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I have been quiet around here. Well, not really, since my incessant coughing can be heard from miles away, or that’s how I feel about it anyway. If you read my last post, you know that I had the worst kind of cold there ever was and it seems that this coughing thing won’t ever go away. Is anyone else experiencing this? I’m really starting to believe that this is all a conspiracy. Am I a part of some crazy experiment I didn’t know about? I have been traveling a lot lately, and the airlines are most likely the culprit of this relentless cough.But the funny thing about this is that I have such OCD, and when I get on the plane, I am one of those people who carry antiseptic wipes, and I wipe everything around me and try to not touch anything. I am seriously considering wearing a face mask next time I fly!

But I digress. There is a better reason that I have been absent here: I was in New York for Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving, as I created a feast for my friends and their friends that were unable to be with their families. When my friends invited me to come up and create a menu, I was ecstatic! I wanted it to be different but still have a Thanksgiving feel to it. So of course, my first instinct was to create an Asian-inspired menu, and it was the best decision ever. Everything turned out perfectly and I couldn’t be happier. The menu was inspired by Joanne Chang of Food & Wine: Peking Style turkey breasts, Thai curry butternut squash soup, lemon & ginger mousse, and sweet & spicy walnuts with sesame seeds. I will definitely share some of these recipes with you at some point, but for now, you can take a look at some of the pics I was able to capture in between cooking, drinking, and gabbing.





Now, you would think this post would be about these recipes, but oh no, I am throwing you a curve ball. I am all about the mandarin oranges right now. Why? Well, mostly because they are around for a very short period of time, and for me, they usually kick off my Christmas mood. Can you believe it’s already December??? I feel like I say this every year when December rolls around, and then I get into a slight panic because I feel like I’m always behind on everything. TIME IS MOVING SO FAST!!! But regardless of how much I procrastinate, I am very happy that it is almost Christmas. I love everything about this time of year, from the lights and decorations and the Christmas trees, to the massive amounts of baking. It truly is the most wonderful time of the year. Everything about December is just…HAPPY.

So to kick off the season, I figured why not make mandarin orange marmalade? Not only is it good to have on hand, but it makes a great present as well. Plus, what better way to preserve these lovely oranges? But I thought I would also throw in some biscuits your way, because that’s how I jam! Being that it is the holiday season, I figured I would infuse the oranges with some holiday spices, and while in NYC, I had the best little mini black pepper biscuits from Red Cat, so I wanted to make my own version of those, too. So get your Christmas music going, drink that eggnog, and make these!
Brown Butter Biscuits with Cardamom and Black Pepper






Mandarin Orange Marmalade + Brown Butter Cardamom w/ Black Pepper Biscuits

(click here for Full Grocery List)

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon ground cardamom
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
¾ teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon black ground pepper
¾ cups of half and half
1 egg (for eggwash)

Approximately 20 mandarin (clementine) oranges
5 1/2 cups of sugar
4 cups of water
2 cinnamon sticks
2 star anise
4 cloves
Approximately an inch of fresh ginger


1. Fill a large pan halfway with cold tap water and set aside.
2. In a small saucepan, slowly brown the butter over medium heat. Be sure to stir constantly. Once the sides and bottom starts to become a rich brown, remove from heat and place the saucepan on the water bath to cool off and stop the cooking process.
3. Add the ground cardamom to the brown butter and stir well. Let it cool.
4. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
5. Combine the dry ingredients, including the black pepper in a large bowl with a whisk, then stir in the brown butter mixture.
6. Add the half and half and mix until it forms into a thick dough.
7. On a floured surface, turn the dough and knead about 2-3 times until it forms into a ball.
8. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough to about ½ inch think.
9. Cut out the dough with a cookie cutter or a narrow drinking glass and place on the prepared cookie sheet.
10. Gather remaining dough and form into a ball and repeat until the rest of the dough is gone.
11. Brush the tops of the biscuits with an egg wash and bake for 12-14 minutes.

1. Wash the oranges and remove the stems.
2. Cut the oranges crosswise and slice them thinly (peel and all).
3. Place the spices in a cheese cloth and tie it tightly.
4. Place the sliced oranges and spices in a large pot and pour the water. Let it boil then reduce to medium heat and let it boil for about 20 minutes.
5. Add the sugar and increase the heat to medium high and keep stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved. Let it boil while stirring often until it thickens. This could take up from 45 minutes to an hour. Once it is thick, transfer to airtight containers or mason jars. Cover tightly and let it cool.








Full Grocery List

1 pint half and half
unsalted butter
all-purpose flour
baking powder
Ground black pepper
Sea salt
Ground cardamom
cinnamon sticks
star anise
fresh ginger
20 mandarin (clementine) oranges