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Archive for December, 2010

by Sarah Steimer

Happy New Year! I'll be eating these while I watch the Winter Classic (let's go Pens!).

  • 4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water
  • 5 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 4 cups hot water
  • 1/4 cup kosher or sea salt, for topping

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, mix together flour, 1/2 cup sugar and salt. Make a well in the center and add the oil and yeast mixture. Mix and form into a dough. If the mixture is dry, add one or two tablespoons of water. Knead the dough until smooth,

Go buy a Chinese strainer with your Christmas money.

about seven to eight minutes. Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a dish towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. (By the way, ever notice how recipes always say to cover with plastic wrap? Forget it, towels all the way. Your great-great grandma never used plastic wrap for her breads I bet.)

In a medium sauce pan, heat water on low and add the baking soda. This does not need to come to a boil or simmer, just so long as the water is hot.

When risen, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope and twist into a pretzel shape. Once all of the dough is all shaped, dip each pretzel into the baking soda solution and place on a greased baking sheet — this is when a Chinese strainer comes in extremely handy. Sprinkle with kosher salt.

Bake in at 450 degrees for 8 minutes or until browned. Makes 12 pretzels. Serve with mustard or other dipping sauces.

So why pretzels for New Years? It’s a German tradition for children to wear pretzels around their necks for good luck. I don’t understand it, either… and will probably stick to just eating mine!

Recipe adapted from: AllRecipes

Photos: Sarah Steimer

 

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by Sarah Steimer

Sort of looks like something out of a mush pot, but the way I set it up for the pictures makes it look sort of down-home chic.

For biscuits

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup of milk

Stir together flour, baking powder, sugar, cream of tartar and salt. Cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Make a well in the center and add milk all at once. Stir just until dough clings together.

On a lightly floured surface, knead dough gently for 10 to 12 strokes. Roll or pat dough to 1/2-inch thickness. Cut with a 2 1/2-inch biscuit cutter (or, if you’re like most and don’t have a “biscuit cutter,” a drinking glass works just fine). Bake at 450 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden.

Makes about 10 biscuits.

For chicken:

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 cups chicken, poached and cubed
  • 1/2 cup (or more) celery, chopped
  • 1/2 cup (or more) carrots, chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 can peas

Sauté celery and carrots in a pan with a tablespoon of the butter then remove from the pan. Add the rest of the butter to the pan along with the flour, salt and pepper, stirring constantly. Add milk and chicken broth all at once. Cook and stir until thick and bubbly. Cook for about a minute more, while stirring.

Add vegetables and chicken. Heat thoroughly. Serve over the biscuits and spoon peas over top, if desired.

Recipe adapted (by my mother, Martha Steimer) from: Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook

Photo by: Sarah Steimer

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by Caitlin Saniga

You can also serve this salad on wheat bread or over salad greens. But it's pretty tasty tucked into a pita.

  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups shredded roasted turkey
  • 1/2 cup halved red grapes
  • 2 sliced celery stalks
  • 1 sliced scallion
  • 1/4 cup chopped toasted almonds
  • 4 pita halves

In a medium bowl, combine mayonnaise, curry powder, salt, and pepper. Mix in turkey, grapes, celery, scallions, and almonds.

Refrigerate the salad for up to 1 day. Spoon into pita halves up to 6 hours before serving.

Makes 4 half-pitas.

Recipe: Real Simple

Photo: Caitlin Saniga

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by Sarah Steimer

I liked it best the day after when it was cold and all the flavors had combined well.

For couscous:

  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup Israeli couscous (slightly larger beads than traditional couscous)
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons parsley (I used dried parsley)
  • 1 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves (used dried here, too)
  • 1 medium apple, diced
  • 2/3 cup or so dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds

In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil on medium-high heat. Add the couscous (uncooked) and stir occasionally until slightly browned and aromatic, about three to five minutes. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 to12 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated. Transfer the cooked couscous to a large bowl and set aside to cool. Add the parsley, rosemary, thyme, apple, dried cranberries and almonds.

For the vinaigrette:

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, maple syrup, salt, and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil until smooth. Pour the vinaigrette over the couscous and toss to coat evenly.

Recipe adapted from: Giada De Laurentiis

Photo by: Sarah Steimer

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by Sarah Steimer

The inspiration for these came from cookies we get at the Farmer’s Market in the summer.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 12 oz bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp instant coffee or espresso powder
  • 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened but still cool
  • 1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups of raspberries, fresh or frozen

Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.

Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler then set aside. In a small bowl beat the eggs and vanilla lightly with a fork, sprinkle the coffee powder in and let dissolve.

Beat the butter at medium speed until smooth and creamy. Beat in the sugars until combined. Reduce the speed to low and gradually beat in the egg mixture until incorporated. Add the melted chocolate in a steady stream and beat until combined. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

With the mixer at low speed, add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Do not overbeat. Stir in the white chocolate chips and raspberries by hand. Cover with a towel and let stand at room temperature until the consistency is scoopable and fudge-like, about 30 minutes (this is very important!).

Scoop the dough onto baking sheets with a large spoon or an ice cream scoop, spacing the dough about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes or until the edges are firm and the center is still soft.

Makes about 42 cookies.

Recipe from: Sarah Steimer (using this recipe as a base)

Photo: Sarah Steimer

*Holiday Dozen is a collection of 12 recipes that we’ll post every Sunday, Wednesday and Friday until Christmas. Click here for more from our dozen.

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by Caitlin Saniga

This recipe is basically my mom in a nutshell.

