Molasses Almond Tea Cookies

I can’t sleep.  My alarm is set for 5:30am so I can be at the gym by 6:00am, but I have a hunch that’s not going to happen.  Instead, I’ll tell you about some cookies I made not to long ago.

I’m a fan of dipping and dunking.  Some call it bad manners.  I call it delicious.

Molasses Almond Tea Cookies

inspired by Smitten Kitchen’s Graham Crackers

1/2 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup +1 tbsp whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 1/2 tbsp butter
1/6 cup (about 75 grams) molasses
2 1/2 tbsp milk
1 1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Place all the ingredients in the food processor.  Pulse into the dough turns into a ball.  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill in the freezer for 30 minutes or in the fridge for 2 hours.

Once the dough is chilled, preheat the oven to 375F.  Roll the dough on a clean floured surface and cut into desired shape.  I used the little cap on my blender top to cut out ovalish shapes.

Place on a greased baking sheet and bake 7-10 minutes, or until golden on the egdes.

Allow to cool and serve with tea.

This will make 2 dozen (or so depending on the size/shape) crispy, chewy and delicious cookies that are perfect for dipping in hot coffee or tea.  Also perfect for the dreary weather we’ve been having these days.

Side note: these are delicious made into ice cream sandwiches with banana soft serve.

I should probably try to sleep.  Tomorrow is the first of class (thank goodness) and training at a new part-time job!  I guess it’s not for sure if I got it or not but after tomorrow I should know.

Have a lovely day!

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Polenta Eggplant “Lasagna”

Saturday was a serious cooking day.

Every year my department puts on a pancake breakfast for incoming Master’s students (second years are invited as well).  Naturally when the Biscotti Queen asked me to help, I couldn’t say no.  As a result, we calculated that I made about 300 pancakes (maybe more?).  Starting to think I should quit planning and work in food service.  Ha!

Then later in the day there were vegetables that needed to be used.  So I tried to pack as many vegetables into one dish as possible.  The result:

Polenta Eggplant “Lasagna”

1 medium eggplant
1/4 cup salt
1 tbsp olive oil
3 small onions, chopped
1 bell pepper, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 large tomatoes
1/2 jar of your favorite pasta sauce
1 3/4 cup corn meal (polenta)
7 cups water
1 tbsp onion powder
1/2 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
10 oz ricotta cheese (I used fat free)
4 tbsp grated parmesan cheese

Cut eggplant into 1/2 inch cubes.  Place in a large bowl, coat with 1/4 cup salt, let stand 15-20 minutes. Don’t worry your eggplant won’t be salty.

In the meantime, chop onions, bell peppers and one tomato.  Heat oil in a large pot and add onions.  While those cook for a few minutes, thoroughly rinse the eggplant and lightly pat dry.  Once onions are translucent, add the eggplant, bell peppers and garlic.  Cook for 5 minutes on medium heat.  Add one roughly chopped tomato and cook for an additional 2 minutes.  Add pasta sauce and simmer on low heat for 25-30 minutes.

Once your sauce is ready, turn off the heat and start making the polenta.  Combine cornmeal, water, onion powder, garlic powder and salt in a pot.  Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.  Once it starts to boil keep stirring for 5-10 minutes until your polenta thickens and starts to come off the pot.

Then preheat the oven to 375F and assemble your lasagna.  First spread 1/3 of the polenta into a deep baking dish (I didn’t have a really deep baking dish so I used a 9×13 baking dish and a souffle dish), next layer on half the sauce, then spread with half the ricotta cheese and repeat.  Lastly, top with the last third of polenta.   Top with a fresh sliced tomato and sprinkle with a few tablespoons of Parmesan cheese.  Bake for 30 minutes and place under the broiler for a few minutes to get a crispy top.  Let sit for 20 minutes before serving.

Enjoyed with

new apartment mate (one of two), Anna.

And a glass of wine

Normally, I’m not a fan of white wine, but this was pretty great.  Maybe not the best pairing with this dish, but fantastic on its own!  Definitely recommended!

Off to catch up on Mad Men! Have a great night!

