Homemade Soft Pretzels with Jalapeño Beer Cheese

Homemade Soft Pretzels with Jalapeño Beer Cheese

For a girl whose lineage is mostly German, I don’t do much to represent my heritage. I know exactly ONE German word (duft blatt, which means “fragrant leaf” or “rose petal”) but only because it was the AIM screen name of one of my best friends from high school. I’ve never had schnitzel and refuse to eat sauerkraut. I don’t even drink beer, the carbonation (as with Pepsi and champagne and every punch ever served at a wedding or baby shower) making it completely unpalatable, despite my many attempts to choke it down. Which may help explain how I went nearly 29 years without attending an Oktoberfest. Continue reading

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Pear & Ricotta Crostini with Honey and Hazelnuts + Homemade Ricotta

pear and ricotta crostini with honey and hazelnuts

When it comes to cooking, I seem to have a split personality. Sometimes the overly-ambitious, make-everything-from-scratch Chelsey shows up in the kitchen, flushed with thoughts of freshly boiled bagels or homemade strawberry preserves. She asks for ice cream makers and pasta machines for her birthday and doesn’t question spending $15 on a literal pinch of saffron. She gets up early for the farmers market and plans her weekly menu on lovely stationery, glowing with good intentions and Saturday morning optimism.

Then there’s the other Chelsey. Continue reading

Spanish Tortilla with Spicy Garlic “Aioli”

Spanish Tortilla with Spicy Garlic Aioli

The first time I met her, I thought she looked like a gypsy. She wore a neon orange peasant skirt that skimmed the floor when she walked, the objects inside her overstuffed sequined purse rearranging themselves with every step. Large silver hoops dangled from her ears. She flashed a wide smile, revealing a tiny and endearing gap between her two front teeth.

“I’m Tia!” She exclaimed, extending her arm for an anemic handshake our friend Bethany would someday lecture her about improving. It was probably the only weak thing about her. In the nine years that have passed since than moment in our college dorm, I have become well-acquainted with the ironclad opinions and unshakable resolve of Therissa (to me, forever “Tia”) Johnson. Continue reading