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Archive for December, 2008

Pistachio Persimmon Cupcakes

Tue Dec 30, 2008

 Pistachio Persimmon Cupcakes

Pistachio Persimmon Cupcakes

Do you remember when the cupcake was just a lowly children’s birthday party treat—just yellow Betty Crocker cake with some shelf-stabilized, not-even-sure-if-it-contains-cocoa chocolate frosting? It was simpler then, before New York’s Magnolia Bakery threw down the first whisk in the cupcake wars. There was no sneaking off into the bathroom to eat a Sprinkles carrot cake cupcake where no one could see you lick off all the cream cheese frosting first, no hiding the pink cardboard boxes from your coworkers in the bottom drawer of your desk, no snatching the paper-wrapped delights out of a little girl’s hand saying you just want a bite…
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Recipe Difficulty: Easy
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Menu for Hope V

Wed Dec 17, 2008


I have teamed up with the super-awesome wine shop K&L Wine Merchants (who also happens to be my employer!) for this year’s Menu for Hope, a campaign to benefit the UN World Food Programme. Started by Chez Pim after the incredibly devastating tsunami in Southeast Asia, Menu for Hope combines the efforts of food bloggers around the world to serve a higher purpose, namely getting food to those who need it. This year’s campaign is already underway and will continue through Christmas. The proceeds of this year’s Menu for Hope will benefit the school lunch program in Lesotho. This program sources food locally, supporting the local economy, and helps keep the kids in school, which can help end the cycle of poverty. It’s an incredible cause and one we’re thrilled to be a part of. Menu for Hope IV raised nearly $100k to feed the hungry.

So what does this mean?
There are a whole host of food-related goodies being raffled off for your charitable donation. For every $10 you donate, you earn one virtual raffle ticket to bid on a prize of your choice. At the end of the campaign, the raffle tickets are drawn and announced on Chez Pim. My dear friend and amazing writer/photographer Matt, of MattBites, is the West Coast coordinator, so check out his site to see all of the prizes available from the West Coast partners.

Our prize!
Hold onto your hats wine lovers. K&L Wine Merchants and me, SpicySaltySweet, are offering two magnums of Bordeaux with a combined retail value of $500!

Pichon Lalande2005 Pichon-Lalande, Pauillac (1.5L) This Left Bank second growth comes from the 2005 vintage, possibly the best vintage ever in Bordeaux and definitely among the top five. Beloved by the critics, the ’05 Pichon-Lalande was rated 93 points by Wine Spectator and 90-92 points by Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar. Wonderfully aromatic and elegant, this wine has ripe, sweet black cherry aromas and flavors, spiked by currant, anise and spice box on both the nose and palate. Not a powerhouse Bordeaux that thinks it’s a California cab, but a beautifully integrated wine that will continue to gain complexity in your cellar over the decades.

Cos d'Estournel1999 Cos d’Estournel, St-Estèphe (1.5L) This inimitable second growth Bordeaux is already starting to show, though like other top-notch Bordeaux it can continue to age for decades. Made by the talented Jean-Guillaume Prats, the 1999 is an elegant blend of 65% cabernet sauvignon and 35% merlot made from the estate’s best fruit–only 40% of the year’s harvest went into this grand vin. We love its mineral notes and classically restrained structure. Robert Parker says: “The dark ruby-colored 1999 Cos is a supremely elegant effort. The wine offers notes of dried Provencal herbs, smoke, licorice, black cherries, and cassis. This medium to full-bodied St.-Estephe is cerebral, intellectual, and refined…”

Offered by: K&L Wine Merchants and me, Leah Greenstein.

Prize Code: UW25

Special Note: Due to the complex shipping rules in the U.S. it is illegal to ship alcohol to the following states: DE, FL, GA, IA, KY, ME, MD, MI, MT, NH, NC, OK, PA, RI, TN, UT, VA, but there are plenty of non-alcoholic prizes to bid on.

Donation Instructions
1. Choose a prize or prizes of your choice from our Menu for Hope at Chez Pim. The code for this prize is UW25.

2. Next, go to the donation site at FirstGiving to make a donation

3. For every  $10 you donate, you will get one virtual raffle ticket. **Please specify which prize you’d like in the ‘Personal Message’ section in the donation form when confirming your donation.** You must write-in how many tickets per prize, and please use the prize code.

For example: If you make a $50 donation, you will get 5 raffle tickets that can be applied however you like. You can put all 5 toward UW25 (you would write: 5xUW25) or 2 tickets for EU01 and 3 tickets for EU02 (write: 2xEU01, 3xEU02) Please feel free to email me questions if this is not clear, the system isn’t perfect.

4. If your company matches your charity donation, please check the box and fill in the information so we could claim the corporate match.

5. Please allow us to see your email address so that we could contact you in case you win. Your email address will not be shared with anyone.


Recipe Difficulty: Easy
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Baked Butternut Squash Chips

Thu Dec 11, 2008

Butternut squash chips

Baked Butternut Squash Chips

There are obsessions and then there are cooking obsessions. The first kind can land you in counseling (and occasionally behind bars), the second will blow through your kitchen like a tempest, leaving every pot, pan, knife, cutting board, baking sheet and bowl lying in your sink like debris. I developed my first cooking obsession in the seventh grade after taking Wilton Cake Decorating classes with Debbie, the woman I babysat for. I learned how to make buttercream icing and transform it into pretty pansies and roses, shells and, of course, all of my friends’ names. Every time I made I cake I left icing fingerprints—leafy green and daffodil yellow—to dry on the kitchen drawers, the refrigerator handle, the doorknob and even the mailbox. By eighth grade the obsession had started to lose its sweetness, and I started scraping every inch of that pound of powdered sugar and Crisco off of each cake before I ate it.
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Recipe Difficulty: Easy
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Repeal Day Limoncello!

Wed Dec 3, 2008


Celebrate Repeal Day with Homemade Limoncello!

If Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, Repeal Day, which wine-lovers and cocktail hounds alike will be celebrating this Friday, runs a close second. Repeal Day marks the passage of the 21st Amendment to our constitution, effectively overturning the 18th, which banned the manufacture, sale and transportation of alcohol in the U.S. for 13 long, dry years. But while everyone is running around Friday, celebrating the 75th anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition by getting appropriately schnockered, I thought I’d pay tribute the creative spirit—the speakeasies, the wine bottles market “for medicinal purposes” and, of course, the moonshine—that helped Americans survive the Noble Experiment by offering up a recipe for some homemade hooch.

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Recipe Difficulty: Easy
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About Leah



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