Friday, December 30, 2011

Double chocolate pistachio biscotti: a recipe

Double chocolate pistachio biscotti
A little late for a christmas cookie recipe, right?

It's OK because you can make these bad boys anytime you want. Anytime.

Why not now, in fact?

One of the things I like about these biscotti -- besides the supreme yumminess -- is the beautiful contrast of the chartreuse of the pistachios against the deep brown of the chocolate cookie.

It must be the designer in me, as the patisserie chef who create these, Michelle Myers of Sona in Los Angeles, is a former graphic designer who likes her creations to be pleasing to the eye as well as the palate.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

"Boozy Zenith" Bourbon Pecan Cake: a recipe

bourbon pecan cake

This post has been a long time coming. Three weeks, in fact. Three weeks of marinating in boozy Jack Daniels goodness.

The cake, that is, has been marinating. Not this post. Or me.

I'll start out this saga by noting that this is a recipe I got from my mother and, short of "I think I cut it out of a magazine a long time ago", she has no idea where it came from, only that it was my dad's favorite. So if you think your Great Aunt Tilly invented it or something, I don't want to hear it.

In my childhood home, this was "fruitcake."

Which should have been explained to me better as a child, as I used to tell people that I loved fruitcake. And they all looked at me as if I were bat-shit crazy. I could not understand why so many people hated fruitcake, when it was so amazingly yummy.

Then at some point I tasted a real fruitcake: how amazingly revolting!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Onion and bacon tart: a recipe

Onion and bacon tart
You know it's getting to be holiday time when I allow myself to cook with bacon fat. A lot of bacon fat.

Regular readers will know that we start out the year with a little something we call Detox January, to get off on the right foot. So healthy! But somehow a downward spiral begins after that, gaining a little more momentum each month without my realizing it, until December rolls around and I have no qualms making a dish that swims in bacon fat.

But it's a lovely bacony dish, fat and all.

You wouldn't think that a dish with so few ingredients (besides bacon fat) could be so amazing. Really, it's just bacon, onions and a flour-egg-milk batter.

But it is.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Stracciatella (Italian chicken soup): a recipe

Don't worry, I had never heard of it either -- and I'm wicked Italian, on both sides.

I ran across this recipe in the December issue of Food and Wine, which refers to it as a "classic Italian chicken soup." OK, sounds good. More importantly, it looked like you could whip it up quickly and easily -- a perfect weeknight, last-minute meal.

It was almost too easy!

Honestly, I kept checking the recipe to make sure I didn't miss anything because the prep time is about 5 minutes and so is the cooking time. Literally less than 15 minutes until dinner.

It reminded me a little bit of egg drop soup, but with spinach and a little lighter. It's so easy to prepare, I don't think you can go wrong by giving it a try.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Gingerbread cake: a recipe

gingerbread cake

It's December again and we finally got some fluffy snow here in Vermont, so I guess it's ninjabread time.

Last year,  I made ninjabread men because of the ass-kicking cookie cutters that I got.

This year, it's a cake because who doesn't love cake? Pie, meh. But cake? Come on.

Not really much to say about gingerbread without just diving into the recipe. I don't have any waxing-nostalgic stories about holiday gingerbread growing up or anything like that. If you do, that's great. Please share them in the comments section.

I just like gingerbread. And I like cake. So there you go.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

(Nearly) Wordless Wednesday: Holiday 2011

I love visiting with my vintage ornament collection every year. Happy holidays!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Peanut soup: a recipe

Peanut soup
This recipe was a challenge.

Not challenging, just a literal challenge.

I generally try to leave one night each week off the menu plan and then I challenge myself to make something for dinner based only on ingredients I already have: no grocery store trips allowed.

Since I had just made a bunch of turkey stock with the Thanksgiving bird, I knew I'd be able to whip up a soup this week. But other than the stock, the pickings were looking kind of slim.

I turned to the always-reliable The Joy of Cooking and combed through the soup section. Three recipes not only looked good to me but also could be made with my in-house ingredients:
  1. Greek Lemon Soup
  2. Georgia Peanut Soup
  3. Chicken Noodle with Veg
Since I was truly torn as to which to choose, I posted the three choices to my Facebook page and asked my followers decide.