Chewy Salted Butterscotchies

Chewy Salted Butterscotchies

I was the best Bluebird in my troop, at least when it came to candy sales. I don’t remember most of what I did as a Bluebird, but I have vivid memories of shilling treats, the awards I earned for my sales numbers, and the resulting “jamboree” I got to attend. Some people grow up as a Boy Scout or a Girl Scout, but I was a Camp Fire Kid. Every January, we sold a variety of treats (our big sellers were mint patties, some turtle clusters, and Almond Roca), door-to-door or seated at a card table in front of the local grocery store. My parents—either genius or negligent—allowed me to peddle my goods during a snowstorm, which led to extremely high sales and a staggering quantity of hot chocolate in my belly.

But I also pulled a shift at the Safeway down the street, where I attempted to convince a passerby that she needed some candy. “Oh no, thank you, I couldn’t,” she said. “Have you ever tried Almond Roca? It’s really, really good,” I replied, attempting to appeal to her sense of culinary adventure. “Oh, it’s delicious…” “It’s only $3 a box! Or two for $5!”

“Yes, but if I buy them, then I’ll eat them.”

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Make-Ahead Taco Salad: Perfect for lunch or dinner

Great for lunch or dinner, vegetarians or omnivores!
The other day, I posted this on Facebook: Fact: Taco salad is the best salad. Not a single person dissented; many agreed quite vocally. Seriously, what’s not to love? Taco salad can feel somewhat virtuous (though frequently it’s far from it), it’s a little more kicky than your usual garden greens, and it’s fairly customizable. One complaint I often hear about eating salad for lunch is that you wind up hungry by 3pm. Not so with a taco salad! There’s so much happening in there, so many good, filling ingredients, that you’ll be satisfied till supper.

When I was growing up, we’d often have taco salad for dinner. Matthew and I loved this meal and happily ate it out of an enormous salad bowl in which Papa tossed everything together, but if you have fussy little ones, it’s easy to do individual plates of taco salad, omitting the undesirable ingredients as needed. Feeding a crowd? For heaven’s sake, make a taco salad! I’ve yet to meet a person who was not delighted by the appearance of a bowl of these Mexi-ish greens.

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Homemade Vanilla Extract: Laziest Gift Ever

The easiest, laziest gift everLast year, I asked my food-loving friend Lauren if she’d like to undertake a culinary project with me. When I was small, my family made big-batch gifts all the time—jars and jars of homemade pickles or jam, preserved bounty from our garden, etc.—and often my Papa and Dede make ambitious trios for Christmas presents. One year: chili oil, Worcestershire sauce, raspberry vinegar. Another year: chili powder (Papa smoked the chiles), Herbes de Provence (Dede picked and dried the lavender), curry powder (Papa toasted and ground all the spices). Clearly, this is in my blood, but I live in New York City. Storage space is tight and I live far from at least half the intended recipients. A food gift seemed unmanageable. READ MORE

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