  • 1 can whole cranberries
  • 1 can mandarin oranges, drained and cut in half
  • 2 apples, peeled and diced
  • 2 tablespoons hot pepper raspberry jelly (or a combination of raspberry jelly and jalapeno juice from a jar of the peppers)
  • shake of cinnamon
  • shake of ground cloves
  • crushed candy canes, preferably stale/hard as a rock/from last year

Combine. Eat. :)

Makes 8 servings.

Recipe: my mom, Stephanie Saniga (And this recipe’s unaltered, copied straight from her 3-by-5 index card — right down to the smiley face.)

Photo: Caitlin Saniga

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by Caitlin Saniga

I must have added too much orange juice to my glaze mixture, which made it pretty runny. But if you follow the directions and the glaze remains thick, you can drizzle pretty zigzags over the cookies.

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest, divided
  • 5 tablespoons orange juice, divided
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups chopped cranberries
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, white sugar and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the egg until well blended. Mix in 1 teaspoon orange zest and 2 tablespoons orange juice. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; stir into the orange mixture. Mix in cranberries until evenly distributed. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. cookies should be spaced at least 2 inches apart.

Bake for 10-12 minutes in the preheated oven, until the edges are golden. Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks.

In a small bowl, mix together 1/2 teaspoon orange zest, 3 tablespoons orange juice and confectioners’ sugar until smooth. Spread over the tops of cooled cookies. Let stand until set.

Makes 4 dozen.

Recipe: AllRecipes.com

Photo: Caitlin Saniga

*Holiday Dozen is a collection of 12 recipes that we’ll post every Sunday, Wednesday and Friday until Christmas. Click here for more from our dozen.

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by Caitlin Saniga

If you plan to keep this salad in the fridge for a few days, hold off on adding the pecans until serving time. This makes a great lunch.

  • 2 large sweet potatoes (about 1/14 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons light mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 large celery stalks, coarsely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh pineapple
  • 1/4 cup pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 1 small green onion, thinly sliced (about 2 tablespoons)
  • chopped chives, for garnish

Using a fork, prick the sweet potatoes in several places. Microwave them on high about 8 minutes, or until tender, turning over midway through cooking. Cool the potatoes until easy to handle. Peel off the skin and cut in chunks.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix the mayonnaise, mustard, salt, and pepper until blended.

Add the sweet potato chunks, celery, red pepper, pineapple, pecans and green onion to the mayonnaise mixture. Toss gently until evenly coated. Sprinkle with chopped chives.

Makes 4 servings.

Recipe: The Oprah Magazine Cookbook

Photo: Caitlin Saniga

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by Caitlin Saniga

The peppermint extract is crucial. Before I settled on this recipe, I botched a peppermint fudge because it didn’t have enough peppermint extract.

  • 10 candy canes
  • 1 12-ounce bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract, divided
  • 1 12-ounce bag white chocolate chips

Place candy canes in a durable zip-top plastic bag. Use a rolling pin or meat tenderizer to break candy into small pieces. (Don’t go overboard and pulverize it into pink dust. If you want pink dust, put it in a blender.) (I found it helpful to unwrap and freeze the candy canes for about 15 minutes before I started.) Set aside.

Lightly grease a rimmed cookie sheet and line with wax paper, smoothing out wrinkles; set aside.

Place the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave on half-power in 40-second increments (4 times should be good), stirring with a spatula between cook times. When chocolate is creamy and most lumps are melted, stir in 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract. Pour chocolate onto lined cookie sheet. Quickly use a spatula to evenly spread the chocolate. Sprinkle about half of the candy cane pieces over the chocolate. Freeze for a half-hour.

Place white chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl, and microwave on half-power in 40-second increments (about 4 times), stirring with a spatula between cook times. When chocolate is creamy and most lumps are melted, stir in 1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract. Pour white chocolate over other chocolate layer. Quickly use a spatula to spread the chocolate. (Be careful: The warm white chocolate will melt the semi-sweet chocolate if you fuss with it too much.) Sprinkle the rest of the candy pieces over the chocolate. Freeze for a half-hour.

Remove bark from the freezer, and use the handle of a rolling pin or another blunt object to crack sheet of chocolate into pieces. (I refrigerated my peppermint bark after that because I’m paranoid it will melt.)

Makes a decent amount (but you could easily double the recipe).

Recipe adapted from: AllRecipes.com

Photo: Caitlin Saniga

*Holiday Dozen is a collection of 12 recipes that we’ll post every Sunday, Wednesday and Friday until Christmas. Click here for more from our dozen.

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by Sarah Steimer

The ingredients aren't the hard part — keeping it together is (literally).

The ingredients aren’t the hard part — keeping it together is (literally).

For dough

  • 8 ounces cream cheese (do not use the 1/3 less fat cream cheese)
  • 8 ounces butter
  • 2 cups flour

For filling

  • 1 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • about 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 or 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • sugar, to taste

Mix dough and refrigerate overnight.

Mix the filling and set aside. It should be an almost mushy consistency and taste a little sweet. Roll out the dough on a floured surface and cut with a round cutter (otherwise known as a drinking glass). Place the circles on a cookie sheet and place about a teaspoon’s worth of the nut mixture on each circle. This will fill about half the cookies, the other half I usually use strawberry jelly for.

Ruined it for everyone else.

Moisten two sides of the circles, I usually just dip my finger in water to do so. Press the sides together very tightly then press down over the filling. Don’t get frustrated if the cookies open back up during the baking process, it happens and you just have to try some new tricks.

Bake at 375 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. Once the cookies have cool, dust them with powdered sugar.

Recipe from: “Mrs. Ungers” (a recipe card that we’ve had for years from my mom’s childhood neighbor)

Photos: Sarah Steimer

*Holiday Dozen is a collection of 12 cookie recipes that we’ll post every Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays until Christmas. Click here for more from our dozen.

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