Sunday, January 30, 2011

Peanut Butter Pretzel Cookies

Rachael Ray

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup unsalted roasted peanuts, chopped
  • 6 cups miniature pretzels, chopped

  1. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350°. In a bowl, whisk together the flour and baking soda.

  2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar and peanut butter on medium speed until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. With the mixer on low speed, gradually add the flour mixture, beating until just combined; stir in the peanuts.

  3. Place the pretzels in a bowl. Using a 1 1/2-inch-diameter cookie scoop and working in batches, drop a few balls of dough in the bowl and toss to coat. Place the cookies on the prepared pans. Bake, rotating the pans after 10 minutes, until golden but still soft to the touch, about 15 minutes. Let cool slightly before transferring to racks to cool.

Notes: So good. I love that salty-sweet combination!

Liz's Rating: 9.5/10
Tim's Rating: 9/10

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Fusilli Alla Crazy Bastard

Food & Wine
I was looking for a recipe to use up some Swiss chard, and who could resist a recipe with the name "Fusilli Alla Crazy Bastard"?

  • 1/2 cup walnut halves
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound fusilli pasta
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1/2 pound beet greens, rinsed and coarsely chopped
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 pound soft goat cheese, thickly sliced
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. On a rimmed baking sheet, toast the walnuts for 7 minutes, until lightly browned; let cool slightly. Coarsely chop and transfer to a bowl.
  2. Raise the oven temperature to 450°. On the rimmed baking sheet, toss the cherry tomatoes with 1 teaspoon of the olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Roast the tomatoes for about 10 minutes, until browned in spots.
  3. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the fusilli. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until golden, 2 minutes. Add the roasted tomatoes, beet greens and crushed red pepper and cook, crushing the tomatoes slightly, until the greens are just wilted, 3 minutes.
  4. Drain the fusilli, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Add the pasta, the reserved cooking water and the sliced goat cheese to the skillet and cook over moderate heat, tossing to coat the pasta. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the pasta to a bowl, garnish with the chopped toasted walnuts, top with the Parmigiano-Reggiano and serve immediately.

Notes: Make this recipe if you really, really, really love goat cheese. Otherwise adapt it. The goat cheese flavor was a bit overwhelming. I did like the combination of walnuts, pasta, goat cheese, and chard, and the roasted tomatoes were delicious.

Liz's Rating: 8/10
Tim's Rating: 7/10

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Winter Pizza


  • Butternut squash – peeled and diced into 3/4 inch chunks, about 2 1/2 cups
  • 4 ounces of an earthy, nutty cheese like Fontal or Taleggio, grated (if it is soft, it helps to stick it in the freezer for 10 minutes before grating)
  • 1 cup of walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 15 or so sage leaves, more if you’d like
  • 3-4 shallots
  • Pizza dough
  • Olive oil, salt and pepper

  1. Preheat the oven to 425.
  2. In a large skillet over medium high heat, add tablespoon of olive oil. Add the shallots and saute for about 8 minutes or so, until they become golden brown and caramelized. Remove and set aside.

  3. In the same skillet, heat another tablespoon of oil. Add the butternut squash, and saute that for 5 minutes or so. This is really just to make sure it gets fully cooked when it goes into the oven. You don’t need to make it soft, just brown it for a few minutes to start the cooking process.

    Roll out the pizza dough and brush the carmelized shallots over the base, making sure they are evenly distributed. It won’t be totally covered, just more of a flavoring. (If you want it totally covered, I would double the shallots.)

  4. Sprinkle the cheese on top, followed by the squash and walnuts.

  5. Bake in the oven for 8 minutes. While it is baking, toss the sage leaves in a drop of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. You just want to coat them so they don’t burn in the oven and get a little fried. Take the pizza out and sprinkle the sage over the pizza. Put the pizza back in the oven for another 8 minutes or so, until the cheese starts to brown. Then serve.

Notes: The recipe title says it all- this is an excellent pizza using winter ingredients! For more seasonal recipes, visit Arugulove.

Liz's Rating: 9/10

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Penguin Appetizers

I saw these on Megan's blog over two years ago and finally had the chance to make them for a neighbor's New Year's Eve party.

These were much easier to make than I expected, and they tasted pretty good! I'll keep these in mind for future winter parties.

  • 18 jumbo ripe Black olives

  • 18 small ripe Black olives

  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese

  • 1 carrot (about 6 inches long and 1 inch wide)

  • 18 long fresh chives

  • 18 frill toothpicks

  1. Cut a slit lengthwise from top to bottom in each jumbo olive
  2. Fill each cavity of the jumbo olives with about a teaspoon of cream cheese
    (using a pastry bag makes this much easier)

  3. This makes the the white stripe in penguins chest. Cut carrot into 1/4 inch slices,then out of each slice cut a small pie shaped piece. This makes the feet, save the piece you cut out, this will be the beak

  4. In the x slit in the center of each small olive (where the pit was removed) press the small piece of carrot into the hole with the pointed end out.

  5. Using a frill toothpick,stack head ( small olive ), body (large olive) and feet (carrot slice), adjusting so that beak, cream cheese breast and notch in carrot line up.

  6. Tie chive around neck for the scarf.