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Speculoos – Belgian Spice Cookies

26 Feb

These cookies are like gingerbread cookies crossed with Biscoff biscuits (I’m a big fan of both). They are thin and crunchy and IMO totally addictive. They do take some planning, because you have to refrigerate the dough overnight. But once made, they keep well in a sealed container for over a week (if you don’t eat them all by then!)

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Ingredients

  • 1½ cups all purpose flour
  • ½ cup oat flour or almond meal
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1½ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Beat sugar and butter together in a large bowl until light.
  2. Add egg and beat until fluffy.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together flour and spices.
  4. Gradually add flour mixture to sugar mixture just until combined.
  5. Divide dough in half. Flatten each half into a rectangle. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  6. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface to about ¼ inch thick.
  7. Cut dough into small rectangles, about 1-inch by 2-inches, or cut into shapes with cookie cutters. If dough feels dry, add a bit of water.
  8. Garnish with slice almonds (optional)
  9. Bake at 350F on parchment-lined baking sheets until the cookies have darkened and the edges have begun to brown, about 14 minutes.
  10. Remove from heat and cool.

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Chicken Noodle Soup from Scratch

19 Feb

Here’s the chicken noodle soup where I used my chicken stock made from scratch. Yeah, that’s a lot of work. But you can skip making stock from scratch if you want, and just use some high-quality store-bought stuff.  We both thought the soup tasted delicious! Can’t wait to make it again!

chicken noodle soup

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups chicken
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 carrots, cut ½ inch thick
  • 2 ribs celery, cut ½ inch thick
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 8 oz. extra wide egg noodles
  • salt, pepper, fresh parsley to taste

 

Directions

  1. Cook chicken, put in separate bowl
  2. Brown onion, carrots, celery, garlic, thyme, bay leaf, about 6 minutesdsc05967
  3. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil
  4. Add noodles, simmer until tender, about 5 minutes
  5. Add chicken back into soup
  6. Add salt and pepper to taste
  7. Serve, sprinkle with parsley if desired

 

Easy Chicken Stock

12 Feb

When hubby came down with a cold, I woman’d up and made chicken soup from scratch! Literally, from scratch. I deboned whole chickens, and made a chicken stock. Here’s the chicken stock recipe I used, from a class I took at the Whole Foods Cooking School in Lincoln Park. I’ll post the recipe to my chicken noodle soup, which uses this stock, next week.

I used filtered water for my stock, because well, if you’re going to all this trouble to make stock from scratch, why would you skimp on the water?

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs chicken carcasses, including necks and backs (I used the bones from 2 chickens)
  • 1 large yellow onion, quartered
  • 4 carrots, chopped largely
  • 4 stalks celery, chopped largely
  • 2 leeks, white parts only
  • 8-12 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 8-10 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 8-12 black peppercorns
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 gallons (32 quarts) cold water 

 

Directions

  1. Put all ingredients into a large stock pot, adding the water last.dsc05966
  2. Cook on high and bring to a boil.
  3. When the water boils, turn heat to Low and create a simmer.
  4. Simmer uncovered for 6 to 8 hours. Add hot water as needed to keep ingredients submerged.
  5. When needed, skim the fat from the broth with the edge of a spoon.
  6. Strain the stock with a fine mesh strainer into another pot.
  7. Cool completely and place in refrigerator overnight.
  8. Remove solidified fat from surface of stock and dispose.

The stock is good in the fridge for 5 – 7 days. You can portion out the stock for freezing – it will keep for 3 months in the freezer.

 

Using Up Overripe Cherries: Toaster Oven Cobbler

7 Jan

Has a cold snap hit your town this weekend? Then it’s a good time to stay in and whip up a sweet, hot dessert (or breakfast)! This is also a great way to use up overripe berries in the summer months. You’ll need 4 ramekins or other small, oven-proof dishes for the cobbler. I used mostly all-purpose flour but replaced a tablespoon’s worth with coconut flour, just for kicks.

Cherry cobbler

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup to 1 cup cherries, pitted
  • 2 ½ Tbsp sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp cornstarch
  • 1 ½ tsp lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp vanilla extract or almond extract
  • ¼ cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • dash salt
  • ¼cup milk
  • 1 Tbsp butter, melted

Directions

  1. Preheat toaster oven (or regular oven) to 350°F  
  2. Toss cherries in 1 ½ Tbsp sugar, cornstarch, lemon juice, and a dash of vanilla or almond extract.dsc05884
  3. Divide evenly into 4 ramekins.dsc05886
  4. Place ramekins into oven for 10 minutes, while you prep the batter.
  5. For the batter: combine flour, remainder of sugar, baking powder, salt, milk, and butter.
  6. Spoon into ramekins on top of the cherries.
  7. Bake for about 45 minutes.
  8. Broil for 2-3 minutes, to brown the tops.
  9. Enjoy on its own or with ice cream!
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