Thursday, December 31, 2009


We are off to NYC for our annual (this will be our third year) new year eve day trip into the city. The kids and I meet up with my husband after work. We go to a few stores and then head out for dinner. The first year we stayed downtown and ate by the South Street Seaport. Last year we took them to a great place in Koreatown (we have since made two more trips to eat in Koreatown, it is a favorite of the kids). I think we will head back to Koreatown again this year.

The weather was awful last year, very very cold and snowing. I hope today is better.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

cookies : brownie squares

I forgot to post the recipe for the brownie squares. These are one of my favorites. I don't care much for brownies, but these are so much better. There is a butter cookie on the bottom and a gooey not to sweet bownie on the top. They are cut into one-inch squares, the perfect size.

Brownie Squares
Gourmet 2003

For crust
Ingredients for basic butter cookies (see below)

For brownie filling
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter
10 1/2 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups walnuts (6 oz; optional), toasted , cooled, and coarsely chopped
print a shopping list for this recipe

Make crust:
Grease a 13- by 9-inch metal baking pan, then line with foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang on both ends, and grease foil.

Follow recipe for basic butter cookies to make dough, then press dough evenly onto bottom of baking pan, using plastic wrap on top to prevent dough from sticking to your fingers, and chill until firm, about 20 minutes.

While crust chills, put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 375°F.

Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Cool crust in pan on a rack 20 minutes. (Leave oven on.)

Make brownie filling while crust cools:
Melt butter and chocolate with brown sugar in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Remove from heat, then whisk in eggs and vanilla until combined well. Whisk in flour, cocoa, and salt, then stir in walnuts (if using).

Spread brownie batter over cooled crust and bake until set, about 20 minutes. Cool completely in pan on rack, about 1 1/2 hours.

Run a heavy knife under hot water and wipe dry, then cut confection into 1-inch squares.

Squares keep, layered between sheets of wax paper or parchment, in an airtight container at room temperature 1 week.

Basic Butter Cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl.

Beat together butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes in a standing mixer (preferably fitted with paddle attachment) or 6 with a handheld. Beat in egg and vanilla. Reduce speed to low, then add flour mixture and mix until just combined.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

catching up

The holiday got the best of me. Every year I hope that this will be the year that I enjoy the holidays but this year was not the one. I hate the craziness of it, and hate the wastfullness of it also. We give and get so much that will never be used.

I seemed swapmed this year more than most. I was busy with the cookies, card orders, buying and wrapping presents and planning parties for the kids classes at school.

That being said, I fell way behind in the posting here. Today is the first day that I have had a minute so I went and posted the rest of the cookie recipes. Happy baking!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

cookies : rugelach

This is one of my husbands favorites.

Once again I make these much smaller than the recipe calls for. The are great to freeze. If you want to freeze them proceed through all the steps until baking. Place cookies an a parchment lined baking sheet and place in freezer until the cookies are frozen through. Place in a freezer bag and bake cookies as needed. If you plan to bake them straigh from the freezer you will need to add a few minutes to the baking time.

Barfoot Contessa Parties

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2-pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup granulated sugar plus 9 tablespoons
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 cup raisins
1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon milk, for egg wash

Cream the cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment until light. Add 1/4 cup granulated sugar, the salt, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour and mix until just combined. Dump the dough out onto a well-floured board and roll it into a ball. Cut the ball in quarters, wrap each piece in plastic, and refrigerate for 1 hour.

To make the filling, combine 6 tablespoons of granulated sugar, the brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, the raisins, and walnuts.

On a well-floured board, roll each ball of dough into a 9-inch circle. Sprinkle the dough with 1/2 cup of the filling. Press the filling lightly into the dough. Cut the circle into 12 equal wedges—cutting the whole circle in quarters, then each quarter into thirds. Starting with the wide edge, roll up each wedge. Place the cookies, points tucked under, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Brush each cookie with the egg wash. Combine 3 tablespoons granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon and sprinkle on the cookies. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned. Remove to a wire rack and let cool.

Friday, December 25, 2009

merry merry

Wishing you a merry christmas.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

cookies : thumbprints

The thumbprints were the last cookies that I made. They are a favorite around here. Somehow I did not get a photo of them and by the time I realized it, they were all gone. I make mine smaller than the recipe calls for, they are very rich.

Barefoot Contessa Family Style

3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
7 ounces sweetened flaked coconut
Raspberry jam

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until they are just combined and then add the vanilla. Separately, sift together the flour and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the creamed butter and sugar. Mix until the dough starts to come together. Dump on a floured board and roll together into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.

