Thursday, January 31, 2013

IHCC: Give me comfort!

Roast chicken is Ed's idea of comfort food. My idea of comfort right now is working on the freezer backlog. So when I found the recipe for Whole Chicken, Baked in Aluminum Foil (Murgh Musallam) in Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cooking (p80), I knew I'd found this week's idea for IHCC. Jaffrey presents this as her simplified version of the traditional murgh musallam. When I looked a bit on the web for a what a traditional recipe might look like, there didn't seem to be much agreement. There was often a tomato saucy component that's missing here.

First, the skinned bird is marinated in a blend of ginger, garlic, and yogurt with turmeric, cayenne, salt, and pepper. While that's sitting, you make a paste of onion, garlic, ginger, and sliced almonds with cumin, coriander, turmeric, paprika, cayenne, and salt. This mixture is fried (I used only half the oil listed), then lemon juice, black pepper, and garam masala are stirred in and the mixture allowed to cool.

When the chickie  has finished marinating, it's rubbed with the onion paste, sealed in foil, and popped in the oven for 1-1/2 hours. It comes out tender and smelling delicious.

This recipe ends rather abruptly, to my mind. There are no final serving instructions. What am I supposed to do with the juices that have accumulated? It feels like a final paragraph was edited out to save space.

I served the chicken with the suggested Mushroom Pullao (p152) and the non-suggested Spicy Cucumber Wedges (p172). (You can see we've already been munching these.) Yogurt with Cucumber and Mint (p152) was also suggested—this is my favorite recipe for raita—but I forgot to make yogurt last night so we had to skip this.

This post is shared with this week's I Heart Cooking Clubs.

Monday, January 28, 2013

This week in the kitchen

Monday/28-Jan-13: Yogurt on overday. Yippee—the brushes for the washing machine arrived. We're busy washing washing washing.

Ed went to a late afternoon at a movie and didn't get home to late, so we had soup for dinner, one of the zucchini ones that I made last summer and froze directly. Good it was, too. I'll have to remember to make this again.

Put on some No-Knead Bread (Essential, p670). This is the same Lahey recipe that I tried before, and maybe it looks a bit "shaggier" this time. It's supposed to sit in a warm room, 70F. Ha! I did set the bowl near the heater, which is off overnight. We'll see how it does.

Tuesday/29-Jan-13: Whoa, actually got some mending done today! Don't know what got into me. There are still two pairs of gloves with broken seams hiding in the pile from last winter. Sigh.

Well, shaggier was the bread maybe, but there was still no ball-forming for the final rise. Just a puddle on the counter. It bubbles up all nice, so I think the yeast is OK. After my last experience, this time I measured the water with a light hand and the flour with a heavy hand. Didn't seem to help at all. This went in the oven while I was preparing dinner.

Dinner was Skillet Chicken, Broccoli, Ziti, and Asiago Cheese. (I got this from EAT-L, but I just found it here.) Yummy stuff, a one-dish dinner cooked in a single pot. For dessert we had ... bread. First to wipe our plates, then just to eat. It may be a mess on the way to the oven, and it's certainly nothing like a boule, but it is yummy.

Wednesday/30-Jan-13: Shopping today. Found some 120g bits on non-GMO salmon (did we know that we needed to worry about GMO fish?) on sale because they expire tomorrow. Bought the last three and froze them. (I usually ask for 300-400g for the two of us.)

Dinner was Fried Fish Steaks (100Curries, p40; Q&E, p67) made with some lovely salmon. Not sure why I've overlooked this in Q&E. Someone recently made it for IHCC and I thought I'd give it a try. Good idea! Accompanied by Green Peas in a Creamy Sauce (Q&E, p87) and Indian Mashed Potatoes (Q&E, p90). All was yummy.

Thursday/31-Jan-13: Yogurt on overday.

Indian dinner for IHCC tonight, which took a bit of time to prepare. There was Whole Chicken, Baked in Aluminum Foil (Murgh musallam) (MJ1, p80) with Mushroom Pullao (MJ1, p152) and Spicy Cucumber Wedges (MJ1, p172). There should have been raita, but there was no yogurt in time. Some double chocolate mini-Magnums for dessert. How Indian is that?

