Monday, November 24, 2008

spoon cookies

I'm starting to suspect that I might be a bit of a procrastinator. Saving class reading for the last possible moment? Check. Blogging when should be doing said reading? Check again. Putting off planning Thanksgiving desserts so long that I still have not made a final decision about what we're having the night before flight leaves to go home? You guessed it--check. But all of these lapses in judgment combined cannot compete with what has now proven to be my worst time management sin ever: neglecting to make these cookies for a whopping three years.

You see, I first clipped this recipe out of Gourmet in 2005, thinking I would make them for a holiday cookie party. However, the recipe strongly recommends that the cookies sit for at least "a couple of days" before eating. Seriously. And if there is one thing I will never put off until tomorrow, it is eating a batch of freshly baked cookies. So I put the recipe aside and decided to pick something more suitable for immediate consumption.

After that, I forgot about these cookies until about this time last year, when Molly of Orangette confessed that she too had clipped the recipe years ago and put off making them, but was so so happy she finally did. You'd think her regret would have spurred me to make these right then and there--but somehow, I put these cookies off yet again.

Shortly thereafter, a friend of mine made the cookies and raved about them. Well now I really had to make them--right? But you know what they say--why do today what you can put off until tomorrow? So back into the "To-Make" pile they went.

Well I am happy to report that I have finally come to my senses, and as soon as Holiday Cookie Time rolled around this year, these cookies were first on my list. (I know that it's still November, but I think that we can all agree that once the department stores have their holiday window displays up, the tree has been placed in Rockefeller Center and every other TV commercial takes place under a Christmas tree that it's Holiday Cookie Time, right?)

And boy am I glad I did. I will admit that I wasted no time in trying a few. And they were good. Rich, nutty and totally satisfying. And now that three days have passed? As promised, they are even better. Hmmmm. Maybe us procrastinators are on to something after all.

Spoon Cookies
Gourmet, December 2005
Adapted from Celia Barbour
Recipe Available at

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

{twd} arborio rice pudding

Note: Seeing as I hate rice pudding (I know, I know) my roommate Julia, who is a kitchen whiz in her own right, graciously offered to guest blog this recipe. Her thoughts are below.

My roommate, the lovely Sweet Tarte, has an aversion to rice pudding. I cannot understand it, but we've decided that being as she despises it, and I love it, I would guest-blog and make the Tuesdays With Dorie recipe this week.

And oh, how happy I am with this decision. For one, this meant I had an excuse to make rice pudding for the first time, and additionally, it meant I got to eat it all myself. I can't explain why it has taken me this long to make my own -- I've always loved rice pudding. I loved the cinnamony rice pudding my mom would make whenever we had leftover brown rice. I loved the semoule au lait my host mom in France would make for us when I stayed there for a summer. I love the Kozy Shack rice pudding, which I far too often succumb to buying (how am I to resist it when it goes on sale at the grocery store?). I love the riz au lait I would buy at the grocery store in Nantes, where I studied abroad in college. Despite all of this, though, I have never made it at home.

I think it is my fear of rice-cooking generally that has held me off of making rice pudding myself. I have had too many pots soaking with burnt rice, and too many crunchy grains of brown rice with my stir fry to feel confident in my ability to make rice pudding.

Of course, Dorie came to the rescue. I was nervous about the recipe, but not just because of my rice-cooking fears -- no raisins? No cinnamon? Just vanilla or ... chocolate? Really? Chocolate rice pudding? And further, isn't this *Baking* with Dorie? How am I subbing in on the one day that the recipe does not involve turning on the oven?

So, clearly, I was skeptical. Fortunately, I had no reason to be. As evidenced by the fact that I have consumed 2/3 of the pot by myself in the past 12 hours.

Now, as for the recipe, I was fortunate to read the comments about the rice pudding after Dorie herself posted with a correction to the amount of time it needs to cook. So I parboiled the rice per the instructions, and then let it simmer with the milk and sugar for about 55 minutes, rather than the 30 minutes mentioned in the book. The result was thick, creamy, and delicious.

