Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Lemon Meltaways

These melt-in-your-mouth delights will disappear faster than you can say "lemon" and they are as easy to make as short bread. I wrapped them up and gave them to my teachers as end of the year gifts. 

"Teenage FBI" Guided by Voices

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • Finely grated zest of 2 limes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

Directions:

Put butter and 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Add lemon zest and juice and vanilla, and mix until fluffy.

Whisk together flour, cornstarch, and salt in a bowl. Add to butter mixture, and mix on low speed until just combined.

Divide dough in half. Place each half on an 8-by-12-inch sheet of parchment paper. Roll in parchment to form a log 1 1/4 inches in diameter, pressing a ruler along edge of parchment at each turn to narrow log. Refrigerate logs until cold and firm, at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove parchment from logs; cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds. Space rounds 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake cookies until barely golden, about 13 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool slightly, 8 to 10 minutes. While still warm, toss cookies with remaining 2/3 cup sugar in a resealable plastic bag. Cookies can be stored in airtight containers at room temperature up to 2 weeks.


No Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

I made these at the end of the school year for an AP chemistry food day. They were so good my chemistry teacher, who usually doesn't eat too much on food days had two bars! This summer has been incredibly busy, but I'm hoping to seize these last couple of weeks and finally get back to cooking again.




"I am a Rock" Simon and Garfunkel 
Adapted from Our Best Bites

Ingredients:

1 1/2 C graham cracker crumbs (or ginger snaps)
1 lb (3 1/2 C) powdered sugar
1 1/2 C creamy peanut butter
1 C (2 sticks) real butter, melted
1 12oz bag chocolate chips (milk, semi-sweet, or dark, you pick!)
2 tsp shortening

Directions:

In a large mixing bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar and peanut butter and butter and beat until combined.  Press into a parchment (or waxed paper or foil) lined 9×13 pan.
Place chocolate chips and shortening in a microwave safe bowl and heat in 30 second intervals, stirring after each one, until melted and smooth.  Pour chocolate over peanut butter mixture and spread out evenly.  Place pan in the fridge just until chocolate is set and then cut into bars.  Tip:  If the bars chill until the chocolate is too hard to easily cut, use a sharp knife and score the cuts first, then gently cut through.  Can be stored in the fridge or at room temp.  They will stay firmer if stored in the fridge.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Cucumber-Watermelon Salad

Simple and good. The perfect combination of sweet and tart.
If you're looking for a recipe to help you cool off, you've found it.

The watermelon and lemon juice combined with the cucumber and mint make a perfect flavor. 

 
"West Coast Friendship" Owl City

Ingredients:

1 medium cucumber, peeled and diced
2 cups of watermelon, cubed
2 tbsp. lemon juice
fresh mint leaves 

Directions: 

Combine ingredients.

Watermelon Rind Crisp Sweet Pickles

I have a small confession:
I'd never actually canned anything before, but this recipe looked perfect for our surplus of watermelon. I had to give it a try!

The process was much easier than I expected. 
(Except for scraping the lids out of the boiling water. Cohesive properties were not on my side)
All the spices smelled so good!
I'm trying  to hold off eating them until at least September, but its a struggle.

   "Fever" The Black Keys

Adapted from Emeril Lagasse's Farm to Fork: Cooking Local, Cooking Fresh

Ingredients:

6 cups cold water
1/3 cup pickling salt
6 cups peeled watermelon rind (white and light pink part only), cut into 3/4 inch cubes
2 cups ice cubes
4 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups distilled white vinegar
2 cups water
4 cinnamon sticks (3 inches long)
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp mustard seeds
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 1/2 tsp allspice berries
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves 

Directions:

In a large bowl, whisk together the cold water and pickling salt. Place the watermelon rind in another large nonreactive bowl, and pour the salt-water mixture over it. Add the ice cubes, transfer to the refrigerator, and let sit for at least 6 hours or over-night.

Drain the watermelon rind and rinse it thoroughly under cold water. Transfer it to a large pot, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until fork-tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Do not overcook. Drain and set aside.

Combine all the remaining ingredients in a large pot, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Then add the drained watermelon rind and cook for about 1 hour, or until the rind is almost completely translucent.