Friday/1-Feb-13: Ed's off at driving class today; both of us up at 7am. DInner was a half dose of Mushroom Barley Risotto (Bishop, p358). It was good, but I'm not sure for all the risotto bother, that is was that good. Then a salad. That was all.

Saturday/2-Feb-13: The last day of driving class today. Whew! Dinner was a half dose of Linguine with Tuna Fish Sauce (PastaCarluccio, p24). This was surprisingly good, also fast; some ginger slices in the tomato sauce was a nice touch. Followed by a big salad.

Sunday/3-Feb-13: Finished off the zucchini soup today for lunch/dinner. Then went a movie. That's all.

Yogurt on overnight.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 IHCC/COOKBOOKS: yes, #2 VEG/FISH: 5
This month: #3 PASTA: yes for January/no for February, #4 BREAD: yes for January/no for February

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

IHCC: Sweet Endings

Indian cuisine is full of wonderful sweet things. Many of them are really too sweet for our tastes gulab jamun soaked in rose water syrup really sets both our teeth on edge. But there are some delicious creamy, milky, cheesy desserts waiting to be made. The hard part for this week's challenge was choosing. In the end, I took the easy way out and chose a fruit dessert that was simple-to-make and delicious—Pears Poached in a Saffron Syrup from Madhur Jaffrey's Cookbook: Food for Family & Friends (p185)

Peeled and cored pears are simmered for 25 minute is a simple syrup with cardamon pods, saffron threads, and lemon juice. After removing the cooked pears, the syrup is boiled down further. These are the plates waiting to be served. Before they got to the table, my DH added a scoop of vanilla ice cream to each plate. While this was very yummy, I'm not sure it wasn't a bit of gilding the lily.

Aside: France produces 20 kilograms of saffron each year. Last fall I visited a local safranerie where we got to pick the flowers and have a go at cutting the pistil from the flowers. The saffron I used tonight came from the shop there. The high price of saffron reflects the very tedious manual labor that's required to produce it.

This post is shared with this week's I Heart Cooking Clubs.

Monday, January 21, 2013

This week in the kitchen

Monday/21-Jan-13: Argh, the brushes for the washing machine didn't arrive today. Stacks of laundry are growing!

Leftovers of the wild rice tart for dinner. Still very good. Maybe should put this one into Mastercook. Then a salad. And some cookies for dessert.

Tuesday/22-Jan-13: We did our shopping today, since I have a "make-up" haircut appointment tomorrow afternoon, replacing one that was cancelled for bad weather last week.

Dinner was a very loose version of Mushroom Ravioli Divan (365Veg, p84). It wanted a container of prepared Alfredo sauce, which I probably wouldn't buy even if I could find it. Instead I just added cream and lots of Parmesan to the dish. And the Corsican cheese ravioli I bought turned out to have spinach in them (a feature of Corsican cooking?) that I hadn't noticed. In the end I decided baking wasn't going to add that much to the dish, so I just stirred together the broccoli, mushrooms, ravioli, and cream. It was quite passable. Then a big salad. And for dessert there were Pears Poached in a Saffron Syrup (MJFamily, p185), with a dab of ice cream, made for this week's IHCC challenge.

Before I started dinner, I put the dough in the machine for Bread Machine Bagels (web, though recommended by an EAT-L friend). While Ed was washing up, I finished off the bagels and started some yogurt a-brewing.

Wednesday/23-Jan-13: Last week's haircut appointment, cancelled because of bad driving conditions, was rescheduled late this afternoon. So it was a crockpot dinner, Slow Cooker Chicken Adobo (web). Not bad for minimal effort (beyond slicing all the onions). Served with rice and some roasted broccoli. Then some crèmes brulées from the freezer.

Thursday/24-Jan-13: Defrosted the chest freezer today. Wasn't that fun? An easy dinner, then, two individual packets of a choucroute dinner (each including one tiny potato, some white wine sauerkraut, two different sausages, some sliced pork, and a slice of fatty pork like bacon). Added some more potatoes (too many, I'm a bad judge of this) and mashed up the potatoes and sauerkraut to make a Dutch-style stamppot. Maybe not so healthy with all the fatty meat, but tasty.

Friday/25-Jan-13: Yogurt on overday.

Lunch out today, but not too big, so just a small dinner tonight. Boiled up the pumpkin gnocchi from the freezer and served with butter-sage sauce. Pretty good. Then some double chocolate mini magnums.

