Fennel-Apple-Rhubarb Shrub & The Summer Breeze

Fennel-Apple-Rhubarb Shrub

So just in case any of you were worried that last year’s shrub-stravaganza was a fleeting obsession, allow me to assure you that it was, so most definitely, not. I’ve been branching out in weird directions this summer, and the results have been mixed thus far. (There’s currently a cantaloupe + champagne vinegar shrub steeping in my pantry that smells……funky. Like musky melon funky. And a fig + balsamic shrub sounded amazing in theory, but the actual execution would have best involved me living in a place where I can get fresh, ripe figs, not strange unripe ones shipped from god knows where. I still have hopes for both of these, but not high ones.) This fennel-apple-rhubarb shrub, however, is a different story.

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Apple, Fig, & Brie Panini

Happy 2012, my friends!

So, I have never been much for new year’s resolutions. I’ve made my fair share of personal resolutions, but those just kind of happen when they happen. I’ve always figured that if I’m willing to put off a change until a specific date, I probably don’t really want to do it anyway. But I’m starting to think that maybe I’ve been looking at all of this the wrong way. Perhaps it’s not necessarily about setting goals to accomplish things that you know you should be doing, but more about the need for reflection we all feel as we approach the end of a calendar year, and the subsequent tendency to mentally dogear anything that could be better and resolving to make it so. Does that sound about right? Do I finally get it? :)

Even if I do get it, my proclivity for obsessive personal reflection is probably going to make the new year’s resolution obsolete for me. (My boyfriend once called me a navel-gazer, and I was pretty indignant about it until I googled the term and realized that few truer words have been spoken. :P) However, today marks the very first (and possibly only) time that I make a resolution that just so happens to coincide with the beginning of the year, thereby making it a new year’s resolution!

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Apple Meringue Pudding

A couple weeks ago I mentioned the headache I get from recipes that yield leftover egg yolks, as it pits my inability to multitask against my desire to waste nothing. I’ve found ways to deal with this, but my enthusiasm for those eggy leftovers is half-hearted, as coming up with a way to use them feels more like an obligation. And that’s really not fair to the poor little yolks.

But then a few days ago, I was flipping through my grandma’s favorite cookbook (more on that obsession here) and I happened upon a recipe called Apple Meringue Pudding that instantly piqued my interest. I read on. And sure enough, it’s exactly what it sounds like. Delicious pudding. Topped with delicious meringue. How has this idea never occurred to me before? (I’ve never been big on lemon meringue pie, but still . . . the concept, it was right there!) But hey, if I’m going to get inspiration from anywhere, it might as well come from my new prized possession!

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Apple & Cheddar Crust Hand Pies

Prior to this, I had never made an apple pie. I don’t know why, but the mood just never struck me. That was until I came across these little guys on Alexandra’s Kitchen, anyway. I’m not sure if it was the cheese in the crust or the thought of many, tiny pies, but I was smitten! Now, I’d seen pictures of cheese melted right on top of apple pie before and hadn’t found it to be all that appealing. But there was something about the idea of putting it right into the crust that made me say, “YES, these are so happening.”

Unfortunately, these pies and I did not get off on the right foot. The peeling and coring of apples instantly filled me with irritation, and I spent the next ten minutes cursing the stupid dessert and whomever had been bored enough to create it in the first place. But once I finished all of the tedious work and mixed in the sugar and spices, I immediately withdrew my harsh criticisms. I’m sorry, apple pie! Please forgive me. You smell freaking awesome.

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Bachelorette Food: Apple, Lettuce, & Cheddar Wraps

Welcome to the first post in my Bachelorette Food catergory!

I love to make a big production out of dinner when I am cooking for other people. But when it’s time to feed me and me alone, I am only interested in something that requires limited effort. We’re talking minimal slicing or chopping, absolutely no oven time (leftovers are better cold anyway), and possibly the boiling of water, if I really feel like going all out. This often results in some sort of frankenfood that may never be replicated, thanks to the randomness that is my fridge. This wrap, however, is one of the few things I make on a regular basis. And for good reason: it’s easy, and it’s tasty!

I thought I would be nice and sneak in something healthy before the chocolate covered caramels and the Pioneer Woman’s coffee cake that are currently in the queue. Your New Year’s diet cannot withstand Ree’s coffee cake; it’s just a fact.

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