Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Best of 2008

It seems this time of year everyone has some sort of best of the year list so I figured why not jump on the bandwagon & revisit the best (well most popular) posts of 2008...

#1 Dark Chocolate & Bacon Cupcake Dark Chocolate & Bacon Cupcakes
I'm not surprised this one came in at #1, the idea of putting bacon into cupcakes really surprised a lot of people. But let me tell you this is one great sweet & salty treat.

#2 Homemade Corn Toasties Homemade Corn Toasties
A flash back to childhood comes in at #2. These breakfast treats are so simple & it was fun to see the way other people changed them up.

#3 #177 - Dreamsicle Cupcake Dreamsicle Cupcakes
These are also a flash back to a childhood favorite. I was so happy I was able to get that unreal orange color.

#4 making tamales Tamales
This was our first Recipes to Rival challenge & we really enjoyed spending the afternoon together making tamales. It was so much easier than we ever thought.

#5 Homemade Potato Chips Homemade Potato Chips
I was surprised this list of tips for making potato chips came in so high on the list. I guess we all love a really good chip.

#6 Creamy Chicken Wild Rice Soup Creamy Wild Rice Soup
This one is near & dear to my heart. It took me years to finally perfect my wild rice soup recipe & this is one good soup!

#7 Baked Apple with Currants Baked Apples with Currants
When apples came into season this fall we did a whole series of apple recipes. This classic, so easy, dish beat them all in popularity.

#8 Chocolate Covered Cherry CookiesChocolate Covered Cherry Cookies
A Christmas favorite from Matt's family. I made them with dark chocolate cocoa which made them even more decadent.

#9 #136 - Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel & Sea Salt Dark Chocolate Cupcakes with Caramel & Sea Salt
A classic flavor combination of caramel & chocolate taken up a notch with salt. These were based on a cupcake I love at Kara's Cupcake sin the Bay Area.

#10 #319 - Candy Cane Cookies Candy Cane Cookies
The first cookie in our holiday cookie series this season. These pretty cookies are flavored with peppermint just like the real thing.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Spareribs & Sauerkraut

One of the nice things about moving to Minnesota is now we live close to my cousins. So, this Christmas when both her parents & mine came to town we were able to all get together. In my family that calls for only one meal, Spareribs & Sauerkraut.
Spareribs & Sauerkraut
I absolutely love this meal & hadn't had it in so long, such a treat. This is the recipe my Grandfather always used to cook for family gatherings & apparently the dish came from his mother. The ribs & sauerkraut cook together which I think gives the ribs a great flavor while adding bits of meat to the sauerkraut. I even love the smell of it cooking! Mashed potatoes are always served with this dish & most people eat it with sauerkraut on the potatoes, though I prefer to the potatoes with butter myself.

Grandpa Kroll's Spareribs & Sauerkraut

5 lbs spareribs (with fat trimmed off)
2 large cans of good sauerkraut
1 raw potato, peeled

Put a layer of ribs on the bottom of a large pot. Top with a layer of sauerkraut. Pepper generously. Repeat these three layers until all the ribs & sauerkraut have been used. Add an inch of water to the pot. Simmer at least 1 hour or until the meat begins to fall off the bone. (This is a very debated time, some people cook it for 1.5 hours while others 3. Ours were cooked for about 1.5 & were perfect.) Keep an eye on the water while cooking & add more if needed so the kraut doesn't burn.

Remove the meat from the pot. Coarsely grate the potato into the sauerkraut & stir. Place the meat on top & cook another 10 minutes. Serve with mashed potatoes.

