Lavendar Shortbread Cookies – James Beard

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Photo by Stephanie Bourgeois

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), softened
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar, plus extra for sprinkling on cookies
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup cake flour
  • 1 tablespo
 Yield: About 2 dozen cookies
 Method
In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter, granulated sugar, powdered sugar, and salt until thoroughly combined, about 3 minutes. In a separate bowl, sift together the all-purpose and cake flours. Mix the flour mixture into the butter mixture in 3 additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl in between each addition. Add the lavender and mix to just combine.

Roll out the dough to a 1/2-inch-thick rectangle. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Cut the dough into 2 x 1-inch bars and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake the cookies until just golden at the edges, about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle with granulated sugar. Let cool completely before serving.

Seven Sauces That Taste Better Homemade – Mark Bittman

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7 Sauces That Taste Better Homemade

Two weeks ago I provided nine nonbeef burger recipes. Consider these recipes an addendum: homemade alternatives to the bottled and jarred condiments that are lined up like summer’s foot soldiers on our refrigerator doors.

Why spend time making your own condiments? A legitimate question, even for cooks who embrace the D.I.Y. mentality that yields things like homemade salad dressings, salsas and hummus, all of which could be considered “condiments” in their own right. But when it comes to ketchup and its brethren — relish, barbecue sauce and the like — most of us cave and revert to the store-bought versions.

Resist that impulse. The reasons are the same as they are for countless other foods that you can readily grab at the store: controlling and customizing flavor and avoiding worthless (or harmful) artificial ingredients. Those are enough for me.

My ketchup, for example, is a respite from the commercial brands laden with high-fructose corn syrup. I know that neither you nor I will ever rely exclusively on homemade ketchup, but it’s a super option.

In addition to classic burger and dog accompaniments, I’ve included condiments that will find their way onto things other than meat in a bun, like corn-and-tomato relish — a quintessential summer sauce to spoon over simply grilled fish, chicken or meat — and teriyaki sauce.

None of these can languish in your fridge for months on end, which is what happens when you don’t load things up with preservatives. The recipes here all yield quantities that you’ll use over the course of a few grilling sessions, or at one big party. The exception is chimichurri, the addictive Argentine herb sauce that you’ll want to use right away. But that’s O.K.: You can’t buy anything nearly as good at the store.

KETCHUP

In a large pot over medium heat, sauté 1 chopped onion and 1 chopped red bell pepper in 2 tablespoons neutral oil until soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon chopped garlic and 1 tablespoon tomato paste, and stir until the paste darkens a bit, 2 or 3 minutes. Add one 28-ounce can whole tomatoes (roughly chopped, with their juice), ⅓ cup brown sugar, ¼ cup cider vinegar, ½ teaspoon ground mustard, ⅛ teaspoon each ground allspice, ground cloves, cayenne and cinnamon, a bay leaf, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then simmer, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about an hour. Let cool for a few minutes, then purée in a blender until completely smooth. (For supersmooth ketchup, pass it through a fine-mesh strainer.) Taste, adjust the seasoning and store in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.

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CHIMICHURRI

In a food processor, combine 1½ cups fresh parsley leaves, ½ cup cilantro leaves, 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, 3 garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon red-chile flakes, 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar, 3 tablespoons neutral oil, salt and pepper. Process until combined, then stir in 3 tablespoons olive oil by hand. Taste, adjust the seasoning and use immediately.

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BARBECUE SAUCE

In a small saucepan, combine 2 cups ketchup (the homemade version would be good), 2 teaspoons cumin, 2 teaspoons paprika, 1 tablespoon chili powder, ½ cup dry red wine, ¼ cup cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 chopped onion and 1 tablespoon minced garlic. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then lower the heat so the mixture bubbles gently but steadily. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens and the flavors meld, 10 to 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. For a smooth sauce, purée in the blender. Store in the fridge for up to a week.

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SWEET-AND-HOT-PEPPER RELISH

In a food processor, combine ¼ pound hot red or green chiles (like Fresnos, cherry peppers, serranos or a combination), 1 roughly chopped onion and 1 garlic clove. Pulse until finely chopped. Add 1½ pounds roughly chopped bell peppers (some combination of red, orange and yellow), and pulse until chopped into roughly ⅛-inch pieces. Put ½ cup red-wine vinegar, 1 cup water, ¼ cup sugar and a big pinch of salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then add the pepper mixture and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the peppers are soft and almost all the liquid has evaporated, 20 to 25 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning, cool and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

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CORN-AND-TOMATO RELISH

Husk 2 ears of corn, and strip the kernels off the cobs. Put 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large skillet over high heat. When it’s hot, add the corn, and cook until lightly browned. Lower the heat to medium, and add 1 large chopped tomato, a pinch of red-chile flakes, salt and pepper. Cook for another 30 seconds, then turn off the heat. Store in the fridge for up to a day or two, and serve at room temperature, with some chopped fresh basil stirred in at the last minute.

