Guest Post from Brie: A Mother’s Day Story and A Special Perfume Pairing + Giveaway

Sweet roses and tea for mom.
A note from Daisy: After the warm and wonderful reception to Brie’s last Perfume Pairings Guest Post, I have asked her to contribute another one in honor of Mother’s Day.

In about a week, I will finally wrap up a grueling semester of teaching. I very much look forward to getting back to the kitchen and back to my dear Readers. In the meanwhile, I am pleased to hand the reins over to Brie again for this beautiful tribute to her friend’s mother and to all mothers. Enjoy!

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age arrives alone, unaccompanied.
Woon Tai Ho, Riot Green

by Brie

Christine is my oldest childhood friend. We have known each other for 42 years. When we met, she lived one flight down from me in an apartment in NYC. Her mother, Catherine, was a bubbly woman of Greek descent who lived life to the fullest. She had an infectious laugh and the ability to always see the glass half full instead of half empty.

One Christmas, Catherine invited all of her daughter’s friends over to present us with gifts that she had chosen quite carefully for each of us. What was revealed after we tore off the wrapping paper were handcrafted ornaments of various animals. I was secretly hoping for the cat (my favorite animal) and was dismayed to see that she had given me an owl instead. Sensing my disappointment, she pulled me aside and quietly whispered, “Do you know what the owl represents? Intuitive wisdom. Never forget that you are an owl, not a cat.”

At the time, being four months shy of becoming a teenager, all I cared about was getting what I did not think I had: popularity and attractiveness. Intuition and wisdom were the very last attributes I wanted to cultivate. Sadly, Christine lost her mother to breast cancer a few years later.

Flash forward to ten years ago when I asked my parents to retrieve all of my Christmas ornaments from the common storage room in their apartment building. To my horror, all of my collectibles from Hallmark had been stolen. The only decorations left behind were worthless stragglers, including that owl from Catherine. Despite my first reaction to it all those years ago, I took it back with me. When I hung it on my Christmas tree that year, I thought of Catherine. Her words haunted me and every year following that one, I placed that owl on my tree.

Whoo likes owls now? I do!

Slowly but surely, the owl became my animal, and eventually my three children heard the story of how I came to love them through the Catherine’s wise words.

It should come as no surprise that when I saw Soap and Paper Factory’s Owl solid perfume, I bought it un-sniffed. Luckily for me, it smells fantastic! Owl is a bright, rosy geranium on top of a dry down of sandalwood, tobacco, and vetiver. For a solid and natural perfume, it lasts an incredibly long time. The tea I love to pair it with is Organic India’s Tulsi Tea – Sweet Rose. Tulsi, or holy basil, is an herb renowned in India for its healing properties: it relieves stress and protects the immune system. That beautiful Sweet Rose tea melds so nicely with the Soap and Paper Factory’s Owl perfume.

Three years ago, I included a letter with my yearly holiday card to my friend Christine. I wrote about the exchange between her mother and me. I also included a picture of my owl hanging on the Christmas tree. Last year, she confided that she keeps my letter in a special place and reads it from time to time. I hope that it serves as a reminder that her mother’s memory lives on in the heart of a woman who hopes for wisdom to accompany her into middle age.

Now that I am a mother myself, as challenging as it has been to raise children in a world that isn’t always so wonderful, I can say that motherhood is an experience that I would not have wanted to miss.

Mother’s Day isn’t necessarily about biological mothers, as far as I am concerned. We can get love and that motherly connection from our closest friends. I know because I have! For that reason, I think that is an important to stress that many of us are already “mothers” to others without even knowing it.

This story is dedicated to all mothers: past, present and future.

Happy Mother’s Day to you all!

Thanks to Brie, we also have a special Mother’s Day Giveaway: A tea sampler including Organic India’s Tulsi Sweet Rose Tea, and a small sample of Soap and Paper Factory’s Owl solid perfume. To enter, leave a comment below and tell us who is the “mother” you would like to dedicate this post to.

