baking

The Darkest Night


Santa's Cookies

Santa’s Cookie Plate by Gina’s Kitchen Musings

Today is Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, the Birthday of the Unconquerable Sun!  It is recognized as the day that the sun stands still.  From the northern hemisphere, it appears as though the sun and moon have stopped moving across the sky.  This longest night of the year is a threshold in time followed by the renewal of days filled with sunshine.  There are many rituals, recipes and lore observed at this time of year and sharing food is an important part of any celebration. Baking and exchanging cookies during the winter solstice is a gesture of love and goodwill that I enjoy doing for my family and friends.

Millionaire's Shortbread

Millionaire’s Shortbread

On the chilly Friday evening that I stopped in my neighborhood liquor store, Carroll Gardens Wines & Liquor, to purchase a bottle of dark rum, an ingredient called for in a recipe for Buttered Rum Melt-Aways that I got from “Martha Stewart’s Cookies” cookbook, I was in the middle of discussing with Phil, the owner, what type of rum I needed when a man walked in, smelling like he had just smoked a fresh bowl weed, and interrupted our conversation.  The man proceeded to aggressively pursue me, saying that he wanted to taste whatever it was that I was making.  What came next took me by surprise.  Phil demanded that the aggressor leave his liquor store immediately!  Phil was intolerable of the man’s strong advances towards me.  The man became irate.  Phil then came from behind the counter, confronted the aggressor head on and showed him to the door.  This only further upset the man who angrily shouted obscenities causing the liquor store stocker to stop what he was doing to assist the owner.  I frequent this store and Phil and his crew know me by name but never did I expect that they would “protect” me.  Phil told me that he would have defended his own daughter or wife in the same manner.  For the first time, my nomadic spirit felt “at home”.

Raspberry Cream Sandwiches

Raspberry Cream Sandwiches

We continued our discussion about the rum after the aggressor was off and on his way.  Phil told me that Gosling’s dark rum was the original rum used in the classic cocktail, “Dark & Stormy”.  On my way home I made one more stop to pick up the ginger beer so that I could make this classic while I baked the melt-aways, of which, a special batch was set aside for my friends at the liquor store.  I hope the Friello family feels the same warmth I did on that “dark & stormy” night they stood up for me.

Cheers and Best Wishes!

All packaged and ready to share!

All packaged and ready to share!

 

Gratitude


The Harvest Thanksgiving Feast 2016 - Gina's Kitchen

Thanksgiving Harvest Feast 2016 – Gina’s Kitchen

There are invisible forces at work in my kitchen that go far beyond the teaspoon.  My invisible cooking counsel, which includes my Grandmother, Ina Garten, Martha Stewart, Julia Child, Christopher Kimball and Justin Wilson,  I guarantee, were with me during the preparations of this year’s Thanksgiving harvest feast.

2016-11-24-thanksgiving-dressing

Il faut mettre la main a la pate! (Feel the dough in your hands…put your foot in it..it other words, throw down!) – Making Cornbread Dressing

Homemade Honey-Wheat Dinner Rolls ~ The 2nd Rising

Homemade Honey-Wheat Dinner Rolls ~ The 2nd Rising

I decided to make as many of the traditional dishes from scratch that I could manage.  On the eve of Thanksgiving I baked to the tunes of soul music streaming through my headphones while I made homemade honey-wheat dinner rolls with honey butter (very proud of this accomplishment), an old-fashioned lattice apple pie, a sugar & spice pumpkin pie with  brandied ginger creme chantilly and a carrot cake.  I cleaned.  I slept.  And when I awake the next day, before dawn, I cooked. A citrus-herb turkey, cornbread dressing, greens, macaroni and cheese and candied yams.

By 3:30 PM, my two children, my daughter’s boyfriend and I sat around the candlelit table with golden, purple and orange flowers and relished in the bounty of the feast.   Our plates were filled to the brim with love and nourishment and our glasses overflowed with gratitude and optimisim as the winds whispered into the ears of all, “We give thanks!”

 

A Thanksgiving Plate

A Thanksgiving Plate

Eat Your Heart Out – Whoopie Pies


Eat Your Heart Out – Whoopie Pies.

Eat Your Heart Out Red Velvet Whoopie Pies by Ms. L'Amour

Believe in urban legends?  These sweet little love cakes have a story to tell.  Learn all about their scarlet secret on my new blog, A Love Café, http://www.alovecafe.com.  For more on L’Amour Confections and stories about the connection between love, food and cooking, follow me on Instagram @alovecafe and Twitter @cafelamour.

xoxo