Mambo Italiano!

This week we revisited one of our favourite themes – Italian. Our new friend, Carol, joined us for a rooftop dinner in the heart of downtown Portland. Carol is from Brazil and it was so much fun learning all about Brazil and her culture. I’m pretty sure we’ll be having a Brazilian themed dinner soon :)

Mary and Taylor both made salads that ended up being pretty similar in some of their ingredients. Both salads were delicious though and we a wonderful part of our meal. Carol made a really tasty tomato risotto with the classic risotto rice, Arborio, Parmesan cheese and some little tomatoes. It was so tasty! I made a couple of different kinds of biscotti – double chocolate and white chocolate-lemon. I didn’t know this until a couple of days ago, but apparently traditional Italian biscotti doesn’t contain any butter or oil. Who knew?!

We had such a great time sitting on the rooftop enjoying the Portland sunshine, conversation and delicious food. Try out all of the dishes we made, I promise you won’t be disappointed! IMG_6767

Italian Antipasto Salad:
Via

Ingredients:

  • 3 Romaine lettuce hearts, chopped or torn into bite-size pieces
  • 4 oz. salami, thinly sliced
  • 4 oz. Provolone, thinly sliced
  • 1 can black olives
  • 1 package grape tomatoes
  • Fresh basil, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • Splash balsamic vinegar
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning

Directions:

  1. Combine lettuce, salami, provolone, olives, tomatoes and basil in a large bowl.
  2. In a small bowl, combine olive oil, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, garlic and Italian seasoning. Pour onto salad and mix well.

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Radicchio, Fennel and Olive Panzanella:
Via

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz. country style bread, torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1 tbsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 small shallow, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. chopped oregano
  • 1 small head radicchio, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1 small fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup fresh flat leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup green olives, pitted and halved
  • 3 oz. shaved Manchego cheese
  • 3 oz. hard salami, thinly sliced

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss bread with lemon zest and ¼ cup oil on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Bake, tossing occasionally, until crisp on the outside but still chewy in the center, 8–10 minutes. Let cool.
  2. Whisk shallot, lemon juice, vinegar, and oregano in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper. Whisk in remaining ¼ cup oil.
  3. Add radicchio, fennel, parsley, olives, cheese, salami, and bread to dressing; toss to combine.

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Double-Chocolate Biscotti:
Via

Ingredients:

  • 6.75 oz. all-purpose flour (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate minichips
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg white

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 6 ingredients (through salt) in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Combine vanilla, eggs, and egg white in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add flour mixture to egg mixture; stir until well blended. Divide dough in half. Turn dough out onto a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. With floured hands, shape each dough half into a 12-inch-long roll; pat to 1/2-inch thickness.
  3. Bake at 350°F for 22 minutes. Remove rolls from baking sheet; cool 10 minutes on a wire rack. Cut each roll diagonally into 18 (1/2-inch) slices. Carefully stand slices upright on baking sheet. Bake biscotti an additional 15 minutes or until almost firm (biscotti will be slightly soft in center but will harden as they cool). Remove biscotti from baking sheet; cool completely on wire rack.

White Chocolate-Lemon Biscotti:
Via

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. lemon extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/4 cups (6 oz.) white chocolate bar, chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
  2. Place first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt; gradually add to sugar mixture, beating until well blended. Stir in chocolate.
  3. Turn dough out onto a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Shape dough into 2 (12-inch-long) rolls; pat to 2 1/2-inch width.
  4. Bake at 300°F for 35 minutes. Remove rolls from baking sheet; cool 10 minutes on a wire rack.
  5. Cut rolls diagonally into 24 (1/2-inch) slices. Place, cut sides down, on baking sheet. Bake at 300°F for 10 to 12 minutes. Turn cookies over; bake an additional 10 minutes (cookies will be slightly soft in center but will harden as they cool). Remove from baking sheet; cool completely on wire rack.

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Happy eating, everyone!!

Citrus!

We finally got back to Friday Night Dinners last week after a long stretch of people being out of town and unavailable for various events. We decided to go with a citrus dinner and oh man was it good!

