Sunday, December 30, 2012

In the Bleak Midwinter

all pictures taken by my dad at/around our old house in upstate New York

The holidays have passed for me, as they usually do, in a wild blur.  Every year as I think about the Yuletide season approaching, I imagine it being a collage of every perfect moment I experienced in my childhood.  I think there will be snow- I swear there was always snow, at least until I was 9- and I'll get to make snowmen and igloos and go tobogganing (in some imaginary yard, since I don't have one,) and come in and drink hot cocoa in front of the wood stove, while the ice melts from my hair and my cold hands sting from the heat.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Eggnog French Toast

I made some challah earlier this week, so today was perfect timing for a french toast brunch.  I usually make my batter with buttermilk, but since it's December, I decided to make it with eggnog this time.  It was a good choice.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Peppermint Bark

Ah, peppermint bark.  A blessing and a curse.  So beautiful, so delicious, so seemingly simple.  I mean, look at this stuff.  It's no wonder as soon as people know you can make it, they want it every year for Christmas!

thanks to my friend Hana for taking this awesome picture at my holiday party :D

Monday, December 3, 2012

Candied Vanilla-Masala Orange Peels


I've been trying to find more goodies to make this year that are good for packing up in a little cello bag or jar.  Holiday cookies are a great gift, but they don't always arrive in the best (or freshest) shape when your friends and family are scattered across the country (or across the globe!)  So when I saw this beautiful recipe for spiced candied orange peels on Savory Simple, I knew I had to give it a try!

Friday, November 30, 2012

The Winter List of Awesome Things!


Suppi helping me decorate the tree

It's time again for Hippy Elf Chick's seasonal list of awesome things.  In case you were not with us last time for the fall list, this is where I share things that put me in the spirit of the season but are a little untraditional (for example, Rudolph and the Island of Misfit Toys won't be appearing on this list, cause that's too obvious!)  I actually meant to do a part 2 to the Fall list around Halloween, but I swear, it feels like Halloween was yesterday!  So we missed V for Vendetta season, but luckily many of my late fall favorites are just as good in December.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Cinnamon Basil Chicken


I feel like I blinked in October and suddenly December is upon us!  So before I let any more of the holiday season get away from me, I wanted to post the recipe for my favorite December meal.  I make this every year on the winter solstice, but it's so easy to throw together, so fragrant and beautiful, it will make any weeknight festive!  The whole spices and fresh basil make the kitchen smell amazing, and when you taste it you will do a happy dance.  Or at least, I did!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Challah

The light that rises from your feet to your hair,
the strength enfolding your delicate form,
are not mother of pearl, not chilly silver:
you are made of bread, a bread the fire adores.

The grain grew high in its harvest of you,
in good time the flour swelled;
as the dough rose, doubling your breasts,
my love was the coal waiting ready in the earth.

Oh, bread your forehead, your legs, your mouth,
bread I devour, born with the morning light,
my love, beacon-flag of the bakeries:

fire taught you a lesson of the blood;
you learned your holiness from flour,
from bread your language and aroma. 

Pablo Neruda


Monday, November 19, 2012

Kero-chan Interlude

Hi everyone!  I know there's been a long gap without posts and it's almost Thanksgiving!  Clearly recipes are needed!!  I promise I will get a couple up in the next two days.  In the meantime, please enjoy this video of Kero-chan.

video

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween! Pumpkin Spice Cake



Well, the Frankenstorm has passed through and I feel very fortunate to say that after some scary building-shaking winds, we are all in one piece, the car was not flooded and we even still have power!  I spent the storm watching highlights of Doctor Who, starting with series 5, and just finished today (sob!) Nearby NYC is not in such good shape as we are across the river, and I haven't heard how severe the damage is in my hometown of Schoharie, NY, which was devastated by Irene last year.  I hope everyone who's been affected by the storm is staying safe and dry!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Healthy Oatmeal Buttermilk Muffins with Cranberries and Pecans



I'm going to update this post with better pictures of the final product the next time I make these muffins (edit: updated!) because, I don't know if you've heard, but it's been a little cloudy on the East Coast lately!  I didn't want to wait to share this recipe though, because it's so good and this is the perfect time to enjoy it.  The number one reason I was so antsy waiting for cranberries to hit the shelves this year was so that I could make these hearty, delicious and not-too-bad-for-you muffins.  For the past couple years I've been baking them as a side with Thanksgiving dinner, as a quick breakfast or snack, and as a gift for friends- there's something so cozy and appealing about home-baked muffins that everyone loves!


