Hot Polka Dot
30Jan/11

Oh My Darlin’ Clementine.

  I present to you the magnificent clementine. So sweet and adorable it fits in the palm of your hand. They appear tiny, innocent and unassuming but the scent and taste that explodes out of this fruit is a welcome surprise.

Everyone has a particular way of eating one. A routine. A ritual.

The glossy orange skin gives way when you pierce your fingernail through to the golden fruit hidden beneath. A fine mist of juice laces the air and fills your senses with the delicate orange fragrance. The skin is pulled back and discarded in one continuous spiral to reveal tiny sleeping segments huddled tightly together. Tenderly peel off the bits of pith clinging stubbornly to the fruit and separate the segments one by one to devour them in sequence.

I look forward to clementines every Winter. Our local grocery store has been unlucky enough to be devoid of any edible batch of mandarins or clementines all season. They've all been either unripe or overripe. Except now of course. Sweet relief indeed!

To celebrate I thought I'd make some cookies. White Chocolate Clementine Cookies.

Now please excuse me while I continue my love affair with this cute little orange.

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24Jan/11

Made With Love.

Valentine's Day means either nothing or everything to an individual person. You're either a skeptic or a romantic. More and more the world is being peopled by skeptics. People who don't believe in anything they can't see or touch and make fun of those who dare to.

I was once one of them before I met Lee. I'm not going to tell you that rainbows and butterflies follow us, but we are ridiculously happy. The kind of happy that gives you cavities and your face hurts from smiling too much. He's my match, my better half, my sweetheart.

A note in a lunch bag. A heart shaped box of chocolates. A bouquet of roses. A romantic dinner on a rooftop. A picnic in the sun. A long distance phone call. A marriage in secret. A well composed email. Whatever love means to you it deserves celebration.

I thought I'd give you all a simple yet sweet recipe for your own sweetheart. Just ganache, raspberries and hazelnuts. These Chocolate Razelnut Truffles are decadent, rich and best enjoyed when made with love.

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20Jan/11

Love Muffin: Maple Bacon Cheddar Cornmeal.

There's about two feet of snow carpeting the ground. Icicles decorate the eaves troughs. The evergreens slouch under the new weight. The streets haven't been plowed all Winter. A single Autumn leaf clings stubbornly to the frozen ground. The temperature has plummeted to uncomfortable depths.

There's only one thing to do when the weather turns this chilly. Make Chili! The natural partner for a steaming hot bowl of Chili is, of course, Cornmeal Muffins. These aren't your average Cornmeal Muffins, folks. They're Maple Bacon Cheddar Cornmeal Muffins.

A little sweet to compliment the spice. A little hot inside to contrast the cold outside.

How else are you going to work up the nerve to shovel the driveway? Or scrape ice off the windshield? Or risk frostbite to check the mailbox? I suppose you could always just stay toasty warm inside and eat muffins for dinner. Like I did.

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14Jan/11

When Life Gives You Lemons.

In a family you operate like satellites that orbit around the home. When one moves the others shift to compensate. So when Lee starts working a late shift and doesn't get home until 2am some nights we all have to make some adjustments.

I miss him in the evenings and I stay up late to welcome him home. It doesn't feel right to go to bed alone. It's dark and cold without my personal heater. Go to bed late, wake up late. Being that it's winter I run out of daylight so I haven't been able to find the time to bake much.

You have to make the best of a bad situation. Cake helps. Sandwiches too. And texting. Lots and lots of texting. Strangely I've been finding myself watching a lot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but that's neither here nor there. I'm not responsible for the bad late night reruns I watch while in a semi-comatose state.

So when life gives you lemons make Cranberry Pomegranate Lemon Yogurt Cake.

That's how that goes right?

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3Jan/11

Reservations About Resolutions.

New year's resolutions. We all make them, but do we ever actually adhere to them? Things like lose ten pounds or volunteer in the community seem to get pushed aside to make room for more interesting goals like dig for the bottom of that jar of Nutella or sit through that Star Trek marathon.

Maybe it's time for some more realistic resolutions. Here are a few of my highlights.

Resolution #115: Redecorate my kitchen because it's time the love was reciprocated.

Resolution #223: Bake my own bread instead of buying sliced loaves like a sucker.

Resolution #52: Get a haircut. You hippie.

Resolution #175: Actually finish writing the first chapter of my book. It's time to stop procrastinating.

Resolution #333: Finally attempt macarons. They're cookies, not the boogeyman.

Resolution #24: Master the extreme difficulty on Tap Tap Revenge because repeated rhythmic tapping is an important life skill.

Resolution #32: Cultivate an intimate relationship with my new macro lens. We make such a cute couple.

Resolution #517: Try more interesting flavour combinations because you just know that peanut butter and jelly was an accident.

That's where these cookies come in. Double Chocolate Cinnamon Cookies. They're filled with deep dark chocolate flavour that's intensified by the the exotic taste of fresh ground cinnamon. Not your average combination, but one I am so glad I tried. Sometimes you have to try something a little wacky to to discover new favourites. This one is definitely one of mine now. Maybe it could be one of yours too.

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