Lemon basil cookies for the end of summer….flowers for the beginning of fall

I’ll be honest, the only reason why I saved this recipe was because sometimes I end up with an overwhelming amount of basil from the farm share.  That being said, this recipe way exceeded my expectations.  These are delicious.  Kind of a sweet and savory mixture which was really unique.  If you have any basil left over from the summer, consider making these today.  Enjoy!  And thanks for reading.

Ingredients
1 stick of butter, room temp.
6 oz. (3/4 cup, 1 tbsp) sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
zest of 1 lemon
2 tbsp chopped basil
7 oz. (1 3/4 cup) flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

(note: I’ve read that weight measurements tend to result in better tasting baked goods.  I don’t know how true that is, but for this recipe, the amounts for sugar and flour were kind of weird, so I did weigh them out)

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Cream the butter and sugar.  Add the egg, vanilla, lemon zest and basil.

3. Add the flour, baking soda and salt.  Mix well.

4. Spoon dough onto a lined baking sheet.

5. Bake for about 8 to 12 minutes.

Source: Branny Boils Over

Other summer news:  Look at this fun yellow watermelon I ended up with!  Not as strong tasting as a red watermelon, but a little bit sweeter.

And finally, I realize tomorrow is October, which means it is definitely fall by now.  Here is a picture of the cat attacking my fall tablescape.    I don’t think Sandra Lee would approve.

Advertisements

Cherry Bruschetta

Remember the strawberry brushetta I shared a while back?  This is a very similar concept–except with cherries.  I made it to bring to my good friend Heather’s (hi Heather!) house for a summer barbeque.  I thought they came out pretty tasty—nice and refreshing for the summer.  A word of wisdom I will leave you with—-this recipe called for jicama.  I had never used jicama before and the labels were wrong at the Giant, so I bought a big thing of ginger instead.  You probably don’t want to cut up big pieces of ginger for these!  I ended up not using jicama.  Maybe next time…

Enjoy!  and thanks for reading.

Ingredients
1 cup fresh sweet cherries, pitted and finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped jicama (I omitted)
1 medium scallion, sliced
1/2 tsp red wine vinegar
salt and pepper
4 ox. soft goat cheese
18 baguette slices, lightly toasted

Directions:

Combine the cherries, jicama, scallion and vinegar.  Season with salt and pepper.

On each baguette, spread a layer of goat cheese.  Top with the cherry mixture.
Source: Annie’s Eats.  Original source: Fine Cooking, May 2010

Look who got a new argyle collar!  She loves it.

Gougéres

I have had my eyes on making these guys for the longest time.  The one thing keeping me back was that they called for Gruyere cheese, which is not the cheapest cheese at my local Giant.  It took a trip to the brand new Wegmans in Columbia with my friend Betsy for me to make the splurge.  I bought the cheese, went to see Magic Mike, and then made these little cheese puffs when I came home from the movie, I didn’t want to wait any longer.  I know that most people don’t start a baking project at 10pm, but I like to think of it as one of my secret single behaviors, like Carrie Bradshaw would say.  I don’t think I could get away with that behavior once I don’t live alone.  At least the cat is ok with it.

Enjoy!  And thank you for reading.

Ingredients
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup water
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup flour
5 large eggs, room temp.
1 1/2 cup grated Gruyere

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 and line baking sheets with parchment paper.

1. In a medium saucepan, bring the milk, water and butter to boil.  Once it is boiling, add all of the flour and lower the heat.

2. Begin stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon.  It will begin to come together as dough.  Keep stirring for another minute, until the dough is very smooth.

3. Turn the heat off and put the dough into a sturdy bowl.  Let the dough rest for a minute, then add the eggs one at the time.  Stir vigorously between each addition and make sure that each egg is incorporated before you add the next.  The dough will look super wet and like it is breaking apart.  Just keep stirring and it’ll be ok.

4. Once all the eggs are added, stir in the grated cheese.  As soon as it is incorporated, you have to spoon out the dough.   Spoon out about 1 tablespoon of dough onto the prepared baking sheets.  Leave about 2 inches in between each scoop.

