bake | copycat levain chocolate chip walnut cookies.

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I did it. I went to Levain when the doc and I were in NYC this past October, and I ate one of their monster chocolate chip walnut cookies that tastes bready, almost, its so dense.

And then I went home and managed to recreate them in my own kitchen. I decided the keys were: very cold butter mixed with sugar, a dab of cornstarch, and a bit of cake flour. No vanilla. My process was very close to this one.

They were magical. I wouldn’t want these as a replacement to my own, silver dollar sized and so soft mini chip cookies, but I’d add these into rotation every now and again. It was a great experiment in the kitchen; one that paid in dividends.

wip | waves.

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The past two weeks in the Boston area have been a blend of intense, deeply debilitating snowstorms, and–polar vortexes. Most days, the temperature hovered at 0 degrees, with a real feel well below.

So for that, we were stuck inside. A lot. And so, I baked bread and tackled charts. These Waves mittens by Tin can knits have been in my queue for awhile--featured in Making Vol. 3, Dots. I’m knitting the smallest size because I have tiny hands, hand knit mittens never fit me correctly, and a lot of knitters claimed these mittens were extra long.

The smallest size seems to be knitting up the right size for me, which I’m pleased about. I’ve finished the mitten gusset on one but put them down to work on a hat project when I can’t concentrate on complex charts.

Otherwise, these are shaping up to be a quick knit and a total stash buster–I’m using Knit Picks palette I had on hand in a blue and off white.

The recipe is Maida Heatter’s Mile High Cinnamon Bread from Food52.

What are you knitting–or baking– in the new year?

cooking | leftover nachos chilaquiles.

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Last night’s nachos become the next morning’s breakfast with these short cut chilaquiles. When I make homemade nachos, we always have leftovers. But, they get soggy in the fridge overnight and never quite crisp back up again in the oven.

So, what are soggy tortilla chips smothered in pintos, pepper jack, red onion, and jalapenos good for? The base of an amazing breakfast.

I throw some extra beans (made the night before, too) in the bottom (with juices) of a baking dish, throw the soggy nachos on top of that, some pico with juices on top of that, then crack two or three eggs on the entire thing, salt and pepper it, and throw it in a 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until the eggs are just so (somewhere in that range).

They are magical. And the soggy nachos don’t go to waste.

bakes | hatch green chile quiche.

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My camping trip through the southwest instilled in me a yearning for more of it my life. That green chile cheeseburger I had in Alamagordo, New Mexico, was life changing.

And so, as soon as I was back home, I dove into the cache of green chiles I have frozen and whipped up a green chile and pepper jack quiche for Sunday breakfast.

You need to make this. Just chop up some roasted Hatch, New Mexico green chiles that have been properly roasted and gobble. There’s nothing like them.

cheese cake.

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The doc’s favorite dessert is classic New York style cheese cake with sugary, sticky fresh strawberry topping. So for his birthday this past April, I decided to take a stab at making one homemade, with a fresh strawberry jam on top.

He said it came out perfect. I wouldn’t know. I don’t eat cheesecake. But this one was freshened up with a lot of lemon zest in the cheesy batter and loads of fresh strawberries.

What other desserts should I tackle?

fennel bake.

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One of the easiest–and most delicious–weeknight dinners I’ve made in a long while. You barely have to do anything, the fennel, potatoes and carrots are deliciously lemony, and the chicken thighs are fall off the bone moist.

I’m adding this to my regular rotation. Grab the recipe here.

miracle.

I have done it. My ginger snaps are pretty damn good, if I pat myself on the back a little. But, I’ve managed to perfect making 24 perfectly round and symmetrical cookies in one go.

It’s cookie perfection.

spice.

It’s that time of season–when I whip out the ginger, and cloves, and cinnamon, and make dream cookies with them. I’m feeling fall finally…are you?

Ginger snaps — yes, please. Have I mentioned how amazing it is to cook in my new kitchen? And how much sunlight there is! I’m living in a sun drenched world….at least, when I’m home, that is.