Parker's Split Pea Soup

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pea soup

NYC is about to be dumped on by about 24 inches of snow. Schools are closed tomorrow, roads close tonight at 11pm, as does mass transit. It’s going to be a ghost town here in a couple of hours, which is odd for the city. It’s not snowing at all right now, but AccuWeather’s minutecam says the snow will arrive in 6 minutes!

What do you want when it’s cold and snowy outside? A hot bowl of soup! This is my all-time favorite pea soup. I’ve made it numerous times. I like that half of the peas are added at the beginning, then the other half later. Half of the peas get mushy and the other half retain some structural integrity, like the carrots and the potatoes. If you prefer a creamier soup, add all of the split peas at once.

The recipe indicates that you’ll have to skim the foam from the soup when it starts to cook. I had to do this several times. I just read a tip online saying that if you thoroughly rinse your peas before adding them to the soup, you won’t have the foam problem. I plan to try the tip next time I make this soup.

I found that my soup needed to cook longer than the amount of time specified in the recipe. I also found that I needed to add more water or chicken stock to keep the soup from getting too thick. Stay close to the cooking soup and stir it frequently so it doesn’t burn or stick to the bottom of the pot. This soup has an amazing amount of flavor of such a simple list of ingredients.

This soup makes great leftovers.

Parker’s Split Pea Soup
Recipe from Ina Garten via FoodNetwork.com

1 cup chopped yellow onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons good olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups medium-diced carrots (3 to 4 carrots)
1 cup medium-diced red boiling potatoes, unpeeled (3 small)
1 pound dried split green peas
8 cups chicken stock

In a 4-quart stockpot on medium heat, saute the onions and garlic with the olive oil, oregano, salt, and pepper until the onions are translucent, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the carrots, potatoes, 1/2 pound of split peas, and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Skim off the foam while cooking. Add the remaining split peas and continue to simmer for another 40 minutes, or until all the peas are soft. Stir frequently to keep the solids from burning on the bottom. Taste for salt and pepper. Add additional water or chicken broth if you find the soup to be too thick. Serve hot.

Yield: 6 servings

One year ago: Eggnog Doughnut Muffins
Two years ago: Chocolate Chocolate-Chunk Muffins
Three years ago: Baked Ziti with Tomato, Mozzarella and Sausage
Four years ago: Rosemary Parmesan Coins
Five years ago: Mashed Yellow Turnips with Crispy Shallots
Six years ago: Big Dutch Baby

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Chocolate Ricotta Muffins

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choc chip muffin

I know I haven’t posted in a while. I’ve officially become more of an occasional food blogger. With four boys in middle school, my time is devoted to them – bringing them here and there, helping with homework, encouraging them to do their homework rather than fool around, etc. I’m still doing a lot of cooking, but I have less time to stage and photograph the recipes that I like. I’m going to do my best to get back to it.

I made these muffins on Saturday morning for breakfast. I had some extra ricotta in the refrigerator and I’m always happy when I can get a little extra protein and calcium into something that the boys eat. All of the boys loved them. As soon as they saw the muffins set out for breakfast, one son said, is there broccoli in these? Another asked about zucchini. They’re wise to my tricks. I was happy that I could honestly tell them that I did not try to hide any vegetables in the muffins.

This recipe made a dozen standard-sized muffins, plus a dozen mini-muffins. The recipe states that you should let the muffins cool for 30 minutes before serving them. My boys ate them as soon as they came out of the oven. There were a couple of downsides to this: one son found that the muffins stuck to the wrapper and another son found out that the chocolate chips were molten and very hot. Once the muffins cooled, neither of these problems existed.

I dusted the muffins with powdered sugar. The boys are already asking when I can make them again.

 

Chocolate Ricotta Muffins
Recipe from Molly Katzen

Nonstick spray for the pan
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
7 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 cup sugar
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup ricotta
2 large eggs
1 1/3 cups milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly spray 12 standard-sized (2 1/2-inch-diameter) muffin cups with nonstick spray or line them with paper liners.  You may need to spray a couple of additional cups or some mini-muffin cups.  The batter made 12 standard sized muffins plus 12 mini-muffins.

Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, cocoa, and sugar in a medium-sized bowl.

Place the ricotta in a second medium-sized bowl, and add the eggs one at a time, beating well with a medium-sized whisk after each addition. Add the milk and vanilla, and whisk until thoroughly blended.

Pour the ricotta mixture, along with the melted butter, into the dry ingredients. Using a spoon or a rubber spatula, stir from the bottom of the bowl until the dry ingredients are all moistened. Don’t overmix; a few lumps are okay.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups. For smaller muffins, fill the cups about 4/5 of the way. For larger muffins, fill them even with the top of the pan. If you have extra batter, spray one or two additional muffin cups with nonstick spray and put in as much batter as you have.

Bake in the middle of the oven for to 20 to 25 minutes, or until lightly browned on top, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove the pan from the oven, then remove the muffins from the pan and place them on a rack to cool. Wait at least 30 minutes before serving (see comments in text above about this).

Yield: 1 dozen standard-size muffins plus 12 mini-muffins

One year ago: Chocolate Mint Crackle Cookies
Two years ago: Peppermint Cream Squares
Three years ago: Pork Tenderloin with Balsamic-Cranberry Sauce
Four years ago: Clementine Vanilla-Bean Quick Bread
Five years ago: Peanut Butter and Jam Jewels
Six years ago: Lemon Bars

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Mallobars

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Mallobars

My sisters know that I love to bake so they periodically send me recipes to try.   This was one of them.   I noted that the original recipe is from Melissa Clark, a NY Times food columnist whose recipes I have enjoyed in the past, so I figured I’d give it a shot.

My assessment:   this recipe is for those those who love to bake and who have a lot of patience.   They take a LONG time to make. They literally took me all day to make. There are many steps involved and long periods of waiting between them.

Did I like them?   I thought they were pretty good.   Not my favorite dessert.   Did my boys like them?   Yes. They LOVED them.  Would I make any changes the next time I make them?   Yes.   I’d leave the cinnamon out of the cookie base.   I’d also leave some of the honey out of the marshmallow layer.   I’m more of a vanilla marshmallow fan than a honey one.  I thought the chocolate layer was good.

If you make these, give the bars time to set and the chocolate layer a chance to harden before cutting them or you’ll have a chocolatey mess.  The chocolate will smear all over the marshmallow layer and they won’t be pretty at all.

Note: you need a candy thermometer for this recipe.

Mallobars
Recipe from Cook This Now by Melissa Clark via Project Foodie

For the graham cracker base:

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

For the marshmallow layer:

3 envelopes unflavored gelatin (about 3 tablespoons)
1 cup cold water
2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

For the chocolate glaze:

9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup heavy cream

First, make the graham cracker base. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter, sugars, and honey until smooth. In a medium bowl, combine the flours, salt, and cinnamon. Add the dry ingredients to the mixer and beat until the dough just comes together.

Wrap the dough in plastic and pat into a disc. Chill the dough for at least 1 hour and up to 2 days.

When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a 9  13-inch baking pan with foil or parchment paper. On a lightly floured surface, or in between two sheets of parchment paper, roll out the dough into a rectangle that just fits the prepared pan. Carefully transfer the dough to the prepared pan. Squish it to fit if it starts to tear (the dough is soft). Prick dough all over with a fork. Bake the graham cracker base until golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Allow the crust to cool completely before topping with the marshmallow. (The graham cracker base can be made a few days ahead; store, covered in foil, at room temperature.)

While the graham cracker base cools, prepare the honey marshmallow. Place the gelatin in the cold water to bloom. In a saucepan over medium heat, cook the sugar, honey, and 1/2 cup water, stirring until the sugar dissolves, until the mixture reaches 240°F on a candy thermometer.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites and salt until soft peaks form. When the sugar mixture has come up to temperature, carefully pour it into the egg whites while whisking. Continue whisking until the mixture has cooled slightly, about 1 minute, and add the gelatin and water mixture and the vanilla. Continue whisking until the mixture begins to thicken and quadruples in volume, 5 to 7 minutes. Scrape the marshmallow onto the graham cracker base and smooth the top with a spatula. Allow the marshmallow to set for 4 hours or overnight at room temperature.

