I am not a warm, ooey gooey, holiday person.  I mean, I like the holidays because I get to go home and sleep in my massive bed and have real closets and space in my room to walk around.  But I’m not into gifts, I’m not into festive cheer, although I am into aggressively spiked eggnog.

All that being said, Thanksgiving is my favorite day of the year.  I like that it’s the beginning of the feasting season, wherein we gorge ourselves on as much food as possible and then take a nap till the snow all melts.  I like that before Thanksgiving, it is still fall, and after Thanksgiving, we’re so much closer to winter. Mainly, I like the foods of Thanksgiving.  Rich, hearty, autumnal foods.  And of course, pumpkin pie.

Pie for breakfast. Also, pie plate matching shirt.

Pie for breakfast. Also, pie plate matching shirt.

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It’s strange because I never eat that many pears in the fall.  I really love them, but they’re only good for so long and apples last much longer which works better with my current lifestyle.  And also apples go great with peanut butter which, again, works well with my current lifestyle.  But nothing beats a pear so plump and luscious that you slurp the juices with every bite, although plenty run down your chin instead of making their way into your mouth.

Pears poachin'

Pears poachin’

Last week I decided to make poached pears for a team dinner with some people from my work.  I’m going to just secretly admit that I really wanted to eat pears and didn’t care too much what everyone else wanted for dessert… sorry chocolate lovers.  Also, I took the chance to get eight pears rather than the require six because an extra pear or two never hurt if they’re expense-able. Of course, I saved the extra pears for myself to enjoy at my leisure.  Or more immediately once they became ripe.

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Sometimes, you just want to make a cake.  And so you do, and the cake is so easy to make, you want to write a blog post about it.  So I made a cake, a simple cake, a tasty cake, a cake for a Sunday when you don’t want to leave your apartment and just want to watch tennis in bed.

couldn't stop myself from taking a few pieces before taking photos...

couldn’t stop myself from taking a few pieces before taking photos…

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All photos taken by Zoe Bell, my sister, not the famed stunt woman.

Ahh the holidays.  A time for me to be a complete and total scrooge and say humbug quite frequently.  I also get to bake a lot which is nice but stressful.

My mother and I stayed up until past midnight one night baking cookies.  The next day I spent 40 minutes over a hot stove, grilling brussel sprouts to perfection.

But the pièce de résistance came on new years eve, when I decided to make two fancy, multilayered cakes.  One was a coconut layer cake (my favorite and almost no one else’s), while the other was a white chocolate cake with a lemon curd filling and a grand marnier buttercream.

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These brownies have been an obsession of mine for almost two years, although I never knew if I would be able to recreate them.  The obsession started in Paris (where I just returned to when I went on a whirl wind 6 week adventure around the world) with a little Mexican restaurant called Candelaria.  There, I had the most wonderful, fudgy, chocolaty brownies of my life, and they were filled with black beans.

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Last night, we dined on lobster.  By we, I mean everyone else but me because I’m not obsessed with lobster nor do I enjoy lobster goo all over my pajamas (I always wear pajamas to dinner).  My cat, the lovely Jethro, got to meet his lobster friends before they were steamed in a wine broth (a nice way to go).

This is the picture story of what happened.


“What are these things?”

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So I took the summer off.  To work and relax and drink rosé with my cat.  That does not mean I wasn’t baking!  I was.  Most definitely.  I also got into arguments about the inherent misogynistic message in Grease but thats another story.

What was I baking?  Tarts and cakes and cookies and so much ice cream.  I didn’t have a hungry audience of half-starved college kids to feed, but I did have a bunch of hungry chefs to feed.  And they appreciated my attempts at interesting ice cream flavors far more than my collegiate cohorts.  The favorite flavors so far?  Honey-Thyme (which interestingly everything thought I had named Honey Time to be clever, but I’m not clever), Basil White Chocolate, Absinthe (which we ate early on a Saturday morning before a huge rush of taco lovers), and the pièce de resistance, Ginger White Chocolate.

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