Saturday, December 25, 2010

Breakfast Stuff

Eggy stuff
Originally uploaded by kel h
this is an old family tradition for Christmas Morning that my dad got from one of the wives of his fellow coaches back when he coached hockey for NT back in the day

I lb breakfast sausage, browned
6 slices bread toasted and buttered on both sides
6 eggs beaten
1 tsp mustard
2 cups half and half
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar

placed buttered toast in 9x13 pan
spread crumbled browned sausage over the toast
cover with cheese
mix eggs, mustard and half and half well
pour mixture over toast
refrigerate for at least 6 hours
bake 40-50 min at 350

Since I'm a vegetarian I like to use veggies instead of sausage.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins
Originally uploaded by kel h
So, today I am flying home to Buffalo for vacation, and last night I decided to cook some of the things I was concerned wouldn't keep from my CSA, including the zucchini. I've made chocolate zucchini cupcakes before, but I figured muffins would be better. The trick is not to overmix to keep them nice and soft.

This is adapted from an AllRecipes Recipe

Chocolate zucchini muffins

3 eggs
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease or line two 12 cup muffin tins with paper liners.
In a large bowl beat the eggs. Beat in the sugar and oil. Add the cocoa, vanilla, zucchini and stir well.
Stir in the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and chocolate chips. Mix until just moist.
Pour batter into prepared muffin tins filling 2/3 of the way full. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool on a wire rack. Store loosely covered.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

southwestern butternut squash and sweet potato casserole (aka savory potato kugel)

I have a bunch of sweet potatoes and butternut squash from the CSA farmshare, and I've been looking at some different ideas. One of things that caught my eye was a savory sweet potato kugel. I decided to tweak it a little bit. I like the sweet potatoes with the smokiness of the chipotle peppers, but a little goes a long way.

1 medium butternut squash: peeled, seeded and cubed
3 med to large sweet potatoes: peeled and cubed
2 onions diced
2 cloves garlic minced
2 tbsp butter
2 eggs
1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce diced
1 cup shredded cheddar
bread crumbs
2 tsp adobo seasoning
olive oil 1 tsp

Steam the potatoes and squash until soft
sautee onions and garlic in butter
add to mashed mix
season with salt and pepper
stir in chipotle pepper and sauce
add cheese
beat eggs and stir into mix
pour into a baking dish and top with bread crumbs, sprinkle with adobo seasoning, drizzle with olive oil and bake at 350 for 45 min

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Buttercup Squash stuffed with Kale and Orzo

so, things like this make me feel like maybe instead of this mental health counseling crap, i should have my own cooking show. I mean, if Sandra Lee, of Kwanzaa Cake fame can have one, why not someone who actually COOKS once in a while?

It would be focused on local and seasonal food and would do things like go to farmers markets and farms, and guests would include local small batch food producers. Part of the goal would be to encourage people to eat more local and seasonal food, and shop at farmers markets or get farmshares.

In the farmshare we have been getting these tiny buttercup squash. I love them because they are so much fun to stuff. We also got some kale, so I thought making Kale with Orzo, and stuffing the squash with that would be fun.

Buttercup Squash stuffed with Kale with Orzo

Cut the squash in half and remove the fibers and seeds from the middle.
Put cut sides down in a baking dish with a quarter inch water and bake for 30-45 min or until soft at 400

While it's baking, make your Orzo and Kale

based on a recipe from AllRecipes (I omitted the tomato this time)

1/2 box orzo
1 tsp tumeric
1 bunch Kale stems removed and cut into 1 inch strips
1 tomato chopped
1/2 onion chopped
4 garlic cloved minced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
zest of 1/2 lemon
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

Boil orzo in salted water with tumeric for 9 minutes

sautee onion and garlic for abt 2 minutes
add kale and tomato and sautee for 10 minutes
drain orzo, add to kale and tomato
add lemon juice and zest, nutmeg and cheese
season with salt and pepper to taste

Fill the cavity of the squash with the Kale and Orzo (it helps to cut a little bit off the side opposite the cut side so they sit flat) and then sprinkle with cheese. Put it under the broiler until the cheese gets brown and melty.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Butternut Squash Soup

Butternut Squash Soup
Originally uploaded by kel h
The farmshare has been filled with carrots, squash and potatoes lately. It's cold in New England (although STILL no snow, which seems wierd). My lungs were made of fail today. Put it all together and that spells SOUP

Based on a recipe from All Recipes

1 2-3 lb butternut squash peeled and cubed
2 potatoes peeled and cubed
1 medium carrot peeled and grated
1 large onion chopped
3 cloves garlic chopped
2 ribs celery diced
2 tbsp butter
1 cup white wine
3 cups veggie or chicken stock
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp grated fresh nutmeg
1/4 cup cognac
salt and pepper to taste

melt the butter in the bottom of a large pot
cook the onions and garlic til softened
add vegetables and cook for 10 minutes
add wine and cook for 2 minutes
add broth and thyme and simmer, covered for 30 min
puree in blender or with imersion blender
add cognac, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 min

Cognac (and wine) are optional, although I like the depth that the cognac adds to the soup. You could swap out the thyme for curry I suppose, but I think it's a bit much for the butternut's own flavor. Carrots are a bit more robust if you're looking for a curry soup.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Baconsgiving Cupcake

Baconsgiving Cupcake
Originally uploaded by kel h
I am going to "Baconsgiving" tonight (which is a celebration of all things bacon being hosted by friends of a friend). It's an odd thing for a vegetarian to go to a bacon festival, but it sounded like fun, and the challenge of making a bacon cupcake proved too strong to resist.

