Monday, December 12, 2011

Rosemary Shortbread with Candied Walnuts



The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap was a huge success in my book. I was very pleased with my creation and even more important, I got to eat amazing cookies from California, Maryland, and Minnesota. I can't tell you how excited I was to check the mailbox for the last week. I was so sad when my final dozen arrived, but elated that my last batch was inspired by one of my favorites...Heidi Swanson (www.101cookbooks.com)


I was happy to send my rosemary shortbread out to:

Laura from http://www.sprint2thetable.com
Naomi from http://www.bakersroyale.com
and
Kim from http://www.kideats.co

It was such a coincidence that my Minnesota arrival was inspired by Heidi Swanson, since my cookie idea stemmed from my love of Heidi's recipe for Brown Sugar Rosemary Walnuts. I made the candied walnuts earlier this fall and wanted to incorporate elements of the recipe into my cookie swap idea. I adore shortbread and thought it would travel and keep well, thus rosemary shortbread with candied walnuts.

Start with the walnuts...

1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoons sea salt
2 large egg whites
4 cups (1 pound) shelled walnut halves

Pre-heat your oven to 300 degrees F and line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. You want the parchment paper - this is a sticky situation when these come out of the oven.

Mix the sugar and salt in a small bowl. Put the egg whites in a large bowl and whisk the egg whites to break them up. Pour the walnuts into the egg whites and mix until the walnuts are coated. Pour the sugar & salt mixture into the walnuts and toss until the nuts are covered.

Spread the nuts over the two sheets in a single layer. Bake for 25 minutes or until the walnuts are golden. Let the sheets cool for a couple minutes before moving the parchment paper to a cooling rack. Let the nuts cool while you make the shortbread dough.

Now for the shortbread...

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar

The oven will stay at 300 degrees F (hopefully you didn't turn it off).

Combine flour, salt, baking powder, and rosemary in a medium bowl.

Mix the butter and sugar together in a large bowl with an electric mixer at low speed, then add flour mixture and mix until dough resembles coarse meal. Gather dough into a ball and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Knead dough until it just comes together, about 8 times. Halve dough and form each half into a 5-inch disk.



Roll out 1 disk (keep remaining dough at room temperature) between 2 sheets of parchment or with a lightly floured rolling pin. If you used parchment, take off the top layer and use a biscuit or round cookie cutter to make rounds out of the dough. I didn't have my biscuit or cookie cutters handy, so I used a glass (which I also floured). Depending on the size rounds, this recipe will make close to two dozen cookies. After you transfer the rounds to your cookie sheet, place a walnut or walnut cluster in the center of each shortbread. Press down lightly.



Bake the cookies until they are golden brown, 20 minutes. Use a spatula to transfer the cookies to a rack and cool 5 minutes.



Package with rosemary sprigs when sharing with someone special...And yes, those are crumbs in the picture. I was sampling while packaging. I had to make sure they were up to par in order to share.



Recipe inspired by:

"Brown Sugar & Rosemary Walnuts" by Heidi Swanson, 2011
http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/brown-sugar-rosemary-walnuts-recipe.html

Rosemary Shortbread by Gourmet, 2002
http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Rosemary-Shortbread-107452

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Bruschetta



Chop some tomatoes.



Chop some garlic.



Chop some basil.



Add olive oil, a pinch of salt, a pinch of pepper & mix.



Spread on baguette toast (400 degrees for 8 mins).

Enjoy one of my favorite parts of summer. Bruschetta.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Cooking up a Vegan Storm




Since I didn’t have school today, and since I woke up early due a thunder storm, I thought I’d create my own storm in the kitchen. I cooked from 8AM - 2PM (with some most welcome phone catch-up interruptions from California) and made several vegan delights. After an amazing dinner at Angelica Kitchen in NYC last Tuesday, I was inspired to make some vegan food. I consulted Alicia Silverstone’s Kind Diet and decided on four recipes: Pecan-Crusted Seitan, Hot Rice with Cold Lemon, Basil, and Tomato, Sicilian Collard Greens with Pine Nuts and Raisins, and Pumpkin Bread.

