I was born and raised in Kansas and learned to cook alongside my mother. Now, along with my wonderful husband, I have taken the plunge into the city life in New York. These are my food adventures: in my own tiny kitchen, and in the many restaurants of the city.

Showing posts with label Cookies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cookies. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What I've Been Up To

Been a bit of a drought here in posts lately. Feeling a little bogged down with the craziness of life (work, sister's upcoming wedding, friends in town), but have still been cooking! Lots of posts on the back-burner, but you can find a little of what I've been up to in a couple of other places.

The past couple of Pine Tar Press posts:
Cake Batter Crispy Treats

Tailgating Party Prep Tips
and Grilled Camembert Cheese

I also guest blogged for Everyday Desserts, featuring an open-faced sandwich of tomato bread with avocados and smoked paprika:

I also hosted Easter once again this year. Since I almost forgot about it and it creeped up on me pretty quickly we made it a pot-luck. I prepared a boneless lamb leg roast (with rosemary, garlic and orange zest), a vegan quinoa and beet salad (from one of my favorite blogs, Sprouted Kitchen), a couple of side salads, and a few appetizers (including David Lebovitz's Fig and Olive Tapenade). Friends brought an amazing array of cheeses, meats, homemade bread and beer, potatoes, vegetables, wines. It was a spread to be proud of.
Lots of laughs to be had.

 Will soon be back with new recipes, stay tuned!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Homemade Naan, Limoncello, and Oscar Goodies

February can be cruel to those who have made New Year's resolutions. After starting off strong in January, if you slack off at all on your goals February will make you pay for it by being a short month with fewer days to get in your efforts. This year I forced myself to stay focused to make sure I came out on top and didn't let this month win.

I actually got in two new things in the kitchen during February: homemade naan and homemade limoncello. Both are items that I have been telling myself I will make over and over again and never quite got around to them. Now that I have I'm not sure why I've put them off so long--they are both so simple and so delicious. The naan especially will wind up in my regular dinner rotation.

I used the recipe found over on Rasa Malaysia. The ingredients are simply mixed together, allowed to rest for a couple of hours, rolled out, and then cooked in a hot cast iron skillet. By covering the dough with a lid as soon as you place it in the pan you are rewarded with many airy bubbles on top, which you then toast quickly by flipping the pan over and holding it upside down over the flame on your gas stove top (the dough sticks to the cast iron with a quick brush of water before placing it there). Then you brush it with butter (I brushed mine with melted butter mixed with plenty of garlic) to finish and serve immediately. One of the easiest "breads" I've ever attempted. (and very tasty served alongside my curried chickpea salad)
Rolling out the dough
Covering the cast iron to help facilitate the air bubbles
Before the naan gets brushed with buttery goodness
As for the limoncello, the only problem with preparing it is having the patience to wait the couple of weeks before it is ready to go (and the patience needed while it is dripping slowly, so very slowly, through the filters to clarify it). I like the Serious Eats recipe for this refreshing Italian drink because I don't have a lemon peeler and it was so simple to just zest all of the lemons (the leftover lemon juice has been used in sauces, pastas, lemonade). This particular recipe is slightly too sweet for my tastes, but part of me believes this wouldn't be the case if I had actually been able to find Everclear instead of just using vodka (the extra sugar is probably a good balance for the high alcohol content/burn factor in the grain alcohol). I can't wait to try this recipe out with different varieties of citrus. And maybe gin instead of vodka?? (lim/gin-cello?? Sounds like a winner to me)

On a final note, I wanted to share the menu for my Oscar Party spread this year, as it turned out to be a hit (despite the party being a small one this time around):
Wild Mushroom Hummus
Baked Camembert (with Rosemary, Honey and Black Pepper)
Olive Sables
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip
BBQ Popcorn

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Olive Sables

Monday night I hosted a cheese making party for some friends. We gathered together with lots of wine, loads of milk and cream, and some old-fashioned entertainment.

We made butter, mozzarella, and ricotta and made them into a three-course meal. The butter we paired with radishes and sea salt as a simple appetizer. Then the mozzarella was made into a caprese style pasta tossed with cherry tomatoes, basil, extra virgin olive oil, and Parmesan. Finally we used the ricotta to create dessert by serving it on top of toasted bread topped off with a pear and honey compote.

To have something to start the evening off and nibble on while we made the butter and cheese I decided to make cocktail cookies. I had read about Dorie Greenspan's versions and had them pinned to my Pinterest to try out for my next party. They sounded perfect: barely sweet with a lingering salty flavor on the end. The ideal pairing to nibble along with wine and cocktails. The version I used is from Pierre Herme, posted on the lovely Fresh From Eva's Kitchen blog. Find the recipe here.

