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Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year!


Who doesn't love New Year's Day? January 1st always comes as a breath of cold refreshing air to shake off the holiday haze, wake us from a winter's nap and gently prod us back to business! And, of course, as we look forward, we tend to become reflective on the past...

Looking back, 2010 was a year of firsts: First year of marriage, first joint tax return, first time buying a new dishwasher, first broken oven, first really nice Canon camera. While the year had its ups and downs (as all do), Victor and I remain very fortunate to have loving families, good jobs, a place to live and food to eat.

Speaking of food (as that is the focus of SugarKrush!), a few discoveries were made in that area as well. None of these things are new to the world, but they were new discoveries to me...So, in no particular order, are a few of my favorite 2010 culinary discoveries:

1. Oro blanco - a delicious, sweet white grapefruit marked by it's thick skin. It was one of my favorite farmer's market finds this past summer.

2. Pignoli cookies - The word 'pignoli' is actually Italian for pine nuts which adorn the outside of this holiday cookie found at most fine Italian bakeries. The cookie itself is basically little more than almond paste, sugar and egg whites...but these few ingredients combine to make quite a treat.

3. Cake balls - Genius! Only made them once but will definitely make them again.

4. The Cupcake Craze - Sure, the cupcake craze has been in full swing for a few years now..and yes, I can be known to enjoy a cupcake here and there...but up until this year, I was pretty indifferent. My change in attitude was Cupcake Camp LA. I get it now. Cupcakes are fun! Each little cake provides you with a fresh opportunity to create a mini-culinary delight!

5. The tabletop convection oven - When our oven broke, I was super bummed at the thought of having to drop out of Cupcake Camp. The rules said you could buy cupcakes to bring, but really, where is the fun in that? The convection oven put me back in the game. While it sucks up more counter space than I would like, it is a great asset basically providing us with a "dual oven" kitchen.

6. Ebelskivers - Delicious sphere shaped Danish pancakes. I believe they would fall into the pop-over family. While in Solvang last Christmas, we become intrigued by a photo of these things on the window of a bakery. Since it was Christmas day, the bakery was closed...but we thought about them, wondered if they tasted as good as that picture. At the Torrance Farmer's Market we got a chance to sample them and yes, they were delicious. From my reading, it seems that sometimes they are filled with apples but the ones we had were served with heated strawberry preserves and powdered sugar. Trader Joe's just added them to their frozen breakfast treats repertoire so you can easily have them at home!

7. Tastykake's Pancake Krimpets - For the uninitiated, Tastykake Baking Company is a Philadelphia based snack company that turns out some really great cakes, pies and cookies. No, they are not like Hostess or Little Debbie cakes. Those products taste like chemicals while Tastykakes actually taste like real baked goods. In a few weeks, I will dedicate a whole post to the wonders of Tastykake...but for now know this: In 2010 they produced a butter flavored sponge cake that was topped with maple flavored frosting and filled with vanilla creme called the Pancake Krimpet. I read this was a limited edition item, so try it now while you can.

8. Corropolese Bakery's Sweet Pepper pie - Move over Tomato Pie, there's a new favorite in town! Corropolese has the Sweet Pepper pie listed under Tomato Pie on the menu but it has no tomatoes on it, so I am not agreeing with that categorization. Regardless, it consists of marinated sweet peppers with various pizza-topping spices and a little bit of olive oil baked onto a pizza crust served room temp. Since I don't have easy access to Corropolese in Los Angeles, I am going to have to try to replicate it here on the Left Coast...stay tuned!

9. Jersey Mike's Original Italian Sub - I grew up with Italian hoagies (also referred to as subs). Every neighborhood in Philly (sure, and Southern Jersey) has at least one hoagie shop. But, as I travelled to different parts of the US, it became apparent that many parts of the country are not so lucky. There are a few places in LA that sell Italian Subs (I haven't found any that refer to them as hoagies), but Jersey Mike's is our (current) hands down favorite. Yes, it's a chain but so is Lee's Hoagie House, right? If they can bring the amazing experience that is a great Italian Hoagie to hoagie/sub deprived areas, more power to them!

That's it for now....Happy New Year and Happy Eating!

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