Tag Archives: recipes

Christmas Baking Week!

19 Dec

Christmas baking has long been one of my favorite parts of the holiday. As a child, my mother always made three or four different kinds of cookies — generally standard chocolate chip, cinnamon and sugar jumbles, peanut butter “kiss” cookies and cut out sugar cookies. Every year I looked forward to helping her mix the dough (and stealing as many almost-too-hot-to-touch cookies from the cooling racks as I could while she wasn’t looking). Even after I moved into my own apartment, I would spend an evening drinking wine and putting up my little tabletop tree while break and bake chocolate chips baked in the oven.

The first Christmas that Steven and I were together was the Christmas that I first ventured into the territory of a cookie tray. I’ve done it every year since, and it continues to evolve as I try out new recipes and tinker with old ones. So far my record is eleven different kinds of cookie. This year I settled on seven recipes — two old standbys and five never-before tried ones — that I hope will turn out deliciously. I can’t take credit for any of the recipes I use, but in line with the Christmas spirit, I thought I would share.

1. Buckeyes

2. Trader Joe’s chocolate chip (recipe is also on the back of the TJ’s chocolate chip package)

3. Sugar cookies with lemon buttercream frosting

4. Gingerbread men

5. Pumpkin Gobs with Maple Cream Cheese Filling

6. Sweet Potato Pie Cupcakes with Marshmallow Frosting

7. White Chocolate Peppermint Brownies

Of course, all credit for the recipes goes to their original author. Can’t wait to sample them all!

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Lamb and Apricot Meatballs Over Couscous

2 Aug

This meal is a house favorite.

 

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Ingredients

for the meatballs:

  • 2 lbs ground free-range lamb
  • 1 cup dried apricots
  • 2 shallots
  • 1 tsp ground corriander
  • 1/2 tsp dried mint
  • salt and pepper to taste

for the salad:

  • 2 cucumbers, diced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 large onion, sliced
  • 2 cups whole wheat couscous, prepared according to package directions

for the dressing:

  • 1/4 cup good quality olive oil (I like basil-infused for this recipe)
  • juice of one lemon
  • several sprigs of fresh thyme, chopped
  • salt and pepper

Preparation

  1. Using a food processor, finely chop the dried apricots and shallots together. In a large bowl, add to ground lamb along with spices. Mix well.
  2. Roll mixture into meatballs approximately one inch in diameter (should yield around two dozen meatballs). Place on cookie sheet lined with tinfoil.
  3. Broil meatballs for 8-10 minutes until browned and cooked through.
  4. While meatballs broil, prepare couscous according to package directions. Set aside.
  5. For dressing, whisk olive oil and lemon together. Add chopped thyme and salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
  6. To serve, divide couscous evenly between four plates. Nestle a portion of meatballs into couscous and spoon 1/4 of the salad over top. Drizzle with dressing. Garnish with crumbled feta cheese and a lightly toasted pita.
Serves 4.
Tonight I plan on serving the leftover meatballs with a side salad of slow-roasted fresh beets and wilted beet greens in a balsamic vinaigrette. Yum!

Easy Cheese Ravioli and Summer Squash in a Green Garlic Cream Sauce

7 Jul

You may remember from my last post that I was a bit mystified about the introduction of green garlic into my kitchen vocabulary. Prior to last week’s CSA disbursement, the only garlic I was familiar with was the everyday kind purchased in the supermarket — papery layers of peel hiding sticky cloves garlicky enough to make my eyes water while mincing. Boy, was I missing out.

A quick tour around the Google results revealed that green garlic is in fact regular garlic, harvested before the plant fully matures and the bulbs differentiate into cloves. It resembles a scallion on steroids (greens included, ours were approximately two feet in length), and is similarly edible in it’s entirety.

Green garlic

Green garlic may be eaten cooked or raw, with a taste that is far less bitter and aggressive than the mature plant. The mild garlic flavor actually sweetens as it’s cooked.

We experimented with both raw and cooked versions to get the most milage from this new-to-us, farm-to-table produce: I served the greens with a side of sea salt on a crudite platter of pickling cucumbers and tomatoes, just as I would a green onion; and made the bulbs the star ingredient of a light and lovely cream sauce for pasta. Recipe follows.

Ingredients

  • 12oz frozen cheese ravioli
  • 2 small to medium summer squash, thinly sliced into rounds
  • 2 turn-of-the-pan swirls of good quality olive oil

(for the sauce)

  • one inch square of salted butter
  • 2 bulbs green garlic, finely minced (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon white flour
  • 1/3 cup half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preparation

  1. Cook ravioli according to package directions. Don’t forget to season water well with salt! Drain and set aside.
  2. While ravioli are cooking, heat olive oil in a shallow skillet over medium heat. Add summer squash and saute until tender and beginning to brown, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat.
  3. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add green garlic and saute until tender and fragrant, 1-3 minutes.
  4. Stir one tablespoon of white flour into butter and garlic, salt and pepper to taste. Allow to cook one minute to “cook off” taste of flour.
  5. Add half-and-half and whole milk all at once. Continue to cook, whisking occasionally, until mixture begins to bubble and thicken. It should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat.
  6. Divide ravioli between two plates and top with half of the sauteed squash, and half of the cream sauce. Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley or basil if desired.

Recipe yields two dinner-sized portions.