Serves 4

My grandfather would turn the leftovers, if there were any, into lunch the next day but frying the mashed potatoes with onion & making sauerkraut sandwiches.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Chips & Grandpa's Dunk

We had dinner last night at my cousins since both her parents & mine are here visiting in Minnesota from points south (& much warmer they keep reminding us). It was a real treat because we got to have the traditional family dinner that was always made by our Grandpa Kroll, Spareribs & Sauerkraut. More about that later in the week, this post is about what came before dinner.
Chips & Grandpa's Dunk
Appetizers before dinner included chips with my Grandpa's Dunk. Apparently our family doesn't dip chips, they dunk them. This is a pretty simple dip (or dunk)but the flavors are so good it'll get eaten up right away. Make some for while watching the game on New Year's & you'll see what I mean.
Family Cookbook
This recipe comes from our family cookbook which was complied by my Aunt Jan. I think I'll skip the Lutefisk though...

Grandpa Kroll's Dunk
Update 2010 based on how my cousin Jenny has adapted it to be lighter & fluffier

3 cloves garlic
3 oz blue cheese
6 oz cream cheese
half & half

Put the garlic through a garlic press. Stir together with the blue cheese & cream cheese. Beat adding in half & half until fluffy. (This can take up to 30 minutes on low with a Kitchen Aid) Serve with plain potato chips.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Weekly Menu 12/29 - 1/2/09

Christmas morning over Lake Superior
(I couldn't resist sharing this picture I took of the Christmas sunrise over Lake Superior)

Menu Planning Monday...

My parents are in town until after New Year's so we have a few special meals planned for the week.

Monday night we are going to take them over to Punch Pizza in NE Minneapolis for some of the best pizza in Minneapolis.
Ham with Sweet Potatoes - We have friends coming to dinner & Matt has been wanting to make a ham. I saw a honey, brown sugar & pepper glaze that sounds great.
Crab Legs with Red Potatoes - We are hanging at home on New Year's Eve & this will be our special treat.
Standing Rib Roast with Potato Gratin & Squash Purée - Growing up standing rib roast was our traditional Christmas dinner. When we found it on sale at Lund's last week we couldn't resist getting it for New Year's Day.
Friday we are back on our own & I'm thinking a little lighter meal is on order so I'm thinking Roast Vegetables with Curry Spices over Couscous

Culinary Christmas Gifts

We had a fabulous Christmas with our family up in Duluth. Everyone was amazingly generous & we got some wonderful gifts. I thought I'd share a few we got for use in the kitchen.
Betty Crocker's Picture Cook Book
I got a first edition of Betty Crocker's Picture Cook Book. Talk about some great pictures.
The Betty Crocker Kitchens Betty Crocker Cakes
We also got a wonderful selection of newer cookbooks.
New Cookbooks
We got a kit to make our own mozzarella & ricotta.
Mozzarella Kit
New bread pans for Swedish Almond Bread & Baguettes.
Bread Pans
Michigan dried cherries, so great for baking.
Dried Michigan Cherries
And holiday cupcake accessories
Cupcake Goodies
We also got a corn zipper, a frother & an ice cream maker. Lots of new fun for the kitchen in 2009.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

May all your Christmas dreams come true

May all your Christmas dreams come true
We are off spending a few days with family. Have a wonderful holiday everyone!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

8 Weeks of Cookies - Sacher Bites

Ok, these aren't technically cookies (though the recipe my MIL sent me calls them cookies) but they are a favorite of Matt's & he wanted them with this year's Christmas cookies.
Sacher Bites
To me these taste like a really rich brownie layered with raspberry. In my book you can't get a much better pairing than raspberry & chocolate. These do not freeze well which is why they were the last baked good I made for this holiday season.

Sacher Bites

3/4 c unsalted butter
3 oz unsweetened chocolate
1 1/2 sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 t vanilla
pinch of salt
1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
raspberry preserves
3 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate

Preheat oven to 325 F.

In a medium saucepan melt the butter & unsweetened chocolate over low heat. Remove from the heat & stir in the sugar. Stir in the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla then stir in the salt & flour. Pour the batter into a greased 15x10 inch baking pan with sides. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes until firm. Let cool in the pan.

