I've been taking this food photography course for the last few weeks with Anne Fishbein of the LA Weekly. It's been a great opportunity to force myself to take photos and to bake. It might seem odd, for someone who loves baking for it to have to be forced on me, but work has been quite demanding lately and, for me, baking is an escape that I prefer to engage in when I can enjoy the process. Having time allows me to tinker. It allows me to be creative.
Yesterday, I set out to make this recipe for fig vanilla shortbread with a honey glaze. But, there was also a pumpkin beer brew happening in the backyard that I assisting with, and by the time I realized I didn't have my camera (which I needed to photograph the process for a class assignment) and asked the boyfriend if he would be so kind to retrieve it (he was), I was already starting to lose the good light in the kitchen and there was a bit of a party happening outside. Given that I prefer to quietly bake alone and take my time when I'm playing (as opposed to when I'm producing an order - then, I blast rock and roll and move like a speed demon), I held off until this morning.
Tomorrow is Purim, the Jewish holiday that commemorates the deliverance of the Jews from Haman's murderous plot. To celebrate the foiling of Haman's plans by Mordecai, customs include drinking wine, wearing masks, reciting the Scroll of Esther, giving to the poor, and exchanging foods and drink. According to Chabad.org, "It is a mitzvah to drink, and drink to excess, on Purim...the concept of becoming intoxicated on Purim to the point that one’s reason is totally incapacitated is a legitimate Halachic position."
Tomorrow, the bf and I were already heading to Solvang and Santa Barbara to go wine tasting, so that's perfect timing!
And, while I'm not Jewish, my bf is and I love celebrating the customs of all faiths. So, in honor of Purim this year, I picked up some fun masks for us and made one of the traditional desserts: Hamantaschen ("Haman's pockets"). It's a triangular-shaped shortbread-esque (or non-dairy) cookie filled with poppy or fruit filling. I'm surprising him with them tomorrow on the drive up to wine country.
For the filling, I relied on this recipe from the New York Times
. After all, the article claims it makes "perfect Hamantaschen!" The recipe makes an insane amo...