Be a meteorologist in Southern California. It’s the ultimate job. Much like Newman’s coveted postal route in Hawaii, “where the air is so dewy-sweet, you don’t even have to lick the stamps,” (Seinfeld episode #144) the weather here is so constant, you don’t even have to think about it.
The meteorologists in Southern California are beautiful, blonde, and buxom. Some have been known to clutch a white poodle while giving the ten-day forecast. I’m serious, folks.
Contrast this with your typical New England meteorologist: A pasty, overweight guy with bags under his eyes from having stayed up all night tracking the constantly changing weather.
She uses the word "like" nineteen times in her report. He slurs his words from the last glass of Johnny Walker he downed in the green room to calm his nerves. She wears nine inch heels. He predicts nine inches of snow (which turns out to be only freezing rain). She discusses Justin Timberlake. He explains the mathematical algorithm that allows sound waves from the Doppler 5,000 to distinguish rain from snow.
Amazingly, one would think that with virtually the same forecast everyday, she couldn’t possibly get it wrong. Well, she does. All last week she predicted rain on Saturday, sun on Sunday. So being a conscientious food blogger, I planned to take my photographs on Sunday.
Saturday was bright and sunny. Sunday it rained. The pictures you see are from Monday.
A rainy Sunday seemed a perfect time to bake some cookies. One of my favorites is the Italian pignoli (pine nut) cookie. Made with almond paste, they are mildly sweet and have a nutty flavor that lingers pleasantly on your palate. The crispy exterior reveals a chewy interior that gently pulls away as you bite it.
I could explain the chemical properties of the cookie that create this sensation, but maybe you could just picture me with a dog on my lap instead. They are ridiculously easy to make; it took me longer to type the recipe (and photograph the cookies) than it did to bake them. Like typical New Englanders, Jeff and I had them with a nice cup of coffee.
And here are a few other treats I’d love to have with my coffee:
Brilynn’s Fudge with Cherries and Pistachios at Jumbo Empanadas.
Lis's Easy Sticky Toffee Dessert at La Mia Cucina.
Patricia's Choc Banana Bread at Technicolor Kitchen.
Sher's Apple-Blackberry Kuchen at What Did You Eat?
Valentina's Peanut Butter Cookies at Sweet Temptations.
Italian Pignoli (Pine Nut) Cookies
Print recipe only here.
2 ½ cups pine nuts
1 (7-ounce) tube of almond paste
¾ cup sugar
2 egg whites
½ tsp pure vanilla extract
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ tsp salt
Powered sugar for garnish, optional
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Take ¼ cup of the pine nuts and pulse in a food processor until coarsely ground. Break the almond paste with your hands; add to the processor; process until just mixed. Add the sugar; process until mixture is crumbly. Add the egg whites and vanilla; process until the dough begins to come together. Add the flour and salt; process until fully blended and smooth.
Pour the remaining pinenuts into a small bowl. Using a teaspoon and slightly moistened hands, take about 1 tsp worth of batter and roll it into a ball. Gently drop the ball in the pine nuts and turn until completely coated. Place the cookies 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake for 20 minutes, until lightly browned.
Cool on racks. Dust with powdered sugar before serving, if desired. Cookies should be stored in an airtight container. Makes approximately 30 cookies.
After having tasted a Mexican coffee made with black pepper, Jeff concocted this version one afternoon. The interplay between the spices and the pepper creates an intensely flavorful and aromatic cup of coffee.
Print recipe only here.
4 cups water
2-2 ½ scoops of good coffee (such as Illy)
1 whole clove
A few dashes of ground cinnamon
3-4 cranks of freshly ground black pepper (from a peppermill)
Add the clove, cinnamon, and ground pepper to the coffee grounds, then brew. Serve as desired.
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