Spread a thin layer of the raspberry preserves over the top of the cake.
Sacher Bites
Cut the cake in half lengthwise, then again crosswise to make 4 rectangles. Loosen from the pan & stack two rectangles high with the preserves facing up (you'll have two stacks two layers thick).
Sacher Bites
Cut those rectangles into 2x1 inch squares.

Melt the 3 oz of remaining chocolate in a saucepan over low heat. Drizzle over the top of the squares. (I found a fork was best for getting good drizzles). Chill to set the chocolate.
8 Weeks of Cookies
Apricot Foldover Cookies
Swedish Peppernut CookiesPfeffernusse & Chocolate Covered Pfeffernusse
Dulce de Leche Sandwich Cookies

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Classic Chex Mix

In my family we always have a bowl of Chex mix out around Thanksgiving & Christmas. I told my sister I would bring it this year. Now if you look at the Chex box they have all different versions but as far as I'm concerned the classic is the way to go. We think this mix is better if its sat for a day.
Chex Mix
Classic Chex Mix

6 T unsalted butter
4 t Worcestershire sauce
1 t seasoned salt
1 c rice Chex
1 c wheat Chex
1 c Cherrios
1 c pretzel sticks
1 c salted peanuts

Preheat oven to 250 F.

In a large roasting pan melt butter over low heat. Stir in Worcestershire sauce & seasoned salt. Stir in remaining ingredients until everything is coated.

Put pan in the oven & bake for 45 minutes stirring every 15 minutes.

Makes 5 cups.

Two notes from my mom. She adds 1 teaspoon of garlic powder & 1 teaspoon onion powder with the to the melted butter as well as the other seasonings. She melts her butter with the seasonings in the microwave & then pours is over the mix in the roasting pan before putting it into the oven.

Monday, December 22, 2008

What we did with CSA box #16 & what's in box #17

We don't have much to show from what we did with CSA box #16. We were in the California for one week right after the box came. THe nice thing is a lot of this type of produce stores for awhile so we are keeping it fresh & cool in our basement root cellar.
Mac & Cheese with Butternut Squash Matt's Vegetable Rice Soup
1. Mac & Cheese with Squash 2. Matt's Vegetable Soup
On to box #17. This is our last regular season box (yes, this late in MN). We have two extended season boxed coming in January & then we're done until May. Luckily there is a winter farmer's market once a month a Local D'Lish so we can still get some good local produce through the tough months.
What's in CSA box #17 
Sunchokes - We'll roast these & serve them with pork.
Carrots - Yes, more carrots. I think I'll make some Morning Glory Muffins while my parents are here.
Red Cabbage - This will be turned into a warn cabbage salad for Christmas Eve to be served with Swedish Meatballs.
Red Potatoes
Festival Squash - I'll steam these in the oven with butter.
Parsnips - We love them in soups, stew & roasted though I'm thinking a parsnip mash might be called for.
Red & Gold Turnips - We used some already in beef stew. It think we may roast some.
More Radish
Parsley Root - Gotta figure this one out.
Red Beets - I love roasted beets & have a hard time doing anything else with them.

Weekly Menu 12/22 - 12/27

Kind of a crazy week, my parents arrived from Memphis yesterday & Wednesday we'll all head up to Duluth for Christmas. Let's hope the weather gods are with us!
On to Menu Planning Monday...

Roast Pork & Vegetables - never got around to making this last week so it'll be Monday's dinner with my parents

Chicken Chili - One of Matt's creations

We'll be at my sister's Christmas Eve & will have Swedish Meatballs & Red Cabbage.

Christmas Day will start with the traditional breakfast casserole & Sara Lee coffee cake. I'll be bring my Creamy Chicken Wild Rice Soup for lunch. Dinner will be at my sister's in-laws & I'm not sure what is on the menu though they always make something fantastic.

The day after Christmas we'll go to my brother's so once again no cooking here.

Saturday when we are back to our house I'll be making some Sausage & Spinach Lasagna.

