New York Monday #103: Happy New Year!

December 31, 2007 | Filed Under New York Monday | 25 Comments 

 

Happy New Year to all!  I wish you long life, prosperity, and all things good!

Best,

Paz

 

 

 

 

 



Santa, Baby — Stained Glass Cookies

December 26, 2007 | Filed Under Baking, Cookies | 13 Comments 

 

 

Okay.  So, one of the questions in a Christmas meme that I recently completed got me thinking.  It asked what I left for Santa.  My answer was nothing.  Then I started to think that this year, perhaps, I could bake some cookies for him. 

I saw the most enticing, delectable-looking cookies — Stained Glass Cookies — on Elise’s Simply Recipes site.  Actually, I’d first seen these cookies on Pille’s blog some time ago.  Looking at them, again, this time on Elise’s blog, I was ready and knew that they were the cookies I’d bake for Santa!  Yeah, baby! 

I put all the ingredients together without incident and then the adventure began:  The instructions called for placing the hard candies (that made the stained glass portion) in a bag and then crushing them.  Anxious to make my cookies, I forgot to put the candy in a bag before crushing them.  I placed them on the chopping board and started whacking away at them.  Each time I banged on them with my mallet, pieces of candy would fly all over the kitchen. 

Oh, my!  However, I didn’t let that minor hiccup stop me.  Determined to get my stained glass, I continued to bang away.  I think half of the candy must have landed on the kitchen floor.  Haha!  I’m sorry to say that it never occurred to me on my own, to put it in a bag to contain it.  Duh.  What a scene.  Definitely, next time, I’ll remember to use the bags to crush the candy. 

I cut out my cookies and filled in the shapes to make the stained glass, put them in the oven, and voila!  I made my very first ever Stained Glass Cookies.  They didn’t look too bad and they tasted G-R-E-A-T!  I think Santa liked them because the next morning, I found the cookie plate empty and I found some gifts under the Christmas tree with my name on it.  Thankfully, he didn’t leave me any coal.  So, I think I did all right. 

Thanks, Elise and Pille, for the recipe and inspiration.  Now that I’ve started, I plan on making these cookies again.

Paz

Oh, by the way, I did my best but for some reason couldn’t get decent photos of the cookies.  I was unable to capture how much they really looked like stained glass windows when held to the light.  Check out Elise and Pille’s cookies for an accurate and beautiful photo.

 

 

 

 

Stained Glass Cookies

Simply Recipes

 

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 30-40 hard candies (such as Life Savers), preferably in several flavors/colors

1 Pre-heat oven to 375°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat.

2 In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugars until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add molasses and vanilla extract, mixing until incorporated. Add egg and mix until light and smooth, about 1 minute on medium speed.

3 Sift together flour, salt, and baking powder. Fold dry ingredients into wet mixture. Use electric mixer to blend just until flour is incorporated. Divide dough in half and flatten into two disks. Wrap disks in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least an hour and up to 2 days.


4 Remove any wrappers on candies and separate them by color into plastic bags. Using a mallet to crush candies.


5 Place one disk between two large sheets of waxed paper and roll to 1/4-inch thickness. Use cookie cutters to cut dough into desired shapes. Transfer cookies to prepared baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. Using a smaller cookie cutter or a knife, cut shapes into centers of cookies, reserving these center bits to add into extra dough.

6 Use a spoon to sprinkle the crushed candy into the hollowed-out centers of the cookies, filling to the edges. Try to keep the candy within the centers. Any candy specks that fall on the cookie will color the cookie.

7 If cookies will be hung as ornaments or decorations, poke a small hole in the top of each cookie before baking.

8 Bake 9 to 10 minutes. The candy should be melted and bubbling and the cookies just barely beginning to brown. Remove baking sheets from oven and place on wire racks to cool. Allow cookies to cool on pans at least 10 minutes; otherwise, the candy centers may separate from the dough. When cookies are completely cooled, remove and store in an airtight container. String with ribbon if you want to hang as an ornament.

Makes 2 to 4 dozen cookies, depending on how large you make them.

 

 

 

 

 

 



New York Monday #102: Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!

December 24, 2007 | Filed Under Christmas, Holidays, New York Monday | 19 Comments 

 

This Christmas and holiday season, I wish everyone peace, hope, love, joy, good health and prosperity.  Thanks for stopping by.

Best,

Paz

 

 

 

 

 



Christmas Meme

December 22, 2007 | Filed Under Memes | 7 Comments 

 

 

Megan of Pennypincher’s Pantry tagged me for this Christmas Meme.  Thanks, Megan!


Christmas Meme Rules:

1)  Provide a link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.


2) Share Christmas facts about yourself.

3) Tag 7 random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs.

4) Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

 

1.  Wrapping or gift bags?  Either or.  They’re both nice.  There are some very nice wrapping papers and creative gift bags out there.

2.  Real or artificial tree?  Artificial.  That’s the only type I’ve every had. 

3.  When do you put up the tree? Normally Christmas Eve.  Don’t have time do it earlier.  This year my sister put it up and did it a week earlier.

4.  When do you take the tree down?  A few months later.  Seriously. 

5.  Do you like eggnog?  Umm… Not really.

6.  Favorite gift received as a child? I can’t really recall.  I just know I’ve liked all my gifts.

7.  Do you have a nativity scene? This year no.  But we’ve had it before.

8.  Worst Christmas gift you ever received?  I don’t think I’ve received a "worst" gift.  Once,  one of my brother’s friends wrapped up a dead mouse and put it under the tree for him.  My brother did NOT find it funny when he unwrapped his gift.  LOL!  I’m glad no one has ever decided to give me a gift like that — prank or no.