This drawing will close at midnight EST on May 19. Anyone in the US or overseas can enter. The winner will be drawn by Brie and her children from her special ceramic owl. We will announce the winner on this blog in a separate post and also make the announcement on Twitter.

The winner will have one week to contact us with a mailing address. In the case that the winner does not get in touch with us, we will draw again for a runner-up.

Good luck, Everyone!

♥ Happy Valentine’s Day ♥: Grilled Beef Heart with Celeriac Slaw

I Heart You!
The first time that I ever had beef heart was at St. John’s Bread and Wine in London. It was two summers ago and I was wandering around Spitalfields on a single-origin chocolate bar search. Suddenly, the skies opened up and down came the deluge. Soaked and woefully unprepared, I ducked into the empty restaurant right in the middle of the family meal.

Although I’m sure that the last thing the staff wanted to deal with was another guest, they were extraordinarily gracious as they served me a late-afternoon snack of oysters, Sauternes, grilled beef heart and celeriac slaw.

Sauternes and oysters, you say? Yes, the server was intrigued as well. I had ordered them together because I had just read an article about how the original pairing for oysters was Sauternes, not Champagne.

In any case, I assure you that the combination is divine.

So was the beef heart. Flavorful and surprising tender, it had a robust beefiness and was the perfect antidote to the grey, oily weather outside. As I enjoyed the last dregs of my wine, I remembered that I had a copy of Fergus Henderson’s Nose to Tail Eating: A Kind of British Cooking collecting dust at home.

When my CSA (shares are still available, by the way) began offering beef heart, I decided that I was going to bite the bullet and try to recreate that terrific snack.

The recipe is such that no actual measurements are necessary. Follow your instinct and taste as you go along. You will be fine.

(and a very belated thank you to the staff at St. John’s for making sure that I didn’t go back out in the storm without a large umbrella)

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Ingredients:

1 beef or calf’s heart

Coarse salt

Freshly ground pepper

Balsamic Vinegar

Olive oil

Thyme sprigs

1 celery root

Crème fraîche

Dijon mustard

How to prepare:

1. The first thing you will need to do is trim the heart. You basically want to remove all the fat, the membranes, and any and all vessels including the aorta. It may be a little disheartening (no pun intended) to have to discard all those trimmings, but you really only want the tasty bits. For this, you will need a very sharp knife.

When you finish, you should be left with a pile of very lean beef slices that no longer resemble a heart at all. For an instructional video, I refer you to Michael Ruhlman here.

2. In a dish large enough to fit all the beef slices comfortably, drizzle them with olive oil. Add a healthy slug of balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle it generously with coarse salt and freshly ground pepper. Add a few sprigs of fresh thyme. Toss, cover, and let marinate in the fridge for 8-24 hours.

3. Before grilling the beef heart slices, set up the celeriac slaw. The first thing you will need to do is trim the root. You could use a vegetable peeler . . . if you want to have an accident! Or you could use a very sharp knife and be safer. You will have a lot of trimmings to discard as well, but trust me: you don’t want these trimmings either. If you must, you can put them in a bag and toss them in your freezer to use for stock.

First, slice off the top of the root and level off its bottom. This will ensure that it won’t rock around while you are trimming it. Holding your knife perpendicular to the root, shave or slice off the outer gnarled surface. You should be left with a clean, peeled root.

For another helpful video, I refer you to Gourmet Magazine.

Now you need to julienne the celery root. This can be accomplished most effectively by using a mandoline. If you don’t have one, or do have one but are too lazy to look for it like me, you can use a sharp knife again for the job. To julienne the celery root, cut very thin slices of it, stack the slices up and cut them into matchsticks.

Melissa Clark demos this here.

For the dressing, gently stir together 4 tablespoons of crème fraîche for every one tablespoon of Dijon mustard. That’s the ratio that I used, but you can increase the amount of mustard if you want your dressing to have more of a kick. Adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Using your hands, toss the julienned slices of celery root with the dressing.