I couldn't get over my skepticism about the chocolate though, so I stuck with the more traditional white pudding, using half a vanilla bean instead of vanilla extract. I love the result. As recommended by Dorie, I had a comforting cupful last night when I got home around midnight, and then... well... somehow I managed to justify having more for breakfast. Hey, it's mostly milk, right? How is it any different from, say, oatmeal? Besides fiber content, of course...

Anyway, thanks to Isabelle at Les gourmandes d'Isa for choosing such a great recipe! Merci!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

fusilli with mixed greens and goat cheese

Well it's happened. My work has finally started to pile up and finals are growing nearer. In short, I can no longer pretend that being a third year law student requires nothing more than laying on my couch watching TV, pausing only to have another cookie or to make a snarky comment about the new 90210 (because lets be honest, even though Annie isn't half the whiner Brenda was, she's at least twice as annoying). So yesterday, I begrudgingly put down the remote and spent the entire day doing work. Around eight pm, my stomach started to growl, and I knew that it was time to call it a day and make some dinner. (Besides, it was time for Gossip Girl. You didn't think I was going to go cold turkey on bad TV overnight now did you?) The angel on my shoulder suggested that I wage a preemptive strike on the rapidly approaching holiday season and its inevitable accompanying weight gain and have a salad. The devil on my shoulder was tired and cranky from all that work and wanted to be rewarded with pasta. After all, I had been a good girl all day....

So who won? Well thankfully I remembered a recipe in my "to make" archives that allowed me to call this little battle a draw. Whole wheat pasta and two kinds of cheeses to satisfy my craving for some comfort food, and enough mixed greens and tomatoes to make it seem positively virtuous. It's pasta and salad at the same time! It was the perfect dinner. Now if I could only come up with a way to finish my seminar paper while still making it home in time for tonight's 90210...

Whole Wheat Fusilli with Mixed Greens and Goat Cheese
From Everyday Pasta by Giada de Laurentiis
The original recipe is available here

In other news, Sihan of Fundamentally Flawed has given me an award!

Thanks Sihan--I am so honored!!

I am supposed to answer a whole bunch of questions along with this award, but since I am super pressed for time this week, I'm just going to answer the food related ones for now.

My 7 Favorite Foods (in no particular order)

1. Pizza (preferably with onions, mushrooms, peppers and extra sauce)
2. Chocolate Chip Cookies
3. Ice Cream (any flavor will do)
4. Tomato Basil Soup from Turtle Bread Company
5. Eggplant
6. Goat Cheese
7. Candy Corn

I see that some of the other bloggers that Sihan tagged have already passed this award on to a few of the people that I was going to pick, so rather than repeat them here I will just say that I echo the choices of She's Cookin' Now and Sugar and Everything Nice.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

{twd} rugelach

Well now this is turning into a bit of a problem.

While I've rarely met a sweet that I don't like, until recently, there were several I could live without. Baklava. Rice Krispie Treats. Biscotti. Rugelach. Now don't get me wrong, I'll have a taste if it's put in front of me, but I'll never blow my diet on baklava or be hit with an insatiable craving for a slab of rice cereal covered in marshmallows.

But now, in a span of only a few weeks, Dorie has taken two of my take it or leave it desserts and turned them into I must have more now desserts. First, she ruined my distaste for biscotti, and now she has turned me into a full on rugelach fanatic.

Not only is the rugelach delicious--the dough is flaky and rich, and the filling is sweet and perfectly spiced--but it was easy to make and dirtied a minimal number of dishes--always a plus in my tiny kitchen. I used raspberry jam, sliced almonds, golden raisins, and bittersweet chocolate for the filling, but I think that you could throw almost anything into these and they would still be good. They are also portable--making them a perfect snack while waiting in line to vote! Now lets just hope that there are no recipes for baklava or rice krispie treats on the horizon...

This week's pick was selected by Grace of Piggy's Cooking Journal. You can find the recipe on her blog. And don't forget to check out the Tuesdays with Dorie blogroll to see nearly 300 more rugelach varieties.