5. Put into the oven, turn the oven down to 375 degrees and bake for 12 minutes.  Then rotate the cookie sheets and bake for another 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown.  Let cool before serving.

Freezing Directions: If you don’t want to bake them all at once, they freeze really well.  Just scoop them out and put a baking sheet into the freezer for a little bit.  When they are frozen, put into a plastic bag and keep in the freeze (I actually froze that above tray).

Source: Dori Greenspan’s Around My French Table

Granola—to go along with Greek yogurt

When I was a junior in college, I had the opportunity to take a trip to Greece with my aunt.  Besides the amazing scenery (see below), one of the things I remember the most was the delicious food.  I don’t think that feta cheese or olives have ever tasted so good as they did there.  One of the other foods that I remember trying was the Greek yogurt that was served each morning for breakfast.  I can barely choke down regular yogurt (texture thing), but I remember really liking the texture and flavor of Greek yogurt.  Lo and behold, more than 5 years later (ee!), Greek yogurt has become the hip new thing.  I’ve figured out that I really like Greek yogurt for breakfast, mixed with fruit and granola.

Not every day of course….a girl has to work some cinnamon roll scones into the breakfast rotation.

I found a recipe that I really like for making granola at home, instead of buying it at the store.  I suppose that it’s probably more cost effective, but my real motivation is being able to choose what goes in it.  It takes too much time to pick out all the raisins in some store-bought granola if you don’t want to eat them (true story).  Enjoy!  And thank you for reading.

Ingredients
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup walnuts,  chopped coarse
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup sesame seeds (I omitted)
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (I omitted)
1 cup raisins (I omitted)
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup honey

Directions
1. Preheat your over to 325 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the oats and the mixture of nuts and/coconut that you want to include.

3. In a saucepan over medium heat, heat the oil, maple syrup and honey.  Once it is warm (not boiling), pour over the oat and nut mixture and stir to coat.

4. Spread the mixture over a rimmed cookie sheet.  Make sure that it is as evenly distributed as possible.

5. Bake for about a total of 15 minutes, until the granola is lightly browned.  Make sure to stir every 5 minutes as it is baking.

6. When the granola is finished cooking, removed from the oven and mix in the raisins if you are using them.

7. Let the granola cool and use a wooden spoon to break it up into small pieces.  Store in an airtight container.

Source: The America’s test Kitchen Family Cookbook

there are even cats in Greece!

Strawberry Bruschetta

Spring time is in full force and summer is coming soon.  And when I think of summer, I think of ripe, delicious strawberries.  I made this last summer for a potluck and I think it was enjoyed all around.  Looking forward to when it makes an appearance this year!  Enjoy.  And thanks for reading.

Directions
1. Cut up one cup of strawberries.  Mix in one tablespoon of sugar, cover, and let sit in the fridge for 2-3 hours.

2. In the meantime, slice a long baguette on an angle to get about 12 slices.

3. Spread goat cheese on the top and then top with the strawberries.

4. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.  Top with basil and pepper.

Source: The Curvy Carrot

Guess who loves springflowers?

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Some tasty cookies that were easy to make.  I brought them to a few meetings that I had in one week, and they seemed to go over well.  I even brought all my leftovers to work, and found the empty container in the copy room, so I would call that a success!  Enjoy.  And thanks for reading!

Ingredients:
1 cup flour
1 1/4 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. baking power
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup light-brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350F.

2. Whisk together the flour, oats, salt, baking powder and baking soda.

3. With an electric mixer, beat the butter and brown sugar together until they become light and fluffy (about 3-4 minutes).  Add the vanilla and egg and mix to combine.

4. With the mixer slowly going, gradually add in the flour mixture until just combined.  With a wooden spoon, add in the chocolate chips.

5. Drop tablespoons of dough onto parchment lined baking sheets.  Bake cookies until golden brown, about 15 minutes.  Halfway through, rotate the cookie sheets so that they bake evenly.  (funny story–my oven is too small to shut all the way when I have a cookie sheet in it.  I have to rotate the sheets several times.  Someday I will have a real oven!)

6. Transfer to wire rack to cool.  Store in an airtight container.

Source: Martha Stewart Magazine (I had the recipe torn out, so I’m not sure what issue it is from).