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Lemons, grapefruits and oranges made their way into our dishes and they did not disappoint. From lemon dips, chicken and macarons, to a grapefruit salad and oranges with rice, everything was delicious.

We had a great time catching up and sitting out on the patio in the middle of downtown Portland eating, laughing, telling stories and just having a good ol’ time.

After dinner we went and checked out the Starlight Parade, kicking off the Rose Festival. We had a great time watching all of the floats go past, listening to music and enjoying all the magic of a parade at night.

You all should definitely try out all of these recipes. So easy and delicious, you’ll love them!

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Artichoke Lemon Dip:
Via

Ingredients:

  • 1 14-ounce can artichokes hearts packed in water, drained
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup, packed grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp. lemon zest
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 8oz. cream cheese, room temperature
  • 3-4 tbsp. lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Put the drained artichoke hearts, parsley, Parmesan, lemon zest, garlic, salt and pepper in a food processor. Pulse a few times until a paste forms. You should still be able to make out bits of parsley and lemon so don’t over-process it.
  2. Place the cream cheese in a medium-sized bowl. Add the artichoke parsley mixture and the lemon juice. Stir until well blended. Add more salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste. Garnish with a few fresh leaves of parsley or ribbons of lemon zest.

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Avocado and Grapefruit Salad:
Via

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 3/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 4 ripe avocados
  • 2 large red grapefruits

Directions:

  1. Place the mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until the vinaigrette is emulsified.
  2. Before serving, cut the avocados in half, remove the seeds and carefully peel off the skin. Cut each half into 4 thick slices. Toss the avocado slices in the vinaigrette to prevent them from turning brown. Use a large, sharp knife to slice the peel off the grapefruits, then cut between the membranes to release the grapefruit segments.
  3. Arrange the avocado slices around the edge of a large platter. Arrange the grapefruit segments in the centre. Spoon the vinaigrette on top, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve.

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Wild Rice with Oranges:
Via

Ingredients:

  • 1 package brown and wild rice mix
  • 2 oranges, peeled and separated into segments, then halved
  • 1/3 cup low sodium chicken or beef broth
  • 1/2 cup sliced red onion
  • 1/2 cup each bite size strips green and red bell peppers
  • 1 tsp. finely grated orange zest
  • 1/4 tsp. dried sage
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Prepare rice mix according to package directions, cooking in unsalted water.
  2. In a skillet heat a few tbsp. of chicken broth. Sauté onion in broth for 3 minutes, add bell peppers and more broth if necessary, stir in orange zest, sage and pepper. Sauté 3-4 minutes more, or until vegetables are tender.
  3. When rice is done, stir in orange segments and vegetable mixture, heat through and serve.

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Chicken Skewers with Meyer Lemon Salsa:
Via

Ingredients:

  • 8 Meyer lemons
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped English cucumber
  • 3 tbsp. thinly sliced scallions, divided
  • 1 serrano chile (with seeds) finely chopped
  • Pinch of sugar
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2″ pieces
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp. cracked coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp. turmeric (optional)

Directions:

  1. Using a sharp knife, cut all peel and white pith from lemons; discard. Working over a medium bowl, cut between membranes to release segments into bowl; squeeze in juice from membranes and discard membranes. Strain juice into another bowl.
  2. Combine segments, 1 Tbsp. strained lemon juice (reserve remaining juice for another use), cucumber, 2 Tbsp. scallions, and chile in a small bowl; mix well. Stir in sugar; season salsa with salt and set aside.
  3. Place chicken in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper. In a mini-processor or blender, purée 1/4 cup cilantro, yogurt, vegetable oil, garlic, coriander, and turmeric. Pour marinade over chicken; toss to coat. Let marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before continuing.
  4. Preheat broiler. Thread 4 pieces of chicken onto each skewer and transfer to a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil, turning once and watching closely to prevent burning, until browned and cooked through, about 8 minutes. (Alternatively, grill skewers over medium-high heat on a gas grill or over medium heat on a charcoal grill.) Transfer skewers to plates. Spoon Meyer lemon salsa over chicken. Garnish with remaining 2 Tbsp. cilantro and 1 Tbsp. scallions.

