Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Eve Gold Glitter Cookies & December's Funny Food Blogger Posts

Here are some cookies, (not very original I might add) that are accompanying me to a big New Year's Eve bash.  For the cookie itself I used the tried and true sugar cookie recipe from Bake at 350 as well as her royal icing recipe. I sprayed them with gold color mist and then disco dusted them.

For 2013 I wish everyone health, happiness and most of all, laughter.  Speaking of which, here are the food bloggers whose posts made me laugh and smile this past month.

The Bearfoot Baker's Chocolate Moose

I Sugar Coat it's Lemon Nutmeg Cookies & Sweet Greetings

Cake Wreck's Torte Reform

G Bakes! Ikea Monkey Gets a Cake

The Amateur Gourmet's Nagging Latkes

Endless Simmer's Stick with Beer

Lentil Breakdown's The DIY Fruitcake Kit


Saturday, December 29, 2012

Exploded Gingerbread Meth Lab for Citizen Brooklyn Magazine

Photo By Icarus Blake

One of my jobs working at a small digital creative agency is acting as Managing Editor of Citizen Brooklyn, an edgy, crazy, cool, visual online magazine focused on music, fashion and art.  We also have a food section but we strive to make it as untraditional as possible, having musicians sing their restaurant reviews for starters. You can check out the EAT sections to see what I mean. I honestly don't know how we do it but we manage to squeeze out a new cover every two weeks without compromising service to our other (paying) clients. Sometimes we're producing 5 or more photo shoots a week just to cover our clients and our magazine. Definitely a labor of love.

We all love working on CBK. It it staffed mostly by very talented young people in their 20's and the flavor reminds me a bit of the 80's punk rock scene in NYC. Back then the action was centered on St. Marks Place which is where we have our office. For Thanksgiving we blew up a turkey and kicked it into the East River because that's how we roll at CBK. It's been great to see how the magazine has grown over the last months in style, substance and readership.

Photo By Icarus Blake

So for this latest holiday issue, it was a no brainer that we had to make a gingerbread house our way and a gingerbread exploded meth lab was born.

Since I am the resident baker in the office (aren't you all that person too?) I volunteered to make it along with one of our outside contributors, Shay Neary

Poor Shay. Every time she gets a phone call from me it goes something like this: "Hi would you like to enter a dumpling eating contest for us?" or "Can you explode a turkey for us with fireworks?" (her uncle owned a fireworks store in PA) or "Will you cover a women's roller derby tournament?"

At least we're never boring.

Photo By Icarus Blake

Friday, December 21, 2012

Visits of Christmas Markets Past - Basel Switzerland

Here's the last (for this year) in the series of my three country Christmas Market Visits from a few years ago. From our place in Germany, it's only a few hours rie on the train to beautiful Basel.

Christmas Market Roundup: Basel, Switzerland

Protected by the city's symbol of a dragon or basilisk, Basel has the warmest climate in Switzerland as well as a unique location in Europe bordering both France and Germany. My basilisk room key:

Basel boasts the largest and most traditional Christmas market in Switzerland. It also has the longest Christmas street in Europe.

A lovely and elegant city, Basel is very easy to get around. The friendly locals speak French, German and English.

I started my tour by walking over the Mittlere Brücke, where the very first bridge over the Rhine was built in 1226. This current bridge replaced the old one in 1905 with the advent of the electric tram. I walked on to the beautiful city hall, a Renaissance palace where a food market was in full swing.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Visits of Christmas Markets Past - Strasbourg France

As promised I am back with another past Christmas market stop on my big three country tour from a few years ago. This time enjoy a little visit at the most famous Christmas market in France and a glimpse at a few additional points of interest in this beautiful city.

Christmas Market Round up  - Strasbourg, France

Strasbourg is a city I have wanted to visit since I moved to Europe years ago. I definitely picked the right time as Strasbourg is the self proclaimed Capital of Christmas in France and the city was twinkling with lights and decorations. There are several Christmas Markets throughout the city, many have different Themes.

The river Ill runs through medieval Strasbourg. The Grande Ile, the historic center of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This Alsatian city ping ponged between German and French ownership for centuries so both languages are spoken here. Some street signs have French and German names.

Although it is a beautiful old city, Strasbourg is also home to the European Parliament and the European Court of Human Rights making it a progressive one as well.

It was next to impossible to find a hotel here at this time of year. I lucked out and was able to rent a lovely apartment dead center in the city, about a 1 minute walk from the cathedral. The flat was located between two of the biggest Christmas markets at place de la Cathedral and at place Broglie on the chicest shopping street in Strasbourg.