Whole Wheat Ginger "Snaps"



Yesterday was my favorite day of the year - Renaissance Faire day!  I truly wish I could live at the Faire.  If it were close to me and didn't also run in the disgusting heat of the summer, I would definitely try to work there.  It is a magical place for hippy-geeks such as myself.  The smell of woodsmoke and incense and dry autumn leaves, Celtic music playing, delicious food roasting, big beautiful herbs growing all around the grounds, the costumes, the hand-made hippy-friendly goodies- it just doesn't get any better!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Hot Artichoke Dip




This is another family recipe that I grew up feasting on whenever there was a party.  It is just as hard to walk away from now as it was when I was a kid!  What I love about this super-simple recipe is that unlike a lot of other artichoke dips, it doesn't disguise the flavor the main ingredient, but instead really enhances it and brings the artichoke to front and center.  I was extremely surprised to learn when my mom gave me the recipe for this dip that it includes a teaspoon of tabasco sauce.  Normally I don't like to be in the same room as an open bottle of the stuff, but it really does give this dip a certain something.

Cranberry Pumpkin Bread Pudding

At any given time, there is usually a plethora of home-baked breads going on in the Hippy Elf Chick kitchen.  That's why I kind of can't believe that I have only just made bread pudding for the first time this week.  Well, it definitely won't be the last time!



Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Blended Holidays: A Hippy Halloween

October is going way too fast!  In just a couple weeks it will be over, and Halloween will already be here.  Ever since I can remember, Halloween has been my favorite holiday.  It makes sense - it falls during my favorite time of year, and it involves frolicking outside, fantasy and whimsy, and lots of sugar.  Most importantly, Halloween was the day when playing pretend was about to Get Real and everybody was into it.

I was all about pretend-time as a kid.  I did not spend very much time being myself.  I was a cool animal, a magical pony, a Disney princess, a sailor senshi.  I wore my Halloween costumes all year round.  In retrospect, not a lot has changed.

I swear, this was not staged. I didn't notice it until 2 years after the later picture!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Intro to Hippy Elf Chick 3: It all depends on your DM

Tonight, the very short story of how I got hooked on D&D, featuring the amazing Jessica of The Five Wits, who just had a birthday!

Happy birthday Jess!!!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Cranberry Pumpkin Bread

I've been hunting for fresh cranberries in all the local grocery stores since September, and finally Whole Foods came through for me!  Fresh cranberries are my favorite addition to all kinds of baked goods because that tart, juicy bite goes so well with sweet and spicy fall flavors.  Today I used them to put a spin on the pumpkin bread recipe my mom makes every Thanksgiving, which comes from Braddock's Tavern.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Happy Anniversary! Caramel Apple Spice Cocktail



 





 


If your eyes were not the color of the moon,
of a day full of clay, and work, and fire,
if even held-in you did not move in agile grace like the air,
if you were not an amber week,

not the yellow moment
when autumn climbs up through the vines;
if you were not that bread the fragrant moon
kneads, sprinkling its flour across the sky,

oh, my dearest, I could not love you so!
But when I hold you I hold everything that is -
sand, time, the tree of the rain,

everything is alive so that I can be alive:
without moving I can see it all:
in your life I see everything that lives. 

Pablo Neruda

Friday, October 5, 2012

Butterbeer

As we head further into October, (the best month of the year!), I'll be posting recipes and maybe a few crafts and party ideas I like to use for my 31st festivities.  Although it wasn't on part 1 of my fall list, one thing I like to bust out on Halloween is Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (or the Sorcerer's Stone for us Americans who apparently can't handle philosophers. Sorry, that still bugs me!)  And whilst your costumed guests are enjoying autumn snacks and squealing over how tiny and cute all the children were, you can serve up a tray of butterbeer.  So easy, so delicious.  You can whip this up in minutes, and if you have a sweet tooth, it will be hard to stop!




Monday, October 1, 2012

Delicious Dairy-packed Baked Mashed Potatoes

Sorry for the long absence!  It's been a week of cloudy days, very bad for taking food pictures.  Rest assured I have a lot of recipes queued up and a long illustrated post in the works - but the tablet and I are still working things out.  Slowly.