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Lemon Macarons with Lemon Curd:
Via Bryony Cooks

Ingredients:

Shells: 

  • 110g almond meal
  • 200g powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp. lemon zest (dried for at least 2 hours, overnight is best)
  • 90g egg whites, room temperature
  • 30g sugar
  • Yellow gel or powder food colouring

Lemon Curd: 

  • 1.6 oz. lemon juice
  • 2.6 oz. sugar
  • Lemon zest, to taste (optional)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1.6 oz. egg
  • 2 oz. butter

Directions:

  1. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats.
  2. In a food processor, process almond meal, powdered sugar and lemon zest. Sift into a large mixing bowl and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine egg whites and sugar. Whip until stiff peaks form, adding food colouring about a minute before they reach stiff peak stage (usually after 4-5 minutes).
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the whipped egg whites. Fold together until combined — thick ribbons should fall from the spatula back into the mixture.
  5. Transfer batter to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip. Pipe into 1-inch circles on your prepared baking sheets about 1-inch apart.
  6. Bang baking sheets on the counter 3-4 times to release any air bubbles. Let the macarons sit for at least 30 minutes before baking.
  7. Heat oven to 300°F. Bake, one sheet at a time, for 15 minutes, rotating about halfway through for even baking. Remove from oven and place on top of a cooling rack to cool. Once cool, remove from sheets and pair up macarons.
  8. While the macarons are baking and cooling, make the lemon curd. Heat the lemon juice in a saucepan. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, yolk and sugar.
  9. Once the lemon juice is hot, temper the eggs with it, pouring slowly and whisking constantly so you don’t scramble the eggs. Transfer back to saucepan and cook until thick. Remove from heat, add butter, combine and chill until ready to use.
  10. Place a small amount of lemon curd on one half of each macaron pair and gently sandwich together. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator; allow to come to room temperature before eating.

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Happy eating, everyone!

Parents Dinner

Our little group has been doing these Friday Night Dinners for the last three years. In those three years, we had never once cooked a dinner for our parents so they could experience the magic of FND. Last night, that changed.

Taylor, Mary and I got together and made a dinner for both my parents and Mary’s parents. We had such a wonderful time. I don’t think I’ve laughed as much and as hard as I did last night in a long, long time.

While we were cooking we all snacked on some killer almonds we found at World Foods here in Portland. These almonds are seriously life changing. We were eating these like candy you guys, so good. If you’re in Portland, do yourselves a favour and go buy the rosemary almonds at World Foods. You won’t be disappointed.

I’m so glad our parents were able to experience an FND. We gush about our dinners all the time and I think now they can understand where we get all of our excitement from. Best friends, family and food. Is there anything better? I don’t think so. Drinks were flowing, food was eaten and the night was filled with lots of conversation and laughter.

You guys have to make every single one of these dishes. I promise you’ll love them all :)

Broccoli, Cheddar and Potato Soup: 
Via

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 medium sized broccoli bunch, chopped
  • 1 russet potato
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3 cups vegetable or chicken broth

Directions:

  1. Blanch broccoli by placing in boiling water for 30 seconds. Immediately drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  2. In a large dutch oven, melt the butter. Peel and chop the potato into small 1-inch dice. Sauté both the potato and the onion in the butter for about 6 minutes, or until the onion starts to become translucent. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds more. Then, add dry mustard, cayenne, and salt. Stir to coat.
  3. Add the flour and stir well. Pour in the broth and add in the broccoli florets. Stir and bring back to a simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until the potato is tender. Slowly pour in the milk and add cheese, stirring to melt.
  4. Carefully pour soup into a blender (or use an immersion blender) and process until smooth. Keep warm until serving.