Divide the watermelon rind between two sterilized pint canning jars, and add enough pickling liquid to cover the rind by at least 1/4 inch. Add a cinnamon stick to each jar. There should be at least 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe the rims clean with a damp paper towel and attach the lids and rings. Process the jars in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.

Remove the jars from the hot water bath and let them cool. The jars should seal as they cool. Any jar that does not seal properly should be refrigerated and the pickles consumed within two weeks.

The pickles will keep, stored in a cool dark place, for up to 1 year.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Chocolate-Coconut Macaroons and Chocolate Dipped Apricots


I joined the Leftover's Club last month, and shipped my fist box of leftovers last week. 
I had some trouble settling on what to ship. What wouldn't break up into crumbs if it was shaken too much in the mail? What wouldn't go bad or melt in the oppressive heat? After scouring pages of recipe books and the far reaches of the internet, I finally found these chocolate-coconut macaroons.
They are so easy and so crunchy and chocolatey!

I ate a few too many! (They are really good!) So I supplemented them with chocolate-dipped apricots.
You just dip dried apricots in melted chocolate and sprinkle on the chopped almonds.
These are the delicious jam-filled white chocolate cookies I received from Shashi at Runnin' Srilankan

"Space Cowboy" Steve Miller

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon table salt
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Put the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl and heat on high power for 1 minute. Stir and then heat for another minute until completely melted. 

In a large bowl, combine the coconut, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Stir to combine.

In a small bowl, thoroughly mix the egg whites and vanilla with a fork. Stir the egg whites into the coconut mixture. Add the melted chocolate chips to the batter, andm ix with a rubber spatula to combine.

Using a small cookie scoop or a spoon, scoop out small rounds of dough - about 1 1/2 tbsp each- onto parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving 1 inch between cookies. Using your fingertips, shape each cookie into a neat little dome. If the batter is too sticky, wash your hands thoroughly and leave them a bit wet.

Bake the cookies for 12 minutes or until they are slightly crisp on the outside but still soft inside. Do not over-bake. Transfer the macaroons to a wire rack and let them cool completely.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Buerre Rouge

My mouth is watering just looking back at the pictures of this sauce.

The richness of the butter and salmon was matched perfectly with the tartness of the vinegar and wine.


Tchaikovsky - Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Opus 64
Adapted from Mark Bittman

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 cups fruity, not-too-tannic red wine
2 tablespoons balsamic or red wine vinegar
1½ to 2 pounds salmon fillet
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 stick butter, cut into 6 or 8 pieces
Chopped fresh parsley or chervil for garnish.

Directions:

Combine shallots, wine and vinegar in a small saucepan and turn heat to high. Cook until it is reduced to about ¼ cup, 10 minutes or so.

Meanwhile, put a nonstick skillet over medium heat; no fat is needed in pan. Sprinkle salmon with salt and pepper and place it, skin side up, in skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until nicely browned, about 5 minutes, then turn.

When red wine mixture has reduced, turn heat to very low. Add butter a piece at a time, stirring after each addition until it is incorporated. When all butter has been added, taste and adjust seasoning.

Use a sharp knife to peek inside thickest part of fish to judge doneness. When done to your liking, about 3 to 5 minutes after you turn, remove it to a platter or serving plates. Spoon sauce over fish, garnish if you like, and serve.


Fattoush

We got sumac after a Turkish cooking class, and I've been scouring the far reaches of recipe books and the internet for recipes.

This is great salad recipe if you want to try sumac. For a simpler sumac recipe, try adding sumac and salt to sliced red onion and letting it sit for about an hour. My mother, who usually picks onion out of everything, loved the onions.


 Next to Normal "Superboy and the Invisible Girl"
From The Kitchn

Ingredients:

1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
2 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
Salt & pepper to taste
2 cups shredded romaine lettuce
1 large or 2 small cucumbers, small dice
2 cups of fresh tomatoes, quartered in bite-size pieces
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped mint leaves
1 green pepper, diced
3 scallions, finely sliced
1 teaspoon sumac
2 pieces of pita bread toasted until golden brown, broken into pieces the size of a quarter

Directions:

In a large bowl, whisk together the first four ingredients. Add everything else and toss well. This keeps very well in the fridge and can be made ahead. Serve as a side salad, a meze plate accompaniment, or as a filling in a pita sandwich with some grilled vegetables and roast chicken or lamb.