These easy mashed potatoes are a staple of my family's Thanksgiving.  Some years my mom makes them, some years I do.  But they're also the only mashed potato recipe I make all year long.  They're so good, you won't even need gravy (although a little butter on top is delicious!)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Chicken Makhani (& How to Make Ghee)


Chicken makhani, aka murgh makhani, aka butter chicken, just might be my favorite food ever.  It's also surprisingly (and dangerously) easy to make at home.  Since discovering this, I've been consuming a lot more butter a lot more frequently than I should.  Be warned: with the power to create this delicious Indian dish comes the responsibility to not eat it every week, for your heart's sake!

That being said, I did cut almost half the butter from the recipes I based my version on.  You're welcome!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Happy almost Equinox! Spiced Squash Harvest Soup

Tomorrow it will finally be fall for real! I'm posting this recipe a day early in case you want to make it part of your celebration.  It's a sweet and savory spiced soup with butternut squash, carnival squash, acorn squash, Macintosh apples, yellow onions, fennel and apple cider. Yummm.


Sunday, September 16, 2012

The List of Awesome Things: Fall Edition, Part 1

I compartmentalize my life by season.  It's not something I started doing intentionally, it just sort of happened over the years.  To a certain extent, everyone does this: we eat different foods at different times based on what's being harvested, and also based on tradition.  The fashion industry changes its colors, Starbucks changes its flavors.  However little we may notice it, the cycles of nature are reflected in many aspects of modern culture and our everyday lives.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Healthier Whole Wheat Spiced Oatmeal Cookies Two Ways (& Ginger Cubes)





I had a whole long thing planned out with a very large sequential illustration in progress that I was totally going to post tonight.  Then I got up (to make ginger cubes) and heard the most horrible of sounds from the couch - my computer booting up after restarting itself for updates.  No, I did not save.

So then, my fitness nut husband asked me to figure out a way to make him our favorite oatmeal chocolate chip cookies with less fat.  I really wanted to have something to post and baking cookies is pretty therapeutic, and I had just bought the first couple Macintoshes of the season, so that ended up being just the thing to substitute for butter.  It smells like Thanksgiving in here now and I've eaten my dinner's worth in cookies.  Cause you know, I had to make sure the recipe turned out.  For science.  Thanks for the idea, honey!


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

From-scratch Masala Chai

Yesterday something wonderful happened.  The morning after I posted my love letter to fall, Mother Nature was feeling generous, and we suddenly went from 80s day and night to highs in the low 70s and nights and mornings in the 50s!  It is glorious.  And I am so ready for my first hot cup of masala chai.  (I've been drinking it all year, naturally, but chilled!)

how cool are star anise? nature makes the best stuff!
 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Melitzanes Tiganites a la Symeon's with Tzatsiki


Friends, let me tell you about the greatest restaurant in the world.  If you live near Yorkville, NY, you may not know how lucky you are, because Yorkville is home to a family-owned Greek restaurant called Symeon's.  I grew up going to eat there every time we visited my grandparents, and there developed at an early age my love for feta cheese, dolmades (stuffed grape leaves), spanakopita, and that baked chicken dish with all the cheese and spinach and lemon and pilaf - having a foodie fit now just thinking about it.  I don't know if every other Greek restaurant I've been to just can't match the real thing, or if Symeon's is actually better than the Greek food in Greece, but I would drive 5 hours just to eat there if I could.  On our way home from last year's Adirondack vacation we took a detour there for lunch and ate EVERYTHING.  Years of missing it and building it up did not diminish the deliciousness.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Intro to Hippy Elf Chick 1: a Love Letter to Fall

I love fall.  I mean really, really love fall.  I love it like it's a friend I desperately miss, or a childhood fantasy I always hoped would come true.  I love it like it's Disney World, like a magical place where everything is festive and beautiful, and only opens once a year.  Strike that - I love it like it's the Ren Faire.  That's way better.  Fall is that mystical time of year when the world is so perfect to me that it's easier to live the way I want to always live, in a state of celebration of life and nature's awesomeness.

at the Ren Faire, squash grows from lamp posts! MAGIC!

"eyeball"




Saturday, September 8, 2012