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Spring Peas and Greens with Cacio e Pepe Dressing: 
Via

Ingredients:

  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 3 tbsp. buttermilk
  • 1 small garlic clove, finely grated
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbsp. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for garnish
  • 3/4 tsp. coarsely cracked black peppercorns
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 pounds frozen shelled edamame, thawed
  • 2 cups frozen peas, thawed
  • 4 cups spring greens
  • 1 avocado, peeled and cut into thin wedges

Directions:

  1. In a food processor, pulse the egg yolk with the buttermilk and garlic. With the machine on, drizzle in the olive oil until incorporated. Add the 3 tablespoons of cheese and the peppercorns and puree until smooth. Season the dressing with salt.
  2. In a bowl, toss the edamame, peas and greens. Add some dressing, season with salt and toss. Arrange the avocado on plates and top with the salad. Garnish with grated cheese and serve.

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Margherita Pizza: 

Ingredients:

  • Trader Joe’s plain pizza dough
  • Pizza sauce
  • Mozzarella, sliced
  • Basil leaves

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Lightly grease a baking sheet. Roll out dough and transfer to prepared baking sheet.
  3. Spread sauce over dough. Lay out mozzarella slices over pizza and sprinkle with basil leaves.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes.

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Asparagus, Mushroom and Red Onion Pizza: 
Via Bryony Cooks!

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag Trader Joe’s herb and garlic pizza dough
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese (strong Dubliner preferred)
  • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
  • 1 small red onion, sliced
  • 1 bunch asparagus

Directions:

  1. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Place asparagus spears in water and cook for 1-2 minutes. Remove from pot and shock immediately in an ice water bath. At the same times, lightly sauté the mushrooms.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°F and lightly oil a baking sheet.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough and transfer to prepared baking sheet. Spread the oil over the dough. Sprinkle 1 cup of cheese over dough and top with asparagus, mushrooms and red onion. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake for 15 minutes.

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Baked Strawberry Cheesecakes: 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 5 tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup fresh strawberries, chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a muffin tin with liners.
  2. Put cracker crumbs into a medium bowl and add melted butter. Stir together and spoon by tablespoons into prepared liners, pressing firmly into the bottom. Chill until set.
  3. In a large bowl, beat ricotta until smooth. Add the cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla, blending until smooth. Slowly add the eggs, blending well. Add strawberries and combine. Scoop into prepared liners.
  4. Bake for 25 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Chill until ready to serve.
  5. Serve with additional strawberries, if desired.

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Passover

This past weekend, we had a Passover themed dinner filled with some truly delicious Jewish food. From fruity-glazed chicken to brussels sprouts, unleavened bread and rugelach everything was so, so good.

It was a beautiful weekend in Portland and we started off our night on the rooftop balcony of Taylor’s apartment complex over looking the city.

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Sunny days in Portland are the absolute best. We live in such a beautiful city and everything shines when the sun comes out.

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We had a lot of fun enjoying the sunshine, cooking together, eating, laughing, singing, talking and describing our ideal men. {I’d tell you more but what happens at FND stays at FND :)} These recipes are so fun and easy to make. All the different flavours combined together beautiful and I absolutely recommend you try your hand at making them!

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Pomegranate Glazed Chicken:
Via

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups pomegranate juice
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp. dried rosemary
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • 4 bone-in chicken breast halves

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F, with rack in top third. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil; set aside.
  2. Make glaze: In large skillet, combine juices, rosemary, garlic and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Boil over high heat until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 15 minutes, stirring and scraping down side of skillet with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a liquid measuring cup; stir in vinegar. Reserve cup glaze for serving.
  3. Meanwhile, season chicken with salt and pepper. Place, skin side up, on prepared baking sheet; bake 15 minutes then brush chicken with glaze. Continue baking, brushing chicken with glaze every 5 minutes, until chicken is cooked through, about 15-20 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes, then drizzle with remaining glaze. Serve.

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Haroses: 

Ingredients:

  • 6 grated red apples (skin and core removed)
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/3 cup Mogan David wine (or another sweet Jewish wine)
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients together. Refrigerate until ready to eat.

