Monday, July 30, 2012

Glazed Lemon-Lime Cookies

I love a tang in my sweets. Citrus provides a refreshing and bright balance to otherwise sugary sweet sweets. Bring these bite-sized drop cookies to a baby shower with a glaze to match the color scheme! Or, surprise your girl friends at the next ladies luncheon! (Or maybe just make a batch all for yourself ... but with these being so delicious, you have to share!)

Prep Time: 20 minutes     Baking Time: 10 minutes     Yield: ~48 cookies

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon lime or lemon zest (I used two Mexican limes from my in-laws' garden)
  • 1/3 cup lime or lemon juice (I used the juice from the two zested Mexican limes and then lemon juice we had frozen from last spring)
  • 2 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • powdered sugar
  • lime or lemon juice (I used lemon juice)
  • few drops of food coloring (optional)
  1. In large mixing bowl, beat butter with electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar, baking soda, zest; beat until combined. Beat in lime juice. Beat in flour.
  2. Drop dough by rounded teaspoons, 1.5 inches apart onto parchment lined baking sheets. The cookies don't really spread much. Bake at 375F for 10 minutes, or until the edges are beginning to brown. Remove cookies and cool on wire racks completely before glazing. 
  3. While the cookies are baking and cooling, make the glaze. In a small bowl, add a couple spoonfuls of powdered sugar, add lemon juice one spoonful at a time, mixing in between, until you get the right consistency (approximately 2:1::powdered sugar:juice). If needed, add more powdered sugar. Should be thick enough to coat cookie when the top is dipped in and not slide right off. Dip cookie upside down in glaze to lightly coat, turn over and let set on cooling rack. 
  4. Allow glaze to set on cookies prior to storing. If packing in layers, recommend a layer of wax or parchment paper (can use the same one you baked the cookies on) in between to prevent sticking and messing up your beautiful glaze!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Beet & Honey Goat Gouda Salad

Some nights are just not cooking nights. This particular night was one of them. Without turning on that stove in the heat of summer, try this salad! Salads are a great way to experiment with ingredient combinations. Be inspired to create your own tasting bowl of flavors and textures!

hearts of romaine, chopped
avocado, chunks
marinated artichokes, rough chopped
small beets, canned, whole
honey goat Gouda, slices

Monday, July 23, 2012

Salut d'Amour

Do you ever catch a few seconds of a song or a sliver of an arrangement that just sticks with you and plays over and over in your head until you find out what it is so you can listen to the rest? All I heard were a few measures of a violin and piano duet by Elgar. What a beautiful melody. With just that to Google, I found it. Please enjoy: Salut d'Amour.

File:Salut d'Amour.jpg
Thanks to Wikipedia, I learned the story behind this song which is equally beautiful to the melody:

Elgar finished the piece in July 1888, when he was engaged to be married to Caroline Alice Roberts, and he called it "Liebesgruss" ('Love’s Greeting') because of Miss Roberts’ fluency in German. When he returned home to London on 22 September from a holiday at the house of his friend Dr. Charles Buck, in Settle, he presented it to her as an engagement present. Alice, for her part, offered him a poem called "The Wind at Dawn" which she had written years before and which he soon set to music. The dedication was in French: "à Carice". "Carice" was a combination of his wife's names Caroline Alice, and was the name to be given to their daughter born two years later.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Newborn Buttercup Sweater

Trying out different tying and finishing looks. No buttons this time. Just two adorable bows. Kinda love this. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Smushed Hot Raspberries Over Coconut Gelato

I didn't grow or pick the raspberries. I didn't churn the gelato. 
But I did eat this delicious tart and creamy concoction and think you should too. 

Scoop your favorite brand of coconut gelato into a small bowl (dark chocolate with chocolate chunks would be delicious too). In a small pan, smush some fresh raspberries, bring to a simmer, turn off heat. If you have frozen ones, you could do this in the microwave and then gently smush them before pouring over gelato. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Garden Vegetable Lasagna

A garden overflowing with zucchini and eggplant means time for lasagna! This all inclusive lasagna is a great use of garden vegetables. With a sharp-bladed food processor, chop up all those veggies (no worries if you don't have a food processor, it'll just be more hands-on chopping). 

