Monday, April 30, 2012

Lemon Rosemary Cookies for a Great Cause

This past Saturday was the 2012 St. Louis Food Blogger Bake Sale to benefit Share Our Strength’s program to End Childhood Hunger in America. I was so excited to participate and contribute to such a worthwhile cause, and to share time with some fellow St. Louis bloggers. 

I confess, baking is not my forte, so when thinking about what to make for the bake sale I felt a little out of my element.  I decided to bake cookies since they tend to be a bit more forgiving. This Lemon Rosemary Cookie recipe has a savory take with the added rosemary and lemon. Also, the rosemary, lemon and whole wheat flour lend some nutritional merit to these cookies (although they are loaded with butter so I wouldn't call them health food).

This cookie can easily be made without using cookie cutters by simply forming one-inch balls of dough and slightly pressing down on them to flatten before baking.

A couple of variations that might be worth experimenting: replace the rosemary with either fresh thyme to make Lemon Thyme Cookies or with dried lavender to make Lemon Lavender Cookies…certainly something to think about trying for next year’s Bake Sale!
Packaged up, ready to sell!

Lemon Rosemary Cookies (recipe adapted from Winslow’s Home cookie recipe)

1 cup of unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup of granulated sugar
2 tsp. fresh rosemary finely chopped
2 tsp. fresh lemon zest (Tip: use a microplane to get finely grated zest removing only the yellow part of the lemon)
½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Beat butter with hand mixer for about 30 seconds.
3. Add sugar, rosemary, lemon zest, baking powder, and salt; beat until well combined.
4. Slowly mix in flour; shape into dough ball and refrigerate for about 10 minutes.
5. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to about 1/8 inch thickness; use preferred cookie cutter to cut out shapes, place on cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.
6. Bake for 8 minutes, let cool completely.

until next time...


Monday, April 23, 2012

Grilled Ginger Beer Chicken with Sautéed Kale

I’ve been getting into the Spring cleaning mode by sorting through the piles and piles of clipped recipes that I have accumulated over the years. I was able to toss many of the recipes I once thought were worth keeping (ok, who’s with me? a few of them started with a can of condensed mushroom soup and doused with shredded cheese) but others were like newly found treasures.

In planning for this week’s meals, I came across this recipe and thought it would be a fun one to try. I was familiar with the taste of ginger ale but not ginger beer.

Despite its name, ginger beer does not contain alcohol. This beverage differs from ginger ale in that it is a darker, spunkier carbonated beverage with an intense ginger taste.

The meal was super easy to make and the combination of seasonings was a winner.  The colors looked pretty next to the side of sautéed kale but certainly any side to your liking would be fine.

Grilled Ginger Beer Chicken with Sautéed Kale (chicken recipe adapted from
2 pounds organic chicken breast tenderloins
1 Tbsp. ground ginger (Tip: if your spices are older than a year or so, its time to toss and get new)
salt & pepper
2 bottles of ginger beer
2 black tea bags (or 2 Tbsp. loose black tea)
½ cup minced onion
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. fresh thyme

1. Sprinkle chicken tenderloins in ground ginger, salt and pepper to taste. Allow to set for about a half-hour, then grill until done.
2. Meanwhile in a saucepan, pour in ginger beer and on low-heat reduce down liquid to about half.
3. Add tea, onion, tomatoes, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar and thyme to liquid; simmer for about 15 minutes. Discard tea.
4. Pour ginger beer sauce over grilled chicken.
5. Serve with a side of kale sautéed in olive oil and minced garlic and sprinkled with salt, and red chile flakes.

until next time...

Monday, April 16, 2012

Celebrating Earth Week 2012 with Asparagus, Edamame & Artichoke Salad

Earth Week (a.k.a. Green Week) is an annual celebration helping to increase awareness and encourage each of us to think green and do what we can to minimize waste, reduce energy and make choices that can positively impact our environment.

In honor of Earth Week, I made one of my Mom’s favorites: Asparagus, Edamame and Artichoke Salad. Besides being literally several shades of green, this vegetarian dish fits well with the go-green concept. Enjoying meat less often (if at all) is one way to be green since meat production is very energy intensive.

