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Posts Tagged ‘eats obsessed’

I’ve lived within a 2 hour drive to NYC for most of my life and while all the amazing foodie destinations that the city has to offer have been calling me for years, it’s only recently that I’ve been lucky enough to have an easeful way to make a day trip New York, avoiding the exorbitant hotel costs of an overnight as well as the traffic and parking hassles inherent in any attempt to drive a car in for the day. With a dear friend offering me his unused apartment in Stamford on the weekends, I can easily drive there and take the train into the city, crashing at the apartment on either end of the trip allowing me a truly relaxed, affordable full day in fabulous New York City!

Last weekend, Paul and I took full advantage of this privilege and had a wonderful day visiting various pastry shops, seeing a number of excellent exhibits at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and finishing our day with a knock-out dinner at The Modern a fine dining restaurant located inside the Modern Museum of Art where Alsatian born chef Gabriel Kreuther is turning out some of the most gorgeous and delicious food around. I certainly found  its Michelin star and 3 stars from the NY Times, well deserved!

The view of the sculture garden from our table

We arrived a few minutes early for our 7:00 PM reservation and were at first seated at a horseshoe shaped banquette easily large enough for a party of 4. We liked the fact that we could sit right beside each other and both face out to the whole dining room but quickly discovered that in order to use the back of the built in leather seat, we would both have needed to be quite a bit stouter than we are to comfortably reach the table. Knowing that I would need to have some back support to really enjoy a long meal, we asked to be moved to one of the empty 2 tops on the other side of the room. The staff quite graciously honored our request and we were soon happily ensconced in extremely comfortable leather chairs that we could pull up as close or as far away from the table as we desired at any given moment, right beside a wall of windows that looked out onto the lovely MoMa sculpture garden.

The Modern dining room offers only a choice of a 4 course prix fixe, 3 savories and one sweet for $98 or the chef’s tasting menu for the whole table that offers 7 savory courses as well as a trio of desserts for $155. Wine pairings are offered for and additional $135. There is also a fine looking cheese cart available to add to either menu.

While everything on the tasting menu looked divine, each course from the 4 course option offers the diner 7 or 8 different choices so we decided that rather than both eat the exact same dinner, we’d each order what appealed most to us individually and share bites, a strategy that frequently employ and seems to work well for us. And this was no exception. What followed was one of the most delectable and enjoyable meals of my fine dining career and that’s saying a lot!

We began with an amuse of nettle panna cotta with a nasturtium and Riesling sauce, the peppery sauce a perfect accompaniment to the fresh spring green taste of the creamy panna cotta. Off to a fantastic start we eagerly awaited the rest of the meal, barely bothering with the bread, French and a whole grain rolls served with perfectly spreadable but slightly funky tasting butter. I was saving my stomach space for the meal and I was glad I did.

For my first course, I ordered Wagu Beef and Foie Gras “Damier” Passion Fruit Gastrique, a gorgeous presentation of a checkerboard of small squares of raw beef and smooth foie, each enhancing the rich flavor of the other and both brought to heavenly heights by the tart passion fruit sauce.

Paul’s Foie Gras Terrine with Roasted Artichokes, Green Peppercorn and Baby Turnip was also sublime, served with buttery, crisp toast points and topped with a drizzle of pure maple syrup. Smooth and rich, that little bit of maple sweetness really made the flavors pop!

For my next course, I selected the Potato Gateau, a crisp packet of thinly sliced potato filled with Benton’s country ham, pearl onions and comte cheese, topped with a few drops of pumpkin seed oil and toasted pumpkin seeds. A wonderful combination of flavors and textures, this dish brought the idea of a “hot pocket” to new heights.

Paul went with Hamachi, Sea Urchin, and Fennel Tart, an incredible taste of pure ocean floating on a mellow flavored fennel puree atop a crisp pastry round. A truly spectacular dish.

For our final savory course, I went for Organic Veal Tenderloin, Black Truffle, Asian Pear and Spinach and Fine Herbs Puree. The veal was fork tender and the flavors earthy and rich. I especially enjoyed the taste of the spinach puree with the veal.

Paul’s Long Island Duck Breast was brought out whole and sliced tableside, a production that was fun to watch but I’m not sure necessary. But the duck was tender and delicious, topped with a crust of black trumpet “marmalade” and served with a sauce made from Banyuls wine. It was all delcious but my favorite thing on the plate was a “Fleischschneke” of duck confit: a spiral of the confit rolled in a thin crepe. Yum!

