Subscribe to Kitchy Cooking

labeled-nuggets

I LOVE cookies! They’re small, sweet, bite-sized circles or squares of deliciousness. So when Melissa’s invited me to a meet, greet and taste all about cookies, I was soooooooooooooooo in!

dorie

In case you aren’t familiar with the name, Dorie Greenspan is a “culinary guru” according to the New York Times. She’s been around the food world for awhile now, working with most of the greats including Pierre Hermé and Julia Child. Through all those years cooking and baking, Greenspan has written several cookbooks and made or created numerous cookie recipes. But until Dorie’s Cookies, she has never written a book about them. This 500-plus page book is filled with every cookie recipe imaginable. Looking for your basic chocolate chip? She’s got it. Want something fruity? It’s in here. Do you prefer nuts or peanut butter? Greenspan’s got you covered. She even has several recipes devoted to different types of brownies. I’m telling you, this book is going to be my cookie bible for years and years to come. The fact that Christmas and Hanukkah are three weeks away, makes this book the perfect go to for all those cookies we want to make.

Now while I’m usually all about sweet cookies, I know not everyone out there likes rich, gooey, sweets. Some people like savory bites instead. Well, don’t worry, there’s a whole chapter on savory options in here called Cocktail Cookies. It’s in this chapter that I discovered these awesome Bee’s Sneeze Nuggets. They’re lemony, salty, spicy bites that are great with a cocktail or some cheese. If however, you want to add a little sweetness, Greenspan suggests dipping them in some honey. I’ve tasted them plain and dipped and they’re great either way.

close-up

Wondering how Greenspan came up with the idea for these little nuggets? From a cocktail menu. She was at Booker and Dax, a cocktail bar in New York City, when her friend ordered the Bee’s Sneeze which was a gin cocktail made with lemon juice, honey, ginger and black pepper. Greenspan took one sip and knew immediately she wanted to turn it into a cookie. She kept all the ingredients from the cocktail and added a little flour and olive oil. What she got were flaky nuggets that are perfect for any cocktail party and a nice change of pace from all the sweet Christmas cookies you’ll be seeing this holiday season.

over-head-shot

Bee’s Sneeze Nuggets

Ingredients:

  • 1-3/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons gin
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • finely grated zest of 2 lemons
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder and pepper together in a small bowl.
  3. Whisk the lemon juice, oil, gin, and honey together in another bowl.
  4. Toss the sugar and salt in a large bowl with the lemon zest. Then rub the sugar, salt and lemon zest together with your fingers until the sugar and salt are moist and aromatic. Mix in the grated ginger. Add the flour mixture and stir until combined. Make a well in the center and pour in the lemon juice mixture.
  5. Using a fork, mix the dry ingredients into the wet. After a couple minutes you’ll have a soft dough. Fold and knead the dough gently just to pull it all together.
  6. Flour a work surface and turn the dough out onto it. Using your hands, pat the dough into a square shape that’s 1 inch thick.  Using a knife or bench scraper, cut the dough into 1-inch squares.
  7. Place the nuggets on the baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes, rotating the sheets half way through the baking time, until the nuggets are golden brown. Let the nuggets cool completely and serve with honey, cheese or a cocktail.

Bentley Cocktail

Posted by Jenn. Comment (0).

labeled-cocktail

Thanksgiving is next week and while turkey may be on the forefront of everyone’s mind, I’m still thinking about apples. Yes, the little green and red fruits are perfect for desserts, but they also make a mean cocktail.

While it’s true you could just add some apple juice or sparkling cider to your liquor of choice, I prefer cocktails that use either Applejack or Apple Brandy. I mean, let’s face it, alcoholic apple juice is soooo much better than the non-alcoholic version (though I won’t turn it down if it’s offered).

What makes the Bentley ideal for the holidays is that it’s simple to make and it uses red wine. I don’t know about you, but red wine always seems to be flowing at my Thanksgiving table. You can’t just use any red wine, though. The red for this cocktail is Dubonnet Rouge.

overhead-shot

See, Dubonnet isn’t your basic red wine. It’s a wine that’s been laced with a blend of herbs, spices, peels, and quinine. I know quinine sounds like an odd choice for alcohol, but when combined with the wine and spices, it makes a delightful drink reminiscent of a hearty port. And when combined with the apple brandy, you get a fall cocktail worthy of any Thanksgiving table or holiday party.