My friends Mike and Clare have gotten into making milkshakes, and I had a bacon maple whiskey milkshake at their house a long time ago. It sounded like a good departure point. Martha Stewart's maple cupcake recipe (which I found on 52 Cupcakes) seemed to have the most mapley goodness, so I used that with some modifications to make it more bacony. And I am always up for a good whiskey buttercream frosting (and this time I used angostura bitters instead of food coloring to take the whiteness down a notch, which I think added a nice flavor)
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temp.
1/4 cup bacon fat
8 strips of bacon
2 cups pure maple syrup,, preferably Grade B
3 large eggs, room temp
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or seeds from 1 vanilla bean pod

1 stick butter softented1 lb powdered sugar
1 pinch salt
1 tbsp milk
3 tbsp irish whiskey

preheat oven to 350

Mix dry cupcake ingredients
In mixer cream butter, then add bacon fat (I broiled my bacon and poured off the fat into a measuring cup and then ran the VERY crispy bacon through the food processor to turn it into bacon crumbs)
Once its all smooth add the maple syrup
Then add eggs 1 at a time, and add vanilla
add dry ingredients and bacon and mix until combined
bake at 350 (I did mini cupcakes and it made four dozen. They cooked for around 11-12 minutes)

for the frosting
cream the butter. Add sugar. Then add milk and whiskey. Add pinch of salt and then add a bit more sugar or milk to get the right texture

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The last slice of butternut squash lasagna

Me and a bunch of my friends like to play trivia at a local bar on Monday nights. I usually cook dinner for me and my roommate (since we share a farmshare from Enterprise Farms). Sometimes I invite another friend who has a longer distance to travel over to have dinner with us.

Well, it has been a lot of fun to have these dinners with a bottle of wine and friends, and so I figured I would expand the invite to the whole team. It was a blast. The six of us went through the entire lasagna, a whole bunch of roasted brussel sprouts (I made converts of my roommate and another friend who both hated them before) and three bottles of wine...AND came in FIRST!

Here is a recipe for the Roasted Butternut Squash Lasagna. I reccomend using the ameretti cookies, even though it sounds odd. They taste good in the lasagna, add some body, and have leftover cookies which everyone LOVED

Also, to roast brussel sprouts, cut them in half, coat with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast at 400 for around half an hour until they carmelize and turn brown. If you don't think you like brussel sprouts, make them this way. If you still don't like's official, you don't like brussel sprouts. Most people just don't like the way they are prepared traditionally

from the Runaway Spoon
1 stick butter plus two tablespoons
dried rubbed sage
1 large butternut squash
1 7-8 oz container marscapone cheese
8-12 ameretti cookies (crushed to make 3/4 cup crumbs)
2 tbsp flour
2 cups milk
1/2 tsp nutmeg
no boil lasagne sheets
8-10 oz grated fontina
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400. put your whole butternut squash in the oven and roast for 1 1/2 to hours until soft. Set aside for a smidge so it is cool enough to handle
In a saucepan brown a stick of butter and add a few pinches of sage. Set aside
Once your squash has cooled a bit, slice in half, remove the seeds and fibrous part and then spoon the roasted squash into a bowl (should be super easy)
combine with half to a quarter of the marscapone, salt, pepper, a pinch of sage and the amaretti cookie crumbs.

To make bechemel sauce melt 2 tbsp butter and then cook 2 tbsp flour in the butter. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg. simmer until thickened. Then add all but 2 tbsp of the browned butter

to assemble
coat the bottom of the baking pan with the last 2 tbsp browned butter
1 layer noodles
squash mixture
bechemel sauce

Bake at 400 for abt half an hour and let sit for 10 min

Saturday, November 13, 2010

New Drink: Napoj

Napoj means beverage or potion in polish, and this drink starts with Krupnik (a polish honey liqueur)

1 tbsp ginger simple syrup
1.5 oz lime juice
1.5 oz brandy
3 oz krupnik

Reuben Mac and Cheese

Reuben Mac and Cheese
Originally uploaded by kel h
I saw this recipe on Rachel Ray, and it sounded like a good idea. I made the mac and cheese and then filled my soup cups, layering corned beef for my roommate, and fake steak strips for me. I've seen recipes for brined seitan, but I'm lazy :P

1 pound cavatappi, hallow corkscrew shaped pasta or, other short cut
2 slices rye bread
3 tablespoons butter plus some for buttering toast
A handful fresh parsley leaves
1 teaspoon paprika
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
1/4 cup spicy brown deli mustard (recommended: Gulden's)
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1 cup shredded Gruyere
1 cup shredded yellow Cheddar
3/4 pound good quality deli corned beef, sliced as thick as bacon, chopped
1 pound sauerkraut, rinsed and well drained
Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Salt water and cook pasta to al dente.

While pasta cooks, toast rye bread in toaster then butter hot bread. Coarsely chop bread and place in food processor. Add parsley and paprika to bread and process into bread crumbs, reserve.

Heat a sauce pot over medium heat. Add butter to pot and melt, whisk in flour 1 minute then milk. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, thicken sauce 5 to 6 minutes then stir in mustard. Melt 2/3 of the combined cheeses into the sauce.

Preheat broiler.

Drain pasta and return to hot pot. Toss hot pasta with chopped meat and sauerkraut to combine, stir in cheese sauce and coat. Transfer mac n cheese to casserole and top with bread crumbs and remaining cheese. Brown under broiler 3 to 4 minutes, serve.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Shepherds Pie

Shepherds Pie
Originally uploaded by kel h
So, chicken pot pie and shepherds pie are fairly similar, except swap white wine and chicken broth for red wine and beef broth and use potatoes instead of puff pastry.

I used the rest of the veggies I didn't use monday, and tossed some ground beef left over from the stuffed cabbage I made a while back for the roommate.