This was my first time working with seitan and although it wasn’t the most appetizing-looking item at Whole Foods, this dish came out beautifully. To be honest, I think you could put the marinade from this recipe on an old shoe and it would be delicious. This will be quite a treat for lunch for the remainder of the week.

I’ll be eating the pecan-crusted seitan with the Hot Rice with Cold Lemon, Basil & Tomato. I used the brown rice that I purchased from M Cafe in Culver City (I’m almost out of my bag…can someone send me more?) for the Hot Rice dish even though it calls for Arborio and added the lemon, olive oil, tomato & basil.

This was my third or fourth time making the Sicilian Collard Greens and they are just as tasty as I remembered. I made these when I first got The Kind Diet and found myself craving them for breakfast they were so good.

I will be eating pumpkin bread for breakfast the rest of this week, and I can’t wait. I had to use butternut squash instead of pumpkin, as pumpkins are hard to find out of season. I’m sure this bread would be wonderful with pumpkin, but I’m elated with the butternut squash version. Did I mention it is covered with macadamia nuts and carob chips? Wow! I think I might just have to have it as a dessert too…

Happy Memorial Day everyone!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Keepers


I strive to find keeper recipes, and yesterday I found two. I my friends Kerry & Thea over for dinner and since I’m not cooking very much these days, I decided to go all out. I was going to make my family’s standby shrimp recipe, but decided to keep the meal completely veg-head friendly.

I found a Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms with Balsamic Glaze recipe from Love & Olive Oil and a Pear Custard Pie recipe from Martha Stewart’s Great Food Fast book. I also roasted some asparagus with olive oil, salt & pepper, made a Heidi Swanson herb salad with mint orange dressing, and heated up some rolls from Trader Joes. All in all, it was delicious.

I was so happy to find some coconut milk vanilla ice cream to have with the Pear Custard Pie. It was the perfect ending to a hearty dinner. I knew Heidi’s salad recipe and the asparagus would be good, but the mushrooms and pie definitely passed the test.

Lindsay + Heidi + Martha = Success.

Thank you Love & Olive Oil and 101 Cookbooks as always.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Super Bowl Goodness


Since my family's favorite team just missed the Super Bowl this year, there wasn't too much excitement about who was playing. That being said, the food at the Super Bowl party was something I could get excited about. The guests who brought food to the party we attended brought an assortment of items for appetizers. I would have been happy just having those for dinner. The coffee table was covered with shrimp resting on remoulade-covered crostini, olive tapenade and goat cheese toasts, Chinese roasted eggplant, guacamole and chips, pate and crackers, and three types of cheese that I didn't touch because everything else was so enticing.

Since I was the only one who wouldn't be eating the meat at the party, I was told to bring a vegetable entree. I made this butternut squash and mushroom wellington for Thanksgiving, and it was so good I ate it for breakfast for a couple days after the holiday, so I decided it would be a good thing to make again. If I were the only one eating, I'd have delicious leftovers for the rest of the week. This recipe takes a little time, but it isn't difficult and it is worth it. Butternut squash sauteed in butter and maple syrup coupled with a mushroom and goat cheese mix all in puff pastry! Delish! Definitely try this at home.

From the New York Times, here is Melissa Clark's Butternut Squash and Mushroom Wellington:


4 tablespoons butter

1 small butternut squash (1 1/4 pounds), peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 teaspoon maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

1/8 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika or regular paprika

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 large shallot, finely chopped

3/4 pound cremini mushrooms, trimmed and roughly chopped

1/3 cup dry white wine

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Flour

1 (14-to-16-ounce) package puff pastry

1 cup crumbled goat cheese

1 egg, whisked with 1/2 teaspoon water.

1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment.

