Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Santa Was Here

My Christmas was super mellow. And by mellow, I mean lazy. Not that you need the details of my personal hygiene, but I may or may not have worn PJs the entire weekend (and I may or may not have washed my hair). I also may or may not have left the house, I mean, not even to go outside, anytime between Friday night and Monday morning. I should have tried to get a little exercise, considering we had ham on Friday, crab legs on Saturday, and prime rib on Sunday (not to mention all the other little noshes in between). I didn’t write down any recipes, and I also didn’t get my camera out once. I just wanted to enjoy time with the fam, and not spend the holiday behind my lens. I did, however, manage to snap a few iPhone pics here and there.

My parents’ kitty—Kitty—loves Christmas.
Ollie the parrot singing along to his favorite song.

Champagne, Pom juice, and pomegranate seeds (from the pomegranates Grandpa sent from his tree!)

Mel, Amanda, and I made pork tamales and cheese & pepper tamales. Amanda was the best tamale roller.

John’s Christmas morning butterscotch-nut rolls. Wouldn’t be Christmas without them!


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Savory Oatmeal!

Have you seen this blog, V.K. Reese Photography, yet? It's pretty amazing. I love it for 3 main reasons. 1. The photography is phenomenal. Seriously, I could look at her photos all day long. 2. She includes a picture of her cat in every post (dammit, why didn't I think of that?!). 3. Her recipes are fantastic and inspiring. Like this one, for savory oatmeal. 

V.K. Reese's savory oatmeal has all kinds of good stuff in it, which I don't have in my house right now. I want that squashy, tofu-filled oatmeal…like, real bad, but my desire to not head out into a rainy-cold morning won that battle. So, inspired by her recipe, I did a quick Google search for savory oatmeal (who knew, this stuff is everywhere!?), and found a very simple version by Penny De Los Santos. Penny's version is one of those always-have-all-the-ingredient recipes that doesn't even need a recipe, and it took like 5 minutes to make. 

Oatmeal, olive oil, salt, pepper, parm, and a runny fried egg. It's good people. It's really, really good. 

How have I never done this before?

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Baby I Need Your Lovin'

This morning I told Evan that we're having a Dutch baby.

He was a little confused, and perhaps concerned, until I added "for breakfast," then he let out a sigh of relief. Apparently cannibalism is easier to stomach in this household than parenthood. But, not to worry, the Dutch babies I was referring to are the puffy pancake variety, not the blue-eyed, blonde haired variety. 

Dutch babies are eggy, buttery pancakes, cooked in a skillet until they puff up about the edges, forming a flaky-but-chewy bowl shaped breakfast. And believe it or not, makin' babies has never been easier or more fun…er, well, it's probably been more fun. Just sayin…

Once the baby is outta the oven, top that hot goodness with even more butter, lots of fresh lemon juice, and powdered sugar. Then dig in. 

Go ahead...put on something a little more comfortable, mix up a few drinks (coffee, perhaps?), and make some babies! 

Dutch Baby
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup flour
  • ½ cup milk
  • Clarified butter
  • Juice from one lemon
  • Powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 425. In a 10- or 11-inch cast-iron skillet, melt 4 tablespoons butter over low heat (on stove top). In a blender, combine eggs, flour, and milk until smooth. Pour batter into skillet over melted butter, and bake 25 minutes. While the baby is still hot, drizzle on clarified butter, lemon juice, and powdered sugar. Serve with more lemon wedges and powdered sugar.


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Fresh Take on Fruitcake

You voted, and because of you (or, more appropriately, thanks to you) fruitcake is gettin' a makeover. I don't mean thanks to you because fruitcake needs a makeover, I actually kinda like the stuff. I don't understand why it gets a bad rap. Maybe it's because of the bright neon candied fruits, or the fact that it weighs more than a bowling ball. But I mean, it's not all bad. It's boozy, fruity, spicy…hello, holiday classic! 

Some classics shouldn't be effed with. It's a Wonderful Life, candy canes, and the holly-jolly fat man himself…those are classics that should remain the same. Some classics, however, deserve a makeover. And what better way to freshen up fruitcake, than by turning it into…cookies? COOKIES! FRUITCAKE COOKIES! YES! 

Swap out those tooth-achingly sweet candied cherries with brandy soaked dried fruit, and then wrap it all up in a spicy shortbread-esque dough. Roll it, slice it, bake it, eat it… and then wonder why the hell you've never made fruitcake cookies before!

Fruitcake Cookies
  • 1/2 cup of each of the following, coarsely chopped:
    • dried cherries
    • dried apricots
    • dates
    • dried cranberries
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • zest from one lemon and one orange
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 4 tablespoons brandy
  • 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of fresh ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • raw sugar
Combine dried fruits, nuts, zest, brandy, honey, lemon juice, and a pinch of salt. Let sit overnight at room temperature.
Cream butter, cloves, superfine sugar, and brown sugar on medium speed until smooth. With the mixer on low, add the egg and mix until incorporated, then slowly add the flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt just until combined. Add the fruits and nuts, and stir to combine. Divide the dough in half and place each half on the long edge of a 12 by 18-inch piece of parchment paper. Roll each half into a log, 1 1/2 to 1 3/4-inch thick, making an 18-inch-long roll. Refrigerate the dough for several hours, until firm.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Before slicing, roll each log in raw sugar. Cut the logs into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Place the slices 1/2-inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets and bake for 12 to 15 minutes.


Friday, December 9, 2011

Holly Jolly Cookie Men

My halls are decked, my stockings are hung (by the dvd rack, with care), and my apartment is merry and bright! I've been so busy decorating, getting a tree, and going to holiday parties, that I've had no time for holiday baking! Luckily, Amanda's got me covered. The girl is a Christmas maniac. She spends every waking hour doing homework, working, or working out, yet she found time to make a million Christmas cookies. 

She belongs in Who-ville. So far she's made sugar cookie snowflakes, gingerbread men, and these adorable cut out-chocolate-candy cane-stained glass-guys. I think that's their official name. 

Maybe this weekend I'll hunker down, do some baking, watch some classic Christmas movies, and drink a few HBRs. I mean, there's a good chance that FRUITCAKE will be on the menu…based on the poll results! Today's your last day to vote! 

Oh, and if you want to make these little darlings, use this recipe (chocolate dough) with candy cane pieces for the stained glass.

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