Apple Cider & Salted Caramel
Crème Fraîche Coffee Cake

Apple Cider & Salted Caramel Crème Fraîche Coffee Cake

So I know Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and pretty much all we can think about is what we forgot to get from the store. (I forgot chestnuts. Ugh.)

But look on the bright side: If, like me, you have to brave the madness that is last-minute Thanksgiving shopping, you can at least grab all the ingredients to make this coffee cake too. I know it might not really have a place amidst all the pies, but it deserves a place somewhere, because it’s ridiculously delicious. Whip it up on Friday morning so your family doesn’t eat turkey sandwiches for breakfast. Or file it away for a quieter occasion, when you can eat half of it with no relatives around to judge you. Just promise me that, at some point in time, you will make and eat this. Please.

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A Better Method:
Cold-Process Infused Simple Syrups

A Better Method: Cold-Process Infused Simple Syrups

Whoopsie, I disappeared for a little bit there! It seems that a weekend of baking and peddling treats makes me not want to think about food for a good stretch of time. But now that I’m back, I’d like to talk to you about something I started experimenting with a couple months ago. Something that kind of revolutionized my approach to creating simple syrup infusions.

It all started back in July, when I began making this shrub. I’d combined the fruit and sugar, let it sit, then macerated and covered it, as per ushe. As I walked by the plastic wrap–covered bowl a couple hours later, I looked at it and thought, “huh, it looks like a lot of that sugar has dissolved into syrup already.”

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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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Roasted Carrots with Lime Quinoa & Cinnamon–Brown Sugar Chickpeas

Roasted Carrots with Lime Quinoa & Cinnamon–Brown Sugar Chickpeas

I’ve been having one of those weeks where I feel really out of touch. I blame most of it on last week’s heat wave, which pretty much rendered me useless mentally and physically. The heat finally broke Friday night, and I got to enjoy a fun-filled weekend with my friend Nicole. We went to nearly all of my favorite food and drink spots in the area, and I got to try my hand at some fashion-y photos too. (I won’t even pretend to be anywhere near as good as her usual photographer, Clint Mejia. But it was a very fun experience!) Yesterday meant a return to reality, which translates to unanswered comments and emails, along with a daunting list of unread posts in my rss feed and a silent-for-days Pinterest account. Nicole and I spent a lot of time laughing about our “first world problems” this weekend, so yeah, it seems the theme continues. But now, it stops, and we can talk about food instead.

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Smoky Cardamom-Coconut Cuba Libre

Smoky Cardamom-Coconut Cuba Libre

Ah, the Cuba Libre. Better known to many as the rum & coke. Has anyone else felt somewhat “above” this drink, or was it just me? My skepticism was most likely due to the fact that it was the preferred beverage of many a douche on the UAlbany campus during my years there — providing those fine young gents with a special combination of caffeine and liquor that let them really get their drink on, as loudly and late into the night as possible. (Seriously, you can only hear “yo bro gimme five captain ’n’ cokes” at a seedy college bar so many times before any thought or mention of rum + coke is met with Pavlovian eye rolling.)

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