10 recipes for 2013

Happy New Year! We know that many of you had banner years in 2012, launching new careers and expanding your families. We could not be more happy for you, nor more proud to know you. We hope 2013 brings you even greater joy and success. ali-close1

Admittedly, our 2012 was rocky. We’re hoping for some calm in the New Year. And we are also looking forward to expanding our baking and cooking repertoires! To that end, we thought we would start out 2013 with a list of our culinary resolutions. Not silly self-help goals (who needs ’em?), but recipes we would like to try and techniques we wish to master.

So here it goes, in no particular order:

  • Bread: As readers of our blog know, we haven’t tackled any savory breads yet. This needs to be addressed. While we will remain focused on desserts overall, we cannot neglect cake’s healthier cousin. In particular, Alison has had her eye on David Lebovitz’s recipe for gougères for a while. 
  • Apple mosaic tart with salted caramel: This recipe hails from Smitten Kitchen, and it doesn’t look like it needs any tweaks or fixing. Nor can it be shipped. I guess we’ll just need to make it for ourselves. We’re not sad about that.
  • Peanut butter cookies: One of our great frustrations of 2012 was our inability to develop a peanut butter cookie recipe. We went through many failed attempts (and subsequent tantrums), but no dice. 2013 is your year, peanut butter!
  • Pierogies: One of Jess’s favorite cooking-related memories from childhood is making pierogies with her stepmother’s mother, who hailed from Poland. Pierogies are delicious and fun to make, and we can’t wait to try them!
  • Maple bacon caramels: Alison tried three versions of these caramels in 2012, but never settled on a winning recipe. They will be vanquished in 2013!
  • Peanut butter and banana ice cream: This year, Jess had perhaps her favorite birthday yet, involving a delightful dinner at Picco and followed by a drag show by Jujubee, Jessica Wild, and Sharon Needles. At Picco, she had an ice cream sundae with some amazing peanut butter banana ice cream. She has tried to recreate it since, but the peanut butter overwhelmed the flavor of the bananas. We’ll try again in 2013.
  • Alfajores: We tasted these delightful cookies in Mexico this summer and were hooked. The ones we tried (there are several varieties) consisted of two shortbread-like cookies sandwiching a delightful spread of dulce de leche. What’s not to love?
  • Tempering chocolate: It is a crime that we have a baking blog, and still have not mastered the art of tempering chocolate. It WILL happen. It will also be awesome with Alison’s signature sea-salt caramels.
  • Chicken pot pie: What is not to like here?
  • Quiche: Yum. Perhaps we’ll start with this Mushroom Shallot Quiche, a recipe from one of our favorites, Dorie Greenspan.

Fall Pizza: Apple, Sausage, Caramelized Leeks, and Gruyere

I love seasons, but most of all, I love fall. It’s just awesome–colorful in a deep, rich way; perfect temperatures; and great holidays. Plus, fall food is pretty fantastic. Apples! Squash! Pears! Brussel Sprouts! (Admittedly, this last one is a new favorite of mine…but ohmyroastedbrusselsproutsdamn). So in early October, when Alison was craving pizza, I decided I wanted to incorporate two quintessential fall foods–apples and leeks.

(Yes, yes, I’m posting a month after making this. I KNOW.)

So, this recipe is not difficult to make, except in the time devoted to caramelizing the leeks. But it’s worth it.

If you haven’t dealt with leeks before, a few tips: Clean them really well. A lot of instructions suggest cutting off the root and then slicing the whole thing lengthwise so that it’s easier to get between the “leaves” of the vegetable to clear out the grit. I do not do this, but it’s certainly a good idea if you are squeamish. I just cut off the stem, clean them as well as I can by pulling open the sections a little at a time, and then start slicing from the base. You want to use the white and light green parts, discarding the darker green sections.

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