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Friday Recipe Exchange: Filled Shortbread Cookies

Filled shortbread cookies

That blemish on that strawberry is going to haunt me. But the cookies were delicious. A bit of cooking going on this week. I’m also putting together my menu for my June visitors, which will probably be the topic for the next several recipe exchanges.

Tonight’s feature recipe was going to be used during that visit, but I won’t lie to you, it’s labor intensive and I decided there would be too much going on to try and attempt them. This is why I test-drive recipes. I refuse to be a tied to the kitchen when I could be having fun with my guests.

Before we get to that recipe, here is what else was cookin’ in my kitchen this week:

Rotelle No-Boil Pasta Bake – quick, easy and I love the little wheels. Click here for the recipe.

Leftover raspberries went into a nice salad: Pear-Raspberry Salad, recipe here.

Spring Roll step 1

And this week’s dinner menu was Chicken Satay and Thai Spring Rolls. Menu, recipe and shopping list are here and photo instructions for the spring rolls are here.

No Bixby this week (although his resistance video got picked up by I Love Great Danes and he’s quite popular. Insists on wearing shades when we walk now – no autographs please). But here is a little kitteh to end your week. She rules the big guy.

What’s on your plate this weekend? Have any warm weather recipes to share? Grilling, fresh greens, fun sweet treats?

Tonight’s featured recipe:

Raspberry and Strawberry Filled Shortbread Cookies

I was going to make my own filling, but when I realized how labor intensive rolling out shortbread dough was going to be, I went will all-fruit style jams instead.

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • dash of salt
  • 2-1/2 cup unbleached flour
  • fruit filling – I went with strawberry (hearts) and raspberry (circles)
  • parchment paper (not optional)

cookie cutters (sharper the better), rolling pin, baking sheets

Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add salt and then flour, about a third at a time, mixing gently until all flour is incorporated.  Divide dough in half. Place one half on parchment sheet, cover with another sheet of parchment and roll to about 1/8 inch thick. Place on a baking sheet. Repeat with the second section of dough. Place baking sheet in the refrigerator and cool for an hour.

Remove one of the dough parchment packets (keep the other refrigerated until ready to use). Peel off the top piece of parchment and cut out the large shapes, then for half the shapes, use a smaller cookie cutter to cut out the center. Move the center pieces from the center to the parchment, so they don’t bake back together. I used the center pieces to make sandwich cookies. Place the parchment on a baking sheet and bake at 300 degrees (f) for about 15 to 20 minutes – remove them when they are light golden. Because they are thinner than regular shortbread, keep a good eye on them, they cook up quickly.

Repeat with the second parchment packet.

Remove cookies and let cool thoroughly before assembling. To assemble, place a spoonful of fruit filling in the center of the whole cookie and GENTLY press the cut out cookie on the top, allowing the fruit filling to spread to the edges and fill the center. (Resist the urge to lick the edges to smooth them out) Serve the centers plain or make fruit filled sandwich cookies as desired.

Makes about two dozen, depending on the size of the cookie cutters.

That’s it for this week. Have a great weekend – TaMara



 

Dessert Pr0n – Raspberry Crumb Pie

DSC_9018 (1600x1060)This is still sitting on the windowsill, cooling.  I bet it will be good.  We saw a picture of a raspberry pie some fellow on another blog posted in comments that looked great.  No idea what recipe he used but this one appears to be similar.

Dinner Menu: Grilled Salmon with Orange Glaze

This is one of my favorite menus. The salmon is based on a dish from a restaurant and my whole table raved about and the garden fresh soup can be served hot or cold. Substitute any garden fresh fruit for dessert.

  1. Grilled Salmon w/Orange Glaze
  2. Tomato & Bell Pepper Soup
  3. Hearty Bread
  4. Raspberries & Blackberries w/whipping cream

Grilled Salmon w/Orange Glaze:

  • ½ cup orange marmalade
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil (or olive oil)
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp crushed garlic
  • 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 4-6 oz salmon fillets, boneless, skinless
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds (toasted, opt)

Combine marmalade, oil, ginger, garlic & vinegar. Brush glaze on each side of salmon, grill 5 minutes each side. Garnish with sesame seeds.