5. Prepare the grill. Brush it with oil and get it nice and hot. Cook the beef heart slices until they are medium. Henderson says about 3 minutes per side, but mine cooked faster than that. I would say to just watch them and pull them off the grill when they are ready.

To serve, plate a few slices with a nice mound of celery root slaw.

Happy Chinese New Year! Gung hei fat choi!


Wishing you all a wonderful and prosperous Chinese New Year’s Day!

This is the Year of the Snake and this year’s animal is a water snake, specifically a female black water snake.

I’m not exactly sure what that means, but water always implies energy flowing outwards and money (hopefully) flowing towards you! Black is a sign of instability and changeability, so take caution this year and think carefully about your decisions before you make them.

The snake is also a good omen because it is a sign that your family will not starve this year. Very important.

So Gung hei fat choi, everyone! May today be a day full of good food and time with family and friends!

Not starving starts now 🙂

Miso Awesome Cookies

Who's so awesome? Miso awesome!
For my first post of the new year, I am going to wrap up the remainder of business from the last: my Miso Awesome Cookies!

Come to think of it, this post should actually be called:

Dr. Daisy or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Cookie 🙂

(any Kubrick fans out there? anyone?)

When I entered the Brooklyn Cookie Takedown last month, my first thought was to make a truly trashy cookie packed with milk chocolate chips and Fritos. Doesn’t that sound awesome? Then Dave C. suggested the combination of dark chocolate and nori. Suddenly, the vision of an Asian cookie coalesced in my mind. I was unable to get the idea of an umami-amped chocolate chip cookie out of my head.

I went to the Japanese market that weekend and got shredded nori and white miso. I added them to a chocolate chip cookie recipe for which I swapped out the walnuts for soy sauce-roasted almonds. Et voilà!

I made inedible choco-chip seaweed hockey pucks 😦

That was my first attempt at baking cookies for the Brooklyn Cookie Takedown, one of nine.

Yes, dear Readers, it took me nine test batches to get the hang of this whole cookie business because I am really not a very good baker or cookie maker 😦

Actually, before the Takedown, I always took a pass on baking cookies because I was so bad at it! Once, I made a delicious double-chocolate chip cookie by accident. Unfortunately, in my excitement, I didn’t take notes on what I did. That experience will sadly never be replicated.

These are some of the reasons why almost all my cookie efforts prior to the Takedown did not work out:

• I never let the butter soften. That meant that whenever I tried to properly cream it, I would end up with butter blobs on the wall, on my glasses, in my hair, and sugar all over the floor.

• I never sifted the dry ingredients together because I was too lazy. I also never learned how to properly measure flour.

• I chronically overbaked because I could never shake the feeling that cookies had to be nice and golden on top. It works for chicken, why not cookies?!

• I would just use one cookie sheet, which meant that I was baking forever. Furthermore, I never let the sheet cool down before I plunked more cookie dough on top of it.

How did I improve?

After test batch #5, I decided to finally do it right. I started by hitting the cookbooks.

Here’s what I learned:

• Suck it up and sift 🙂 You don’t need to buy a fancy sifter, just a mesh strainer and a sheet of wax paper will do. You would never think it makes much of a difference, but it does.

• Instead of measuring flour by volume, weigh it. According to Cook’s Illustrated, one cup of all-purpose flour should weigh about 5 ounces.

• Cut cold, hard butter into small cubes. The butter will soften faster that way.

• Don’t overwork the butter. The longer you cream the butter and sugars together, the more air you beat into the fat. The more air that you have in your fat, the more your cookies will spread out while baking.

• Eggs blend better when they are at room temperature.

• Ideally, you should let your dough rest overnight in the refrigerator. Barring that, at least let the dough chill completely, about 3 hours. Properly chilled dough also helps ensure that your cookies don’t spread out too much.

• Do not overwork the flour. The longer you take combining the wet and the dry ingredients together, the tougher your cookies will be.

• Never arrange cookie dough on hot cookie sheets. The cookies will begin cooking on contact. Not. Good.

