Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Maque Choux



MAQUE CHOUX
Adapted from "Cuisine Grilling"

I was always the kid who you had to threaten to get her to eat her veggies. So when I started eating veggies more as an adult(trust me, there's a long way to go) my family nearly passed out from the shock. But in my defense, growing up veggies were out of a can as was. No seasoning, no sauces..really no taste. So, discovering that veggies were not the culinary evil I had always thought was a culinary revelation.

Now, adding a cup of cream and bacon is probably not the healthiest way to eat veggies, but let's remember, at least I'm eating them. And they are yummy.

INGREDIENTS

4 strips thick sliced bacon, diced
3/4 cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup diced onion
1/4 cup dry sherry
4 cups veggies(I used corn and french cut green beans)
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp tabasco sauce (I skipped this as I had none)
1/2 cup thinly sliced scallions (optional..as in I forgot)

Sautee bacon in large skillet over medium heat until crisp; pour off all but 1 tbsp drippings. Add bell pepper and onion; cook until soft about 5 minutes.

Deglaze skillet with sherry, simmer until liquid is nearly evaported, scraping up bits from bottom of pan. Stir in veggies, cream and tabasco; simmer until thickened, 3-4 minutes. Season corn with salt and pepper, then stir in scallions. Serves 4.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Tipsy Steak


Tipsy Steak
Adapted from "Cuisine Grilling"

I so wanted to make this recipe as it was called for in the magazine...I mean, what's not to like about a recipe called "Drunken Pork Kebobs". But as I did not have any pork tenderloin and I did have some thawed steak in the fridge, logic reared it's ugly head and I,  actually cooked something that didn't involve (a lot of) sugar and did involve something legitimately nutritious.

This makes a wonderful glaze/sauce. If I was allowed to grill on my balcony (fire code in my village says no, neighbors do it anyway and I'm a coward with things like that) this would be even better than it was with the foreman grill. The recipe called for pureeing the sauce but I skipped the step as I liked the slight crunch the onions gave to the sauce.

INGREDIENTS
1 cup diced onion
3 tbsp butter
3/4 cup ketchup
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup bourbon whiskey (I used scotch)
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
2 tbsp worcestershire sauce

Sautee onion in butter in a saucepan over medium heat until soft, 4-5 minutes. Stir in remainder of ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Cool slightly. Puree if wanted with hand blender, and set aside half the sauce for serving.

Baste steak with sauce. Grill for 3-4 minutes (approximate), turn meat and baste again. Grill until done to your preference. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving with reserved sauce.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

BB: Jam Thumbprint Cookies



This weeks recipe for the Barefoot Bloggers is Jam Thumbprint cookies, chosen by  Cassandra of Foodie with Little Thyme.

I have been trying to successfully make a jam thumbprint cookie for awhile now. My best friend from grade school makes a lethal one and I have tried my hand, somewhat (okay a lot) less successfully. Which is why I was glad this recipe was chosen as I figured Ina would have a cookie that knocked everything else out of the park.

Now I rarely meet a cookie that I didn't like. I have met a few that I've been relatively indifferent to and unfortunately, this were one of them. Poor cookie..it might not have entirely been it's fault considering I had to make an emergency substitution of Nutella for the jam when I knocked the jar off the counter and it shattered into tiny little pieces all over my floor. Considering the crappy weather, Nutella was the second place runner up.

I had problems with this recipe overall. It was a pain to roll the dough together into a disc for refrigeration. Also, I didn't like the coconut with the cookie dough too much...it just gave it an odd, rustic appearance that wasn't really my thing. Taste wise, it was decent. But considering the millions of cookie recipes that are floating around in the world today, I can't see making this twice when there's so much more to explore in the culinary world.

My overall grade...a B-. It was chewy and I liked the taste mostly of the cookie because it reminded me of shortbread (well with 3 sticks of butter it's hard for it not to). Please check out the other bakers over at Barefoot Bloggers, most of who raved about it enthusiastically as every cookie deserves a fair shot. It just may not have been my "thing."

Now my coworkers did really like these when I bought them in so this was definitely a personal issue with me. Although I'll have to admit that they did taste a little yummier the day after so maybe it may have just been a question of letting the flavors deepen a little more. 


