Crispy Wasp-Stings on Buttered Toast

That’s right! I know some of you are seeing this title in your email/rss feed and thinking, “uh . . . what?” Brace yourselves — things are about to get deliciously silly, because Thursday is Roald Dahl Day!

As many of you surely know, much of Dahl’s writing featured or revolved around food. This, in conjunction with his knack for dreaming up silly, bizarre, and (at times) rather disgusting-sounding dishes, led to the posthumous publishing of Roald Dahl’s Revolting Recipes, compiled by his wife Felicity (and followed later by Even More Revolting Recipes). In the Introduction to the former, Felicity writes, “Treats were an essential part of Roald’s life — never too many, never too few, and always perfectly timed. He made you feel like a king receiving the finest gift in the land.”

I believe that, for me, being a Dahl addict at a young age instilled an early fascination with food as well. Or perhaps brought what was already there to a new level of wonder and silliness. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was a sensory overload for my overactive imagination. And to this day, I can still imagine exactly what Bruce Bogtrotter’s chocolate cake would taste like. (This is also the reason why I can never, ever make the recipe for it that appears in RDRR. I contemplated it for a few minutes, but ultimately decided that there was no way anything on earth was going to taste as good as what my little 8-year-old brain had dreamed up.) But these crispy wasp-stings on buttered toast are far better than I’d imagined (and they’re actually quite good, too).

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Things To Look Forward To

Hey everybody! I have a couple tidbits of news to share, and I was hoping we could chat about them over one of my favorite spring snacks. Yes? OK!

So there are a couple giveaways in the works, and I thought I’d give you a heads up about them. (They’re both really good, and I don’t want anyone to miss out because I just threw them out there without warning.) The first is a joint-giveaway between me and Nicole Russo — a style consultant based out of NYC. Nicole will be supplying the awesome part of the giveaway (a gorgeous Alexis Bittar bracelet!), and I will be chiming in with the hey-dude-let-me-make-something-sweet-to-celebrate-your-awesome-giveaway part (French 77 lollipops). (Yes, that is how we talk to each other. Nicole and I go way back — like high school way back.) The second giveaway is a homemade bitters giveaway. Thanks to BTP’s amazing Bitters book and my tendency to become obsessed with things (especially if it means I get to design labels and put stuff in cute little bottles), I now have eight different varieties of bitters bottled up and awaiting loving homes. So jewelery lovers, sweets lovers, and cocktail lovers — be on the lookout for free things this month!

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Asparagus & Caramelized Ramp Hand Pies

So as some of you may know, I have but one sworn food enemy. That sweaty-tasting, eye-stinging, vile orb of slimy-yet-crunchy layers: The Onion.

My dislike of onions has existed for as long as I can remember. My mother swears I used to eat them when I was very young, but I have no recollection of this. On occasion, she would accidentally add a bunch of onions to something before separating out an untainted portion for me, then try to pass it off as onion-free in the hopes that I wouldn’t notice. That never worked. I could spot them in food from 10 feet away. I could smell them from even farther. I’d smush my dinner all around the plate, pick out every onion I could find, then still refuse to eat it, igniting a dinner table standoff: Carey: Hater of Onions vs. Parents: Lords of After-Dinner TV Privileges. Even today, finding them in my food ignites a childish, fussy frustration within me. If I order a dish sans onions at a restaurant and the waiter asks if I have an allergy, my go-to response is, “I’m mentally allergic to them.” This is usually met with a somewhat bemused look, but it keeps them out of my food.

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Chile Relleno Quinoa Bites

So I really wish I could start off this post by telling you about my love of finger foods. And then give some serious props to Laura and her Chile Rellenos Casserole, which — with its two astounding and delicious pounds of cheese — has plagued my thoughts for over a month now. But I can’t. Because before I do anything else, I need to whine. Like a big baby.

Here’s why: This Saturday, fueled by some serious can-do-will-do ambition, I decided it was time for garden prep work. This was especially exciting for me, because this year I have ALL of the garden space to myself, thanks to my new neighbors who happily told me to have at it (yay!). And as I was ripping out weeds and dried-up remnants of tomato plants, I began to notice all of the other things I could clean up. Mainly, the leaves, which were still leftover from the fall. I’m guessing that’s due to the fact that none of us own a rake, which is kind of essential. But I was determined, so I set about clearing a 3′ x 15′ patch from the front of our house. And when I finished, I felt super proud. Hurray me. Then I woke up the next day and tried to walk.

Apparently, clearing a semi-large patch of leaves by hand is the equivalent of doing squat thrusts for 45 minutes straight. It’s two days later, and I’m still in pain. And I can’t decide if I should be proud of my groundskeeping-related aches, or slightly ashamed that two hours of yard work has rendered me an insufferable baby with the mobility of an old arthritic dog. So instead, I’ll just focus on the fact that my lawn is clean, my seedlings are planted, and I got some serious exercise in the process. And now, I’m done whining (thank you for listening!). On to the bites!

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Butternut Squash & Sage Dinner Rolls

Super last-minute Thanksgiving idea, right here!

Unless you procrastinate as much as I do, these probably won’t make it onto your Thanksgiving table on Thursday. Despite hosting again this year, I am lucky enough to have many food contributors on the guest list, and I’m reveling in the laziness it has afforded me. I’ll just be wrestling a turkey out of its brine bath and into the oven, mashing up some potatoes, and warming up these yummy guys. That’s it for the major stuff, which leaves time for fun side tasks, like making butter and ginger ale.

But hey, all is not lost, because these rolls are great whenever. This is a nice way to use up leftover butternut squash (or pumpkin, or sweet potato) purée, and they can always be frozen and reheated at a later date. These might not be replacing my go-to dinner roll recipe just yet (which has clearly influenced my methods here as well), but they’re a really nice, seasonal alternative. The flavor of the squash comes through subtly, and I certainly can’t imagine a situation where sage and goat cheese make something worse, can you?

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