To prepare the chocolate glaze, place the chocolate pieces in a bowl. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, bring the cream just to a boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate and whisk until the chocolate has melted and the glaze is smooth and shiny. Pour the glaze onto the set marshmallow and smooth with a spatula. Allow the glaze to set, about 30 minutes, before cutting into squares. If you’re in a hurry, put the bars in the refrigerator to cool the chocolate.

Yield: ~ 18 2-inch bars

One year ago: Shredded Brussels Sprouts
Two years ago: Halloween Treats
Three years ago: Baked Flounder with Tomatoes and Basil
Four years ago: Red Lentil Soup with Lemon
Five years ago: Spinach and Chicken Tortilla Bake
Six years ago:Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Chocolate Sugar Cookies

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DSC_0344

I have made these three times in the last two weeks. I like them because they have a great chocolate flavor, they’re very easy to make, and I always almost have all of the ingredients on hand. I made them for a bake sale at the boys’ school recently and I was told that everyone loved them. I certainly loved that ones that I ate. When they’re baked, they remain every so slightly chewy in the center, which I like. They’re not a crisp cookie. They’re also not overwhelmingly sweet.

When I made these, I didn’t roll the balls of dough in sugar as stated in the recipe. I made a ball out of the dough, flattened it a bit and dipped just the top in sugar. This worked perfectly for me. I didn’t need to sprinkle any extra sugar on top either.

Give these cookies a try. If you’re sending cookies to someone for the holidays, consider these. They’re a sturdy cookie that should travel well.

 

Chocolate Sugar Cookies
Recipe from Cooks Country, May 2013 via Table For Two

1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. baking powder
14 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 3/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
1 large egg plus 1 large yolk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking sheets. Place granulated sugar in a shallow dish and set aside. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and baking powder in a bowl. Whisk to combine.

Microwave 10 tbsp. butter, covered, in a large bowl until melted, about 1 minute. Remove from microwave and stir in remaining 4 tbsp. of butter until melted. Allow butter to cool, about 5 minutes.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix brown sugar, vanilla, salt, and melted butter together until no lumps remain. Add in the egg and yolk and mix until smooth. Gently add in the flour mixture and mix until just combined.

Working with 2 tbsp. of dough at a time, roll balls in granulated sugar and divide between baking sheets. Using a bottom of a drinking glass, flatten cookies to 2 inches in diameter. Sprinkle each sheet of cookies with 1½ tsp. remaining granulated sugar if desired (n.b. I skip this step).

Bake 1 sheet at a time until cookies are slightly puffy and edges have begun to set, about 10 minutes, rotating sheet halfway through baking (cookies will look slightly underdone between cracks). Let cookies cool on sheets for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack. Let cookies cool completely before serving.

Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

One year ago:   Asian Quinoa Salad
Two years ago: Malted Chocolate Madeleines
Three years ago: Ground Turkey Shepherd’s Pie
Four years ago: Shortbread Candy Bars
Five years ago: Joanna Pruess’ Molasses Spice Cookies
Six years ago: Cheddar Apple Frittata

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Corn-Shrimp Dumplings

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DSC_0058

I’m a little late posting these. I made them in September, at the tail end of the corn season here in the Northeast. If you’re inspired to make them when fresh corn isn’t in season, you can certainly use frozen corn in its place.

I tried this recipe because on the Food and Wine website, it was advertised as being “a cinch to make”. I wouldn’t say the dumplings were hard to make, but they were quite time-consuming. They were delicious, but labor intensive. In my book, that’s not a “cinch to make”.

I found gyoza wrappers at my local Fairway market. Not every supermarket sells them, but many specialty markets do. My gyoza wrappers must have been smaller than those used by the recipe author. She made 20 dumplings. I was able to make many more. My dumplings only took a teaspoon of filling. That’s probably why it took me so much time to make them. Note to self: buy bigger gyoza wrappers next time.