This recipe is loosely based on one from Food Network

Also, Cider and Bourbon is the new Gin and Tonic

2 lbs potatoes washed and cubes
1 clove garlic grated
1/4 cup cream
1/2 cup grated cheddar
1 onion chopped
3 celery stalks finely chopped
3 cloves garlic grated
2 carrots peeled and diced small
2 parsnips peeled and diced small
1/2 small butternut squash peeled and diced small
1/2 celery root peeled and diced small
1/2 fennel bulb core and tips removed diced small
1 pkg crimini mushrooms chopped
1 oz dried porchini mushrooms
1 cup red wine
2 cups beef broth (I used not beef broth from better than boulion)
2/3 cup flour
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp herbs de provance
2 bay leaves

Boil potatoes in salted water for 20-30 min til fork tender. Mash with garlic, cheese, cream, salt and pepper and set aside
In a bowl combine 1 cup broth, wine and tomato paste and dried mushrooms. Microwave for 30 sec and let mushrooms sit to reconsitute
melt 2 tbsp butter in a dutch oven
sautee crimini mushrooms a few at a time and set aside. Melt another tbsp of butter and sautee onion, bay leaves and celery for 2 minutes. Add flour and cook for 2 minutes
add diced veggies and cook for 5-10 minutes til beginning to brown
Remove reconstituted musrhooms and set aside with crimini mushrooms.
Add liquid to veggies and simmer or 8 minutes
then add mushrooms and simmer for a few more minutes until sauce thickens
Ladle filling into ramekins and dot top with mashed potatoes. Put in the oven for 15-20 min until potatoes are crispy
(I layered the veggies with ground beef left over from something else for the roommate)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Fall Veggie (and sometimes Chicken) Pot Pie

I've taken to making dinner for friends (and not just the roommate G) more and more often, and this week has been no exception. Some friends and I go to trivia on Mondays (this week we took 3rd place). I made Pot Pie for me, G and Tom. It was easy to cook for all of us because I made a vegetarian pot pie filling with a bunch of fall veggies from the CSA share, and then roasted some chicken to toss into the boys pot pies. (I used my awesome soup cups, but I forgot to take a picture. I did the same puff pastry lattice for mine as Paula Deen did, so I used her picture). The recipe is VERY loosely adapted from Ina Garten's and was inspired by a veggie pot pie I had at Highland Kitchen (theirs had brussel sprouts, which I would have added if I had them)

2-3 breasts chicken
2 onions chopped
2 leeks, split and sliced into 1/2 inch slices
3 cloves garlic grated
3/4 cups flour
1 cup white wine
4 cups water
2 tbsp better than boulion (I did one each of mushroom and veggies)
1 cup crimini mushrooms chopped
1 small butternut squash peeled and diced 1/2 inch
1/2 small head of fennel (tops and core removed) diced
1 small celery root diced
2 parsnips peeled and diced
2 heads of broccoli chopped
1 large carrot peeled and grated
1 tsp herbs de provance
2-3 tbsp cognac
butter and oil
puff pastry

coat chicken with olive oil, season and roast at 350 for 35-40 min. Set aside
set the oven for 400 and toss veggies in olive oil. Season and roast for 20-30 min until tender
melt 2 tbsp butter and add a tbsp or two of olive oil
sautee onion, garlic and leeks until translucent
add flour and seasonings. cook for 2-3 min
Add wine to deglaze pan and then add water and better than boullion and cognac
when veggies are done roasting add them to the pot and simmer until sauce is thickened
Fill individual ramekins (add diced chicken to those you want to have meat in)
cut your puff pastry (which should have been dethawing) into strips. Weave a lattice pattern across the top of the ramekin (Mine used six pieces per ramekin)
bake at 400 for around 20 min until puff pastry is done ( you can do an egg wash if you want it shiny on top)

Bok Choy and Buckwheat Soba Noodles with Miso Sauce

One of the things we get a lot in our CSA is Bok Choy. I've made it a couple of times before, and I DO like it braised in coconut milk...but today i had a break from work and I stopped at the local asian market and picked up a boatload of buckwheat soba noodles and some miso paste, and decided to use some of them instead:

1 onion chopped
1 clove garlic grated
1 tsp ground fresh ginger
olive oil and seseme oil
soy sauce
rice vinegar
miso paste
lime juice
corn starch
buckwheat noodles
1 head bok choy cut into 1 inch pieces

sautee the onions, garlic and ginger in abt a tbsp each olive oil and sesame oil
add the bok choy and sautee until just beginning to get tender and add about a tsp of rice vinegar
in a small saucepan combine 2 tbsp miso paste with 1-2 tbsp water and 1 tsp lime
add soy sauce to taste. It will probably be a bit runny to get the flavors right. Add about a half tsp of cornstarch and whisk. add to the bok choy and simmer until sauce thickens.

Toss 1 bundle of soba into a pot of salted boiling water. Boil according to directions and drain.

Pour bok choy over drained soba noodles and enjoy!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Bourbon Tasting Notes

Bourbon Tasting Notes
Originally uploaded by kel h
Notes on a Bourbon Tasting:
ranked from most to least favorite ( i think...,it gets a little murky in the middle)

Woodford Reserve
Gentleman Jack
Knob Creek
Evan Williams Single Barrel
Sam Houston
Evan Williams
Wild Turkey = Tastes like Burning
Wild Turkey=Tastes like burning

Carrot Cake Muffins with Ginger Cream Cheese Frosting

we have a TON of carrots in our CSA lately. Now, I love me some carrot soup, but I decided to do something a little different and make some muffins. I had recently watched the Alton Brown ep about muffins, and was reminded of the importance of not overmixing. This recipe is adapted from Joy Of Baking. Their recipe uses coconut, and does not have dates, nutmeg or cinnamon.


