We must be dreaming. We are sitting here sipping hibiscus margaritas—a tangy and refreshing cocktail from one of our favorite bloggers, Christine Carlson—and are overwhelmed with excitement. In just a few days, we are taking a road trip with Christine up to Napa Valley to spend the week with a talented group of food bloggers from all over the United States and Canada (links below), hosted by the brilliant Teri Turner of No Crumbs Left. Aside from enjoying massive amounts of locally-made wine, we will be cooking together, collaborating on recipes, sampling Napa’s award-winning restaurants, visiting picturesque wineries, and attending a lecture by renowned photographer George Lange. Our adventures will be well-documented on our Instagram story, so join us as we eat and drink allll the wine in Napa. But before we head north, we want to leave you with a sweet and comforting treat to keep you warm and cozy all season long. Meet your new winter remedy, and welcome gingerbread hot chocolate to your life.
This week we were invited to participate in a holiday cookie exchange hosted by the queen of cookies herself, Rebecca Firth from Displaced Housewife! She invited seventeen bloggers to make cookies, then secretly send them to one of the lucky names on the list—our mystery recipient will be receiving a batch of these sweet treats we are sharing today! We spent Thanksgiving in Portland with family, and when we arrived back home, a surprise package was waiting on our doorstep! Inside was a festive box tied with a silver bow and a shiny red and white striped ribbon, and a handwritten note from Laura at Tutti Dolci, revealing herself as our secret santa. Nestled within were dozens of brown butter chai snickerdoodles, carefully wrapped in wintry white paper with red snowflakes. Well it must be snickerdoodle season, or simply serendipitous synchronicity, because we made a similar selection for our sweet submission: apple cider snickerdoodles!
After this weekend’s near-disaster, we will be giving thanks for hot water at Thanksgiving this year. We awoke Saturday morning to find the water pressure in our house had suddenly dropped to a pathetic trickle, which of course happened on the day we were expecting company. We had big plans to cook with our friend Soe, who was the winner of this year’s Saveur Blog Award for Best New Voice. His beautiful website, Lime and Cilantro, is filled with stunning photography and delicious Burmese recipes including the chickpea tofu he planned to make for the dinner. All this week, we have been cooking up a storm, testing new recipes left and right, and our sink was piled high with dishes from the night before. There we stood, unshaven and unshowered, in the middle of our war zone of a kitchen with no water pressure, and our guest arriving in less than two hours.
Extra! Extra! Read all about it! The crispiest tofu is sweeping the land! Say goodbye to soft, flavorless, boring tofu and brace yourselves for its superior successor. Our talented and dear friend Emma K. Morris worked some serious magic to create this newsworthy recipe, and was kind enough to share her secrets with us. Like many people, Emma’s dad didn’t like tofu, but she was convinced that she could come up with a recipe that would change his mind. She rolled up her sleeves, began researching and testing, tasting and retesting, determined to find a way to transform this bland white brick of coagulated soy milk into something that everyone will love. If you set your mind to something, you can accomplish anything—even the impossible—and that is exactly what she did. And her method is pure genius.
We just opened the windows in the house. All day long, the air conditioning has been working to keep out the dry November heat. It feels like we haven’t had a solid rain in years, and our jade plants that are usually plump and deep forest green are now wrinkled and starting to fall over. But as the windows let in the cool afternoon air, a comfortable breeze gently graces the house; outside, birds are chirping, discussing their evening plans in this last hour of golden light, while a siren in the distant city sets off packs of coyotes howling in the surrounding hillsides. As their chilling sounds climax, they all stop at once; it is quiet again, and this time the quiet lasts longer, and the house grows darker.