Archive for the ‘ Anytime ’ Category

Dark Chocolate Cookies with White Chips

I love any excuse to bake cookies and the holidays are the perfect excuse.  I’m trying not to go overboard this year. Rugelach and ginger cookies are already sitting in my freezer.  So I decided to bake a rich chocolate cookie.

In the past I’ve made a wonderful rich chocolate chip cookie that is labor intensive and kind of messy.  I’m really not up to all that work so I came up with a simpler version with all of the richness.  I’ve also decided to change it a little by adding white chocolate chips.  For the chocolate I used Ghirardelli brand.

This recipe took no time at all to put together.  And the hour the dough sat in the refrigerator gave me time to work on other tasks. The most difficult part of this recipe is not eating the raw dough which is delicious!

 

Ingredients

  • 12 ounces 60 % cocoa chocolate chips (or bittersweet)
  • 11 1/2 ounces white chocolate chips
  • 6 tablespoon(s) unsalted butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon dark rum (or vanilla)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Directions

In double boiler over hot water, melt bittersweet chocolate chips and butter (or melt in the microwave)

In large bowl whisk eggs, rum, cinnamon, and sugar until thick; stir into melted chocolate mixture a little at a time so the eggs don’t scramble

Stir together flour and baking powder; stir into chocolate mixture. Mix in white chocolate chips and walnuts.

Cover bowl and refrigerate from 1-3 hours.  Take out of the fridge and drop by heaping teaspoons onto a baking sheet

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake 10-12 minutes until there is a shiny top but still seems soft in the middle

~enjoy~

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Fresh Ginger Chocolate Chip Cookies & Tea

Those of you who follow my Facebook page know that I have been in search of candied ginger.  nearly as easy to find as I thought.  Plenty of candied fruit for those awful fruitcakes but no ginger.  It’s ridiculous, but it got me thinking.  Since I’m a true lover of fresh ginger, there’s no reason to purchase a processed candied version to make some good cookies.  I’m flexible so I searched for a good fresh ginger cookie recipe and then tweaked it to my ownl taste.

As for ginger tea, it’s the simplest thing to make.  Boil up some water, add a 1/2 inch slice of fresh ginger and some honey or agave nectar.  It’s so easy and delicious, and your house smells lovely!  I try to drink this tea often because of ginger’s health benefits.  I use it for its anti-inflammatory proponents but it’s also great for gastrointestinal issues and protects against certain cancers.

I actually have a Zingiber Zerumbet  plant also known as Shampoo Ginger growing in my backyard.  It’s pretty much a long stalk with large leaves growing out of each side.  The picture seen is not of my own since our last cold front hurt it and it’s not too pretty.  I’ll be bringing it inside today before the next cold spell which is due in a couple of days.  As it get’s larger it’s supposed to grow cones that produce a milky liquid that is used in some regions as a shampoo.  The liquid itself is also known for its health benefits.

On to my cookies, they are a little time-consuming because they have to be refrigerated for an hour before baking.  However, it is a simple recipe which can be adjusted for personal tastes.  Personally, I don’t care for spices such as cloves or powered nutmeg so I kept this a basic ginger cookie.  Feel free to add more spice if desired.

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (I used half white whole wheat flour)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey or agave nectar or a combination of both (I combined)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1.5 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Beat ginger, butter, vanilla and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy.
  2. Beat in honey/agave and egg mix well.
  3. Gently fold in flour mixture until just combined, add chocolate chips. Chill for 1 hour
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  5. Roll dough into 1  inch balls
  6. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets
  7. Bake until edges start to brown and the centers are soft, 10-12 minutes
  8. Let stand on cookie sheets 1 minute and remove to racks to cool
  9. Dust with confection sugar

~enjoy~

Traditional Potato Latkes

I can’t believe it’s the fifth night of Hanukkah and the first time I’ve made potato latkes this holiday!  Sadly, the whole family wasn’t together but we had an enjoyable time.  Last year I veered from the traditional recipe and went with Southwest Sweet Potato Latke’s.  This year I stuck with a very traditional recipe.  I got it from http://www.jewfaq.org/index.htm.  I really like this site, they’ve got some really great info that’s quite comprehensive.

