Saturday, December 29, 2007

Herbed Baked Eggs

by Ina Garten

1/4 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan
6 extra-large eggs
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Toasted French bread or brioche, for serving

Preheat the broiler for 5 minutes and place the oven rack 6 inches below the heat.

Combine the garlic, thyme, rosemary, parsley, and Parmesan and set aside. Carefully crack 3 eggs into each of 2 small bowls or teacups (you won't be baking them in these) without breaking the yolks. (It's very important to have all the eggs ready to go before you start cooking.)
Place 2 individual gratin dishes on a baking sheet. Place 1 tablespoon of cream and 1/2 tablespoon of butter in each dish and place under the broiler for about 3 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Quickly, but carefully, pour 3 eggs into each gratin dish and sprinkle evenly with the herb mixture, then sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Place back under the broiler for 5 to 6 minutes, until the whites of the eggs are almost cooked. (Rotate the baking sheet once if they aren't cooking evenly.) The eggs will continue to cook after you take them out of the oven. Allow to set for 60 seconds and serve hot with toasted bread.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Cherry Cordial Cookies

1/2 cup butter -- softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 jar maraschino cherries,whole -- drained, juice reserved
6 ounces chocolate chips
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

In a large mixing bowl, beat together butter and sugar until well combined. Mix in egg and vanilla.

Add flour, cocoa, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Gently mix in until combined.

Roll bits of dough into 1-inch balls and place 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Press down in the center of each ball with your thumb to make a small indentation.

Place one drained cherry in each of the indentations.

In a small saucepan, combine the chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, and 2 tablespoons of the reserved cherry juice. Melt over medium low heat, stirring constantly until well blended.

Drizzle 1 teaspoon of the chocolate sauce over each of the cherries.

Bake cookies in a 350ºF oven for 12-13 minutes. Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 1 minute before removing to a baking rack to cool completely.

If desired, drizzle cookies with a glaze made from powdered sugar, cherry juice, and red food coloring.

Makes about 40 cookies.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Zucchini Squares

4 large eggs -- beaten until smooth
2 teaspoons chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian spice blend (I used Penzey's Tuscan Sunset)
1/2 teaspoon grey salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup biscuit mix (Bisquik Heart Smart)
4 cups zucchini -- grated and squeezed to remove excess moisture
1/2 cup cheddar cheese -- grated (or mozarella)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
Marinara sauce -- for dipping

To the eggs add, parsley, spice blend, salt, garlic powder, oil & biscuit mix.

Mix well.

Add remaining ingredients, stir until mixed.

Pour into a greased 9x13 pan.

Bake 350f oven for 40-45 minutes or until golden.

Cut into squares.

Serve warm or cool with marinara sauce for dunking in.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Orange-Fennel Cookies

1 orange
2/3 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, toasted and crushed
2 cups all-purpose flour
turbinado sugar
Simple glaze:
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 drop orange oil
2 teaspoons milk

Remove the zest from the orange using a zester. Measure 2 teaspoons of orange peel. Juice the orange and measure 2 tablespoons of juice.

In a medium bowl, beat the butter with the sugar until well combined. Add the orange juice, zest, eggs, vanilla, and the fennel seeds. Stir in the flour. Wrap the dough well in plastic and refrigerate for several hours, or until easy to handle.

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Shape the dough into 3/4 inch balls. Roll the balls in the turbinado sugar to coat and place on an ungreased baking sheet 1 inch apart. Press down on them slightly with a glass to flatten a bit. Bake in a preheated oven for 11 to 12 minutes, or until the bottoms are lightly browned. Transfer the cookies to wire racks to cool.

Combine the simple glaze ingredients, adding more milk if necessary to get a good consistency. Lightly drizzle the cookies with the glaze and allow to set completely.

To store, layer in an airtight container and store at room temperature for up to 3 days. Cookies can also be frozen for up to 3 months.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

English Toffee

4 cups pecans -- finely chopped
1 pound butter
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 pound milk chocolate

Butter a 12x18 baking sheet; cover with pecans and set aside. In a heavy 3 qt saucepan, combine butter, water, corn syrup, and sugar. Place over high heat and stir with a wooden spoon until mixture comes to a boil. Continue stirring until mixture begins to thicken. Reduce heat to low; remove wooden spoon.

Clip on candy thermometer. Cook syrup to 290F or soft crack stage. Remove from heat immediately and pour over pecans. Cool at room temperature for 1 hour.

Melt chocolate. Spread over the top of the toffee. Sprinkle warm chocolate with nuts if desired- pressing lightly so they adhere.

Allow to stand at room temperature for 24 hours. Break into irregular pieces and store in an airtight container. Makes 4-5 pounds- or around 150 pieces.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

White Chocolate-Peppermint Drops

8 ounces *white chocolate baking squares (with cocoa butter)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup peppermint chips (such as Andes or Guittard)
(or sub in 2/3 cup crushed peppermint candy canes)

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Chop 4 ounces of the white chocolate, set aside. In a small saucepan, cook and stir the remaining 4 ounces white chocolate over low heat until melted. Set aside to cool slightly.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar together with an electric mixer. Add the baking powder and salt, mix well. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Beat in the melted white chocolate. Beat in about half of the flour. Using a wooden spoon, fold in the remaining flour until combined, and then fold in the chopped white chocolate and peppermint chips.

Drop dough by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake at 375ºF for 8 to 10 minutes, or until lightly browned around the edges. Transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely.

Makes about 50 cookies.

*Be sure to use a good quality white chocolate for the melting chocolate. White chocolate chips will not work in the dough for melting. However, chips would be a fine substitute for chopping the remaining white chocolate.

Thursday, December 06, 2007


1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

In a mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar together with a mixer. Add the egg and vanilla and beat well. Add the flour, baking soda and cream of tartar. Mix well to combine. Wrap the dough up in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.

Combine the sugar and cinnamon.

Preheat oven to 375ºF. Roll the cookie dough into small 3/4 inch balls. Roll each ball of dough well in the cinnamon sugar mixture. Place on an ungreased baking sheet 2 inches apart.

Bake for 10-11 minutes, or until the edges just begin to brown. Remove the cookies from the baking sheet to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Makes about 45 cookies.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Black Bean and Pumpkin Soup

adapted from a recipe by April at Cookworm

2 15-oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed (or 4 cups cooked black beans)
2 cups pumpkin or butternut squashed, cooked, cooled, and mashed (or 1 15-oz can)
1/2 lb Mexican chorizo, crumbled
1 medium onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups vegetable stock
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds, ground
1/4 teaspoon whole coriander seeds, ground
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3-4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Tortilla chips and parsley to garnish

Heat the olive oil over a medium flame. Add the onion and cook until onions are translucent. Add the chorizo and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the garlic and cook for another minute or two. Add the cumin, coriander, and cayenne, stir for a few seconds, then add the beans, pumpkin, and stock. Cover and cook on medium-low for 30 to 40 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Serve with crushed tortilla chips and parsley.

Makes about 4 servings

Beef Carnitas

from Cooking Light Magazine

Cooking spray
1 cup chopped onion
3 garlic cloves -- crushed
2 pounds beef stew meat -- trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup less-sodium beef broth
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 large unpeeled orange wedge

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray

. Add onion; sauté 4 minutes or until tender. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute. Add beef; sauté 5 minutes or until beef is browned on all sides.

Stir in broth, sugar, salt, and pepper; nestle orange section into beef mixture. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 1/2 hours or until beef is tender.

Remove and discard orange. Continue simmering, uncovered, 8 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates, stirring frequently.

"4 Cups"