|Top, Peanut Brittle. Bottom, Coffee Walnut Toffee.|
|Top, Peanut Brittle. Bottom, Coffee Walnut Toffee.|
I’m pretty sure The Raven is nearby.
That semi-interesting tidbit brings us to the title recipe. They’re actually Coconut Lavender Macaroons. I associate coconut macaroons with two things: Christmas, and teatime. Christmas because my mom always made them this time of year, and teatime because they just seem like such a girly cookie. I also had a Disney princess bandaid on today, and it was the color of lavender. These cookies have lavender. So, Princess Cookies. (My brain wants so hard to talk about Kate Middleton right now. She might like these cookies! She is going to marry a prince! Her hair — how does she do it!!!)
Pulse the coconut in a food processor until finely chopped, about 15 seconds, and put the coconut in a large bowl. Process the egg whites, sugar, salt, and lavender in the food processor until light and foamy, about 15 seconds. Stir the egg mixture into the coconut until combined. Cover the bowl and refrigerate until the mixture thickens, about 30 minutes. (Can also be refrigerated up to two days.)
Time to party! Except apparently me and my friends are not the party type.* Actually, I did go to a party this weekend, a potluck. The night before I decided that I would have to use a recipe from a cookbook that’s languished on my shelf forever; there’s no point in having something you never use. The Five-Spice Beef, categorized under appetizers, sounded delicious yet non-threatening.
(Although I am hosting a craft party this Saturday. Leave a comment or email me if you’d like to come! Goodies will be served.)
adapted from “New World Chinese Cooking”, by Bill Jones and Stephen Wong
1 pound pot roast or beef shank
1 onion, skin removed, cut into quarters
2 teaspoons fennel seeds
8 to 10 whole cloves
2 star anise, lightly crushed (hit once with the handle end of the knife)
2 teaspoons black peppercorns or Szechuan peppercorns
1 small cinnamon stick (about 2 inches)
4 1/4″ thick slices fresh peeled ginger root
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons white wine, sherry, or rice wine
6 cups water
Trim any excess fat from the beef.
Put the spices and ginger in a spice bag, teaball, or large piece of cheesecloth you can tie up. Secure and place in a large pot along with the onion, soy sauce, salt, sugar, wine, and water. Bring to a boil.
Carefully add the beef to the hot liquid. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook, partially covered, until tender, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. If you can stick a chopstick without too much effort in the middle, it’s cooked. Remove the pot from the heat. Discard the spice pouch and onions.. Let the beef and broth cool and refrigerate overnight or for up to two days. Slice before serving; for appetizer-sized pieces, you may wish to cut the roast into smaller pieces (halves or thirds) and then slice.
1/2 cup mayonaisse (I used a vegan mayo substitute; I get the irony, but it’s lower in fat!)
1 clove garlic, minced
pinch red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
4 shoots green onion, white part and 1 inch green part only, chopped (reserve rest of green for garnish)
Whisk all the ingredients together in a small bowl.
Arrange the meat attractively and garnish with the green onions (cut them on a bias for extra points). Serve with the sauce.
|That cabinet? Four bucks.|
Lately at work I’ve been tuning into the “Holiday Showcase” music station. It’s nothing super great, but the four-year-old that I nanny likes to sing along. Everybody!
|My branch can touch the sky!|
FACTS ABOUT THE GIANT BRANCH:
It is about nine feet long.
It is made of wood and moss and bark.
It is vegan.
WHAT ELSE HAVE YOU DONE TO DECK THE HALLS BESIDES BLATHER ON ABOUT A GIANT BRANCH:
I put pine boughs into cups and vases to make branch bouquets. Totally a planned branch theme (except not. I didn’t notice it until justthismoment. I am just that savvy.)
Then I put some silver balls in strategic places around the room (meaning: where they would not roll away.)
Well, yesterday I had this stuck in my head all day. You’re welcome. My favorite/most hated to have in my head part is the soaring “evergreen bough” line.
So, I’m the oldest, and I was 15 when the youngest was born. A 15-year span is rather long. Family traditions that were totally followed and amazing when I was a kid are not things that my youngest siblings have grown up with, and vice versa. Sometimes I’ll wax nostalgic about a fond childhood memory, and some of the “little kids” have no idea what I’m talking about.