I give my ancestors a lot of credit.  Making latkes before the invention of a food processor must have been an incredible task.  Hand grating several pounds of potatoes is a lot of work.  My mother remembers her grandmother standing in front of the oven frying up fresh batches of latkes while the family enjoyed them.  We always wanted my mom at the table with us so she would pre-cook them and keep them warm in the oven.  Not quite as good of a taste but a better family experience.

With my guilt I did not even invite my parents over. Up until the last-minute I wasn’t even sure if anyone would be home to bother cooking them.  I also wasn’t sure what time we would eat.  With that said, Mom if you’re reading this, sorry!  Also, Ariel if you’re reading this, there’s some leftover’s in the fridge for you and Geoff.  Stop by and grab them!  For my non-Jewish readers (most of you) this me living the phenomenon known as Jewish Guilt!

In my house we celebrate everything.  While deciding this was latke night we were also contemplating our Christmas dinner.  One holiday just flows into another.  When the kids were little there was plenty of gifts to go around.  Many were practical items such as pj’s or toiletries but always fun to have something to open.  This year everyone is grown and I wouldn’t have the slightest idea what to buy.  My parents, husband and I have decided no gifts.  I’m so happy with this as I am trying to minimize and get rid of stuff.  At the same time I am trying to recognize what I truly need and stick to purchasing with care.

For my kids, I would like some fun relaxing shopping trips where they can pick what they want/need and hopefully we will simply enjoy the time spent together.  In the past I have taken the items bought together, hid them (sort of) and wrapped them for either a Hanukkah or Christmas gift.  If I was lucky the forgot I bought it and were excited for something they barely remembered, or they feigned surprise which was just ridiculous.  I’m hoping the new tradition of just hanging out together and having a fun shopping trip works out well.  It’s much less work and stress for me and the kids don’t have to wait for their gifts.  Ultimately, for a non religious person as myself, it’s all about time well spent together.

Since I haven’t deviated at all from the original recipe I am pretty much cutting and pasting right from http://www.jewfaq.org/holiday7.htm, video and all.

Makes approximately 12 palm-sized latkes

  • 4 medium potatoes
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup matzah meal (flour or bread crumbs can be substituted)
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. each salt and black pepper (more or less to taste)
  • vegetable oil
Watch in full size on YouTube

Shred the potatoes and onion into a large bowl. Press out all excess liquid.(if using a food processor, use the chopping blade for 2 or 3 seconds after pressing out liquid to avoid stringy fly-aways). Add eggs and mix well. Add matzah meal gradually while mixing until the batter is doughy, not too dry. (you may not need the whole amount, depending on how well you drained the veggies). Add the baking powder, salt and pepper and mix well. (don’t taste the batter — it’s really gross!). Don’t worry if the batter turns a little orange; that will go away when it fries.

Heat about 1/2 inch of oil to medium-high heat. Form the batter into thin patties about the size of your palm. Fry batter in oil. Be patient: this takes time, and too much flipping will burn the outside without cooking the inside. Flip when the bottom is golden brown.

Place finished latkes on paper towels to drain. Eat hot with sour cream or applesauce. They reheat OK in a microwave, but not in an oven unless you cook them just right.

Me again, personally I only reheat in the oven, I don’t like them microwaved at all!!

~enjoy~

 

Rugelach

Rugelach is one of my all time favorite cookies.  They are like tiny rolled crescents filled with a raisin & nut mixture.  Today they are easily bought in any bakery aisle but don’t let the store-bought varieties fool you.  They lack the rich flaky dough as well as the sweet and savory filling that make them so addictive.  I don’t make rugelach very often because it’s a bit time-consuming.  Years ago I started to double the recipe because it’s easier to make more than make it more often.