I have one more cookie to bake before Christmas as well as a big batch of Chex Mix.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Meatball Sandwiches

It seems over the past week or so we've really been craving homey comforting meals. I'm not sure if its because we're busy getting ready for Christmas or because its so cold & snowy here in Minneapolis. In that vein, the other night Matt made us some fabulous meatball sandwiches.
meatball sandwich
(Yeah they are a little charred on the edges from a second too long in the broiler but that didn't effect the taste at all.)

What made these sandwiches so good was the tender, flavorful meatballs Matt started with. He decided using the same sort of recipe he would for meatloaf would give him a great meatball & he was right. I especially liked the way he left the pieces of onion rather large in the meatballs.
We got 52 meatballs from this recipe which is much more than we needed for sandwiches but we froze the excess & now have them for more sandwiches or spaghetti.


1 3/4 lbs mixed ground meat (we used a mix of beef, pork & veal)
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 T dried oregano
1/2 t dried thyme
3 eggs
1/3 c ketchup
1 oz grated Parmesan
1 c bread crumbs

Put all ingredients in a bowl & knead with your hands until everything is well blended but do not overwork. Roll into 1-inch balls. (If you wish to freeze some of the meatballs do so now by freezing them on a cookie sheet. once frozen place in an airtight container & back into the freezer.)

Heat 1 T of olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs & cook until browned on all sides.

Add enough tomato sauce (we used Muir Glen pizza sauce thinned with a little water) cover at least 3/4 of the meatballs. Simmer for about 20 minutes until the meatballs are cooked.
meatball sandwich
To make sandwiches:
Split soft hoagie rolls in half & place on a baking sheet. Top with 5 or 6 meatballs & a little sauce. Lay slices of provolone on over the meatballs. Broil until the cheese is melted.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Eggnog Cupcakes

Last night we had a baked goods exchange with our Cookin' Minnesota group. Matt took a variety of the cookies I've been baking the last couple of weeks but I decided to go another route. I've been wanting to make an eggnog flavored cupcake every since Matt had one from Sprinkles that didn't taste like eggnog at all & this was the perfect opportunity.
Eggnog Cupcake
I looked at a few different eggnog recipes & came to the decision that the two ingredients I needed to get the flavor right were rum & nutmeg. I used eggnog in the cake batter instead of milk to up the flavor even more. The cupcake itself came out really tasty with a great texture but its really the frosting that makes this taste & smell like eggnog to me. These are quite rich so I'm glad I made mini cupcakes this time around, just the perfect little bite. They certainly seemed to be a big hit last night.
Eggnog Cupcakes

Eggnog Cupcakes

1 c (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/3 c + 3 T sugar
2 t rum
1/8 t vanilla
1 1/3 t baking powder
2/3 t salt
2 c all-purpose flour
2/3 c eggnog
5 egg whites

Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare 48 mini cupcake tins or 18 regular.

In a mixing bowl cream the butter & 1 1/3 cups of sugar together until light & fluffy. Beat in the rum & vanilla. Add the baking powder, salt & 2/3 cup flour, beat until combined. Beat in 1/3 cup eggnog. Then beat in another 2/3 cup flour, followed by the rest of the eggnog & then the rest of the flour.

In another bowl beat the egg whites until foamy. Add in the remaining 3 tablespoons of sugar. Beat on high speed until stiff peaks form. Gently fold 1/3 of the egg whites into the batter until completely combined then fold in the remaining egg whites.

Divide the batter between the cupcake tins, filling each one 2/3 full. Bake 15 minutes for mini cupcakes or 22 for regular. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean.

Cool completely on a rack.

Spiced Rum Buttercream

1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 c powdered sugar
pinch of salt
1/8 t cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
1 T rum

In a mixing bowl beat the butter until soft & creamy. Add in the powdered sugar a little at a time until all the sugar is absorbed. Beat in the salt, cinnamon, nutmeg & rum. Frost cupcakes & sprinkle with more nutmeg.

Makes 48 mini cupcakes or 18 regular

You can substitute run extract for the rum but I think it has a stronger flavor.

