Butter

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Yes, I am going to dedicate an entire post to butter.

After slaving over html coding all day, I think such a celebration is in order.  (Don’t ask me to define html coding, because I would not be able to.)

The featured butter of the evening came from Trickling Springs Creamery in Chambersburg, PA.  I swirled a few tablespoons into a cup of cooked polenta.  Simple, peasant fair; but so satisfying.  Warm, comforting.  Crading my bowl in one hand, and wielding my spoon in the other, I took a giantic sigh and the day melted away.

Polenta’s natural nuttiness divinely pairs with the smoothness of fresh butter.  I’ve tried adding using olive oil in previous batches of polenta; flavors from the two ingredients do not balance each other well on the palate.

Wait!  parmeggianoThis doesn’t mean I do not appreciate olive oil.  I find that polenta is not the right canvas to showcase this ingredient.  Olive oil lovers, read on.  Your post will come soon.

Is it worth buying locally produced butter when grocery stores provide cheaper varieties?  Tonight made me a believer.  The fresh, creaminess of the butter paired with the slight tang of freshly grated parmeggiano reggiano made for a happy evening.

Html coding, move over.  Make room for butter.

The second, simple application of tonight’s star was a local product trifecta.  Our hero hails from Chambersburg, with impressive supporting roles by Two Gander Farm’s spring wildflower honey (from Fleetwood, Pennsylvania) and spelt bread from Philadelphia’s own Metropolitian Bakery.

Need I say more?  My tastebuds do not.

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Biscotti

Tonight, it was biscotti.  Tomorrow I’ll have another culinary fancy.  Folding the lemon-zested sugar into the lightly whisked eggs leads to a satisfactory evening in my book.  Chopped, toasted almonds and citris steal the spotlight tonight.  Hopefully my coworkers will enjoy this light European breakfast with their coffee for a Monday morning lift.

One tip that I found extremely useful, as found in Alice Waters’ The Art of Simple Food, was dampening one’s hands when molding the two logs of dough before baking.  This simple technique allowed me to keep an aesthetically pleasing shape to my project, but allowed me to actually feel what I was about to create.

Trying to avoid the tooth-breaking version of biscotti, I kept a close eye on the oven.  I’ll try to get a report from my baking-saavy roommate.

After much consideration (or lack of follow through), I decided to record my baking adventures. Often times I’ll experiment with an interesting ingredient (rye flour, almond extract, perhaps a generous splash of Grand Marnier), or I need to perfect my double crusted apple pie.Ralph's Restaurant and Sarcone's Bakery

I also enjoy getting culinary inspiration from local businesses.  This city is rich with innovative foodies, and merchants bringing local produce to appreciative urban- dwellers.  I adore the warmth that a market generates from the dwadling grannies and the meandering tourists.  The usual harmonica and guitar-playing man beside the door brings his own contribution to the daily buzz of the scene.  Though I never make out the correlation between his harmonica playing and guitar strumming, he brings life to this common meeting place.

Other times, I soak in the tranquility of sitting on the bench outside Sarcone’s Bakery, handling a fresh piece of pizza. The swooning vocals of Frank Sinatra from Ralph’s next door sweetly romanticize the scene.

-A