Washing machine parts still haven't arrived. Piles of laundry getting bigger. Did a load of undies at a neighbor's this afternoon.

Saturday/26-Jan-13: Dinner was a half dose of Lumache with Broccoli and Capers (VC4E, p450), something I've made before. It's really your standard sort of garlicky broccoli with pasta, with some capers thrown in. Why not? For dessert there was a half dose of Caramelized Cardamom Apples with Pistachio Cream (Q&E, p122). When we finished, Ed asked if there were more. I've made this before two (using a cast iron skillet, which made the apples unattractively grayish but didn't affect the flavor) and there have been a couple of posts on IHCC for this recipe recently. Having some apples to use up, I think it was time to make it again.

Sunday/27-Jan-13: Dinner was Linguine Peperonata with Toasted Rosemary Breadcrumbs (VT—for some reason they've decided not to provide proper copies of recipes, so a link isn't possible). Surprisingly good. The toasty bread crumbs were an especially nice addition. Strange thing is that the recipe, which is supposed to serve four, calls for only 6 oz of fresh linguine. Huh? I use that much dry pasta for two. I used 4 oz of tagliatelle tonight, which was probably a bit short. The tagliatelle seemed a better size match from the bell pepper strips. Then we had a salad. Then some chocolate bonbons.

English Muffin Bread (BigGerman, p15) in the ABM overnight.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 IHCC/COOKBOOKS: yes, #2 VEG/FISH: 5
This month: #3 PASTA: yes, #4 BREAD: no

Sunday, January 20, 2013

IHCC: Dried fruit!

Finding an interesting recipe to try using dried fruit was more of a challenge than I expected. Of course lots of Indian dishes have raisins, which really aren't very inspiring and choosing between the recipes was hard. Then I found Stewed Dried Fruit in World of the East Vegetarian Food (p388), a recipe from the Caucasus. Plus it was going to help use up a recently opened box of dried figs.

You can't get much easier than this for the cooking. Plop your dried fruit in a saucepan, add water, bring to a boil, and simmer for half an hour. Stir in sugar and simmer till it's dissolved. As Jaffrey suggests, I removed the fruit and simmered the juice until it was reduced quite a bit. The recipe calls for dried prunes, figs, and apricots, plus slices of lemon. I'm sure you could use whatever fruit you have available. Serve warm or cold, plain, or with yogurt or cream. They'll show up over ice cream for tonight's dinner, I expect.

This post is shared with this week's I Heart Cooking Clubs.

Monday, January 14, 2013

This week in the kitchen

Monday/14-Jan-13: During the day, I looked, a bit belatedly, through Vie Pratique Gourmand's holiday issue. It's chockful of good ideas. Think I'm going to save it, rather than tossing it, and maybe I'll find some ideas for the next holiday season.

An early dinner so we could try going to the movies again. It was a half dose of Broccoli and Tofu Stir-Fry with Garlicky Hoisin Sauce (Raichlen1, p196) served over rice. And 2-1/2 cookies each. Good movie, it was, although we drove home in the snow.

Tuesday/15-Jan-13: What a day! Houseful of hardware errors. Chloe (the pellet-burning heater) didn't want to start. The netbook died and needed a software reinstall. The printer's ink system failed yet again. Chloe started on the fifth attempt. Netbook has been reinstalled but not completely reassembled. New printer has been ordered. Not much else happened. Glad there there were leftovers to reheat for dinner. It was Rice, Cheddar, and Spinach Pie again, with a salad, and some double chocolate mini-Magnums to cheer us up.

Wednesday/16-Jan-13: Another household hardware error today—the washer stopped washing! Handy Ed took it apart and order some brushes for the motor. The washer must be at least ten years old; we bought it second hand eight years ago and it was already two or three years old then. This is the first problem it's had, so if it's an easy and cheap repair, we'll keep it going. Afraid to discover what's going to break next!

Shopping today. Dinner was some spicy "fish fingers," dipped in yogurt thinned with a bit of milk (buttermilk substitute), dredged in a spicy mixture with cornmeal, then grilled, made with a nice piece of cod, today's special. Served with some hominy that's been in the fridge quite a while but looked ok. And some Pan-Grilled Zucchini (MJ@Home, p173). I grilled this with the fish, although it took a bit longer. Quite a nice way to do zukes, cut in half (although thick slices would do, grilled or broiled, then sprinkled with lemon juice, salt, pepper, ground roasted cumin seeds, and cayenne.

