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Showing posts from December, 2020

spinach and rosemary soup with soda bread

  Thanks to my first online cooking class from Ballymaloe Cookery School, which was highly enjoyable, my husband and I had a meal of beautiful bright green spinach and rosemary soup with tangy buttermilk laced white soda bread inspired from the Irish countryside.  A bright spot in an otherwise quarantined life of constant routine with never enough variety for my taste.   I had a trip to Ireland booked this past summer that included a visit with cooking classes to Ballymaloe but it was unfortunately canceled because of COVID and quarantine, like most of 2020.  I'm looking forward to 2021 and I'm sure most everyone feels the same way, bah humbug to 2020, good riddance to bad rubbish, out with the old and in with the new year. Ingredients and Recipes for Spinach and Rosemary Soup and Soda Bread Serves 4-6 for the soup 2 ounces or 1/2 stick unsalted butter 1 large yellow onion, chopped 4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and chopped 3 cups chicken broth 2 cups creamy milk (1/2 cup

ginger pecan chocolate dipped bourbon balls

Making and gifting homemade bourbon balls for my family and friends during the Christmas 🎄 holidays is a tradition that I will happily keep alive and well.  My extra fancy recipe for bourbon balls is from Southern Living, as it should be.  My mother always made bourbon balls and we- kids, always called them yucky, as we should have- as bourbon is not a child friendly candy flavor, like peanut butter.  However, times pass and here we are loving bourbon balls, especially the following recipe gently adapted from Southern Living.  The chopped crystallized ginger both inside, mixed with the pecans and gingersnaps, and outside sprinkled on the chocolate balls tops take the flavors in these candy balls over the top, I don't know I may have loved these even as a child.  I would have at least eaten the chocolate ginger coating off the balls to the horror of the bourbon loving adults. Ingredients and Recipe for Ginger Pecan Chopped Dipped Bourbon Balls Makes 6 & 1/2 dozen candies 2 &

chocolate dipped almond orange butter horns

 My Danish grandmother would have loved these traditional Scandinavian almond orange butter horns dipped in dark chocolate and sprinkled with chopped almonds.  She was born in Denmark and immigrated with her family to the United States when she was a very young girl.  Her name was Louise, she loved to bake cookies and especially to share them with loved ones.  She believed, as I do, that Christmas time was a time to bake cookies.  My butter cookies are made using both chopped almonds almond paste which makes them especially rich and flavorful with the orange zest and the almond coated melted chocolate on the ends. Ingredients and Recipe for Chocolate Dipped Almond Orange Butter Horns Makes 3 dozen 3 & 1/2 ounces almond paste, crumbled 1/2 cup powdered sugar 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature  1 egg, room temperature  Zest of one orange 1 teaspoon vanilla extract  1/4 teaspoon almond extract 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt 1 & 3/4 cups all purpose flour 1 cup finely chopped sl

creamy cauliflower white bean soup with pancetta gremolata

  Have I noticed that all my food photos have a slightly pink tint to them since I put up my Christmas 🎄 tree with it's bright red skirt around the bottom on top of a small table in the living room, Yes I have noticed that, lol 😂  Good thing I like the color pink.  I've tried taking pictures on the other side of the living room, which has the best light in the house, especially this dark time of year.   I love this cauliflower soup, which was introduced to me at a holiday cookie exchange and pot luck last year.  I have continued to make this soup with a few changes, like adding the white heirloom flageolet beans.  I love the pancetta gremolata on top, I think the combination of flavors here is the best, a true comfort winter comfort food.  I added a small amount of heavy cream with lemon juice at the end of cooking, it was a nice addition.  The heavy cream is not necessary but I wouldn't skip the fresh lemon juice and definitely don't skip the gremolata. Ingredients a

