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The New Year and Sushi Bowls

a recent wedding cake

Happy New Year 2022! 

I look forward to the fresh start that January brings and have been enjoying the first few days of it.

Maybe what we like about January isn't the fresh start as much as the total lack of expectations that you will be doing anything social or indeed even leave your house (post-workday) after two months of having nothing but social engagements and being out of the house. You finally have time to tidy, and maintain the tidiness.

Reflecting on things now, I don't think that I folded a single load of clean laundry in the month of December. I washed and dried laundry, of course, I just never folded it. We could blame this on the fact that I was sick, or we could be honest and blame it on the fact that I loathe nothing quite so much as stopping to fold and put away clean laundry. Seems rude that laundry isn't content to be washed and dried and clean; it must also be pandered to. Bit too much for me, that. I am content (during times of Busy Schedules) to pluck what I want to wear from the ever-more-wrinkled stash in the laundry baskets and move on with my life. Frankly, I never give the clean laundry a second thought apart from the five minutes I am picking through the hamper, absolutely positive that my pink sweatshirt was here yesterday morning, or casting about for a fluffy, fresh towel when it's showering time. Possibly the TikTok therapists would tell me I have issues with object permanence. Possibly they would be correct.

Kettle Corn Cheesecake Recipe

Were I ever to be told that all desserts on the planet would be henceforth deleted from the global consciousness except one and I was the savior of the one dessert which could remain, I’d choose ice cream. Hands down. Cheesecake would be a close second, and here’s why: both ice cream and cheesecake are nearly-neutral bases out of which to spin a hundred variations. The boredom of one choice of dessert would vanish under the many flavors available of said dessert. And anyway, I’m astonishingly predictable for someone who typically vacillates between menu items for twenty minutes: if ice cream is offered, that is my choice. I am not even a tremendous snob. While I draw the line at Pet or other equally lame brands, I’m open to the concept that if I ever again visited a McDonald’s (doubtful) and if that McDonald’ses ice cream machine was miraculously working (also doubtful) that their .59 cent cone might be something sort of palatable and not to be immediately sneered at. We’ll see. I might be stretching my good faith in that regard.

Anyhow. I’m here to talk about cheesecake.

Ingredient Spotlight: Fiori di Sicilia

As I'm descending back into my writing flow, I've set some time aside for reading through various Google Docs full of words I've jotted down in spasmodic moments of inspiration over the last several years. Occasionally, a file has surprised me with decent writing. Others are annoying because I stopped writing suddenly just as it got good, and now I have no idea what the point of that particular article was going to be. Seriously, I couldn't have wrapped up that thought? I've also read through some fun posts from years past, including this one about Hazel Mountain Chocolate: a place that has a lot to do with today's chat about my latest discovery that everyone-but-me seems to have known about: Fiori di Sicilia!

An Accidental Fan Letter To Alison Roman: Corn Salad Edition

{ absolutely not my image }

Ever heard of Alison Roman? To the uninitiated she is someone I talk about an eye-rolling amount on Instagram. To those in the know, she is a weekly inspiration and a culinary brain whose somewhat-annoying Cali-girl mannerisms aren't enough to push me away. (Unlike another cool-girl kitchen legend I won't name, whose online persona I find as grating as a microplane to a block of parm. I sulk around for That One's undeniably good recipes, break up with her yet again when she calls a Caesar salad a "cae sal" or a Rueben a "sando", or some other contrived cuteness. Then next week she's got me back with another recipe I love and the cycle continues. "I hate you, I love you, I hate that I love you," and all that. But listen, we are here to discuss Alison Roman.)

Lava Toast

“Lava toast” began with shrimp & grits. More specifically, it began with my memory of the shrimp & grits we used to make at Four Eleven York, the restaurant that launched my professional baking career (as such).

Now, let's clear the air about something: I've seen those memes circulating around the internet, where we all roll our collective eyes at the way food bloggers have to tell stories and write paragraphs before getting to the point of the recipe. If that's you, I respect your opinions and you can scroll to the bottom. Or go to allrecipes.com and eat your heart out, scanning two dozen questionable recipes for the same dish and trying to decide which looks less mediocre. This blog – our blog – is a blog for food stories, for hanging out, for talking about food and all the nuances of it, not simply a recipe database. It's almost always been that way, hasn't it? I don't think most of us are confused about this fact, but now I'm self conscious of the length of my posts and I want you to know what to expect from the outset. M'kay?