Monthly Archives: December 2013

Jam Thumbprint Cookies, or as we like to call them, “Jam Thumpers”

It’s Christmastime, which is my favorite time of the year: the time when it is socially acceptable to eat cookies for breakfast.

Now, you really could eat cookies for breakfast every day and be alright in my book. Hell, I’ll vote for you for president. But, at Christmastime, it’s encouraged. With a cup of coffee and the tree on, maybe a little Vince Guaraldi Trio on in the background, eet’s nice. (If you celebrate Hannukahtime or Noneoftheabovetime, this also applies. Just adjust for the appropriate religious or non-religious symbols.)

Our favorite cookies aren’t really Christmas cookies, but they are delicious. And I just realized I’ve been making them over 10 years, which is weird.

Sidenote. It’s strange to make realizations relative to time. I’ve been out of college for 7 years. I’ve been making these cookies for 10 years. I’ve been I’ve been driving for 13 years. I’ve been bad at driving for 13 years.

Anyways. These cookies are made of buttery shortbread, rolled in coconut with a little bit of sweet jam on top. They’re Ina Garten’s Jam Thumbprints, so named because you make a thumbprint in the cookie to put the jam inside. However, for some reason, my mom forgot the name one year and started calling them “Jam Thumpers,” which I really like better.

And what’s more breakfast-y than jam?

…bacon.

 

Well, this post is ruined.

Ina Garten’s Jam Thumbprint Cookies, slightly adapted from Barefoot Contessa Family Style and foodnetwork.com

Ingredients

  • 3 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water for egg wash
  • 7 ounces sweetened flaked coconut | I used a bit more, probably 10 ounces
  • Raspberry and/or apricot jam | I used raspberry and blueberry. Go with your preferences, folks.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until they are just combined and then add the vanilla. Separately, sift together the flour and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the creamed butter and sugar. Mix until the dough starts to come together. If dough is still a bit crumbly, add 1-2 tablespoons of cold water so that it comes together. (I added 2.)

Dump on a floured board and roll together into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.

Roll the dough into 1 1/4-inch balls, about the size of a golf ball. (If you have a scale they should each weigh 1 ounce.) Dip each ball into the egg wash and then roll it in coconut. Place the balls on an ungreased cookie sheet and press a light indentation into the top of each with your finger.

SEE. I told you.

SEE. I told you.

Drop 1/4 teaspoon of jam into each indentation. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the coconut is a golden brown. Cool and serve.

Jam Thumbprints, Jam Thumpers. Potato, Pa-tah-to.

Jam Thumbprints, Jam Thumpers. Potato, Pa-tah-to.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Holiday/Celebrate: Margaritas Would Be So Nice

When it comes to this holiday season, you can count on two things.

  1. You will be invited to a holiday party.
  2. You will be required to bring something fabulous.

If you haven’t been invited to any parties, then…yiiiikes.

YIKES

But you probably all have been because you’re all very cool with nice teeth and good hair.

Our holiday party at work was a week and a half ago (I know, I know) and my friends Anna, Bailey and I decided to throw a little cocktail party beforehand. We planned really well, and had some delicious foodstuffs.

And by “we planned really well,” I mean “I planned ok yet had one major crisis.”

We had the party at Bailey’s, since it was right near the venue of our holiday party. So I was taking all of my stuff there. And since I was making two apps and a cranberry margarita, I was taking all my materials to her apartment.

As I started assembling my cranberry margarita, I realized: I left my tequila at home. And there was a parade going on downtown. And the party started in 15 minutes.

TEQUILA CRISIS.

Anna’s husband, Kevin, generously offered to go buy more but I remembered we were 3 blocks from my office. And there is always tequila at our office, so I took it. (Calm down, I replaced it Monday.) My work is drunker cooler than yours.

TEQUILA CRISIS AVERTED.

These cranberry margaritas are divine, y’all. They look like Christmas with the bright red margarita and the green lime. They’re sweet, but not overly so. And the tequila is present but not overwhelming, so they go down really smooth. The Chinese five spice on the rim is a revelation. Thank to Mark Fisher for the recommendation! (When Mark Fisher recommends a food or drink, you listen.)

