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cranberry sauce with red wine and figs

November 28, 2013

water as needed
1 splash – 1 cup of red wine
half a packet of dried figs (about 10-12)
a half-cup to a cup of fresh, frozen, or dried cranberries, cherries, and whatever else you have
just a bit of fresh orange zest, orange juice, or candied orange
one quick squeeze of a fresh lemon
a pinch powdered allspice or cinnamon
a t apple cider or red wine vinegar
if you need a sweetener, use whatever you like – honey, sugar, etc.

bring to a boil and simmer until sweet and tender. continue adding water, as the figs will soak up a lot of liquid.

if you prefer it thicker, add a pinch of potato starch or corn starch.

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modified from david lebowitz‘s version

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orange carrots with tahini drizzle

November 26, 2013

I’m combining all the great ideas i’ve seen for carrots lately into one recipe. Haven’t tried this yet, so if you try it, let me know how it goes! I’ll make it this week.

Steam, boil, or roast carrots until nearly done.

In a heavy-bottomed pan or pot, melt butter, coconut oil, or walnut oil over medium. Wait until the pan is hot. Add carrots.

Squeeze the juice from one orange on top. Add a tiny bit of lemon juice. Stir often, turning heat to medium-low. Cook a few minutes before adding a drizzle of maple syrup or honey (or a tablespoon or two.) Add a pinch of salt and pepper (bet this’d be good with a little cayenne.) Cook 4-5 mins, stirring often.

Seperately, mix up the tahini sauce. Add equal parts tahini and maple syrup with a little water.

Serve, with tahini sauce drizzled over carrots.

If this sounds too sweet for you, skip the maple syrup in the tahini sauce and make a sugar-free traditional Lebanese tahini sauce!

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recipe adapted by me

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bemiah (easy lebanese okra)

November 24, 2013

2 lbs of Okra
1 and ½ medium sized onions
4 large mushrooms, chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 large can of diced tomatoes (preferably firewood)
4 cloves of freshly peeled garlic, minced
2 bell peppers
A dash of Cayenne Pepper
A dash of salt
½ to 1 cup of Coconut Oil (or other oils) for frying

Cut/discard the stems of Okra, rinse well, then let dry. Chop all the other vegetables and mince the garlic.
In a deep pot, fry the Okra in ½ cup of oil until they turn brownish, then place them on paper towels or in strainer to strain away the oil.
In the same pot, add 4-6 teaspoons of fresh oil and saute the onions and mushrooms until they turn golden/lightly caramelized. Add the bell pepper and saute for 3-4 more minutes.
Add the okra to the cooking pot, stir well, then add the diced tomatoes and chopped tomatoes, the garlic, Cayenne peppers and salt, mix well and let stew on low heat for 10 minutes while stirring occasionally.
Serve hot or cold with a side of rice.

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from mama’s lebanese kitchen

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almond and brown sugar cookies

November 18, 2013

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole blanched almonds (2 1/2 ounces)
(a little anise extract and pumpkin pie spice – optional)

Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. Beat together butter and brown sugar in a large bowl until pale and fluffy, then beat in egg and vanilla. Mix in flour mixture until a dough just forms. Stir in whole almonds. Divide dough in half. Using a sheet of plastic wrap or wax paper as an aid, form each piece of dough into a log 9 to 9 1/2 inches long (about 1 1/4 inches in diameter). Chill, wrapped in plastic wrap (or plastic grocery bag) until very firm, at least 4 hours. Freeze 30 minutes to facilitate slicing.

Preheat oven to 350°F with racks in upper and lower thirds. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut 1 log of dough crosswise into slices less than 1/8 inch thick with a thin sharp knife, rotating log after each slice to help keep round shape. (If dough gets too soft to slice through nuts easily, freeze briefly.) Arrange cookies about 1/2 inch apart on baking sheets.

Bake cookies, switching position of sheets halfway through, until golden brown all over, 12 to 15 minutes total. Transfer cookies on parchment to racks to cool.

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from epicurious

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made a few substitutions.

my brown sugar had some kind of larvae in it, so i substituted non-larvaed sugar in the raw with a half-teaspoon or so of molasses. it gave them a rich, thick flavor.
also, i have anise extract and never know what to do with it, and i like anise-almond, so i gave it a try. WOW! so perfect. the flavors compliment each other well. finally, i added a dash of pumpkin pie spice and a little pinch of chocolate chips.

there is so much going on with these cookies that they actually don’t need the chocolate chips at all. i would recommend omitting them, like the original recipe did.

i have never made icebox cookies before, but now i understand the basic idea. these cookies come out looking exactly like cookies from the store. they are even and flat on top.

typically, i’m more of the crumbly, chewy cookie type. i like cookies that turn your glass of milk into a milkshake in five seconds flat.
these cookies are very different. they are dunking cookies – and they actually stand up to being dunked until the end. they are crunchy, crispy, and could easily convert someone to the crispy cookie camp.

highly recommended as holiday gifts. unique, good-looking, and easy! highly recommended.