• Work with a minimum of 2 cookie sheets, that way you can have one cooling down while the other one is in the oven. To have four sheets is ideal because you can have two sheets cooling while two are baking in the oven.

• If you check the cookies and think that maybe you should leave them in a little longer, override your instinct and pull them out of the oven! They will continue to cook on their sheets for a few minutes more. (Thanks for the tip, Tomoko!)

• Like pancakes, be prepared to ruin the first batch as you adjust your baking times for your cookie size, cookie sheet material (light versus dark sheets), and oven (mine runs a little hot).

How I finally came up with my cookie recipe:

Now all this might sound elementary to you Awesome Cookie Bakers, but it was a revelation to me. Once I figured out what I was doing wrong from a technical standpoint, I made another batch of chocolate chip-nori cookies. You know what? They were disgusting! Now I know why there are no chocolate and roasted seaweed cookie recipes out there: they’re gross!

Back to the drawing board. Standing in the Japanese market again, I was trying to think about what else could go in a cookie. Wasabi peas? Why not! As wasabi is actually not a particularly strong taste, I swapped out the dark chocolate for white chocolate.

From the chocolate chip-nori hockey puck recipe, I kept the tamari almonds and the white miso paste.

From now on, I may always drop a dollop of white miso paste into my cookies. It doesn’t seem to add any noticeable miso flavor, but it definitely makes the taste of everything else in the cookie pop.

Even though this is the recipe for my not-award-winning cookies, I still feel like I won because I learned so much. I overcame my fear of baking, and I came up with something crazy that was also delicious!

Ingredients:

3 cups of all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

1/4 teaspoon of baking soda

2 sticks of butter (16 tablespoons), cut into cubes and at room temperature

1 1/4 cups of white granulated sugar

2/3 cup of light brown sugar, packed

2 eggs at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

4 tablespoons of white miso paste

4 teaspoons of wasabi paste

8 ounces of white chocolate chips

8 ounces of tamari almonds, roughly chopped

8-9 ounces of wasabi peas

How to prepare:

1. Sift together the dry ingredients.

2. In a large mixing bowl, cream the softened butter and the sugars together for no more than one minute.

3. Beat the eggs, one at a time, into the creamed butter-sugar mixture. Add the vanilla, the miso and wasabi pastes. Continue beating for another minute or two.

4. Using a stiff spatula, fold in the dry ingredients a little bit at a time.

5. Once all the dry ingredients have been incorporated, fold in the white chocolate chips, the chopped almonds, and the wasabi peas. Once the all the goodies are evenly distributed throughout the dough, cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours, or overnight if you can.

6. If your heating element is on the bottom of your oven, move the oven racks to the top of it. Pre-heat the oven to 325°.

7. I used a melon baller to make smaller cookies for the competition, but if you want larger cookies, use a tablespoon or a small scoop. Drop the balls of dough about two inches apart on parchment paper-lined cookie sheets.

8. Bake the cookies for 4 minutes. Rotate the sheets 180°, moving the top cookie sheet to the lower rack, and the bottom cookie sheet to the upper rack. Bake the cookies for another 4 minutes. If your cookies are larger, you may need to bake them for a little longer. When the cookies are done, they should be just barely golden around the edges. The centers should be soft, but not raw. Take the cookies out of the oven and let them rest on the cookie sheet (they will continue to cook) for a minute or two before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Auld Lang Syne: Goodbye 2012, Hello 2013

Thank you for being a part of my 2012!!
Like many of you, I received an email from WordPress today with a statistical review of my past year blogging. In 2012, my most popular post was my rant reflection on the then recently-published book, The Manhattan Diet. In the running for almost-as-popular were my posts on how to cook juicy pork chops, how to choose a cutting board, and how to make crustless quiches.

Most visitors came from the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia. Absolutely no guests came from China. Not a single one.

This can only mean one of two things:

A) Either WordPress is blocked by Chinese censors for being a corruptive Western influence.
B) Or I have been shunned by the entire nation for being of Chinese descent and not knowing how to steam rice or use a wok.