After polishing off the plates, we placed our orders for dessert and eagerly awaited the treats to come. I had seen the sweets trolley making its way around the dining room and knew that some great chocolates would be enjoyed with our after dessert coffees and found myself appreciating how perfect The Modern’s portion sizes were. Each serving was enough to really enjoy and feel satisfied with all of the flavors, even sharing bites with my dining partner, but not so much that I felt stuffed before dessert was served. What a pleasure it was to be anticipating dessert without feeling as if I would bust before tasting more than a few bites!

The Top Layer of the Sweets Trolley

Desserts did not disappoint, and I happily polished off the Chocolate and Hazelnut Dacquiose, crisp and chewy, encased in a layer of buttery caramel and served with a fresh raspberry sorbet.

A decadent daquiose!

Paul’s Lemon Napolean was not quite as rich, but scrumptious as well with smooth, tart lemon curd layered between thin crisp rounds of caramelized crepes and served with finely chopped exotic fruits and a truly spectacular fromage blanc sorbet. My only complaint is my usual pet peeve of how tiny the scoops of sorbet were. I admit I could have happily polished off a pint of the fromage blanc sorbet but I’m not exaggerating to say there was less than a teaspoon on the plate with the Napolean. I never can understand why so many fine dining establishments are so stingy with the frozen accompaniments to their desserts!

Another amazing dessert, the lemon Napolean

After licking the plates clean finishing the desserts, we ordered double decafe espressos and tried to exhibit a little restraint while choosing treats from the sweet trolley. Fortunately, we were beginning to feel full by this point so while I definitely wanted 1 of everything, I limited my choices to a couple truffles, a chunk of chocolate ganache cake, and a caramel and pinapple chocolate covered “lollipop.” Paul tried the candied nuts, a chocolate chip cookie, and some nut filled truffles. A veritable feast of fudgy fantasies, perfect with the steaming hot espressos.

The second layer of the sweets trolley!

Fully satisfied, we were ready for the check but before they brought the bill, they delivered 2 miniature ice cream cones, a mix of rich vanilla bean ice cream and raspberry sorbet. A playfully sweet end to a truly spectacular meal.

Our selection of sweets

A note about the service at The Modern: They use a team approach so we didn’t have one person who was our primary waiter and we interacted equally with at least 5 different staff people over the evening. Everyone was prompt, courteous and knowledgeable but some were warmer than others. Personally, I prefer to develop a bit of a relationship with my wait person over the course of a long dinner but I still thoroughly enjoyed the evening and would go back in a heartbeat. For this kind of dining at this price point, I believe it’s one of the best to be found anywhere.

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It’s that time of the month again (no, not that time!) for the Daring Cooks challenge. Our May hostess, Denise, of There’s a Newf in My Soup!, challenged The Daring Cooks to make Gumbo! She provided us with all the recipes we’d need, from creole spices, homemade stock, and Louisiana white rice, to Drew’s Chicken & Smoked Sausage Gumbo and Seafood Gumbo from My New Orleans: The Cookbook, by John Besh.

I’ve never made gumbo before, probably because I’m not a big sausage fan, nor have I ever enjoyed the slimy goo that okra seems to add to any dish. Since both are primary ingredients of most gumbo recipes, I’ve just never considered it as something I’d take the time or make the effort to cook up. But I suppose this is why it’s called a challenge, so I rose to it and decided to go all out and make a big pot to bring to a party. I’m happy to report that it was a huge success, even though I, myself, didn’t enjoy it enough to ever make it again.

Gumbo is a lot of work! It involves numerous time consuming steps, especially to do it well. Because timing is so important with gumbo, all the vegetables and the meat need to be carefully prepared ahead of time and ready to go, so this isn’t a one pot meal where you toss everything in and simply forget it for an hour or so as it cooks. You’ve got to be dedicated to the process, which means you want to love the results so that all the attention and time is worthwhile.