A few things have stuck around, which makes me very happy. One that’s been a tradition since I was a kid is having cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning. Sometimes they’ve been from a can (so fun to pop!) and sometimes they’re homemade. That tradition inspired me to make this bread.
It’s not as gooey as a normal cinnamon roll, but the bread is very soft and delicate, and it does fall apart a bit around the filling. It tastes amazing, like a cinnamon roll machine started up in your mouth, and it is a little tidier to eat than a sticky bun.
It can be made the night before, right up to the second rise, and then put in the fridge overnight. The directions for overnight are included below.
Cinnamon Roll Bread
Flour well a clean counter or a board. Punch down the dough, turn it out of the bowl, and roll into a 9″ by 18″ rectangle. You’ll probably need extra flour to help roll, as the dough is rather sticky. Spread the sugar-butter mixture over the dough, leaving a 1/2″ gap around the edges. Sprinkle the raisins evenly over the butter. Starting from one of the 9″ edges, roll the dough into a roll. To get started, fold the dough immediately over to make a little lip. Use a dough scraper or flat long knife to help the dough along if it sticks to the counter
Grease a 9″ x 5″ pan thoroughly. (Use a pan with a lip if you can, as the dough rises a lot and the lip will help prevent spillover.) Transfer the dough roll to the pan, making sure the top seam is tucked into the side of the pan. Cover with a clean towel or plastic wrap. Let rise four about 45 minutes, or cover tightly and refrigerate overnight.
If baking the same day: Preheat the oven to 350˚/180˚. Bake the bread until golden brown, about 1 hour. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes before serving.
You can also use a thermometer stuck in the middle to see when the bread is done. Pull it out when it hits around 200˚/93˚. Just makes sure that the probe isn’t sitting in a raisin pocket.
This is a gingerbready loaf with whole cranberries and lemony delicious flavors. I really wanted to make a lemon glaze to drizzle over the top, but we were out of powdered/confectioner’s sugar and I’d already been to the store three! times! today. If you want the glaze to soak into the loaf, drizzle it over while it’s hot. If you want it to sit on top like icing, let the loaf cool completely.
1 1/4 cups sifted powdered sugar
juice of one lemon
dried cranberries (optional)
To make the glaze, put the powdered sugar in a large bowl and slowly stir in the lemon juice until it’s thin enough to drizzle. Dip a spoon in and hold it over the bowl to test drizzle-ability, then lick the spoon to test for flavor. (Using an un-licked spoon), drizzle the icing over the loaf in pretty swirls. Dot with dried cranberries, if desired.
Recommended accompaniment: A rousing chorus of “Here We Come a Wassailing”, because this could count as Christmas loaf. Moudy cheese optional.
I should warn you, the spinach in the loaf is decorative only. This is a luxurious bread, which means it’s perfect to make four mini loaves and give three away to people who are not on a diet. I first made a version of this two summers ago, when I decided to dive in head-first and multiplied it by eight. Luckily it turned out great, and we all enjoyed it with our soup. The sour cream keeps it moist for a day or two, and for a really really horribly good snack, sprinkle a little more shredded cheese on a slice and broil it. Then do four hundred situps.
Use any not-too-soft cheese you have on hand. The original recipe calls for Parmesan instead of the shredded white cheese; I used a Finland cheese called Lappi. Use Jack, or Pepper Jack, or Beecher’s Flagship… whatever you want. Change up the spices too — try rosemary, or a little mustard powder, or cayenne pepper.
In the microwave or a small pot, melt the butter. Stir in the dried basil. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, salt, baking powder, turmeric, and smoked paprika. Toss in the chunks of sharp cheddar and half (1/2 cup) of the shredded cheese.
In a medium bowl, whisk the egg until beaten. Whisk in the milk, sour cream, and basil-butter mixture. Stir in the spinach.
Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry until just moistened. Work quickly, but do not overmix.
Scrap the batter into the pan, diving evenly if using four mini pans, and spread evenly in the pan. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup shredded cheese over top the batter. Bake until golden brown and a wooden pick stuck in the middle comes out clean, 45 to 50 minutes for a large loaf pan or 35 to 40 minutes for small pans.
Recommended accompaniment: Tomato soup (and maybe a Lactaid pill)