Thursday/17-Jan-13: Out for fish and chips this evening. In t.he afternoon, I made up some Seasoned Radishes (MJ@Home, p6) and some Roasted Almonds with Black Pepper (MJ@Home, p8), some munchies for tomorrow.

Friday/18-Jan-13: Yogurt on overday.

Oops! The outdoor crisper got a bit too cold last night when we forgot to close the shutters.

I loved yesterday's radishes and Ed liked the almonds. Oh well.

Dinner was Wild Rice, Mushroom, and Cheddar Tart (Raichlen1, p95). This was good and remarkably tasty for something that looked so bland. Then a big salad. Then some Zucchini Brownies (MC), which were tasty, if a bit on the flat side. Maybe my baking powder is off.

Saturday/19-Jan-13: Yes, baking powder was off. Well, it's dated 2009, so it's no big surprise. The replacement is dated 2012.

Made Stewed Dried Fruit (WofE, p388) for IHCC this afternoon. Meant to make this for last night's dessert, but got it done today for a snack. We've off the the énoisage for our evening meal.

Sunday/20-Jan-13: Dinner was Chicken Kebabs (VeryBest, p323), without the sauce. Kind of so-so, not especially good nor bad. Mashed a potato and a sweet potato together for a side dish. Dessert was stewed fruit over vanilla ice cream, the best part of the meal.

We're out of bread and the snow means we probably can't get out, so it's Authentic French Bread in the ABM overnight.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 IHCC/COOKBOOKS: yes, #2 VEG/FISH: 4
This month: #3 PASTA: yes, #4 BREAD: no

Saturday, January 12, 2013

IHCC: Potluck!

The project for using up older stuff in the freezer led to a little leg of goat needing to be cooked. A bit of web searching turned up Jaffrey's recipe for Pakistani Goat Curry. This is reportedly from At Home with Madhur Jaffrey, a book I don't yet have, but have ordered because there have been so many tasty-looking recipes from that book posted for IHCC.

This curry is really easy to make and the resulting sauce is quite delicious. My little goat leg (from a kid, I think) was about half the size asked for the recipe. To compensate, I used most of the spices, cutting back only the liquid part. I couldn't cut my leg into chunks or even disjoint it, so I just cooked it whole in the pan and pulled the meat from the bones when it was done.

You begin by sautéing cinnamon sticks, cardamom pods, and sliced onion. When the onion begins to brown, garlic and ginger are added. Stir that around, then add the goat, some turmeric, ground coriander, and cayenne. Stir this for a few minutes, then add a bit of water, which you then boil off to make a nice paste for browning the meat. Now you add more water, cover, and simmer gently for an hour. Then you add potatoes and cook another thirty minutes until the potatoes are done. At this point the sauce was still a bit watery, so I thickened it with a bit of potato starch. Serve and eat.

The side dish is Gingery Cabbage and Peas, a Gujarati recipe from Flavours of India (p67). We liked this a lot, although not especially with this particular curry. I'm trying to widen my repertoire of vegetable side dishes and this was another new one.

This post is shared with this week's I Heart Cooking Clubs.

Monday, January 7, 2013

This week in the kitchen

Monday/7-Jan-13: Off to a movie this evening, so we had our main meal in the afternoon, a halfish, somewhat embroidered, version of Chili con Tofu with Beans (Hagler, p50). Served with some corn tortillas from the freezer. Finished off by the rest of the three kings' cake. Drove all the way to Limoges, sat through the commercials eating our popcorn, and then the VO (original voices) feature wouldn't play. Sigh. Next Monday perhaps.

Tuesday/8-Jan-13: Put chicken breasts on to marinate, then made Spruced-Up Vanilla Cake (web). Well, I sort of followed the recipe. I used a mix of white and brown sugar, and only 7 ounces, where 8 was asked. I had only 4 eggs in the house, not 6 as asked. And full-fat yogurt, not fat-free. Never mind, it was good.