Rugelach רוגעלך is a Yiddish word which is interpreted as “little twists” which refers to the shape of the cookie.  There are many different recipes, some with no dairy products, some with a sour cream dough and others with a cream cheese dough.  I prefer the latter, the combination of cream cheese, butter and flour make a delicate cookie with appropriate flavors to compliment the filling.  Fillings can vary as well.  Ultimately, you can roll pretty much anything that will fit in this.

I tend to make smallish Rugelach, they bake evenly and are easier to work with.  Most often I make them for Jewish holidays.  They freeze well and actually taste great frozen.  I made a large batch to split over Thanksgiving and Hanukkah but forgot to serve them last Thursday.  It’s ok this way there’s more for me!  The recipe also works best if you make the dough, split it into balls and refrigerate for a short while.  I find the dough rolls easily then.

My Rugelach do not come out evenly sized and shaped but it doesn’t matter.   They should be similar enough in size to bake evenly.  Once I roll them out I use a pizza cutter to make the circles and then cut them into triangle pieces like a pizza.  I doubt this is the way my great-grandmother did it but it works for me.

Dough

2 cups flour

1 8 oz block cream cheese (light is fine)

1 stick of butter room temperature

Mix the 3 ingredients together and break into 6 equal sized balls, cover and refrigerate 30 minutes to an hour

Filling

This part is truly a rough guess, I’ve never measured it!

3/4 – 1 cup each raisins and chopped walnuts

8-10 oz apricot preserves or jam

1/3 cup of sugar

cinnamon to taste ( a little nutmeg if desired)

Mix these ingredients together set aside

More flour and sugar will be needed for rolling

Directions

Take a ball of dough and roll it into a circle about 1/4″ thick and approximately 10″ round, use flour and sugar as needed so dough doesn’t stick

Using a pizza cutter trim ends of the circle and cut into 6-8 even pieces depending on desired size

On the wide end of each triangle add a small amount of the filling so that it spans the width

Roll it up from the filled side to the narrow end and gently push the narrow end to stick to the dough, it should stay easily

Place on a pan (sometimes I gently grease, sometimes I don’t) and bake at 425 for 10-15 minutes until golden brown on the outside

Repeat with each ball, I often take the scraps and toss them into the bowl in the refrigerator holding the dough, usually there’s enough scraps to make 1 last circle of cookies

~enjoy~

Cranberry-Dijon Salad Dressing

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything simply because I haven’t been cooking anything but some of my old stand by recipes.  This is a recipe I’ve stolen borrowed from my daughters abandoned blog.  I’ve been waiting all year for fresh cranberries to be back in season so I can try it.  With the exception of the fresh cranberries all the ingredients are in either my pantry or fridge which I love.I’ve put this dressing on top of a salad made of fresh greens, sliced apple, onion, walnut, cucumber and feta.  I think it would also be a great dressing to accompany a variety of veggie sandwiches.

Sorry there are no pictures once again, but it’s a salad dressing.  You can pretty  much imagine what it looks like!  I am still very much adjusting to the hectic pace of my days and stopping to grab a camera does not seem to be in the forefront of my mind these days.  The good news is that while I’m nervous about the ever increasing pace of my job I am absolutely loving it.  I get to help people work through a troublesome experience (minor car accidents) and work to resolve their issues with as little inconvenience to them as possible.  It’s very rewarding and the busy days fly by.

Cranberry-Dijon Salad Dressing

Ingredients:

  • Fresh cranberries (a few handfuls, maybe 2 cups/4dl?)
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard (this I did measure!)
  • White wine vinegar (probably about 1dl/0.5cup)
  • White wine (probably about 2dl/1 cup)
  • Olive oil (a couple tbsps)
  • Water (to bring to desired consistency.  Though I left mine pretty thick, I like the creamy texture.)