There are hundreds of gumbo recipes out there containing every kind of meat, sausage and seafood available. There’s even a green gumbo that’s completely vegetarian. I chose to make a chicken and sausage gumbo using my butchers store made chorizo and smoked Andouille sausage, as well as organic, air chilled chicken thighs. I made a rich, homemade chicken stock, mixed up my own Cajun spices and spent almost an hour stirring the roux as it browned, first on its own and then with the addition of the “holy trinity” of chopped onion, green pepper, and celery. And yes, I eventually added the dreaded okra, which fortunately cooked away to almost nothing and the goo simply added thickening power to the gumbo.

The Cajun food "Holy Trinity" of onions, green peppers, and celery (plus garlic and the dreaded okra!)

 

 

The roux after about 15 minutes of cooking

 

Here's the roux after adding the veggies and cooking for another half hour or so

 

Good quality, well seasoned meat is key

 

A big pot of gumbo ready for the party

 

Served over white rice it was a tremendous hit at the party but for me, the ratio of work to enjoyment simply wasn’t there. I’m glad I tried my hand at it but it’s not a recipe that I’ll be adding to my regular repertoire.

The finished gumbo, served over white Lousiana rice

MY RECIPE FOR CHICKEN AND SAUSAGE GUMBO

1 cup rendered chicken fat, duck fat, or canola oil
1 cup flour
2 large onions, diced
1 ½ lb chicken thighs, bone in
2 tablespoons Basic Creole Spices (recipe follows), or store-bought Creole spice blend
2 ½  lbs sausage, sliced ½ inch (15mm) thick
2 stalks celery, diced
2 green bell peppers (capsicum), seeded and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
Leaves from 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 quarts good chicken stock (or canned chicken stock)
1 bay leaves
1 cup sliced fresh okra, ½ -inch thick slices (or frozen, if fresh is not available)
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Tobasco to taste

DIRECTIONS

Season the chicken pieces with about 2 tablespoons of the Creole Spices while you prepare the vegetables. Make sure all of your vegetables are cut, diced, chopped, minced and ready to go before beginning the roux. You must stand at the stove and stir the roux continuously to prevent it from burning. 

In a large cast-iron or heavy-bottomed pan, heat the chicken fat, duck fat, or canola oil over high heat. Whisk the flour into the hot oil – it will start to sizzle. Reduce the heat to moderate, and continue whisking until the roux becomes deep brown in color, about 15 minutes. Add the onions, celery, green pepper and garlic. Switch to a flay spatula and stir the vegetables into the roux. Reduce the heat to medium-low. Continue stirring, scraping the bottom of the pan until the roux becomes a glossy dark brown, about 10 minutes.  

Add the chicken to the pot; raise the heat to moderate, and cook, turning the pieces until slightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add the sliced sausage and stir for about a minute. Add the thyme, chicken stock, and bay leaves. Bring the gumbo to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Stir occasionally, skimming off the fat from the surface of the gumbo every so often.

Add the okra. Season with salt and Tabasco, all to taste.  Simmer for another 30 minutes, continuing to skim the fat from the surface of the gumbo. Remove the bay leaves and take chicken of the bones and return meat to the pot. Serve in bowls over rice.

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I want to start this post with a disclaimer: I know I’m spoiled. I admit that I have lived a life of privilege, in every sense of the world, and certainly when it comes to fine dining I’ve been lucky enough to regularly partake in some of the best around.  So please understand that when I report disappointment with my birthday celebration meal this year, I’m not complaining. Well, I am complaining but I’m doing it with full knowledge of how high I set the bar due to the many fantastic opportunities I’ve previously enjoyed, with which I now compare every experience.

So, lucky me, my husband took me to the Big Apple for lunch in a world class restaurant and then to a Broadway show. In a town known for great food and entertainment, I had my pick of any of the fantastic fine dining establishments in The City. Unfortunately, my selection fell just a bit short of fantastic and I found myself wishing I had chosen differently.

For lunch, I chose a return visit to Bouley, where many years ago we had indulged in one of the most decadent and delicious meals I could recall. Chef David Bouley is classically trained French chef and his New York restaurant has earned two Michelin stars. I remembered being pampered to the max, sent all kinds of extra taste treats from the kitchen, as well as parade of desserts unlike any I had ever seen at that time. As is the great tradition of top tiered French restaurants, the generosity of Restaurant Bouley was memorable. That meal, one of our first dining experiences of seriously high caliber, was a treasured memory I was hoping to repeat, forgetting that since that time I have dined in numerous 3 starred places in Paris, as well as countless French bistros and bistronomiques in France. So while the meal was pleasant, it wasn’t even close the gastronomic glory I remembered and hoped for.

