Thursday, January 28, 2016

Chocolate Crunch Shortbread Cookies from Colleen

Salty chocolate shortbread studded with dark chocolate and crunchy cocoa nibs
(recipe from Wall Street Journal)


I made these again.

William reports that they are excellent with whiskey.  It's very cold in Northfield (Minnesota).  He is hunkering down and trying to stay cozy.

Eating these at night may keep you awake!  They pack quite a dark chocolate punch.
Cacoa nibs have theobromine which affects some people like caffeine.  Plus
I used dark 74% chocolate chopped up.  They are not overly sweet.

Nibs are a good source of fiber!  As is darker chocolate.  Clearly these are a health food.

I used sugar sprinkles instead of salt flakes as the recipe calls for.  I tried one batch with the salt but they were not preferred to the version with sugar sprinkles.


Chocolate Crunch Shortbread Cookies
(Wall Street Journal - Jane Black, Dec 9, 2015)

This was inspired by a cookie in New York's City Bakery.

Makes 6 dozen 

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup plus 1 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 t. baking powder
2 sticks unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
3/4 cup sugar
6 ounces dark chocolate, roughly chopped
1/2 cup cocoa nibs
1 t. vanilla extract
3/4 t. sea salt
Flaky sea salt, such as Maldon, for garnish (or sugar sprinkles instead)

Use a fine-mesh to sift flour, cocoa powder and baking powder into a large bowl.

Use an electric mixer with a paddle attachment on medium speed to beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.  Reduce speed to low.  Add flour mixture in 3 parts, beating after each addition until just incorporated.  Add chocolate, cocoa nibs, vanilla and sea salt, mixing until just combined.

Divide dough into three parts.  On a lightly floured work surface, roll each part into a log about 1 inch in diameter.

Wrap each log tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until dough is firm, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or lightly grease them with butter.

Slice dough logs into rounds about 1/4 inch thick.  Place rounds on baking sheet about 1.5 inches apart, then sprinkle with a pinch of flaky salt or sugar sprinkles.  Bake until cooked through but still soft, about 16 minutes, rotating baking sheets from back to front halfway through.  Cookies will harden as they cool.  Remove from oven and let cool.

Cookies will keep up to 1 week in an airtight container.

You can freeze the dough, wrapped well, 1 month.  Thaw in fridge overnight, slice and bake.


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Chocolate Cherry Biscotti

Chocolate Cherry Biscotti
a David Lebovitz recipe

If you are looking for something special to make your valentine this year or as a treat for yourself, these biscotti would fit the bill.

Biscotti are twice-baked, crunchy Italian cookies which don't use any fat or oil.  David Lebovitz's version are not too hard to make and they are packed with flavor---toasted almonds, dried cherries re-hydrated in cherry liqueur, and chocolate chips.

We've made them twice now, once for our cookie exchange with neighbors at Christmas, and again after the new year, to have with our morning coffee.

Everything in David Lebovitz's cookbook, Ready for Dessert, My Best Recipes, has been excellent.

Note from B:  Look for the dried cherries in the bulk aisle, and be sure to toast your almonds in advance.  And be sure to use Dutch-process cocoa powder.  Coarse-crystal sugar is sometimes called finishing sugar, Turbinado or raw sugar.

Chocolate-Cherry Biscotti
(a David Lebovitz recipe)

Makes 50 to 60 biscotti

3/4 cup (90 g) dried cherries, coarsely chopped
2 T. kirsch (cherry liqueur), grappa or rum
2 cups (288g) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (75 g) unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1 t. freshly ground black pepper
3 large eggs, plus 1 large egg for glazing
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
1/2 t. almond extract
1 cup (125 g) almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
3/4 cup (120 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
2 T (30 g) coarse-crystal sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat.
In a small saucepan, combine the dried cherries and kirsch, grappa, or rum.  Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat, cover, and let cool to room temperature.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and pepper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the 3 eggs, granulated sugar, and almond extract.  Gradually stir in the flour mixture, then add the cherries and their soaking liquid, the almonds, and the chocolate chips and mix just until the dough comes together.

On a lightly floured work surface, divide the dough in half.  Using dampened hands, shape each half into a log 3 inches in diameter.  Set the logs lengthwise on the prepared baking sheet, evenly spacing them apart.  Dampen your hands and gently flatten the tops of the logs.

In a small bowl, whisk the remaining egg.  Generously brush the logs with the egg wash, then give the logs a second coat.  Sprinkle each log with 1 T. coarse-crystal sugar.

Bake, rotating the baking sheet midway through baking, until the logs feel firm to the touch, about 25 minutes.  Remove the baking sheet from the oven and decrease the oven temperature to 300 degrees.  Let the logs cool on the baking sheet for 10 to 15 minutes.

Transfer the logs to a cutting board.  With a serrated bread knife, cut each log diagonally into slices 1.2 inch thick.
Place the cookies, cut sides up, in a single layer on the baking sheet.  (If necessary, use an additional baking sheet.)
Bake until firm, 20 to 30 minutes, flipping them midway through baking.  (Note from B:  which means turn each cookie over.)  Let cook completely, they'll continue to firm up as they cool.

Store them in an air-tight tin or ziplock bag.  They freeze well.
Excellent with morning coffee!


Friday, January 22, 2016

Sauteed Carrots with Pistachios

Sauteed Carrots with Pistachios,
Lime, Mint, Parsley and Parmesan

This is an excellent dish which I have served on Christmas Day for the last 2 years but it would be good any time of the year.

This week I made it for Tom and served it with grilled pork chops.  Would be good with a store bought rotisserie chicken too.

The combination of lime, mint, Parmesan, parsley and pistachios is delicious!

Sauteed Carrots with Pistachios
(adapted from Fine Cooking Oct/Nov 2014)

Serves 4

1 lb. of thin carrots, about 15
Finely grated lime zest (all of one lime)
Lime juice (all of one lime)
1-4 drops of Sriracha or other hot sauce
1/4 cup salted pistachios, shelled and toasted, chopped
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 T. fresh chopped mint or 1 t. dried
Fresh parsley, chopped -- up to 1/4 cup -- as much as you like

2 T. unsalted butter or olive oil
a little water, about 3 T.
salt to taste, if needed

Peel and cut the tops and bottoms off the carrots.
Heat butter until it melts (or oil is hot if you are using oil), then add a little water about 3 T.  Cover and cook on medium for 8 minutes.  Uncover and cook until the water is gone.  Carrots should be tender, but not mushy.

They will caramelize as the pan gets dry. Takes another 3 to 4 minutes for the water to evaporate. But don't let them burn.

Add a little salt to the carrots before you take them off the heat-- just a pinch because the Parmesan is salty too.

While the carrots cook (or ahead of time), carefully toast the pistachios (don't let them burn) and roughly chop.

Prepare all of the other finishing ingredients --- the lime zest, chop the parsley, the mint. And mix them together in a small bowl.

When the carrots are done, take them off the heat, place them on a warm platter in a single layer. Then squeeze the lime juice over the carrots and add the few drops of hot sauce.  Sprinkle the lime zest, the parsley, the mint, the Parmesan, and the pistachios across the top.

Serve while still hot.  I put the platter back in the oven on a very low temperature to keep them warm while finishing the meat.  The carrots are best when served warm.


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Roasted Chicken with Root Veggies and Farro by Colleen

This dish was inspired by our sister-in-law Laddie's grandparents.  I think her recipe may have used a whole chicken, but no one eats dark meat here but me.  I just used chicken breast on the bone.  I think her version my have had onions in the veggies.  You could also do turnips or rutabaga or kohlrabi.

Her version had white rice instead of farro but I was trying to go for something a little healthier and more hearty. Farro is supposed to be really good for you.

I cut the veggies pretty big so they wouldn't get mushy.  You could also add thyme or even stuff the interior of a whole chicken with a lemon.

Anyway, it is dead easy and very much a comfort food.


Roasted Chicken with Root Veggies and Farro

Chicken breasts
Garlic Cloves
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper

1 cup farro
2 cups liquid (chicken broth)
olive oil

Cut up carrots and celery and put in base of roaster.  Add a few whole garlic cloves.  Place chicken pieces on top of veggies and drizzle with olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Cover with foil and roast at 375 degrees for 30-40 minutes.  Remove foil and roast until meat is done.

In pot on stove, make farro according to package directions.  One cup farro to two cups liquid.  Same method as rice.  I added salt, olive oil, and chicken bouillon cube.

Put farro on platter.  Place chicken pieces on edge and pour veggies and drippings onto farro.


Good rainy day food.

Also, I removed garlic cloves before serving.  You could add other root veggies as desired.


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Top 10 from 2015

Best Au Lait Ever--
At The Mission, Mission Beach, San Diego, California, Jan 2015

"Where is Feast Everyday?  Where have you been? "

I had "Blogger Fatigue."  Yes, there is a term for it.  It happens to bloggers.  We get tired of the responsibility.

But then the motivation comes back ---when we least expect it.

Today was the first day this winter we've had a significant snowfall.  (We have been lucky, very lucky, so far.)

While I was cleaning off the car --- and I was enjoying the fluffy white snow ---which only happens when it is a new, fresh experience at the first snowfall,  and not the dreaded chore it becomes---I thought to myself--- today would be a good day to resume Feast Everyday.

So, here are my favorites from last year.

We were going Around the World on 12 Tables, one a month, which was fun:  France, Japan, Spain, Greece, Mexico, Sweden, Australia, India, England, Germany, America, and Italy.

Top 10 plus one

(Click on the winner to go to the recipe)

10.   Best Shortcut--Indian sauces in a jar, like Rogan Josh, are not bad! Thanks to Nancy L.'s tip.
9.     Best Cake -- It's a tie:  Hummingbird Cake by Tom and Swedish Apple "Cake"
8.     Best Cookie -- King Arthur's Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies by Tom
7.     Best Salad --Crunchy Asian Ramen Noodle Salad from Gretchen
6.     Best Food Saga ---Prince William Cake by Colleen
5.     Best Veggie --- Carrots with Pistachios -- to be posted soon
4.     Biggest Surprise -- I like meatballs, and to make meatballs, regardless of nationality, Spanish,                     Swedish or Italian (soon to be posted). I rarely ever made them before 2015.
3.     Easiest Fancy Pastry --- Petite Palmiers from Ina Garten
2.     Favorite Month -- surprisingly, Greece.  From the Greek spaghetti to the baklava.  Yum!
1.     Prettiest Dish -- Avocado Boats by Chelsea.  We had fun cooking with her during her stay.

Favorite Recipe of the 2015:  Green Tea Financiers from David Lebovitz

I made this recipe numerous times, and gave it as gifts and found everyone liked it.

On the other hand...

Worse than I expected:
1.   Vegemite
2.   Marmite (which I tried but declined to post in an effort to not offend)
3.   Weetabix
But not as bad as I expected:  Haggis, Neeps and Tatties by Tom

Tom's pick:  Weetabix was definitely his most memorable (and worst) food experience of 2015.  He says compressed sawdust may actually taste better!

Thanks to everyone who contributed or followed Feast Everyday last year.

It is going to be our 7th anniversary on January 16th!