1/2 cup pecans or walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

2 cups grated raw carrot (about 2-3 peeled carrots)

1 large apple, peeled and grated

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup granulated white sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp ginger

1/2 cup chopped dates

3 large eggs

3/4 cup safflower, corn, or canola oil

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Frosting Ingredients

1 pkg cream cheese

1 stick butter softened

6-10 tbsp powdered sugar

1 pinch salt

1 tsp grated ginger

1 tsp vanilla

Comine dry ingredients (including dates and nuts). In another bowl combine wet ingredients (including apple and carrot). Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix just until everything is moist (over mixing=dense muffins). Bake at 350 for 20-24 min

For frosting, cream butter and sugar. Add vanilla and ginger, and then add cream cheese.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet Potato Pie
Originally uploaded by kel h
I made sweet potato gnocchi, and figured since I was steaming sweet potatoes, I would make some pie as well. I adapted Emeril's Pie Crust, and used Alton Brown's pie filling recipe

Pie Crust
1 cup flour
1/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup butter
1 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup ice water

combine flour, sugar, salt and fat in a food processor. trickle water in while food processor is running a little at a time just until the dough forms a ball. fold dough in half and squish several times and chill before rolling out. Then chill while making the filling

1 lb sweet potatoes (cubed and steamed)
1 1/4 cup plain yogurt
5 egg yolks
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup chopped pecans
1-2 tbsp maple syrup

Steam and mash the potatoes
put into a stand mixer and mix until smooth
add eggs, yogurt and seasonings
pour filling into pie shell
toast pecans in a pan. pour maple syrup over and shake for a few minutes to candy the pecans before sprinkling over the pie

bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes until custard sets

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Stuffed Baked Potato Soup

Stuffed Baked Potato Soup
Originally uploaded by kel h
here's what I did to make some soup (based very loosely on Alton Brown's Potato Soup Recipe):

1 package chopped pancetta (to replace 5 pieces bacon)
2 leeks halved and chopped
3 cloves garlic shredded
1 bunch broccoli chopped (stem peeled)
3 tbsp butter
6 cups veggie stock
1/4 cup flour
4-6 baked potatoes (based on size)
1 1/2 cup half and half
2 tbsp white wine vinegar (original from Alton Brown suggests sherry vinegar if you have it)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar

brown the pancetta/bacon
then add the butter, shallots and garlic
cook until translucent
add flour and cook for a few minutes
then add chicken stock

run baked potatoes through a ricer (or squish them through a strainer if you're me)
add potatoes, cream and vinegar to the pot
great the cheese
whisk everything together
season to taste and simmer

Monday, November 1, 2010

Squash & Ricotta Tart

Squash & Ricotta Tart
Originally uploaded by kel h
I got this idea from Food and Wine Magazine. They used a puff pastry shell, but I am still too amused by my tart pan, so I used that instead.

Squash & Ricotta Tart

Tart Shell:
1 1/2 cup flour
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp shortening
dash salt
3-4 tbsp cold water

combine flour and salt in the food processor. Then add fats. Add water just until a ball forms. Roll to 1/4 inch thick and lay into tart/pie plate
pop in the freezer to chill

if needed, bake at 400 for about 15 minutes after docking (stabbing with a fork to prevent bubbles)

Tart filling

1-2 small squash
2 cups ricotta
1 egg
1 tsp herbs of choice (I used herbs de provance)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cream
1 tbsp butter melted
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp honey
salt and pepper

preheat oven to 400
Slice squash into 1/4 rounds, remove seeds and wash (the original recipe didn't require the squash to be peeled but I did it anyhow)
combine melted butter, olive oil, and honey and brush squash rounds. season rounds with salt and pepper and bake at 400 for 15 min (or until soft with edges that begin to brown)
reduce temp to 375
in a bowl combine ricotta, cream, egg, 1 scant tsp salt, pepper and herbs to taste. Pour the ricotta into the tart shell. place the squash rings on top.

Squash and Ricotta Tart

Bake in 375 oven for 30 min
you can also put the squash seeds on a bake sheet with salt and pepper and bake until they start to pop like popcorn.

garnish tart with seeds, let sit for ten to fifteen minutes and slice.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Braised Cabbage with Tofu

Braised Cabbage with Tofu
Originally uploaded by kel h
I got this recipe from I added a block of tofu cut up with the garlic and ginger to add some protien, and added some rice I had leftover when I added the sauce.

Napa cabbage, also known as Chinese cabbage, has crunchy leaves that pair well with a light sauce. Similar to bok choy, but more delicate (use either in this recipe), Napa cabbage is more elegant than regular firm-headed green cabbage. Slice the head of Napa lengthwise in half and remove the core. Roughly chop into 2-inch pieces. Then cook the cabbage in a searing hot skillet - high heat is essential - to caramelize the leaves. Saute in two batches so overcrowding doesn’t steam the vegetables. It’s fast and good for you.

3teaspoons vegetable oil
1small head (about 1 pound) Napa cabbage, cut into 2-inch pieces
3cloves garlic, sliced
1piece fresh ginger ( 1/2 inch), cut into matchsticks
1/4cup water
1 1/2teaspoons cornstarch
1/4cup soy sauce
4scallions, thinly sliced
1teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1. In a large skillet or wok, heat 1 teaspoon of the vegetable oil . When it is very hot, add half the cabbage. Cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes or until leaves begin to brown. Remove them from pan. Use 1 teaspoon of the remaining vegetable oil to cook the remaining cabbage in the same way; remove from the pan.

2. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon vegetable oil to pan. Cook the garlic and ginger, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.

3. In a small bowl, stir together the water and cornstarch. Stir the soy sauce into the pan. Add the cornstarch mixture and bring to a boil.

4. Return all the cabbage to pan, stirring well to coat it all over. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until the cabbage is tender.

5.Remove from the heat. Stir in the scallions and vinegar.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Golabki (aka Stuffed Cabbage)

Golabki (aka Stuffed Cabbage)
Originally uploaded by kel h
I got a head of cabbage in our CSA farmshare, and decided to make some traditional Polish food. Golabki (pronounced go-WAMP-ki) means pigeon in polish, because they look like roast pigeons. The hardest part is getting the leaves off the head of cabbage in one piece. I hear if you freeze the head of cabbage they come off easier. You can also boil the whole head of cabbage first and THEN cut the leaves off. I decided to do it the hard way and peel the leaves off and boil them separately for about 5-10 minutes.

