Lemon Lace Cookies

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This recipe is older than I am, like, circa 1966 I think. It’s one of the first cookies I remember eating as a kid, and I’m not sure, but I suspect that it came from a cookbook specializing in meals that use 5 ingredients or less. You know the type of cookbooks, the ones that rely heavily on Jell-O and packaged soup mix? My mom had a bunch of these when she first got married, and although she phased them out as she became a skilled cook, this recipe stuck around. She tried to get rid of it, but it was a favorite of my sister and mine. We would beg her, plead with her to make them so that we could bring them to school for a party, or sell them at a bake sale or something. She absolutely hated these cookies. Hated them! She was embarrassed that they weren’t made from scratch; that the ingredients included cake mix and Cool Whip instead of flour and cream. Whenever anyone would ask her for the recipe, she’d wince and inevitably “forget” to jot it down for them. Regardless of the somewhat retro ingredients, these cookies are still one of my favorites and always mark the beginning of Spring for my sister and me. [On a side note, I’m betting that I’ll be receiving a call from my mother this afternoon scolding me for crediting her with this abomination of a cookie. But it’s worth it.] Enjoy!

Lemon Lace Cookies

  • 1 package yellow cake mix
  • 2 cups Cool Whip
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • ½ cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix together all ingredients except powdered sugar.

Between the palm of your hands, roll about 1½ – 2 Tbsp. of batter into a 1-inch ball.

IMG_0889{I’ve found that the most effective way of cleaning batter off your fingers is with your tongue.}

Then roll the ball in powdered sugar, covering evenly.

IMG_0890{See how my pinky’s up? This is an important step that helps make the cookies more delicate.}

Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes. Let rest on the cookie sheet for 1-2 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack. See? Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

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Book Club – April 2014

Book Club – April 2014

COOKBOOK:

What to Drink with What You Eat by Andrew Dornenburg & Karen Page

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A comprehensive beverage pairing guide for the true food lover. Whether you’re new to pairings or a sommelier in training, this book is a must-have for your next dinner party! From Dim Sum (Champagne) to Domino’s Pizza (Malbec), if you’re eating it, they’ll offer complimentary beverage options. (And not just alcohol — who knew Kit Kat bars would match so well with African tea?)

FOODIE BOOKS  

Not cookbooks, per say, but other books (memoirs, novels, short essays) centered around the joys of cooking and eating.

Blood, Bones & Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton

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Owner and chef of New York’s Prune restaurant, Hamilton details the bumpy but fascinating road that led her to her life’s work and opening her award winning eatery.

Stuff My Kid Eats: Roasted Cauliflower and Goat Cheese Frittata

Stuff My Kid (Mostly) Eats

Now before you go saying: “Whaaaaatever! There’s no way her toddler eats that! My kid would never eat roasted cauliflower!” Well, she didn’t, not technically. She ate the entire slice of frittata that I gave her, yet somehow managed to ferret out every little piece of cauliflower in it. At the end of the meal, there was a very sad looking pile of mutilated white stuff at the edge of her plate which she pointed to and firmly said “NO!” So there it is. That is my disclaimer. My kid doesn’t eat everything! At any rate, the meal was great, my husband and I loved it, and you could easily substitute the cauliflower for another vegetable that won’t cause a juvenile uprising at the dinner table. (Recipe slightly adapted from Fine Cooking.)

Roasted Cauliflower and Goat Cheese Frittata

The beauty of this dish is that the ingredients can be adapted to fit your taste, AND it works well for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! 

Roasted Cauliflower and Goat Cheese Frittata

  • 1 small red or yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 2 Tbsp. distilled white vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cups cauliflower florets (about ½ small head), cut into 1-inch pieces, or 2 cups of another favorite vegetable
  • 2 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh herbs (oregano, thyme, parsley, dill, etc.)
  • ½ tsp. whole-grain mustard
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 6 oz. fresh goat cheese, crumbled, about 1 ½ cups, or 6 oz. of another cheese of your choosing (Oh, I just love alliteration!)

Position a rack about 6 inches from the broiler and heat the broiler on high.

Combine the onion, vinegar, and ½ tsp. salt in a small bowl; let sit for 10 minutes and then drain and pat the onion dry. Set aside.

Meanwhile, on a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the cauliflower (or another vegetable) with 2 tsp. of the oil, ½ tsp. salt, and ¼ tsp. pepper. Broil, tossing once or twice, until the edges are golden, 3 to 6 minutes.

Reposition rack in the center of the oven and set the oven to 400°F.

Whisk the eggs, herbs, mustard, ½ tsp. salt, and ½ tsp. pepper in a medium bowl.

