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Bacon Ginger Cookies

26 Nov

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!  My sister-in-law’s aunt was kind enough to open up her home to us this year, since this is the first time we’re celebrating Thanksgiving away from all of our family.  It was difficult not being surrounded by all the traditions Peter and I were used to, but so fun getting to join in someone else’s traditions too.

I was on cookie duty.  I made pumpkin cookies, chocolate chip and cranberry oatmeal cookies, pecan balls, and my new favorite cookie in the world: bacon ginger cookies!

I need to come up with a more clever name for them, since I have decided that these will be a tradition in our household.  It’s a combination of a couple different recipes I’ve seen, and I know it sounds weird.  But the bacon grease gives the cookies a slight smoky flavor.  Needless to say, you’ll need to plan a bit ahead if you want to make these – unless you already happen to save bacon grease, or are planning on cooking about three packages of bacon anytime soon.

Bacon Ginger Cookies:

  • 2 1/2 C. all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 6 tbsp. bacon grease, softened (not melted)
  • 1/3 C. brown sugar
  • 1/3 C. granulated sugar (plus more for rolling)
  • 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 C. dark molasses
  • 1/3 C. candied ginger, finely diced (this is about the contents of a tall jar in the spice aisle.  Don’t worry if it’s a little more or a little less)

Preheat the oven to 375° and line a couple baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, add flour, baking soda, spices, pepper, and salt, whisking to combine.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter, bacon grease, and sugars, and mix on medium speed until they are light and fluffy.  Reduce the speed a bit, and add the egg yolk and vanilla.  Increase the speed and mix until everything is well incorporated.

Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Add the molasses and beat until it is fully incorporated.  Scrape down the sides again, and put mixer on lowest setting.  Add flour mixture and the diced ginger.  Beat until just incorporated.

Get a small bowl and fill it about half-way with more granulated sugar for rolling.  Roll large balls of dough (about 2 in. in diameter), and drop them one at a time in the sugar bowl, rolling them around until covered.  Set the balls on the lined baking sheet, at least 2 in. apart (don’t press the cookies flat).

Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or soon after the tops of the cookies have gotten a crackling effect on top.  Don’t overbake them!  Cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack.  Enjoy warm or cooled, with a cold glass of milk.

Remember, Remember the Fifth of November…

5 Nov

…The pretzels, the ham, and the swiss!

Plum’n’Apple Chai Pie

4 May

Some of the best foods were created when someone needed to empty out the fridge or cupboard, or needed to use up what he had before it spoiled (Old Bay seasoning, dirty rice, &c.).  I found myself with some leftover plums from a tatin I’d made the week earlier.  They were getting wrinkly, and were a little too bitter for me to want to eat them alone.  I also had one single leftover pie crust in the freezer.  I couldn’t make a full-fledged pie out of it, so I threw together this:

The Plum’n’Apple Chai Pie

Ingredients:

  • Half a recipe Pate Brisee (found here), or one storebought pie crust
  • 1 eggwhite
  • 3 large Granny Smith apples, skinned and cut into relatively thin slices
  • 5 or 6 plums, sliced
  • 2 tbsp. molasses (I didn’t measure, I just drizzled and stirred until the fruit was lightly coated)
  • Half a fresh lemon, or a bottle of lemon juice
  • 2 heaping tbsp. sugar
  • 1 Chai tea bag (you’ll only be using half of it)
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • Half a stick of butter, cut into small slices and chilled
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 big handsfull dry oats

Preheat oven to 400.  Flour a clean smooth surface and roll out the pate brisee or storebought crust, being careful to not make it too thin (so it doesn’t burn), and lower into a pie dish.  Using a pastry brush, brush the rim of the pie with the egg white.  Put crust in the freezer until ready to fill (if you don’t freeze it, it will kinda sink down into the pie dish once it’s put in the oven).

In a large bowl, combine fruit, molasses, lemon juice (either half a lemon’s worth, or a few squirts from a bottle), sugar, half the contents of a chai teabag, and cornstarch.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix flour and brown sugar until combined.  Add butter and, using a pastry cutter, cut butter into dry mixture until well combined.  Add oatmeal and briefly mix with hands.  You can also mix flour, brown sugar, and butter in a food processor, transfer it to a bowl, and hand-mix the oats into that.

Take crust out of freezer, dump fruit in, and top with oatmeal mixture.  Place on top of tin foil-lined cookie sheet and put in oven (center rack) for about an hour, or until juice from fruit starts to bubble through the crumble topping.  Let cool before serving.

