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Archive for December, 2011

Make the batter the night before and fry them in the morning, or fry them the day before and warm before serving.

Having some overnight guests for New Years?  Here’s one of my favorite easy-yet-elegant breakfasts: crepes.  The batter and filling (and even the crepes themselves) can be made in advance, and they can be dressed up in any number of ways.  You can easily offer several options of filling to please different tastes.

Don’t think you’ll be up to frying crepes first thing New Years Day?  They keep well—just fry them in advance, pop the whole stack into a ziplock bag, and refrigerate up to a couple of days.  Reheat for about thirty seconds on each side in a hot skillet or a few seconds (no more than ten on high) in the microwave.

The trickiest part about crepes is getting the skillet temperature just right.  Too hot, and they will have a coarse, pebbly texture; not hot enough, and they will not be as tender and flexible as they should be.  It usually takes me a few crepes to get it just right, but you know what?  The ‘duds’ are still tasty—just eat the evidence.

It’s even easier to make up a filling in advance—then, you need only assemble the crepes the morning you plan to serve them.  The fillings I use most often are cream cheese, ricotta cheese or cottage cheese, depending on what I have to work with.  The cream cheese goes especially well with stronger flavors, such as apple or pumpkin butter, while the ricotta is good with delicate flavors such as pear.

Ricotta cheese filling, just add crepes.

The filling can really be anything that you want it to—whipped cream and a pile of fresh fruit work well, too.

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December Moon

How quietly the year has passed away
Into that nothingness from whence it came,
And now the slowly drifting days are gray
Like powdered ashes near a dying flame;
The maple trees bewail their fallen crown
And autumn trails away like smoke at dawn—
The grass has faded to a dusty brown,
And I am lonely for a summer gone.

Louis L’Amour, Lines To A Season, Smoke From This Altar

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M (In Relief)

From: In Relief

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M (In Relief)

M

ail collection boxes in the U.S. were painted dark green when they were first introduced, around the turn of the last century.  Blue and red ones were introduced in the 1950s, and today they are typically blue.  Red is a popular color for post boxes in many countries, and some places have mailboxes of varying colors to indicate which type of mail they are for, or which postal service.


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Smoked Oyster Dip

This is something that I always make this time of year, usually more than once.  It is just the right combination of easy-to-make, ingredients that are easy to keep on hand, and crowd-pleasingly delicious.  Just the right tonic for holiday stress. (Well, ok, there are stronger tonics you might argue for—but you probably want something to eat with that, right?)

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Festive Holidays from Magpie and A Month of Sundries

click for desktop wallpaper (iPod wallpaper below the fold)

 
 

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Apricot Cream Cheese Cookies

‘Thumbprint Cookies’—that’s official cookie jargon for cookies with directions that are a variation on, “Shape dough into balls; flatten slightly, and indent the center.  Fill with preserves.”  I’ve always had a particular weakness for them.  But I’ve also always noticed a particular weakness in them—there is never enough filling.  So, I long ago dispensed with the thumb approach and went to using a knuckle to hollow out those little centers to a more respectable capacity.

Knuckle cookies?  It doesn’t sound so nice and dainty as ‘Thumbprint’, does it? But that’s okay, because I’ve figured out what I’ve really been trying to achieve all this time, and there’s a term for it: ‘Tarts’.

Okay, perhaps I exaggerate.  But only slightly.

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Oh look, Magpie was distracted by a random shiny again.
Whisk As Wand

(Spotted while hand-washing my favorite whisk for the umpteenth time during a cookie shoot, and there went a half-hour, poof!)

Conjuring colors out of thin air

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