EITHER: 1 lb combined ground pork/beef OR 1 pkg tempeh crumbled
1 beaten egg
1 stalk celery diced
1/2 large carrot shredded
1 small onion diced
2 cloves garlic minced
2 cups cooked rice
1 tsp paprika
2 cans crushed tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1 head cabbage
2 tbsp butter
salt pepper

sautee celery, carrot, onion, and garlic with butter
combine with meat or crumbled tempeh, egg, rice, salt, pepper and paprika to taste

Put a couple of spoonfuls of the filling in a cabbage leaf and roll it up like a burrito. Put in a baking dish, seam side down.

Cover with crushed tomatoes and put in bay leaves

Cover with tin foil and bake at 400 for 20 min. Then uncover and bake for another 20 min.

Monday, October 25, 2010

I had a soup, but I ated it

I had a soup, but I ated it
Originally uploaded by kel h
The bulk of our trivia team bowed out this week, so I decided to make soup for dinner for me and my roommate instead. And THEN I invited another member of the trivia team. And that's how I wound up having a small dinner gathering tonight.

We have a surefit of onions from the CSA, and I've been wanting to make vegetarian french onion soup ever since watching Alton Brown make it on Good Eats a while back. And once we went from just me and G (the roommate) to a small dinner party, I thought I should make dessert. I have a bunch of apples from the farmshare too, so I thought a french apple tart would make a good dessert.

It was a local, seasonal, french supper

The soup recipe was taken from Food Network, which cribbed from Julia Child's recipe. I made a few adjustments, and I want to kiss the man who invented the food processor (so much easier to slice onions with the slicing plate). I used less broth (although I probably could have used the whole 8 cups), and I added a teaspoon of herbs de provance and a bay leaf (Alton made his with a bouqet de garni of bay leaf, thyme and parsley, but I didn't have the whole sprigs of herbs).

French Onion Soup

Taken from Food Network, which based their recipe on Julia Child's recipe for French Onion Soup

1/2 stick butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
8 cups thinly sliced onions (about 2-1/2 pounds)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon flour
8 cups homemade beef stock, or good quality store bought stock (I used better than boullion No Beef Base. I LOVE their stuff and ususally have two or three containers in the fridge at any given time)
1/4 cup Cognac, or other good brandy
1 cup dry white wine
1 tsp herbs de provance
8 (1/2-inch) thick slices of French bread, toasted
3/4 pound coarsely grated Gruyere

Heat a heavy saucepan over moderate heat with the butter and oil. When the butter has melted, stir in the onions, cover, and cook slowly until tender and translucent, about 10 minutes. Blend in the salt and sugar, increase the heat to medium high, and let the onions brown, stirring frequently until they are a dark walnut color, 25 to 30 minutes.

Sprinkle the flour and cook slowly, stirring, for another 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool a moment, then whisk in 2 cups of hot stock. When well blended, bring to the simmer, adding the rest of the stock, Cognac, and wine. Cover loosely, and simmer very slowly 1 1/2 hours, adding a little water if the liquid reduces too much. Taste for seasoning

Divide the soup among 4 ovenproof bowls. Arrange toast on top of soup and sprinkle generously with grated cheese. Place bowls on a cookie sheet and place under a preheated broiler until cheese melts and forms a crust over the tops of the bowls. Serve immediately.

We had a side of salad with homemade balsamic vinaigrette.

For dessert I made an apple tart based on a recipe from Smitten Kitchen. I am pretty sure I used three kinds of apples (Macintosh, Granny Smith, and Golden Delicious). I altered the recipe a bit. Alton reccomends using applejack in apple pie dough instead of water, and I like bourbon in my apple pie so I used some of that in the syrup. Part of the decision was based on the fact that apple tart is traditionally french, part because I had a bunch of apples, and part based on my recent purchase of a new tart pan from Ikea

Based on Smitten Kitchens Simplest Apple Tart recipe

Alice Waters’s Apple Tart
Found buried deeply within my recipe bookmarks folder!

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, just softened, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
3 1/2 tablespoons chilled water (I used applejack)

2 pounds apples (Golden Delicious or another tart, firm variety), peeled, cored (save peels and cores), and sliced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
5 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup bourbon

MIX flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl; add 2 tablespoons of the butter. Blend in a mixer until dough resembles coarse cornmeal. Add remaining butter; mix until biggest pieces look like large peas.

DRIBBLE in water (or applejack), stir, then dribble in more, until dough just holds together. Toss with hands, letting it fall through fingers, until it’s ropy with some dry patches. If dry patches predominate, add another tablespoon water. Keep tossing until you can roll dough into a ball. Flatten into a 4-inch-thick disk; refrigerate. After at least 30 minutes, remove; let soften so it’s malleable but still cold. Smooth cracks at edges. On a lightly floured surface, roll into a 14-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Dust excess flour from both sides with a dry pastry brush.

PLACE dough in a lightly greased 9-inch round tart pan, or simply on a parchment-lined baking sheet if you wish to go free-form, or galette-style with it. Heat oven to 400#176;F. (If you have a pizza stone, place it in the center of the rack.)

OVERLAP apples on dough in a ring 2 inches from edge if going galette-style, or up to the sides if using the tart pan. Continue inward until you reach the center. Fold any dough hanging over pan back onto itself; crimp edges at 1-inch intervals.

BRUSH melted butter over apples and onto dough edge. Sprinkle sugar over the crust and apples. I have some vanilla sugar that I used for this (although instead of alton's recipe I just keep a tupperware with white sugar and used vanilla bean pods that I add as I use them)

BAKE in center of oven until apples are soft, with browned edges, and crust has caramelized to a dark golden brown (about 45 minutes), making sure to rotate tart every 15 minutes.

MAKE glaze: Put reserved peels and cores in a large saucepan, along with sugar. Pour in just enough water and bourbon to cover; simmer for 25 minutes. Strain syrup through cheesecloth.

REMOVE tart from oven, and slide off parchment onto cooling rack. Let cool at least 15 minutes.