This drink wasn’t created for the holidays though. It was actually created in June 1927 after the Bentley brothers won their first Le Mans auto race with… the Bentley of course. The story goes that after the race the brothers drove all through the night from Le Mans, France to London’s Grosvenor Square where a party was being held for the win. But when they got there, the only things left to drink were Calvados (an apple brandy) and Dubonnet. Undeterred, the Bentley boys mixed them together in equal parts, and the Bentley was born.

Today a dash or two of bitters is added to round out the drink. Personally, I prefer orange bitters because it makes the cocktail a little sweeter. But if you prefer Angostura or Peychaud’s use those, as they work just as well.  Mixed all together you get a strong drink with definite herbal undertones.  And those herbal notes plus the apple brandy make for a good fall drink but an even better holiday cocktail.

close-up

Bentley Cocktail

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/2 oz. Dubonnet Rouge
  • 1-1/2 oz. Apple Brandy
  • 1-2 dashes orange bitters

Directions:

  1. Pour all ingredients into a stirring glass. Add ice and stir until chilled. Strain into a cocktail glass, garnish with a twist of orange and serve.

Artichoke Parmesan Stuffing

Posted by Jenn. Comment (0).

labeled-stuffing

To stuff or not to stuff. That is the question.

There’s always been this big debate in the Thanksgiving world about whether or not you should stuff your turkey. Several believe that stuffing the turkey means you’re forced to leave the turkey in the oven longer in order to fully cook the bird. When that happens you run the risk of lacing the stuffing with salmonella thanks to putting it inside a raw turkey and/or drying out your bird. But if you brine (or buy a brined turkey) you don’t really need to worry about a dry bird since it has spent at least 12 hours soaking in a cold broth bath. Even so, there are still those that would rather not stuff. It’s in these cases that stuffing becomes dressing: a bread mixture that’s cooked separately in a casserole dish and then served with the turkey.

close-up

Then there are those who believe that Thanksgiving isn’t complete unless you stuff your bird. In their opinion you get a richer stuffing thanks to all the juices from the turkey that seep into the stuffing while it cooks. I am a staunch stuffing fan and I always have been thanks to my father who always, always made the stuffing. I love the flavors that meld together as the bread crumbs, butter, celery and turkey juices cook. It doesn’t matter whether you use sourdough or corn bread, celery or water chestnuts, there’s absolutely nothing like it. Yes, dressing on its own can be amazing, but nothing compares to stuffing.

As I said, every year my father would make a different stuffing. He always loved finding new recipes and trying different things. Then a few years ago Mom discovered this artichoke stuffing in Sunset Magazine. Evidently it’s one of Sunset’s most popular recipes. As a matter of fact, every holiday season people call the magazine requesting the recipe and after tasting it, I can see why. It’s absolutely delicious! The cheese mixed with the marinated artichoke hearts makes for a savory stuffing that has just a hint of tang thanks to the marinated artichoke hearts. Yes, you could cook it separately in a casserole dish, but when that stuffing is drenched with turkey juices… oh my god! It’s out of this world good. No matter which way you try it though, one taste and you too, will understand why it’s one of Sunset’s most requested recipes year after year.

over-head-shot

Artichoke Parmesan Stuffing

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound mushrooms, rinsed, stemmed and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, divided
  • 1 loaf of sourdough bread, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 (6 oz.) jars marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 large egg

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F, butter a 2-quart baking dish and set aside.
  2. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, onions, celery, and garlic, and sauté, stirring often, until vegetables are browned, about 15 minutes. Transfer vegetable mixture to a large bowl.
  3. Add a 1/2 cup of the broth to the skillet and scrape up browned bits with a wooden spoon; add to the bowl with the vegetable mixture and set aside.
  4. Pour the remaining broth into a separate bowl. Add the bread, artichoke hearts, parmesan and rosemary, and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Beat the egg with a fork and add it to the bread mixture. Combine the bread mixture with the vegetable mixture until well mixed.
  6. For dressing, spoon bread mixture into prepared baking dish and cook for 45- 50 minutes. For moist dressing, cover with foil. If you like it crustier, don’t cover.
  7. If you prefer stuffing, place half of the bread mixture into the cavity of the bird and seal with turkey needles. Cook turkey according to the recipe you’re following taking into account the extra weight thanks to the stuffing. Place the other half of the stuffing in the prepared baking dish and cook for 45-50 minutes. When the turkey’s done, scoop out the stuffing and mix with the cooked dressing in the baking dish. Serve immediately.