Restaurant Bouley had changed address since our last visit here and we were curious to see how it had evolved. The restaurant itself is lovely, with a welcoming foyer of fresh apples and an entrance salon filled with fresh flowers and lovely furniture.  We were a few minutes early for our reservation and we enjoyed the ambiance of this space while waiting for our table. Sadly, when it came time to seat us, we were led through the gorgeous sunlit front room, where every table was occupied, to a smaller cave like room in the back. Although this room was richly painted and elegantly appointed, I somehow felt slighted and was reminded of some of the snottier restaurants in Paris where English speaking tourists are relegated to a dingier room near the kitchen or on a different floor. But this was my own country and I had made the reservation almost a month in advance and told them it was a special birthday celebration and we still found ourselves seated in the small, dark, back room with 3 tables of Japanese tourists and one couple dressed in jeans and plaid flannel.

We decided to make the best of it and enjoy the fact that we were seated side by side on a very comfortable couch where we both had a fine view of the room and all the food that was being delivered to every table.

Lunch began with an amuse of puree of pumpkin soup, topped with lardon and crème fresh.  This was deliciously smooth and perfectly spiced and raised our hopes for a top-notch meal.  Sadly, we were to be disappointed.  While every plate was beautifully presented and none of the dishes that followed were bad, they each lacked any kind of serious “yum” factor. The flavors were so subtle that in some dishes that the ingredients were only identifiable by the description on the menu.

A perfect example was my first course described as : Organic Local Green Asparagus with roasted pencil asparagus fresh garden herbs, basil dressing in a comte cloud. Having enjoyed a number of fantastic pieces of good aged comte cheese in France, I was disappointed to be unable to discern anything remotely similar on my tongue. The asparagus were perfect but the “comte cloud” mostly resembled cream, whipped to just shy of butter. Delicious, but no sharp bite of a good comte cheese, and no basil to be seen or tasted either.

Asparagus, comte cloud, basil

Sadly, my second course, Porcini Flan, Alaska live dungeness crab with black truffle dash, had not a note of truffle and the “flan” turned out to simply be a few tiny pieces of custardy egg floating in a porcini flavored broth. Loads of crab swimming in there as well, but the dish lacked the layers of flavor or texture needed to make it a standout.

Crab and Porcini Flan (w/ truffle?)

The other dishes we ate included:

Sea Trio (cod, tuna, hake)

Blackened Cod

Breast of Duck, perfectly cooked

Dover sole, slightly over cooked, in a barely discernable citrus sauce

Desserts were disappointing as well, especially with my memory of our last meal at Bouley, where dessert had been such a highlight including a special rice pudding (one of my favorites) for a birthday treat after three other complex and inventive sweets. This time, the “Chocolate Frivolous” made up of chocolate brulee, chocolate parfait, hazelnut dacquoise, chocolate walnut spice bread, white coffee ice cream, prune armagnac ice cream, sounded heavenly but each element was so heavy and over sweet I hit chocolate fatigue (not an easy state for me to reach!) in just a few bites. And the prune ice cream tasted bitter as could be and had a distinctive flavor of dirt! Not at all pleasant. The second dessert, Hot Caramelized Anjou Pear valrhona chocolate, biscuit Breton, hot toffee sauce, rosemary & Tahitian vanilla ice cream, was more successful, but the rosemary flavor in the ice cream was way too intense and distracting from the other flavors in the dessert.

Pear and Valrona chocolate tart w/ rosemary (?!) ice cream

Way too much chocolate, even for me!

My special birthday “treat” that arrived with a candle looked gorgeous but was a severe let down. Very thin slices of over-ripe pineapple were topped with a scoop of some kind of sorbet that was so incredibly tart it was literally inedible. It was a nice thought to have a candle and the Happy Birthday sentiment written in chocolate on the plate rim but c’mon! A little effort here?

Lovely to look at, terrible to taste

We ended our meal with expresso and a sad little mignardise tray that held a few tired little sweet bites including stale macarons and a decent chocolate ganache truffle. They brought us the bill and then asked if we’d like another expresso. We assumed a second was on the house since they’d already brought the bill but after accepting their offer; they whisked our bill away and added 2 more expressos ($5 each!!!) to our already hefty tab. So much for that remembered generosity.