Roll the dough into 1 1/4-inch balls. (If you have a scale they should each weigh 1 ounce.) Dip each ball into the egg wash and then roll it in coconut. Place the balls on an ungreased cookie sheet and press a light indentation into the top of each with your finger. Drop 1/4 teaspoon of jam into each indentation. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the coconut is a golden brown. Cool and serve.

photo by food network

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

cookies : spritz

This recipes is a classic by now. My mom got a spritz gun in the early 80's and now I have it. I guess at this point it is considered vintage. This is one of my favorite cookies.


3/4 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 salt

Preheat over to 375 degrees.

With electric mixer beat the butter while gradually adding sugar. Once added, continue to beat until light and fluffy, about five minutes.

Add egg and vanilla; beat well.

In another bowl blend flour, baking powder and salt togehter. Add to the mixer in three additions, mixing well after each one.. The dough will be stiff.

Fill and assemble your spritz gun to make the cookies.

Bake cookies for 10-12 minutes, or until they start to turn golden around the edges.

Makes 6-7 dozen

Monday, December 21, 2009


Happy first day of Winter.

I hope that it is not a long one.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

cookies : final count

The cookies are all baked. I spent the last few days baking like crazy. By the end of the night everything will be packed up to give out tomorrow. My husband will take three bags into work, three bags will go to the teachers, two bags to friends, one to my parents, and one small bags to no. one's math teacher and one to the bus driver. There are still a few cookies here that the kids can have and just enough to put out for dessert on Christmas eve. My goal is to get them all out of the house.

Here is what I made:

100 chocolate chip cookies
100 double chocolate brownie cookies
100 white chocolate butterscotch cookie
100 peanut butter-cup cookies
100 spritz cookies
100 thumbprints
90 brownie squares
120 sugar cookies
135 rugelach
75 macaroons
90 toffee blondies
75 oreos

I still have a bunch of recipes to post and will do so over the next few days. Stay tuned...

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Today has been a busy day. I had a few things to do in the morning, a meeting at school and then had to pick up no. four from pre-school (sadly no run today, a combo of very cold weather and not enough time). When we got home I had to finish up our Christmas cards (I made about thirty today) and started the dough for a cookie (it is not resting in the fridge), I wrapped the presents for all of the brownie leaders and the secret santa swap. Then I had to start dinner. I was planning to make my own corn torillas. I tried one batch, didn't come together, then I tryed a different corn flour and it tasted like dirt. I did not have enough time to run to the store to get some I did a fast google search for flour tortillas and found an easy recipe. I made the dough, rolled them out and cooked them. All I can say about them is that we will never buy them from the store again, they are that good.

Flour Tortillas
Makes about 16

3 cups unbleached flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
4-6 Tbsp. vegetable shortening or lard
about 1 1/4 cups warm water

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.

Add vegetable shortening. Use a fork or a pastry cutter to cut in the shortening or just use your hands.

Next add warm water a little at a time until your dough is soft and not sticky. You do not need very hot water.

Knead the dough for a few minutes.

Now you will pull off pieces of dough to form about 16 small dough balls. Let them rest for at least 10 minutes.

Heat a non-stick skillet. You will want to set it at medium to high heat. If it is too hot the tortillas will cook too fast.

Now you can roll out the dough with a rolling pin or a tortilla press. It is a good idea to dust each ball with a little flour just before you roll them out. Roll them out fairly thin.

Place rolled tortilla in the skillet, takes just a few seconds to cook. Flip to the other side. When they are done it should have lots of nice brown speckles. Place them in a towel. If you would like you can use a tortilla warmer to keep them warm longer.

They are ready to be served!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


My husband has brought me home two cookies from Levain Bakery, located in NYC's upper west side, his office has been getting them. One day he brought me an oatmeal raisin and last Friday he brought home one of the walnut chocolate chip. They have two other cookie flavors, but they are not up my alley.

Well, they are the most amazing cookies. They are huge (good thing that I am not near there) and perfect. They are almost raw inside which is how I like them.

Yesterday he sent me a link to their blog and that got me thinking that I could (need to) try and make the cookies. It is beside the point that I am crazy busy. I have make six of the thirteen christmas cookies, which means that I still have to bake and package everything by this Sunday evening. I also am finishing up some Christmas card orders and have to finish our Christmas card which I am on the verge of tossing because it has been very problematic.

I digress. After reading the blog a bit I did a search for the cookie recipe and of course like all great things it is a well guarded recipe. There are some blogs that have copycat recipes so I picked one and got going.

Well they are not really the same. I need to make a few adjustments and perhaps read through all the copycat recipes and see what is the same and what people do different. However, I think this project will need to wait until after Christmas.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

happy birthday

It is hard to believe that this little (not really so little when he was born) monkey turned five today. I think we now officially have big kids.

Happy Birthday!

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Still busy baking. I have lots of recipes to post next week.

No. four turns five tomorrow so we went into the city for his birthday dinner and then out for ice cream. Tomorrow he will have his birthday dinner that I cook (his choice). Lots of celebration around here for birthdays.

