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Friday, January 31, 2014

ASIAN CHICKEN DUMPLINGS and PORK DUMPLINGS and CHINESE NOODLES WITH BARBECUE PORK and MANGO PUDDING

Happy Chinese and Vietnamese New Year!!! Wishing you luck and prosperity in the Year of the Horse!!

ASIAN CHICKEN DUMPLINGS


1/4 cup soy sauce
2 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/2 pound ground chicken
1/2 cup finely chopped cabbage
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
wonton wrappers (I used round)

In a bowl, mix the soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of ginger and the rice vinegar.
In a large bowl, mix the chicken, cabbage, remaining ginger and oils and season with salt and pepper.
Put about 1 tablespoon of mixture into a wonton wrapper, brush the edges with water, fold and pinch to seal. Repeat until all mixture is used.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Rachael Ray Magazine
www.rachaelray.com/‎

PORK DUMPLINGS





1 egg white, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons oyster sauce
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 pound ground pork
wonton wrappers (I used square)

Whisk together the egg white, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, cornstarch, sugar, salt and pepper in a medium sized bowl. Stir in the green onions, ginger and garlic, add the pork and stir until the filling is thoroughly combined.
Put about a tablespoon of filling into the middle of each wonton wrapper, moisten the edges with water and bring the corners of the wrapper together at the top, pinching to seal.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Family Fun Magazine, February 2010
family.go.com/recipes/‎

CHINESE NOODLES WITH BARBECUE PORK


PORK
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon sherry
1/2 teaspoon five-spice powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1 (1-pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed and diced
NOODLES
12 ounces chinese noodles
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 1/2 tablespoons minced peeled ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
1/2 onion, sliced
2 cups fresh bean sprouts
3 green onions, sliced

To prepare pork, combine honey, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sherry, five-spice powder, salt and pepper, in a zip-lock bag. Add pork. Seal and marinate in refrigerator 8 hours or overnight, turning occasionally.
Heat broiler to high. Remove pork from bag, and discard marinade. Place pork on a foil lined baking sheet, broil for 4 minutes on each side or until it is cooked through. Let stand 10 minutes.
To prepare noodles, cook according to package directions. Combine 2 tablespoons soy sauce, oyster sauce, and 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce, set aside.
Heat a large pan over high heat, add oil to pan, swirl. Add ginger, garlic and jalapeño, stir fry 30 seconds. Add sliced onion, bean sprouts, and green onions, stir fry one minute. Add pork and soy sauce mixture. Serve over noodles.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light, March 2013
www.cookinglight.com/‎

MANGO PUDDING


2 envelopes of unflavored gelatin
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup hot water
3 cups pureed frozen mango
1 cup evaporated milk

Add gelatin and sugar to hot water and mix until dissolved and smooth. Mix in mango puree and evaporated milk, stir until smooth.
Pour mixture into bowl and chill until set (I poured mine through a sieve because the gelatin formed lumps).
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from About.Com
http://chinesefood.about.com/od/dessertsfruit/r/mangopudding.htm

Thursday, January 30, 2014

CARAMEL CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE BARS

Mornings in our house seem to be relaxed but rushed all at the same time.
My husband is usually sitting at the table, drinking coffee, leisurely eating his breakfast of eggs or yogurt and reading one of the 3 newspapers we subscribe to, while the rest of us are madly making breakfast (me) eating breakfast (kids), issuing reminders to brush teeth, wash faces, pick up rooms and discussing after school activities. Usually it's a busy, purposeful time, but not too harried.
However - on a recent morning, the kids were arguing, I was frustrated, and after numerous mornings of almost being late to school (we live 5 minutes down the road), I told the kids the car was leaving at 7:45am and if they wanted a ride to school to be sitting in the back seat with their seat belts fastened. The boys were dropped off in front of the school, but my daughter, who with casual and deliberate slowness, took her time to complete her morning routine, was left at home.
I arrived back to a sobbing girl (because she had GT class first thing, loves it and didn't want to miss it) and a supportive husband (I thought I might pass him driving her to school while I was on my way home from dropping off the boys, but he stood strong and firm).
After our morning walk (with a slight detour past the school), meeting a friend for coffee, and cleaning the house, I made these Caramel Chocolate Chip Bars, as I thought we all could use a little sweetness in our day.
Driving away that morning was one of the hardest things I have ever done as a mother, but the next morning, and each morning since, has been smooth and the kids have been timely.

CARAMEL CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE BARS


Heat oven to 350F.
Whisk together 1 1/2 cups of flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Beat 1 1/2 cups of light brown sugar and 3/4 cup butter, softened, at medium speed with an electric mixer until fluffy.
Add 2 eggs, 1 at a time, beating until blended after each addition. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, beating until blended. Gradually add flour mixture, beating at low speed until just blended. Stir in 1 cup of milk chocolate morsels just until combined. Spread batter in a lightly greased 7 by 11 pan. Microwave 1/2 cup caramel bits and 2 tablespoons of heavy cream for 2 minutes, or until melted, stirring at 30 second intervals. Pour caramel mixture over batter and gently swirl with a knife. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely before cutting.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Southern Living, October 2013
www.southernliving.com/food/‎

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

DRY MANHATTAN and PORT WINE COCKTAIL

While at a friends house for cocktails one evening, the ladies were served bourbon over huge round ice balls. I was intrigued by this different and unique way to present a beverage, and immediately ordered a pair of spherical ice molds for my husband for Christmas.

