Monday, August 25, 2014

Blueberry button cookies

It's been pretty warm around here lately and blueberries are still in season. We just stocked up on a few quarts and froze them for the rest of the year and I used some of them to make these cute little blueberry button cookies for a family picnic. This recipe comes from Taste of Home magazine and I marked it to try as soon as I saw it. The cookies were definitely tasty and pretty cute, though the texture and even the smell reminded me of a mini blueberry pancake! I think that if I made them again I would refrigerate the dough for a while to help keep them from spreading so much. However, they still turned out good and were a hit at the picnic. 

With September just around the corner, I know I'm not the only one who is starting to think of fall... However, it's not quite time for fall foods yet and these blueberry cookies are a nice addition to a late summer table. The below recipe is my slightly adapted version (the original is at the link above). It will make about 2-1/2 dozen cookies.

Blueberry button cookies
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 large egg
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/3 cup blueberry juice cocktail
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 to 1-1/2 cups fresh blueberries

for the glaze:
1 cup icing cugar
about 2 tablespoons blueberry juice cocktail 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. 

In a large bowl cream together the butter, sugars, and lemon zest until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg. Beat in the yogurt, juice, and vanilla until combined. 

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Then slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients mixing until just combined. 

Drop the dough by rounded tablespoons onto the baking sheets 2-inches apart. Press four blueberries into each cookie to resemble a button. 

Bake for 11-14 minutes, until the bottoms and edges are golden. Set the cookies on a wire rack to cool. Repeat with any remaining dough.

When the cookies are almost cooled, prepare the glaze. Slowly stir the blueberry juice into the icing sugar until it reaches a glaze consistency. Spread some glaze over each cookies and let dry.

These cookies are best enjoyed the day they are made.

What was I cooking one year ago?: crabapple mostarda
Two years ago?: peach-nutmeg frozen yogurt
Three?: zucchini pancakes
4?: spiced peach butter

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Thai-style omelets

I recently remembered eating big puffy and somewhat crispy eggs in Thailand and wondered why I had never attempted to recreate this dish at home. It's really just a simple omelet, although it's not folded and stuffed like we would often think of when we hear the word. Also, with Thai-style omelets, you want some brown on your eggs and some crispness. These were often part of a larger family-style meal and always served with rice. I made mine into individual omelets and served them with Sriracha and some pickled cabbage I made the night before along with Jasmine rice for a complete and quick dinner. 

This dish is a nice change-up from your typical eggs and turns them into a meal suitable for lunch or dinner. The recipe below is for one individual serving omelet. I simply used scallions, but you could add other things like shallots, cooked pork or chicken, etc. You'll want to get some egg and rice together in each bite (Sriracha is a must for me). 

Thai-style omelets
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 large eggs
3/4 teaspoon fish sauce
pinch of black pepper
1/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice
1 scallion, thinly sliced with greens and whites separated 

In a small cast-iron or other non-stick skillet, heat the coconut oil over medium heat. Whisk the eggs, fish sauce, black pepper, and lime juice together in a bowl until fluffy. Then stir in the scallion whites.

Pour the egg mixture into the hot pan. Leave the eggs to sit until they set and start to turn fluffy and golden. After about 2-3 minutes, flip the eggs with a spatula and cook for about 1 minute on the other side, or until they are cooked through.

Serve immediately topped with the scallion greens and a side of Jasmine or white rice and Sriracha, if desired.

What was I cooking one year ago?: crabapple mostarda
Two years ago?: summer squash macaroni & cheese
Three?: Galumpkis 
4?: shiitake hazelnut pate

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Blueberry pie

I have a problem when it comes to most pies. That problem is that I cannot wait until they fully cool to cut into them and eat them. This causes them to be on the runnier side, especially fruit pies. But it's a risk I'm willing to take (and, actually, I kind of like the juiciness, especially when it's served with ice cream). So as you can see from the photos below, we dug into this blueberry pie while it was still warm - a nice contrast the the vanilla ice cream on top. You can use tapioca in your fruit pies instead of cornstarch of flour and it will make the filling thicker.

Blueberries are in high season here right now. This pie came about from a little mistake. We had froze a few pints of blueberries for the winter. We froze them on a baking sheet and then transferred them to a freezer bag. Somehow, one of the bags of frozen blueberries ended up in the fridge instead of the freezer -- oops. So, instead of trying to re-freeze them (they probably would have turned to mush), we made pie instead!

Blueberry pie
1 recipe for a double pie crust
1 large egg
4 cups blueberries
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup sugar, I used unbleached cane sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

Toss the blueberries, lemon juice, cornstarch, and sugar together in a large bowl and set aside.

