Mar 052012
Rosemary Chocolate Bread

If there is an aroma to best that of fresh rosemary chocolate bread baking in the oven, I don’t know what it is. I’m constantly in search of appetizing breakfast options. I have a confession to make– I abhor eggs. (At least, in their detectable state. That is– eggs in cake = just fine.  Eggs, scrambled alone = can’t do it.  Visceral revulsion.) I still make a variety of egg dishes for loved ones, but it’s always a little discombobulating to put something on the table that I haven’t tasted. I fly blind, fall back on what I learned in […]

Dec 202011
Zimsterne (Star-shaped Cinnamon Cookies from Alsace)

I first tried Zimsterne on Christmas Eve morning in 2009, having purchased a bag of the appealing little star-shaped cookies the day before from a bakery off the cathedral square in Colmar, a canal-filled city in the Alsace region of France. I had no idea what they would taste like, but found their chewy cinnamon qualities an immediate delight.  It may be true that I ate the whole bag, it being Christmas Eve– an excellent excuse for such an indulgence. I returned to the States from that holiday determined to recreate the little star-shaped cookies I’d tried.  It took a […]

Dec 112011
"The Peach Pit" - A Cookie with an Amusing Backstory

My good friend works for the Soap Network, part of ABC/Disney.  She is possibly the most hilarious person you’ll ever meet.  For the second year in a row, she’s asked for my help with her entry into the ABC employee holiday bake-off.  Now the thing about my friend is, there’s one part of her that earnestly wants to do well in this contest.  The other part of her, (the part that will lead to her HBO stand-up special at some point down the line– mark my words), means that she can’t resist, say, covering an elegant rum cake with globs […]

Aug 272011
Strawberry Toasted-Coconut Shortcake

It’s fun to mix up a classic a little, and incorporate an unexpected flavor.  Summer weekend nights beg for traditional chilled desserts like strawberry shortcake, and they’re an easy dessert to whip together.  Traditional shortcakes are meant to have a tender crumb, and using the “biscuit” method of preparation, (as in the recipe below), ensures that the dough won’t become over-mixed and develop a lot of gluten.  (Gluten development leads to a tougher end-product, as is typically desired in bread– hence all the kneading.)  The butter, (butter/shortening = “short” cake, say the etymology scholars), helps to coat the protein molecules in the […]

Jun 202011
Rose Water: Your New Go-To for a Light Summer Dessert.

Rose Water, a distillation of rose petals available bottled in Middle Eastern, Indian, and specialty markets, can lend a fragrant note to your desserts and savory dishes.       The nose is unmistakably of roses, but of their true essence,  (in other words, it neither tastes nor smells like the fake “rose-scented” bath products with which we are all too frequently olfactorily assaulted.)  Added to dishes, rose water imparts a subtle floral delicateness.  Below, I’ve infused it into an olive oil cake, for a dessert that feels like a walk through a summer nighttime garden.  I served it to […]

May 232011
Hot Toddy Tart with a Tea Leaf Crust

I developed this recipe for a contest on, (under my initial  handle on that site, Srirachayeah, which I’ve since changed to IndieCulinary.)  The point of the contest was to develop a late-winter tart; I used tea leaves soaked in lemon juice, (as a quick approximation of a longer fermentation or pickling process), in the crust of my “Hot Toddy Tart,” to punch up the tea flavor. As I ruminated on the idea of a late-winter tart, my mind turned to seasonal fruits, and I thought of the trees in my neighborhood, still laden with lemons and oranges. Incorporating citrus […]