Cook:

  1. Put a couple of tablespoons olive oil in a small sauce pan and put on high heat.
  2. Add cranberries and put the lid on.  The cranberries will sorta ‘pop’ like popcorn, so you don’t want that oil splashing onto you.  When the popping stops lower heat and mash with a potato masher.
  3. At medium heat add wine, vinegar, and mustard.  Stir in more olive oil if desired.  Blend together.  Add water if desired.

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

~Enjoy~

Slow Cooked Barley Lentil Soup

I seem to be easily falling into a habit of using my new crock pot to prepare Monday night dinner.  I assemble most of it the night before, add a few last-minute items and plug it in right before leaving the house.  Sunday evening prep was simple because I was already chopping veggies for dinner, I just chopped some into a separate bowl.  I had the barley and lentils measured out in a bowl ready to add in just before cooking.  My only job on Monday morning was to scrub and dice the potato.  Does anyone know if it would have gone bad overnight with the broth while refrigerated?  I decided not to risk it.

A couple of people have asked about my new job.  This week is better than last.  It’s all starting to come together for me.  I was told that they have a term “Lightbulb Tuesday” which is apparently when most people have their “Aha” moment.   It was true for me.  Now I just have a couple of exams to pass Thursday and Friday.  Next Monday I go live.  I’m pretty excited about that!  I’m working with an incredible group of people who are intelligent and interesting to hang out with.  It’s all good.

Anyway, try the soup, it’s souper (haha) easy and makes a hearty fall meal.  I can easily see adding some other veggies or beans but really it doesn’t need it.  The spices really gave it a unique flavor but if you don’t have all of them just wing it and use something else that will provide a similar richness.

Vegan Persian Barley Soup in a Slow Cooker

Ingredients:

1 cup of lentils (rinsed)

1 cup of pearled barley (rinsed)

1 medium onion, finely diced

1  large or 2 small potatoes, diced

1 cup sliced carrots

2 garlic cloves, grated or in small pieces

1 teaspoon  each turmeric, cumin, garam masala

6 cups vegetable stock (low sodium)

1+ cup water (I added more before serving because it was so thick)

8-12 oz can tomato sauce (or a can of petite diced tomatoes)

Salt and pepper to taste

Fresh chopped herbs of choice for topping if desired

Directions:

1. Combine all dry ingredients into a large slow cooker (mine is a 5 1/2 quart beast). Stir thoroughly.  I combined all ingredients except the lentils, potato and barley the night before and refrigerated, then put them in the pot just before cooking.

2. Cover and cook for a minimum of 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.  Check seasoning before serving and top with choice of herbs

~Lin~

Vegan Pumpkin Cookies

The best thing about vegan baking is that you can eat raw batter to your hearts content!  No worries about salmonella here.  Another bonus with these particular cookies is that your house smells delicious. The cookies themselves are quite tasty too!  This is a win-win situation in my opinion.

I’m not sure if canned pumpkin is in the stores yet.  I actually stocked up last year and have a couple of cans left.  During the winter I like to use the cans to make Pumpkin Black Bean Soup which is another family favorite.  It’s a rich hearty soup that takes no time to make and is a meal in itself.

As for my cookies, well they simply taste like autumn.  I gave into my chocolate addiction and added some chcolate chips with the cranberries.  I omitted the nuts because my niece doesn’t care for them.  However, this is another base recipe that you can change the spices and add-ins to your personal taste easily enough.

Ingredients

1.5 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
2 teaspoon vanilla
1 15 oz can pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon each – cinnamon & pumpkin pie spice
1 cup oatmeal
2 cups of add ins such as raisins, cranberries, chopped nuts, chocolate chips (optional)
3 cup all-purpose flour (or a mixture 1 cup whole wheat, 2 cups white)

Directions

Beat the oil, pumpkin, sugar, and vanilla in a bowl, add in oatmeal and blend

Add in the flour, baking powder, and baking soda a little at a time until well blended

By hand incorporate the add-ins

Bake at 350 for approximately 12 minutes

Enjoy!