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TERIYAKI SAUCE

Combine ½ cup soy sauce and ½ cup mirin (or ¼ cup honey mixed with ¼ cup water) in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook until the mixture bubbles; turn off the heat, and stir in 1 tablespoon minced ginger, 1 teaspoon minced garlic and ¼ cup finely chopped scallions. Store in the fridge for up to 2 days.

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MAYONNAISE

Put 1 egg yolk and 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard in a food processor or blender, and turn the machine on. While it’s running, start adding 1 cup of neutral oil in a very slow, steady stream. Once an emulsion forms, you can start adding the oil a little faster, until it’s all incorporated. Season with salt and pepper, and 1 tablespoon lemon juice or sherry vinegar if you like. Store in the fridge for up to a week.

Thai Bites

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Originally posted on Things we make:

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Hi! How you doing? I just called in to share these tasty things.

I had plans of making them again and taking proper photos, rather than these Instagram’s from my phone, but I’m busy cooking and shooting for someone else at the moment (this is a very good thing!) so here’s a quick Instapost.

These ‘Thai style’ patties are made using minced turkey breast which is reasonably cheap and low in fat – bonus.

The fry & steam technique makes them crispy and tender at the same time. The addictive qualities come from the coriander and chilli.

They make a good filling for wraps: Just add some chilli sauce and shredded lettuce. They’d be excellent as a starter too, for people who still do that sort of thing.

I can’t seem to grow coriander without it bolting to seed so I always buy a bunch to have in the fridge. I sit it in a small tumbler of…

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Tiny Houses – My Latest Pinning Obsession

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Originally posted on Liquid Thoughts and Concrete Ideas:

Every so often I go on a Pinterest “research quest”… okay, it’s bingeing, and honestly, when I get excited, it’s hard to stop. So my latest obsession is…

Tiny houses.

Now, I’ve recently become a fan of the idea of minimalism, in that you shouldn’t have more than you need. But… the style of minimalism I find rather barren, unwelcoming, rigid, uncomfortable, etc. The compromise?

Finding the amount of space and possessions that is just enough for comfortable and happy.

That means to me a place for my books, my butt, my beau, and my food (with no compromise on the bathtub… it’s necessary for happiness). So, while daydreaming about if/when I get out of college and need a house, my latest pinnery looks like this…

Handbuilt Tiny Home with Loft  Outdoor Space     Love the shelf around the top of the wall!    Wow inside an A Frame. Nice and cozy.

The interiors of these “tiny homes” generally contain a living area, bathroom, and kitchen on the first level and…

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Tiny Sanctuary

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Originally posted on innertravelerslog:

Minimalism and simplicity.

Those are two words I have come to live by. While yes, I tend to be quite messy at times, the idea of living simply and not having unnecessary gadgets is so appealing to me.

Recently I watched a documentary on Netflix called Tiny: A Story About Living Small, and was genuinely inspired to create a tiny home. I’ve always had this desire to live small after having a completely transforming epiphany about minimalism.

Quite the spiritual journey, it began during the season of lent when I decided to give up my wardrobe. For 40 days I wore two shirts, a jacket, a pair of beaten up Sperry’s and quite simply that was it. I realized through that experience that I didn’t need (or really want) most of the things I had. So I immediately went into cleaning mode and rid my closet of just about…

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Watermelon-Mint-Cucumber Fizz

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Originally posted on Farm, Foodie & Fitness:

Perfect for a hot summer day, this isn’t your typical plain-ole tap water! Put a spin on your water intake with this Watermelon-Mint-Cucumber Fizz! You’re bound to fall in love!

Makes 2-3 Servings

  •  ½ cup pureed watermelon
  •  ¼ cup  fresh peppermint
  •  ¼ cup chopped, peeled cucumber
  •  1 cup sparkling water
  •  2 sprigs of mint for garnish
  • Ice

In a blender puree watermelon, cucumber, and mint. Pour sparking water into a pitcher. Add ice and watermelon, cucumber mixture. Stir. Pour into ball jars and garnish with sprigs of mint.

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Gardener’s Green Shakshuka

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Originally posted on food to glow:

green shakshukaThis post should have been subtitled, “How To Deal with a Glut of Greens.”

The long and short of it is that I have planters and planters full of green things. Big green things. Sword-like black kale, great frothy tufts of curly kale (redbore and Pentland), umbrella-like rainbow and Swiss chards, two types of sorrel (Buckler leaf and some mysterious big-leafed variety) as well as wine boxes of over-spilling herbs. {The less said about the black pak choi, the better.}. I have other bits and bobs growing in the garden, but it is pretty much a case of macheteing back the rampant greens to get to these smaller, less bold edibles.

I am not bragging here. I have done nothing other than sow some seeds and plant them out in bought compost. I’ve not fed, clothed or otherwise shaped their upbringing. Save for early morning slug patrol when all were in their vulnerable infancy, I…

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