecision. Too many ideas (and not only my own) and too short on time and money, that is my plight. Don’t worry, I won’t bombard you with the wedding planning details as the year goes on, but I just need to lean on a figurative shoulder for a moment and take a deep breath.
I made this recipe about a month ago, on one of the rare occasions in which I snapped out of my ‘anything goes during the holiday season’ mentality and decided to try a healthy recipe. Is acorn squash even still in season? (It is.) I guess it’s just as pertinent now as it was then.
Acorn squash has a wonderful heft to it, making it a satisfying substitute for meat, but I find it kind of heavy. I tend to fall for anything with lime juice and chile peppers, and figured that in this case, they would lighten the squash considerably. They did.
I suspect the same vinaigrette would taste great on just about anything. It’s tangy and bright, really perfect this drab time of year when a good kick in the butt is exactly what a person needs. (And I don’t mean intensive cycling classes.)
Hello friends! How was your last week? I just wanted to check in here briefly to let you know that I’m still alive, and well, and enjoying California immensely. Though, by the end of this trip, I’m going to need another vacation so I can unwind from this one. I’m sure many of you can relate.
We’ve been doing a lot of coastal driving, my favorite kind of all. It makes me miss having a car, and the mobility and carefreeness it affords. The photo above (yup, Instagram, because sometimes I just don’t want to lug my camera around) was taken in Fort Bragg, about three-and-a-half hours north of San Francisco. The trees here are shaped by the wind, which is relentless all times of the year, but especially so in the winter. It’s something I’ve missed, the coast, the wind, the ocean, the wildness of it all. I imagine the first settlers to this area trying to make sense of it all, constructing their neat little houses and churches to emulate those places from which they came. I wonder how successful they were.
This is near Bodega Bay. No menacing birds in sight.
We battle winter over here with rubber rain boots.
I’ve also missed the trees. Redwoods are my favorite because they shoot into the sky straight and proud. Can’t get enough of them.
And the reason behind all the driving: we’re trying to find the perfect wedding venue. Apparently we’re kind of picky. Thank god our families love us.
Before I leave, I wanted to share a festive cocktail recipe I shot for Serious Eats that would be great to make tomorrow night. It’s from PDT, a bar whose appeal is heightened by the fact that it’s only accessible through a phone booth in the corner of a hot dog shop in the East Village. I’ve got to admit, there’s something kind of fun about slinking in to a hidden back room, even if the secret’s out. Anyway, they call this the Cranberry Cobbler, and you’ve got to make it with the ice pebbles. Then drink it, quick!
Get the recipe here.
My other favorite drink was the Winter Wassail, an ode to cider. It’s something you would savor, beside a blazing fire maybe. Or radiator. Or whatever.
And finally, dear readers, I just want to thank you all for a great year. This blog has definitely been a defining event of 2012, and I’ve loved all of it.
Happy New Year! See you in 2013.
We’re going back to California tomorrow (or today rather, as I write these posts the night before) for the holidays and we’ll be gone an entire two-and-a-half weeks! There’s still so much to do, so I’m keeping this post short. And then I must return to packing and meeting last-minute work deadlines and cleaning out the fridge (urgh).
After that, I foresee freeeeedom and warm-ish weather and long drives down the 1. We’re putting up the tree with my family, seeing friends, and hitting up all our old haunts. One of these days, I will write a long ode to California, but for now, I’m leaving you with a recipe for bacon fat gingersnaps.
I’m guessing you can tell why these cookies are special. Yup! They’re made with bacon fat. While the idea is that you’ve been collecting bacon drippings all along, saving it in a little bowl so you can re-use it for other recipes (something I vividly remember my mom doing when I was younger), I had to go out and buy a pound-and-a-half of bacon especially for this recipe, and then spent the better part of an hour frying it up. Later that night, and for days after, we reheated the strips and used them for sandwiches and omelettes and other such delights. These foods all benefit from bacon, I’m sure you would agree, so it wasn’t too much trouble for me.
The cookies themselves taste smoky and exotic, hardly like bacon, although you can tell there’s something in there that contributes an inexplicable… savoriness? Huskiness? I’m definitely not a slap-bacon-on-it-and-call-it-a-day kind of gal, by the way. But I do like my ginger-flavored sweets, and I love the softness of these cookies. (which begs the question: are they technically gingersnaps then? Aren’t gingersnaps supposed to be, I dunno, snappy?)
I also love the origin of this recipe, which comes from Cathy Horyn, the renowned New York Times FASHION editor who got the recipe from her mother. Yes! So I suppose this recipe is an old-new take on a classic gingersnap recipe that is perfect for the holidays.