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Bourbon Peach Pie

With the excitement of a giddy child, there are a number of holidays I look forward to each year. Christmas Eve is at the top, thanks to a spread of delicious, “winter weight” provoking foods and bevy of loved ones that come with an appetite. Thanksgiving is a favorite for similar reasons, but also because of the family traditions of a Wednesday night pre-game the previous evening and a morning football game before the big turkey dinner. And, finally, there’s the summer Saturday party I await every year: “Beer, Bourbon and Barbecue.”

Always my bourbon of choice.

Always my bourbon of choice.

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Quiche Lorraine

Last weekend, Francophiles and Philadelphians – the ones who weren’t down the shore, anyway- flocked to the Fairmount section of the city for the 19th annual Bastille Day celebration. Across the globe, the French people celebrated their national holiday with picnics, parties and fireworks. Here, the Eastern State Penitentiary led the neighborhood in a celebration worthy of a block party with a light-hearted reenactment of the storming of the Bastille.

As tradition would have it, local “experimental cabaret troupe,” The Bearded Ladies, graced guests with an hour long outdoor stage performance, emceed by an Edith Piaf impersonator. There was plenty of dancing and singing throughout the set, and Marie Antoinette mocked the crowd from the walls of the Penitentiary, and shouted her command to “let them eat TaskyKake.” On cue, thousands of Butterscotch Krimpets were hurled at the crowd below.

While we weren’t lucky enough to catch a Krimpet, I did make something special and French inspired for a weekend brunch – traditional Quiche Lorraine.

Espelette from Paris replaced the Cayenne in this French recipe.

Espelette from Paris replaced the Cayenne in this French recipe.

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Apple Hand Pies

Whether you and your family stay in the city to see your neighborhood parade and head to the Parkway for Welcome America, or you vacation at the shore to catch some beach time and watch the fireworks, the proud, positive energy of Independence Day is infectious. Everyone is doused in red, white and blue, and the American flag lines streets all over the country. It’s natural to reflect on the true meaning of the Fourth of July and something as natural as sharing time with our family reminds us to be thankful for our freedoms. Whatever your traditions on this patriotic holiday, it’s pretty much guaranteed you’re attending a barbecue at a family member or friend’s house and will be eating some pretty delicious food.

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Thin and Crispy Chocolate Chip Cookies

I am one of those people who prefer to ease gradually into the holiday season when the time is right, and I can’t bring myself to listen to a single tune of Christmas music until after Thanksgiving. On the other hand, I’ve been planning and preparing for our annual Christmas Eve party since September. There are paper lists floating around the house of ideas for our menu, ingredients and items I look for in the circulars, and I’ve even starting a rough draft of a timeline for the week leading up to the big event.

One long list is dedicated solely to the cookies I plan on making to give to family and friends as the holiday approaches. There are some standards, like buttery, spritz cookies and my favorite Snickerdoodle recipe. I do like to throw some curve balls, though, so I’m doing my best to find unique options that have have “wow factor” while still being traditional enough to spread the holiday cheer.

One can’t go wrong gifting chocolate chip cookies, and I am pretty loyal to the classic Nestle Tollhouse recipe. Still, curiosity got the best of me when I came across a recipe that focused just as much on the texture of the cookie as the flavor. Read More…

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