Chocolate Raspberry Layer Cake

My mouth is watering just at the thought of this.

Chocolate Raspberry Layer Cake

Too rich, delicious and chocolately to describe in words.

Just make it and cut the slices small and/or be ready for a blissful chocolate coma.

No really, you don’t need a reason.  But if you do (like I did… 2 birthdays on the same day), then this is probably the best gift you could give anyone.

P.S. Happy Belated Birthday to Biscotti Queen, Matt and my sister!

Bourbon Bread Pudding

I probably don’t have to tell you this but this Bourbon Bread Pudding was delicious.

I could probably sing it’s praises for days, but sadly it’s already gone.

Bourbon Bread Pudding

inspired by Epicurious

5 cups wheatberry bread, chopped into 1 inch cubes
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
few shakes nutmeg
6 eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
2 tbsp bourbon
2 tsp vanilla

The night or a few hours before, put the bread chunks into a large souffle dish or other baking dish.  In a bowl combine the remaining ingredients in a separate bowl.  Pour half the milky liquid over the bread.  Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight to soak.

Preheat oven to 350F.  Pour the remaining milk mixture over the bread.  Bake for about an hour or until the top is crispy and if you put a knife in it, it comes out clean.

While it’s baking you can make a creamy bourbon sauce.

Bourbon Cream Sauce

3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tbsp water
3 tbsp sugar
2-3 tbsp bourbon

Heat cream in a small saucepan.  In a small bowl combine cornstarch and water.  Once cream is just starting to boil, add cornstarch, stir and bring to a light boil.  Turn on heat and add sugar and bourbon and continue to stir.  Let it sit until it reaches room temperature.

Once your bread pudding is cooked.  You can either turn in onto a plate, like I did, or keep it in the dish you baked it in.  Pour half the bourbon sauce over the bread pudding then leave the rest to serve on individual portions.

I think the key to this is the wheat berries.

They add an amazingly chewy texture!

I wish I could rate the wheat berry bread recipe on Bob’s Red Mill’s website because to be perfectly honest the bread on its own is bland and NOT tasty.  However, when turned into this deliciously sweet creation, it is nothing short of amazing!

If you use another bread, I suggest adding 1/2 cup of cooked wheat berries into the mix just to get the nice chewy texture.

This weekend is the last weekend before classes start.  Summer is coming to an end.  I know this sounds nuts, but thank goodness!  I’m ready to be busy!

That being said, I’m going to finish an application!  Have a great weekend!

P.S. Tortilla tutorial coming!

Croissants

Buttery.  Flaky.  Delicious.

That’s all I can say.  I only ate half of one, but it was more than enough.

Croissants are one of those things I was dying to make.  But seriously.  So. Much. Butter.  I felt like a combination of Paula Deen

and Ina Garten

So croissants happened, and I don’t think I want to do it again any time soon.  Not because it was time consuming but maybe more butter than I can handle (and I can handle butter).

But I must say they were oh so good!  Fun project for when you have a lot of time on your hands.

Have a great day!

Indian Feast!

I’m back!  I went to Florida for a few days to visit some friends, cousins and an aunt!  Fun all around!  Beach, lots of food and family!  It was a nice break from the internet and taking pictures of food, but I’m ready for more blog fun!

Before I left last week, the Biscotti Queen and her fella came over to help me eat some vegetables before my trip.  Here’s another little known fact about the Biscotti Queen: in India, the little boy she lived with called her the Chapati Queen.  I had to put that nickname to the test.

What is chapati?  Everytime you go to an Indian restaurant, you probably order naan or roti, right?  Chapati is a similar flatbread, cooked on a skillet.  Only a few simple ingredients: whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, salt and water.

Mix 1 cup whole wheat flour and 1 cup of all purpose with a 1/2 tsp salt.  Add 3/4 cup water, knead until smooth.  Divide into 10-12 balls and roll into thin circles.

Cook on an ungreased, hot skillet for about 30 seconds each side.  You can also toast it on the stove like such

Then brush with butter and sprinkle with salt.  Mmm sooo good!