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Honey-Roasted Brussels Sprouts: 

Ingredients:

  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Honey

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange Brussels sprouts on top. Drizzle with honey.
  2. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

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Unleavened Bread: 
Via

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup oil

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients together.
  2. Roll out to 1/8″ thick and place on greased cookie sheet.
  3. Score into 1-inch squares. Bake at 400°F for about 15 minutes.

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Rugelach:
Via

Ingredients:

Dough:

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon-sized cubes
  • 1 tbsp. kosher salt
  • 1 pound regular cream cheese, chilled and cubed
  • 1/4 cup regular sour cream
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • Raw sugar, for decorating

Chocolate Filling: 

  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup chocolate, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp. butter, melted and cooled
  • if you want to make only chocolate rugelach, double this filling recipe

Strawberry Filling: 

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1lb. strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • if you want to make only strawberry rugelach, double this filling recipe

Ingredients:

Dough: 

  1. Add your cubed butter and flour to your food processor and process for about 30 seconds or so, until the butter is broken up well and the mixture looks like wet sand. Just be sure to work quickly so the butter doesn’t melt. Transfer the butter and flour mixture to a large mixing bowl (the biggest one you’ve got) and add in the salt, cream cheese, and sour cream. Mix everything together quickly, breaking up the cream cheese with your hands and working it well into the flour, until the mixture is crumbly and only pea-sized amounts of cream cheese remain visible. Again, work quickly so that the cream cheese doesn’t warm up too much. A few ribbons of cream cheese are fine; in fact, they will be delicious once baked.
  2. Turn the dough out onto a sheet of foil, press down on it slightly, and form the dough into a thick disk. Wrap the disk tightly in the foil, and chill in the refrigerator for as little as 20 minutes or as long as overnight. While your dough chills, make your filling(s) of choice.
  3. When your dough has chilled, you are ready to fill ‘em and bake ‘em. Preheat your oven to 350°F and line a few baking trays with parchment paper and sprinkle the paper with some raw sugar. Unwrap the dough, divide it into 2 parts, and put one part back in the fridge so it stays cold. Flour your work surface extremely well, then knead the dough a bit to make it less sticky and more maleable. Roll the dough into a ball, then press it down until it’s about ¾-inch thick. The sides may crack a bit at first, but just keep working it until you have a smooth sided disk, adding more flour as needed to keep your hands from sticking to the dough.
  4. Roll the dough out into a 10 to 12-inch circle of even thickness. Fold the dough into a half-moon and use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to cut away any uneven sides, as you want the circle to be as symmetrical as possible for even cookies. Unfold the dough so it’s a full circle again.
  5. If you are using the chocolate filling, brush the dough with your butter, then sprinkle the chocolate evenly over everything, pressing down a bit to make the chocolate stick. Use a pizza cutter or sharp knife to cut the circle into 16 equal-sized wedges.
  6. Roll the dough up, starting with the bigger side, tightly and carefully, to make the classic rugelach shape. Place the rugelach seam side down onto your parchment. Continue with the rest of your dough, then brush each rugelach with your egg wash and sprinkle with raw sugar. Bake for 15-20 minutes, rotating the trays halfway through baking, until the cookies are a light, golden brown. Allow to cool before moving and serving. These will store well in an airtight container for up to 1 week at room temperature, and will freeze well for up to 3 months.

Chocolate Filling: 

  1. Combine the sugar and cinnamon and chop your chocolate. Melt your butter and let it cool. When you are ready to use, brush the butter over the rolled out rugelach, sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar mixture, then press the chocolate down evenly over the dough. Roll up and bake.

Strawberry Filling: 

  1. In a medium sized pot, combine the sugar and water. Bring to a simmer, and stir constantly, until the sugar has dissolved completely. Bring the mixture to a simmer again, and without stirring, allow it to simmer for a solid 4 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add in the berries, and stir. Bring the temperature up to medium, and stirring frequently, cook the berries down until thickened, about 15-20 minutes. Use a wooden spoon to mash the berries up a bit. This may look watery at first, but have no fear! It will thicken up.
  2. When the mixture looks thick enough, move the pot to an ice bath and, being careful not to get any cold water into the jam, stir vigorously until the jam has cooled a bit and looks thick. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly over the top of the jam, to protect it from forming a skin, and set aside until ready to use. This makes a great regular ol’ jam, too, if you have leftovers! It will keep well in the fridge for up to 1 week in an airtight container (or a few months if you sterilize the jar you put it in).
  3. When you are ready to use the strawberry filling, spread it out over the rugelach dough (use a light touch, you really don’t want to overfill it as it will seep out and burn to the bottom of the pan/cookies) and bake as directed above.