A pretty sparse mignardise tray

My conclusion? After all the outrageously great dining that I’ve been blessed to indulge in when visiting France, I have realized that I’m bound to be disappointed eating expensive French food here in the US. For my subsequent visits to NYC I’ll be choosing from the countless other delicious cuisines available in that great restaurant town.

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Where does the time go?! I barely completed the Daring Cook’s challenge and it’s back into the kitchen to be a Daring Baker. The February 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mallory from A Sofa in the Kitchen. She chose to challenge everyone to make Panna Cotta from a Giada De Laurentiis recipe and Nestle Florentine Cookies. I imagine these two were paired as homage to Italian desserts however; Florentine cookies are not actually Italian cookies. These lacy, crisp and chewy treats were created by French bakers to honor Florentine royalty when they visited Paris. But still, enough of a link to get me thinking about delicious Italia.

The ancient colliseum in Rome

Panna cotta, means cooked cream in Italian and my first and only exposure to it (until making it myself for this challenge) was on a whirlwind trip through Rome, Florence, and Venice. As usual, between taking in all the amazing art, ancient history, and gorgeous scenery, we managed to locate and consume all the tastiest treats those amazing cities have to offer. It was a culinary adventure that foodie dreams are made of!

The best gelato!!

Oh! The aroma of all those shaved truffles!

Along with a daily dose of the finest gelato in countless fabulous flavors, the two week tour of the Big 3 of Italy included, amongst others, my first (and hopefully last!) taste of donkey, a plate of pasta with botarga (the roe pouch of grey mullet that’s been dried and cured in sea salt for a few weeks), the finest black truffles in a heavenly dish of Tagliatella e tartuffo, and an incredible boiled beef sandwich that was scarfed down at a crowded communal table in the Central Mercato in Florence. Every day was a new discovery of fish, meats and cheeses, fresh vegetables, pastas and pastries all prepared in authentic Italian style. We picnicked above ancient ruins and in the Tuscan countryside and dined in countless tiny candlelit trattorias. 

Italian sandwiches to die for!

It was in one of these dark, tucked away little restaurants where I first tasted panna cotta. Leo’s in Santa Croce was a very special place where Leo himself greeted us at the door and escorted us to our table. He spoke no English and we spoke no Italian but it didn’t matter. The warmth of his welcome and our obvious pleasure at the sight and smells of the food appearing from the tiny kitchen at the back of the restaurant were more than enough to create that special connection between host and guest that insured that a fabulous meal would ensue. We were not disappointed.

The meal started with the antipasti special, very thinly sliced, long strands of fresh raw zucchini with scallion, shaved parmesan and a light lemony dressing. Absolutely delicious. We also had a fresh tomato/basil brochette, served with a slice of unbelievably sweet melon. Next came veal scallopini with artichoke in a gorgonzola sauce with spinach and grilled baby lamb chops, served with potatoes and caramelized onions. The lamb had an intense and delicious charred flavor from the open fire grill and every bite was moist and tender. We sucked the bones totally clean, earning an approving pat on the back from the waiter when he came to take the plate.

Leo’s grilled lamb chops with melting potatoes

And finally it was time for dessert! I had heard the name but didn’t really know what it was so I ordered panna cotta, apparently a wise choice as I received an enthusiastic nod from Leo. He soon placed in front of me a white mound of thick, slightly gelatinous, sweet cream, covered with a rich chocolate sauce. It tasted just like whipped cream but had a consistency more like a thick custard or mousse. What could be bad? Of course, topped with an excellent chocolate sauce, I’d probably eat a scoop of Vaseline! But this was quite tasty and while I knew it wasn’t going to be one of my all time favorite food experiences, I was happy to have tasted a real Italian dolce in an authentic Italian trottoria.

Chocolate and Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta

So this month’s Daring Baker’s challenge was an invitation to make this dessert myself. Panna cotta is incredibly easy to make and is a very versatile dessert. The simplest method is to dissolve 1 packet of unflavored gelatin in ½ cup of cold cream or milk. Bring 1 ½ cups more of cream and ½ cup of sugar to a slight simmer. Remove from the heat and add 1 tsp of vanilla. Pour the hot cream over the dissolved gelatin and stir. This will serve 4 people and the recipe can be easily doubled. If you want chocolate panna cotta, simply stir in some finely chopped semi or bittersweet chocolate and stir until melted.

