fake-cation to florence!

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Happy 2021!

I hope you all had restful enjoyable holiday breaks and were able to come into the new year feeling like your phone after a long overnight software update and super-charging session! (Hm… I’m going to keep workshopping that new year greeting…)

We had about the loveliest fake vacation to Florence possible and I want to tell you all about it before I scamper off to filming GMF (season 8!):

  1. We basically just ate a bunch of mozzarella and prosciutto all week that we splurged on from the fancy section of the grocery store (by the bakery, not in the deli section) and it was delicious. We even acquired burrata which I’ve never seen in a grocery in Grand Forks. That was a TREAT! We had it all week long with loads of basil and the focaccia and Tuscan bread from Emiko’s book.

  2. For dinners, we cooked through Emiko’s book and made a great brick chicken, lots and lots of beans, homemade pappardelle, and one of the best homemade pizzas I’ve ever had in my life. It was so simple, just San Marzano tomatoes from the can, fresh mozzarella, and basil… but the thing I loved extra about it was dusting the dough with semolina flour for some good crunchiness.

  3. We celebrated Christmas outside with steamy bowls of ribollita and the weather was perfect. Not that I love talking about the weather but if we’re going to be forced to socially distance on a wintery holiday, we could at least get nice sitting-outside weather and we did!

  4. Our Florentine art exploration included making a “fresco” with Bernie, AKA we taped a big sheet of paper to the wall and drew all over it with crayons and rubber stamps. We made a mountain scene with ducks, so many ducks.

  5. We took a “day trip to ski* in the Italian Alps**” (*sled on a giant inflatable unicorn, **on a hill in town)

  6. We went “wine tasting* all over the hills of Tuscany**” (*swing set testing, **playgrounds of Grand Forks)

  7. Had not one but two blissful spa days, AKA I sat in a coconut tub with a face mask on and read Adam Rippon’s book for the entirety of Bernie’s nap time. Then used a lot of cuticle oil.

  8. Watched some great TV on the “airplane” (couch), including The Flight Attendant, Bobby and Giada in Italy, Bridgerton, Wonder Woman, Big, and Soul. Wow, Soul.

  9. Meditated! I got the Calm app and wow my brain is like “Thank U, self!!” 10/10 recommend.

Where should we fake go to next?? Should we time travel back to the 90s and only eat pizza rolls and dunkaroos all week? Ooh that sounds fun… Alright g2g, figure skating nationals is on!! Bye!!!

-yeh!

bye, 2020!

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photos: birthday cakes for nick and grumpa / ugly hanukkah sweater dala cookies / graham cracker village / black sesame halloween cats! / bernie as elmo / one of many recent hotdishes / homemade gelt! / the splatter cake i made on drew barrymore’s show! / making latkes on the today show / latke nachos (lat-chos!) / pumpkin pies packed up for special deliveries / day-after-thanksgiving sandwich / thanksgiving / the donut cake from yossy’s new book, snacking cakes / snow and mitten / a random hummus platter / made pancake cereal lol / s’mores sufganiyot

Hi fronds! 

I just wanted to check in and say hi/happy holidays before we leave for our fake-cation to Florence later this week!! A fake-cation is when you strap yourselves to the couch for seven hours while you “fly” to Italy and then when you “get off the plane” you only eat Italian food and wear fanny packs and have very limited cell phone service for a week. We’re going to pretend that we’re staying at the Four Seasons Florence and only use tiny soap and then when we depart for our day we’ll map out our route based on what’s walkable and then choose our meals according to menus in the area. Is this deranged? On a scale from pancake cereal to breastmilk cheese have we lost it? Ok we’re not actually going to simulate the flight because can you imagine doing that to yourself with a toddler (!) but we ARE stocking up on Nutella and ingredients to cook through Emiko DaviesFlorentine, and we do fully intend to immerse ourselves in Italian art and music and, oh yeah, wine. I should set alarms on my phone to sneak chocolates onto Nick and Bernie’s pillows before bedtime. 