BRUSH glaze over tart, slice, and serve.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Kale Chips

kale chips
Originally uploaded by kel h
we get a lot of Kale in our CSA share, and I've really enjoyed learning to cook with it. I've made stews, pasta dishes, and now CHIPS! I got the idea from Smitten Kitchen

these are super easy, addictive, and crazy healthy. One serving is only 56 calories, with 250% vitamin A, 150% vitamin C, and and 2.5g protein.

preheat oven with 300
cut out the stems and ribs
cut kale into large pieces
rinse and thouroughly dry kale
toss with 1-2 tbsp olive oil
sprinkle with salt (I added aleppo pepper for some spice) and spread over a baking sheet or two


bake for 10-20 min until kale is crispy and brown around the edges (the curly kale I used took around 10-12 min. It took smitten kitchen 20 min with flat kale)

the biggest tip I can give is to make sure the kale is well dried before you bake it or comes out chewy instead of krispy

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pretty Things Babayaga Tasting

Pretty Things Pint Glass
Originally uploaded by kel h
Babayaga....the beer that drinks like a scotch. It's a smoky porter from Pretty Things, a local brewer that hosted a tasting at The Independent in Union Square with trippy eastern european cartoons of Babayaga and the 1980 olympics or something and deep fried pireogis

Daikon Radish and Mango Salad

Daikon Radish and Mango Salad
Originally uploaded by kel h
I got some Daikon Radish in my last CSA farmshare, and I was looking for something interesting to do with it. While I know pickling is a popular choice, I wanted to try something different. In the original recipe, papaya is used, but I subbed it out for mango, which I like. I think it worked well.

Adapted from Vegetable Love by Barbara Kafka

1 Daikon Radish, peeled and cut into 1/4in cubes
1 mango cut into 1/4 inch cubes
2 jalapeño peppers seeds and membrane removed and chopped
3 oz lime juice (for me it was about 1.5 limes worth)
1 cup loosly packed fresh cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
4 cloves garlic peeled and smashed

place the garlic, jalapeño, cilantro and lime juice in a blender and puree until you have a green liquid.

Toss the mango and daikon in the sauce and let sit for half an hour. Season to taste.

Tastes even better the next day

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Seelbach at Highland Kitchen

Seelbach at Highland Kitchen
Originally uploaded by kel h
went to Highland Kitchen with my friend Michelle. Had a great fall veggie pot pie, and a Seelbach cocktail

1 ounce bourbon
1/2 ounce Cointreau
7 dashes Angostura bitters
7 dashes Peychaud’s bitters
5 ounces chilled dry Champagne

combine first four ingredients in champagne glass and stir. Top with Champagne or sparkling wine and an orange peel garnish

Buttercup Squash Soup

My roommate and I are splitting a large farmshare from Enterprise Farms now, so we get more veggies. This past week we got two tiny buttercup squash, and one big one. The two little ones seemed too small to do much with, so I thought I would make some soup.

Initially I thought about making this a curry soup, or using some herbs de provence or something, but one I tasted it I liked how simple it was

2 small buttercup squash
1 onion, minced
1 leek halved and sliced (light green and white parts only)
3 cloves of garlic grated (it's so much easier than mincing)
1 bay leaf
1 carrot shredded
1 tsp paprika
1 pinch aleppo pepper
1 cup veggie broth
1 cup soup
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil

Cut the squash in half and place cut side down in a baking dish with a quarter inch of water
bake at 4oo for about 25-30 min

in a soup pot melt butter and add olive oil
cook onion, leek and garlic in the pot
add carrot and bay leaf and continue to cook

once the squash is done and cool enough to handle, use a spoon to scoop out the soft flesh into the pot

add the broth and then either use an immersion blender or put into a blender to make it smooth

pour back into pot, add milk and season to taste

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Daring Cooks: Stuffed Grape Leaves

Stuffed Grape Leaves
Originally uploaded by kel h
Our October 2010 hostess, Lori of Lori’s Lipsmacking Goodness, has challenged The Daring Cooks to stuff grape leaves. Lori chose a recipe from Aromas of Aleppo and a recipe from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food.

I love me some stuffed grape leaves, but I always thought it would be too complicated. Pshaw! Can you make a burrito? Can you get too much rice with your indian takeout? Can you stir? Than YOU can make stuffed grape leaves

BTW, it it me, or does every culture have some sort of burrito/sandwich/roll type food?

Wara Einab or Dolma/Cold Stuffed Grape Leaves
Adapted from Claudia Roden's The New Book of Middle Eastern Food a Borzoi Book, published by Alfred A. Knopf

Yield: 6 to 8 servings


24 – 30 preserved or fresh grape leaves.
1¼ cups (300 ml) (9 oz) (250 gm) long grain rice
1- 3 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped or 4 tablespoons (60 ml) (35 gm) finely chopped scallions
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (25 gm) finely chopped flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons (30 ml) (15 gm) crushed dried mint
¼ teaspoon (1¼ ml) (1½ gm) ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon (1¼ ml) (1½ gm) ground allspice
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (6½ gm) dill
Salt and pepper
2 tomatoes, sliced **optional**
3 or 4 cloves garlic
2/3 cup (160 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon (5 ml) (5 gm) sugar
Juice of 1 lemon or more

(I didn't have mint so I used 1 tsp of dried basil, and I didn't have allspice so I used allepo pepper instead. I sped things up a bit and used some leftover rice from indian last friday, which was great because when they simmered the rice got soft. Getting the grape leaves was fun because it gave me an excuse to drive to Watertown and hit up the Armenian market. I also got pomegranate molasses I plan to use in cupcakes)

at the Armenian Market you can get all sorts of fun stuff at the armenian market


If using grape leaves preserved in brine, to remove salt put them in a bowl and pour boiling water over them. Make sure that the water penetrates well between the layers, and leave them soaking for about twenty minutes, then change the water a time or two using fresh cold water.

If using fresh leaves, plunge a few at a time in boiling water for a few seconds only, until they become limp, and lift them out.


1.Pour boiling water over the rice and stir well, then rinse with cold water and let drain.

2.Mix the rice with the chopped tomatoes, onion or scallion, parsley, mint, cinnamon, allspice, dill, salt and pepper to taste.

