From the balcony of our place here in Maui, an amazing ballet of sun and clouds a few minutes before sunset… Have a wonderful New Year’s Eve!
T’is the season to splurge, indulge, and be jolly! But, even in time of non-stop celebrations, it’s good to have a few options of lighter food that won’t make you feel sluggish and heavy. I’ve had this recipe for edamame dip in my files for a long time, finally gave it a try the week before Christmas. Originally from Alton Brown, this adaptation was published in the blog Closet Cooking. Kevin substantially reduced the fat content in the dip by using part of the cooking liquid from the edamame to adjust the texture, instead of olive oil.
(adapted from Closet Cooking)
1 cup edamame beans (I used frozen)
1/4 cup shallots, diced
1/2 cup cilantro
1 clove garlic
juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon yellow miso
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon chili sauce (I used Sriracha)
salt, if needed
Place the edamame in a small saucepan, cover with water and boil for 5 minutes. Drain, reserving the cooking liquid.
Add the cooked edamame into the bowl of a food processor, together with all other ingredients. Process until it forms a paste, and adjust the consistency with some of the cooking water reserved.
Taste, adjust seasoning with salt (you may not need it, both miso and soy sauce are salty), and serve cold, with crackers or carrot and celery sticks.
to print the recipe, click here
This is a very nice option of appetizer for a dinner party in which the main dish might be on the heavy side. Your guests will appreciate the bright flavor, unless they are cilantro haters. Those people are out there, believe me! 😉 One of my best friends in Brazil (hello, Fabio!) hates cilantro so much that while traveling through China a few years ago, he carried a sign in Mandarin with the words: “Please, no cilantro in my food”. The herb flavor is very pronounced in this dip, so make sure and warn your guests, just in case…
ONE YEAR AGO: Gougeres
TWO YEARS AGO: Beef Wellington on a Special Night
My third assignment for the Secret Recipe Club! When I clicked on my assigned blog – Kudos Kitchen by Renee – I melted on the spot: the front page was a post composed by her three dogs (Ivy, Nutmeg and Nell), and they had a lot to bark about! 😉
Renee is an artist (check her store at Etsy), and that alone leaves me in complete awe, because I cannot draw a tree to save my own life! In fact, back in middle school two things terrified me to the point of losing sleep: physical education and art classes. I was absolutely horrible at both, and wanted to disappear from the planet when it was time to face them. Back to blogging. I fell in love with Renee’s 4th of July cookies, and adapted them for a Christmas time motif, switching the colors to green and red. And, since I’ve always wanted to make shortbread cookies, this was a perfect excuse to bake a batch. Without further ado, and with apologies to Renee, here is my very first attempt at playing Jackson Pollock. You can understand why I was not very popular with the art teachers… (sigh)
WHITE CHOCOLATE DIPPED COOKIES
(adapted from Kudos Kitchen by Renee)
1 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 cups flour
3/4 cup ground hazelnuts
zest of 1 lemon
2 teaspoons vanilla
pinch of salt
for dipping cookies
1 + 1/2 packages white chocolate morsels
3 tablespoons Crisco, divided
1 tablespoon milk
red and green food coloring
In a large kitchen Aid type bowl, beat together the butter with the brown sugar until creamy. Add the flour, ground hazelnuts, vanilla, lemon zest, and salt. Beat until smooth. Remove the dough from the bowl, form it into a log and wrap with plastic. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
Heat the oven to 325 F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. When the dough is firm enough to handle, remove 1 inch balls and shape as a cookie, flattening the surface. Alternatively, you can slice pieces straight from the log, 1/4 inch thick. Smooth the surface and edges, and place on prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 15 minutes on until set and very lightly browned on the bottom. Remove from pan and place the cookies to cool on a rack. Before icing, place them in the freezer for 30 minutes.
Dipping the cookies: melt 1 cup of the chocolate chips and the 2 + 1/2 tablespoons of Crisco in your microwave. Check on it often and stir it occasionally until the chocolate is smooth and completely melted.
Using a fork and working with one cookie at a time, dip each cookie, turning it over to coat both sides nicely with chocolate. Place your dipped cookies on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Follow this step until all of the chocolate is used up. This amount of chocolate will be enough to coat about 12 cookies.
With the remaining 1/2 cup of morsels, melt them in your microwave again, using 1/2 Tbs Crisco and 1 tablespoon of milk to keep the consistency thinner and better for drizzling.
In two separate small bowls, divide the chocolate and color them with the red and green food coloring. Drizzle the cookies with both colors of icing, using the tines of a fork dipped in water, or if you have the right skills, a little improvised piping bag made with parchment paper.
Place the cookies in the fridge until time to serve them.
to print the recipe, click here
A few things I learned from this baking adventure…
1. Run away from the small tubes of food coloring gel, because even if you squeeze the full tube of green gel in 1/4 cup of melted chocolate, the resulting icing will have a pale lime color. Go for the real McCoy, the type that you need to use a toothpick to grab the tiny amount that gets the job done.