Note: You can prepare the stuffing up to 1 day ahead. Just make the stuffing, put it in a prepared baking dish, cover and chill. Then on Thanksgiving, bake for 1 hour.

labeled-casserole

Cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes are two of the most common sides at Thanksgiving. I love them both, but what if you combine the two? That’s what Taste of Home suggested, and let me tell you, the final product is amazing. I loved it so much, I can’t wait to make it again this year.

close-up

Now, I know that the sweet potato marshmallow casserole is very popular, and I like that, too. But the problem I always had with that casserole is how heavy and super sweet it is. I mean, it’s almost like a dessert for dinner, and if you’re going to have dessert for dinner what is there to look forward to at the end of the meal? But if you can’t give up those mashed sweet potatoes, this casserole means you don’t have to. You still get them with this side dish, but you also get a pop of tartness thanks to the sprinkling of cranberries.

If you’re afraid you’ll miss the sweetness that came from the roasted marshmallows, you still get that thanks to a wonderful crumble sprinkled on top. It’s seriously one of the best Thanksgiving casseroles I’ve ever had. But if you still really need the marshmallows, add them to a dessert. That way you get the best of both worlds.

over-head-shot

Sweet Potato Cranberry Casserole (adapted from Taste of Home)

Ingredients:

  • 3 yams, peeled and chopped up
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, divided
  • 5 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries

Directions:

  1. Place yams in a Dutch oven and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender; drain.
  2. While the potatoes boil, preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 2-3 quart baking dish and set aside.
  3. Once the potatoes are tender, mash with a fork. Mix in 1/2 cup of brown sugar, vanilla and three tablespoons of butter until well combined.
  4. Spread the mashed potato mixture into the baking dish.
  5. Combine the oats, remaining brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and remaining butter with your hands until you get little clumps.
  6. Sprinkle the oat mixture and cranberries over the sweet potato mixture and bake, uncovered, about 25 minutes or until topping is golden brown. Serve immediately.

Apple and Fig Custard

Posted by Jenn. Comment (0).

labeled-custard

I’m a chocolate fan. But every so often I like to change things up and make a fruit dessert. And while chocolate is very popular this time of year, fruit desserts are also quite popular. The most common fruit dessert? Apple. No, I’m not making an apple pie, today I’m making an apple and fig custard.

close-up

But this isn’t your standard custard. See, when I think of custard, I think of a lighter vanilla pudding that can either be eaten on its own or used in tarts. It’s delicious and extremely versatile. But this custard… this custard is baked, transforming it into a lovely clafoutis.

I’ve made clafoutis before and the reason I like making them so much is because unlike your regular custard, these are much easier to make. See, a custard is usually made on top of a stove and stirred and stirred until it’s thickened and pudding like. But the clafoutis is just whisked together and then baked in the oven, creating that lovely, moist cake-like dessert of which I can’t get enough.

close-up-slice

This version is perfect for holiday season because as I mentioned earlier, apples are usually the fruit of choice. But unlike most apple desserts, the apples in this one are caramelized first, making them extra sweet. Add some figs (also in season right now) to those super sweet apples, and you have a delightful dessert to end your holiday feast.

slice

Apple and Fig Custard (adapated from Bon Appetit)

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup low fat milk
  • 2 tablespoons applejack
  • 3/4 cup lite sour cream
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 pounds firm apples, peeled, cored and sliced into 1/2-inch rings
  • 6 oz. fresh figs, halved

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Butter a shallow baking dish, sprinkle with a tablespoon of sugar and set aside.
  2. Combine 1/2 cup of sugar with zest in a large bowl. Scrape the vanilla bean seeds into the bowl and mix everything together with your fingers until well combined.
  3. Blend the eggs in a blender for a minute. While the motor’s running, gradually add the milk and applejack. Then add the sugar mixture, sour cream, flour and salt and continue blending until smooth. Set aside.
  4. Melt the remaining butter in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Swirl the pan until the butter browns, about 5 minutes. (Make sure you don’t leave the butter or it’ll burn.) Remove the butter from heat. Add the apples and remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and toss to coat.
  5. Place the apples in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. Roast for about 25 minutes, flipping them halfway through, until the apples are caramelized and tender. Remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to 375°F.
  6. Let the apples cool for about 10 minutes then arrange in the bottom of the prepared dish, saving 4 or 5 for the top of the custard. Add the sliced figs, also saving a few for the top. Carefully pour the custard over the fruit, then arrange the reserved fruit on top.
  7. Bake the custard for 30-35 minutes or until it’s golden brown and the center’s firm. Let cool for 10 minutes, then serve.