The chicken turned into Coriander and Lemon Chicken (web). I didn't chunk up the breast, but grilled them flat with the filets opened out. This was quite tasty and easy, although I think using cayenne and ground coriander would be easier and about the same in flavor. Served with trio rice and some steamed broccoli. The cake was yummy too, but made a serious dent in my vanilla supply. (What you expect of a vanilla cake, of course.) MyAmericanMarket has been out for a while; I keep waiting for an email that it's in stock again. Oh dear.

Wednesday/9-Jan-13: Another day wasted waiting DHL. The package has been rescheduled for delivery "as agreed." Agreed with whom? Grrr... Will wait again tomorrow, I guess.

Dinner was (more or less) Gambas au Curry et Risotto (Saveurs mag Best of 2011, p 56, now MC). Pretty good, a risotto with coconut milk as part of the liquid, added near the end of the rice cooking. Then a salad. Then some double-chocolate mini Magnums.

Thursday/10-Jan-13:  Yogurt on overday. DHL finally arrived ... at 17.45.

I accidentally defrosted a chunk of pork Tuesday night, so made some crockpot carnitas today. Not as good as the last batch, but edible. Served with some of Mama's Garlic Coleslaw (MC). Cookies for dessert. Just as dinner was going to table a 2-quart pitcher of herbal tea in the fridge got overturned. What a mess. Didn't I just clean the fridge last week?

Friday/11-Jan-13: Shopping today at last. As I was preparing my shopping list, the spreadsheet where I do my meal planning went all whompy-jawed and caused a few moments of panic and a delay in getting the shopping list made.

An IHCC dinner this evening, Pakistani Goat Curry (web) and Gingery Cabbage and Peas (MJFlavs, p67). For afters, we had some store-bought semoule de lait, vanilla flavored, which was quite tasty.

Saturday/12-Jan-13: Dinner was Mirin Glazed Salmon (web), which was easy and quite good. Accompanied by Broccoli in a Fragrant Wine Sauce (HotWok, p156) and basmati rice. Followed by the last two semoules de lait. Nice dinner. Served not too late. Ran out of mirin, though; next challenge is to find that mail order.

Sunday/13-Jan-13: Dinner was Rice, Cheddar, and Spinach Pie (web), probably not too low-fat, but very tasty. Then a salad. Then Chocolate Soufflé Cake for 2 (MC), a nice little dessert that goes together easily while other things are cooking unattended.

I'm still thinking about what I want to do with cooking goals for 2013.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 IHCC/COOKBOOKS: yes, #2 VEG/FISH: 4
This month: #3 PASTA: yes, #4 BREAD: no

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Kitchen goals old and new

Kitchen goals for 2012

Well, I can't say I've done all that well overall with my goals for 2012. Here's the round-up:
  • Cooking from unused cookbooks — 32 of 50 weeks. I did pretty well with this for a while, especially while when Cookbooks Sunday was happening. Lately, though, I've been focusing on Madhur Jaffrey at IHCC, and this goal has fallen into the background. 
  • Bread  — 25 of 50 weeks. Not too good. I intended to work through some of The Bread Baker's Apprentice, got started reading it, and then put it aside. I've made some bread, but nothing regularly. Santa did bring me a baking stone this year, so maybe that will be a bit of inspiration to do more baking.
  • Soup  — 26 of 50 weeks. Slightly better than 2011, but still not too good. Sigh.
  • Midday — 25 of 50 weeks. That's a surprise, almost half the time we had at least one midday meal a week. Mostly those were restaurant meals, I'd guess. I still think this is a worthy goal, but it just doesn't go with our daily routine very well. When we eat out it's frequently at midday and occasionally we need to eat our main meal at midday because of an evening commitment. Otherwise, it just doesn't work for  us.
  • Veg/Fish — We averaged over 3.5 per week. Didn't have this as a real goal, just intended to count. This is the way both of us prefer to eat. We like red meat, but not too often. Counting helps keep that in focus.
  • Pasta — 9 of 12 months. Boo. And, I didn't get a stuffed pasta made.
Overall, not as good as I'd have liked. Probably there were too many goals, but this may also reflect my bad mood for much of the year.

