Friday, December 5, 2008

Christmas Baking

I love shortbread cookies and I've been looking for an easy, no-fuss recipe. Melanie, a friend of a friend, was kind enough to drop a little gem in my lap. I had a bit of time on my hands, so naturally, I ran straight to the kitchen and gave it a try. I tweaked it slightly, so here's my version.

Shortbread Cookies

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 egg yolk
1 cup icing sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Cream together the butter and egg yolk.
  • Add the icing sugar and beat until smooth.
  • Mix the flour and salt together, then add it in three batches to the buttery mixture. Mix until crumbly.
  • Knead the dough with your hands until it is soft and pliable. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a rectangle with about a 1/2-inch thickness.
  • Cut the rectangle into strips and prick the tops of each strip with a fork. Transfer to an ungreased cookie sheet.

  • Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

  • Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 5 to 10 minutes before transferring to a rack. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Meaty Pasta Sauce

This post continues from the garlic and basil pasta post. This is the recipe for Mike's pasta sauce.

Meaty Pasta Sauce

1 chipotle pepper, minced
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound ground turkey
1 bottle pasta sauce
2 tablespoons dried basil
1 teaspoon adobo sauce

  • Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Sauté the onions, garlic and chipotle peppers.
  • Add meat and basil and cook until meat is browned.
  • Add pasta sauce and adobo sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Basil Garlic Fettuccine and Meat Sauce

Fresh, homemade pasta is easy to make and it's so delicious that you'll never buy boxed or bagged pasta from the store ever again! Here's my recipe for basil garlic fettuccine and I will post Mike's meat sauce recipe later. Sorry, you won't find any recipes for creamy sauce here since our household is lactose intolerant.

Basil Garlic Pasta

3 garlic cloves, crushed and minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups semolina flour (can use all-purpose if you don't have semolina though it will taste different)
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1/4 cup finely chopped basil
1 to 2 tablespoons water, if needed

  • In a small skillet, cook garlic in oil over low heat, stirring constantly for one minute.
  • If using an electric mixer, put remaining ingredients into the mixer bowl, add the garlic and mix using the flat paddle for about a minute or two until the ingredients are combined. It should form a dry dough when you squeeze it together with your hands. If it doesn't, add some water a teaspoon at a time, mixing and checking for the right consistency.
  • If making by hand, pile the flour up on a counter or table and make a well in the top. Put the eggs, salt, garlic and basil into the well and stir to combine. When it comes together, begin kneading, again adding water only if needed to hold the dough together. The dough should be very dry.
  • Allow the dough to rest for 15 minutes.
  • Use pasta roller or pasta roller attachment to roll the pasta to the desired thickness and cut into whatever type of noodles you like. For this recipe, use the fettuccine cutter. I use a pie cutter and cut the noodles into 3-inch wide pieces for lasagna. You can make this into spaghetti or angel hair pasta if you like, or if you have a pasta extruder, you can make macaroni.
  • Leftovers can be dried or put into the freezer.
  • To cook fresh noodles, bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the noodles in the water for 2 minutes. If frozen, add 1 minute to cooking time.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Veggies and Dip

With the holiday season approaching quickly, weekends are quickly filling up with parties to go to and friends and family to visit. Veggie sticks and dip are quick and easy to make if you want to take a dish with you. Here's a recipe that I have adapted from my mother-in-law. It's delicious and, since I like everything spicy, I've put my own twist on it by adding cayenne pepper and bit of minced jalapeno pepper.

3 tablespoons sour cream (I use fat free and it turns out just fine)
2 tablespoons mayonnaise (I use reduced fat)
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 jalapeno pepper, minced
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

  • In a small bowl, mix all ingredients together very well. Transfer to dip bowl and serve with carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, rutabaga, cauliflower, parsnips, radishes or any other vegetable that you might like.