Veggie Stuffed Bell Peppers

1 Apr

I’ve been trying to cook more vegetarian dinners in order to save money and so we can both slim down a bit (I really don’t want to buy a whole new post-partum wardrobe).   Tonight I improvised some vegetarian stuffed bell peppers that I don’t want to forget, so I’m posting the recipe here:

Vegetarian Stuffed Bell Peppers

  • 4 bell peppers, top cut off, deseeded, and bottom leveled
  • 1/2 cup white rice
  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • 2 chicken boullion cubes
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp cumin (depending on how much you like the taste)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 bell pepper, deseeded and chopped
  • 2 jalapenos, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 small can cubed tomatoes
  • Half a red onion, chopped
  • 1/3 cup mushrooms, chopped
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I used fat free)
  • Salt to taste
  • Lime juice
  • Panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Cook the rice to package specifications, putting one boullion cube, one tbsp olive oil, and half the cumin in each pot to boil with the rice.  Combine both into one large bowl when they’re done.

Put a skillet on medium head on a burner with a bit of oil in it.  Combine onion, jalapenos, and chopped bell pepper in the skillet.  Add salt, and cook until tender.

 Throw the mushrooms and a big handful of cilantro in with rice.  Combine drained tomatoes, onion/pepper mixture, and cheddar cheese in with rice as well.  Give a couple squirts of lime juice, and stir everything until well combined.

Arrange leveled bell peppers in a square casserole dish and fill each with mixture, making a dome of filling on the tops.  Sprinkle tops liberally with panko.  Pour a bit of water in the bottom of the dish around the peppers (so the bottom of the dish is covered).  Cook on 400 for about 10-15 minutes, until panko browns.  Turn down to 350 and cook for about a half hour – or until peppers get kinda wrinkly (it all depends on your oven).  Serve with cornbread and iced tea!

More of Katie’s Shower

6 Feb

I want to throw an indoor garden party of equal beauty.  I think I did a pretty good job decorating this shower, if I do say so myself.  I am completely open to color suggestions.  What would brighten your mood in the middle of winter?

Vanilla for Christmas

22 Oct

Hello!  I’m back for the time being.  Our house is Under Contract, and I’m 31 weeks along!  Being at home has afforded me a lot of extra time to finish things way ahead of schedule.  And so, for the first time in my life, I actually have the majority of my Christmas presents made and bought before Thanksgiving!  I never thought I’d be one of those women!

Here’s a pretty picture of the vanilla extract I made for the ladies in my family (who hopefully don’t read this blog!):

Vanilla&Clementine 007

And just for kicks, this is a picture of my ugly little sidekick Clementine:

Vanilla&Clementine 011

Now: On to finishing some Christmas cards!

I’ve been tagged too?!

6 Jul

I was actually tagged over at Love2BInspired to complete one of those “10 things about you” posts.  I am pretty sure that is the very first time anyone’s ever tagged me to do one! So I was pretty excited when I got a little message letting me know I’d been tagged!

Ok, let’s see:

1. I am very unsure about my home decor tastes. I decorate my home kinda country, and I wish it were more modern. I do modern, and I wish it were more warm and cottage-like! I’m still trying to figure out exactly what my style is.

2. I was an Au Pair in Munich, Germany when I was 17. It was an interesting experience.

3. I feel most fulfilled and happy when I’m working in my tiny little home and taking care of my husband in that way.

4. I love the color white, but I’ve never been able to get into the shabby chic thing.

5. I love collecting milk glass and silver, and sometimes worry that my home is beginning to make me appear about 60 years older than I am!

6. I was an English major in college.

7. I have a 2 year old pug named Clementine.

8. I am terrible at finding my way around, because my husband drives everywhere (except for maybe the grocery store).

9. On the rare occasion that I am in the car alone, I love singing Rosemary Clooney songs really really loud.

10. My favorite movie is “The Secret Garden.” Sometimes when I’m stressed out, I just hum the music to myself! I could watch that movie every day for the rest of my life… maybe.

Um… I don’t know what 10 people to tag! I don’t think most of the people I read have any idea about my blog, or are probably too busy with their awesome businesses to respond to my post. So anyone who would like to post 10 things in the comments here (or on your own blog and link back to this one!) is totally free to! Let me know if you post something, if you don’t link back here!

Rose