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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Meyer Lemon Olive Oil Cookies

As we move into the long dark season I begin looking for ways to bring sunshine and light into these dreary NW days and nothing says sunshine, summer and warmth quite like lemons. This recipe for Meyer lemon olive oil cookies makes me smile and is the perfect accompaniment to a nice cup of tea (and because they are made with olive oil instead of butter, they're a little kinder to the waistline (and arteries) -something we generally need to think about this time of year as the holiday festivities make counting calories a wee bit difficult).

1 cup sugar (I like to use organic evaporated cane sugar)
3/4 cup Meyer lemon olive oil
1 lemon zested (Meyer lemon if you can find it, but any will do)
2 eggs
2-1/2 cups flour
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp course lemon salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and make sure the rack is in the center of the oven. Combine sugar, olive oil and lemon zest, blending well with an electric mixer. Add 2 eggs and blend until emulsified (usually takes a few minutes). Sift in flour and baking powder, add salt and blend well. Now roll into balls and put on a cookie sheet (you will probably need to have a small bowl of flour handy to dip your fingers in for rolling). Flatten the cookies and sprinkle a little sugar on top if you'd like (you can also play around and sprinkle some lemon salt, or slivered almonds or anything else you may like to top cookies with). Bake for 12 minutes. Makes approx. 2-3 dozen cookies (depending on size).


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Homemade Grand Marnier

Home crafted gifts can sometimes be met with mixed results. Maybe the special holiday knitted vest wasn't a favorite but the homemade cookies are always a big hit. Well, I've had plenty of "misses" in my attempt at hand crafted items but one of the "hits" that I have had over the years is my homemade Grand Marnier, an orange flavored liqueur. This is a simple recipe that I have used and can be enjoyed in just 5- 10 days, but the longer it ages the mellower it becomes. I am sipping a glass of 2 year old liqueur at the moment and it is buttery and smooth with an intoxicating fragrance rivaling its name brand version. I highly recommend letting it age several months to a year.

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
3 cups brandy
2 tsp orange extract

Dissolve sugar in almost boiling water stirring constantly. Once dissolved, allow to cool at room temperature. Stir in brandy and orange extract and transfer to bottles or jars with tight fitting lids. Shake daily to dissolve sugar completely. The liqueur should be ready in 5 to 10 days - but remember, the longer it ages the mellower it becomes. Makes one quart.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Autumn has arrived and as our belated summer’s bounty winds down, it’s time to adjust our eating patterns to fit the changing seasons. Bagna Cauda (pronounce: Bahn-nya Coda) is essentially an Italian fondue. An olive oil, butter, anchovy and garlic fondue – one word summation – YUM!! Although typically a Piedmontese autumnal and winter dish, at our home, we pretty much eat it year round, adjusting our vegetables based on what is in season and raring to go. Possibilities are limited only by choice and availability, oh and experimentation is always fun –that Kohlrabi that you bought at the farmers market and are not sure what to do with, why not!!

Start with an assortment of sliced vegetables and a baguette.

½ cup olive oil

1-2oz anchovy fillets

1 head garlic

¼ cup butter

(some regions also add 1/8 cup heavy cream –this is optional)

In a saucepan over low heat (or directly in the fondue pot) add oil, butter and anchovies. Peel 1 head of garlic, mince or thinly slice and add to mixture and continue to cook on low heat until anchovies are well blended (approx. 20 min.). When the garlic and anchovies are cooked down it’s ready to go. If you have been cooking the sauce directly in the fondue pot, just gather around, spear your assorted vegetables and cook in the sauce until done. Eat with some delicious crusty bread (which you will also want to use to sop up the Bagna Cauda as you devour the array of vegetables. Enjoy!!

Serves 4

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Mad about Kale

I love kale and to be honest, kale loves me right back! It's one of those "super foods" if I may use this overused term, that shows immediate results. With every bite my skin looks clearer, my eyes brighter and my all around attitude has, well, a little less "tude" shall we say. It really is quite remarkable and for those of you who haven't embraced kale for whatever reason, I encourage you to give it a try. Seriously, what are you waiting for??? You may just find something new to love. And if you already love kale then you're ahead of the game and are probably on the lookout for new delicious ways to use it. So read on, this is a great recipe for a massaged kale salad that was inspired by a recipe on my friend Kelli's blog
Massaged Kale and Quinoa Salad

1 bunch kale
1 tsp sea salt ( I use a large flake mediterranean sea salt)
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts (or I substitute slivered almonds -also toasted)
1/4 cup diced onion (I use red or walla walla sweet onions usually -although this last batch I only had shallots and they worked very well too)
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp Champagne Pear Vinegar
1 Tbsp White Balsamic

Wash kale and remove the spine. Stack and roll leaves and cut them chiffonade style (in ribbons). Place kale into a mixing bowl and sprinkle salt on top. Massage the kale and sea salt with your hands for approx. 2 minutes (until the kale is wilted and has a "cooked" appearance). Stir in the remainder of ingredients and set aside.

Cook 1 cup of quinoa (I use my rice cooker and it works beautifully). You can toast it before cooking to bring out a nuttier flavor.

Add cooked quinoa to the Kale salad, chill and serve.

Serves 2-4 people