As for food, Bailey was in charge of cheese and charchewterie (that’s what we call charcuterie). Anna made these amazing southern samosas and baked brie, and I brought a nut mix and ceviche. Basically, the two most random things ever. But they were good. Light and nibbly. Good party food. Good pre-party food. Good food for eating with your friends at one of your many holiday parties.

And if you weren’t invited to any parties?

Then just pop in your copy of Angels with Dirty Faces and go to town.

Junk and rubbish.

Cranberry Margarita from Bon Appetit

Ingredients

  • Homemade cranberry jam, recipe to follow
  • Kosher salt
  • Sugar
  • Chinese five-spice powder
  • Fresh squeezed lime juice
  • Lime wedges
  • Fresh squeezed orange juice
  • Tequila

Cranberry Jam

  • ¾ cup fresh cranberries
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

Bring cranberries, sugar, orange juice, and ¼ cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan; reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until thick and jammy, 30–40 minutes. Mix in orange zest; let cool.

Jam can be made 5 days ahead. Cover and chill.

Margarita Assembly

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder
  • 1 lime wedge, plus 2 oz. fresh juice
  • 4 oz. fresh orange juice
  • 6 oz. tequila

Mix salt, sugar, and five-spice powder on a small plate. Rub rims of Old Fashioned glasses with lime wedge; dip in salt mixture and fill glasses with ice.

For each cocktail, combine ½ oz. lime juice, 1 oz. orange juice, 1½ oz. tequila, and 2 Tbsp. cranberry jam in a cocktail shaker; fill with ice. Cover and shake until outside is frosty,  about 30 seconds. Strain into prepared glass.

This recipe can easily be made into a large batch and put in a pitcher. Just make sure final ratio is 1 part fresh lime juice, 2 parts orange juice, 3 parts tequila and as much cranberry jam as you like.

The Union Square Café’s Bar Nuts from Food Network

Ingredients

  • 2 ¼ cups (18-ounces) assorted unsalted nuts, including peeled peanuts, cashews, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans and whole unpeeled almonds | I bought nuts at Whole Foods.
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Maldon or other sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Toss the nuts in a large bowl to combine and spread them out on a baking sheet. Toast in the oven until light golden brown, about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine the rosemary, cayenne, sugar, salt and melted butter. Thoroughly toss the toasted nuts in the spiced butter and serve warm. And once you eat these, you will never want to stop.

Blurry Southern Samosas and Nut Mix, y'all

Mahi-Mahi Ceviche with Japanos and Coconut from Epicurious

Note: There was no mahi-mahi available, so I used red snapper and it was a really good substitute. I also added one cubed avocado.

  • 1 pound mahi-mahi fillets, cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick strips
  • 1 ½ cups fresh lime juice
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 jalapeño chiles, seeded; 2 minced, 2 thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup toasted unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • Saltine crackers

Combine fish, lime juice, and oregano in large glass bowl. Sprinkle with salt. Chill until fish turns opaque, stirring occasionally, about 50 minutes.

Strain almost all lime juice from fish; return fish to bowl. Stir in onion, minced and sliced jalapeños, coconut, and cilantro. Season with salt. Chill at least 20 minutes and up to 2 hours. Serve in Martini glasses, or in a bowl if you’re not a cheesy nerd. Pass crackers separately.

Red Snapper Ceviche

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Blame Canada…that my pants don’t fit.

The phrase “I can’t complain” has always confounded me.

When pressed, I could always complain about SOMETHING.

Like, right now? I’m laying on the couch. It’s very relaxing. …but the clock is ticking a LITTLE bit loudly. It’s mostly a goof, but it’s rare to find something you can’t complain about AT ALL. Humans, by nature, are complainers.

And this GD clock is so loud I’m going to murder it.

But one thing I don’t think I can find much to complain about is the food scene in Toronto.

I spent a week there shooting a spot (for those not in the biz that’s a “television commercial.”) And it’s just silly the variety of food that they have up there.