JAM THUMBPRINT COOKIES - INA GARTEN

Ingredients


  • 3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
  • 7 ounces sweetened flaked coconut
  • Raspberry and/or apricot jam

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until they are just combined and then add the vanilla. Separately, sift together the flour and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the creamed butter and sugar. Mix until the dough starts to come together. Dump on a floured board and roll together into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.
Roll the dough into 1 1/4-inch balls. (If you have a scale they should each weigh 1 ounce.) Dip each ball into the egg wash and then roll it in coconut. Place the balls on an ungreased cookie sheet and press a light indentation into the top of each with your finger. Drop 1/4 teaspoon of jam into each indentation. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the coconut is a golden brown. Cool and serve.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

TCS: Banana Cake with Chocolate Frosting



This month's recipe for the Cake Slice Bakers was "Banana Cake with Chocolate Frosting."

In one word: yummy.

I would definitely make this cake again. However, I cannot have this cake in my house ever again. Not without guests at least who will make a promise in writing to eat the rest of it for me or take it home with them. It is just that good.Seriously. You won't regret making this. Fortunately for me, I halved the recipe and made mini square cakes out of it to limit how much of it I could eat.

I've had some limited successes with past months cakes from "Southern Cakes".  Sometimes the frosting was good, sometimes the cake was good but the key point is good. They were good. They were not great. This cake was great. For me at least. The cake was incredibly moist and tasted wonderful on it's own. The frosting, which I modified slightly by adding less powdered sugar to it to limit the sweetness, was wonderful on its own. In fact I had to throw the rest of it out to avoid eating it by itself. Together they were amazing.

I made the cake as is which is a amazing feat of its own. The frosting I modified slightly as I added only one cup of powdered sugar so I ended up more with a thick glaze that still tasted wonderful despite forgetting to add the vanilla extract. 


Banana Cake with Chocolate Frosting
(Recipe from Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott)
Banana Cake
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
¾ cup (1½ sticks) butter, softened
1½ cups sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup buttermilk*
1½ cups mashed ripe banana

Chocolate Frosting
½ cup (1 stick) butter
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/3 cup evaporated milk or half-an-half
4 cups sifted confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

* If you don’t have buttermilk you can make your own by stirring 1½ teaspoons of vinegar or lemon juice into ½ cup of milk and leaving for 10 minutes.

To make the cake, heat the oven to 350F. Grease and flour two 9 inch cake pans. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and stir with a fork to combine well.

In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugar and beat well, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one by one, and then the vanilla. Beat well for 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl occasionally until you have a smooth batter.

Using a large spoon, stir in half the flour just until it disappears into the batter. Stir in the buttermilk and then the remaining flour the same way. Quickly and gently fold in the mashed banana and then divide the batter between the 2 cake pans.

Bake at 350F for 25 to 30 minutes until the cakes are golden brown, spring back when touched lightly in the centre, and begin to pull away from the sides of the pan.

Cool for 10 minutes in the pans on wire racks. Then turn out onto the racks to cool completely.

To make the frosting, combine the butter, cocoa and evaporated milk in a medium saucepan. Place over medium heat and bring to a gentle boil. Cook, stirring often for about 5 minutes, until the cocoa dissolves into a dark shiny essence. Remove from the heat and stir in the confectioners sugar and vanilla. Beat with a mixer at low speed until you have a thick smooth frosting.

To complete the cake, place one layer, top side down, on a cake plate and spread about 1 cup of frosting evenly over the top. Cover with the second layer placed top side up. Spread the rest of the frosting evenly first over the sides and then covering the top of the cake.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Cooking Italy: Ricotta Fritters

I'm a fairly new covert to recipes involving ricotta cheese. I had been introduced to it some months back by a some of the recipes Palidor over at  Crazy Asian Gal had been posting on her blog. Just one of those ingredients that I never much got into just because of a very limited exposure to it. So when I realized that this recipe was fairly easy not to mention involved honey, one of my favorite versions of sugar, I figured I had to try it. And as my sister was in town, I had a victim (I mean a taste tester) to eat half of them so it if was very good, I wouldn't have to worry about eating them all by myself.