Friday, December 11, 2009

cookies : white chocolate butterscotch cookies

I am testing a new cookie to add to the mix, white chocolate butterscotch. Last night I was going through all the magazines and books that I am using this holiday to make a list of what I still need to buy in order to get everything made and I spotted this recipe. I like to add at least one new cookie each year and take out one or two that my husband has on the bottom of his list. They have not been given approval yet, I have to wait for him to come home and let me know if they are good enough to go in, I am not a good tester, I don't really eat many of the cookies that I make. If they get a positive review I will freeze them and keep my fingers crossed that they freeze well.

I doubled the recipe and I made the cookies smaller than the recipe calls for and cut the baking time. It is reflected in the recipe below. Also, I never use vegetable shorting and was a little grossed out by it, but I thought it must be there for a reason and changing it to butter might change the cookies too much.

White chocolate butterscotch cookies
Adapted from The Martha Stewart Baking Handbook
(this is for a single batch, like I said I doubled it)

1-3/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup vegetable shorting
1-1/4 cups packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
8 ounces white chocolate pieces

Preheat over to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet with parchment (I use the mats).

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, shortening, and brown sugar on medium until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until combined. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in two batches, beating until combined. Stir in white chocolate.

Drop 1 tablespoon of dough on sheet about an inch apart. Bake until golden brown around edges, about 9 minutes. Let cool and sheet for 2 minutes then transfer to a wire rack.

Monday, December 7, 2009

cookies: chocolate chip

Every year during the holiday season I bake and bake and bake. I make tons of cookies to give as gifts. We give them to the kids teachers, my husband brings them to work, I give some to my parents and a few friends. Last year I make twelve different kinds of cookies and one candy. I mix and bake for weeks. I go through pounds and pounds of butter, flour, sugar, chocolate and eggs.

This seasons baking has begun. I made the first dough, chocolate chip. It has to sit in the fridge for two days, then I will shape the cookies and freeze the dough to be baked closer to when we give them out. I try to freeze as much as I can ahead of time so that I do not have to spend two solid days baking (I pretty much do as it is).

You can get the recipe I used here.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

pasteis de belem

I know I am going on and on about these, but trust me, if you have ever had one you understand.

I am on a mission to try and make these at home. The recipe is secret. There is some information on the web, but I think I need to try something a little different than what I have read. I will try to combined what I have found with some ideas of my own. After the holidays we will have these and I'll report back.

However, if you happen to have a recipe and know more about these, please share!!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

lisbon day 3

On our last morning in Lisbon we decided to go to Belem to try the original pasteis de belem. Everything that we were told and read said that you have to go. The lines are supposed to be crazy, but worth the wait. So we took the tram out to Belem and found the shop right away. The place was not crowed at all and we decided to sit and have our treat. We each ordered one and regreeted not ordering about five each. The ones in the city are good, like nothing we have here, but the original (secret recipe) pasteis de belem might be one of the most wonderful things I have ever eaten, I swear. We paid, went outside and decided to go to the counter and get another, who know when we'll be in Belem again.

The sites were closed on Monday in Belem, so we headed back into the city and spent the rest of the day and night walking around, stopping in shops and eating. We found a shop in the city that had pasteis de nata (what they are called if they are not the original) that were the closest to the ones that we had in Belem, so each got one, then we went back and got two more each, who knows when we'll be in Lisbon again.

It was an awesome trip!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


I had some cranberries and lots of half and half left over from Thanksgiving so I decided to make some cranberry scones. The kids all love them and they make a perfect snack to send them in their lunchbox for snack. I made a double batch and freeze some for later. I cut them a little smaller then the recipes says to, I usually get 12 per batch.

Cranberry Scones
Food Everyday
December 2003

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
5 tablespoons sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for topping
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2/3 cup (plus 1 tablespoon) half-and-half
1/2 cup halved cranberries, drained on paper towels

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a bowl, whisk together flour, 5 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in butter with a pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in 2/3 cup half-and-half until just moistened. Gently fold in cranberries.

On a lightly floured surface, knead dough gently, 5 to 10 times. Pat into a 1-inch-thick round. Cut into 8 wedges; place on a baking sheet, 2 inches apart. Brush tops with remaining tablespoon half-and-half; sprinkle with remaining tablespoon sugar. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Thanksgiving came and went. It all seems like a blur. I started cooking on Tuesday and finished right before we sat down to eat on Thursday. The dinner was a success, lots on new recipes and lots of old ones also. It was way to much food for our group, but it seems to be the theme for Thanksgiving.