don’t cry for me argentina, nostalgic sesame blossoms

  What’s a little nostalgia between friends? After all homemade cookies are meant to be shared.  I haven't noticed that ingredients for homemade cookies have been difficult to find right now, plenty of flour, baking powder, sugar etc. stocked in my local market.  I think Chocolate Kisses will always be available, but tahini and sesame seeds? I don’t know, we might have to hoard those.  We loved these updated blossoms and ate them all leaving just a bag with a few sesame seeds in the bottom.  I did share a dozen or so with friends, just to remember what it was like before the quarantine when we used to host Christmas 🎄 cookie 🍪 exchanges, those were the good old days, sigh. Sesame blossoms would have been a holiday cookie exchange contender.  If you love halvah with a chocolate swirl, you'll love sesame chocolate 🍫  blossoms.  And this year I’m going to cry for Argentina 🇦🇷  Ingredients and Recipe for Sesame Blossoms Makes 40 cookies 1 & 1/4 cups all purpose flour 1/2 c

peanut butter cake with a salty caramel frosting

  I would say that the frosting makes this cake but the peanut butter cake is pretty delicious too.  This is an old fashioned favorite icing that has to be immediately spread on the cake, no messing around.  My grandson JD loved this creation, so I will be making the cake and frosting again; my goal next time is to be a faster froster so the icing is prettier.  Something to look forward to in this time of quarantine, so over it, I know. Also, don't leave off the flaky salt on top of the frosting, that would be a mistake.  Peanut butter cake is a natural with salty caramel frosting, you'll see.  I used Jif Natural Creamy Peanut 🥜 Butter, no need to stir and makes a great peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Ingredients and Recipe for Peanut Butter Cake with a Salty Caramel Frosting serves 8-10 Peanut Butter Cake 3/4 cup brown sugar 2 large eggs 1/2 cup creamy or smooth peanut butter 1/2 cup buttermilk 1/2 cup canola oil 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt 1 &

chai spice cream cheese spritz cookies

  Chai spices infused with vanilla sounds like a good jumping off point to flavor a simple cookie.  Spice House sells their Chai Spices vanilla infused spice blend that is traditionally used to make spiced tea with sugar and milk but in my case I used this spice mix to flavor my cream cheese spritz cookies.  I can't stop smelling the spices in the jar, I'm definitely loving this mix and it's really good in the cookies.  I think I need a cup of spiced tea and maybe a few spritz cookies.  I've officially started my holiday cookie baking. I like to have a few bags of Christmas cookies stashed in my freezer as well as a homemade candy I like to make closer to Christmas.  I find these spritz cookies freeze extremely well which makes my tradition of baking cookies and sharing easier this time of year.  I can use all the help I can get, even in quarantine I want to share cookies with my family and friends.  ps. You will need a cookie press to make the spritz cookies. Ingredien

brown butter pear cranberry ginger and hazelnut cake with a buttery whiskey glaze

Gently ripe Bartlett pears 🍐 are what you want for this cake.  They should be peeled, cored and cut in small bite size pieces.  The small chunks of pear look beautiful next to the bursts of chopped cranberries throughout this gingery cake that I baked in a standard loaf pan.  I would not forget a generous drizzle of the buttery whiskey glaze to adorn the cake's top, especially if serving for a special dessert.  However, we also enjoyed thick slices for breakfast without the glaze, also very good with coffee. I'm going to have my eyes checked this afternoon and am wondering if I should wear a mask, spacesuit and a diaper to go to the doctor's 🥼 office.  We have been staying home, mostly-except for a few approved activities, like going to to the grocery store, woo hoo.  But, now we need to do things, like get our eyes 👀 checked, this pandemic is really getting old, so over it.  I digress, here is the recipe for this lovely cake that is perfection, not to overstate- for our

bubble top brioche

  Thanksgiving weekend came in quietly with just the two of us and went out with a fun Sunday at a Half Moon Bay Christmas tree farm with our youngest grandson, Eze and his parents.  This year I set the table for two for Thanksgiving dinner, made these bubble top brioche rolls, the rest of our meal we ordered and picked up at Palio restaurant in downtown SF.  It was easy and quiet, not a typical holiday.   I made these bubble top brioche once a few years ago during a a years long cooking project from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan .  I enjoyed making the French inspired recipes and interacting with the other participants from all over the US and the world.  These rolls are easy, delicious, fresh and fun to make for a special dinner, like around the holidays.  The recipe is in the cookbook, Around My French table, which everyone interested in cooking, baking and especially French cooking, should have their own copy.   The yeasted brioche dough is made a day ahead and left to