So that’s where we’ll be next week and I don’t plan on bringing my computer (i.e. I’ll do the thing I always do between Christmas and the New Year which is that I tape my computer shut with washi tape). But I wanted to tell you about some highlights of the latter part of our year!  As some of you have noticed on Instagram, we’re in a temporary house right now because we’re adding onto our home! It has been such a fascinating process and I can’t wait to share more details, but it should be ready sometime in the summer. So that means I’ve been writing Home Is Where The Eggs Are in a temporary kitchen which has been a highly informative adventure because I have an entirely different set of appliances to test recipes on. But we also miss our house so much! Being in a temporary house + this pandemic feels like walking in a never-ending ball pit some days but we’re safe and cozy and here are things that make us smile:

  1. I have stumbled on one of the great unexpected bonuses of having a child: Bernie loves brushing my hair!!! I don’t even miss going to spa days anymore, I just sit on the living room floor and Bernie says “comb! comb! comb!” and does this hybrid brush/pet thing on my head, it feels so nice.

  2. Our temporary house is more out there than our farm and yet there is so much life all around. There are three deer, two mamas and a baby, who come by at dusk and eat the apples from our trees. We wave at them from our window. And also a cat! Mitten. She comes on evening strolls with us and puts up with a certain someone who likes to tug her tail. Probably because she knows she gets post-soup chicken carcasses if she sticks around?

  3. We had a tiny but very tasty Thanksgiving. It was one of the few meals I can remember that didn’t revolve around testing for my book and so I didn’t have to sit down and immediately analyze every bite and bring myself on that emotional roller coaster haha… I could just use butter/salt/pepper and enjoy brussels sprouts, Alexandra Stafford’s stuffing, Hayden’s cranberry sauce, Sister Schubert rolls, smoked ham, lefse, Nick’s pumpkin pie, and more stuffing in all of its delicious glory.

  4. Bernie has become such a great help in the kitchen! We got her this thing called a Toddler Tower which is basically a really high step stool with a railing around it and she helps wash potatoes, whisk batters, dump seasonings into things, and just last week I put her on piping bag duty for our little graham cracker gingerbread houses. She ate all of the crackers that she piped frosting onto so none of them made the final houses but her coconut snowstorm did!!!

  5. We had a great Hanukkah in which we lit candles and read new books every night! The best book of all was this board book for Bernie that we made using pictures of her doing all of her favorite things (it is called “Self” because she loves looking at “self”). And we made homemade gelt!!

  6. So much soup. Always soup. I love soup.

  7. And so much Elmo. And then when it’s naptime, I watch that new Disney+ ballet series! It’s so great.

Ok that’s all! Happy holidays, friends!!!!!

-yeh!

bagel and lox aprons!

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Do you ever look at the colors in a bowl of pasta or braiser of brisket or plate of chicken shawarma and think, “Gee… this color palette would look AWESOME on a dress?” Or like daydream about a beautiful matzo ball-colored sweater with rosemary stitching and black pepper flecks all over? Or a tahini trench coat. This is what occupies my brain and this is what I’ve been having fun thinking about for months now in designing this new bagel and lox apron with my friends over at Enrich and Endure!! I’m so excited about it and today it goes on sale!

Here is what all of the linen colors and stitching represent:

The main panel is salmon, obviously, for the lox.

The red pocket is tomato and there is a chive cream cheese pocket on top of that because chive cream cheese is the best cream cheese (this small pocket is a great sprinkle tweezer or lip gloss pocket)!

The beige pocket is bagel color and it is a poppyseed bagel because poppyseed bagels deserve just as much love as everything bagels. 

The neck strap represents dill and capers.

The purple strap is for the sliced red onion.

And the dark brown strap is for the edges of a bagel that is toasted, which you’re allowed to do if the bagel you’re eating is more than a few hours out of the oven. So I guess if we want to be specific, this is a day-old bagel and lox apron haha. 

That’s it!!! Add it to every gift list this holiday season and enjoy!!! And get one if their very comfy, very beautiful face masks while you’re at it.

