Thursday, July 28, 2011

Marinated Zucchini Salad


I'm vacationing this week - mostly at home, with little getaways here and there - so I'll keep this post simple.

This recipe screams summer. It doesn't require an oven or even a stove. It's cool and refreshing, and uses just a few basic seasonal ingredients.

I hope you make it and enjoy it as much as we did.

Marinated Zucchini Salad
Serves 4-6

3 medium sized zucchinis
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
Juice of ½ lemon
1 scallion, white and light green part only, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint

First, peel the zucchini and then julienne it into very thin matchsticks. Use a mandoline if you have one; if you use a knife, cut the pieces as thin as you can. They need to be really thin to get ‘cooked’ by the marinade.

Mix the oil, salt, lemon juice and scallions in with the zucchini. Let it sit at room temperature for 2-3 hours, or in the fridge for up to 24.

When you’re ready to serve, stir in the mint. This dish works well at room temperature or cold. It’s great as leftovers too, if you have any.


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Linzer Cookies


It isn't every day that you get to leave your kids for the night and spend an evening out on the town with your mom. It isn't every day that you get to sit on the beach for hours reading and sunbathing without being interrupted every ten minutes for drinks, buckets, diapers, and sunblock.


No complaints. Not a one. I love every moment with my family and wouldn't trade it in for the world. But suffice it to say that spending an overnight away from the kids - with my wonderful mother - was a treat. A welcome treat.


So when my mother came to my house for the weekend following our getaway, these cookies were our special treat for her. I know they're not ordinary. But they're a wonderful special occasion cookie that never disappoints.

My daughter Sarah shaping the cookies. 

Linzer Cookies, adapted from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
Makes about 20 cookies


3/4 pound butter or margarine, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup excellent raspberry preserves

In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter and sugar till just combined. Add the vanilla and mix briefly.

Into a separate large bowl, sift the flour and salt. (Yes. You really have to sift the flour for this recipe if you want a delicate cookie.) Add the sifted dry ingredients to the butter mixture.

Mix on low speed for about 2 minutes until the dough JUST starts to come together. Don't overmix or it'll start creaming. Don't undermix or you'll have crumbly dough.

Dump the dough onto a nice large piece of saran wrap and flatten it out. Wrap it up and chill for at least 1/2 hour or up to 24 hours.

When you're ready to bake the dough, remove it from the fridge. Cut it in half and roll each half about 1/4 inch thick. Cut it into rounds (for traditional shaped linzers) or into whatever pretty shapes you have handy. Use a 1-inch circle cutter to cut a hole right in the center of HALF your shapes.

Lay all the cookies onto parchment lined cookie sheets and refrigerate for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350*.

Bake the cookies for 20-25 minutes, until the edges are beginning to brown.

Allow the cookies to cool. If you're going to use them shortly, just set them aside till you're ready to fill them. Or, freeze them for up to a month.

When you're ready to fill the cookies, simple spread a thin layer of raspberry jam on the flat side of the solid shapes. Top with the cut-out cookies. Sprinkle with confectioners sugar and serve.




Linking this up to Weekend Bloggy Reading

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Pizzadillas (or Dinner in a Pinch)


It's official. I have over-extended myself. Between my family, my (very) full time job, and my passion for cooking and blogging, I sometimes feel like a rubber-band being pulled in a million directions.

One of my missions this summer is to simplify. Breakfasts, lunches and dinners, but also food shopping, laundry and wardrobes. We don't need fresh meat every week, and we can make do without a complete stock of tomatoes. A sandwich or slice of toast is just fine for breakfast, and an omelette makes a perfectly respectable dinner.

This dish (if you can call it that) was tonight's inspiration. The kids wolfed it up, and - served with a platter of fresh cut veggies - it made for a satisfying and nutritious meal.

Pizzadillas (my creation, named by 11-year-old Sarah)
Serves 2-4, depending how hungry you are!


4 whole wheat tortillas
1/2 cup tomato sauce
shredded cheese

Preheat the oven to 400*. Put the tortillas on a baking sheet and spoon about 2 tablespoons of sauce onto each tortilla. Sprinkle shredded cheese over the tortillas and bake for about 10 minutes, till the cheese is bubbling.

Serve immediately.


Linking this up to Pennywise Platter Thursday.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp (Baking with Dorie)


There's an unspoken rule about desserts in my household. It goes like this: Don't Serve Anything Without Chocolate.


I don't dare serve fruit desserts to my children for fear of being stoned. There is a certain truth to their arguments. When you're eating dessert, you want decadence. Richness. Amazingness.


I love fruit. Very much. But I'll admit that it is rarely decadent. So how did I get away with making this here crisp as a dessert? Simple. I made it on an ordinary weeknight, when the kids don't feel they are 'entitled' to dessert. (I NEVER serve dessert during the week with the exception of birthdays.)


With that mind-set, my children were the very willing consumers of this lovely crisp. And I learned that a fruit desserts is a great way to add some fun to an ordinary week!

Strawberry Rhubarb Double Crisp, adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours
The original recipe calls for more sugar than this, but I found it overly sweet. My kids, on the other hand, were perfectly happy with the original quantities. Use a full cup of sugar in the filling (instead of 3/4) if you want a sweeter version. I also substituted pecans for the walnuts, and fresh grated ginger for crystallized and ground ginger. 

TOPPING AND CRUST
1 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
Pinch of salt
Pinch of cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 stick butter, melted

FILLING
5 stalks rhubarb, trimmed, peeled, and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup cold water
3 cups (about 12 ounces) strawberries, hulled and sliced
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350*.

Now, make the topping and crust. Mix together all of the TOPPING AND CRUST  ingredients besides the butter. Add the melted butter and then use a fork to stir the ingredients will well combined.

Spoon half of the mixture into a round pie plate and pat it down to form a crust.

Next, make the filling. Spread the rhubarb over the crust in the pan. Dissolve the cornstarch in water and set it aside.

Combine the strawberries, sugar and ginger in a medium pot and heat gently, over medium-low heat. As it heats up, use a fork or potato masher to gently mash the berries and release some of their juices. When the mixture comes to a full boil, pour in the dissolved cornstarch and stir with a whisk while returning to a boil. Let the mixture cook for just a couple of minutes till it's thick and the cornstarch is well combined. Stir in the vanilla.

Pour the berry mixture over the rhubarb as evenly as you can. Scatter the remaining TOPPING AND CRUST mix evenly over the filling.

Bake for about an hour, until the topping is golden and the filling is bubbling. Cool for at least 15 minutes, or longer. (The crisp is also wonderful as leftovers. We enjoyed ours all week!)


Linking this up to Weekend Bloggy Reading, Yummy Mummy, Bizzy Bakes, Sweet Tooth Friday, and Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms.

Read my fellow bloggers' posts over at Baking with Dorie