On the second day of Christmas, there were cocktails. Because of crowds at the mall, the fact that your kid told you he wanted the impossible-to-find Nintendo NES from Santa (I said “Santa doesn’t bring presents for grown-ups, and we both know that’s really for your daddy”,) and perhaps you (with the help of your husband and two friends) just harvested over 200 lemons from your backyard tree.
For the next twelve days, Lemon Baby is bringing you twelve mini-posts of our holiday favorites. Cookies, cakes, side dishes for the holiday meal, candies, soups, and even some edible gift ideas. Starting #12DaysofChristmas off right is a recipe for one of my absolute favorite cookies. They go by several different names (Snowballs, Meltaways, Mexican Wedding Cookies, Tea Cakes) but they all translate to a buttery, melt-in-your-mouth shortbread cookie dusted with powdered sugar.
Fall is my favorite season, hands down. And for good reason–I spent most of my early childhood through my teens in Brookline, a suburb of Boston. September meant apple picking. October often meant trick or treating wearing a heavy coat over our costume. November usually ushered in the first light dusting of snow. To me, autumn tastes like the snap of a Honeycrisp apple, my absolutely favorite variety.Fall, with its leaves a riot of flaming reds, yellows, and oranges, is the last exhale before the brutal, breath-snatching New England winter. It was–is–magical.
On the Harry Potter Superfan scale of one to ten, I’m probably an eight and a half. I’ve never written Harry and Hermione love story fan fiction or tattooed a snitch on my body, but I did go to every single midnight book release party, wand (aka knobby twig) in hand. There’s something about Rowling’s world building that just captured me, from the clever beginning to the poignant end.
I have a love-hate relationship with Pinterest. On one hand, it’s an easy way to quickly search for meal or design or fashion inspiration. On the other hand, it’s an easy way to throw myself into a total inferiority complex/shame spiral. Everything on Pinterest, especially involving babies, is just so perfect. Like intensely, cutesily, professionally styled and photographed kind of perfect. And I’m just not. I’m that person whose hair always has flyaways, I most likely have a coffee stain on my shirt, and I once went out to Starbucks while wearing two completely different shoes (by accident, of course). I’m not a perfect Pinterest mom (or food blogger, for that matter) and I’ve been okay with it (for the most part). Well, at least until Lemon Baby’s first birthday rolled around.
To a lot of people, baking is scary. Baking (usually) requires precise measurements using cups (different ones for liquid and dry ingredients) or worse, scales, and leveling off instead of scooping. Unless you’re me and you make a pie without measuring a single thing.
Normally, each supper club has a theme. Last supper club’s theme was just complete fabulousness, but we’ve done everything from “Living Color” to a Hawaiian Luau. I spent a magical summer studying Ancient Greek Art & Archaeology abroad in Greece in 2004, and I fell desperately in love with the food, terrain, and culture. I yearned for a night that would reconjure the flavors and the mood of a warm, summer night on the coast of the Aegean. So, a few weekends ago, my husband and I hosted an informal, buffet-style Greek dinner party for our lovely friends in Jubilee Supper Club. Continue Reading
One thing I’ve vowed to do more of is eat healthful, nutritious food. I’d love to be that blogger that only blogs about (and consequently eats) things requiring sugar and butter. Wouldn’t that be the life? As someone who turns to sweets for comfort, I need to be more mindful about fitting those food pyramid guidelines into my diet. It isn’t hard for me to eat vegetables because I love them; I just have to remind myself to incorporate them into every meal. In other words, I have to up my veggie game. Continue Reading
Sundays are tough. Sure, there’s “Sunday Funday” (aka brunch and maybe a few bloodies or mimosas), but there’s nothing to kill a good mood like realizing the workweek is imminent. And when it’s the Sunday before school starts, it’s the toughest Sunday of them all. Last Sunday, to combat the before-school Sunday blues, I turned to blueberries. Continue Reading
Years ago, Food52 came up with the hashtag #notsaddesklunch to represent the innovative, creative ways we can actually enjoy lunch at work. Bringing lunch is easier on your waistline and your wallet, but so many people fork out the $10 (on average) a day to grab a lunch to go, which equates to approximately $2400 a year! I’d rather spend that money to go on vacation, personally. Continue Reading
I have had a long-standing affair with gummy candy for as long as I can remember. After a disastrous attempt at Champagne jello shots (recipe didn’t call for any sugar and tasted like nothing other than gelatinous Champagne, which was surprisingly awful), I put my booze-infused gelatin dreams aside–until I saw that Sugarfina came out with rosé gummy bears, which promptly not only sold out but actually inspired a 12,000 person waiting list. Not exactly a patient sort, I knew I could at least try to make my own. So I ordered these molds and searched for recipes. Mine is adapted from Sprinkle Bakes. I didn’t have sparkling wine flavoring, so I substituted lemon juice plus lemon extract (Lemon Baby used lemon, go figure). I used pink gel food coloring from my macaron baking days, and I fear that wasn’t best coloring agent. When I make these again, I’ll probably use liquid. Continue Reading