Update 12/28/08: There was originally a typo in this recipe & I wrote baking soda instead of powder. Powder is correct. Thanks to Danya for catching it.
I also had the wrong amount of sugar (I must have been drinking the rum when I wrote this!). Its correct now.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

8 Weeks of Cookies - Dulce de Leche Sandwich Cookies

This cookies was not originally on my list to make for Christmas but I ended up with half a can of leftover sweetened condensed milk. What else to do but make dulce de leche. I like to just stir a little in my coffee but since I'm on a cookie making kick these days I thought I'd create a cookie with it instead.
Dulce de Leche Sandwich Cookies
I know dulce de leche pairs really well with cinnamon so I decided to make sandwich cookies using my favorite cutout cookie recipe which has a really strong cinnamon flavor. These cinnamon cookies are super tasty & I like them on their own but adding the dulce de leche just makes them that much better. I thought it would be good to change things up a little so I made half of the dough chocolate cinnamon by adding some cocoa powder.

I made my own dulce de leche but you can also buy it in a can in the hispanic section of the grocery store. If you do make it from scratch let it cook until its nice & thick.

Dulce de Leche Sandwich Cookies

1 c unsalted butter
2/3 c sugar
1 egg
1 t vanilla
2 1/2 c flour
1/2 t salt
1 T cinnamon
1 can dulce de leche

In a mixing bowl cream the butter & sugar together until light & fluffy. Beat in the egg & vanilla. Add the flour, salt & cinnamon & mix until well combined. Wrap in plastic wrap & chill for at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

On a floured board roll the dough out to 1/8-inch thick. Cut into 2-inch circles. Place on a greased baking sheet or use a silicone pad. Bake for 12 - 15 minutes until the edges are just starting to brown. Allow to cool completely on a rack.
Dulce de Leche Sandwich Cookies
Spread some dulce de leche on one cookie & top with another. Chill to set if desired.

Makes 3 dozen sandwiches.

To make chocolate cinnamon cookies add 2 T cocoa powder with the flour to the dough.
8 Weeks of Cookies
Apricot Foldover Cookies
Swedish Peppernut CookiesPfeffernusse & Chocolate Covered Pfeffernusse

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Mac & Cheese with Butternut Squash

This mac & cheese recipe is the standard one around our house. Usually we add cherry tomatoes to it but since we are in the middle of the tundra right now tomatoes are not really at their best. We do though have a lot of squash right now so I thought that roasted it would add a nice sweetness that the tomatoes usually do.
Mac & Cheese with Butternut Squash
It really was a nice addition to the mac & cheese. Its not quite as sweet as the tomatoes but it is a richer sweetness. The creamy texture blends in really well with the pasta & cheese sauce as well.

Mac & Cheese with Butternut Squash

1 1/2 c butternut squash, peeled & cut into 1/2-inch cubes
olive oil
3/4 lb penne pasta
1 medium onion
1 Tbs butter
1/8 C flour
1 C milk
1/2 C heavy cream
1 1/2 C grated cheddar cheese
3/4 C grated gryere
dry mustard

Put the squash in a small roasting pan & coat with a little olive oil. Roast at 400 F for 30 - 45 minutes until soft & starting to brown. Set aside.

Cook pasta according to directions drain and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 F

Heat a small skillet over low heat. Slice onion very thin. Add onion to skillet and saute slowly until brown and carmelized. Mix into pasta.

In a small saucepan melt butter over med-low heat. Add flour an stir constantly for 1 minute. Do not allow to brown. Slowly whisk in milk and cream. Stir until hot and smooth and slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Turn heat to low and add cheese. Whisk until melted. Add a pinch of dry mustard and salt and pepper to taste.

Butter a glass casserole dish. Add pasta, onions, butternut squash and cheese sauce. Mix well until cheese sauce covers everything. Sprinkle panko over the top.

Bake for 25 minutes.

