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Merry Christmas to YOU

11 Dec

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(That’s right… I make tablescapes for cookie parties. With deer.)

So friends. It may have come to your attention that Mary and I are going for round two on this blogging thing. I have to say, I have a feeling it is going to be less soup centric since 1) good lord, we have eaten a lot of soup and 2) variety is the spice of America (also known as, we feel like it).

With that in mind and in the spirit of the season, I bring you my very favorite Christmas Cookies (White Chocolate and Macadamia Nut with Dried Cranberries). They are delicious, you can make the argument that they are healthy because they contain both fruit and nuts (note, you are also wrong), and they are festive looking – essentially making them the perfect Christmas Cookies. I’ve had special requests for them at the annual Christmas Cookie party every year since I started making them, and still think I should have won the Snauffer Christmas Cookie Exchange with them in 2006 (I was robbed).

With only the further ado of a very fancy paper and styrofoam wreath (I swear, life after grad school feels like SO MUCH TIME), Merry Christmas to you and yours!

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White Chocolate Chip, Cranberry, and Macadamia Nut Cookies

  • Preheat oven to 375 Fahrenheit
  • In a medium bowl with an electric mixer, cream 1 stick of softened butter, 1 cup packed brown sugar, and 1 cup white granulated sugar together until light and fluffy
  • Add 2 large eggs and 1 tsp vanilla and beat until just combined
  • In a separate bowl, sift together 3 cups flour, 1 tsp baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and mix thoroughly
  • Slowly add in the flour mixture until completely integrated
  • Using a large spoon, fold in 1 cup of chopped macadamia nuts (extra points if you have the patience to roast them), 1/2 cup dried cranberries, and 1.5 cups of white chocolate chunks
  • Drop heaping spoonfuls on a cookie sheet and cook about 12 minutes
  • Let cool on wire rack and enjoy!

Pumpkin Pie-pology

18 Nov

Hello friends. It’s time for an apology. I did not make a soup this week. (I, Mary Lorraine, feel a great weight taken off my shoulders! I’m not the only one who is a soup slacker! Anyways, back to Alayna…) Not even a stew (although I did have some friends make me some delicious curry). It was my last week of finals and I’m collecting/reviewing applications for Amigos to turn in by Friday and have pretty much been living on leftovers. So PLEASE forgive me. To induce that forgiveness, I present to you home-made pumpkin pie (officially not made this week, but it was delicious). That’s right, no cans in this puppy, and it’s actually pretty easy to make. Go ahead, impress your friends and family for Turkey Day. I promise a soup when I get back!

(ed. note: YOU DO NOT NEED THIS MANY PUMPKINS! I got confused. I’ve made 2 pies from these four and have enough for more)

Home-made Pumpkin Pie

First

  • Take two sugar pumpkins (those are the small guys, also called pie pumpkins, about the size of an acorn squash), slice them in half, take out the seeds and roast them for about 45 minutes until soft. Set aside to cool.

Crust

  • In a bowl use a hand-mixer to mix 2/3 cup cold butter (sliced), 2 cups of flower, 1.5 tsp salt, 1.5 tsp sugar and a few light shakes of cinnamon until the mix becomes pea-like
  • Add ice-cold spoonfuls of water and mix with a fork until the dough starts coming together
  • When it does, pat it together into a ball and then dust the outside with floor
  • Roll out on a well floured surface until it’s bigger than your pie plate, and lay inside, pinching the edges (or mashing them with a fork) to make them look pretty
  • Bake at 375 for 20 minutes covered in tin foil, then take the oven down to 350, take off the tinfoil and cook another 10 minutes until golden brown

Filling

  • Whisk together three large eggs with a few hearty shakes of cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, cloves, allspice and a pinch of salt
  • Add 1.5 cups heavy cream, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar and 2 cups of pumpkin puree (scoop it out of your pumpkins)
  • Mix using an immersion blender or your handmixer until smooth
  • Put into a saucepan and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring constantly (you don’t want your eggs to cook) on medium-low heat until hot (about 10 minutes)
  • Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes until the custard is set (doesn’t wiggle when you tap it or shake the pan)
  • Let cool and serve with ice cream or whipped cream!

