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Archive for October, 2009

Here’s the thing with food blogging.  You cook food for your friends, then you go online and tell everyone how awesome your food is.  It’s a little weird.  You just have to hope that you are an objective critic of your own cooking and that your friends aren’t just being polite when they tell you how much they enjoyed what you served them.   Or that your friends aren’t offended by your total and complete lack of modesty.

And that brings us to these blue cheese and walnut cookies. 

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They were delicious.  I hate blue cheese and I thought they were delicious.  A couple party guests told me that they hated blue cheese and they thought they were delicious.  And of course, people who loved blue cheese also found these cookies delicious.  I have emails from some attendees stating this fact, so it must be true.

This recipe comes from the blog Pastry Studio, who graciously agreed to let me reprint this.  She impressively made her own fig jam.  I bought a jar of Bonne Maman fig preserves and rather than making sandwiches, put it as a spread or dip on the side.  The cookies worked plain or with the jam, so feel free to choice your poison.

Blue Cheese and Walnut Cookies
Adapted from Pastry Studio

The original recipe notes that it makes 24 2 inch round cookies.  I made 1 1/2 inch square ones and probably got about 40 out of the dough.

Ingredients
6 oz blue cheese, softened
4 oz butter, softened
1/2 cup walnuts
1/4 C + 2 T granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 C flour

Directions
Pulse the walnuts in a food processor until there’s no real big chunks but before it turns totally to meal.  Basically, you will be rolling these cookies out very thin, and you don’t want any shards sticking up.

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Remove the walnuts.  Add the blue cheese, butter, sugar and salt to the food processor and blend until creamy.  Add the flour and walnuts and pulse until mixture just starts to come together and forms a clump.  Gather dough and place on a piece of plastic.   Refridgerate until thoroughly chilled, at least an hour or two, and preferably overnight.

Preheat the oven to 325 and line baking sheets with parchment paper or a silpat.

Roll out the dough.  Use a cookie cutter if you’d like, but if you want square cookies like mine, get a ruler and trace a grid into the dough.  I made mine in 1 1/2 inch squares.

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You want to work as quickly as possible so that the dough doesn’t warm up.  Since it took me a long time to draw the squares, I put the trays of cookies back into the fridge for a half hour before I baked them just to be safe.  So clear some room in the fridge before you do it.  You want these to hit the oven cold so that they retain their shape while baking.

Bake for about 12 minutes or up to 18 minutes if they are larger, until the edges just start to turn golden.  I baked mine one batch at a time in the middle rack, but if you put two trays in, be sure to rotate pans halfway through. 

Cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for several days.  I made mine on Saturday and today, Wednesday, they are still good.

To serve, spread with fig jam and make sandwiches, put the jam on the side, or just eat them plain with a glass of wine.  These little things are definitely cookies.   Similar to shortbread, but a bit chewier.  The cheese flavor is strong enough that they could be served before dinner as an appetizer, but they are sweet enough that you could serve them as dessert with some fruit or port. 

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Last night, I got all Top Chef on this soup recipe.

I made it a bunch of times last year, and it is so delicious.  However, in a stunning act of stupidity, I somehow managed to break my hand blender and I haven’t replaced it.  So, no soup for me!

Instead, I deconstructed it and baked it.  All the ingredients, just wrapped up in a pie crust (the crouton!).  Delicious.

Butternut Squash and Apple Galette

Ingredients
Approximately 5 cups cubed butternut squash
2 apples, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch cubes
2 shallots (I’m sure some onion would work too)
4 ounces shredded smoked cheddar cheese
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Olive oil, salt & pepper
1 pie crust (I use Martha Stewart’s pate brisee – you just need half this recipe)

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400.  Place the butternut squash in a baking dish and toss with olive oil and salt and pepper.  Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes, until it just starts to soften and brown.  When it’s done, take it out and turn the heat down to 350.

Meanwhile, saute the shallots or onion in a tablespoon or so of olive oil on medium heat for 3-4 minutes until soft.  Add the apples and saute for another 5 minutes or so.  Add a pat of butter and some salt and pepper and remove from the heat.

Roll out the pie shell to about a 12 inch circle or so, and sprinkle the center with half of the grated cheese, leaving a 2-3 inch or so border all the way around it.  The nice thing about galettes is that no precision is required…think rustic-chic. 

Spread the apple-shallot mixture on top of the cheese.

Toss the butternut squash with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.  Then spread the squash down on the gallete.  Finish with the rest of the cheese.

Wrap up the sides and seal everything in.  Gently beat an egg and brush it over the pastry dough.  Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350.

 

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My experiment paid off.  It really did taste like the soup.  It might be a little neater to eat if the squash was mashed up and spread out, but it was good with the chunks.  I think a bit of sage tossed in during the roasting stage would have also been nice, as would replacing some of the squash with parsnip.  In any event, a delicious dinner and would make a lovely vegetarian main course.

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I’ve been on a mission to cook more vegetarian dinners.  Or at least, vegetarian dinners that aren’t just pasta, pizza, and risotto.

I bookmarked this recipe for Sweet Potato Falafels on the fabulous site, 101 Cookbooks, ages ago and finally got around to making it.  That blogger obtained special permission from the publisher, so I’m going to refrain from posting it here.   If you are curious, you can get the recipe here.   I did follow her suggestion of brushing the falafels with a bit of an egg wash before baking them, and it did help give them a nice, shiny falafelly look to them.  

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The recipe was really, really good.  When I make them again, I’ll bake the potatoes the night before and let them cool so they’ll be a very quick weeknight dinner. 

I never would have thought it possible to make dinner for four out of just two large sweet potatoes and some flour, but it is.  They are surprisingly filling and super healthy. 

To serve them, I made a quick yogurt sauce with 1 cup of low fat Greek yogurt, 2 tablespoons of tahini, the juice of half a lemon, some lemon zest, and a generous pinch of salt.  Whisk all that together, add a splash more lemon juice or water if it’s too thick, and you are good to go.

The salad is simply arugula, thinly sliced radish, and pomegranate seeds, dressed with a lemon-olive oil vinagrette. 

Enjoy!

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