Kitchen goals for 2013

First, I guess, is the question of Do I even want to continue this game? In 2011, it seemed to help me focus on things like making pasta regularly and preparing lots of vegetarian or fish meals. For 2012, it was not as stimulating somehow, although I enjoyed using unused cookbooks. After some consideration, I think I will continue, but with fewer goals.
  • I want to continue participating in the Madhur Jaffrey theme at IHCC. This is fun because I already use her recipes a lot, and I've been expanding my repertoire a bit. If the next author is someone I'd like to cook with (e.g., Nigel Slater), then I might go on with that, although maybe not as frequently. Otherwise, I'll revert to cooking from unused cookbooks. 
  • I'll continue to count vegetarian and fish meals per week, just to be sure this doesn't fall off. 
  • After two years of making little progress on the soup and midday meal goals, I think I'll drop those both. They're both worthy goals, but neither are working well for me right now. I did find a Souper Sundays cooking group, where you cook a soup and post about it weekly, which was tempting. But I really don't want to increase the number of posts I'm doing.
  • I had another goal in mind for this year, to cook a meal from each of the Time-Life Foods of the World books, but that will have to wait for another year. 
  • I'll continue to aim  for making pasta once a month. A stuffed pasta would be a bonus. 
  • Bread-making is the tough one. I've got the book, I've got the stone. I think I'll go on with the goal of baking at least once a week, even if it's just an ABM bread. Does pizza count? Of course, it has yeast in it. Or, better, I think I'll try to bake a real bread once a month. Ideally it would be more, but baby steps seem more in order to get me going.
So I've got one weekly goal, one weekly count, and two monthly goals. That will do for 2013, I think.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

IHCC: Appetizers!

Neither Ed nor I are party people, and on New Year's Eve we're big stay-at-homes. I usually make and buy a selection of little goodies we can eat throughout the evening while we watch a film or play a game. This year, with appetizers as the IHCC theme, I decided to do a selection of Jaffrey's finger foods for our evening fare.

Here's most of the spread. Clockwise from the upper left, there's Baba Ghanoush (Creamed Eggplant with Tahini) (World-of-the-East Vegetarian Cooking, p334), pita quarters, Easy Kebabs (Tala Gosht) (Spice Kitchen, p34), Shrimp with Garlic and Chilies (Lehsun Vali Jhinga) (Quick & Easy Indian Cooking, p17), Ajwain-Flavored Chicken (Murgh Ke Mazedar Tukray) (Spice Kitchen, p32), and Sour Potatoes (Khatte Aloo) (100 Essential Curries, p11). 

The chicken, shrimp, and lamb are dishes I've made before, served as a main course, rather than as nibbly bits. I've not used this particular recipe for baba ghanoush before (or at least I didn't make a note of it), but what was most interesting about it is that I used frozen eggplant! A couple of months ago, I had an eggplant that wasn't going to get used. I roasted it, peeled away the charred skin, mashed it up, and froze it. And it worked great! If you like baba ghanoush (or other dishes with mashed roasted eggplant), this is something to do with your bounty. (I read somewhere that you can do this with or without the flavorings, but that it works best to freeze just the eggplant.)

The lamb was a bit that didn't get used for lamb biryani. I had about one quarter of the meat called for in the recipe and used about half the spices. The meat can be marinating for several hours, and the finishing is quite easy, taking very little attention, so it's a good party food. 

The chicken is one kip filet (skinless, boneless chicken breast half); this was about one third of the meat called for in the recipe. Again I used about half the spices. I left this marinating quite a while also. The finishing takes a little more attention than the lamb, but nothing is complicated, so it's also a good party food.

I made the shrimp dish with frozen cooked shrimp, rather than raw. To keep the amount parallel with the lamb and chicken, I should have cooked only half the shrimp I had, but opted to finish off the package. The rest will appear in another dish in the next days. This dish takes a little more last-minute attention, but could still work as proper party food.

The Sour Potatoes were delicious and a snap to make. You start with cold boiled potatoes, peel and cube them, then toss with salt, lemon juice, ground roasted cumin, freshly ground black pepper, cayenne, and chopped coriander. If you're in the habit of keeping boiled potatoes in the fridge (aren't we all?!), this could be a quick and healthy snack at any time.

This post is shared with this week's I Heart Cooking Clubs. It's hard to believe we're already half-way through six months of cooking with Madhur Jaffrey. It's been fun trying new recipes, revisiting old favorites, and finally making some of the treats that have been on my make-me-soon list for a very long time.