These dumplings freeze beautifully. If you’re freezing them, put them on a cookie sheet so they’re not touching and put them in the freezer. Once they’re frozen, you can put them in individual containers. You don’t want to freeze the dumplings in a pile, or they’ll freeze stuck together and be very difficult to separate.

I served these with a sweet chili sauce and they were really great. I tried dipping them in soy sauce as well, but the chili sauce was my favorite. Trader Joe’s sells a great sweet chili sauce.

 

Corn-Shrimp Dumplings
Recipe from Food and Wine

1 ear of corn, shucked, kernels cut off the cob
1/2 pound shelled and deveined shrimp, chopped
2 scallions, minced
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh ginger
Kosher salt
20 small, round gyoza wrappers*
Soy sauce, for dipping

In a medium bowl, mix the corn kernels with the shrimp, scallions, garlic and ginger and season with salt. Brush the edges of the wrappers with water and spoon 1 tablespoon of the filling in the center of each. Fold one side of the wrapper over to form a half moon, pressing the edges together to seal. In a steamer basket, steam the dumplings over simmering water until cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes.

* the number of wrappers needed will depend upon their size. I needed many more than 20.

Yield:  20 or more dumplings

One year ago: Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream
Two years ago: Homemade Halloween Oreos
Three years ago: Creamy Curried Celery Root Soup
Four years ago: Mini Nutella Cakes
Five years ago: French Toast
Six years ago: Quick Oat Bran and Banana Muffins

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Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches

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This is now one of my favorite desserts. These ice cream sandwiches are so much better than the ones that you buy in the store! They’re easy to make too. I hesitated to make them at first, envisioning a very thin brownie layer sticking to my pan, or breaking as I tried to pick it up, but with the directions below from Smitten Kitchen, they’re a dream to make. Check out her site for photos of the brownies being made if you have any questions.

You need two 8×8″ baking pans for this recipe. The proportions are perfect for that size pan. You’ll ultimately make 16 ice cream sandwiches. You might be thinking to yourself, isn’t a 2×2″ ice cream sandwich kind of small? No! When it includes two homemade brownie layers that are rich and chewy, and a generous portion of ice cream, it’s the perfect size.

I love a good vanilla ice cream and these days I’ve been eating Trader Joe’s vanilla. As ice cream goes, it’s on the inexpensive side, and I love how rich and creamy it is. It worked perfectly in these ice cream sandwiches.

This dessert rated a double thumbs-up from each of the boys.

 

Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches
Recipe from SmittenKitchen.com

For the brownies
:
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
1 stick unsalted butter, plus extra for pan
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt or 1/4 teaspoon table salt
2/3 cup all-purpose flour

For the filling:
2 to 3 cups ice cream

Heat oven to 350°F. Line two 8×8-inch square baking pans with parchment paper, extending it up two sides. Butter the parchment and exposed sides of the pan or spray them with a nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium heatproof bowl over gently simmering water, heat chocolate and butter together until about 3/4 of the way melted. Remove from heat and stir until smooth. Stir in sugar until fully combined, then eggs, one at a time and vanilla. Stir in salt until combined, then flour, until it just disappears.

Divide batter between two prepared pans and spread it evenly. Bake on different racks for 12 to 15 minutes, rotating once top to bottom and front to back, until a toothpick inserted into the center of each pan comes out batter-free. Transfer the hot pans directly to your freezer (you can put down dish towels or a cooling rack to protect shelves). Chill until cold and firm, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Remove first pan from freezer, and, working quickly, cover with ice cream. Use a spatula to press it down and smooth the top. Remove second brownie pan from freezer. Run a knife between edges of brownie and pan to make sure it’s not sticking anywhere and use the parchment sling to lift the brownie out of the pan, remove the parchment and place the brownie on top of the ice cream. Place the empty brownie pan on top of the brownie lid, to weight it, and press down a little. Keeping the weighting pan on top, return brownie-ice cream stack to freezer until fully firm, another 30 minutes. Run a knife around brownie stack again to make sure it’s not stuck, and use the parchment sling to transfer the ice cream sandwich block to a cutting board. Cut into 16 squares.