After combining your dough ingredients, form the dough into a ball and cut in half (making one half slightly larger than the other). Roll out the larger half onto a lightly floured surface until it will fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Shape it into the pie plate, removing/folding over any overhang. Roll out the remaining dough on a lightly floured surface. Using a sharp knife, cut it into strips (about eight) that are about 1/2-3/4 inch wide. 

Pour the blueberry mixture into the pie crust. Top the filling with the strips of pie dough, weaving them to make a lattice pattern. Pull off any extra dough and pinch the ends into the pie crust. 

Lightly beat the egg with a couple teaspoons of water. Brush the egg onto the pie dough strips.

Bake for 55-60 minutes, until the crust is golden and the filling is bubbly. Let cool before serving (as long as you can). Serve with vanilla ice cream or freshly whipped cream, if desired.

What was I cooking one year ago?: skillet zucchini biscuit pie
Two years ago?: warm Mexican corn salad 
Three?: honey dew-cucumber-basil coolers 
4?: summer vegetable enchiladas with creamy poblano sauce 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Cherry cheesecake ice cream

July is cherry season and, of course, ice cream season! I've been a little behind this year on making my first summer ice cream, but here it is -- a soft, smooth, creamy ice cream made with milk, cream cheese, and sour cream. I tried to make this ice cream taste like the filling from a delicious cheesecake and then added some sweet cherries to complete it. It turned out great! It's definitely a rich ice cream and it turns out really airy and fluffy from the cream cheese (which makes it really difficult to make "perfectly" round scoops, especially when it's hot). To make this even more like a cheesecake, you can sprinkle your dish with some graham cracker crumbs or even add some graham cracker pieces when you add the cherries. 

Summer is really flying by this year -- actually, I feel like 2014 in general is flying by! So don't forget to make some homemade ice cream to enjoy on a hot and lazy summer day. 

Cherry cheesecake ice cream
2 cups whole milk
5 oz. cream cheese, cut into cubes
pinch of sea salt
1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup sour cream
1 cup pitted and chopped sweet cherries

In a large saucepan, heat the milk over medium-low heat, whisking often, until it is heated through. Whisk in the cream cheese, salt, and sugar (I used just over 1/3 a cup - you can taste the base and add more keeping in mind that it will taste less sweet once frozen). Continue to heat and whisk until the cream cheese and sugar are melted and thoroughly combined. Turn off the heat and whisk in the sour cream.

Pour the mixture into a bowl or large glass measuring cup. Cover and refrigerate until very cold, at least three hours. Keep the cherries in the refrigerator as well.

When cold, churn the ice cream base in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer directions. After about 10 minutes (once the mixture begins to resemble soft-serve), add the cherries. Continue to churn until the ice cream reaches your desired consistency.

Serve immediately or pack into a freezer container and transfer to the freezer for a harder ice cream.

What was I cooking one year ago?: pepper jack & zucchini cornbread
Two years ago?: Larb (Laos beef salad)
Three?: currant & ginger scones
4?: peach lassi

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Lemon and chive kohlrabi fritters

Kohlrabi is one of those vegetables that I had never had in my childhood. In fact, I don't think I had ever even heard of it or seen it, let alone eaten it, until a few years ago when we started doing more shopping at the farmers' market. To me, kohlrabi tastes sort of like a big radish - it's a bit spicy, crisp, and juicy. You can eat them raw or cooked, but I prefer them cooked. Plus, I love making all sorts of vegetables into fritters, patties, latkes, and pancakes. I think it's a fun way to eat them and I like to try out different flavors with them. These little kohlrabi fritters with a touch of lemon zest and chives are a great starter or side dish for a summer dinner. This recipe will make about eight 2-3 inch fritters.

Lemon and chive kohlrabi fritters
about 3 cups grated kohlrabi (I used purple)
2 teaspoons freshly minced chives
zest of one lemon
1/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 large egg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 to 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
olive oil for cooking
4 tablespoons sour cream, for serving
juice of half a lemon, for serving

Place the grated kohlrabi in a clean kitchen towel and squeeze over the sink to remove as much liquid as possible. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Stir in the chives, lemon zest, salt, pepper, egg, and baking powder. Then stir in just under 1//3 cup of flour. Add more flour, about a tablespoon or two at a time, until the mixture stays together.

Heat a cast iron or other non-stick skillet. When hot, add about two tablespoons of your cooking oil. Form the patties about 2-3 inches across. Cook in the skillet in batches, until both sides are golden and crisp. Sprinkle with salt when you remove from the pan.

Stir together the sour cream and lemon juice for serving.

What was I cooking one year ago?: broccoli salad with cheddar, cranberries, & sunflower seeds
Two years ago?: pistachio cardamom ice cream
Three?: guacamole 
4?: cauliflower & broccoli stuffed manicotti