Yeah. I bet it’s probably B too 😉

All these tallies have inspired me to do my own end-of-the-year wrap-up, especially given that 2012 was an eventful year for me.

First and foremost, I finally got my PhD after years of reading, writing, teaching, and kvetching. Finishing the dissertation marked the end of a seemingly endless road and the fulfillment of a long-held goal. This year, I don’t think that I have ever pushed myself harder. I also don’t recall being more miserable, scared, panicked, anxious, lonely, or queasy in my life.

At the same time, I never felt prouder, stronger, more independent, and confident.

Above all, I felt loved.

So as 2012 fades to black, in this post I would like to take this opportunity to extend a heartfelt thank you . . .

To my family.

Mom and Dad, even though 2012 has been a difficult year for you too, you never wavered in your support. Thank you for always believing in me. I love you both so much.

Grandpa, you were my rock. You saw me every Sunday for weekly dim sum. You kept me grounded and fed me dumplings. So many dumplings . . . You also gently reminded me that it’s not a given that a Baconbiscuit win her first Bacon Takedown. Thank you, Grandpa 🙂 I love you so much!

I am also thankful for my extended family of cousins, aunts, and uncles. You never failed to make me laugh at myself. For that, I am grateful. Much love to you all!

To my friends.

Does a body good?I reached my limit 36 hours before my dissertation defense. I was still writing. I was also delirious, going on about six weeks of minimal sleep and three weeks of no sleep. I was mentally, emotionally, and intellectually drained. I was hopped up on caffeine and nicotine too. Just when I was about to fall apart completely, Laura arrived at my door with this glorious pile of junk food.

She made me laugh out loud with this wacky assortment of things that must be part of a pregnant woman’s dream. I was so overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of the gesture that I burst into tears. Thank you, dearest Laura. You are so treasured!

Sharon and Joseph, how amazing are you for surprising me on my birthday with cupcakes, Italian cookies, and sparkling water? I don’t know how you maneuvered all those candles up my building’s stairs without setting off the fire alarms. You two made me cry too!

Maritess, you always picked up the phone when I called, even when it was a 4 in the morning. I love and miss you, Babe. You are the best Bestie!

Thank you to Tina and Bob MacCheyne from High Point Farms for your friendship and loving support. Your kindness fed me both spiritually and physically.

Giant hugs to Astrid, Ben, Banki, Beth, Birgit, Brie, Niki, Dave F., Oliver, Carol, Ron, Kerri, Anne, Dan, Chantale, Chris, Deb, Clarissa, Ipek, Darya, Jason, Dave C., Joyce, Dave L., Jenn, Dave M., Donna, Emma, Ted, Emmy, Eri, Eryn, Eve, Gideon, Deena, Guillaume, Laura P., Helen, Heather H., Hilary, Jamie, Jas, Preeti, Jennie, Jessica, Peter, Jill, Jimmy and the crew at Jimmy’s 43, John B., John M., John T., Kalay, Katherine, Kelly, Kie, Maggie, Manya, Pär, Margaret, Matt, Megan, Melanie, Melissa, Michelle, Steve, Mike, Nicole, Sebastian, Siobhan, Spencer, Susan, Sylvie, Tanya, Tomoko, Victoria, Zach, and Heather M.

I feel so fortunate to have met you. I would never have made it through 2012 without your friendship. Much love to you all!

Of course, I could never overlook all the wonderful people that I have met through blogging. Thank you for inviting me into your lives and your kitchens. Your stories sustained me as I ate vicariously through your photos. You were my other lifeline when I was living like a hermit in the library basement. Some of you even came through New York and lured me out of my cave 🙂 Thank you for checking up on me and for keeping me sane!