DRY MANHATTAN


2 ounces bourbon
1 ounce dry vermouth
5 drops angostura bitters
ice

Pour bourbon, vermouth and bitters over ice.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Rachael Ray Magazine, November 2011
www.rachaelray.com/‎

PORT WINE COCKTAIL


In a cocktail shaker, combine 2 ounces of ruby port and 1 ounce of triple sec (the original recipe also called for 1 ounce of espresso, but we didn't have any brewed, so I left it out) and 1 cup of ice. Shake firmly to chill, strain into a glass.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Rachel Ray Magazine, November 2011
www.rachaelray.com/‎

Monday, January 27, 2014

BEET AND GOAT CHEESE FILLED ENDIVE

Following a day of Pilates, meeting friends for coffee and lunch, I hosted happy hour for another group of friends. Lovely ladies that had graciously welcomed me into their homes over the past year, and I was excited to invite them to gather in mine.
Everyone brings a dish, and I knew with my busy day away from home, I needed an appetizer I could make in the 30 minutes between picking my kids up and the arrival of the ladies - these beet and goat cheese endive came together in a matter of minutes, making them the perfect pairing for my happy hour.

BEET AND GOAT CHEESE FILLED ENDIVE


1 beet, cooked, peeled and cubed
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1 to 2 heads of endive
3 ounces of goat cheese, crumbled

Toast almonds on a baking sheet until golden, about 3 minutes. Remove and set aside. Separate heads of endive into leaves, trimming to equal lengths.
Divide beet pieces between the endive spears, top with cheese and almonds.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Shape Magazine, December 2013
www.shape.com/healthy-eating/healthy-recipes‎

Sunday, January 26, 2014

SAUSAGE AND GRITS QUICHE and CARAMEL CAKE PANCAKES

Breakfast for dinner and dessert!

SAUSAGE AND GRITS QUICHE


1 (10 ounce) package of frozen chopped spinach
1 (16 ounce) package of ground pork sausage
1 3/4 cups chicken broth
1 cup cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup uncooked grits
1 cup grated asiago cheese
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup white cheddar, grated, divided use
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 tablespoons plain white cornmeal

Thaw spinach, drain well, pressing between paper towels.
Cook sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often, 5 minutes or until sausage is no longer pink, remove from the skillet and drain.
Heat oven to 350F.
Bring broth, cream and salt to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Gradually whisk in grits, and return to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, whisking occasionally, 12 to 15 minutes or until thickened.
Remove from heat, stir in asiago, pepper and 3/4 cup cheddar until melted.
Gradually stir in about 1/4 of hot grits into eggs, stir egg mixture into remaining hot grits. Stir in spinach and sausage until blended.
Sprinkle bottom and sides of a lightly greased 10 inch pie plate with cornmeal. Spoon grits mixture into pie plate, sprinkle with remaining cheddar cheese.
Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until set.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Southern Living, November 2012
www.southernliving.com/food/‎

CARAMEL CAKE PANCAKES


2 cups self-rising flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup milk
2 eggs
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Caramel syrup

Whisk together flour and sugar in a large bowl. Whisk together milk, eggs and butter in another bowl. Gradually stir milk mixture into flour mixture just until dry ingredients are moistened.
Heat pan over medium heat, melt a pat of butter, and scoop batter into the pan. Cook until bubbles form on the top and the bottoms are golden brown, then flip pancakes and cook until golden brown on other side.

CARAMEL SYRUP

Melt 1/2 cup butter in a saucepan over medium heat, add 1 cup of sugar and 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice, and cook, stirring constantly, 5 to 6 minutes or until mixture turns a caramel color. Gradually add 3/4 cup whipping cream and cook, stirring constantly, 1 to 2 minutes or until smooth.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Southern Living, December 2012
www.southernliving.com/food/‎

Thursday, January 23, 2014

CREAMY COLESLAW WITH PINEAPPLE AND ALMONDS and TROPICAL RICE PUDDING

We had a container of fresh pineapple in the refrigerator, and I wanted to use it before it went bad - I hate to waste good food.
I came across the Tropical Rice Pudding recipe while reading the latest Southern Living magazine, and the Creamy Coleslaw with Pineapple and Almonds looked appealing to me, while I was searching through my stockpile.
The pineapple added a lovely fresh, tropical flavor to the dishes, which was so very welcome amidst these cold, dim days of winter.