To make your own butter check out Saveur's directions here.

For homemade ricotta find a recipe at Smitten Kitchen here.

To make mozzarella get Ricky's 30 Minute Mozzarella and Ricotta Kit here.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Tried and True

As much as I enjoy creating my own recipes or only using others' recipes as jumping-off points when I cook sometimes there is nothing so nice as having a recipe that is already there in front of you to use. Especially one you know works. It takes away any guesswork and any stress that may come from off-the-cuff cooking. I want to share a few recipes that I have found around the web lately that I love and will be returning to again and again.

From Serious Eats: Quick Poached Asian Pears

From Baked Perfection: S'more Cookie Bars

From Vanilla Sugar (and maybe one of my favorite things I've eaten this winter): Mushroom Bisque with Crispy Shallots

From Saveur: Sauteed Ramps and Bacon

From Jaime Oliver via The Kitchn: Milk Braised Chicken

From Furey and the Feast (seriously, wow): Gorgonzola and Leek Creme Brulee

From Giada de Laurentiis: Chicken Piccata

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Ultimate Double Chocolate Cookies

Christmas really snuck up on me this year. I had every intention of baking like mad and making tons of candies and sweets and snacks. But now I'm only two days away from heading home for a week and just don't have any time. Hopefully I will make up for my slacking off in this department once January rolls around--I've got a lot of recipes piled up that I want to try! Although, I suppose my waistline is thanking me for putting off making all of these treats...

I did find the time to make some of these Ghirardelli Ultimate Double Chocolate Cookies to send in with Joe for some of his coworkers, though. I stumbled across this recipe in a Gourmet magazine ad and just couldn't wait to try it. I have to admit that the Ghirardelli Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe is one of my faves, so I was really hoping that this recipe would live up to that one. And it didn't disappoint. Chocolatey, rich, with just enough crispiness on the outside and a soft middle. The perfect type of cookie.

Ghirardelli Ultimate Double Chocolate Cookies
Yield: 24 cookies
12 ounce(s) Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
11 1/2 ounce(s) 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
6 tablespoon(s) unsalted butter
3 eggs
1 cup(s) sugar
1/3 cup(s) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon(s) baking powder
1 cup(s) chopped walnuts

In double boiler over hot water, melt bittersweet chocolate chips and butter. In large bowl with electric mixer or whisk, beat eggs and sugar until thick; stir into chocolate mixture. In small bowl, stir together flour and baking powder; stir into chocolate mixture. Gently mix in semi-sweet chocolate chips and walnuts. Using a sheet of plastic wrap, form dough into two logs, each 2 inches in diameter and about 12 inches long. As dough will be quite soft, use plastic wrap to hold dough in log shape. Wrap tightly; refrigerate at least 1 hour or until firm. (Dough may be frozen; thaw in refrigerator before proceeding with recipe.) Heat oven to 375°F. Unwrap dough; with sharp knife, cut into 3/4-inch slices. Place slices 1 1/2 inches apart on greased or parchment-lined cookie sheet.
Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until shiny crust forms on top but interior is still soft. Cool on baking sheet; store in airtight tin up to 1 week.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

A Chili Halloween

I hate being cold. I hate the way the wind makes my ears feel like they are going to explode and makes my head throb. I hate bundling up to go out because I feel really restrained and uncomfortable--it's like my scarf is trying to choke me. Every year I dread the coming winter. But then I remember how much I love being holed up in my house cooking soups and baking things just to warm up the kitchen. I think cooking helps me make it through those cold months. Plus there are so many things to make that just don't taste as good in the summer.

For Halloween it was time to make the first chili of the season. I love all of the different variations on chili, but sometimes nothing is as good as basic, simple beans and hamburger. I used to use chili seasoning mixes that I bought at the grocery store, but I figured it was time to make a homemade seasoning blend. I wasn't sure of everything to put in, so I found a recipe on allrecipes.com and used it. It was a great blend and I will be using it to base my chili mixes on in the future. I also found a recipe for homemade cornbread on allrecipes (after dining at the Delta Grill last week I needed corn bread). And to finish it all up I made pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, which I saw on ...And a Cookie for Dessert (www.brooke-cookiejar.blogspot.com/). I did half chocolate chips and half butterscotch chips. These cookies are amazing. I think now that we are out of them I may need to make some more!