Baba Ganoush Soup & Red Hot Cobbler

19 Oct

You know, sometimes it’s the little things in life that count… like being rewarded for not running your dishwasher before you leave in the morning and then having to eat out of giant bowls when you have soup night on Saturday instead of Monday because you’re staying in to study and you need SOMETHING to look forward to. I know that looks like a regular soup bowl, but rest assured, it was HUGE! … So was the hunk of cheese my friend and I devoured (mmmm… cheeese)…. and the apple cobbler. What can I say, I’m a stress cooker! Although so far I’m not getting any complaints.

Either way, there’s a really great blog called Smitten Kitchen that often has delicious recipes on it (especially for cakes!) that I generally find to look delicious but often seem a little more complicated than what I’m really willing to do for just, you know, dinner. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love cooking, and can dirty up a kitchen with pots and pans better than anyone else I know, but generally when I’m cooking I am hungry and I want it NOW! Or at least I want to not actively do anything about the food getting ready the entire hour of preparation. That’s why I love roasting!… It’s probably also why she has a cookbook deal and Mary and I are writing to Campbells.

SO, the other day I clicked over there and saw “roasted eggplant soup” and immediately thought “BABA GANOUSH SOUP THAT IS BRILLIANT!”. So I clicked on the link and it had roasted eggplant and roasted tomatos! Even MORE brilliant because I love them both.

…. Then I stopped reading the recipe because I was so entranced by the idea of baba ganoush soup (and probably zizi doing something), so when I went to the market I picked up eggplants and tomatoes and I had an onion so I roasted them when I got home with a head of garlic, blended, mixed in tahini, added some lemon and then…. looked at the recipe again.

This was NOT supposed to be baba ganoush soup. It was supposed to be something with thyme. That is a whoooole other region of the world of soup. Also, she was ‘meh’ on her soup and mine was delicious.

Guess failing at reading comprehension is not always a bad thing 🙂

Then I made cobbler. With cayenne pepper. Because it also seemed like a good idea at the time and I clearly was making sleep deprived decisions out the wazoo. But hey, you know what? Also delicious. Take that sleep! I don’t need you! I’ll just stay up on Saturday nights reading! SO THERE!!!!

Then again, that also leads to things like this (caveat, not me)… thanks grad school!

Baba Ganoush Soup

  • Put 2-3 eggplants in one pyrex with the tops cut off, sliced in half and poked a few times with a fork along with half a head of garlic with the top chopped off and cover with foil. In the other pyrex, put 3-4 tomatoes, sliced in half, and a large yellow onion, without the skin, quartered. Cover that with tinfoil too.
  • Bake at 375 for about 40-45 minutes until the eggplant seems kind of slimy when you cut into it (sounds gross, tastes delicious)
  • Take everything out of the oven and put it into the soup pot (making sure you take the garlic out of its skin!) and cover with enough water to make it brothy. Simmer for 10-15 minutes then blend, adding salt, two generous spoonfuls of tahini and the juice of 1-2 lemons. Serve!

Red Hot Cobbler (in that it tastes like red hots, the candy, it’s not that hot)

  • Slice up 5-6 apples and put them into a small pyrex (this obviously depends on how many apples you have)
  • Mix about 1/2 cup sugar with 2 tblspns flour, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and a few generious shakes of cayenne pepper. Pour over the apples and stir so the apples are pretty evenly covered
  • For the crumble top, mix about a cup of flour with half a cup of sugar and a little salt, then cut in a stick of butter. You can start off with a whisk to break things up, but you’ll want to switch to a fork at the end when the mix is making itself clumpy
  • Once mix is clumpy, sprinkle over your apples
  • Bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes (until crumple is lightly browned)

 

Spicy Quinoa Soup & Peach Frozen Yogurt

9 Aug

Alayna has moved out of town. I’m auditioning for new lady friends. Paul is barefoot and touring Phish somewhere out West. Days can be lonely for the soup ladle left behind. Thank goodness for the Union Square farmer’s market. It’s my favorite community indulgence. Gavin makes fun of me because I impulsively buy vegetables I don’t need the way other girls buy shoes. And then I get really anal about not wasting any of them. I’ve tried to lighten up with this. I don’t guilt myself if say, I don’t consume the carrot top greens, but when I do figure out how to work everything in and waste nothing I feel like I did well on a puzzling math test.