Enrich and Endure is based in Northern Ireland and they ship all over the world. Their quality is stunning (they make the aprons that I wear on Girl Meets Farm!), the owners are the best, and I cannot say enough good things about them. So go check out our little collab right this way :) 

Don’t like bagels and lox? Or just need more aprons?? Check out the rainbow and sprinkle aprons I designed with them last year!!


photos by Chantell Quernemoen

let’s ketchup!

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Let’s Ketchup!

And I promise I will not use the phrase “in these uncertain times” because if I hear that phrase one more time I’m going to pull my hair out. Which might actually not be that bad because a lot of it is going grey and it is in desperate need of a color. But, like, it’s a given that we are all losing our minds (?) so I’m doing something that I used to do when I’d lose my mind back in college and ketchup to you in the form of a… HAPPY LIST!

1. It’s gonna snow tomorrow! And it was the fastest sugar beet harvest in recent history so Nick is currently tucking the fields in for their long winter nap and then after that, it’s all Hallmark Christmas movies, all the time. And maybe some road trips, depending on how long Bernie will sit in her car seat and play with stickers and watch Elmo.

2. Omg, Bernie loves ELMO. And stickers and painting and playing with Play-doh and pouring vinegar into baking soda and eating smiley face pizza and crunching through piles of leaves outside, all of the typical toddler things that I can still remember loving when I was a kid. So each day with her allows me to relive awesome kid stuff. She’s also learning so many words. New words every day. And the pronunciations are next level. For example: she says “shirt” without the “r” sound, “walk” with a German “w” sound so it sounds exactly like the F word, and “clock” minus the “l” sound. Honestly thank goodness we are social distancing during this time of language development.

3. I’m working on my next cookbook! It is called Home Is Where The Eggs Are and it features all of the food that I make for our little family on a regular basis. No big celebrations or parties or deep fryers required, just really tasty cozy stuff, a lot of which you can make with a toddler in your arms. So far writing it has been a dream, it’s one of the great things that is keeping me from going completely insane these days. I love the subject of feeding my family food. It’s probably my favorite subject of all other than Bernie.

4. I’ve been consuming a lot of media (just like you probably?) and here are some of my recent favorite books/music/shows/podcasts:

-American Royals and Majesty: it’s basically if Gossip Girl took place in a world where America was a monarchy.

-China Rich Girlfriend: the sequel to Crazy Rich Asians. I never read the first book, just watched the movie over and over. I can’t wait to read the third book now.

-Very Amusing: a podcast all about Disney!

-Unorthodox: I know, I won’t shut up about this podcast, but their most recent one with Mayim Bialik was extra great.

-Somebody Feed Phil: I am late to this game but Phil’s happiness and energy is like a good espresso shot for the soul.

-Emily in Paris: freaking duhhhh

-Invention: This is an album from my old college friend Michael Thurber and Tessa Lark and it is for when I need something autumnal and cozy but can’t handle the strong emotions that Sufjan pulls out of me.

5. I bought yogurt dip n dots yesterday

6. We’ve been eating a lot of soup

Ok, well, I think that mostly covers it. No real adventures to report back on, other than going through the Starbucks drive-through. Oh! We did go hiking at Turtle River State Park and that was beautiful and delightful. But yeah that’s it.

What’s new with you??

Apple and Honey and Marzipan Rolls

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Host Molly Yeh with her Apple Butter Rolls with Honey Marzipan Frosting.jpeg

My concept of time right now is all thrown off, I’ve just gotten home from celebrating Hanukkah* (and I have the dreidels on my nails to show it), summer has decided to come back for a weird unwelcome encore (get away!!), and I spent all last week testing Christmas cookie recipes. And the tomatoes have finally decided to turn red. Have you ever had a tomato and mayonnaise sandwich for lunch followed by a piece of stollen for dessert? It’s so weird. I mean, ok, I can’t complain, it’s all good things except for the gross 80 degree heat but I am ready to truly immerse myself in the upcoming high holidays because I think Rosh Hashanah is my preferred new year out of the three new years that we do. I just feel like the fact that it happens at the beginning of the school year and the start of sweater weather makes it feel way more like the dawn of something exciting than the Gregorian New Year (which hasn’t really been fun since I was 22 and could drink a Red Bull and vodka together) and the Chinese New Year (which is delicious and great but January as a month is kinda a drag. And I’m too old to get envelopes of money now 🤷🏻‍♀️). 