I made this and the lamb chops on the same weekend, pretty much clearing out my supply of canola/vegetable oil in my house.And for the most part, I did like them. Maybe because I have such a massive sweet tooth I was taken aback at how mild the sweetness was. Probably closer to what I should be eating to retrain my taste buds to enjoy more subtle flavors. I thought the fritter itself was wonderfully light in texture and flavor.I think I might also try to add a little more lemon zest next time to give it a bit more pop on the taste buds or maybe even sprinkle a bit of cinnamon into the fritter dough itself before frying it. 

RICOTTA FRITTERS (MARCELLA HAZAN)
1/2 lb fresh ricotta
2 eggs
1/3 cup flour
1  1/2 tbsp butter, softened to room temperature
Peel of one lemon grated
salt 
vegetable oil
Honey

Place ricotta in bowl and crumble. Break eggs into bowl andmix with ricotta. Add flour a little at a time, working it into the ricotta/egg mixture. Add butter,lemon peel and pinch of salt and mix until evenly combined. 

Rest batter for 2 1/2 hours (no longer than 3 1/2 hours - why? She didn't say.)

Pour oil to come up 1/2 inch of pan you are using. Turn heat to medium high. Drop dough into hot oil. Flip in pan when golden brown on one side. Turn heat down if fritters are NOT puffing. Transfer with slotted spoon to cooling rack to drain. Drizzle honey and serve hot.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

SMS: Sweet Potato Bread (and more) with Cinnamon Rum Orange Glaze

Part I: The Challenge
 Part II: The Yummy Experiment

 This weeks recipe for the Sweet Melissa Bakers was Sweet Potato Bread (with a to die for Cinnamon Rum Orange Glaze)  chosen by Lorelai over at Mermaid Sweets - please check our her blog too as she will be posting the recipe there and you won't want to miss it. This was a great recipe...that I almost didn't make because I wasn't in a bread state of mind. In fact, I had decided to turn it into a pancake recipe but I had so much left over afterwards  I still ended up making 3 mini loaves with it in the end...one of which my sister ate, another that she took home to my mom and one that is sitting in my refrigerator taunting me to eat it as I type.

 But I digress. The only thing that I found a little offputting about the recipe was actually making the glaze...I had a hard time for some reason gauging if it was sufficiently reduced and I had been expecting a slightly thicker almost syrupy consistency that it never achieved (most likely because it wasn't meant to). I did end up using walnuts instead of pecans in the recipe as I had a lot of them in the house and now that I think about it, tossing some chocolate chips in there would have been really yummy too. Next time for sure.

For the pancakes, I took a quarter of the dough, added milk to it until it reached a smoother thinner consistency and they turned out very well for breakfast with the orange glaze spread on top and just a hint of maple syrup drizzled over it. I found it a tiny bit hard to tell when they were done because of the color of the dough so I had to guess (and burn) one  in the process but after that, it got a little easier and tastier.

Please check out the other Sweet Melissa Sunday Bakers blogs for their experiences with this weeks recipe!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

MSC: Jumbo Chocolate Filled Cupcakes



This months recipe for the talented bakers of the Martha Stewart Cupcakes Club was Jumbo Chocolate Filled Cupcakes, chosen by Jess of Cookbook Habit. And as Martha's cupcakes go, this was actually surprisingly simple to put together. If I was still  a bigger fan of chocolate as I was in my 20's and early 30's  (what has happened to me over the years???) this would have been a wonderful cupcake. As it was, I only had one...I  loved the cream filling (the fluff is a weakness of mine in general) and enjoyed the cupcake overall but was not tempted to try/attack/devour another one like I would have a few years back.