While it sounds incredibly glamorous (Callbacks! Lights! Fake Snow!), a lot of the reality of production is more like this: Emails! Phone Calls! Room Service between Emails and Phone Calls! So one of the most exciting treats of being on production is getting to go explore a city’s food culture.

And I could not complain. Well, I COULD….it was very cold.

First amazing meal? Acadia on Clinton Street.

The restaurant was surprisingly empty when we went, apparently a common occurrence due to just how many restaurants there is. (Things pick up later in the week, too.) But the food was spectacular. Piping hot cornbread with bacon butter, mini oyster po-boys, with a main of hominy, mushrooms truffles and a slow cooked egg. It just spoke to me. And the words were magical.

Miniature Oyster Poor Boys

Miniature Oyster Poor Boys

Next amazing meal? Bar Isabel on College Street.

This tapas place was jam packed, with music reminiscent of the 40s. The cocktails were delightfully named. I did not pick the “Choose Yer Own Adventure” and instead selected the “Hopeless Mermaid,” which sounded unbelievably sad. Like a salty sea captain fell in love with a mermaid who he knew would never love him back because he walked on two legs. But he loved her so much anyway, his ‘hopeless mermaid.’

Anyways, the tapas.

We got everything. We had a group of 6 and we each selected two items from their amazing menu. Some traditional. (A selection of meats and cheeses!  Patatas bravas! Beefsteak tomato with boquerones and onion!) And some incredibly inventive. (Deviled duck egg with salt cod, morcilla and hollandaise! Whole fish ceviche!)

But the meal to top all meals was at Buca. My friends Jon and Dennis had told me about this place back when I was up in Toronto in April, but we couldn’t get a reservation. But we got one this time. OH YES, WE GOT ONE THIS TIME. And despite me trying to get us lost on the way there, I had one of the most interesting meals evar.

We started with crispy pig’s ears.

THAT’S RIGHT.

If you are a lover of pork and you have never had crispy pig’s ear’s than your pork card is getting revoked. (What does that even mean?) They’re crispy (obviously), but they’re also tender. It’s like a chicharon, only softer. It’s out of this world. Get some now.

We split two amazing pizzas—one with truffles and one with a bunch of mushrooms. Delicious.

And my main was insane. I got something I’d never had before and it was delicious. I got the ravioli doppi, which is a double stuffed ravioli. One half of the ravioli was stuffed with goose. The other half of the ravioli was stuffed with butternut squash puree. The whole thing was accompanied by a parmesan  espuma (foam) with rosemary and a hazelnut brittle.

I still dream about this ravioli…

This has got to be one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. The gamey/oiliness of the goose was balanced wonderfully by the sweetness of the butternut squash. The parmesan espuma gave sharpness. And man, that ravioli was cooked perfectly.

It was an amazing meal. It was an amazing trip. And I could not complain about it at all.

Well. I COULD.

Because it had to end.

Awww.

 

…lame.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
curiouser & curiouser

A collection of the delicious & delightful

Food and Brew Review

Triad restaurants and farms and craft beer! Oh my!

Motherhood - WHAT?!

Making it through motherhoodhood with the grace of a camel on ice skates

costablancamama

A Spanish Adventure - raising kids and giving birth in Spain

PornBurger

Burger Perverts Welcome

NC | NY

bringing a little bit of the south to the city

Erin Lesica

Real Food. Fake Blog.

The Crafty Cook Nook

Preserving Food, Stories, and Place

Justin Timberlake Does Things

Real Food. Fake Blog.

Feed Me Phoebe

Gluten-Free, Healthy Recipes and Wellness Tips From Chef Phoebe Lapine.

pancussion

Real Food. Fake Blog.

The Frenemy.

Real Food. Fake Blog.

THE KIDS ARE RELATIVELY OKAY

Real Food. Fake Blog.

Curious And Curiouser

I Find the World Curious

POPSUGAR Food

Real Food. Fake Blog.

This American Wife

Real Food. Fake Blog.

Eat, Live, Run

Real Food. Fake Blog.

So Delushious !

personal random ramblings from a girl who loves bacon and can't be fat.

Seasoned to Taste

I'm just a girl with an appetite.