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Not a lot of talk on this one – Just a super simple, super delicious recipe for giant sugary popovers! These came out kind of like elephant ears (no complaints ovah here) and made an awesome breakfast snack for weekend visitors… Prepare yourself for David Leibovitz’s sugar-crusted popovers…

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It wouldn’t be Halloween without the following two words…

Caramel Apples.

Got myself a bushel of assorted unwaxed, organic apples – couldn’t tell you what varieties, but they were all smaller-than-the-palm-of-my-hand tiny.

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Halloween 2008 was one of the best Halloweens I’ve ever had (barring those magical pre-teen Halloween evenings in late 80s Virginia, spent gorging myself on candy corn and fun-size candy bars).

S, our roomie K and I threw the most epic, till-7-in-the-morning party at our Brooklyn apartment and I feel that such an event will not likely ever be topped. Everyone showed up in costume and laden with bottles. The music was bumpin, creepy decorations hung and Freaks was on a silent loop in the background.There were Hitchcockian references, chubby Asian superheros, Little Mermaid sushi and Zack & Lisa during that one beautiful summer. Yes, that was a magical evening.

So far, my SF Halloweens have been decidedly lower-key, but still super fun! This year, I thought I’d bring a little hint of NYC to my SF Halloween shindig by attempting to make the holy grail of NY sweet treats…

The Black & White cookie.

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It’s become a given that whenever there’s a holiday worth drinking over, S and I will throw a little party. Halloween, of course, is no exception! This year we kept it small, just a handful of be-costumed San Franciscans, a little Misfits/Bauhaus mix, S’s signature Samhain cocktail (Hot Dickens Cider… sigh) and a whole mess of treats.

I have a natural tendency to load up on the sweets when it comes to party snacks, so this time I made a conscious effort to have one good salty treat. Had a look around my pantry – saw a little cayenne, a little chili powder and a giant bag of pumpkin seeds leftover from my granola craze of late summer 2010. Spicy pumpkin seeds had my name all over it…

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Alrighty, so I had my bran flakes and was well on my way to full breakfast hippiedom. But a breakfast of just bran flakes would not sate my morning hunger. Oh no… there must be more!

And so… Coconut Granola!

Historically, granola has by no means been a favorite of mine… but since I was so pleasantly surprised by the sweetness of the bran flakes, I decided to give this a shot too! And this recipe was even easier… behold!

Started out by combining 3 cups of rolled oats (a whopping $1.25 at my local organic bulk shop) with 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes. The recipe suggested shredded coconut, but I figured the scale of the coconut flakes would better suit the application. Plus, you can taste the coconut so much more this way!

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When I informed my mom of my homemade s’mores endeavor, I was initial met with dead air.

“But Laurieanne,” she began, “why don’t you just buy a box of graham crackers to go with those marshmallows? They’d be just as delicious.”

“No way,” I heartily exclaimed, “I’ve already committed to the marshmallows… I MUST make the graham crackers.”

And so, because I am quite clearly a crazy person, I decided to go ahead and make those homemade graham crackers to go with my boozy, Lillet-infused marshmallows. And here they are… in (perhaps needless) detail!

Started out by gathering my ingredients… Whisked together 1/3 cup honey, 2 tbsp vanilla and 5 tbsp milk (the recipe suggests full fat milk, but I drink 2% and it worked out just fine!)…

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At the moment, I’m confined to the desk  of a low-responsibility temp job, cut off from the time-vortex comforts of my apartment. What better opportunity to finally tackle some of those back blogs that have been hanging around my drafts folder!

I’ll start it out easy… A couple months ago, I decided that I wanted a mandoline and that the first thing I would make would be potato chips (for its relatively inexpensive nature and crunchability). So I embarked on the standard research I perform when considering purchasing yet another kitchen gadget & attempting a new recipe. Combed the food blogs and the specialty kitchen stores.

After much deliberation, I finally settled upon this adorable little number, a plastic & stainless steel situation procured at Sur La Table for a mere $19.99! It’s completely collapsible (for easy storage) and can be manipulated for handheld use or it can be placed directly over whatever receptacle you choose. In a word: perfect.

So I had my mandoline and my recipe. I was ready.

Started out with two giant Russets.

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After the Spiced Pecans and Spicy Popcorn, I figured I wanted to make something sweet and lovely. I was already preparing oranges for my magical tart, so what better way to be super economical than to use the leftover orange peels to make Orangettes!

This was my maiden candy-making experience and I encountered a few snags along the way, but it really was fun in the long run! Now I want to make candy out of everything!

Started out with a couple of giant Navel oranges and cut the tops and bottoms off each one…

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This year, we decided to have a big bash for Spencer’s birthday – replete with updated/Laurie-fied bar snacks! It was a complete success! Almost everyone we invited showed up. Despite the newfound joy I’ve experienced in being the Hostess, I have a near-debillitating history of serious party anxiety. Up until a couple years ago (I believe it was our Halloween shindig in 2008), I hadn’t thrown a party since my sweet 16! I’d get myself so worked up assuming that people were too busy to come to my party, that I’d end up waiting to the very last minute so that it was almost impossible to have anyone over!

I’ve since gotten over that and realized that I know some pretty rad people who don’t want to incite any freakouts… they just want to enjoy something delicious and have a good time. Spencer’s birthday was the perfect example of such good times!

I decided that I was going to go all out… making everything from scratch, using as few modern culinary luxuries as possible so that I had to rely on my ingenuity and upper body strength. The snack menu is as follows:

1. Spiced Pecans
2. Spicy Popcorn w/ Hungarian Paprika & Marcona Almonds
3. Orangettes (Candied Orange Peels dipped in Dark Chocolate)

I also made a very successful tart, but that’s for another post!

Started out with the pecans, because that was the easiest and least involved item on the menu!

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I have been inspired to pickle. And not just cucumbers, but peppers and onions and garlic and radishes! I’ve never pickled a thing in my life, so now seemed like a good a time as ever!

I’ve the good fortune to live in one of the most spectacular cities for fresh, organic produce, so I headed down to the Ferry Building at the Embarcadero this rainy, Tuesday morning to score some of said produce. Ended up impulse buying citrus (which has nothing to do with my pickling adventure), but I also came across watermelon radishes, which I had never heard about until Ms. Mango & Tomato‘s blog enlightened me the other day. I also picked up a few bell peppers, a red onion, shallots and two little chilis.

Got my haul home and set to boiling and peeling, chopping and canning. I decided to try four different recipes and so far they all look really pretty! Can’t wait to try them all!

Here’s the process…

I started out with the watermelon radish, mostly because I was so intrigued… what the hell is a watermelon radish?!

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Hi, I’m Lauriebot!

I live in San Francisco. I used to live in NYC, Washington DC, and London.

I like to take the pictures.

I like color, excess, food, light, clothes, and going places.

I also like talking to people.

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