Day 17: Sweet & Spicy Candied Nuts
Recipes Day 17: Sweet & Spicy Candied Nuts

*This post marks Day 17 of Miss Ginsu’s 2008 Advent Calendar. I’ve been trying not to fixate on financial news, but I recently read a prediction that if bad news keeps rolling in, people may want to want to burrow into their homes and watch movies on the couch. They think the pricetag on going out might be a bit too dear for a tough year. If that’s true, and we’re all turning down the thermostats and stuffing ourselves into our living rooms, I hope we’ve all got good company and tasty snacks as we watch our Netflix or pay-per-views or whatever we happen to be watching.

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Day 16: Almond & Olive Oil Cake
Recipes Day 16: Almond & Olive Oil Cake

*This post marks Day 16 of Miss Ginsu’s 2008 Advent Calendar. Compared to cookies or layered bars, or — heaven forbid — strudle, a basic cake is such a simple, lovely treat. Just a few steps. Just a little time in the oven. Just a few ingredients. Cake is essentially just flour, butter, sugar and eggs, right? Well, as I discovered on last summer’s foray to Rome, sometimes cake is flour, olive oil, sugar and eggs, which is both delicious and a good option for people who need something dairy-free.

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Recipes Day 15: Brandied Caramel Sauce

*This post marks Day 15 of Miss Ginsu’s 2008 Advent Calendar. Seems like a great year for the home-cooked gift, doesn’t it? A little something tasty in a pretty jar. Something you can’t just get off a grocery store shelf. Something that says, “I didn’t drop a bunch of cash, but there’s a whole lotta love in here.” Last season, I recommended you bless friends and family with your own candied orange slices, citrus bitters, do-it-yourself vinaigrettes, a spicy tomato chutney, little lemon loaves and a tangy citrus curd, among other things.

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Day 14: Lemon-Ginger Bath Cookies
Recipes Day 14: Lemon-Ginger Bath Cookies

*This post marks Day 14 of Miss Ginsu’s 2008 Advent Calendar . There are those gelid winter days on which some part of me believes I’ll never be warm again. These are the moments when I pine for a wood-scented sauna, but settle for a hot, spiced bath instead. J’s mom makes awesome soaps, but anything having to do with lye is a bit terrifying to me. I also love fizzy bath bombs notmartha has a great post on that… I just haven’t been able to lay hands on liquid glycerin and spherical molds yet.

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Day 12: Cookie o' the Week… Citrus Pignoli
Recipes Day 12: Cookie o' the Week… Citrus Pignoli

*This post marks Day 12 of Miss Ginsu’s 2008 Advent Calendar. Welcome to the second Cookie o' the Week! Last week we sampled a Dutch delight, and this week, we’re moving south. As a child, I sold (and ate) many, many boxes of Girl Scout cookies. They seemed mighty fine at the time (especially the Thin Mints nibbled straight out of the freezer), but that was before I discovered Pignoli Cookies, an Italian confection made up of little more than pine nuts, sugar and almond paste.

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Day 10: Dough for Play
Recipes Day 10: Dough for Play

*This post marks Day 10 of Miss Ginsu’s 2008 Advent Calendar . Even if you don’t have kids, you may find yourself in the company of little folks around the holidays. And wet, mucky, sleety days mean it’s not so fun to go outside and play. If you’re anticipating small guests, (or maybe just playful older guests), you can plan ahead and make some homemade play dough for a nice kitchen-table activity.

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Day 8: Citrus-Ginger Fruitcakes
Recipes Day 8: Citrus-Ginger Fruitcakes

*This post marks Day 8 of Miss Ginsu’s 2008 Advent Calendar. If you were reading last year, you’ll know I’m batty for citrus around the holidays. It’s just so fresh and tasty this time of year. So this is a fruitcake I can really get behind. Essentially a buttery poundcake filled with candied ginger and citrus, it’s a far cry from the much-maligned shelf-stable drugstore version. Although most fruitcake recipes call for store-bought candied fruit, it’s really easy and economical to make your own, as I discovered last year.

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Day 5: Cookie o' the Week… Pfeffernusse
Recipes Day 5: Cookie o' the Week… Pfeffernusse

*This post marks Day 5 of Miss Ginsu’s 2008 Advent Calendar . For me, the holidays are all about cookies. I’m not sure why this is… perhaps it’s not such a bad thing to keep the oven on for a while on these chilly December days? Maybe it’s because cookies are convivial and easy to share? Maybe they transport well in one-horse open sleighs? You’ve got me. Whatever the reason, I like ‘em, and the advent calendar this year will feature a cookie of the week .

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Recipes Day 1: Welcome Cocoa

*This post marks Day 1 of Miss Ginsu’s 2008 Advent Calendar . One of the things I enjoy most about winter is that feeling of warmth and comfort that comes after being outdoors in the dank chill. There’s nothing like skating, or sledding or shoveling the walk (or simply bearing up to the driving the winter wind), and then finding yourself indoors — safe and cozy. It’s the “fresh, dry socks and a cup of hot cocoa” feeling.

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Recipes Day 24: Supremely Easy Lime Curd

*This post marks Day 24 of Miss Ginsu’s 2007 Advent Calendar. Welcome to Christmas Eve! The 24th has arrived, and if you had great intentions of doing anything before the holiday, it’s kind of too late. Why not relax and let go of unrealistic expectations? I’ve blogged about the thrills of lemon curd previously, but here we are in the middle of citrus season, and I’ve only blogged four times about various citrus fruits this month, and not even once have I mentioned limes.

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About Me

Miss Ginsu is a nom-nom-nom de plume of Leitha Matz, who worked at Tabla and FreshDirect in NYC, wrote about the food scene from 2004 to 2009 in Brooklyn and presently lives in Berlin. Occasionally seen on TV cooking segments, Leitha has also written for FreshDirect, contributed to Cee Cee Berlin, The Food52 Cookbook and has been interviewed/quoted in The Food Keeper as well as The Washington Times and Salon.

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