The first market I visited was at the spectacular Gothic pink sandstone cathedral which stretched from the place de la Cathedral to the place du Château where a skating rink was set up. The place de la Cathedral is where the first Christmas market in Strasbourg took place in 1570.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Visits of Christmas Markets Past - Munich, Germany

A few years ago Bernhard could not come home  from Iraq for Christmas. I decided to distract myself with taking a Christmas Market tour not only in Germany, but in Switzerland and France as well. I wrote all about the 40 plus markets  I visited in eight cities on another expat blog I wrote then. In looking back over these posts recently, I fell in love with the magic of European Christmas Markets all over again and decided to share a few of them with you. 

the first up is Munich, Germany. there are so many lovely different themed Christmas markets in this wonderful city. I visited most of them in this post.

Christmas Market Roundup - Munich, Germany

There is so much I could write about this wonderful city. München is the city of my heart. It's where I made my dream of living in Europe come true. It's where my husband and I fell in love. It's where I met lifelong friends. I spent happy years living and working here, loving my job and my colleagues. I have never felt so at home in a city as I do in elegant Munich and it seems every time I return, I am always rediscovering it's beauty.

The lifestyle in Munich is unparalleled. It's place where you can surf in the Isar. Jump in your car, motorcycle or hop a train and in less than an hour you are in the splendor of the alps. The museums are incredible. Munich has the fourth leading art gallery in the world. It's the home of the Blue Rider school and the Lenbach house houses these incredible paintings. Besides all the wonderful art museums, you could spend a week just visiting the palaces and royal Bavarian jewels or tracing WW II history. The Englisher Garten is a wonder and bigger than Central Park. It's home to the world famous Oktoberfest and there is no better place to spend an afternoon in the summer than in one of Munich's biergartens. I could go on and on..

Christmas time here is especially magical. There are Christmas markets all over town Walking between them feels like one big festive event. I didn't get to all of them in the short 4 days I was there this trip but made an effort to visit some markets I have never seen before.

The Lufthansa terminal at Munich Airport is flat out gorgeous. Sparkling clean with lovely stores and conveniences, it almost makes flying a pleasurable experience. A lovely Christmas market is set up (with a skating rink!) for new arrivals or travelers who are killing time between planes.

Friday, December 7, 2012

German Christmas Treats

I am in Miami at Art Basel. There are few traces of holiday cheer here only the insane hype circus that surrounds this type of event. One of my oldest and dearest friends is on business here this week and invited me to come along for a wild ride. In between the insanity we have been having girlfriend fun but for the most part, aside from walking the show, it's been a  non-stop party train populated by celebrities, musicians, artists, art dealers and creatives types from every stratosphere.

We haven't been able to return to our suite at the Mondrian before 3AM every night since we got here. I've met so many fun and interesting people, the food and fun have been fabulous but Ima gonna need a vacation once back in NYC.

Deconstructed Key Lime Pie in South Beach

Last week I saw an article in Saveur magazine about Christmas in Bavaria and almost cried.   Germany is such a magical place at Christmas and this half Jewish girl loved every minute of that festive time over the 10 years I lived there. Even though NYC has it's own, albeit much more commercial brand of holiday magic, I really will miss Christmas in Germany this year.  So while I am pool side at the Delano (don't hate me) drowning my sorrows in Grey Goose, there is no time for baking, only people watching and networking. In order not to completely abandon holiday blogging,  I'm sharing with you some wonderful and delicious German themed treats of Christmas posts past.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Thanksgiving Cookie Platter & November's Funny Blogger Posts

Really? A Thanksgiving cookie post? How lame am I? Don't answer any of those questions. The month whizzed by with less and less time for blogging. It didn't help I cooked a Thanksgiving feast for 10 people and hosted it in our cozy East Village apartment. It was crazy but I loved it and would do it over again in a heartbeat. Some of our guests were my husband's colleagues from the UN and their spouses who had never experienced an American Thanksgiving before so the pressure was on!

Every year at Thanksgiving I use mostly other bloggers recipes for my menu. Once again I was too busing pulling off the mal to take proper pictures. So in case you are not totally over Thanksgiving recipe gawking/menu porn I've listed what I served below with links to the original recipes.

In addition to four other desserts., I made this cookie platter. I like to make big cookie platters for big holiday meals because it's nice to send everyone home with a cookie assortment. The macaron flavors were  sparkly gold shells with persimmon buttercream and chocolate macarons with chocolate espresso ganache filling.

Also included were candied pecan biscotti  (peeping out from the back of the platter) and pumpkin pie spice rollout leaf shaped cookies with royal icing spattered with gold. For the decoration I used a technique from Sweet Sugarbelle.