Apart from adding a chocolate mint glaze to the cupcakes to give it more of a finished look, I didn't make too many changes to it .Since  I cannot pipe to save my life  I settled for just putting a dollop of cream filling on top of the cupcake. And as my cupcakes were smaller (I don't have a jumbo pan) I was hesitant to try the scooping method and went instead for cutting the cupcake in half, putting a small layer of cream filling there, and replacing it with the glazed top

My opinion...good, but I don't think I would make them again.I've got a few regular cupcakes with glaze and without fluff filling that I might take into work. The cream filling, considering I could easily eat it by the spoonful/container, has alas already had to be disposed of for the sake of my weight loss goals. I had already attacked a previous container of fluff and had  to go out and buy a new one in order to make the recipe.

Thanks, Jess, for giving me a chance to recreate one of my favorite cupcakes growing up as a kid. Please check out the other bloggers over at Martha Stewart Cupcakes Club and see how their baking experiences went. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Spanish Chicken Skillet



I am a sucker for gizmos, gadgets and cutesy packaging. So when I saw that there was something new (Oh McCormicks I love you ) on the shelves that not only included a recipe but also all the little individual spices that went with it so you didn't have to buy a whole bottle , I went to my buy it now happy place. And surprisingly, I actually made it too.

Granted, you do have to have the other ingredients on hand, but this does simplify matters with measuring out all the individual spices.And it's another step out of my culinary rut by including red peppers.

Gotta admit, it wasn't as bad as I had been expecting it to be with the red peppers in it. And not nearly as spicy as I had thought it would be either. Maybe my taste buds are starting to grow up. 

SPANISH CHICKEN SKILLET
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp thyme leaves
1/4 tsp coarse ground black pepper
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper

1/4 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breats
2 tsp olive oil
1 large red or green pepper, cut into thin strips
1 large onion cut into 1/2 inch thick wedges
1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 cup chicken broth or sherry

  1. Mix flour, salt and all spices (except red pepper) in small bowl. Season chicken with 2 tbsp of the seasoned flour. 
  2. Cook chicken in hot oil in large skillet on medium high heat 3 minutes per side or until browned. Remove from skillet. Add bell pepper and onion, cook and stir 5 minutes or until tender. 
  3. Stir in tomatoes, broth and remaining seasoned flour. Bring to boil, stirring frequently. Stir in red pepper to taste. If desired return chicken to skillet. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Cooking Italy: Parmesan Lamb Chops

I was a little dubious about trying this recipe. Mostly because I've never been a huge fan of lamb dishes.  A lot of the time it always seemed to taste a little gamey to me and as a result I ended up avoiding most of the opportunities to try it again as a grown up with some more mature taste buds. But I've learned over the past several months that I have in many ways gotten into a culinary rut that is only going to shift with going outside my comfort zone and trying new recipes. So I wrote up my grocery list, went to the store, realized I had no idea of what type of lamb to buy and ended up going home with two chops from the arm region figuring it was good enough (never never EVER good words to hear from me when I'm have a moment of culinary confusion.)

First things first...this was a much thicker chop than the recipe called for. So there really wasn't a way to flatten it to the consistency that Marcella called for not without pounding the life out of it in the process. And I've never really gotten a lot of practice with frying meats for the most part so I was somewhat dubious about how long to cook this while hoping that the oil was hot enough to fry the meat. In the end, after the nice brown crust had formed, I ended up taking it out of the oil and putting it into the oven to bake. 

My sister and I were both looking a little worried as we sat down to eat. She's never eaten lamb without mint jelly. I've not even had that but am fairly sure that I've eaten it in some middle eastern foods in the past so I wasn't sure what to expect from this dish. 

In a nutshell: it was amazing. 

My sister ate the entire lamb chop humming and yumming. Both of us agreed it was tender, without any hint of the gaminess that I had feared it would. Nor did it taste of oil due to the  bath in the oil before I gave up and switched to the oven. The color was gorgeous, the breading was awesome and that cheese coating was perfect. I would definitely make lamb chops again using this recipe. And that's saying a  lot. 


THIN LAMB CHOPS FRIED IN PARMESAN BATTER
12 single rib lamb chops, flattened
1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano cheese spread on plate
2 eggs, beaten lightly in deep dish
1 cup fine, dry unflavored bread crumbs on plate
Vegetable oil
Salt
Black Pepper

Turn chops on both sides in parmesan cheese, pressing firmly against the cheese until it adheres well to the plate. Tap to remove excess cheese, dip into beaten eggs and let excess egg drip off. Turn chops in bread crumbs, coating both sides and tap to remove excess. Chops can be prepared up to 4 hours ahead - bring meat to room temperature before cooking.

