Shortbread Thumbprint Cookies

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If you were to ask me if I had a favorite baker, I would tell you Gale Gand. She appears on random Foot Network shows from time to time, but I would believe that most people do not know who she is. Despite that, she is in fact my favorite baker simply because I have never, ever had one of her recipes fail me. I love the balance of flavors and ingredients that she creates. So when I went to try my hand at butter shortbread cookies for the first time, I did not falter or fear. And as always, I didn’t need to.

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Amy’s Whole Wheat Bread

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I think there’s something universal about the smell of a yeasty bake bread permeating through the house. It’s a delciously comforting scent, even for me, who never grew up around baked anything. I’ve been a little obsessed with homemade bread recently because I now have a stand mixer and because store-bought sliced bread generally sucks. I love to knead bread dough actually, but my weak arms like to assert otherwise. I tend to do most the mixing in the Kitchenaid and get in a couple minutes by hand towards the end.

So wheat bread. Sounds boring right? That’s probably because you’re thinking of the cardboard squares that come in plastic bags at the store. No, no, no. Just don’t do it! Putting the effort in yourself leads to a moist and subtly sweet bread that you can chomp on plain. I searched a LOT of websites and books for just the right recipe, but none of them really fit what I was looking for. I have this “talent,” if you will, to figure out whether or not I’ll like a recipe by just looking at it. Anyway, I decided to create my own based on the basic liquid to dry ingredient ratios that I saw on other sites.

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Thai Red Curry

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Alright, more Thai food! This week we’re looking at Thai red curry. Let me start by saying that curries are probably among the easiest Thai dishes that you can learn how to cook. About 95% of the spices and seasonings that you need come pre-made in the form of curry paste:

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Curry paste comes in almost every form of curry you could want: red, yellow, green, masamun, kanom jeen namya, etc. What I like about making curry is that while there are traditional ingredients for them, you can really make them with whatever add-ins you want, which is great for “kitchen sink” cooking. For this red curry, I used onions, mushrooms, and bell peppers.

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Thai Papaya Salad, a.k.a. Som Tum

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Ah yes, I am in fact back from my unannounced hiatus. Sorry about that! Real Life caught up to me for a couple weeks there and not a lot of cooking and baking were done. Good news is that I have a couple of Thai food posts for you, and then a whole wheat bread recipe coming up.

So Thai green papaya salad. If you’ve never had the pleasure of trying this dish, I urge you to do so. Now. In America, Pad Thai may be the most popular Thai dish, but I feel that papaya salad is *the* quintessential dish that defines Thai food.

Let me explain. Thai food is about balance. Sweet and salty; tangy and tart; spicy and coolness. Papaya salad has all these things. Palm sugar evened out with fish sauce, tamarind juice mellowing out lime juice, and hot Thai chilies competing with the chilled salad. It’s absoultely divine. And while the dish is easy to make, the ingredients may be hard to find. So how it was that I had almost everything I needed on hand is beside me, but I’m glad I did.

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