Sage and Rosemary simple syrups

Sage and Rosemary simple syrups

Every so often, I invent or read about or discover a food thing that I then become obsessed with. This week, friends, that thing is simple syrup.

Simple syrup is a fancy term for sugar water, and it’s typically used to flavor cocktails or other drinks like soda and coffee.

My simple syrup kick started around Thanksgiving, when I had a bunch of sage in my fridge that needed to get used up. I decided to steep it in a standard simple syrup mixture, which is typically 1 part water to 1 part sugar.

Sweet Paprika and Tomato Stew

Sweet Paprika and Tomato Stew

This week, I’m sharing another dish from my German heritage: goulash.

Goulash originated in Hungary, but it’s a popular dish in my ancestral homeland, too, and elsewhere throughout Europe. I’m sure they valued its hearty, warm qualities on cold nights.

And I do, too.

Goulash is basically beef stew, flavored predominantly with a certain spice: paprika. It is also tomato-based, and loaded with vegetables.

My grandma's Holly Wreath cookies

My grandma's Holly Wreath cookies

My grandma on my dad’s side was known for a couple Christmas cookies, and this was one of them — “wreath cookies,” as we called them. It’s one of my dad’s favorites, so we made it in our house growing up, too. I vividly remember eating the soft, pale green sweets out of an old cookie tin my grandma always seemed to have on hand this time of year.