Heat the remaining 2 Tbsp. oil and the butter in a 12-inch ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat until the butter melts. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until some of the pieces are dark golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat, stir in the roasted cauliflower, and then slowly pour in the egg mixture, redistributing the vegetables evenly. Sprinkle the cheese on top and bake until the eggs are set in the center, about 10-15 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes and then use a silicone spatula to slide the frittata onto a serving plate or cutting board. Slice into wedges and serve.

Sidekick: Serve with a crisp dry white wine like a Chablis, or an Italian dry white like a Soave or Gavi di Gavi.

Egg Drop Soup with Pork Roast Sandwiches

Egg Drop Soup

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Egg drop soup is one of those often overlooked soups; something you may order in a Chinese restaurant, but rarely think to make. This version is healthy, bursting with flavor, and very easy to make, and if you pair it with a simple pork roast sandwich, you’re got yourself the perfect meal for a light Easter lunch or dinner.

Egg Drop Soup

Serves 4-6

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 leek (white and light green parts only), finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 tsp. fresh grated lemon zest
  • 1 tsp. fresh grated ginger root
  • 6 cups chicken stock (see recipes in Homemade Stocks)
  • 1½ cups peas (preferrably fresh)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. greated Parmesan
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Fresh cracked black pepper to taste

 

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Set a soup pot over medium heat and add olive oil, heat until shimmering. Add leeks and cook until soft, about 2-5 mintues. Add garlic, lemon zest, and ginger  and cook until just fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, in a liquid measuring cup whisk together eggs, Parmesan, and a pinch of salt.

Once stock is boiling, add peas, then slowly drizzle in egg mixture in 4 or 5 spots, stir until egg sets. Season with salt and pepper and ladle into preheated bowls. Garnish with fresh cracked pepper. Serve immediately.

 

Pork Roast Sandwiches

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Pork Roast Sandwiches

Serves 6

  • 1½ -2 lb. pork tenderloin
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 6 onion rolls
  • 6 Tbsp. whole grain mustard

Preheat oven to 400°F. Generously season tenderloin on all sides with salt and pepper. Place tenderloin on a rack set above a foil-lined baking sheet. Roast for 40 minutes, or until internal temperature of pork is 145°F.

Meanwhile, on a griddle or under a broiler, lightly toast onion rolls. Keep warm.

Remove pork from oven and let rest for 10 minutes. With a very sharp knife, slice pork paper-thin. Spread each roll with 1 Tbsp. of mustard then pork, divided evenly among rolls.

Sidekick: Serve with a glass of Riesling.

Carrot-Ginger Bran Muffins

Carrot-Ginger Bran Muffins

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These Spring-inspired muffins are perfect for a light breakfast or a healthy between-meal snack. They’re loaded with fiber, contain very little fat (they’re moistened with applesauce rather than butter or oil), and provide little pieces of crystalized ginger in every bite! (Crystalized ginger can be found in most grocery stores, usually with the dried fruit.) 

Carrot-Ginger Bran Muffins

  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup wheat germ
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. Kosher sal
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¾ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup shredded carrots, from about 2 carrots
  • 3 Tbsp. crystalized ginger, minced, divided

Makes 12 Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly mist a 12-count muffin tin with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, wheat germ, baking soda and powder, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine sugar, eggs, and applesauce and blend until creamy. Mix in carrots, 2 Tbsp. crystalized ginger, and flour mixture, stir until combined.

Divide batter evenly among muffin cups and sprinkle remaining ginger over top. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until set.

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Palm Springs Family Fun!

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Palm Springs Family Fun!

After four straight days of lying by the pool, playing games, and binge-reading gossip magazines, we made the unanimous decision to get off our lazy bums and enjoy the rest of what Palm Springs has to offer. Here’s what we did…

Hiking Indian Canyons – http://www.indian-canyons.com

Indian Canyons, once home to the Agua Caliente Cahuilla Indians, offers miles and miles of beautiful hiking through desert and mountains, and gives you a glimpse into the lifestyle of its former inhabitants with remains of rock art, house pits, irrigation ditches, and so on. Note: It’s best to do these hikes early in the day, as much of the trails aren’t shaded and can get pretty toasty.

{ Yep, we’re climbing that! }image

{ Such interesting topgraphy here }image

{ Is it just me, or does this rock look like a beautifully marbleized rib eye steak with a parsley garnish? }image

{ My 7-year old nephew blazing the trail }image

{ One of the many house pits we saw }image

 

Palm Springs Villagefest – http://www.palmspringsvillagefest.com

Every Thursday evening starting at 6:00 p.m., downtown Palm Springs closes its main street (Palm Canyon Drive) to traffic and opens it up to pedestrians. Over 200 booths of art vendors, food purveyors, musicians, and palm readers line the street — and with shops staying open late (10:00 p.m.), you’re guaranteed a night of entertainment the whole family will enjoy.