*We just filmed the Hanukkah Cooking Championship for Food Network! It was a dream. I even got kinda emotional over the fact that there is actually going to be a Hanukkah show on Food Network!! The food was so delicious and the other people on it were the bee’s knees. Whether or not you celebrate Hanukkah, you guys are going to lurrrv this show. 

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Speaking of celebrating Jewish holidays on the TV (!), this weekend is the Rosh Hashanah brunch episode of Girl Meets Farm! Both Stoopie and my silly Aunt Cathy came to town to film this episode and it was a blast. I cooked brisket with my mom, made a celery cocktail with Aunt Cathy, and introduced Bernie to her crazy family. The recipe I’m most excited about is these apple butter rolls, which look just like cinnamon rolls, but they’re better because they’re topped with honey marzipan frosting. If you’ve ever thought omg challah baking in the oven is the best smell evarrr, try filling little swirly rolls of challah with a very cinnamony apple butter and grated almond paste and, wow, your pumpkin spice candle didn’t stand a chance. And then they get topped with a frosting made of marzipan butter and honey which is thick, glossy, luxurious, parve, and perfect. So you’re checking all of the Rosh Hashanah boxes with these rolls: Round challah? Check. Apples? Check. Honey? Check. A make-ahead situation? Check check. And marzipan, because a few years back I started including marzipan with the apples and honey tradition since almonds go so well with both apples and honey, and it just decided to stick around. They are so soft and fluffy and decadent and good. Exactly the ticket for a sweet New Year!


Apple and Honey and Marzipan Rolls

Makes 12 rolls

ingredients

1 c (236ml) almond milk, warm (105-110ºf)

2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

1 tsp + 1/4 c (50g) sugar

4 1/2 c (585g) all-purpose flour

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp cinnamon

a pinch of cardamom

2 large eggs

1/2 c (100g) flavorless oil

1/4 c (84g) honey

1 tsp vanilla

 

filling

3/4 c (204g) apple butter, store-bought or homemade

1 tsp cinnamon

6 oz (170g) almond paste, grated on the big holes of a box grater or finely chopped

Eggwash: 1 large egg beaten with a splash of water

 

frosting

1 1/2 c (192g) blanched almonds

1/4 c (84g) honey

Zest from 1/2 a lemon

1/4 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp almond extract

6 tb (89ml) almond milk

Toasted sliced almonds, for topping

clues

Combine the milk, yeast, and 1 teaspoon of sugar and swirl together. Let sit for 5 minutes, or until foamy on top.

In a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour, remaining sugar, salt, cinnamon, and cardamom. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, honey, and vanilla. Stir the yeast mixture and the oil mixture into the dry mixture and then knead, either on a work surface or with the dough hook, adding more flour as needed, until the dough is smooth and slightly sticky, 7-10 minutes. Place in an oil bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise for 1 1/2-2 hours, or until doubled in size. 

Turn the dough out onto a clean surface and roll it out into a large 18” x 12” rectangle. Spread it with the apple butter and sprinkle with the cinnamon and almond paste. Roll it up tightly the long way, and pinch the edges to seal. Cut into 12 rolls and place evenly spaced in a 9” x 13” baking dish (3 rows of 4). Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or let rise at room temperature for another hour and then go directly to the baking step.

When ready to bake, remove the rolls from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 1-2 hours, until puffy. Preheat the oven to 350ºf. Remove the plastic wrap and brush with the egg wash. Bake until the rolls are lightly browned; begin checking for doneness at 35 minutes. 

To make the frosting: Blend the almonds in a food processor, scraping the sides occasionally, until creamy and spreadable, about 5-10 minutes. Add the honey, lemon zest, salt, and almond extract and continue to blend (it may clump together at this point up that’s ok) as you drizzle in the milk. Blend until creamy. This can be made the day before and stored in the fridge.

When the rolls come out of the oven, spread them with the frosting, sprinkle with the almonds and serve.

Print this recipe

-yeh!

photos by chantell and brett quernemoen.