2. In a very large skillet over high heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Add the squash in a single layer and cook, undisturbed, for 4 minutes. (If squash won’t fit in a single layer, cook it in batches). Stir and continue to cook until squash is golden, 7 to 10 minutes more. Stir in the syrup, thyme, paprika and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook one minute. Scrape mixture into a bowl.

3. Turn the heat down to medium and melt the remaining butter in the skillet. Stir in garlic and shallot; cook 1 to 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and remaining salt. Cook until mushrooms are soft and their juices evaporate, about 10 minutes. Stir in the wine and cook until the mixture is dry, about 5 minutes. Stir in the pepper and parsley. Taste and add more salt if needed.

4. On a lightly floured surface,

unwrap the puff pastry. Cut into 2 5-by-15-inch rectangles. Spread mushrooms on each pastry rectangle leaving 1/4-inch border. Spoon the cheese crumbles over the mushrooms. Then spoon the squash over the cheese, leaving a 1 1/2-inch border (it will look like a stripe of squash lying on a bed of cheese and mushrooms).

5. Brush the exposed borders of dough on each rectangle with the egg wash. Fold the long sides up to meet in the middle and pinch together to seal; pinch the ends, too. Transfer the pastries to the baking sheet and turn them over so that the seam is face down. Brush the tops with more egg wash. Bake until they are puffed golden, and firm to the touch, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes, slice and serve.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Sails American Grill - Rowayton, CT



Many residents of Rowayton, CT were saddened at the closing of the popular, local spot, the River Cat Grill. When the owner of the restaurant had to sell, I was elated to learn that our friend Mr. Hooper would be buying the place and taking the reigns. The River Cat Grill is now known as SAILS American Grill and I hope to pay many more visits to this Rowayton eatery.

While my parents previously dined at Sails prior to this evening, this was my maiden voyage. My Dad marveled at the Roasted Marinated Pork Chop, saying it was the “best he ever had.” I’d have to take his word for it on the pork chop, but was excited to sample several of the other menu items.

A fire in the fireplace lended to a cozy atmosphere, rope tied winches lined the booths and sails met at a light fixture overhead. Olive oil was poured and sprinkled with pepper as soon as we took our seats and waiters circled the tables dolling out piping hot dinner rolls while we surveyed our dinner options.

Blue Point’s Hoptical Illusion IPA caught my eye on the specials list as did the side dish of truffle fries. I chose the Cedar Planked Wild Salmon for an entree and agreed to share the Warm Herb Crusted Goat Cheese and Beet salad with my Mom. My Brother started his meal with the Meatball Sliders, which he said were “Excellent” and had the Wisconsin Burger for an entree. The Wisconsin Burger was topped with Wisconsin smoked cheddar, BBQ sauce and crispy onion grass. My brother’s review was that the burger was “Flavorful and juicy.” My Dad ordered the Spiced Rubbed French Chicken Breast at the recommendation of Mr. Hooper and stated that it lived up to its praise. My salmon was cooked to perfection and the sun dried apricots in the accompanying bed of red rice provided a sweet contrast to the savory fish.

The dessert menu’s offerings were all appealing, but I went with the Warm Chocolate Ooze Cake. The cake was everything an “Ooze” cake should be. Hot out of the oven and paired with vanilla ice cream. Sails added a creative twist by making the ice cream a milkshake, served in a small glass adjacent to my ramekin of cake. The shake was rich with vanilla flavor, so I wasn’t surprised to see tiny vanilla beans when I reached the end of the glass.

The nautical theme pays homage to the neighborhood in which it resides and offers excellent food and first class service on the charming Rowayton waterfront. Can’t wait to visit Sails again.

Open for Lunch & Dinner Tuesday-Saturday
Open for Brunch & Dinner on Sunday
148 Rowayton Ave. Rowayton, CT 06853

http://www.sailsamericangrill.com/index.html

or look for them on Facebook…

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sails-American-Grill/170099863002508?ref=ts&v=info#!/pages/Sails-American-Grill/170099863002508