When I was pregnant with Lemon Baby, I (predictably) craved all sorts of random food. Most notably was my craving for a Lobster Roll, which, if you were friends with me on Facebook, you must have scrolled past a thousand times. I couldn’t get enough lobster roll foodporn. Intellectually, I knew it was just making my hankering worse, but I couldn’t stop. The closest lobster roll to Mobile is in Atlanta, not exactly dinner date distance. Then my neighbor Ron suggested I make my own, with one exception: replace lobster with Royal Reds, a particularly succulent shrimp native to the deep waters of the Gulf Coast. I did, and the Alabama “Lobster” Roll was born. Continue Reading
Growing up, it was well-known among my friends that I loved to bake. It’s actually in my blood (but I’m saving that story for another post). Two of my best friends in high school, Julie and Vanessa, used to request meringues from me on almost a daily basis. I’ve even shipped them (although I wouldn’t recommend this, given their delicate nature.) Meringue is just egg whites and sugar whipped until desired, but it has many iterations. It can appear as the fluffy topping on a lemon pie or banana pudding, or baked into a crackly cookie with a chewy, marshmallowy interior, studded with mini chocolate chips (Vanessa and Julie’s favorite). While whipping egg whites can be intimidating, (Firm? Glossy? Stiff? Soft?) it just takes a bit of practice. I’ve got some tips below to help. When I spied some very late-season rhubarb in the store the other day, I knew exactly the dessert I wanted to make. Continue Reading
One of my favorite things in life (to host and attend) is a dinner party. Like I mentioned in my Girls on Food bio, I discovered my love of food by devouring every word and gorgeous photo in Martha Stewart’s 1982 cookbook, Entertaining. I daydreamed of the days I might attend such elegant affairs. As an adult, I now get to see those dreams into fruition. Many people love to entertain but do not host dinner parties because of the stress, time, and expense; but what if you only had to make one dish, and not a whole menu? Enter: Supper Club. Continue Reading
Please forgive the bad title pun. I am slightly sleep deprived. In all seriousness, if you’re a fan of easy, quick side dishes that come together in fewer than 15 minutes, this post is for you. It’s just a bonus that my 4-year-old adores chickpeas. In fact, when I told him chickpeas were for dinner, he ran around the house screaming, “Chickpeas! Yes! Chickpeas! Yes!” And he actually ate his whole serving. The addition of bacon helped a bit, I think. (No, I don’t put bacon on/in everything, despite its presence in almost all of my posts so far). Continue Reading
Mobile, whose motto is “born to celebrate,” is a city of revelry. Visit us during Mardi Gras, and there is no doubt. One of the things I love most about the Gulf Coast in the summer is our seemingly unquenchable thirst. Sweet tea, mint juleps, lemonade, Sazeracs, Planter’s Punch, cocktail or mocktail, we will drink it all, especially when it’s still ninety degrees by the time the sun calls it quits.
For as long as I can remember, my family has vacationed on the white-sand beaches of Fort Morgan, Alabama. The little beach cottage, affectionately dubbed Déjà Vu and destroyed by hurricanes and subsequently rebuilt, has been in my family since the late 70s. In 1988, we celebrated my grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary in that house, crammed in like happy sardines in the front room. In 2002, my parents bought the house from my uncle and aunt, who built a gorgeous house on the lot next door. In 2006, I hosted my bridal party at the cottage before heading to our nuptials in Natchez, MS (ten years to the day this Friday). It’s safe to say that this house, and its surrounding coastline, has more sentimental significance to me than most of the things in my own home (people excluded, of course). Most people don’t realize that Alabama has a coastline, (and that’s fine–it’s crowded enough) but with the Hangout Festival held annually in Gulf Shores, our little “Redneck Riviera” is getting more and more popular, evidenced by the gobsmacking Saturday summer traffic on Highway 59. Continue Reading
Shrimp and grits is by far my most requested dish. Friends routinely email or text for the recipe, and my sister demands requests it every year for her birthday. If ever I named a signature dish (which I won’t because I don’t play favorites), this would be it. Shrimp and grits is a dish of lowcountry origins, associated with the Carolinas, but has spread far and wide across the Southeast. It is most commonly seen on brunch menus, but I could eat it for breakfast, lunch or dinner (or all three). Continue Reading
There are two fathers who feature prominently in my life: my own father, and S. and Lemon Baby’s daddy (also known as my husband). They are vastly different men in trait and temperament, but one (very important) thing they have in common is the ability to drop everything and play. My own father demonstrated it countless times while I was growing up, and still to this day, when his grandchildren want him to chase them on all fours, roaring like a fearsome beast, he complies without hesitation. My husband, when asked to tell his nephew, niece, and son a bedtime story, grabs our stuffed Mr. Bear Squash-You-All-Flat and enacts the storyline, complete with an inflatable tire float. (For those who don’t know who/what Mr. Bear is, it’s a ridiculous children’s story from back in the day about –you guessed it– a bear who squashes little woodland creatures’ homes). The ability to play on demand is reason enough to make whomever you (or your kids) call “Dad” a special meal on the third Sunday in June. Continue Reading