Yield: 16 ice cream sandwiches

One year ago: Chickpea Vegetable Stew
Two years ago: Egg-Free Chocolate Cupcakes
Three years ago: Marshmallows
Four years ago: Smoky Black Bean and Cheddar Burrito with Baby Spinach
Five years ago: Caramelized Spiced Nuts
Six years ago: Fresh Corn with Shrimp and Cherry Tomatoes

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Peanut Butter and Chocolate Energy Bars

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DSC_0031

These little snacks are healthy, simple to make (there’s no baking involved) and surprisingly delicious. I’ve had the recipe kicking around in my “to-make” list for a while now and I finally decided to try it. I’m still amazed that they only use four ingredients. As I’ve often found, sometimes the simplest recipes are the best. These remind me a tiny bit of Reese’s Peanut Butter cups, although not quite as sweet, and not as artificial. As much as I love Reese’s – they’re my all-time favorite candy – I think I like these more. I keep these in the refrigerator which gives them a nice consistency and they taste good cold.

This recipe uses dates as a sweetener. I’m not a huge fan of dates, but in this recipe you don’t taste them. They just give the bars some sweetness and they also provide the glue that holds them together.

These are a great mid-afternoon snack. They’re gluten-free too!

Peanut Butter and Energy Bars
Recipe from The Kitchn

1 1/2 cups unsalted peanuts
1 1/2 cups pitted dried dates, preferably Medjool
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup roughly chopped dark chocolate or mini chocolate chips, divided

Line an 8-inch x 8-inch baking pan with parchment paper; let the ends of the paper hang over the edge.

Optional step: For deeper, more peanuty flavor, roast the peanuts before making the bars. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the peanuts on a baking sheet and roast until fragrant and golden, 8 to 10 minutes, stirring once or twice during roasting. Allow to cool slightly before continuing with the recipe.

Combine the peanuts, pitted dates, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse 5 to 6 times to break up the ingredients. Remove the lid and break apart any clumps of dates. Replace the lid and process continuously for 1 to 1 1/2 minutes until the ingredients begin to clump together. When you remove the lid, the ingredients may still look a little crumbly (like couscous), but should hold together when pressed in your fist.

Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the chocolate over the peanut-date mixture (reserve the rest of the chocolate). Replace the lid and pulse just 3 or 4 times to incorporate the chocolate.

Transfer the mixture to the baking dish and press it firmly down with the palm of your hand or the bottom of a drinking cup. Melt the remaining 1/2 cup of chocolate chips in 15-second bursts in the microwave, stirring between each burst. Pour the melted chocolate over the bars and use a spatula to spread it into an even layer. If you find there’s not enough chocolate to easily spread, melt a little more chocolate if you have it.

Cover the bars and refrigerate for at least an hour or overnight, until the bars are firm and the chocolate is set. Using a sharp knife, cut the bars into 16 pieces. Keep refrigerated for firmer texture or unrefrigerated for a softer texture. Bars will keep for about a month refrigerated or for about a week if unrefrigerated.

Yield: 16 bars

One year ago: Crispy Chicken and Apple Salad
Two years ago: Beets in a Sweet Thyme Balsamic Glaze
Three years ago: High Tea Lemon Cookies
Four years ago: Cinnamon Applesauce Muffins
Five years ago: Lemon Risotto
Six years ago: Lemon Cake

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Yotam Ottolenghi's Sweet Corn Polenta with Eggplant Sauce

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eggplant  polenta

This is my favorite dish of the summer. I made it many times once corn season started. Yesterday I found some beautiful corn at the farmer’s market so last night I made the just sweet corn polenta as a side dish. My Aunt Sylvia loved it so much she had three servings! I’m sorry that it’s the tail end of the corn season here in the Northeast. I like this recipe so much, I plan to try it with frozen corn. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

I am not a fan of pre-made polenta, especially the kind that comes in a tube. I’m also not a fan of making it from corn meal. This polenta recipe definitely takes more time that either of the aforementioned preparations, but it’s well worth the effort. Promise.