2. White chocolate is not for sissies. When Renee says to make sure the chocolate is fully melted and smooth, she knows what she’s talking about. Lumps get together and seem to multiply at a fast rate. Then, right before your eyes, the whole thing turns into a solid mess.
3. White chocolate is not for sissies. Melted chocolate, when smooth and fluid, has a remarkable tendency to splatter. Certain types of dog fur catch droplets of icing with high efficiency, and don’t wash easily.
4. Have I mentioned that white chocolate is not for sissies? Buy more than you think you’ll need. Have a cup of chamomile tea before icing your cookies. You may need three shots of tequila after.
But it will all be worth it, these cookies were amazing! You can play with the colors to match your favorite football team, or go real artistic and draw something over the white chocolate canvas, like red hearts for Valentine’s Day! 😉
Renee, it was great to get to know your blog, hope you had as much fun as I did with your assignment this month!
ONE YEAR AGO: Sourdough Focaccia, with a Twist
TWO YEARS AGO: Merry Christmas!
Life has been pretty busy. I am shocked to realize that my last “In My Kitchen” post happened three months ago! But, before 2011 says goodbye, I take you to a little virtual tour of what is happening in our kitchen, again inspired by Celia, who started these virtual tours and got many bloggers following her lead.
In our kitchen….
My pressure cooker, that goes into reverse-hybernation during the warm months, but comes out to play in the Fall and Winter. Cooking beans, potatoes (mashed potatoes in 15 minutes), soups, stews, even risotto. Many people are afraid of pressure cookers, but nowadays they are very safe and easy to use. Ours even has a cool timer attached to the lid, that counts down from the moment it reaches full pressure, beeping when the time is up.
A few goodies brought from Trader Joe’s during our short visit to Los Angeles last month. Assorted dried mushrooms, dried cranberries… Their Pound Plus dark chocolate bar is great for baking, although it’s hard to resist grabbing a little square here and there to nibble with a cup of capuccino.
A madeleine pan – a blog on madeleines will be up next year (it’s only a couple of weeks away 😉 – with a non-stick coating that helps these delicate little cakes come out easily after baking. But, I don’t use it only for baking….
Their shape is perfect for laying a piece of plastic wrap on top, and spooning items to be frozen. For instance, we love a particular brand of salsa (Victoria), but they only sell a huge bottle. We simply spoon portions on the madeleine pan and freeze the tray. After that, the portions are dropped in a zip lock container, and stored in the freezer. The shape of the madeleine pan is perfect for this use, better than muffin tins.
My most recent acquisition, a Christmas gift I gave to myself: a bread proofing box! It stores flat, but once you assemble it….
And, finally… not exactly in our kitchen, but in our dining room…
A chandelier we brought from Brazil after my Dad passed away. It was in my parents living room, but my Mom moved out of that house and had to keep it stored in a box for years, waiting for a loving home. Phil painstakingly assembled it last week, looking at old photos to figure out how to do it. I know my Dad would love to see it in our home.
I hope you enjoyed this little tour through our kitchen… So, what’s happening in YOUR kitchen these days?
ONE YEAR AGO: Homemade Ravioli
TWO YEARS AGO: 100% Sourdough Rye
If you are like me, and suffer from CRCD (Compulsive-Recipe-Collection-Disorder), you probably use Google to find recipes in the blogosphere. Did you know that cooking recipes account for 1% of all online searches? That is pretty impressive! It is not surprising that earlier this year Google came up with their own version of a search engine geared exclusively for recipes. However, it has serious drawbacks, particularly from a food blogger’s perspective, as it favors “mega-sites” to show up on top of the search. If you are interested in learning more about it, read the excellent article written by Lydia Walshin, a veteran food blogger, host of The Perfect Pantry and Soup Chick.
Recently I was introduced to Feastie, a new search engine for recipes (with a nice blog associated with it), and was very pleased with it. When you enter a keyword in their search box, the output is in a beautiful format, with photos of the recipes and links to the food blogs where they were found. But, as a bonus, once you click on a particular recipe, you’ll also see all the ingredients required to make it, ready to take to the grocery store (you can even save it straight on your phone). Another great feature added this past week: if you cook a recipe listed on the site, a simple click on a chef’s hat icon gets it added to your profile, so that you can retrieve it easily in future visits. You can read more about it here.
Much to my delight, the recipes from Bewitching Kitchen are all indexed in Feastie, so if you’d like to see them in a format that is quite a bit better than my own index page, click here. I had a small rush of adrenaline when I first saw it!
If you are a food blogger and would like to see your site listed on Feastie, drop them a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. And no, I don’t work for them. By now I guess it’s clear I only endorse what I’m really fond of. From cookbooks, to gadgets, to cookbook authors (Dan Lepard comes to mind! ;-))…