Monday, December 12, 2011

salted white chocolate, pretzel and peanut butter cookies

Salted white chocolate, pretzel, peanut butter cookies. Do I really need to say anything else?

Two amazing food bloggers, Julie and Lindsey organized the first Food Blogger Cookie Swap where each blogger bakes three batches of cookies and sends them to three randomly assigned bloggers and in return each blogger receives three batches of cookies from three different bloggers. As soon as I signed up to participate in the swap, I had my mind set on a sweet and salty cookie. So here it is! These cookies are thick and chewy and really the perfect balance of sweet and salty. I sent my cookies to...

The Fromagette
House of Belonging
Red Pepper, Green Pepper

Hopefully they enjoyed them as much as I did!

After sending my cookies off, I couldn't wait to get my three batches of cookies in the mail. I obsessively checked my mailbox for an entire week waiting for the last box to arrive. After all that waiting, I was the lucky recipient of cookies/bars from...

Foodnook: Gingerbread Butterscotch Chip Cookies
Cooking with Nettie: Caramel Almond Revel Bars
Every Little Thing Blog: White Chocolate Cherry Shortbread Cookies

Go check out their cookie recipes, they were delicious and perfect treats for the holidays.

Salted White Chocolate, Pretzel and Peanut Butter Cookies
recipe adapted from Picky Palate

1 stick butter, softened
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
1 c. white chocolate chips, to melt
1 c. plus 2 tbsp peanut butter
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 c. all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 c. broken pretzel pieces
1 c. white chocolate chips
sea salt

Preheat the oven to 400F. 

Cream butter and sugars together until light and fluffy. Melt white chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons of peanut butter over a double boiler until melted. Add the melted chocolate mixture to the butter/sugar mixture and mix. Mix in peanut butter. Beat in egg and vanilla.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Add to wet ingredients until just combined then pour in pretzels and additional white chocolate chips. Using a large cookie scoop, drop cookies onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Gently press down each cookie and sprinkle each cookie with sea salt. Bake for 20 minutes or until edges become golden. Remove from cookie sheet immediately for soft, chewy cookies or after 10 minutes for crunchier cookies.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

short ribs

Last week my mom came and stayed with me for a week in Charlotte and asked me if there was anything special I wanted her to make while she in town. Um short ribs please! Ever since my mom made short ribs for the first time, I have been a short rib fanatic. If I see short ribs on a restaurant menu, it's my go-to choice. Just last weekend I had a short rib quesadilla from the KoKyu BBQ food truck in Durham, it was seriously delicious and so different. Short ribs are a really tender piece of beef that you can literally break apart without a knife. It's not a meal that I can quickly throw together when I get home from work so it was such a treat for my mom to make them. I rarely cook red meat when I'm cooking for myself so it was a nice change from my usual go-to protein, chicken. It's easier and healthier than you would think, just make sure you serve them on top of a big spoonful of mashed potatoes. 

Braised Short Ribs
recipe from Food Network

6 short ribs (bone-in or boneless; you can find them at the grocery meat counter)
olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 celery ribs, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 c. tomato paste
2-3 c. hearty red wine
2 c. water
1 bunch fresh thyme; bundled 
2 bay leaves

Preheat the oven to 400F. 

Season each short rib with a good amount of salt. Using a pot that is big enough to fit all the vegetables and meat, coat the bottom of the pot with olive oil and bring to high heat. Add the short ribs to the pan and brown 2-3 minutes per side. When the short ribs are done browning, remove them from the pot and drain the fat. Set them aside. 

Puree all the vegetables and garlic in a food processor until it is a paste consistency. Coat the same pot with fresh olive oil and add the pureed vegetables. Add salt to the vegetables and brown for 5-7 minutes. Scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen the vegetable puree and then add the tomato paste. Brown the tomato paste for 4-5 minutes. Add the wine and scrape the bottom of the pan. Lower the heat and let the mixture reduce down. 

Return the short ribs to the pan with the vegetables and wine. Add 2 cups water or until the water has just covered the top of the meat. Add the thyme bundle and bay leaves. 

Add the diced onion, ribs and carrots to a pot that is big enough to fit the meat. Cover the pan and place in the oven for 3 hours. Turn the ribs over halfway through the cooking time. Remove the lid during the last 20 minutes of cooking to let them brown and let the sauce reduce. Serve over mashed potatoes.

Friday, December 2, 2011

my grandma's biscuits


A little late but hope every one had a great Thanksgiving! My parents flew from California, younger brother from Raleigh, older brother from Singapore to all meet at my grandparents in Nashville this year. Our Thanksgiving menu always includes cornbread stuffing, dumplings, rolls, turkey, spiral cut ham, green beans, cranberry sauce and marshmallow covered sweet potatoes. I love it all but the stuffing is special because it has my grandma's homemade biscuits and cornbread in it. And my grandma's biscuits are the best. I know I might be biased but I like to think living in the South has taught me something about biscuits. Whenever we visit my grandma, we eat biscuits for breakfast every morning topped with a little butter and preserves (my favorite is blackberry). She usually makes a few batches of biscuits before we all get there and freezes them so she can quickly throw them in the oven for a quick, delicious breakfast to keep us all happy. It really doesn't get much better. I added leftover Thanksgiving salty ham to my biscuits with blackberry preserves the day after Thanksgiving, so good!

My Grandma's Biscuits
recipe originally from Southern Living

4 c. self-rising flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
2/3 c. shortening
2 c. buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 400F. 

Combine flour and baking soda; cut in shortening with a pastry blender or with your fingers. Add the buttermilk and stir until the dry ingredients are moistened.

Place ball of dough on a lightly floured surface and kneed 3 or 4 times. Pat or roll dough out to 3/4 inch thickness and cut 2 inch round cutter. Place on biscuit round on lightly greased baking sheets. Bake or 10-12 minutes.

To freeze these, put in an airtight container or freezer ziploc bag.

And I couldn't resist posting this picture from Thanksgiving with my grandma and brothers.

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