In addition, using seasonal and local ingredients reduces the miles it takes to get to our food from farm to plate so less fuel energy is being wasted.  Not to mention…seasonal and local produce if often fresher and just plain tastes better! Asparagus is currently in season for a while longer and totally worth seeking out.

So, Happy Earth Week to you all- I hope it is a delicious one!

Oh…and a bit of news that made my day…my name and blog are mentioned in the May issue of Cooking Light Magazine (page 25). If you get a chance, check it out J

Asparagus, Edamame and Artichoke Salad
Mix together to make dressing: 2 minced garlic cloves, 2 Tbsp. olive oil, 1 Tbsp. lemon juice, 1 Tbsp. fresh oregano (or ½ Tbsp. dried), salt & pepper (Tip: I like to microwave the garlic for about 10 seconds to damper the spunkiness a bit)
Steam: 1 pound asparagus, cut into 1 inch diagonal pieces with 2 cups shelled edamame for about 3 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.
Toss together: 14 ounces drained and quartered artichoke hearts, steamed asparagus, edamame & dressing.
Top with: Parmesan Cheese and serve cold or warm.  We enjoyed with a side of brown rice.

Until next time…


Monday, April 9, 2012

Meatless Monday Meal: Black Bean Sloppy Joes

I am feeling thankful today for my sniffer. The past few days I have been suffering from a pretty nasty cold, completely congested, not smelling a dog-gone thing. The pleasures of cooking and eating are lost when you can’t smell the aromas and can’t taste the flavors of food. This morning I woke up and I could literally smell the coffee and I was so happy!!

Still not feeling ambitious enough to make a full-blown completely-from-scratch meal, this Meatless Monday dish was perfect for such a day. I used seasoned black beans from a local St. Louis producer but you could certainly use any canned or dried black beans. (Tip: washing canned beans helps to wash away some of the sodium and the indigestible sugars that can cause unpleasant side effects.)
Black Bean Sloppy Joes (recipe adapted from April issue of Parenting Magazine)
Sauté 3 minced garlic cloves in olive oil for about 1 minute. Stir in 2 cups of black beans, 1 cup salsa, 1 Tbsp. brown sugar, 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp. Dijon mustard and 1 tsp. ground cumin.  Simmer about 10 minutes; spoon onto buns, top with lettuce and shredded cheddar.
until next time...

Monday, April 2, 2012

Sound the Trumpets! Trumpet Mushroom Saute

Those that are fungi aficionados know that we are in the height of morel madness! The season came earlier this year, leaving some rearranging their schedules to make time to go hunting for these highly coveted beauties.  Despite several attempts, I have yet to find even one morel on my own. I have not given up, but in the meantime, I “found” these king trumpets at my local grocery market (SO much easier to hunt mushrooms in the market!).

A simple sauté in 1 Tbsp. melted butter, 2 cloves minced garlic (Roundabout Farm), ½ tsp. cracked black pepper and a splash of tamari soy sauce is all these meaty mushrooms need. (note: if foraging for unusual mushrooms is not your thing, portabella, cremini or button mushrooms would work well too!)

And a bit more delicious news: sweet Abby at Seaweed & Sassafras nominated me for a Versatile Blogger Award. I have to say, her blog is one of my favs so I have to return the kudos! 

Receiving these awards really makes a gal feel special. I am truly honored, humbled and thankful to be a part of such a wonderful food blogging community. Every day I am inspired by what you all cook up! Here are a few of my regular reads that I recommend checking out:

Cooking Healthy For Me: Super pretty photos and I am in support of any blog that touts healthy!
A Culinary Education: helps me gain some great technical culinary skill knowledge
Eat Yourself Skinny: what I aspire to be someday (not so much the skinny part, more the very successful food blogger!!)
Healthy Girls Kitchen: a very inspiring and healthy read 
Just As Delish: super healthy, super pretty images
The Kale Chronicles: fascinating blend of food and art with beautiful sketch depictions of each dish.
Kale with Love: a-maz-ing looking vegan dishes that I want to try
Real Food Runner: also a great healthy read
That’s So Michelle: mouth watering photos and ideas
Will Cook For Friends: simply lovely
until next time...
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