9.  Mail or email Christmas cards?  I’ve done both but I prefer to mail cards.  Although I didn’t get a chance to mail cards last year (or the year before or the year before) and I don’t think I’ll have a chance to send them out this year.  *sigh*  Maybe New Year’s cards?

10.  Favorite Christmas movie? It’s a Wonderful Life; Scrooge (All versions); Christmas Story are a few that come to mind.

11.  When do you start shopping for Christmas? Whenever.  I hate to shop, though.  I’m shopping-challenged.

12.  Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Anything.

13.  Clear lights or colored?  Either or.  Depends on how I’m feeling at the time.

14.  Favorite Christmas song?  All

15.  Travel at Christmas or stay at home?  STAY HOME! 

16.  Can you name all of Santas reindeer? No.  Oh —  Rudolph.  Yeah.  That’s right, Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.   ;-)

17.  Angel or star on the top of your tree?   Either or.  Like the lights in #13 and Angel or Star in #17, it depends on what/how I’m feeling at the time.  This year, since my sister decorated the tree, she put a white dove on the top.  So our tree top always differs.

18.  Open your presents Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?   Christmas morning. 

19.  Most annoying thing about this time of year? Those who forget about the true spirit and meaning of Christmas.

20.  What do you leave for Santa?  Nothing.  I should leave something for him now, since I’ve started to cook and bake, huh?  Maybe I will this year.

21.  Least favorite holiday song?  None that I can think of.  I like them all.

22.  Specific theme or color? Hate to sound really boring here but… Uhh… I don’t usually have a theme or color.  One year, I decorated the tree in all white — white lights, ornaments, etc…

23.  Favorite ornament?  Dont’ have one, really. 

 

Okay.  So, I’m tagging:

1.  Anyone

2.  Reading

3.  Who

4.  Would

5.  Like

6.  To

7.  Participate

Go for it!  And let me know if you do, so that I can go read it.  ;-)

Paz

 

 

 



Novel Food #2: Green Pea Soup

December 19, 2007 | Filed Under Novel Food, Soups/Chowders/Gumbos | 26 Comments 

 

 

 

Lisa of Champaign Taste and Simona of Briciole are co-hosting their second literary/culinary event — Novel Food #2.  I had fun participating in the first event and couldn’t resist the opportunity to participate again.

This time, I decided to try out one of the dishes prepared in the thriller, TOTE TANZEN NICHT (The Dead Don’t Dance) written by my friend, author Olivia Kroth. The story is about a mental patient who goes in search of vengeance against people she thinks are her enemies. 

One of the characters in the story is 55 year old housekeeper, Hermine.  She works for wealthy family in a villa in the Taunus mountains of Germany.  Hermine has had a disturbing childhood but when she grows up one of the things that makes her happy is cooking.  She loves to prepare meals for the family and uses recipes from a handwritten cookbook that she inherited from her deceased mother.  One of the dishes she prepares is Green Pea Soup.  The story (and recipe in the book) is in German.  Olivia was kind enough to translate the recipe for me.  Thanks, Olivia!  You can check out her blog here.

I’d never had Green Pea Soup before and looked forward to trying it.  The recipe calls for fresh green peas but I could only find the frozen kind.  Also it calls for bacon cubes.  I couldn’t find thick bacon, so I bought the bacon slices.  I should have cut them but I didn’t feel like it.  I cooked the long strips as is.  I didn’t have a  problem with that.  ;-)  There’s no mention of how much water to use, so I used about 4 cups. Oh!  Also the recipe calls for four carrots.  I like baby carrots and used that instead.  Also, I like celery.  As a result, I added a bit more than the recipes asks.

As you can see, I followed the recipe but with a "Paz touch."   I’m not sure what Hermine’s Green Pea soup is supposed to look like but this is what mine looked like.  

I enjoyed the Green Pea soup very much.  I think it’s especially perfect for a cold day and it was definitely a cold day in New York City when I prepared.  It warmed my body from head to toe.  I loved the taste – the bacon, vegetables, marjoram, and potatoes.  So hearty and filling.  I loved my soup so much that I took the leftovers to work.  I’d bought a new lunch jug and my soup stayed nice and warm from the time that I’d packed it till the time that I was ready to eat it.   I came home and had some more for dinner. 

If you’re interested in reading more about the Novel Food event and participating, go here.

Paz 

 

Ed. Note:  Ahhh!  I understand that the soup is supposed to be blended?  Hehehe!   I didn’t know that and as you see, all the veggies in my soup are whole.  No matter — next time I prepare this, I’ll make it blended.  In the meantime, I liked it the way you see it in the photos.   I liked biting into all the foods.  But next time, I’ll do it differently.  See, this is what I mean by cooking adventure.  I learn something new, each time I cook.   ;-)

 

Another Note:  You can look at the round up of recipes and books on Champaign Taste (the first half) and Briciole  (the second half).

 

 

 

 

 

Green Pea Soup

Tote Tanzen Nicht (The Dead Do Not Dance) by Olivia Kroth

  

Ingredients (for 4 portions):

500 g fresh green peas
200 g potatoes
1 stem of leek
2 small onions
1 small celery
4 fresh carots
2 l consommé (bouillon)
100 g bacon cubes
1 sward (bacon crust)
1 spoonful of melted fat
salt and pepper
marjoram
1 laurel leaf

Heat the melted fat in a pot, stew the bacon cubes in it, fill up with consommé. Place the sward and green peas into it and let them boil for a few minutes.  Cut the carots, leek, celery and potatoes into small pieces, put them into the pot with salt,pepper, marjoram and the laurel leaf.  Let the soup simmer for about  90 minutes on low heat.

 

 

 

 



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