I looked toward Per Se’s…

I looked toward Per Se’s blue door and — whoa! — my eyes landed on a thick wall of green, one side of a secret garden that’s been erected as an entrance before Per Se’s entrance. Frank Bruni examines Per Se's garden, including how you get things such as lemon trees and pineapples to grow in a mall. I've seen the garden in person, and it's lovely, if a bit odd and unexpected.

Making a gingerbread house

Photo by Flickr user Baslow
photo by Flickr user baslow

I'm going to be making my first solo gingerbread house this holiday season, and I'm really looking forward to it. The last one I "made" with my mom back in the early 1980s. The highlight was the trip to the candy store to get all the decorations. As I recall, it turned out lovely (alas I don't have pictures) and we all ooohed and ahhed around it for days. Then my mother packed it up for storage in the attic until the next Christmas. The following year, when we when upstairs to get it, we found the box open. Inside, we spied the house with huge chunks missing, pieces of candy broken off, walls destroyed. It was a ruin! Did a mouse get in there? Maybe a raccoon? What animal culprit was to blame? No animal, it turned out, only my little brother. My six-year-old brother with a sweet tooth so insatiable he spent the summer hiding in the attic, eating a rotten old gingerbread house.

So this year I'm doing my own, and will store it far away from my brother's greedy hands. He's coming to my house for Christmas, but I'll be keeping a close eye on him! I've got a design in mind, and a decorating scheme, but I'm looking for a great gingerbread recipe. Something that won't shrink too much and create firm walls. Any suggestions? And of course, I'd love any tips you may have to share.

Looking for a delicious holiday…

Photo: Julie Dennis BrothersLooking for a delicious holiday cake? This Peppermint Fudge Cake will have everyone raving. I made it a few years ago for the family for Christmas and it was a huge hit. Filled with a layer of airy peppermint mousse (made from white chocolate, whipping cream, sour cream, and peppermint candies), and enrobed in chocolate ganache, it's a decadent holiday dessert. Mmmm…I'm getting hungry just thinking about it!