The Dessertations

Two unfinished dissertations and the baking in between

Desert bribes

by margarkolb

Nick’s Emirati colleague got engaged. So I made these….

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Are we hoping for an invitation to our first real Emirati wedding? Maybe. But at any rate, I have determined that the world needs more cookies shaped like hearts.


Kale calzones

by margarkolb

I have a soft place in my heart for hot pockets. Before we started dating, Nick induced me to see the movie Jumper with him for two dollars and a hot pocket.


And even before that, Nick first heard my (admittedly terrible) story telling skills in action when I told him a long story that ends with a nice gas station attendant yelling out the door at my friend Elliott, “You forgot your pocket!” Elliott collected his pocket, but the happy ending didn’t satisfy Nick, who proclaimed the story inadequate on the spot.

These pockets were far simpler than that story. Jazzed up with kale and tons of onions.


And with some mini-pizzas on the side, for good measure.


Easy Blueberry Muffins

by Jessica


These muffins are easy. Criminally easy. Too-lazy-to-go-to-the-store-and-am-left-with-pitiful-contents-of-my-pantry easy.

There’s not even vanilla in these, it’s that easy.


And somehow, still utterly delicious.

Though I wonder if my enjoyment of these muffins may only be a result of the disproportionately small investment made in baking them.


This recipe was collecting dust in my mom’s kitchen drawer. I remember eating these when I was growing up in New Jersey.


So these muffins do also taste of nostalgia. And New Jersey.


Simple Blueberry Muffins:

1/2 c sugar
1/3 c butter
1 egg
1 1/2 c flour
2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
1 c fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 c milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugar. Add dry ingredients, alternating with milk. Fold in berries. Fill lined muffin tins. Bake 20 mins at 350 degrees.

Makes 12.


Veggie Burgers: Home-made bagels + beet burgers = bliss

by margarkolb

End of summer challenge

by Jessica

Peppers! Taken (the photo, not the peppers) at The French Laundry garden in Yountville. Plot after plot of heirloom tomatoes, melons, squash, and chilis rolling out of summer and into fall between the sunny hills of Napa. 



There were chickens and beehives too — sadly no pictures (fear of getting pecked or stung). 


Lemon-strawberry-rhubarb-poppyseed goodness

by margarkolb

What’s the magic ingredient, chief? We need a last blitz of baking before summer ends! (Also, final game night chez nous?)

Tomato Jam (together)

by Jessica

Aww, look our first co-post.

But enough sentiment.

These heirlooms have a destiny!

These are your lovely hands by the way — for future reference.




Reduced and canned! It’s quite sweet, so it might go nicely on crostini with goat cheese — something to cut through the sugar.

Tomato Jam (from Food52’s Jennifer Perillo)

3 1/2 lbs tomatoes

1 onion, diced

1/2 c brown sugar

1 1/2 c granulated sugar

1/2 t coriander

1/4 t cumin

1 t salt

1/4 c cider vinegar

juice of one lemon

Combine all ingredients in large pot, boil and simmer for 3 hours. Transfer to sterilized cans for immediate use (2 weeks), or use typical canning procedures with 15 min hot water bath for longer shelf life.

Summer glories

by margarkolb

I wish these were home grown, but they were next best…Berkeley Bowl.

Focaccia was a lot more work than my usual lazy-bread recipe. Nick woke up at 2:30 this morning for work, so sleep was in short supply. I nearly put olive oil in my coffee a couple of times.

But I diligently avoided it…I mixed…

…and I waited patiently as it rose…

…and I jabbed it with my fingers, and I gleefully dunked olive oil (not coffee!) all over it.

So far so good. But — sigh of exhaustion mingled with disappointment– yellow tomato, there was no room for you!

Recipe and a taste report to follow! See you soon!




Forgive me….

by margarkolb

My plum post is belated. But I obtained plums…put them in a row…and considered their destiny…just this morning. Image Plums of all sorts, including a home-grown one that someone from Nick’s office brought in.


They didn’t know it, but they were smoothie-bound. 


 Yes, plum-spinach-orange smoothies. With some frozen fruits for good measure, to make ’em good and chilly. 


What a good breakfast! 


Small sweet things

by Jessica

We hung out in Napa* yesterday. 



I love Thomas Keller for dressing up a brownie with a fancy name and giving us all an excuse to try it. 



Increased brownie consumption can only be a good thing. 

* Napa-ish. Including Yountville, St. Helena & Calistoga.