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Archive for September, 2007

Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

Smitten Kitchenis another favorite blog of mine. Deb’s pictures are beautiful, as is the food. She posted about making homemade Oreo cookies. I highly encourage you to check out her site.

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Chocolate wafer cookies on baking sheet.

As Cauli will be away on a business trip, I decided to have some girls over for some food and girly movies. And nothing goes better with girly movies than Oreo cookies (and wine, of course).

The cookies were pretty easy to make. I read through the comments on Smitten Kitchen, and found some interesting facts and techniques. Dutch-processed cocoa will yield flatter cookies than regular cocoa. If you roll the dough in a ball and wet the bottom of a measuring cup, you’ll come out with evenly sized cookies.

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Mmm…transfat-free-but-still-really-bad-for-you filling.

I used a pastry bag to pipe the frosting on the cookies (a freezer bag with the corner snipped off would work fine). I didn’t have enough frosting for all the cookies,  and as Cauli pointed out, the cookies tasted best with quite a bit of cream on them  – double stuff Oreo style. But the wafers were good on their own.

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Cookie goodness.

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I started this blog with a plum clafoutis, and it has taken a savory clafoutis to remind me how far I still have to go.

 The savory clafoutis wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t recipe repertoire worthy. Part of my journey in discovering cooking is to build up consistently good recipes – recipes I’d be happy to pass on to my children.

 I adjusted the recipe a bit, using zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms, and leeks. I swapped out the cumin and coriander for sage and thyme. As Cauli said, it wasn’t bad. In fact, I had third slice. It just wasn’t perfect I guess. The issue seemed to be in the consistency of the clafoutis itself. It was a bit flat. I think it could have used more eggs and flour to be a bit fluffier.

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You’ll also see, sitting demurely on the plate in the back ground, a tomato, chickpea, and red onion salad. I found this wonderful recipe on Elise’s wonderful site, Simply Recipes (I’ve found her recipes to be very sturdy and consistently good). I halved the recipe and omitted the hard boiled eggs (as the clafoutis was egg enough). I also added a bit of crushed, dried thyme to the dressing. The salad is hearty, and with the eggs, I imagine it could be eaten as a main dish.

I was pleased with the dressing as well – probably because it was the first time I’ve made dressing. Ever. It’s so easy! Who knew? (Okay lot’s of people, but still exciting nonetheless.)

*Update: So the clafoutis is pretty good the next day. “Pretty good” in that “I’d never serve this to anyone else but I can’t stuff my mouth fast enought of savory clafoutis goodness.”

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German Peasant Soup

Friday night, Cauli and I had some friends over for soup, Scrabble, and beer. The soup is a reciepe I got from Lex Culinaria: German Peasant Soup. I made this for the first time last year, and it’s incredible.

We’ve been freezing carmelized onions in batches, so I pulled some out from the freezer and put them in a dutch oven with some butter. I used smoked turkey kielbasa for the soup. The smoked sausage is important as is add a huge amount of flavor to the soup. I then added some garlic and quartered red potatoes (though I would cut them up smaller next time). I thawed two containers (about 4 cups) of homemade chicken stock and added it to the pot. Last year we had a ton of kale from our CSA, so I chopped it up and added it to the soup. I did the same here, though I used less kale and regretted it. The kale is such a good ingredient for the soup: hearty enough to withstand the long cooking time, and adds an appealing, earthy flavor. I then added dill and enough water to cover everything and simmerered for about 45 minutes. The great thing about this soup is that it can be cooked even longer for a more intense flavor.

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As we had four hungry people, there were only 2 bowls left, which Cauli and I ate for lunch the next day. Last year I had quite a bit of leftovers, so I froze them in two cup containers, and took them to work.

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Cauliflower Popcorn

Cauliflower, the vegetable, has been a favorite of mine for awhile, just as Cauliflower the person has. In the past I’ve steamed cauliflower, mashed it up, and mixed with butter and salt – kind of like mashed potatoes. Nothing very interesting.

Recently I bought a head of cauliflower and wanted to do something different with it. I was considering a honey roasted version when I came across this post for cauliflower popcorn. The recipe is pretty simple: divide cauliflower in to florets, toss with a little olive oil, and roast. After 20 minutes, turn florets, sprinkle breadcrumbs, and roast a bit more.

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The recipe calls for some chiles, but I’m not much of a spicy person. Instead , added some herbs de provence to my breadcrumbs (from rye bread I’d made earlier in the weekend). I also used sage olive oil, so my popcorn was more herby. But no less delicious I imagine.

If you have a little bit of time, this is a great way to make cauliflower – especially if you’re tired of steaming it.

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Another blog that I’ve repeatedly returned to for recipes is Orangette, especially for brunch ideas. Searching through her recipe archives this week, I came across dutch babies, an eggy, buttery, pancake-type breakfast dish.

The recipe is pretty simple: melt butter in an oven safe skillet; mix eggs, flour, and half and half; bake for 25 minutes. The result is a lovely puffed bowl-shape. The recipe finishes off with butter, lemon, and powdered suger. As Cauli and I were recently in Portland, Oregon, enjoying amazing breakfasts with berry sauces, I decided to make a simple blackberry sauce for the baby. I heated 1/4 cup water, 3 tablespoons of sugar, and a pint of blackberries, reducing them down to a syrupy sauce. (This sauce is also good chilled and then poured over ice cream.)

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Our baby, all dressed up.
Note: I made a dutch baby for each of us. This was a bit ambitious as it’s serious food. One dutch baby would be fine for two people.

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Doctor Kracker

I discovered Doctor Kracker at Whole Foods this week. I bought their seeded spelt cracker and it’s very good. I’ve been eating them with hummus, greek salad, and soup (Mexican Chicken Tortilla, or I should say Mexican Chicken Spelt Cracker). If you like thick, whole grain crackers studded with seeds, you should try them.

Now if I could just find a good recipe for whole grain crackers…

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I made a modified version of this filling this weekend as a pizza topping, and it was fantastic! We had leftover ground lamb and I thought that stuffed bell peppers would be a healthy and interesting way to reuse the leftovers.

I sauteed some onions in olive oil and added the lamb and cooked it through. I added about a teaspoon of tomato paste and half a can of diced tomatoes. To that I added 1/2 a tsp. cumin and 1/2 a tsp. all-spice and a dash of cinnamon. After cooking through, I took the mixture off the heat and stirred in about 1/2 a cup of panko.

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While I was making the lamb, I chopped the tops off of the bell peppers and scooped out the seeds. I then boiled them in hot water for about 5 minutes (less would probably be better so the skins don’t begin to peel away). After boiling, I filled them with the lamb mixture, put them in a baking dish with about 1/4 cup of water, and baked at 350 for about 20 minutes.

Once they were out of the oven, I whisked some yogurt and mint together and drizzled it over the tops.

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