Serve it with something tasty like Baingan Bharta and Fennel Rice for a quick and easy Indian inspired meal!

Baingan Bharta

from Manjula’s Kitchen

1 medium eggplant
2 tomatoes
1 jalapeno or green chili
1 bell pepper (I used a strange yellow variety)
1 tsp ground ginger (or 1/2 tbsp fresh chopped)
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp tumeric (I completely forgot to add this and it still tasted good)
1/2 tsp cayenne
salt to taste (or about a tsp)
1/4 tsp garam masala
1 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped

Microwave the eggplant 8-10 minutes, until tender.  Allow to cool then peel and dice.  Set aside.

In a blender, blend together the tomatoes, jalapeno (or green chili) and ginger.  Set aside.

Heat oil in deep pan or pot.  Once oil is hot, add diced bell pepper and sautee for 2 minutes.  Remove from pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.  Next, add cumin and coriander to oil and stir.  Add in the blended tomato mixture, add tumeric and cayenne.  Add eggplant and bring to a boil.  Using a wooden spoon, mash the eggplant along the side of the pot for about 10 minutes.  By the end you should have a lumpy mash.  Lastly, stir in garam masala and cilantro.

Serve with Chapati and Fennel Rice with Raisins!

Eating with your hands is recommended!  After our delicious feast, Biscotti Queen and boy were pooped.  Aren’t they adorable?

BUT that didn’t stop us I from finishing up something we’d been wanting to make for a looong time!  Stay tuned for that!

Empire Farm Days

Today was the beginning of Empire Farm Days, basically a big New York State (Empire State) farm fair!

I didn’t talk too much about my internship because of the semi-sensitive nature of my work.  But now that it’s over, I’ll share a little bit about it without disclosing too much.  My internship was with the Cornell Farmworker Program and we had a table in the Cornell Cooperative Extension barn/shed/tent.

My partner in crime, Xochitl, and I drove to Seneca Falls bright and early this morning to set up our table.

We provide information for migrant farmworkers in the state, as well as information on farmworker economic and community contributions.  Interesting stuff.

We got there a little early so we walked around to see what Empire Farm Days had to offer.

I thought this was really interesting because while a know a fair amount about food security and food systems, I know very little about actual farming.

There was a ton of information about new technology, sustainability, techniques.   Pretty interesting for a self proclaimed “city girl” like myself.  I like getting to learn different lifestyles and experience new things.  Honestly, that’s one of the reasons I chose Cornell for grad school.  I could have stayed in LA or gone to NYC, but I wouldn’t have learned fun new things about agriculture and rural life!  When else would I get to spend 2 years living in the middle of nowhere!?

Obviously, the most exciting part for me were the animals.

Goats

Horses

and Cows!

The cows were in the Beef Producer’s tent.  You know what that means…

Overall it was interesting, especially as someone who doesn’t eat meat.  I think I’ve said it before but I don’t think eating meat is wrong.  My concern is with animal treatment, environmental issues and overall health and overconsumption issues.  I know this sounds weird but I was pretty glad there was a live cow next to this Beef: It’s What’s For Dinner poster.  It’s important to know where your food comes from.  At the risk of offending card carrying PETA members, I will say petting a few cows didn’t stop me from thinking the BBQ stand not far away smell amazing!

Aside from livestock, there were tractors everywhere…

I got to see what tractor ROPS (Roll Over Protection Structures) look like in real life!  I’d only heard about them through my internship when we talked about on the job safety.  Safety first!

Concentration is essential.

Xochitl knows all about tractor safety.

After a few hours, we headed home.  I was pooped!  After a nap, I made a simple, meat-free dinner.

Sun-dried tomato waffle topped with some kale sauteed in pesto.  The waffle was as delicious as the first time I made it.  If you still haven’t tried it, I suggest you do so soon!

Also, if you’re in the Upstate/Western NY area I suggest you take a little trip to Seneca Falls to check out Empire Farm Days.  Even just from a foodie perspective, there were a ton of interesting things (a lot of which I didn’t photograph)!

Off to watch Modern Family and pack for my trip to Florida on Thursday!  Have a lovely night!