Archive for December, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers: Pappa Al Pomidoro

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Can you tell I got a new camera for Christmas?!  Now hopefully my photos will be a little easier on the eyes.

I have to admit, when I first saw the name of this week’s Barefoot Bloggers recipe I was intimidated.  It sounds so fancy…so difficult.  Boy, was I wrong!  It’s simple, rustic, and exactly the type of soup you want to be eating this time of year.  Thanks to Natalie of Burned Bits for choosing this recipe from Ina’s new book (which I just got for Christmas, and you must go buy it!!!)

Side note:  You would think that living in a big city, a girl would be able to find a bulb on fennel!  Not me.  Apparently the snow blast we had here for the last couple of weeks threw off the shipments and left me fennel-less.  So I decided to go ahead with the recipe.  It’s still delicious, but next time I make it I will be for sure adding it.

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December 30, 2008 at 4:21 pm Leave a comment

New Year, New Look.

I decided to give my blog a fancy new look for 2009.  What do you think?

December 30, 2008 at 4:12 pm 1 comment

Catch-up Time! My all time FAVORITE Pumpkin Pie.

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Wow!  What a busy couple of weeks this has been!  Christmas shopping, decorating, concerts to put on and entertaining to do!  I haven’t forgotten about my little blog, just had to put it on the back-burner for a couple of weeks!

This recipe is to die for!  I have made it about 5 Thanksgivings in a row and always get compliments and people wanting seconds…and thirds.  I make it easy by using a pre-made store bought pie dough, but you can definitely make your own…that would make it even better!

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My all time FAVORITE Pumpkin Pie Recipe:

  • 1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 7 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk
  • 6 1/2 tablespoons evaporated milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Pinch ground clove
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Equipment: 9-inch pie pan
  • If using a store bough pie crust, make sure and take it out of the fridge/freezer for about 20 minutes so that it’s easier to work with.  Place pie dough in a 9-inch pie pan.  I don’t pre-bake the pie dough, just add the filling and follow baking directions below.

    Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. In a medium saucepan, mix together the pumpkin and sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until reduced and thick, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cream, milks, vanilla, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, salt, eggs, and yolk. Pour the filling into the pie shell and bake until set, about 45 to 55 minutes. Cool and serve with sweetened whipped cream.

    December 22, 2008 at 10:23 am 1 comment

    Last Minute Christmas Gift Idea

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    There are always those people you see during the holidays that you’ve forgotten to put on your shopping list.  It seems that every year I’m running to See’s Candy to buy up 4-5 boxes of treats just so I don’t show up empty handed.  This year I thought ahead, and packaged up my own treats.  I made my homemade caramels and packaged them up using clear plastic take-out boxes I bought at a discount store.  You could also use reusable ziploc containers.  I made tags on my home computer and printed them out.  Then I just used some ribbon I had laying around and created 6 packages full of yummy caramels.  I think that the recipients will be pleased!

    December 19, 2008 at 12:26 pm 1 comment

    Linzer Hearts

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    I love the way these cookies look, but the flavor is amazing!  The lemon really adds an unexpected touch to this really delicious cookie.  These were time consuming…but the end result was worth it.  You must follow the recipe to a T!  My first batch I ignored the whole “put back in the freezer” deal and was left with lopsided heart cut-outs.  Its worth it to follow the instructions!

    dscn1318Linzer Hearts

    2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    1 cup pecans – you can also use almonds, hazelnuts, or walnuts.
    2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp.
    2/3 cup sugar
    2 large egg yolks
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla
    1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
    1/2 cup raspberry jam
    1/4 cup powdered sugar for dusting

    Tools: 3 inch heart cookie cutter and 2 inch heart cookie cutter. I found a whole set with 5 different sizes of hearts at Williams Sonoma for $8.00.

    In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In a food processor, pulse nuts until finely ground. Whisk nuts into the flour mixture. Set aside.

    In the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 2-3 minutes. Add the egg yolks, vanilla, and lemon zest; beat to combine, scraping down bowl as needed. With the mixer on low, add nut and flour mixture, and beat until just combined.

    Put dough on floured counter and divide in half. Pat down into flattened disks. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight.

    Remove one disk of dough from the fridge, and let stand until softened slightly. One a large piece of parchment paper lightly dusted with flour, roll dough to 1/8 inch thickness. Transfer parchment and dough to a baking sheet; freeze until firm, about 20 minutes. Repeat with the remaining dough. (You can stack the parchment and the dough)

    Preheat oven to 325. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Remove one sheet of dough and parchment from freezer; working quickly, cut heart shapes with 3 inch cutter. Cut out the center from half the shapes with the 2 inch cutter. Using a wide metal spatula, transfer shapes to baking sheets and freeze until firm, 15 min.

    Bake until cookies are crips and lightly golden all over, about 15 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire rack to cool. Spread the flat hearts with jam. Sift powdered sugar over open hearts.

    dscn1320Sandwich the cookies together, and you’re done! Was it worth it??!

    December 18, 2008 at 2:41 pm 4 comments

    Shortbread Fingers

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    My husband loves shortbread.  He’s not even much of a sweets guy, but he’ll eat the whole pan of shortbread without a second thought.  This recipe is so easy, and so delicious.  A great addition to your Christmas baking.

    Shortbread Fingers

    3 sticks unsalted butter, room temp.
    2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
    1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
    3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
    Granulated sugar, for sprinkling

    Preheat oven to 325. Butter a metal cake pan (13X9) and line with parchment paper, leaving some overhang on the long sides. Whisk together the flour and salt in a small bowl, set aside.

    In the bowl of an electric mixer with paddle attachment, beat butter until fluffy on medium speed, 3 to 4 minutes. Add powdered sugar; continue to beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides as needed. Add flour mixture and beat on low speed, scraping down sides until just incorporated.

    Using your hands, evenly spread dough in prepared baking sheet. Chill in the fridge until dough is firm, about 15 minutes.

    Prick dough all over with a fork. Bake for 20 minutes and then rotate the pan and bake another 20 minutes. Shortbread should be slightly golden brown. Transfer pan to wire rack and immediately sprinkle with sugar. While still hot, us a large knife and cut shortbread down the middle – long ways. Then cut into one inch “fingers”. Enjoy!

    December 18, 2008 at 2:24 pm Leave a comment


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