This soup is tasty. It’s like the lime soup we made way back in the day but more grain-packed. I used 2 cups quinoa and that was a ton. Feel free to just use 1 cup if you want it to feel more soupy less salady. You know what I’m saying.

In other news I’m headed to the Dominican Republic and Alayna is in Colombia, so, I’m not totally sure how we’re going to post for next Monday but we will. So check back. Eat soup and, oh! enjoy the frozen yogurt recipe. I gave up ice cream when I was in my medical boot as some sort of deranged punishment. So I made this instead, which some people could say is cheating, but it’s so good for you, with no added sugar, I’d say–Lord, sometimes I just have to step back and tell myself I’m not a health food commerical. Whatever, eat what you want. See you next week.

Spicy Quinoa Soup

4 ears of corn
2 jalapenos
1 giant handful of lima beans
2 cups of quinoa
3 heirloom tomatoes
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
generous shakes of red pepper
avocado

  • Heat oil in soup bowl and add 1 chopped onion, saute for 5 minutes
  • Add a generous shake or two of red pepper and 2 cloves of chopped garlic, keep on low heat for another few minutes until everything becomes fragrant.
  • Turn heat to medium and add 4 cups of vegetable broth and 2 cups of quinoa, wait until the pot starts to boil and then turn to simmer and put on a lid– let sit for about 10 minutes, checking occasionally to see if you need to add more water
  • Add lima beans, let sit for another 5 minutes
  • Add corn kernels, chopped jalopeanos, 3 chopped tomatoes, stir and let simmer for another 10 minutes or so (more if you aren’t ready to eat)
  • Add avacado slices and a squeeze of lime and lemon to taste. Enjoy!

Healthy Peach Fro-Yo

  • 1 pound of peaces, chop them into pieces drop them in boiling water for 30 seconds, then drop them immediately in water with ice cubes for 5 minutes, drain and freeze the in pieces over night or longer with one sliced banana
  • The next day, put 1.5 cup of non-fat yogurt, 1/4 cup of honey, 2 tsp. vanilla in a blender and blend, then slowly add the frozen fruit until it’s all blended to your chunky/chunk-less preference
  • Put in freezer container, freeze for 2 hours and enjoy!
  • Can stay in the freezer up to 3 weeks
  • Tip eat with drizzled honey, the honey freezes over it and is delicious!

Pottery Dinner Party!

24 May

Menu: Baked salmon, roasted beet salad, swiss chard with pancetta, & honey cake

SO. It’s a good thing no one is blog bullying us, because frankly I’ve been terrible on keeping up with Friday dinner’s. Not with HAVING Friday Dinners, mind you, but just with writing about them.

This dinner was a full two months ago. I know, I know, the horror. I actually had to look up the pictures to remember what we ate. You think I’m kidding, but I’m not. Luckily the pictures reminded me that it was delicious!

So, the story behind this dinner: normally on Wednesday nights I take a pottery class where I produce things like this snake candelabra:

Awesome, right? You can come to my show on June 19 at Choplet Studio!!! 6-10! There will also be lots of other animals! No soup though.

The week before this dinner party was St Patrick’s day (I know, THAT long ago) and, while perhaps partially intoxicated from my 2-3 beers at the studio, (we’re so dedicated that Cinco de Mayo was ALSO celebrated at the studio this year…. go Wednesday classes!) I thought I should invite some people  from my class to dinner the following week. Some people with lovely significant others. And this is how I ended up with three couples over to dinner at my house on a Wednesday, and it was lovely.

Now, the key to weekday dinner parties is things you can do the day or week before. I was only partially successful, all because of the beet salad. Instead of cutting them the day before, I waited until the night of, meaning I answered my door in a bathrobe. That’s right. A full-length bathrobe. Because it came down to answering the door dressed or finishing the salad, and I decided a bathrobe would cover my pretty dress. My guests were clearly confused, but luckily stuck around.

Either way, without further ado, baked salmon, roasted beet salad and swiss chard with pancetta and garlic followed by a honey cake with whipped cream for dessert.

