Monthly Archives: July 2012

Classic Lace Cookies

Let’s say you are planning a tea party for some very special playmates or you’re just looking to impress with a lovely cookie these crispy and delicate lacey treats will serve up perfect. Yes, they rely heavily on butter and sugar, but that is what makes them so delectable.

Crispy and delicate, sweet and nutty these lacey cookies whip up fast and impress with a punch. Do be careful, they are very breakable. You can also roll them while they are hot to make a lovely tube made for stuffing with mousse or buttercream filling.

This is one of the first things I can remember baking as a little girl. However, my version, if I recall, included chocolate and was done entirely in the toaster oven, since I wasn’t really allowed to use any appliance other than the microwave and the toaster. Not that I am recommending that your kids do this one on their own.

Shopping List:

2 ounces of blanched almonds ( to yield 1/2 cup ground almonds)

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/2 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions:

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a food processor grind the almonds finely and measure out 1/2 cup.

3. Heat the butter, sugar, vanilla and corn syrup in a medium pan over low heat until the sugar is dissolved and then raise the temperature to medium-high to bring it to a boil.

4. Once it comes to a boil, take it off the heat and stir in the flour, almonds, vanilla and salt.

5. Drop by rounded tablespoons on a baking sheet lined with a silpat or parchment paper. Space them about 3 inches apart, so only 6 to a pan really. You can use two pans and rotate their positions in the oven, or you can just wait for the first pan to finish before you place the second tray.

4. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Let cool on pan 1-2 minutes, then transfer to a paper towel lined cooling rack to cool completely. Trust me these guys are pretty rich and there is a lot of that butter that needs soaking up before gobbling down. For a festive alternative, you can drape the hot cookies over a glass to form a bowl, or roll them up and fill ’em up with ice cream. Yummmmy!

Adapted from: FineCooking

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Middle Eastern-ish Grilled Kabobs

It’s that time of year where everyone is throwing stuff on the grill. Whether you’re born to BBQ, or not this is a pretty simple marinade that I recreated after watching an episode of Dinners, Drive-ins and Dives a while back.

I thought that the addition of cinnamon to a basic herb marinade sounded delightful, and after I tested it out I realized why the place was featured on the show. It’s delicious. The sublty of the spice makes you wonder what it is, since it’s not one of those totally in-your-face types of spices. Most of the time I just marinate steaks in it, but here I’ve cut up the steaks into smaller bites to create kabobs. How very summery of me, huh? This marinade works well with both beef and chicken, although I prefer it with the beef.

1 1/2 pounds boneless Rib Eye (or your favorite cut of meat), cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks

One onion quartered

1/4 cup your favorite olive oil

2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon

1/2 cup of fresh cilantro roughly chopped

2 red peppers, cut into 1 1/2 inch squares

8 ounces of whole mushrooms

Instructions:

1. The night before you plan to serve the meat, in a gallon-sized ziplock bag combine the cut up steaks, olive oil, cinnamon, onion and cilantro. Seal the bag and let it marinate in the fridge overnight.

2. When you are about 30 minutes from serving the meal, pull the meat out of the refrigerator and start to create the kabobs by alternating the veggies with the meat on a skewer. here I used metal skewers which I recommend for more even cooking and stability. If you must resort to bamboo skewers, which are sold everywhere, make sure to soak them in water for 30 minutes before threading the meat and veggies.

3. Next, get your grill nice and hot so you can get a good crust on the meat and seal in the juices. Also, make sure to oil your grate before putting the kabobs on the grill to prevent sticking.

4. Cook the kabobs on the grill for about 4-5 minutes per side.

Serves: 4-5

Banana Caramel Sauce

I’ve been wracking my brain on how to use up my bananas once again. I’m kind of tired of the banana bread idea, and I was thinking about making some sort of jam. But then again I’m not all too sure that would turn out well. Considering that my hubby drinks a lot of banana milkshakes as it is, I thought this might be a good extension of that. And since I’m not really a fan of bananas in dessert, this was a stretch for me.

So I scoured the web in search of what I was looking for and lo and behold I found a recipe from Emeril for Bananas Foster, the New Orleans classic (that I’ve never tried because of the aforementioned condition). and that’s when I decided that this banana dessert idea might just include enough butter and sugar for me to enjoy it. And f course since the kiddos were going to partake in this yummy treat I ditched the liquor and replaced it with vanilla. Although, FYI, the liquor does cook off, it’s just that the flavor that it  leaves behind is not one that I think kids would enjoy. Hey, guess what? It was honestly pretty good. Again, I think this is due to my love of butter, I’m not totally converted yet.

Shopping List:

2 bananas sliced into 1/2 inch chunks

1/2 cup of brown sugar

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup of toasted walnuts

pinch of salt

Instructions:

1. In a small sauce pot over medium heat, melt the butter and brown sugar. The sugar will begin to look glossy and no longer granulated.

2. Add the cinnamon, vanilla and bananas. Cook for approximately 5 minutes, depending on the ripeness your bananas. You want them to be fragrant and slightly mushy.

3. Let the sauce cool 1-2 minutes and then pour 1/4 cup over some quality ice cream, or stir into some vanilla yogurt for a wonderfully decadent, but super simple dessert.

Adapted from: The Essence of Emeril

Serves: 4