3.Place a grape leaf on a flat surface, vein side up.

Step one, get a leaf

4.Place about two teaspoons (10 ml) of the filling in the center of the leaf, near the stem edge.

step two, add your filling

5.Roll the leaf end to end, starting from the stem edge. As you roll, fold the sides of the leaf in toward the center. The leaf should resemble a small cigar, about 2 to 2 1/2 inches (50 mm to 65mm) long.

Step three, roll up

step four, fold in the sides

6.Repeat with the remaining leaves and filling.

a.(You can freeze the stuffed grape leaves at this point. Just line a baking sheet with wax paper. When firmly frozen, transfer to an airtight plastic bag place back in the freezer.)

7.Pack the stuffed leaves tightly in a large pan lined with tomato slices or imperfect grape leaves Place a whole garlic clove in between them for extra flavor. The tightness will help prevent the rolls from unraveling.

Grape Leaves simmered in oil, lemon, and sugar

8.Mix together olive oil, 2/3 cup (160 ml) water, sugar and lemon juice and pour over the stuffed leaves. Put a small heat proof plate on top of the leaves to prevent them from unwinding, cover the pan and simmer very gently for about 1 hour, until the rolls are thoroughly cooked, adding water occasionally, a cup at a time, as the liquid in the pan becomes absorbed. Cool in the pan before turning out. Serve cold.

Disected Stuffed Grape Leaves

I don't know why, but making these made me feel kinda badass :) Can't wait to see what's next

Monday, October 11, 2010

Port Wine Truffle

port wine truffle
Originally uploaded by kel h
So, it's my roommate's birthday this weekend, and he is a fan of port. I decided to make the port and salted caramel cupcakes I've made in the past, but with a liquid center. The best way I could figure was to make truffles and sink them in the batter. They didn't quite turn into lava cakes, but they were goey and tasty in the middle, and the truffle ganache also made for a tasty frosting.

Today I decided to make more truffles just for fun

Port Wine Truffle


12 oz semi sweet chocolate chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup port

melt butter and add cream
heat until simmering
add chocolate, reduce heat and stir until smooth
pour into a container and chill

once it gets clay like, scoop into balls
melt more chocolate
chill the balls of ganache and then roll around in melted chocolate and let cool
you may also want to roll it in powdered cocoa or chopped nuts once you coat in melted chocolate

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Baked Acorn Squash Stuffed with Mushroom Risotto

This weekend was Harvest Fest, which is a fundraiser for Somerville Local First (a non-profit organization that supports sustainable local economic growth). There was food and beer from a bunch of local restaurants and breweries. The Independent served a version of this, and since I had a TINY acorn squash to cook I decided to make it at home for my roommate and me

Ingredients (this made dinner for 2 with leftovers)
1 acorn squash
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
1 cup Arborio rice
1 onion diced
3 cloves garlic minced
1 cup chopped portabella mushrooms
1/4 cup dried mushrooms reconstituted
4 cups mushroom broth
1 cup white wine
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup shredded cheese (I used smoked swiss)
1 pinch thyme
salt and pepper

preheat oven to 400
cut squash in half and scoop out the fibers and seeds
score the inside and cut a bit off the bottom so they sit flat in the baking dish
put half a tsp of butter in each squash
put the squash cut side up in a baking dish with half inch of water and bake
Once the butter melts spread it up along the sides and on top. Continue to bake until browning on top and soft

while the squash is baking melt the butter and heat 2 tbsp oil in a sautee pan
cook onions and garlic with a pinch of salt
then sautee mushrooms
add rice and toast for a minute or two
add cup of wine and cook until rice absorbs liquid
then add a cup of broth at a time while on low to med-low heat
with last cup of broth, add pinch of thyme
once rice is soft, add cheese and 1 more tbsp butter

Chard, Tomato, Leek Quiche

Chard, Tomato, Leek Quiche
Originally uploaded by kel h
due to a mix up, my CSA share came a day late this week. To make up for it they gave me double greens, which is great, but means I need to use them.

Loosely based on Emeril's Quiche Lorraine Recipe

Flaky Butter Crust, recipe follows
1/2 bunch chard
3 cloves garlic
1 leek cut in half and sliced into 1/2 inch pieces
1 tomato diced
1 cup cheddar
1/3 cup goat cheese
1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 1/4 cups half-and-half
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to an 11-inch circle. Fit into a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom and trim the edges. (Alternatively, a 9-inch pie pan can be used.) Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Line the pastry with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until the crust is set, 12 to 14 minutes. Remove the paper and weights and bake until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.

In a medium skillet, cook the garlic and leeks in butter and olive oil with a pinch of salt and some pepper. After a few minutes, add chard and cook until wilted. add tomato and cook til heated through

In a large bowl, beat the eggs, yolks, and half and half. Add the remaining ingredients and whisk to combine. Pour into the prepared crust and bake until the custard is golden, puffed, and set yet still slightly wiggly in the center, 30 to 35 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before serving.

Flaky Butter Crust:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into pieces
1 to 2 tablespoons ice water, or more as needed
To make the dough in a food processor, combine the flour, salt, and butter in the processor and process until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, about 10 seconds. With the machine running, add the ice water through the feed tube and pulse quickly 5 or 6 times, or until the dough comes together and starts to pull away from the sides of the container. Gather the dough into a ball, flatten it into a disk, and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

To make the dough by hand, combine the flour, salt, and butter in a medium bowl, and mix with a pastry blender or your fingertips until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the water 1 tablespoon at a time and mix until the dough comes together and is no longer dry, being careful not to overmix. Form into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface according to the recipe, fit it into the pan, and allow to rest again in the refrigerator before baking.

Yield: one 9-inch tart or pie crust

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Drinky Drinks: Gin Fizz and Gin Daisy Fizz

I'm getting ready to go on a trip home to Buffalo this weekend, and I've been cooking up a storm, and enjoying some adult beverages.