Pour oil into pan until it comes 1/4 inch up sides of pan. Turn heat to medium. When oil is very hot, slip chops into pan. Turn chops over when a golden crust ha formed and cook other side. Transfer to cooked chops to a warmed platter and serve promptly.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

SMS: Chocolate Malted Layer Cake

 
Thanks to Nicole over at Sweet Tooth (who has the recipe on her blog) for picking today's Sweet Melissa Sunday's recipe....Chocolate Malted Layer Cake. And considering I was nibbling on the chocolate malted balls I picked up at the store while walking home and carrying several heavy grocery bags, there was the promise of many yummy things to come. My only hesitancy was in the strong coffee called for in the cake since I don't much care for coffee and trying to melt chocolate in my temporary rigged double boilers since that can periodically give me give me the culinary fits when it doesn't work. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the coffee once it was in the recipe...I couldn't taste it at all. The double boiler was still a bit of a pain but it turned out okay.

I knew from the get go that I was going to have to make modifications to this. Having a double layer cake in the house is dangerous for me since I can rationalize a slice of cake as just a bite if I can find a way to balance it on a fork. So, I chose to go with using a mini bundt cake pan for waistline damage control.

My biggest mistake was forgetting that I was melting unsweetened chocolate for the cake when I decided to lick the spoon. But after everything came together I had one tiny (okay, 2 or 3 tastes...just to make sure it was still okay you know) and thought, wow. It was a deep, rich chocolate that just made you want to close your eyes and forget about all your woes. With that kind of chocolate, a little goes a very long way. I was slightly worried about how thin the batter was, even though Melissa said that it was going to be like that, as I've had some past woes with forgetting to put ingredients in recipes and starting going through this recipe again just to make sure.

In the end I had difficulty getting the cake out of the bundt pan so I'd be hesitant to try this kind of cake in a pan like that again. I was able to salvage a couple in fairly decent shape, but they're a bit rough around the edges. I'd liked the taste and would be open to trying this again but maybe in a square mini cake pan to see if that would help. I did like the taste of them but this reminded me a lot more of a brownie than a cake...same fudgy texture and taste. Which hey, works well for me too. I tried a glaze at first but didn't like how it looked very much so in the end, I went with simplicity by combining powdered sugar with the malt sugar and just lightly sprinkling the cakes with that before topping them with malted milk balls.

 I did like the cake overall. Maybe it's just the fact that my chocolate tooth has mellowed over the years, but for me the frosting would have made this too chocolately (I know, a few years earlier I would have scoffed at the idea). I'm not sure that I would make this again unless I had guests to eat it,  but if I did, I think I would go with a raspberry glaze to offset all the sweetness with a bit of tartness.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Outside the Comfort Zone Baked Creamed Spinach



I was never big on spinach growing up. My sister was a parents dream because she loved her veggies. I on the other hand had sugar, flour and butter imprinted on my DNA from birth. But as all  adults come to realize, veggies kind of are a necessary culinary evil that we have to allow into our lives at some point.

One  of the things I've liked about my various baking/cooking challenges is that it does require me to get out of my food ruts from time to time and discover that hey, anchovy paste is not as horrible as it sounds when combined in a Caeser dressing. However, I've not had enough challenges come my way involving veggies so I'm going to have to challenge myself on this one.

So today, in need of a side dish for dinner, I did a google search on spinach and came up with this recipe from Spinach Recipes which also has a fair amount of other spinach recipes, some of which look intriguing enough to give it a try.  Which is a good thing. I do need all the help I can get to eat my veggies. And by veggies, I mean real ones. Not when I try to rationalize that cocoa beans are a veggie and are therefore good for me.

End result...it was fairly good.  Tasted more like spinach than I expected with the milk and cheese, especially since I added extra cheese.  I'd prefer a little more flavor to it, so next time I'd up the pepper and nutmeg on this or add a little ancho pepper powder to kick it up a bit.

