Just thinking of plump cream puffs stuffed with sweet cream as light as air makes my mouth water. Mounds of dough rich with eggs and butter expand with air like little balloons as they bake in a hot oven. When they cool, they can be split in half, their hollow shells filled with whipped cream, custard or ice cream and then sandwiched back together, the filling seeping out of the seam.
My love affair with shortbread began seven years ago with my first bite of a homemade heart-shaped cookie that melted in my mouth. Rich, buttery dough had been packed into cast-iron heart-shaped molds and baked until they were set but not brown.
Avocado Cream Cabbage Slaw perfect side dish
For years, I’ve stayed far away from fish. I didn’t prepare it or serve it, and I would never even consider ordering it at a restaurant. I’m not fond of that “fishy” flavor that I thought all fish naturally carried.
Yet lately, I’ve been making Salmon Tacos.
I caught a glimpse of myself in my rearview mirror the other morning and saw that I was laughing. It wasn’t brought on by something I heard on the radio. I was chuckling at my crazy self as I drove 10 miles to the grocery store in town.
Every year at this time, I would sit with my dad at the kitchen table. He’d pull out his pocket knife and score the thick ruby skin of the fruit. Then he’d use his fingers to pull the pomegranate apart, red juice squirting everywhere.
In Denmark, they’re called Brune kager. In Finland, their name is Piparkakut, and in Norway, Pepperkaker or Brune kaker. When I’m with my Swedish friends, they are definitely Pepparkakor. But, if you’re not Scandinavian, (I’m not) just call these thin, crisp and lightly spiced cookies Christmas Ginger Snaps.
It doesn’t seem so long ago when my adult sons were young boys. As if it were yesterday, I can see them sitting at the dinner table. And as clear as day, I can see the twisted look on their faces as they say, “Why can’t we have the same potatoes we had last week? Why do we always have to try something new?”
Every year at this time, I get such a craving for homemade macaroni and cheese. I pull out my old “Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book” that my mom and dad gave me when I was in high school. I turn to page 140, well worn with sticky spots and a little tear. That’s where my favorite macaroni and cheese recipe lurks.
I carefully measured out all of the ingredients. I pulled out my big dough board. My deep, heavy cast-iron pan was filled with oil and I clipped a thermometer to the side. A baking sheet was lined with layers of paper toweling. I took a deep breath.
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