Tomato & Red Bell Pepper Soup:

  • 4 large, ripe tomatoes, halved
  • 1 red onion, peeled quartered
  • 1 large red bell pepper, halved & seeded
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled

grilling basket &  saucepan

Toss tomatoes, onions & bell pepper with oil, season with salt & pepper. Place vegetables in grilling basket, cut side down and grill for 6 to 8 minutes. Add vegetables, garlic, chicken broth, vinegar, sugar to blender and puree. Pour into saucepan, bring to a low boil, stirring constantly, add cream & basil, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Garnish with bacon when served.

Shopping List

  • 4 oz orange marmalade
  • 2 oz white wine vinegar
  • 4-6 oz salmon fillets, boneless, skinless
  • 2 oz  sesame seeds (toasted, opt)
  • 4 large, ripe tomatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 16 oz chicken broth
  • 8 oz heavy cream
  • fresh basil leaves
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1 pint raspberries
  • 1 pint blackberries
  • hearty bread loaf

Also: toasted sesame oil (or olive oil),  ground ginger, crushed garlic, apple cider vinegar

Friday Recipe Exchange: Raiding the Garden

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JeffreyW raids his garden and comes up with a beautiful dinner

Back from my trip to Nebraska, where unlike Colorado, gardens are full of veggies to harvest. We had lots of fresh corn, peppers, cucumbers, onions and tomatoes with each meal. So I thought tonight we should raid the garden for recipes. If you don’t have a garden or it’s late to produce (I’m looking at you backyard garden), don’t forget your local farmer’s market or farm stand. I really like going to local farm stands, the prices are often more reasonable than a farmer’s market. Two of my local stands have Facebook pages where they list what’s fresh this week and even have coupon specials.

The lovely photo above from JeffreyW is what inspired the theme tonight. Here’s his simple solution for taking advantage of his prolific patio pots: Sautéed Cherry Tomatoes on Pasta (recipe here)

One of my favorite recipes during the summer is Grilled Sweet Peppers and Potatoes (click here).

And finally something a bit different and fun to do with all that zucchini and summer squash: Squash Confetti (recipe here).

And just a reminder, full menus are available on Mondays and this week the menu is all garden fresh (menu is here).

Well I’m off to the evening Art Walk, where my friends will be drumming and where the streets will be filled with local artists’ creations. Tomorrow is the RiverWalk – vendors, musicians, farmer’s market and lots of kids events along the St. Vrain river. What are your plans for the weekend? Planning anything fun on the grill? How is your garden coming along? Hit the comments and don’t forget to share some favorite garden recipes.

On to tonight’s featured recipes, Green Beans w/ Yellow Pepper Butter,  Spinach-Raspberry Salad and Spicy Fruit Kabobs:

Green Beans w/ Yellow Pepper Butter

Last time I was at the farm stand, they had four different kinds of green beans and I used a mixture of all of them in this recipe.

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • ½ yellow sweet pepper, seeded & shredded
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 oz chopped cashews
  • 16 oz fresh green beans, trimmed & cut
  • ½ yellow pepper, seeded, cut into thin strips
  • salt & pepper to taste

saucepan, steamer

Melt butter in saucepan, add shredded pepper and cook for 5 minutes. Add lemon juice & cashews, stir for 1 minute, remove & set aside. Add steamer to saucepan, add beans & just enough water to reach bottom of the steamer. Steam beans for 5 minutes, add strips of pepper and cook until beans are tender-crisp, additional 5-7 minutes. Remove steamer and drain water from saucepan. Add all ingredients into saucepan and heat 1 minute, tossing to coat with butter mixture. Serve immediately.

Spinach-Raspberry Salad

The easiest way to wash fresh from the garden spinach (and leaf lettuce) is to fill a sink with water and soak the spinach (swish it a couple of times). Pull it out and place it in a strainer, drain the sink and repeat. With the two soaks, all the dirt should sink to the bottom. Run through a salad spinner and you should have dirt free spinach.