SALMON

  • line your roasting pan with tinfoil (for easy clean up)
  • squeeze a lemon or two over your salmon, then lay slices on top with some rosemary sprigs
  • cook at 375 for about half an hour until pieces flake easily with a fork (time depends on how much fish there is)

ROASTED BEET SALAD

(HINT: you may want to roast… and cut… before the day of… the beets will keep!)

  • cut top and bottom of stems off beets and slice in half, leaving skin on. Place face down in a brownie dish and cook at 375 for about 45 minutes, until a fork goes easily through
  • once the beets are cool, you can just pull the skin off (it slides) or leave it on, and chop into bite-sized pieces, but be careful, because the dye can get everywhere!
  • Also add a few chopped blood oranges, mint, goat cheese and walnut and voila! Delicious.

SWISS CHARD WITH PANCETTA

  • Cut pancetta into small cubes, and start cooking it in olive oil
  • When pancetta starts being bacon-y (is mostly cook) and about 6-8 cloves of chopped garlic and cook until fragrant
  • add two munches of swiss chard, cleaned and torn into bite-sized pieces (HINT: you can do this in batches, adding more as things cook down)
  • Serve! With some hard cheese if you’re ambitious

HONEY CAKE

  • Preheat oven to 350 and grease a square pan, lining with parchment paper
  • In a large bowl, Mix 3.5 cups flour, 1 tablespoon of baking powder, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, a pinch of salt, cinnamon, cloves and allspice (generous shakes of all)
  • Make a well in the center, and add in 1 cup vegetable oil, 1.5 cups white sugar, .5 cup brown sugar, 3 eggs, 1 teaspoon of vanilla, 1 cup of earl gray tea (warm), half a cup of orange juice, half a cup of whiskey (HINT: Pour the oil before the honey to get the honey out easier)
  • mix well on low and bake about an hour (until a toothpick comes out clean)
  • let cool for 15 minutes before removing from the pan
  • serve with very lightly sweetened whipped cream

Veggie Soup for the Meat-Eating Soul

18 May

That’s not soup, foo, that’s rhubarb crisp! Okay. So Alayna and I have been discussing this and as we note time and time again we’re both Virgos, so we’re anal about details. That and we’ve been doing this blog for almost a year and a half and we also have this other neglected blog, Friday’s Dinners, which I like in theory but as we have since realized we should just have a one-stop shop with all our recipes. Also, as Alayna and I expand our cooking reach into the delicious far corners of the kitchen (I made strawberry chili preserves this weekend what what!) we want to include those recipes here. More than soup yes, but the theme is to highlight that we shouldn’t be afraid of soup OR cooking. And all our recipes fall into that theme.

So what to do? Basically for some dumb reason we decided to create this blog on blogger, which I think is far inferior to wordpress. I want to transfer platforms but I’m not sure how to do that easily without hand plucking all this content. Dos Mios! Does anyone have tips? I need to re-structure this monster so it’s more easily searchable. I need seperete pages. I need so many things. But what don’t I need? Soup. This soup is wonderful, as always. So make it, then tell me how to re-do this blog.

Thanks for coming to soup Lindsey!
Veggie Soup for the Meat-Eating Soul
  • In a separate pan, heat olive oil and cook six boneless skinless chicken thighs (or breasts) cut into bite-sized pieces until done and turn off, reserving juices
  • while chicken is cooking, use a clean cutting board and knife to chop up six cloves of garlic and saute with two sprigs of fresh rosemary and some generous shakes of red pepper flakes in your soup pot
  • when the garlic is fragrant/opaque, add in a chopped whole yellow onion
  • when onions are translucent, add on bunch of broccoli rabe, also chopped, including everything except the very bottom of the stems and cook covered
  • next add two yellow squashes, cut into slices then quartered, and one bunch of swiss chard torn into bite-sized pieces, covering back up
  • when squash is mostly done, add two cans of drained black-eyed peas to the pot, along with the chicken in it’s juice and cover the rest with broth
  • bring to a simmer and serve with mary’s delicious carrot bread!
Rhubarb Crisp
  • Take about one pound of rhubarb and strip the stringy parts of off the rib of the rhubarb by pulling them off with a paring knife (if you were a really particular child, you may remember doing something like this with really stringy celery, but i promise it’s easier than that was). When you’re done, the ribs will look like naked rhubarb and kind of green.
  • Cut into bite-sized pieces and put into a bowl
  • Add one pound of strawberries, halved or quartered and one can of drained cherries (or more rhubarb or more strawberries… I just had a can of cherries)
  • Squeeze about a tablespoon of orange juice onto the fruit, grate some zest onto the mix and then stir in half a cup of white sugar, then place into a buttered square brownie type dish
  • in a food processor or with a hand mixer, take six tablespoons of cold butter, add some cinnamon and salt, then half a cup of brown sugar, half a cup of flour, half a cup of rolled oats and half a cup of almonds or pecan, and pulse or mix until there are pea-like sized balls. it’s important to use cold butter so it doesn’t just melt!
  • put the topping onto the fruit in chunks and bake at 350 for about 45 minutes until the top of the crumble is browned
  • enjoy!