The recipe calls for frying the eggplant. The first time I made the recipe, I used 2/3 cup of vegetable oil, as specified. The next time I made it, I cut that in half and the eggplant cooked perfectly. I might actually try to bake the eggplant next time to see how that turns out.

One night I didn’t have any fresh oregano, so I used dried and the sauce was still delicious.

Would the boys try this? Nope.

This is going to be close to the top of my go-to summer recipe list.


Yotam Ottolenghi’s Sweet Corn Polenta with Eggplant Sauce

Recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi via Food52

Eggplant Sauce

2/3 cups vegetable oil (I used 1/3 cup and it worked fine)
1 medium eggplant, cut into 3/4-inch dice
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 cup chopped peeled tomatoes (fresh or canned)
6 1/2 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon chopped oregano

Heat the oil in a large saucepan (wait until the oil is hot) and fry the eggplant on medium heat for about 15 minutes, or until nicely brown. Drain off as much oil as you can and discard it — the safest way to do this is to scoop out the eggplant to a plate using a slotted spoon, then pour off the oil into a bowl before added the eggplant back in.

Add the tomato paste to the pan and stir with the eggplant. Cook for 2 minutes, then add the wine and cook for 1 minute. Add the chopped tomatoes, water, salt, sugar and oregano and cook for a further 5 minutes to get a deep-flavored sauce. Set aside; warm it up when needed.


Polenta

6 ears of corn
2 1/4 cups water
3 tablespoons butter, diced
7 ounces feta, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon salt
Black pepper

Remove the leaves and “silk” from each ear of corn, then chop off the pointed top and stalk. Use a sharp knife to shave off the kernels. You want to have approximately 1 1/4 pounds kernels.

Place the kernels in a medium saucepan and barely cover them with the water. Cook for 12 minutes on a low simmer. Use a slotted spoon to lift the kernels from the water and into a food processor; reserve the cooking liquid.

Process the corn for quite a few minutes, to break as much of the kernel case as possible. Add some of the cooking liquid if the mixture becomes too dry to process. I have never needed to add any of the cooking liquid.

Return the corn paste to the pan and cook, while stirring, on low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the mixture thickens to mashed potato consistency.

Fold in the butter, the feta, salt and some pepper and optionally cook for a further 2 minutes. Taste and add more salt if needed.

Yield: 4 servings


One year ago:
Risotto Stuffed Tomatoes
Two years ago: Spinach and Ricotta Lasagna
Three years ago: Grilled Pork Chops with Garlic Lime Sauce
Four years ago: Mini Maple Pancake Muffins
Five years ago: Mar-A-Lago Turkey Burgers
Six years ago: Chocolate Zucchini Cake

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Rosemary Butter Cookies

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Rosemary cookies

These rosemary butter cookies are delicious. They are delicate, buttery and the rosemary flavor is definitely there, but it’s subtle. They’re not too sweet, but just sweet enough. The cookies crumble in your mouth like a good, buttery shortbread. I tried these cookies for the first time this summer at a neighbor’s house and I fell in love with them. My lovely neighbor subsequently gave me the Martha Stewart Cookie cookbook where this recipe can be found. I have to say, we have the best neighbors in the whole world; we couldn’t have moved onto a better street. They’re social, they’re fun and you immediately get the feeling that if you ever needed anything, they’d be there for you.

This recipe calls for rolling the dough into logs and putting them into paper towel rolls. I didn’t have any empty paper towel rolls kicking around, so I rolled the dough in parchment, then wrapped it in a Slipat mat and put rubber bands around it to keep it tightly wrapped. That seemed to work just fine. Don’t skimp on freezing the dough for an hour. They are much easier to cut when frozen.

These cookies would make a great addition to a cookie swap.  They’re also great as an afternoon snack with a cup of tea.

Only one of our boys would try these cookies and he LOVED them. The rest were put off by the green flecks. Wouldn’t you figure that after 12 years, they’d get over their fear of green stuff in/on their food?