  • 8 oz fresh spinach leaves
  • ½ pint fresh raspberries
  • 4 oz chopped pecans
  • Raspberry Vinaigrette Dressing
  • 2 oz mild bleu cheese, crumbled

Serving bowl

Wash and thoroughly dry spinach & raspberries, add to serving bowl with pecans, toss with dressing and add crumbled bleu cheese.

Spicy Fruit Kabobs

You can substitute or add any fresh fruit you’d like in this recipe. 

  • 1 cantaloupe or honeydew melon, seeded
  • 2 pears, cored
  • 2 apples, cored
  • 2 bananas, peeled & quartered
  • 8 wooden skewers, soaked in water
  • ½ cup warmed honey
  • ½ cup warm water
  • ¼ cup limejuice
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded & chopped
  • 1 to 2 tsp chili paste

13×9 glass baking dish, blender

Cut fruit into large chunks, alternate fruit on skewers, ending with banana chunks to hold fruit in place. Place in baking dish. Blend together honey, water, lime, jalapeno & chili paste until smooth. Pour over fruit. Let set during dinner (approximately 30 minutes at room temperature. Grill over low coals 5-7 minutes, basting with marinade. Serve immediately.

See you next week.

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Raspberry Fried Pies

DSC_4577 [1600x1200]Mrs and I were feeling well enough to do fried pies today.  The dough has been sitting in the fridge, wrapped in plastic, for a few days.  Here’s a link to a post I put up ages ago with the recipe for the dough.

I’ve been fiddling with the Snapseed photo editing program today and am having a ball!  It’s been a hugely successful app for the iPhone and now Google has bought the company and they provide the app for free for the Android devices they have been pushing.  Alas, I had to spring $20 for the desktop Windows version.

Raspberry Lemon Cake

Been busy tonight. Another birthday cake request. Raspberry Lemon Cake.

I used the Sour Cream Lemon Poppy Seed Cake recipe as the base.

Thursday Recipe Exchange: Rice

JeffreyW makes a delicious rice side.

Rice is a staple in my house. I usually make a big batch and serve it with various things over the week. I’ve even switched over to brown rice pastas which I find far superior to most wheat pastas. Let’s get right to it. Here’s an overview of various types of rice:

Brown rice – I prefer long grain, though at the local Asian market I can get brown jasmine, basmati and aborio fairly easily, each with a unique flavor. Brown rice is nutty and a bit sweet.  It’s a great compliment with any fish, beef, poultry or pork.  The only addition it needs is a touch of butter and salt.  Besides being full of flavor, it is also packed with nutrients.  Per cup it has 5 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and niacin, as well as other vitamins and minerals.  It’s a great side that adds flavor to many dishes.  Brown rice cooks like regular rice in a 2:1 ratio of water to rice.  But it takes longer to cook.  About 45 minutes at a low simmer.

I still use white rice, though.  White rice varieties are more delicate and are necessary when you want the rice to take on the flavor of a sauce or spice.  Brown rice’s rich flavor can overpower the balance of flavors in some dishes.

Jasmine—A long grain rice, delicately fragrant, soft, moist and slightly sticky, compliments any Asian dish.

Arborio (white) – A medium grain rice, with a chalky white appearance. It is this chalky area that makes this grain unique, allowing the grains to absorb unusually large amounts of liquid and hence flavor during cooking. This is also what makes it especially suited to risottos, paellas, dolmades and other Mediterranean dishes.

Basmati— An aromatic long grain rice that has the unusual characteristic of doubling in length but not width during cooking. This dry, separating grain is especially suited to Indian and Middle Eastern dishes, such as curries, pilafs.

Time to hit the comments with some of your favorite rice dishes.  I’m curious if anyone makes a good paella. Next week: Soup

Now here’s a little something with brown rice:

Chicken and Rice Wraps

Substitute raspberries, peaches or plums if you like.

  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup cooked brown or wild rice
  • 4 large tortillas (flavored ok)

Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup Raspberry Dressing
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • Fresh mint

Mix together chicken, spinach, strawberries, pecans and rice. Mix together dressing ingredients, toss with chicken mixture. Let sit 15 minutes or more. Roll 1/4 of mixture in each tortilla.


