Chinese new year, for me, has always been about my late grandmother’s pineapple tarts.
The buttery cookies topped with sweet home-made pineapple jam are so firmly connected with the holiday that all other cookies simply cease to exist whenever the lunar new year rolls around.
As much as I love them, I don’t quite have the equipment at hand to make them this year, alas. One must still celebrate, nonetheless. So, in a pinch, I whipped together a batch of buttery shortbread cookies flavored with green tea powder I’d picked up in Singapore and had never used in baking before.
The result? A delicious springtime treat that I may just have to include in my new year cookie rotation in years to come…
I have the great fortune of living near Sahadi’s, a wonderful little Middle Eastern grocery in Brooklyn that’s filled with bins of dates and nuts and shelves of treats such as pomegranate molasses, Turkish apricots and three kinds of orange blossom water.
As much of a thrill as it is to walk through Sahadi’s on any day, given that you never know what new delicious morsel you’ll discover, it’s particularly lovely in December, when the usually crammed store gets absolutely packed with a shoppers and a frenetic holiday spirit that’s uniquely New York. Excuse me, there are meals to be made — out of my way! You going to get that box of tea or what? Hurry up! (OK, perhaps I am alone in having these thoughts — everyone else may well be imbued with saintly patience since it is the holiday season, after all.)
Being there always gives me that seasonal rush that propels me to the finish line that is our Christmas dinner, however. And this year, I picked up a little extra something I’d been curious to cook with: Poppy seed paste.
Summer always brings much to celebrate — delicious pies, sandy beach picnics, sunny farmstands plump with fresh produce.
This July, we have one more thing to toast: the second anniversary of Let’s Lunch, a monthly Twitter lunchdate that began two years ago when three women from Paris, San Diego and New York gathered online over a sudden — and monstrous — shared craving for BLTs.
Since that first lunch, the group has expanded — the Let’s Lunch bunch now includes folks from Paris, Sydney (yes, Australia), St. Louis, and more. To mark the many feasts we’ve had, we decided to devote July’s lunch to nibbly bits that that go well with champagne.
What to make? I decided to pull out an old favorite …