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amaretti di Saronno (gluten-free almond cookies)

November 18, 2013

2 1/4 cups blanched whole almonds (about 12 ounces), plus 15 for garnishing
2/3 cup sugar
2 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
15 glacéed cherries

Arrange racks in upper and lower thirds of oven and preheat to 350°F. Lightly oil 2 large baking sheets, then line with parchment paper.

In food processor, combine 2 1/4 cups almonds and 1/3 cup sugar. Process until finely ground, scraping down sides once or twice. Set aside.

In electric mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat egg whites and salt at high speed until soft peaks form. Reduce speed to medium and gradually sprinkle in remaining 1/3 cup sugar. Return speed to high and beat mixture until stiff, shiny peaks form. Gently fold in ground almond mixture and almond and vanilla extracts.

Roll mixture into 1-inch balls, place 2 inches apart on baking sheets, and flatten slightly. Top each with glacéed cherry or almond. Bake until cookies are golden, switching positions of pans halfway through, about 25 minutes. Cool on sheets 5 minutes, then transfer to racks to cool completely.

Cookies keep, wrapped, several days, or frozen, several weeks. Recrisp in warm oven.

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from epicurious

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bubbling butter beans

November 11, 2013

Are you wondering, like I was, “What are butter beans?”

I also just learned that the south calls them “butter beans.”
I have seen canned butter beans in the stores down here and wondered what they were! I love lima beans, but I think I like them even better when they’re called butter beans.

Lima beans, butter beans – whatever you call them, they are creamy and rich-tasting. Somehow, even though they are the bacon of the bean world, they are incredibly high in fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, potassium, and iron. They even lower blood sugar.

3 tablespoons olive oil or fat
6 slices thick-sliced bacon (or sausage)
½ cup finely chopped shallots or sliced onions
4 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled, plus 1 tablespoon grated garlic (use a Microplane) or garlic mashed to paste
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
2 cups chicken stock or canned low-sodium broth
4 cups cooked butter beans or two 15-ounce jars or cans butter beans, drained, rinsed if canned (also known by their other name – lima beans!)
1 cup Pomi diced tomatoes (or other Tetra Pak tomatoes), drained
1 teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
White wine vinegar

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until it sizzles when a piece of bacon is added. Add the rest of the bacon, the shallots, crushed garlic, and sage and cook, stirring, until the shallots are just translucent, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Add the beans, bring to a simmer, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a small skillet over high heat until very hot. Add the tomatoes and sauté for 2 minutes, then add the grated garlic and oregano and cook until most of the moisture has evaporated and the tomatoes are crackling.

Stir the tomatoes into the bean mixture, along with the prosciutto fat. Season with salt and pepper and pour into a 2-quart casserole or baking dish.

Transfer to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, until the beans are velvety and creamy. If the beans start to look dry, add a splash of water.

Stir the parsley into the beans, adjust the acidity with white wine vinegar as necessary, and drizzle generously with olive oil. Serve, or keep warm in a low oven until ready to serve.

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adapted from seven spoons. the photos of these beans with a sunny-side up egg over the top looks amazing.

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update:
AMAZING!

i tweaked it considerably.

MY VERSION:

VEG: roast garlic and other roastable veggies. whatever’s in season: squash, brussels sprouts, anything! chop them, and start them in a pan or pot with some olive oil.
NON-VEG: in a large pot or pan, add bacon, ham, salt pork, bits of fat you trimmed off last night’s pork chops or chicken, or ground sausage. any flavorful, fatty meat.
BOTH: add two small sliced onions. (add extra fat if they stick.)
add half a head of roasted garlic and any roasted veggies you have.
rinse two cans of butter beans and add.
fry for a few minutes.
add seasoned (herbed) tomato sauce and your favorite stock or even just a little water and cooking wine. pepper, salt to taste, fresh herbs if you want. it’s all good.

the sauce ends up buttery and creamy from the beans.

this is simple, quick to prepare, cheap, very filling, and HIGHLY recommended. great as a dip, or a sandwich spread, or piled on crackers or toast, side dish, or just eaten alone! butter beans don’t have a “beany” taste or texture – they are great for picky eaters. i tend to prefer heavily seasoned beans, but this is perfect just like it is.

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my favorite foods and flavors

November 3, 2013

ah, the childlike love for lists of our favorite things. the same funny holdover from childhood that makes pinterest so popular.

allspice, avocado, balsamic, blackberry, bleu cheese, blueberry, butter, caramel, cashew, cinnamon, crab, cream, date, fig, fish, ginger, goat cheese, hickory, honey, hops, lemon-dill, mango, sesame, smokey, sorrel, spicy, strawberry, sweet, toffee, vanilla, walnut.

my favorite smell is cedar/pine/vanilla/spice, and my favorite number is…. just kidding.

lists! a great source of comfort.

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