{ Some of the louder pieces of art Villagefest has to offer }image

{ The Toddler twirling among the art and enjoying the attention she was getting from passerbys who gathered to watch her spontaneous performance }image

{ Oh, I definitely have to get me one of these! }image

{ Handmade pillowcase dresses. Btw, I just noticed the “No Pictures” sign – Oops! }image

{ Paella with chicken, clams, and prawns, oh my! }image

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{ This year I noticed a street running perpendicular to Palm Canyon Drive that had booths filled with farmers’ market items like fresh produce, organic honeys, flavored popcorn, and awesome beef jerkey }image

{ My Toddler wasn’t so sure about meeting Charlie Chaplin }image

{ Winding our way back home after dark }image

{ …buuuut, we couldn’t resist roasting pink marshmallows at this firey booth before calling it a night }image

 

Vintage Shopping Whether you’re in the market for kitschy antiques, vintage cars, or second-hand clothes, Palm Springs has it in spades! Below are some frocks I just had to share with you…

{ A dress, hat, and accessories worn by Lucille Ball on the I Love Lucy show }image

{ Silver go-go boots straight out of the disco era — too bad they weren’t my size otherwise you’d see me wearing them in my next blog post }image

{ And some other funky finds from Villagefest }image

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Cool, right? Yeah, I thought so, too!

Ok, now back to the pool. Hmm, I wonder if my lawn chair missed me while I was gone?

Stuff My Kid Eats: Lettuce Wraps

Stuff My Kid Eats

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“Lettuce tacos” is what my toddler calls this fun but healthy meal. She loves it when I set up all the serving dishes in the middle of the table, let her pick her own ingredients (with assistance), roll her own wrap (also with assistance), and eat with her hands (no assistance required – except for the sweeping I get to do after she lets everything spill from the open end of her wrap).

Lettuce Wraps

This is probably the healthiest thing I’ve ever made (EVER), yet you’d never know it because it’s packed with tons of flavor, texture, and hands-on fun. I mean who doesn’t love building their own “lettuce taco?” Nobody, that’s who. Another excellent thing about this dish is that it can be served warm or cold. (For cold, prepare all the ingredients, then cover and refrigerate until ready to use.)  

Lettuce Wraps

Serves 4

  • 8 outer leaves from about 2 heads of Boston lettuce, separated and washed (reserve small inside leaves for another use)
  • 4 cups prepackaged broccoli slaw
  • 5 Tbsp. coconut oil, divided
  • 4 Tbsp. pineapple juice
  • 4 Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1¾  cups coconut water
  • 1 cup uncooked brown rice
  • 2 Tbsp. dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. oyster sauce (vegetarians use soy sauce)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Choose one (or a couple) of the following proteins: 

  • 1 lb. ground turkey or chicken
  • 1 lb. uncooked shrimp, (peeled, deveined, and tails removed) coarsely chopped
  • 2 – 14oz. packages of extra firm tofu, cut into very small cubes

Preparation:

Arrange lettuce leaves on a serving platter. Set aside.

Place broccoli slaw in a serving bowl, then whisk together coconut oil, juice, vinegar, and green onions until combined. Season with salt and pepper. Pour dressing over slaw and let sit for at least 10 minutes.

Bring coconut water and a pinch of salt to a boil in a saucepan. Add rice and continue to boil, stirring, for 1 minute. Cover and reduce heat to low, simmer for 35-45 minutes, or until water has absorbed and rice is tender. Once rice has finished cooking, add mustard and stir to combine. Season with pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-high heat, add 1 Tbsp. coconut oil, garlic, and protein of your choice and sauté until cooked through. Add oyster sauce and black pepper, and stir until combined. Transfer to a bowl for serving. (Note: if you’ve chosen to use more than one protein, cook separately, wiping out the skillet between batches.)

Place all serving bowls on the table and let everyone assemble their own wraps.

To assemble: 

Fill lettuce leaves with a spoonful of rice, then a spoonful of protein, and top with broccoli slaw. Pick up leaves and eat like you would a taco.

Sidekick: Pair with a glass of Pinot Noir, Merlot, or Rosé.

More from Movie Colony

More from Movie Colony image It’s another beautiful day in Palm Springs! Here are more vacation photos from our little palace located in the luxurious Movie Colony neighborhood (plus a yummy little poolside dish my aunt prepared for us).