Special blog shout-outs to Ruby and Wheaky, Emmy Cooks, Ugly Food Tastes Better, SybariticaHumble Feast, Cauldrons and Cupcakes, Expat EdnaAmy Glaze’s Pommes d’Amour, Unbrave GirlSouthern Food Scrounge, Gourmandistan, Live2EatEat2LiveHappiness Stan Lives Here, Susan Eats London, Garden Correspondent, Frugal Feeding, Cooking in Sens, Kolpona Cuisine, Bunny. Eats. Design., Paintbox KitchenMon chat m’a ramené un chipmunk!, Belle Grove Plantation, Mixer Upper, Going Dutch, In Her Chucks, 17 Bites, Inherit the SpoonMama Miyuki Easy Pantsy, Rabbit Can Cook, The Hungry Egghead, testerfoodblog, and Back Road Journal.

To the kind bloggers who nominated me for awards.

When I first started blogging, Adele at Artistry by Adele nominated me for the The Versatile Blogger Award. I was flattered and very touched by the nomination. Unfortunately, the follow-up post to Adele’s languished in WordPress limbo (aka Draft Status). Why the paralysis? At the time, when faced with the prospect of nominating 15 bloggers in turn, I realized that I didn’t know 15 bloggers!

Since then, Tanya at Humble Feast has nominated me for the Liebster Award, Nicole at Cauldrons and Cupcakes and Mixer Upper have nominated me for the Sunshine Award, and Tahmina at Kolpona Cuisine has nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award again! I got picked for the Versatile Blogger Award by John at Sybaritica and Cendriani for the third and fourth times. Mama Miyuki nominated me for the Family Bloggers Award, and Rabbit Can Cook reached out and awarded me with the Inspiring Blog Award.

All I can say is thank you from the bottom of my heart. I feel so honored and touched that you thought of me and my blog. Thank you so much!

Now, after two and a half years of blogging, I can certifiably say that I know more than 15 bloggers 🙂 However, I have to admit that being tasked with having to nominate bloggers in return is rather intimidating. I quite honestly don’t know where to begin; there are just too many deserving writers out there.

Therefore, I am going to deviate a little bit from the norm. If I gave you a shout out in this post, I am nominating and re-nominating ALL of you for ALL of these wonderful awards 🙂 If I have left anyone out, please know that it was not intentional.

Thank you for your support and congratulations to you all!

As per the rules of some of these awards, here are:

Seven things about me:

1. I learned how to carve wooden sculptures when I studied abroad in West Africa. You know the ones you see in stores or on the street? Of abstract men and women? I can make those.

2. I was a vegetarian for almost 12 years. I didn’t do it for ethical or moral reasons. It was a dare that got out of control.

3. One of my most prized possessions is an autographed photo of Mr. T. He was doing an event with Mary Lou Retton at Planet Hollywood. His brass knuckles spelled 1-800 CLCT. It took him three tries to get my name right.

4. My favorite flower? I love peonies. They are just beautiful. I love daisies too 🙂

5. My favorite book is Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. No, it is not French literature 🙂

6. My favorite words in the English language are dumpling and ampersand.

Ampersand is actually quite fascinating. Did you know it was once the 27th letter of the alphabet?!

7. All the countries I would most like to visit start with the letter “I”: Israel, Iceland, India, and Indonesia. It wasn’t intentional!

To my fellow perfume lovers.

As some of you may know, I have a bad perfume habit that rivals my bacon addiction. I have always loved perfume, but it wasn’t until this summer that I gave what I wore as much thought as what I ate and drank.

I knew in the lead-up to last summer that I wasn’t going to have a vacation this year. Traveling, preferably abroad, is one of the things that I look forward to the most each year. It was too sad to think that I would be spending my time squirreled away in the sub-basement of my university library instead.

So, I thought, if I couldn’t physically travel, maybe I could travel through perfume. I dug out all the decants and samples that I have accumulated over years and wore them all this summer. I went to fragrant India, filled with incense and spices. I traveled to jungles bursting with lush foliage, coconuts, and hot, sweaty tropical flowers. I even went to space with more abstract and futuristic scents.

In the process, I learned so much and met so many wonderful perfume bloggers along the way.

