These are words that evoke thoughts of Spring for me. As I thought about what I could post to go along with our theme of Easter and Passover fare this month, I immediately thought of pretty little pastel meringue kisses.
My daughter loves the tub of meringue cookies that Trader Joe’s sells. She very rarely willingly helps me in the kitchen but when I told her about this post she was eager to make these kisses on one condition – she could eat them all!
Although I don’t have ducks anymore, I still buy both duck and goose eggs in season so when I recently bought several dozen duck eggs and a few goose eggs, Spring had officially sprung for me!
Goose and duck eggs are wonderful in baking because of their additional protein in their whites so I thought one goose egg white might do well in these kisses. The kisses didn’t quite pipe out as well as I would have liked but I think it has less to do with the goose and more to do with the amount of sugar I added and the amount if time if whipped them. I think they could have used a little more sugar and a little more whipping time. My daughter said they tasted just like Trader Joe’s though so I felt it was worth the effort.
I’m of the Passover celebrating persuasion and per usual, I’ll be in Denver to celebrate the holiday with my family. For the second year in a row, Streus and her kiddo Addison are going to join us for our family seder. They are excellent guests, not just because they both (and I fully include Addison in this observation) are fantastic conversationalists, but also because they are the type of people see gefilte fish for the first time, and are excited to try something new versus questioning why they’re eating a jarred fishball preserved in fish jelly (not that I’m saying that healthy curiosity about said fish is unreasonable…).
I recently found a old Passover I’d printed out many years ago, for chocolate dipped macaroons. I vaguely remember making the cookies just once, but that they were delicious – way better then the traditional canned macaroons. I dusted off the recipe and tried them out again – full of coconut and a bit of almond, they have a great chewy texture but still taste nice and light. With the added chocolate, these are definitely cookies that don’t need to be relegated to just an annual holiday.
I have several staples that I buy at the grocery store every time I go and this recipe incorporates four of them…potatoes, brussels sprouts, pancetta and eggs! This recipe was inspired (I never follow a recipe exactly) by The Whole30 Cookbook just like these dukkah potatoes and I used my favorite potato, the rooster, again. These cakes are a two-step process but still quick and easy and SO tasty. I served mine along side Boulder Sausage’s Breakfast Sausage!
Last spring, I travelled to Dallas for my job – usually I’m not crazy about trips for work; it’s fine, but I often find myself in my hotel room at the end of the day, unsure what to do with myself – explore the city on my own, which is fine but not as fun as when I’ve got someone to share it with – or indulge in my desire to watch HGTV for multiple hours (Fixer Upper and Flip or Flop are favorites – though I’m less interested in Flip or Flop now that I know way too much about Christina and Tarek). The issue with the HGTV option is that I get hungry and restless by 8pm, at which point I don’t know what to do with myself (venture out for a big dinner, go to bed too late feeling gross? or eat too many pretzels for dinner, go to bed early, and still feel gross?).
Anyway – back to Dallas – much to my surprise, that trip turned out waaay different than most of my employer-sponsored trips. Expecting many nights in my hotel room, I had brought a bunch of work with me with the expectation of primarily pretzel-and-work filled evenings (with just a smattering of home improvement shows), when, much to my surprise, I made friends. Lovely, thoughtful, women who also take their careers very seriously AND really like whiskey too. We quickly found a pattern: focus during the daytime, eat and drink like locals in the evening (we got lucky with “being like locals” – one of my new pals was from the area). It ended up being a *fantastic* trip, and in fact (speaking of whiskey!) we are reuniting next month in Louisville KY at another meeting! Gah!
Anyway – I promise I have a point to this story. My lovely friend, who lived in Dallas, took us one night to Houston’s Restaurant. I’d never heard of it – didn’t realize it was a chain OR that it has a crazy following – and instead worried that there wouldn’t be anything vegetarian to eat in a steakhouse in Texas. As it turned out, the food was fantastic (a delicious veggie burger, and please know I’m a connoisseur) and among the most amazing mashed potatoes I’ve ever had. Turns out they were Irish Mashed Potatoes – I’d never heard of them before! – and they were creamy and fluffy with a great bite to them. With St. Patrick’s day upon us, I figured this was the perfect recipe to recreate during potato month here at S&S.