Cheddar Cheese Crackers

You know those diet articles that pop up on yahoo news?  The ones that offer the top 10 tips to eating healthy?  One of the pieces of advice they always give is to not to go to the grocery store hungry.  That is very true, because every time I am hungry and in the grocery store, I manage to buy multiple boxes of crackers.  And then I manage to eat half the box on the drive home.  Not good!

I had cut out this recipe from the New York Times a while back to make little cheddar cheese crackers.  They are a little less addictive than the ones in the box, but still delicious and I eat less in one sitting.  Also, they are a handy little snack to bring to work.  Hope you enjoy!  And thank you for reading.

Ingredients
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. sugar
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 in. pieces
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 eggs

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

2. In a food processor, combine the whole wheat flour, regular flour, salt and sugar.  Add the diced butter and pulse until crumbly.

3. Add the cheese and pulse it a few times to distribute it.  While the food processor is running, add the olive oil and eggs, until it becomes a dough.  Stop when the dough comes together, it will be soft and a little sticky.

4. Lightly flour the counter top and put the dough on it.  Knead it a little bit to bring it all together.  Divide into two round pieces, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest for 15 minutes.

5. Roll out each piece of dough, thinly.  Cut into rectangles, squares or circles and place on lined baking sheets.

6. Bakes for 15-20 minutes.  Make sure to rotate the cookie sheet during the baking process so that the cookies bake evenly.  The crackers will foam in the oven because of the cheese, but they will end up being crispy and lightly browned.  When they are done baking, cool on baking racks and then store in a airtight container.

Source: New York Times

Little Pretzel Bites

I love pretzels.  I love them at the airport, in the mall, from a concession stand……basically wherever and whenever.  I have seen recipes for pretzels, but just hadn’t gotten up the courage to try them yet.  I had a free afternoon before the Superbowl a few weeks ago, and thought that I would finally attempt to make pretzels at home.  Success!  They were not very difficult to make and I was very happy with their crunchy outside and chewy inside.  I bought spiced brown mustard to serve alongside them at the Superbowl party.   Enjoy!

Makes about 50-60 bites

Ingredients

1 and 1/2 cups warm water

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 and 1/4 teaspoons (1 package) active dry yeast

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

2 and 1/2 teaspoons salt

4 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3 quarts water

3/4 cup baking soda

For the egg wash:
Whisk one egg with 1 tablespoon of cold water.

Coarse sea salt, for garnish

Oil, for prepping your bowl to rise the dough in

 

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer,stir to combine the warm water, brown sugar, yeast and melted butter.  Let sit about 5 minutes, until it has become foamy.

2. In the same bowl, using the dough hook attachment in a stand mixer, slowly add the salt and flour until just combined.

3. Increase the speed of the mixer to about medium-low.  Keep mixing/kneading until the dough looks more elastic and starts to pull away from the sides of the mixing bowl.  This takes about 3-4 minutes.

4.  Using your hands, remove the dough from the bowl and knead slightly to form it into a ball.  Place in a lightly greased bowl and cover with a dish cloth.  Put in a warm place (I put it in front of my space heater) and let it rise until it doubles, about one hour.

5.  When the dough has doubled, remove it from the bowl and place on a generously floured counter.  Punch it down and divide into 8 equal pieces.  Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

6. Roll each piece into a long rope, like a snake.    The recipe I used said about 18-20 inches, but I couldn’t get mine that long without it breaking.  Cut each rope into 1-inch pieces and place them on a baking sheet (I lined mine with parchment paper).  I tried to get between 7-8 little pretzel bites from each rope of dough.

7. Boil your water in a large pan.  Once the water is bowling, add the baking soda.  It splashes up a bit, so be careful.

8.  Boil the pretzel bites for a about 30 seconds.  I added enough pretzels in each batch so that they still had plenty of room to float around.  If you have a slotted spoon, use it to help you remove them from the water and put back on your baking sheet.

9.  Once they are boiled, brush the pretzel bites with the egg wash and sprinkle them with salt.

10.  Bake for about 15-18 minutes, until they are golden brown.  Cool before serving, but they are definitely best while still warm.

 

Source: The Curvy Carrot.  Originally from Two Peas and their Pod.