Ingredients (approximate measurements):
2 cups zucchini, shredded and water squeezed out
2 cups carrots, shredded
2 cups mushrooms, finely chopped
2 cups eggplant, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup sweet onion, chopped
32oz marinara sauce
9 no boil lasagna noodles
3 cups mozzarella, shredded
15oz ricotta
2oz Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
2 extra large eggs
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  1. In a large Dutch oven pot, on medium low heat, sweat onion and garlic with olive oil. Stir occasionally with wooden spoon. Add rest of vegetables, stirring occasionally. 
  2. Meanwhile, prepare cheese mixture by mixing ricotta, Parmigiano Reggiano, eggs, herbs, and black pepper. If you've been using a food processor for the veggies, go ahead and prepare your cheese mixture in the food processor as well. This will minimize tools/equipment to clean! 
  3. Return to vegetable mixture, add marinara sauce, stir to combine, simmer uncovered. 
  4. Preheat oven to 375F.
  5. Clean up some of your mess while the veggies do their thing.
  6. Using a large ceramic lasagna pan (I think mine is 10.5x13.25x2.5 inches), ladle about a cup of vegetable sauce on the bottom. Layer on three lasagna noodles. Top with a 1/3 of the cheese mixture. Layer on 1/3 of the vegetable mixture. Top with a cup of mozzarella. Repeat until all mixtures are gone. Top should be mozzarella. 
  7. Bake for about 45 minutes. If cheese isn't bubbly and brown at the end, broil for a minute.
  8. Let cool for about 15 minutes for cleaner cutting and serving.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Frozen Hot Chocolate

On this stormy Saturday afternoon, there are books to read, projects to finish, and rooms to clean. First, however, a tall glass of frozen hot chocolate is waiting to be made and savored. 

Ingredients for 2 Servings (approximate measurements)

  • 1 tablespoon dark chocolate powder (I used 100% cacao, blend of natural and Dutch processed)
  • small handful semi-sweet chocolate chips (or 2 semi-sweet baking chocolate squares, chopped)
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 2 cups crushed ice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Over low heat, stir chocolate chips until melted. The best thing to do is use a double boiler over simmering water but I just used a small pan over the stove. Add chocolate powder, cinnamon, and half of the soy milk, stirring constantly until pretty well blended. It doesn't have to be perfect because your blender will do the rest. Remove from heat. Add one cup of ice to blender, pour in chocolate awesomeness and rest of soy milk. Blend. Add more ice. Blend. If needed, add more ice. Serve and enjoy with a few chocolate chips on top and ground cinnamon if desired!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Cheese Crisps and Summer Storms

Sitting on the back patio, watching the rain fall in the distance come closer and closer. Listening to grumbling thunder...oh wait, or is that the grumbling of my stomach?? 

A cheese crisp with slices of banana pepper straight from the garden might do the trick. Preheat that oven! Ordinarily, I use cheddar cheese but I'm out of cheddar so Parmigiano Reggiano, it's your turn! While the oven preheats to 350F, I pick a banana pepper from the garden, wash it, and slice it up in thin rings. I'm feeling particularly snack-y so two locally made flour tortillas go into the oven. You know they're ready to pull out when bubbles appear (a couple minutes). Out come the bubbly tortillas, on goes a light dusting of grated cheese and slices of banana pepper, back into the oven they go. You can probably turn off the oven at this time because there will still be enough heat to do its thing. Pull them out with tongs once the cheese has melted and the edges are slightly toasty (a few minutes). Slice in fourths or sixths or eighths (really, whatever you prefer) and eat as is or with salsa. Grab your plate, back to the patio to watch the sunset!

Monday, July 2, 2012

韭菜盒子 (Chive Boxes)

Chive boxes are a classic Taiwanese street food. If chives aren't your thing, you may change your mind (or run away from someone eating this potent pocket). They're great for potlucks and are best fresh and hot but can be frozen and heated up in the oven later! 

Dough. Cellophane Noodles. Chives. Shrimp. Egg. All Together.

Ingredients (approximate measurements):
3 cups all-purpose flour and some extra
1 cup boiling water
3 bundles cellophane noodles
2 cups chives, chopped
1 cup uncooked shrimp
2 extra-large eggs
1T rice wine
sesame oil
vegetable oil

  1. First place cellophane noodles in a bowl of cold water to soak. 
  2. In a small bowl, place uncooked shrimp and add about a tablespoon of rice wine. Set aside.
  3. Then, make the dough so it can rest while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. In a large bowl, combine flour and boiling water and mix with a fork or chopsticks until it starts forming together and if cool enough to handle, knead with hands until it forms a ball. Cover with dish towel and set aside for about 30 minutes. 
  4. Gently beat eggs, add a pinch of salt to taste, pour into a large non-stick pan as if you were making a really thin omelette. Cook through and slide out onto a cutting board to cut into thin strips then again the perpendicular direction. Set aside in a small bowl.
  5. On medium low heat, add a little sesame oil and saute shrimp until pink and opaque (about a minute). 
  6. Add chives, cellophane noodles, eggs to the pan. Salt to taste.
  7. Assembly time! On a lightly floured surface, knead dough into a smooth long log. Divide into about 20 pieces. Roll each one out into thin circles. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling into the center, fold one side of the dough over, crimp the edges to firmly seal. Continue until you run out of filling and dough.
  8. With the same large non-stick pan from earlier, add a little vegetable oil, on medium low heat, pan fry chive boxes until golden brown on each side. Serve! If saving some for later, allow to cool on wire rack lined with paper towels before storing in ziploc bags for freezing or air tight containers.