Are there people in the world (who are neither lactose or gluten intolerant) who don’t like mac and cheese? If there are, I certainly haven’t met them. Not liking mac and cheese is basically like not liking trees, or kittens. You may not be obsessed with trees or kittens but if someone showed you a few nice ones, you wouldn’t go, “Blech. Ew. No thanks. I despise trees. And that kitten is hideous.”*
I think I may have gotten slightly off-topic. What I’m saying is, for most people, good quality, home-made mac and cheese is a real treat so adding a bit of luxury to it just makes it even better. There’s something irresistibly compelling about a highbrow/lowbrow combination, right? The cozy thing becomes elevated, and the fancy thing becomes accessible.
*Nerd alert: This is completely off topic but I have recently discovered The Worst Cat Tumblr page and, I’m not even exaggerating, Matt and I laughed so hard for about 10 minutes straight, to the point that I thought I might need medical intervention. This is probably my favorite.
We ring in the new year with blood orange margaritas, combining the winter citrus with tequila, lime and triple sec to create damn tasty cocktails.
I know it’s a teeny bit late to say this but… Happy New Year’s Nerds! (Insert obligatory “I can’t believe it’s 2015 already and where the hell’s my hovercraft!”)
I think I’ve mentioned before that Matt and I have our New Year’s Eve ritual down to a science. Or an art. An art sounds better, doesn’t it? We make a fancy appetizer, steam lobsters, buy the crispiest french fries we can find and eat it all on a messy table lined with newspapers and butter drips. Heaven.
But this year we wanted to mix it up a little (imagine a middle-aged person doing jazz-hands when I say “mix it up” so you won’t be disappointed by what I mean). We still made lobsters and fries, of course (why mess with perfection?), but we went totally off-script with our beverage (that’s one of Matt’s hated words so I must use it as often as possible).
These buckwheat blinis have become our go-to new year’s eve appetizer – topped with creme fraiche and salmon roe, they taste as fancy as they look.
I’m sorry, did you not know that we Nerds (with Knives) are not only skilled in the art of playing video games and discussing whether the 10th Doctor was the best Doctor (answer; yes. Yes, he was). We are also fancy mother-effers.
Yup. We enjoy the finer things (she says whilst dipping a burnt tater-tot into ice cold ketchup. Organic ketchup.)
It’s true. Every once in a while we like to make something that feels extra special. Usually on New Year’s Eve, we buy a little jar of salmon caviar and make our own home-made buckwheat blinis. Now, I love caviar. It’s salty and briny and tastes like a mermaid’s dinner so one would think that the roe would be the star here. Wrong. It’s the blinis. They are so good. They have a lovely earthy flavor from the buckwheat flour but are also just a little buttery and rich. Honestly, I want to make them as pancakes for breakfast.
These salted caramel peanut butter bars – in miniature bite-size form – are about the best way to win over someone’s heart. They may also offer you their kidneys, liver and spleen. They’re that good.
This, my friends, is one of those recipes that goes there. And by “there” I mean to that place of ultimate deliciousness that defies logic and reason. It takes all the elements that make treats actually a treat and truly (madly, deeply) delivers what it promises. Sweet, salty, peanut buttery, caramel-y, chocolatey, cookie-ey. All in one teeny little salted caramel peanut butter bar bite.
I say “teeny little bite” because these are so decadent that I think they’re best as little bite-sized squares but honestly how big you cut them is up to you. I mean, if you want to serve them as two 4″x 8″ planks, that is entirely your business. Nerds do not judge. Well, unless you get your Game of Thrones noble houses mixed up. Then we are merciless and will never let you live it down no matter how many times you explain that the banners of house Tyrell and house Martell look kind of similar especially from a distance oh my god just drop it already.)
Crunchy, buttery phyllo shells filled with rich, smooth cappuccino cream. Make lots of these bite-sized lovelies because they will go quickly (if they even make it out of the kitchen).
I don’t know if it’s a weird inverted class thing, but I’m always hesitant to make and promote a recipe that sounds – let’s say a bit too fancy. I imagine serving it up to a family of simple Northern playwrights and gauging their reaction. Would my guests nibble appreciatively while explaining how the semiotic thickness of a performed text varies with the redundancy of auxiliary performance codes? Or would they prod at the food uncomprehendingly and declare that they remembered this town when it were all fields? It’s always in the back of my mind, that.
And then I found this recipe and thought, sod it, let’s do this.