Sunday, November 25, 2007

Love Your Veggies

I found organic heirloom tomatoes at Trader Joes today, and although I'm certain that they can't be local, I couldn't resist making the salad from the Best of The Harvest cooking class I took several weeks ago. I did use organic rosemary from my backyard for the rub on the eggplant though...

I also had some good little helpers in the kitchen tonight, especially Sophia who helped make the salad dressing, and learned how to chiffonade basil—she seemed impressed with my knife work and the "rainbow tomatoes".

Roasted Eggplant Tomato Salad

3 T. finely chopped, fresh rosemary
3 T. olive oil
1 t. kosher sea salt
1 medium eggplant, sliced in 1/2-inch rounds
1 large or several small tomatoes, sliced
8 oz. mixed greens
2 T. toasted pin nuts

Mix rosemary, oil and salt, then rub on both sides of eggplant rounds. Roast on cookie sheet in 375-degree F oven, flipping once. Cook until golden and soft. (If eggplant is old, salt the slices first and let rest on the counter. Towel off the moisture that's drawn out. This draws out bitterness.)

2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1 large clove finely minced garlic
3-4 T. chopped fresh basil
2 t. prepared dijon mustard
1/2 t. kosher sea salt
1 t. fresh lemon juice
1 t. champagne (or tarragon) vinegar
2 t. agave nectar (or honey)

Combine all dressing ingredients and mix well. Toss greens with dressing and immediately serve.

To plate, put a handful of greens on plate, one or more eggplant slices (depending on size) and tomato. Top with toasted pine nuts if desired.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Blissed Out

This recipe is a "cover" of Starbucks' Cranberry Bliss Bars, and I think it's actually better. There's more cake and less frosting (making them not so excessively sweet), and both the cake and frosting layers are lighter. The orange-flavored cranberries are the perfect crowning touch, plus I added cardamom and a little excellent Penzey's Vietnamese Cassia Cinnamon, making the cake layer far more interesting.

Cranberry Bliss Bars

Cake Layer
2 sticks softened butter
1 and 1/4 c. brown sugar

3 eggs
1/2 t. finely ground cardamom
1/4 t. Penzey's Cinnamon
1 t. ginger
1 1/4 t. vanilla
1/4 t. salt

1/2 t. baking powder
1-1/2 c. flour

1/2 T. dried orange peel (or fresh zest from one orange)
1/3 c. finely chopped dried orange-flavored cranberries
1/4 c. coarsely chopped Ghirardelli white chocolate

Frosting Layer
2 T. softened butter

4 oz. softened Nuefchatel (light) cream cheese
1-1/2 c. powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla

To Finish
1/3 c. finely chopped dried orange-flavored cranberries
1/4 c. melted Ghiradelli white chocolate chips mixed with 1 t. cream

Bake in 350-degree F oven in greased 9x13 pan. Beat butter and sugar together, add eggs and vanilla beat until light and fluffy. Add all dry ingredients (except crans and choc) and beat well. Fold in the cranberries and chocolate, spread evenly in pan and bake about 25 mins or until golden. Cool cake completely, then spread with frosting, sprinkle with crans, drizzle with melted chocolate (use a plastic Ziploc with corner snipped off or a pastry bag), cut and serve!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Little Turkeys

This idea is adapted from the Family Fun website: we used cranberry orange muffins instead of cupcakes, and Stretch Island (real) fruit leather instead of "fruit product" Fruit Rollups. The bodies are still Nutter Butter cookies and the eyes mini chocolate chips (and we used chocolate frosting as they did). We used the toothpicks for the fruit leather as Family Fun did, but with the Stretch Island fruit leather, you don't really need them—it's so thick you can just poke it directly into the muffin. M & G did a great job with assembly, and as for the eating... they loved 'em.

Thursday, November 8, 2007


Madeline helped make Pain Au Chocolat this morning... and did a pretty fine job. She said, "Mama I love the Puh Shockka Lakka!" Even the ones she rolled fairly wonky baked up gorgeous.
Anyway, not exactly a "recipe"—just refrig crescent dough filled with about 8 Ghirardelli 60% Cocoa chocolate chips (we did 6 chips, but 8 would be a tad better) and baked at 350 until golden. Enjoy with some Cafe Au Lait and a good buddy—like Aunty Karen who hung out with us today!


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