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IMG_6480Happy eating, everyone!

 

Thai!

Amy was up in Portland this weekend and she decided Thai would be the perfect theme for us to tackle. She was right.

We filled Taylor’s apartment with fragrant coconut rice and spicy stir-fried tofu, sautéed veggies, honey sesame rolls and lots of laughter.

My favourite part of this meal was definitely the coconut rice. Beyond easy to make but filled with so much flavour — and the added turmeric gives it a pretty yellow hue. The recipe we used did make a lot of rice but it’s definitely something you can eat as leftovers or freeze for another use.

I’m not a big tofu girl, something about the texture just kind of weirds me out. This tofu though made me see it in a whole new light. It was perfectly cooked (no weird textures) and the spices used to season it were the perfect way to jazz it up. And paired with the coconut rice? So delicious.

Spicy Stir-Fried Tofu with Coconut Rice:
Via

Ingredients:

Rice: 

  • 1 3/4 cups basmati rice
  • 4 tsp. roasted peanut or coconut oil
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 1 tbsp. minced ginger
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 (15-ounce) can coconut milk
  • 1/2 tsp. lime zest

Tofu: 

  • 1 package extra-firm tofu
  • 1 tbsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • 2 tbsp. peanut oil
  • 4 scallions, including half the greens, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped, for garnish

Directions:

  1. For the rice: Gently wash the rice in a bowl, soak for 30 minutes, then drain.
  2. Warm the oil in a 3-quart saucepan with the onion, ginger, garlic, and turmeric. Cook over medium-low heat for 8 minutes, then add the rice and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir to coat the grains, then add the coconut milk, 2 cups water, and the lime leaves. Bring to a boil, turn the heat to low, cover, and cook until the rice is done, 15 to 18 minutes, stirring twice during cooking.
  3. Turn off the heat and set it aside while you prepare the tofu. It will look a little wet at first, but the liquid will be absorbed by the time you’re ready.
  4. For the tofu: Drain the tofu, then cut it into 1/2-inch cubes. Combine the spices, 1 teaspoon salt, and the sugar in a bowl, add the tofu, and toss gently with a rubber spatula.
  5. Heat the oil in a wok or skillet, add the tofu, and stir-fry until crispy and golden, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the scallions and cook just until they’re wilted, then add the lime juice. Serve the tofu on the rice, garnished with the cilantro.

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Frozen Vegetable Stir-Fry:
{We actually used fresh vegetables}

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • Fresh/frozen vegetables (we used broccoli, carrots and green beans)

Directions:

  1. Combine soy sauce, brown sugar and garlic in a small bowl.
  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat; cook and stir vegetables until just tender, 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat and fold in soy sauce mixture.

IMG_6404

Sweet Sesame Balls:
Via

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 3 cups glutinous rice flour
  • 1/2 cup white sesame seeds
  • Honey, warmed, for dipping

Directions:

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the oil until a deep-frying thermometer reads 350 degrees .
  2. In a saucepan, bring 1 cup water to a boil; stir in the brown sugar until dissolved. Place the rice flour in a medium bowl and, using a fork, stir in the sugar syrup until a sticky dough forms.
  3. Place the sesame seeds in a bowl. Using your hands, roll about 2 tablespoons dough into a ball. Roll the ball in the sesame seeds; repeat with the remaining dough.
  4. When the oil is hot, working in batches, fry the sesame balls until golden brown, about 4 minutes per batch. Transfer the sesame balls to a paper-towel-lined plate. Serve with the warm honey.

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Happy eating, everyone!

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