Vanilla bean panna cotta with strawberry sauce and Florentine cookie

There are countless variations and methods and plain panna cotta can be flavored numerous ways. It can be served in glasses, layered with fruit gellee or or can be unmolded after chilling in lightly greased custard cups and topped with a sauce. I made a vanilla bean version, both unmolded and served with a strawberry sauce and layered in fancy glasses with chocolate panna cotta. Add a fancy cookie on the side, like these irresistibly crunchy, chewy Florentines, and you’ve got a dessert that can easily transport you to Italy without ever leaving your own kitchen. Think of the money you’ll save on airfare!

FLORENTINE COOKIES:

2/3 cup (5.3 oz) unsalted butter                                                                                                                                                                               2 cups (5 2/3 oz) quick oats
1 cup (8 oz) granulated sugar
2/3 cup (3⅓ oz) plain (all purpose) flour
1/4 cup dark corn syrup
1/4 cup whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
Melt the butter and then stir in the rest of the ingredients. Drop by teaspoon at least 3” apart on parchment paper lines baking trays. Bake in preheated 375˚ oven for 8 minutes, until spread flat and brown on the edges. Remove from oven and cool completely on trays, until totally firm. Then remove to a rack. Melt 1½ cups dark or milk chocolate until smooth and spread a thin layer on the bottom of a cookie and sandwich the chocolate between  a second cookie. Let the chocolate harden and EAT!

Florentine Cookies

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Just what we need: More snow!

It’s snowing. Again. Yes, we’re hunkering down for the 7th major snowstorm of the winter (and it’s only February 1!) and as usual, it’s falling on a weekday. Mother Nature has it in for me and she’s working hard to convince me to scrap the weekend warrior bit and just break down and trade in the herbal tea for a nice rewarding cup of rich hot chocolate. Brown rice and veggies just don’t cut it when there’s a foot of new snow on the ground and another 6 inches expected! I’m dreaming about mac and cheese or French onion soup to warm my bones and nothing beats baking cookies when there are hours of time to kill while trapped in the house watching the white stuff fall! It’s the worst winter in forever so don’t I deserve something delicious for recompense?

And there in lies the proverbial rub. That no win conundrum that every food fanatic faces when deciding what to eat when. I can always find a rationalization to go for the goodie but after the last bite is swallowed I so often regret the choice I’ve made. Balance isn’t my strong suit when it comes to pleasure and once I’ve caved and convinced myself I “deserve” a treat, it’s always a struggle to get back on track.

Like most of us, I recognize that I use food for so many things other than physical nourishment. It provides entertainment and social lubricant. It’s a great distraction from difficulties or boredom as well as serving as a fabulous reward. But mostly, special foods make for rather effective medicine although, like many medications, it most often treats the surface symptoms without touching the underlying cause of the issue. And the side effects? Therein lays the real problem of living to eat as opposed to eating to live.

Of course, the number one side effect of using food for fun and feeling better is weight gain. I don’t know about you but when I’m looking to ease my pain (and yes, another snowstorm is painful to me!!) I don’t crave poached salmon and nice pile of kale. I want high carb, high fat foods like fettuccine Alfredo or mashed potatoes. Add some salt and some crunch and that’s good too, especially if it’s dipped in or topped with something creamy. We’re talking anything from simple chips and dip to sweet potato fritters with a sour cream horseradish sauce. And let’s not forget the sugar, preferably white and refined. A plain piece of good milk chocolate will do (yes, I know dark is supposed to be actually good for you but of course I prefer milk!) but why settle for that when I can whip up a batch of white chocolate macadamia nut cookies or a chocolate swirl cheesecake?

Obviously, if I indulge in this style of eating every time I think I deserve a reward or need a distraction from my discomfort, I’ll be packing on the pounds in no time. Without some balance, the extra weight causes the cultural critic to kick in to tell me I’m fat and worthless and that’s painful, which makes me want to eat some more and then that endless cycle begins. Sigh.

So here I sit on a Tuesday, watching the snow fall in record making amounts, contemplating cookies. To bake or not to bake, that is the question. Leave me a comment and tell me what you think!

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