(seasoning mix from allrecipes)
seasoning mix
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (I didn't use the flour at all)
4 teaspoons chili powder (I added extra chili powder)
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon dried minced onion
1 tablespoon dried, minced garlic (I used garlic powder)
2 teaspoons white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried parsley
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
for the chili
1 lb. hamburger, cooked (with some seasoning mix) and drained
1 (15.5 oz) can red kidney beans
1 (16oz) can diced/stewed tomatoes
1 (16 oz) can tomato sauce
1 small onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
Mix together the ingredients for the seasoning mix. Use 1-2 TB to sprinkle over ground beef while cooking. Drain the beef and then put into slow cooker. Add beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, onion, pepper, and the rest of the seasoning mix. Cook chili on high for 3 hours or low for 7-8 hours.

Corn Bread
(from allrecipes)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1/4 cup shortening (I used butter instead)

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the milk, eggs and shortening; beat for 1 minute. Pour into a greased 9-in. square baking pan. Bake at 425 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until bread is golden brown and tests done.
Pumpkin Chocolate chip Cookies
(from ..and a Cookie for Dessert)
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I used 1/2 a bag chocolate and 1/2 a bag butterscotch chips)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional) (I didn't use)

Combine pumpkin, sugar, vegetable oil, and egg. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and salt. Dissolve the baking soda with the milk and stir in. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and mix well.
Add vanilla, chocolate chips and nuts.
Drop by spoonful on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for approximately 10 minutes or until lightly brown and firm.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Fall in the City

Autumn is finally coming to New York. It is my first fall here in the city and so far I am in love with it. The cool air seems to have pushed out any of the strange smells that linger during the summer and brought with it a refreshing, invigorating scent. It also seems to help awaken the senses out of the summer grogginess and make me feel more alert and aware of everything around me. And my favorite part of all, it brings along the season for soups, hearty meals, and baking! Almost every day while walking in the crisp fall air I have the urge to run home and make some bread or cookies.
This weekend I was heading to a friends house for a house warming party and decided to bring them some banana nut bread alongside with some wine. For some reason it turned out a little more crumbly than usual. I don't know if it was because the bananas were not mushy enough or if I used too much flour, or if the recipe was just a little different than the one I usually use (I used the Better Homes and Gardens recipe, but while growing up I used Betty Crocker's). Either way, it still tasted just as good.

Banana Bread (BH & G)
1 1/2 c all purpose flour
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
1/4 t. ground cinnamon
1 egg
1 c. mashed bananas (3 medium)
3/4 c. sugar
1/4 c. cooking oil
1/2 c. chopped walnuts or pecans
Grease the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of an 8X4X2" loaf pan; set aside. In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and 1/8 t. salt. make a well in the center of dry mixture; set aside.
In another bowl combine the egg, bananas, sugar cooking oil. Add egg mixture all at once to dry mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Fold in nuts.
Spoon batter into the prepared pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 50 to 55 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove loaf from pan; cool on rack. Wrap and store over night before slicing.

Last night I decided I would try my hand at one of my favorite recipes from my mom, her Crazy Quilt Crust Pie. It's a mexican casserole she would make when we were kids and it was one of my favorite dishes. A slightly crispy, very flaky crust filled with sour cream and hamburger, refried beans and cheese, it is hearty and perfect for a cool fall evening. After finishing up with dinner, I had to try out a cookie recipe I found for Cappuccino Crinkles.

Crazy Quilt Crust Pie (from my mom)

(for the Crust)

1/2 c. flour

1/2 t. salt

1/2 t. baking powder

1/4 c. shortening

1/2 c. sour cream


1/2-3/4 lb ground beef, browned and drained

1/2 package taco seasoning

1/2 c. sour cream

3/4 c. refried beans

3/4 c. crushed tortilla chips

1 c. shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 425. Lightly grease and flower bottom and sides of a 9X9 casserole dish. Combine all ingredients for the crust and stir until blended. Batter will be slightly lumpy. Spread batter thinly on the bottom and thickly up the sides of the casserole dish. Spread refried beans for first layer on the dough. Next, mix together the hamburger, sour cream and taco seasoning and spread as the second layer on top of the refried beans. Top with cheese and then with the crushed tortilla chips. Bake for 25 minutes.

Cappuccino Crinkles (BH&G)

1/3 c. butter

1 c. packed brown sugar

2/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder

1 TB instant coffee granules

1 t. baking soda

1 t. ground cinnamon

2 egg whites

1/3 c. low-fat vanilla yogurt

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1/4 c. granulated sugar

In a large mixing bowl beat the butter or margarine with an electric mixer on medium to high speed about 30 seconds or till softened. Add the brown sugar, cocoa powder, coffee granules, baking soda and cinnamon. Beat till combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in the egg whites and yogurt till combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in remaining flour. Place the granulated sugar in a small bowl. Drop dough by a teaspoon into sugar and roll into balls. Place 2" apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes till edges are firm. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool.