Friday, September 30, 2011

Storing my cookie cutters

A friend on facebook mentioned that her mom had their cookie cutter collection hanging on their wall when she was growing up. I decided that would be a fun thing to do with my cookie cutters too. I have a few embroidery hoops lying around from when I used to screen print, so I used one as a frame. I might get super-fancy and paint it later.
This is what it looks like with the rest of the stuff on our kitchen wall:
Those are a poster of exotic fruits and vegetables in Danish and some French food postcards that I taped to a piece of poster board. I'm very pleased with the food-related decorations.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Earl Grey shortbread cookies

This is my second time making this recipe for Earl Grey shortbread cookies. The tea flavor is subtle but nice. I have never been a fan of shortbread cookies, but having a little extra flavor is nice, and I find them much tastier homemade than store-bought. The second time I made them, I changed up the method just a little both to account for the fact that I have a mixer but not a food processor and to make them rolled cookies instead of a log that would then be sliced. The rolling process was pretty time-intensive. I don't know if shortbread is meant to be rolled out, and it was kind of sticking to both the cutting board and the rolling pin. Flouring the pin didn't seem to help, so I'm not quite sure what the best way to deal with that would be, besides just being patient.

I didn't mind taking the time to roll them out since I just got a bunch of cute cookie cutters, as you can see in the above picture. I'm not sure what all of them are. There's definitely a dog, but there's also another one that's either a dog or a sheep. There is a hippo, too. That's nice. The one in the top left is either a foot or a bird that's sitting down. I kind of think it's a foot, so maybe it goes with the shark and umbrella as kind of a beach-themed set.

Earl Grey shortbread cookies

2 tbsp loose-leaf Earl Grey tea
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

In a coffee grinder or small food processor, grind the tea until it's not powdered but a bit more broken up than it started. Mix tea, flour, and salt together in a medium bowl and set aside.

Using a mixer or wooden spoon, cream the butter, sugar, and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and stir to combine. Refrigerate until ready to roll out and cut into fun shapes. (Alternatively, you can follow the original recipe's suggestion that you roll the dough into a log, wrap in saran wrap, refrigerate, and cut into discs.)

Bake at 375 for 12 minutes, or until turning golden brown. Allow to cool on the baking sheet a few minutes before transferring to cooling racks.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Cucumber-melon rocket pops

This is a work in progress. A few weeks ago, it was pretty hot, and I had half of a delicious melon. I'm not actually sure what kind. It was yellowish on the outside and light green on the inside. It was reminiscent of honeydew, but not quite the same. In any case, it was great: sweet, not too hard or soft, fragrant. We ate a lot of it just as melon, but I also wanted to try a fruit pop with melon. I also had a cucumber that had seen far better days and would have headed to the trash if I hadn't found a use for it. Cucumber and melon are friends, so I cut out the bad bits and added it to the melon. Earlier in the day I had impulse-bought some Tyku liqueur, which has melon and citrus flavors, so I decided to do something similar to the grapefruit-Campari pops I posted back in June. I blended up the melon and cucumber together, added a little sugar and Tyku, and froze them.

They're pretty good. They have a lot more texture than most pops because they're whole fruit rather than juice, and I like the texture a lot, but the mixture separated in the freezer, so the tip of the pop tastes sweet and alcoholic, but the rest of it is milder and has more chunks. I don't know how to keep it from separating, since I think it happens in the freezer before it freezes. Something I would tweak the next time is to add pineapple juice. I think the intense sweet-acid taste would be great with the cucumber and melon. I would probably leave out the alcohol as well. It definitely made a difference, but I don't know if the effect was better than it would have been without the alcohol. I could, however, see this going in the frozen cocktail direction with tequila or gin in place of the liqueur. Anyway, here's the recipe as I made it.

Cucumber-melon pops

2 cups cubed green melon
1 cup cubed cucumber
2 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup Tyku liqueur

Blend melon and cucumber together. Add sugar and liqueur. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Liptauer cheese spread

I saw this spread on 101 cookbooks months ago and have been wanting to try it since then. I finally got around to it a couple weeks ago. It is delightful on this thinly-sliced rye bread we like. I call it German health bread, but I don't think that's its technical name. We changed the recipe a little bit because we don't care much for capers, and we had green onions instead of shallots. The spread ended up a little salty. I think next time I will see if I can find a less salty goat cheese. I didn't add any salt, so that and the pickle were the only sources.

Liptauer cheese (adapted from 101 cookbooks)

8 oz goat cheese, room temperature
4 oz butter, room temperature
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp carraway seeds
1 green onion, sliced
1 tbsp diced pickle (we used standard dill, but I think a sweet pickle would be nice too)

Mix goat cheese and butter in a medium mixing bowl. Add paprika, mustard, and carraway seeds. Fold in green onion and pickle. Serve on bread or crackers.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Personal salad focaccia

Jon had the brilliant idea of personal focaccia salads, so we made that for lunch today. I don't think I cooked them quite enough, but they were pretty good. We saw figs on sale, so I sliced one up and put it on the focaccia before it cooked, along with some goat cheese. I also sliced one up for the top. Honestly, I felt like the cooked ones might have been a little too desserty. I'm on the fence about it. The concentrated sweetness was a little weird with the other salad ingredients, but the fig and warm goat cheese thing was pretty great. Maybe make one with and one without, and see how you like them.

Personal Salad Focaccia
Delicious lunch for 1.

1/4 recipe focaccia dough
2 figs, sliced
Goat cheese
Mixed greens
Basil leaves
Sliced avocado
Sliced red pepper
Sliced cucumber
Sunflower seeds
Pumpkin seeds
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar

Prep dough according to directions in this post. Before baking, put one sliced fig and some goat cheese on dough. Bake at 450 degrees for about 12-15 minutes, or until dough is golden. Top with the rest of salad ingredients. Dress to taste with oil and vinegar.