Serves 4

Cowgirl Chocolates

We recently joined the Tastemaker program on Foodbuzz which gives us the opportunity to try out some different products on the market. What a treat when we received our first product, Cowgirl Chocolates. Matt & I are big fans of good chocolate so we really enjoyed this.
Cowgirl Chocolates Cowgirl Chocolates
The chocolate came beautifully packaged, wrapped in red paper then in a ribbon tied box with a silver charm.
Cowgirl Chocolates
Inside were 9 shiny wrapped chocolates & one caramel plus a flavor card. Apparently, Cowgirl is into adding peppers like cayenne & habanero to their chocolates which made Matt exclaim they were all for him. Luckily for me there were also 4 non-spicy varieties.
Spicy Raspberry Truffle
We tried the Spicy Raspberry Dark Chocolate first, oh was it good. The raspberry filling was very berry but not too sweet & the chocolate was great. The spice hits you towards the end of eating the chocolate with a warming sensation but was no where near hot enough to bother me at all which was perfect.
Habanero Caramel
Next Matt went for the Habanero Caramel. The caramel was amazingly good but woah, did it hit you with some heat at the end. Definitely shows you the difference between cayenne & habanero. Matt loved these & said he could sit & eat a whole box if he had them.

We've eaten our way through most of the chocolates in two days & they have all been wonderful. I've found in the past that spicy candies sometimes skimp on the other flavors & what I liked about these is the spice is there but so is the quality of the rest of the ingredients. I'm tempted to try a few other things off of their site now like the Cayenne Caramels & the Roasted Hazelnut Toffee.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

8 Weeks of Cookies - Pfeffernusse & Chocolate Covered Pfeffernusse

The baking for the Christmas cookie tray continued in earnest today with these little bite-sized treats.
Chocolate covered pfeffernusse
I had never had pfeffernusse before (ok, I've had the Swedish peppernut but it's quite different from these) but they are traditional for Matt's family. Apparently, they are originally Dutch but many other countries have versions of this crunchy, spiced cookie but all include a small bit of pepper in the recipe. To me, they tasted a a lot like gingerbread cookies without the ginger. Matt's mom said she usually adds more pepper or even cayenne than called for but Matt asked me not to for this batch. Then after he tasted them he decided a little cayenne would have actually added a tasty extra kick.
Pfeffernusse  & chocolate covered pfeffernusse
I thought they were a little plain looking & decided to dip half of them in chocolate. Matt said if I was going to do that I might as well add some cayenne to the chocolate too. So, we ended up with three different versions of pfeffernusse; plain, chocolate covered & cayenne chocolate covered. They are all good but I think the cayenne chocolate covered are the best.
Cayenne chocolate covered pfeffernusse

Pfeffernusse (three ways)

1/3 c molasses
1/4 c unsalted butter
1 egg
1/4 c packed brown sugar
3/4 t cinnamon
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t cardamon
1/4 t allspice
1/8 t pepper
2 c flour
6 - 7 oz chocolate, melted (optional)(we used leftover Hershey's Special Dark candy bars from Halloween)
1/2 t cayenne pepper or more to taste (optional)

Put the molasses & butter into a saucepan & heat over low heat until the butter is melted. Pour into a large bowl & let cool to room temperature.

Beat the egg into the cooled molasses & butter. Stir in the brown sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, cardamon, allspice & pepper. Add the flour 1/2 cup at a time, incorporating each addition completely before adding the next. Cover the bowl & chill the dough for an hour.

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Divide the dough into 12 even pieces. Roll the piece each out into 10-inch lengths. Cut each length into twenty 1/2-inch pieces. Place the pieces 1/2 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 -12 minutes until the sides of the cookies are firm & the bottoms lightly brown.

Chocolate covered pfeffernusse:
Dipped the cooled cookies into the melted chocolate coating about 1/2 of the cookie. Place on a cookie sheet covered with wax paper. Chill in the refrigerator until the chocolate hardens.