I love potatoes for breakfast! Let’s be honest, I love potatoes anytime of day really. I love good ol’ russets, reds, purples, Yukon golds and now roosters! Rooster potatoes just started showing up in my grocery store and I can’t get enough of them. I started slicing them thin and frying them up in avocado oil as a side dish twice a week with dinner.
Recently I discovered Irish Nachos and am totally addicted to them. You simply replace tortilla chips with sliced and baked or fried potatoes to make them Irish. Go figure. Since St. Patrick’s Day is right around the corner I figure these nachos would be a great way for folks to soak up all the alcohol they’ll imbibe in honor of an Irish saint.
When Strudel suggested a potato-themed March, I wasn’t quite sure what do to with myself. My love of the tuber is powerful (never get in the way of me and french fries) but beyond a modified version of this lovely recipe (sub greek yogurt for sour cream, onions instead of leeks, and add sautéed mushrooms), we don’t tend to do much with white potatoes in my house.
And then my childhood popped into my head – my dad went through a potato kugel phase, where he attempted to find the perfect recipe, and though the penultimate kugel evaded him during those years, we ate a heck of a lot of the potato casserole in the meanwhile. Remembering this the other day, I sent Dad a quick email to determine if he ever returned to the quest, and if so, what the results were. This was his response:
“I’m attaching a potato kugel recipe… the thing that makes potato kugel special is a gutsy texture and a pronounced taste of onion. This recipe, because the potatoes become shards in the food processer, has a bold texture and, because onions are treated two ways (raw and caramelized) the kugel has a decidedly onion taste.”
(Can you totally tell my dad is a food writer?!)
With the last of this month’s cookie posts I decided to convert another cake to a cookie. I was inspired by the recent King Arthur Flour catalog I received in the mail. In it was a recipe for Lemon Streusel Coffee Cake.
I wanted more cookies with a streusel crumb on top after getting lots of yumms from friends who ate the Shoofly Cookie . These cookies are soft, the perfect amount of lemon and lime, and the sugary streusel on top gives this cookie just the right amount of sweet!
As I’ve started baking my way through “Dorie’s Cookie’s” I’m finding recipes with ingredients not commonly found in cookies (a mincemeat option for cookie bars, for example – I’m assuming she means the kind without beef). I love hearing about how other folks get creative with ingredients, and enjoy Dorie’s originality even if those cookies aren’t something I’ll bake right now.
In poking through the cookbook, I found this recipe for Coffee Malted Cookies. I love love love malt but there aren’t many reasons to use – I bought a container a few years back for homemade milkshakes for a dinner parter, and when I recently dug it out, it had formed into a solid block (note: I now have a weapon against intruders). Off to the store I went for some fresh malt powder, and I was all set!
These cookies are great – the strongest flavor actually comes from the coffee, and the malt brings out more of a vanilla taste to me. Be really careful not to over bake, you’re going for a soft cookie with a slightly crisp edge. These are definitely going in to our regular cookie rotation!
When Strudel suggested a cookie month, I knew I had tons of cookbooks in my kitchen that I could search for a cookie to reinvent. Then a friend at work really needed cheering up this week and her favorite thing that I make (she even requested it for her birthday) is Amish Shoofly Cake. I thought converting this cake to cookies would be a nice way to end her week AND a fun experiment for me.
I’ve never converted a cake to a cookie before BUT ages ago I did a very brief series called “Science of…” here on the blog and remembered that I did a Science of Cookies post, so I looked to it for guidance. Voila! Shoofly Cookies were successfully created and loved by everyone at work. Also, my friend was a little bit happier after eating a few of these cakey cookies with her morning coffee!
Cookies are a mainstay in my home – during the 30ish days in a month, there are homemade cookies in the house about 23 of those days. I’ve found a few recipes that we love and rotate through – it includes these amazing chocolate chip cookies and we love the oatmeal cocoa nib cookies too. There’s a few others included in the heavy rotation, and while we have yet to get bored with them, I’m always on the hunt for another cookie. To celebrate this hunt, Streus agreed to a February filled with blog posts about cookies!
I recently picked up a copy of “Dorie’s Cookies” by the lovely Dorie Greenspan and thought it was high time I started making some recipes from this cookbook. First up was the opportunity to bake with one of my favorite treats that I don’t know how to incorporate into more foods – cookie butter (aka Biscoff spread). Dorie kindly baked the Biscoff into some cookies, so I figured it was my duty to respect the spread, and make them myself. The result is a sweet, chewy and chocolatey cookie with a Biscoff-y flavor in the background.