Monday, September 21, 2015

Peanut butter and jelly shortbread bars

A recent potluck had the theme of "school lunches," and I decided to riff on peanut butter and jelly. I knew I wanted to do shortbread because shortbread is delicious. After poking around a bit, I found two recipes that I wanted to hybridize: blackberry jam shortbread bars from Stuck on Sweet and peanut butter chocolate chip shortbread from the View from the Great Island, which I made a few years ago. I substituted peanut butter for some of the butter in the shortbread bars and cut the sugar to make the ratio a little more like the peanut butter chocolate chip shortbread.

I think this recipe turned out pretty well. I personally wouldn't have minded a little less jelly for the filling and a little more peanut butter in the shortbread.

Peanut butter and jelly shortbread bars

2 sticks of butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter (I used one with peanuts as the only ingredient; you may want to adjust sugar and salt if you use one with sugar and/or salt)
generous pinch of salt (or more if you like)
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup almond meal
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups seedless raspberry jam or other jam/jelly of your choice

Make the shortbread: Cream butter and sugar in a mixer or by hand. Add the peanut butter, salt, and vanilla extract and mix until combined and a bit fluffy. While mixing slowly, add the almond meal and flour in small batches. Separate into two roughly equal halves. Press one half into a greased 9x13-inch baking pan. Save the other half in the fridge. (Note: my dough didn't come together the way shortbread dough usually does, but because I was just pressing it into the pan, it was fine. I think if I had used less flour, it would have, so if you want to make these into regular cookies, you may want to reduce the flour.)
Bake shortbread at 325 for about 20 minutes or until edges are a bit brown. Remove from oven and spread jam over shortbread as evenly as possible. Sprinkle remaining dough over the top. Put back in the oven and bake until topping is browned, about 30 minutes. Cut into bars once it's cooled.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Strawberries with orange blossom ricotta

See Baking and Math for a ricotta pun that would be perfect here.
Yesterday I made some crepes with a spinach-ricotta filling, and I had some leftover ricotta. In my experience, it turns pretty quickly once you open it, so I wanted to do something with it. I also had some perfect strawberries in the fridge, so I hatched a plan. Ricotta, whipped cream, honey, and orange flower water so I could feel all sophisticated. Be gentle with the orange flower water. It can cross the line into perfumey pretty easily. I think strawberries are the perfect fruit to eat with this, but I could imagine it going well on peaches or nectarines too.

Orange blossom ricotta (amounts are approximate because I didn't measure as I went along)
2/3 cup ricotta cheese
2 tbsp whipping cream
1-2 tbsp honey
orange flower water to taste (this is the only thing I measured-I used 1 tsp, but you might want to start smaller)

Mix it up and whisk with a fork to make it a bit fluffy. Dip strawberries in it.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Scallop pasta in a wine cream sauce

It has been a bit of a hiatus from the foodblog, but I am interested in starting it up again. Recently I have made scallops in a white wine cream sauce over pasta a couple of times and here is a basic recipe. I've used linguini and farfalle and my preference so far is the linguini. It might be even better over fettucini (though Evelyn leans more to spaghetti or angel hair). The wine we used has been Rieslings (of varying sweetness/dryness, I have liked dryer better). The lemon zest really brings out whatever fruitiness is in the wine. The peas add some nice sweetness. I recommend chopping the onions very fine. I hope that you'll enjoy it.

1 small onion
2 cloves garlic

black pepper
a little basil
zest 1 lemon
1 cup white wine

1/2 lb bay scallops
1/2 cup peas
1/2 cup cream

Pasta (about 10 oz)

Finely dice the onion and garlic. Melt the butter in a pan over medium to medium high heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Add the garlic and cook another 2 minutes. Add the wine and seasonings and simmer until the alcohol has cooked off. Add the scallops and cook until almost done. Add the peas and cook another couple of minutes. 

Serve hot over pasta.