Cayenne chocolate covered pfeffernusse:
Do the same as above but mix the cayenne pepper into the melted chocolate.

Makes 240 cookies
8 Weeks of Cookies
Apricot Foldover Cookies
Swedish Peppernut Cookies

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Weekly Menu 12/15 - 12/20

We spent last week in San Francisco & now were back home in Minneapolis where the high today is supposed to be -2 F! We have a wind chill alert warning of windchills between -25 & -35 F. I love the fact that the National Weather Service cations in their alert that if you must go out wear a hat & gloves. Luckily we don't have to leave the house today & have plenty of warm satisfying meals on the menu for the rest of the week.

I seem to have caught a bug while in traveling but luckily Matt made me a big pot of homemade vegetable soup last night. Just the thing with a few crackers & some ginger ale.
Matt's Vegetable Rice Soup
Matt's Vegetable Rice Soup

1 T olive oil
1 c diced onion
20 oz whole canned tomatoes, drained
3 c vegetable stock
1 turnip, peeled & diced
2 medium yukon gold potatoes, peeled & diced
4 medium carrots, peeled & sliced
1 c cabbage, chopped
2/3 c rice
1 bay leaf
1/8 t dried thyme
salt & pepper

In a large soup pot heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions & sauté for about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes & smash a little with your spoon then cook for 5 more minutes. Add the vegetable stock & use immersion blender to process until smooth. Add remaining ingredients & bring to a boil. Cover & turn heat to low. Simmer for 45 - 60 minutes until rice is cooked & vegetables are tender.

Serves 4

On to Menu Planning Monday....

Mac & Cheese with Butternut Squash
Chile - Always a spur of the moment creation by Matt & always good
Roast Pork Tenderloin & Vegetables
Meatball Sandwiches
Twice Baked & Stuffed Potatoes
Thai Coconut Curry Chicken Soup - We've made this soup from from Culinary Adventures of a New Wife before & its so good!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

8 Weeks of Cookies - Chocolate Truffle Cookies

This is another cookie recipe from Matt's mom & a request from Matt for our Christmas cookie tray. 
Chocolate Truffle Cookies
These cookies are all about the chocolate. The original recipe called for semisweet chocolate chips but I decided to us bittersweet instead since we like the flavor better. Another change I made was to use 2 squares of unsweetened chocolate & 2 of bittersweet chocolate instead of all unsweetened because I made a mistake while shopping. I figured that since I was using bittersweet chocolate it would be ok & the cookies wouldn't turn out too sweet. 
Chocolate Truffle Cookies
These cookies are so rich & chocolaty, they do taste a lot like a truffle. They stay soft & moist even once cooled & remind me a lot of a brownie. I can see adding flavors to them like espresso or chile though they are pretty perfect just the way they are.

Chocolate Truffle Cookies

4 oz unsweetened chocolate squares (or mix it up like I did half bittersweet & half unsweetened)
2 cups chocolate chips (I used bittersweet)
1/3 c butter
3 eggs
1 c sugar
1 1/2 t vanilla
1/2 c flour
2 T baking cocoa (I used Hershey's Special Dark)
1/4 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
powdered sugar

Melt the chocolate, 1 cup chocolate chips & butter together. Set aside & let cool for about 10 minutes.

Beat the eggs & sugar together until light about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla & melted chocolate mixture, beat until blended. Beat in the flour, cocoa, baking powder & salt until well combined. Stir in the remaining cup of chocolate chips. (The dough will seem very runny) Cover the mixing bowl & chill the dough for at least 3 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Working with a small amount of the dough at a time, roll it into 1-inch balls. Place the balls on an ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes until puffed up & set. Allow to cool for a couple minutes on the cookies sheet before moving to a rack to completely cool. Dust with powdered sugar.

Makes about 4 dozen (we got 51)
8 Weeks of Cookies
Apricot Foldover Cookies
Swedish Peppernut Cookies
Chocolate Covered Cherry Cookies
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