Three Culinary Surprises from New Year’s Eve

My house was rocking on New Year’s Eve, but it’s not what you think.  This had to be one of the best places to be in suburbia because of some amazing food, none of which I made!

First, my sister in-law, Susan, walked into the kitchen bearing the BEST baklava I have ever tasted.  Frankly, it was even better than the stuff I had in Greece.  She had used pistachios and pecans in this baklava, my two most favorite nuts.  The crust was beautifully layered and was soaked with sweet honey.  Just look at this!

As if the baklava bounty wasn’t enough, my daughter, Tricia, showed up with peppermint macarons (NOT to be confused with macaroons…two totally different things).  Tricia has been going to culinary school and has recently become intrigued with learning how to make macarons.  Let me tell you something, these were amazing.  Let me tell you something else…I will never even attempt to make these.  Literally, one stroke too many can ruin the texture of these pastries.  Macarons are made from almond flour, egg whites, and sugar.  They have a smooth delicately crunchy top, a ruffled middle called a ‘foot’, and a flat base.  Two cookies are sandwiched together with a filling in between.  Tricia used a buttercream filling in some of them and a white chocolate filling in others.  If you have never had a macaron, oh, goodness, go find a place that makes them or order them off of the internet or do SOMETHING and try one.

My final delite was opening a bottle of balsamic vinegar that John and I brought back from our last night in Italy.  We were staying in the Hilton in Venice (be awed, but don’t think we’re rich.  The price of the hotel was included in a killer deal we had gotten on a Mediterranean cruise because we had booked a year and half before the cruise date.)  I had no idea that ‘vinegar’ could taste so rich and sweet.  This balsamic was absolute nectar.

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