Now that April has rolled around, it is time for green things, light things, spring things. Never mind that where I am, it is not exactly warm yet... but it is getting there. For Bostonians like me, even if it is 30 degrees out, spring starts when the Red Sox start to play. Today, I am going to my first game of the season, so spring is here! When spring starts I am drawn to pretty green things at the market - peas, asparagus, spring onions, artichokes. I can't get enough green. I saw this dish in Saveur Magazine and it just seemed like spring on a plate. For now I used frozen peas, but pretty soon I will make this again with some fresh ones. This is a great dish to welcome spring and other than a little bit of cream, it is good for you too.
For the first book in Ken Follett's Century trilogy I made the original WWI "doughboy" doughnuts. When it came time to pick a dish for the second book in the series - Winter of the World - I was a bit stumped. The novel picks up a few years after the first book left off and focuses on World War II. Kinda hard to pick an appropriate dish when the novel contains so much suffering told from the perspective of Russians, Germans, English and Americans fighting in the war or victimized by it. The only choice that seemed right to me was doughnuts in coffee - when the American, Woody Dewar, is set to storm Normandy the next day the only thing he can manage to eat is a doughnut and coffee. The only other food in the book that seemed somewhat appropriate were the dried figs that Lloyd Williams, a British intelligence officer, was able to eat as he helped people escape Nazi occupied Western Europe during the height of the war. So I combined the two and made fig speckled buttermilk donuts with coffee glaze. As for the book, it was an engaging follow up by Follett that would especially attract 20th century history buffs. It continues my trend of late to read really hefty books - it weighs in at over 900 pages.
Here is this year's cocktail in honor of St. Patrick's day. It is called the Irish Cure, and it is almost like an Irish version of Long Island Iced Tea because there it is a lot of booze in this drink (whiskey, rum and apple brandy)! The good news is that despite all the booze, the drink is very smooth and drinkable and definitely will cure whatever ails you! This is just what I need this St. Patrick's day weekend, which also happens to be my birthday weekend. I may be celebrating a bit of a milestone bday this year (yes, I am turning 30... I wish ; ) I am vacillating between having a bit of the birthday blues and feeling surprisingly OK/excited about it. This killer cocktail will help me get through it! Happy St. Patrick's Day and Happy Birthday to Me!
For those of you unfamiliar with them, hamentashen are cookies that are made every year to celebrate the Jewish holiday Purim, which is next week. Purim is a holiday that usually falls in March and celebrates the Jews survival against a plot to destroy them in ancient Persia. What I have always loved about Purim is that the hero of the Purim story is Esther - a woman. The villain of the story is a man named Haman, who was an adviser to the king of Persia who planned to kill all the Jews is Persia (as described in the book of Esther in the Old Testament). As I remember the story, Haman wore a pointed hat and the triangle shaped cookie - hamentashen - was named after him. Purim is a fun holiday which is often celebrated by costume parties and pageants with the story of Esther. For many years now I have yearned for the hamentashen I ate as a kid - doughy with rich fillings of apricot, poppy seed and prune. I have not been able to find cookies like that anymore as the number of Jewish bakeries in Boston has dwindled to 1or 2. I never made them as a kid so the past few years I have been meaning to try, then March comes and goes and I don't get it. Finally this year I found the time. These are pretty easy cookies, and the ones I made were delicious, but did not quite replicate the ideal hamentashen of my youth (these are more shortbread consistency rather than doughy). Isn't that always the way, I will just have to try again next year!