Christmas Eve: Turkey Dinner with Traditional Side Dishes

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Bald Eagle from my hike the other day. Wish I had my camera, not just my cell phone

Would we still have turkey if it had become our national bird  instead of the Bald Eagle?

The menu is set for Saturday.  I’m doing an Orange Glazed Turkey.  The sides will be Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Oven Baked Stuffing, Green Beans with Bacon and Onions, Spinach-Raspberry-Walnut Salad and Homemade Cranberry Sauce.  Appetizers will be Tomato-Basil Crostini, Chips w/Dip and a Raw Vegetable tray.  Dessert will be a Dark Chocolate Torte with a Dark Chocolate Ganache (this recipe with a chocolate ganache* instead of confectioner’s sugar) and Fruit Pie Cookies.

I’m still trying to decide if  I’m going to mull cider or not.

I’ll add more recipes as I go along.

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*Chocolate Ganache

  • 6 oz dark chocolate
  • 6 oz heavy cream

Double boiler (I use a metal bowl over a saucepan with about an 1 inch of water)

Place chocolate and cream in top of boiler, bring water in bottom half to a boil, reduce heat to med-high and let chocolate melt, stirring occasionally. When completely melted, remove from heat and stir until cream and chocolate are completely mixed. Let cool and pour over cooled cake.

Chicken and Rice Wraps

This recipe takes advantage of what’s available from the garden these days.  Substitute raspberries, peaches or plums if you like.

Chicken and Rice Wraps

  • 2 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
  • 1 cup baby spinach leaves
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup cooked brown or wild rice
  • 4 large tortillas (flavored ok)

Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup Raspberry Dressing
  • 2 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • Fresh mint

Mix together chicken, spinach, strawberries, pecans and rice. Mix together dressing ingredients, toss with chicken mixture. Let sit 15 minutes or more. Roll 1/4 of mixture in each tortilla.

7-UP Lemon-Poppy Seed Cake with Raspberry Drizzle

 

 

NOTE:  (6/1/11)  This cake came out rather dry.  I added extra flour to counter high altitude.  It didn’t need it.  I suspect that at lower altitudes it may not need as much flour as the recipe calls for.  You may want to reduce the flour from 3-1/4 cups to just 3 cups.  That should keep your cake moist.

As I said earlier, I have another birthday at work this week and the request was for Raspberry Poppy Seed Cake. I wanted to honor that, but I had a very intriguing recipe for a 7-UP cake that I wanted to try. So I modified it to satisfy the birthday request. I think it turned out ok, but a little dry. I’ll update on how it was received by the birthday boy.

7-UP Lemon-Poppy Seed Cake

(with raspberry drizzle)

You’ll want to prep the lemon, lime juice and zests ahead of time. You can use any lemon-lime soda, but not sugar free because it doesn’t create the right texture for the cake.  I used Sierra Mist because it has natural flavors. You’ll need 2 lemons and 3 limes to complete the recipe.

  • 2 ½ cups sugar
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature
  • ½ cup (4 oz) 7-UP or other lemon-lime soda (not sugar free)   
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp lime zest
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 ½ sticks (1 1/4 cups) melted UNSALTED butter, cooled slightly
  • 3 ¼ cups flour
  • 2 tbsp poppy seeds

Bundt or Angel Food pan, greased and floured

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

Mix sugar, eggs, soda, zests, lemon juice, lime juice, butter and salt until well blended. Add flour in three sections, mixing until blended, but do not over blend. Fold in poppy seeds. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 75-90 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes, or until cool to touch, then remove from pan to cool completely, about 2 hours.

Glaze:

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp lime juice

Whisk together until smooth. Pour over the top of cooled cake. Let set about 10 minutes until set.

Raspberry Drizzle:

  • 1 cup raspberries
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Small saucepan (not aluminum)

Bring ingredients to a low boil, stirring constantly. Lower heat, mash raspberries, and let simmer until thickened. Spoon cooled mixture over individual slices.