Friday, May 28, 2010

pecan oatmeal cookies - another hit from the barefoot contessa

Its no secret that one of my favorite channels is the Food Network.  I can sit for hours watching chefs turn ordinary ingredients into mouth watering creations.  One of my faves is Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa.  I have recreated her recipes many times, and they are always a hit.  Her recent episode "Outdoor Entertaining" featured Raisin Pecan Oatmeal Cookies and they looked so good, I had to try them for myself.

I substituted the raisins for chocolate chips (gotta have the chocolate!) and found that these were the most delicious oatmeal cookies ever.  Another winning recipe from Ina!

Raisin Pecan Oatmeal Cookies
(Adapted from Ina Garten, Barefoot Contessa)

1 1/2 cups almonds
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1 cup granulated sugar
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, add the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla.

Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt together into a medium bowl. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Add the oats, raisins, and nuts and mix just until combined.

Using a small ice-cream scoop or a tablespoon, drop 2-inch mounds of dough onto sheet pans lined with parchment paper. Flatten slightly with a damp hand. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until lightly browned.

Transfer the cookies to a baking rack and cool completely.

Friday, May 21, 2010

easy shrimp salad rolls

Anyone who knows me knows how much I like Vietnamese food. At least once a week, I venture out to a great Vietnamese shop a couple of blocks from work. Sate beef with vermicelli and spring rolls makes for a very satisfying meal. One of my favorite things to eat at home are the Shrimp Salad Rolls. It is the easiest thing to make and, you can have the perfect appetizer or snack in minutes.

Shrimp Salad Rolls
Cooked shrimp, approximately 3 per rolls
Rice wrappers
Cooked vermicelli
Lettuce or Spinach

Place the rice wrapper in a bowl of warm water until soft and transparent. Line up 3 shrimp in the middle followed by a mint leaf, greens and vermicelli. Fold in the two ends and roll.

Serve with hoisin sauce and Sriracha chili sauce.

Monday, May 17, 2010

summer in a bowl: watermelon, feta and mint salad

After cold weather and a snow fall this month, it's nice to finally have lovely May weather.  The weekend was spent outdoors enjoying the plus 20 temperatures that we had eagerly been awaiting.  Sunday afternoon on the boat led to barbecuing indian spiced and korean bbq ribs.  This watermelon, feta and mint salad was such a refreshing accompaniment to the meal.  This unexpected combination of sweet watermelon, creamy feta accented with sweet red onions and mint definitely felt like "summer in a bowl".  Take it to your next potluck - it will be the most talked about dish.

Watermelon, Feta and Mint Salad
1/2 small watermelon, cubed
feta cheese, cubed
1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
10 mint leaves, sliced thinly
2 TB red wine vinegar
Juice of 1/2 lemon
4 TB olive oil
salt and pepper

Sunday, May 9, 2010

cheers to mothers with faluda!

It was a lovely Sunday celebrating the important women in our lives - our mothers.   Lunch consisted of fried kabobs (thanks to my sister-in-law) and nihari, a beef shank curry.  The best way to top off this delicious meal had to be with one of my favorite drinks/desserts - faluda.  Faluda is a mixture of rose syrup and milk accented with ice cream and vermicelli.  This cool, creamy drink is the perfect way to toast all the amazing mothers out there - Happy Mother's Day!

Faluda (10 Servings)

1.5 litres whole milk
2 cans evaporated milk
1/2 cup vanilla ice cream + more for serving
5 TB rose syrup
vermicelli or rice sticks
red food coloring

Cook the vermicelli in boiling water for five minutes.  Drain and rinse with cold water.  Add a few drops of red food coloring until the vermicelli are pink.

Combine milks, ice cream and rose syrup and chill until ready to serve.

In a tall cup, add a spoonful of noodles, a couple scoops of ice cream and top with the milk mixture.  Serve with a straw and tall spoon.
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