By and large, I'm pretty easy going. When the fellow downstairs behaves like a caveman, I breathe deeply and visualize him travelling by local train in Bombay, preferably, the 5:42 Thana slow, suitably squelched between sweaty bodies, with a eunuch or two thrown in for good measure. At the four way stop by Wegman's, I let the silver Mercedes, the Chevy Surburban and even the 1988 Corolla zip past me. I have, on occasion, been known to forego the last m&m in the dispenser.
To summarize, gentle reader, there are times when I radiate easy-going-ness.
I can take life's little annoyances in my stride, but please god, every once in a while, show me something perfect. Show me something that makes me shrug the annoyances away. Yes, there are times, when nothing short of perfection is good enough.
It was in this notoriously nit-picky mood that I stumbled on The Sweet Life: Desserts from The Chanterelle by Kate Zuckerman. This is a book that means business. From the minute, you set eyes on it,you know this is one that has both, style and substance, with plenty to spare.
I glanced at the back flap which has a picture of Kate Zuckerman. Forgive me for meandering, but it is a very well-conceived picture. I tend to trust and respect women who wear very little make up far more than perfectly made up women!! Natural poise is vastly superior to contrived elegance. Their relaxed confidence says to me, "I don't need to dress to impress".
As I glanced at her recipe for Hazelnut shortbread, my capricious imagination did a quick fouetté and the idea for pistachio-cardamom shortbread was born. I will admit that this is not one of the recipes you can whip up on a whim. It was a fair bit of elbow grease. But then again, sometimes nothing short of perfection is good enough.
The results were gratifying. I bow my head in homage to Kate Zuckerman. The strength of this confection is its simplicity. The combination of pistachio and butter is rich. Holds its own and yet, will cavort gracefully with tea or coffee. What brown person can deny pistachio a little cardamom! I put just enough to make it intriguing. Cute little squares, appropriate for gifting and such festive endeavors.