{ Welcome to Movie Colony }

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{ The Toddler and Grandma coordinate their vacation attire }

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{ Looking down a hallway lined with Persian rugs and fine artwork } image

 

{ Our feathered friends are even kickin’ it in style with this two-story high ornamental bird house } image

 

{ A close-up of the mini avian palace } image

 

{ The view from my office } image

 

{ Cousins }

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{ Three peas in a pod }

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{ Surrounded by luscious succulent plants… } image

 

{ …and beautiful pottery } image image image image image image image

 

{ Blogging and jogging, because you can’t drink daquiris all day and expect to still fit into a bikini }

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{ And last but not least…snacks! } image

Easy Mexicorn Dip

  • 2 cans Mexicorn
  • 2 cups shredded Colby Jack cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups mayo
  • 1 4-oz. can diced jalepeños
  • 2 cups shredded rotisserie chicken (optional)
  • Corn chips (such as Frito scoops) for serving

Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine all ingredients in a large ovenproof baking dish. Bake until bubbly, about 20 minutes. Serve with corn chips and Mexican beer. Kick back and enjoy the rest of the day.

Avgolemeno (Lemon Orzo Soup) with Homemade Hummus

Avgolemeno (Lemon Orzo Soup)

Avgolemeno is a traditional Greek soup made with a few simple ingredients: chicken stock, lemon juice, egg, and orzo (a type of small pasta). The first time I tried it was at a Greek restaurant in Seattle that probably doesn’t exists any longer. It was a cool old place on Capital Hill, the kind of mom-and-pop joint with murals on the walls, surly waiters, and a popular cheese appetizer that they would set on fire and yell “Opa!” every couple minutes. In the years that I visited, I don’t think I ever ordered an entrée – I went strictly for the soup and hummus. It was a light dinner that I could count on to fill me up without weighing me down, and just the kind of meal I’ve been craving now that Spring is upon us. Both the soup and the hummus are very easy to make, low in calories, and high in flavor.

Avgolemeno (Lemon Orzo Soup)

Serves 4

  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • ½ cup orzo
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • ¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice, from about 2 lemons (see How To for the best juicing method)
  • 2 cups precooked chicken, shredded (optional)
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh chopped parsley (for serving)

In a large soup pan over medium heat, bring chicken stock to a boil, then immediately reduce heat to low. Add orzo to stock and allow to simmer until soft, about 18 minutes.

In a bowl, whisk together eggs and lemon juice until combined.

Once pasta has cooked, carefully ladle about ½ cup of soup into the egg mixture, while whisking constantly. (This is called tempering. Eggs harden when they cook, so you need to slowly increase the temperature of the egg to keep it from scrambling.) Repeat with a second ½ cup, whisking constantly.

Remove the soup from the heat and slowly pour in the tempered egg mixture, whisking constantly, for about 5 minutes.

If you’re adding chicken, now is the time to do it. Stir until warmed through, about 2-3 minutes.

Ladle into preheated bowls and sprinkle with chopped parsley.

Homemade Hummus

Hummus is an excellent source of protein, and tastes great when spread on sandwiches, mixed into salads, or used as a dip for  veggies and pita bread. Sure, you can buy good hummus at the grocery store, but why would you when it takes 5 minutes and a food processor to whip some up at home?!

Hummus

  • 1 15-oz. can chickpeas, 2 Tbsp. canning liquid reserved
  • ¼ cup tahini (see Notes)
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice (from about ½ a lemon)
  • 2 gloves garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • ¼ tsp. Kosher salt
  • Fresh cracked pepper to taste
  • ¼ tsp. paprika, plus more for serving
  • 1 tsp. fresh chopped parsley (for serving)
  • Assorted cut vegetables, Greek olives, and pita bread for serving

In a food processor, combine all ingredients except parsley. Blend until smooth and creamy and no chunks remain, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with paprika and parsley. Serve with cut vegetables, Greek olives, and sliced pita bread.

Notes: Tahini is a sesame seed paste that can be found in most grocery stores, either with the peanut butter, or sometime in the ethnic food section.

How To:

Juice a Lemon

Hand squeezing citrus (lemons, oranges, and especially limes) can be a frustrating ordeal. Up until a few years ago I was cutting the fruit in half, then using a spoon to basically mash the pulp into submission, with varying success. It wasn’t until I attended a cooking demonstration at a wine festival (of all places) that I learned this fool-proof method.

1) Cut one end off of the fruit, about ¼-inch thick:

2) Cut 3 sides off the lemon, creating a triangle:

3) Set a strainer over a small bowl and squeeze lemon, end piece, and 3 side pieces until there is no more juice left in the fruit. Brilliant, right?!

Sidekick: With this light meal a dry white wine would work best, such as a Sauvignon Blanc or a Pinot Grigio.