A special thanks goes to Birgit at Olfactoria’s Travels, Victoria at Bois de Jasmin, Undina at Undina’s Looking Glass, The Candy Perfume Boy, The Black Narcissus, Freddie at Smellythoughts, Lucas at Chemist in a Bottle, Lanier at Scents Memory, Portia at Australian Perfume Junkies, The Alembicated GenieThe Scented Hound, and Ari at Scents of Self.

Thank you all for writing so well that I couldn’t help but join the conversation 🙂

To everyone:

As I am spending the new year back home with my parents and brothers in Indiana, it is only fitting to send off 2012 with Straight No Chaser‘s version of Auld Lang Syne.

Here’s to new adventures in 2013!

A Holiday Tradition from Me to You: Ye Olde Sizzling Bacon Yule Log


How many of you remember The Yule Log Show on television?

To those unfamiliar with it, the Yule Log Show was a program traditionally aired on American network television on Christmas Day from about 9am to 2pm. It was perfectly timed to coincide with sitting around the tree and opening presents. The entire show consisted of a Yule log burning in a fireplace. No dialogue. Just Christmas music and the pleasant crackle and pop of a toasty fire in someone else’s fireplace

Initially conceived as a way for fireplace-less New Yorkers to at least enjoy the visual delights of a roaring fire, the Yule Log Show was a tradition in my house growing up.

So imagine how delighted I was to see the folks at Applegate Farms improve on the original 🙂

Dear Friends, it doesn’t matter if you are bereft of a fireplace this year or if you have one. I invite you all to set your computer or laptop somewhere everyone can see it and open your presents while bacon sizzles the the background.

The video is a glorious 31-minutes long and can be set on repeat.

Happy Holidays to you all from NYC!

Update: Brooklyn Cookie Takedown 2012

Who's so awesome? Miso Awesome!
Who’s so awesome?
MISO AWESOME!!!!!!!

My Takedown cookie entry was:

white chocolate chips + white miso + wasabi peas + tamari almonds.

Even though I didn’t win with that crazy combination, I had a great time and learned a lot about baking cookies. Recipe and baking tips to follow soon.

Thanks to Dave C. for the inspiration, and Dave L. for being the best darned cookie assistant ever.

For more, check out Maestro Extraordinaire Matt Timms’ Takedown site here.

And the Miso Awesome Fantastic Duo gets a nice shout-out on LocalBozo here (with more photos!).

Tickets still left to see me at the Brooklyn Cookie Takedown on December 16!

COOKIES!
As if I didn’t learn my lesson the last time . . .

I will be competing in this year’s Brooklyn Cookie Takedown! Just like the Brooklyn Bacon Takedown: 300 samples, but minus the bacon.

Come out and cheer me on! I’m not the best baker or cookie maker on the planet, but I can guarantee you something weird, wacky, and hopefully tasty!

The Takedown is scheduled on December 16, from 2:00-4:00 pm at the Bellhouse in the Gowanus. The organizer has informed us that there are only 35 tickets left so move fast! Tickets are only $15 and gets you samples of 30 competitors’ cookies + unlimited Bulleit Bourbon eggnog.

To buy tickets, click here!

Cyber Monday: My Takedown Maple-Candied Bacon and Spiced Pecan Nougat Is Now For Sale!


Just in time for the holidays!

This addictive combination of maple sugar-candied bacon, Ancho chili and cayenne pepper-spiced pecans, and Bourbon nougat was created for the Brooklyn Bacon Takedown with the help of my downstairs neighbor, a professional candy maker.

I posted the labor-intensive recipe here, but who has the time to candy, sit, stir, and wrap for hours?

Let us do it for you! We’ll candy that bacon into submission and pack it up pretty so the only work you have to do is eat it 🙂

This season, give the gift that everyone loves. Give bacon!

Order from Sweetniks.com or Sweetniks on Etsy here and here.

(I would also recommend all the candies on the site. Everything Niki makes is beautiful and delicious!)

* Photo courtesy of Sweetniks.com.