Gin Fizz:
1 oz lemon juice (abt 1 lemon)
2 oz gin (I have New Amsterdam in the house because it's a good mixing gin, and affordable)
1 tsp simple syrup

make it in a highball glass (tall glass)
pour the first three ingredients over ice, then top off the glass with seltzer

to make it a daisy fizz, add 1/2 oz grenadine

Easy Braised Eggplant Dinner

eggplant Pictures, Images and Photos

Tonight I made dinner for me and G (my eminently quotable roommate). I'm headed off for vacation tomorrow, so I wanted to cook up as much of my farmshare produce as I could. I had an eggplant that was going to go south, and some green peppers. I really enjoyed the asian style braised eggplant with tofu I made not that long ago, and I figured it would be easy to do an italian version of it.


1 medium eggplant cubed
3 cloves garlic chopped
1 onion chopped
1 green pepper roughly chopped
3 tbsp olive oil divided
2 tbsp butter
8oz can of diced tomatoes with juice
1 tsp italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste

heat up 2 tbsp oil and butter in a sauté pan. Sauté the onion, garlic, pepper and eggplant for about 10 minutes. Add the seasoning and diced tomatoes and juice and simmer until eggplant is soft. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve over pasta with cheese.

Vanilla Shortbread with Cocoa Nibs

om nom nom indeed
I've had this in my mind for a while. Vanilla shortbread cookies studded with cocoa nibs. Mostly inspired by Taza Chocolate, which is a local chocolate factory here in Somerville, MA that makes a variety of flavors of chocolate in a traditional mexican style using organic and ethically sourced ingredients. You can order from them online, and they also have a factory store that does tours (but no ooompa loompas).

Also, I'm sort of obsessed with vanilla beans now.

So I went to The Joy of Baking site and adapted their shortbread cookie recipe by adding half a cup of chocolate covered cocoa nibs and using the seeds from 1 vanilla bean instead of a teaspoon of vanilla.

Shortbread Cookies:

2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon (2 grams) salt

1 cup (2 sticks) (226 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup (60 grams) powdered (confectioners or icing) sugar

seeds from 1 vanilla bean


Shortbreads: In a separate bowl whisk the flour with the salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter until smooth and creamy (about 1 minute). Add the sugar and beat until smooth (about 2 minutes). Beat in the vanilla extract. Gently stir in the flour mixture just until incorporated. Flatten the dough into a disk shape, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill the dough for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) with the rack in the middle of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

On a lightly floured surface roll out the dough into a 1/4 inch (.6 cm) thick circle. Cut into rounds or other shapes using a lightly floured cookie cutter. Place on the prepared baking sheets and place in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes. (This will firm up the dough so the cookies will maintain their shape when baked.) Bake for 8 - 10 minutes, or until cookies are very lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack.

to decorate them, I melted some semisweet chocolate and put it in a ziploc baggie. Then I snipped the corner and used it to pipe some shapes.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Daring Bakers' September 2010 Challenge: Decorated Sugar Cookies

The September 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mandy of “What the Fruitcake?!” Mandy challenged everyone to make Decorated Sugar Cookies based on recipes from Peggy Porschen and The Joy of Baking.

This was a good challenge for me to start with, because it was pretty straightforward. I've made sugar cookies before (usually for Christmas), but this batch turned out a lot better thanks to the tips I got from the challenge. I'm usually too lazy or rushed to chill the dough after I cut out the cookies, but it really did make a difference (you can see the shapes SO much better this way). Also, while I could have probably used a smidge more sugar in my icing, it definitely worked better than my usual gloppy mess, and I was able to do the flooding technique AND the swirly bits. I also used this as a chance to try cooking with a vanilla bean pod, which I've never done before. I like the flavor of it, and I
am using the used pod to make vanilla sugar (I got the idea from Ina Garten. You take the used pods and put them in a container with white sugar and shake it a bit and let it sit. The longer it goes the more vanilla-y it gets)

I will say that, if I'm really going to get serious about baking, I should probably get a scale, as most really good recipes use weights instead of cups.

Sugar Cookies
1 stick + 6 tbsp butter (room temp)
3 cups + 3 tbsp flour
1 cup sugar
1 lg egg (lightly beaten)
1 tsp vanilla extract OR seeds from 1 vanilla bean pod

cream the butter, sugar, and flavorings together (don't overmix. It will add air to the dough which will cause your cookies to spread when baking. See? helpful hints)
Beat in egg til combined
Add sifted flour and mix until dry dough forms.
Roll out dough into small 1/4 inch thick sheets and chill for at least 30 minutes (you want to chill the dough before you cut the shapes, and it's easier to roll it out now while it's soft and THEN chill it. I stacked mine between sheets of tin foil in the freezer for 15 minutes as a cheat, but it worked)
after your dough is chilled, cut out the shapes and chill again for 30 min
Bake at 350 for 8-12 min, until just starting to brown around edges. It helps to have cookies of all the same size on one sheet because the smaller cookies will bake first.

Royal Icing
3 cups powdered sugar
2 lg egg whites
2 tsp lemon juice (approx juice from 1/2 med lemon)
1 tsp almond extract (optional, but i used it)

mix the egg whites, sugar, and flavoring (you are not making them frothy, just mixing them)
add powdered sugar and combine
you want to keep this in airtight containers because it thickens up quickly.

Sept 2010 Daring Bakers Challenge: Decorated Sugar Cookies

Since the theme of the challenge was Fall, I got some owl, pumpkin/apple, and leaf shapes.

I had my roommate G, and my friends Krysta and Lee help me with the decorating.
To flood a cookie you outline it with the royal icing and then pipe some more inside the outline and use a toothpick or knifes edge to spread it out evenly.

You can make a cool spider web pattern by flooding an area, then imediately piping a spiral of a contrasting color on top. then drag a knife tip or toothpick from the center of the spiral out several times.

Lee's Fall Cookies
Lee's Cookies

Krysta's Fall Cookies
Krysta's Cookies

Geoffrey's Fall Cookies
Geoffrey's Cookies