Our menu was:
Roasted turkey
cream biscuit stuffing (from williams-sonama, recipe here)
mushroom stuffing (from epicurious, recipe here)
cranberry relish
oyster pie
broccoli with hollandaise
mashed potatoes
chestnut mashed potatoes (based on a recipe from Food network magazine, November 2009)
roasted sweet potatoes with brown sugar
creamed onions

mile high apple pie (from Martha Stewart Living, you can find the recipe here)
pumpkin pie (from the Silver Palete Cookbook, you find the recipe here, but it is a great cookbook to have)
pecan pie with cream cheese crust (Martha Stewart Living, November 2009, you can find the recipe here)

If you want any of the other recipes just let me know!

Monday, November 30, 2009

lisbon day 2

On our second day in Portugal we hopped on the train to Sintra. It is about a 45 minute ride from the city. Sintra lies between the city and the Atlantic and has been described as one of the loveliest spots in the Iberian peninsula. We hit three of the sites while we were there. Our first stop was the Palacio Nacional which was the former royal palace.

After the palace we walked around the town a bit and stopped for a bit to eat. At the cafe we were introduced to our second amazing pastry, queijada finas de sinta. They are very interesting and hard to describe. They have them packaged and they have a bit of a shelf life so we were able to bring some home with us.

Our next stop was the Castelo dos Mouros, which was originally built in the 8th or 9th century. The remains and surrounding flora was impressive. The altitude of the castle is 1408 feet, and for a brief moment (it was very over cast, at some points we could not even see ten feet in front of us) the clouds parted enough that we could see the Atlantic. Our next stop was the Palacio da Pena. It is one of the most interesting places I have ever seen. It is described as a "fairtytale castle" and I would not disagree. The fog was so thick I was not able to take any good pictures.

We had a fast snack and then headed back into the city for a late dinner.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

lisbon day 1: evening

After a great lunch on our first day we wandered over to a funky (and not in a good way) open air market. We spent the rest of the day and night walking up and down the hills and stairs that make up the city. We had a fantastic dinner and then off to bed.

I knew that Lisbon was hilly, but honestly I was not prepared for what it really is. My legs are in decent shape, I am up to six mile runs, but I was afraid that I might not make it out of bed the next morning. We figured that we walked about ten miles our first day.

Monday, November 23, 2009


It is hard to believe, but no. 1 turned ten today. The past ten years have flown by. It seems like just yesterday that we were without any kids on our way to the hospital to have our first baby.

This weekend we made cookies to send into school for his class. Our idea was to make one's and zero iced cookies but after going to four different stores to find number cookie cutters we had to pick a different shape. He picked dinosaurs from our cutter collection which we made, iced, bagged and tagged for his classmates.

Happy Brithday!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

lisbon day 1: afternoon

After our stop for a bite to eat (it was here that we were first introduced to the pasteis de nata, perhaps my new favorite food in the world, but more on that later) we walked around for a bit and then headed over to the Castelo de Sao Jorge. The castle dates to the 11th and 12th centuries and is amazing. From the castle we had spectacular views of the city.

Friday, November 13, 2009

lisbon day 1: morning

We arrived in Lisbon early in the morning, 6:00 am local time. We took the bus into the city and checked into the hotel. The key for me overcoming jet-lag is to keep moving, so we dropped our stuff, cleaned up a bit and hit the streets. We walked for a bit and then then stopped in a pastry shop that lured us in by great breads and pastries in the window.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

week twenty six

This is our final share of the season.

We got:
sweet potatoes

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


My husband and I just returned from an awesome trip to Lisbon.

The kids return from their trip to Disney late tonight.

I am on my way into NYC to meet my husband for dinner (why not take advantage of no kids).

Lots and lots of details to come...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Monday, November 9, 2009

Sunday, November 8, 2009


I do not have many recipes from my husbands family (I think this is the only one). They are secrete. This is one of his favorites and it has become a favorite of the kids. It makes a great side dish. I usually double it.


1/2 pound broccoli
olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1-1/2 tablespoons vegatable oil
1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 clove garlic

Preheat over to 500 degrees.

Cut broccoli into pieces. Toss broccoli with olive oil to coat and place on a rimmed cookie sheet. Cook for 10 minutes.

While the broccoli is cooking place the remaining ingredients into a blender and blend to mix.

Remove broccoli from oven and drop temperature to 350 degrees.

Pour sauce over broccoli and cook for about 25 minutes.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

week twenty five

Lots of root vegetables.

sweet potatoes (about 20 lbs.)

Friday, November 6, 2009

bon voyage

Bon Voyage by No. two.

It reads:
1. "I hope you have fun on your vacation."
2. "You too."
3. " You to Mrs. Peck."
4. "I'm going to Florida."
5. "I'm going to Lisbon."
6. "I hope all of you have a good time."

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


On our walk yesterday no. four offered some advice to everyone before walking through the covered bridge, "watch out for cars and poop".