 

Rosemary Butter Cookies
Recipe from Martha Stweart

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 egg white, beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 cup fine sanding sugar

Cream butter and granulated sugar until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Mix in whole egg and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour, rosemary, and salt, and mix until combined.

Halve dough; shape each half into a log. Place each log on a 12-by-16-inch sheet of parchment. Roll in parchment to 1 1/2 inches in diameter, pressing a ruler along edge of parchment at each turn to narrow log. Transfer to paper-towel tubes to hold shape, and freeze until firm, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 375. Brush each log with egg white; roll in sanding sugar. Cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Space 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment. Bake until edges are golden, 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks. Store in airtight containers at room temperature up to 3 days.

Yield: ~60 cookies

One year ago: Grilled Eggplant with Tomatoes, Basil and Feta
Two years ago: Roasted Tomatillo Salsa
Three years ago: Cream Cheese and Wild Blueberry Pound Cake
Four years ago: Summer Corn Chowder with Scallions, Bacon and Potatoes
Five years ago: Union Square Cafe Bar Nuts
Six years ago: Grilled Salmon with Sweet Corn, Tomato and Avocado Relish

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French Chocolate Macarons

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Chocolate Macarons

I love looking at macarons in bakeries.  Aren’t they pretty?  They’re typically lined up by color and one looks more perfect than the next.

I have made these numerous times. These cookies are delicious and they impress guests when they’re served. Please don’t confuse macarons with macaroons. Macarons are light cookies made with egg whites and almond meal. They are typically served as sandwich cookies with a filling in them. Macaroons are cookies that are like small circular cakes often made with coconut.

I didn’t find these cookies difficult to make, but take a tip from me. If you want to serve them at a particular time, don’t decide to start them two hours prior to serving. Numerous steps are involved in these cookies, and the filling needs time to cool before you use it. Do yourself a favor and unlike me, start these cookies in the morning of the day that you want to serve them (assuming that you’re serving them in the evening.) You don’t want the tops sliding off the cookies like mine did as I transported them to a meeting. As they cool, the filling will set and the tops will stay put.

You need a pastry bag to make these cookies. If you don’t have one, you can put the batter in a ziploc bag and cut the corner off. You won’t have the control that you do with a pastry bag, but it should work for you.


French Chocolate Macarons

Recipe from DavidLebovitz.com where the recipe was adapted from The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovits

Macaron Batter

1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup powdered almonds (about 2 ounces, 50 gr, sliced almonds, pulverized)
3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
5 tablespoons granulated sugar


Chocolate Filling

1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 tablespoon butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat oven to 350º F.

Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and have a pastry bag with a plain tip (about 1/2-inch) ready.

Grind together the powdered sugar with the almond powder and cocoa so there are no lumps; use a blender or food processor since almond meal that you buy isn’t quite fine enough.

In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, beat the egg whites until they begin to rise and hold their shape. While whipping, beat in the granulated sugar until very stiff and firm, about 2 minutes.

Carefully fold the dry ingredients, in two batches, into the beaten egg whites with a flexible rubber spatula. When the mixture is just smooth and there are no streaks of egg white, stop folding and scrape the batter into the pastry bag (standing the bag in a tall glass helps if you’re alone).

Pipe the batter on the parchment-lined baking sheets in 1-inch (3 cm) circles (about 1 tablespoon each of batter), evenly spaced one-inch (3 cm) apart.

Rap the baking sheet a few times firmly on the counter top to flatten the macarons, then bake them for 15-18 minutes. Let cool completely then remove from baking sheet.

To make the chocolate filling:

Heat the cream in a small saucepan with the corn syrup. When the cream just begins to boil at the edges, remove from heat and add the chopped chocolate. Let sit one minute, then stir until smooth. Stir in the pieces of butter. Let cool completely before using.

Yield: 15 – 25 sandwich cookies, depending upon how big you make the cookies

One year ago: Classic Potato Salad with Peas
Two years ago: Chocolate Fudge Zucchini Cookies
Three years ago: Honey Cornbread Muffins
Four years ago: Pork Chops with Peach-Ginger Chutney
Five years ago: Blueberry Crumb Bars
Six years ago: Decadent Brownie Tart

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