Creamed Baked Spinach
(Adapted slightly from Spinach Recipes)

Ingredients:

1 lb frozen spinach
3/4 cup hot milk
1/2 cup of sharp white cheddar cheese, grated.
1 tablespoons of butter.
1 tablespoons of flour.
1/2 teaspoon of salt.
Pinch of pepper.
Pinch of nutmeg.

Preparation Instructions:


In a saucepan, melt the butter; then add the flour.

Whisk and gently cook for 3-4 minutes.

Add the milk; then bring to a boil.

Add the salt and a pinch of pepper and nutmeg.

Cook for about 5-6 minutes.

Combine the sauce with the spinach and 1/4 cup of grated cheese.

Spoon into a baking dish, then top with the other 1/4 cup of grated cheddar.

Bake at 375°F (190°C) for 20 minutes.

Serve as desired.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

BB: Raisin Pecan Oatmeal Cookies

 
If we're honest with ourselves, we have all come to a point in a recipe where we must face facts. As in, we are able to accept that a recipe is not our thing, have a taste and let the rest of it go. That it is good and have one or two servings. Or, we realize this is dangerously good recipe and we are fully capable of eating it all, up to and including, licking the bowl.

This is that dangerously good recipe for me. I don't think I will be able to make this by myself again unless I have someone around to drag me away from the mixing bowl and send me to go workout until I'm too exhausted to eat and have worked off at least a fraction of the calories consumed up to that point.

And these were premium cookies both eaten straight out of the mixing bowl and and baked (yes, I did show some minor restraint by letting a few dozen make it into the oven).

Now I'm going to have to figure out who to give these cookies away ASAP before I eat them all up :) 


A big thanks goes out to Leslie over at Lethally Delicious  (quite appropriate for a blog title considering how lethally delicious these cookies were) for picking this recipe!





(Dangerously Good) Raisin Pecan Oatmeal Cookies 
Ina Garten - Food Network

 Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups pecans
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 1 1/2 cups raisins

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the pecans on a sheet pan and bake for 5 minutes, until crisp. Set aside to cool. Chop very coarsely.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, add the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla.

Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt together into a medium bowl. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Add the oats, raisins, and pecans and mix just until combined.

Using a small ice-cream scoop or a tablespoon, drop 2-inch mounds of dough onto sheet pans lined with parchment paper. Flatten slightly with a damp hand. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until lightly browned. Transfer the cookies to a baking rack and cool completely.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Monday, April 5, 2010

A Girl Could Do Worse For Her Birthday














Outside US Cellular Field for the White Sox Opening Game!
















We got the cheap seats so we had a long journey to get up there


Very cool!















And to cap off a win by the Sox, dinner at the Berghoff Restaurant afterwards. I had a Sweet Potato Panini with goat cheese and roasted peppers. Yummy!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

SMS: Pecan Shortbread Cookies


I am a shortbread nut. Seriously. Which is strange because there's been past random recipes where I've cut the  servings in half because of all the butter and then I have no qualms about making shortbread or owning a cookbook called "The Great Big Butter Cookbook" (no lie, check it out for yourself.). Clearly, I am a conflicted fan of butter.

Today's recipe for the Sweet Melissa Sundays blog group was picked by Lara of The Lab (thanks, Lara!) and it is good. Overall, easy to assemble although my first attempt got messed up because I was yakking on the phone with my sister and over measured the butter which I didn't find out until after the cookies had baked into a crumbly puddle of flour. But I, when faced with homemade shortbread, was not to be thwarted so I hung up, remeasured and got a very decent dough by hand because I didn't want to have to wash the dishes in order to use the food processor.

The only major changes I made was to pat the cookies into my mini pans so I could try to pull off shortbread slices and to sprinkle the tops with my penzy's cocoa mix to give it a bit of a chocolate kick. And considering my tendency to procrastinate on baking until the last minute, I actually made a big change by making the recipe in advance...I feel like I've made a culinary breakthrough.Although I only got one shortbread wedge out of the pans...the two others weren't having any of it and refused to come out of the pan but that might have been the pan and not the recipe.

But I gotta say...it was yummy. Loved it!