Appetizer Party

9 Feb

Appetizers. They’re delicious. Everyone loves them. Plus it seems like you can go a little more crazy with trying to make an exciting appetizer because it’s not the same sort of commitment as a whole meal, or entree. Having a whole party surrounded by appetizers (and cake) is a great idea to shake up boring February. We recommend. Invite your friends to bring their favorite appetizer dish, and if they don’t have any ideas what to bring, scroll down.

Pate

  • melt about 2-3 tablespoons of butter in a frying pan with one bay leaf and one sprig of fresh rosemary
  • add 3/4 pound of chicken liver and cook (stirring occasionally) for about two minutes, then add a splash of whiskey (about a shots worth)
  • cook a few more minutes until still pink in the middle, but not bloody… this should take a total of less than five minutes
  • let cool for a few minutes, then put liver and juices into the food processor with some salt and pepper and blend until smooth
  • scrape into a dish, cover with seran wrap and let cool for a few hours until solid
  • enjoy!


Walnut Jam Cake

  • toast 1 1/4 cups of walnuts in the oven for 5-10 minutes at 350
  • butter and flour two 8 inch cake pans
  • once they are cooled, crush your walnuts in the food processor with about 2/3 cup of sugar and transfer to a mixing bowl
  • add 1 stick of butter, cut into pieces, and beat thoroughly
  • then add 4 large eggs, beating again
  • last but not least, mix 1/2 cup flour with 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, a few shakes of salt and some allspice in a separate bowl, then beat into the mix
  • pour into your buttered pans
  • cook for about 30 minutes at 350, checking to see if a toothpick comes out of the center clean
  • cool for about 20 minutes in the pan, then flip out of the pans to cool the rest of the way
  • once cool, decide which half will be your bottom, and spread a thick layer of jam (I used a blackberry/blueberry chunky one) on top
  • top with the other cake, and serve with a dollop of whipped cream* on top

* to make whipped cream: whisk a small carton of heavy cream until stiff (you can make a ravine with your finger and it stays), add about 2 tablespoons of sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla and whisk in… done!

Roasted Pears with Goat Cheese

  • peel, halve and core about 4 pears (any kind)
  • mix the juice from half a lemon with about a teaspoon of vanilla and in a separate bowl, about 1/3 a cup of sugar with a few shakes of ginger and allspice
  • drizzle the lemon mixture onto your pears first, then sprinkle with the sugar mixture, finishing the lemons by dotting each one with a small tab of butter
  • roast at 375 for about 45 minutes, flipping halfway through and occasionally basting with the juices
  • Serve warm with the cup filled with goat cheese


Clementine Cake

  • cover about 6-7 small, thin-skinned clementines with water and bring to a boil, then down to a simmer, cooking for about an hour (longer for thicker skinned fruit) until very soft. Take out of the water, and once cool, de-seed and then mush them in your food processor, skins and all
  • butter and line an 9inch cake pan (I used a square one) with parchment paper, cutting to fit
  • in your food processor (or by hand), grind about 2 cups of almonds, and mix them in with 1 cup of sugar and 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • beat 6 eggs in your mixing bowl, and add in dry ingredients, mixing thoroughly, followed by the clementine pulp
  • Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes, checking to see that a toothpick comes out clean from the center