CREAMY COLESLAW WITH PINEAPPLE AND ALMONDS


1/3 cup slivered almonds
1 cup chopped green cabbage
1 cup fresh pineapple, chopped
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup creme fraiche
zest and juice from 1/2 a lime
1 teaspoon sugar
salt to taste

To toast the almonds, spread out on a cookie sheet, in a 350F oven for 8 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, combine cabbage, pineapple and almonds.
In a separate bowl, combine mayonnaise, creme fraiche, lime zest and juice and sugar. Season to taste with salt. Toss with the salad ingredients and chill for at least 1 hour.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Northwest Arkansas Times, May 2012

TROPICAL RICE PUDDING


2 cups cooked rice (I used Jasmine)
4 cups milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cream
2 eggs
2 cups chopped pineapple
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon orange extract

Bring rice, milk, sugar and salt to a simmer in a large saucepan, over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally.
Reduce heat to medium-low, simmer, stirring often, 20 to 25 minutes, or until milk is reduced by half and rice is very tender.
Meanwhile, whisk together cream and eggs. Whisk 2 tablespoons of hot rice mixture into cream mixture. Reduce heat to low, stir cream mixture into remaining rice mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes or until mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat, stir in pineapple, orange zest, lemon zest and orange extract.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Southern Living, January 2014
www.southernliving.com/food/‎

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

ROASTED BEETS WITH HAZELNUT VINAIGRETTE AND BURRATA and SPINACH SALAD WITH BEETS, QUINOA AND GOAT CHEESE and ROASTED BEETS AND CELERY ROOT WITH GOAT BUTTER

I LOVE beets! They are one of those ingredients that draws me in, and influences me to try a recipe.
I grew up only knowing pickled beetroot, which we would put on a burger or sandwich, so my discovery of fresh beets during the past few years has been a delicious and beautiful revelation.

ROASTED BEETS WITH HAZELNUT VINAIGRETTE AND BURRATA


VINAIGRETTE
2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons minced shallot
2 teaspoons whole grain mustard
6 tablespoons hazelnut oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
SALAD
2 pounds beets, tops trimmed
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 8-ounce rounds of burrata, sliced
5 to 6 basil leaves, cut into ribbons
1/4 cup coarsely chopped toasted hazelnuts

VINAIGRETTE
Combine vinegar, lemon juice and shallot in a small bowl. Stir in mustard. Gradually whisk in oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
SALAD
Heat oven to 375F.
Toss beets with oil in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a baking dish, cover tightly with foil and roast beets until tender, about 40 minutes. Uncover, let stand until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Peel beets, then quarter them.
Toss beets with 1/4 cup vinaigrette in a medium bowl. Arrange burrata on a serving plate. Season with salt and pepper.
Top burrata with beets, drizzle remaining vinaigrette from bowl over the top. Garnish with basil and hazelnuts.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from bon appetit
www.bonappetit.com/.../roasted-beets-with-hazelnut-vinaigrette-and-burr...‎

SPINACH SALAD WITH BEETS, QUINOA AND GOAT CHEESE


1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 shallot, finely chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
5 ounces of spinach
3/4 cup cooked quinoa, cooled
2 cooked beets, peeled and cut into wedges
3 ounces goat cheese
1/2 cup walnuts

In a bowl, whisk the lemon zest and juice, shallot and olive oil, season to taste with salt and pepper. In a large bowl, toss the remaining ingredients with the dressing.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Rachael Ray Magazine, January/February 2014
www.rachaelray.com/‎

ROASTED BEETS AND CELERY ROOT WITH GOAT BUTTER


1 1/4 pounds golden beets, trimmed
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons goat butter
1 pound celery root, peeled and cut into batons
2 thyme sprigs
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 cup chicken stock

Heat oven to 350F.
In a baking dish, toss the beets with the oil. Cover with foil and roast for about 1 hour, until the beets are tender when pierced. Let cool slightly, then peel the beets and cut them into small wedges.
In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the goat butter. Add the celery root and thyme sprigs and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned in spots, about 5 minutes. Add 1/4 cup of the stock and simmer over moderate heat until nearly evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining stock, 1/4 cup at a time, and cook until the celery root is tender, 8 to 10 minutes total.
Stir in the beets and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Discard the thyme sprigs. Swirl in the remaining 1 tablespoon of goat butter and season with salt and pepper.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Food and Wine Magazine, January 2011
www.foodandwine.com/‎

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

TRAVEL TUESDAY - HOT SPRINGS, ARKANSAS - APPLE TOFFEE HAND PIES

The first time I ever went to Hot Springs was around 1998 - little did I know I would be back to Spa City too many times to count.
My friend, and I, also from New Zealand, made the drive from Lake Charles, Louisiana in our little dark green car, called "Thibodaux". We indulged in a spa, walked along Bathhouse Row, and proudly posed by the large, wooden "Childhood Home of Bill Clinton" sign.
In more recent times, I have explored the flea markets and racing track and relaxed in the Condo, a legacy from my husbands parents.
Our extended family has spent many Thanksgiving weeks in Hot Springs, and our family still returns once a year, for a weekend, to visit family friends and attend the horse races.
This year, our friends invited us down for a long weekend, but unfortunately, as the kids are having to make-up snow days, they were expected in school on Monday. So it ended up being a very quick, but, as always, a fun and fabulous trip for us.
On our arrival into Hot Springs, we had a delicious lunch at "La Huazteca", so authentic the menu was entirely in Spanish,  and our waitress required an interpreter.

La Huazteca, our lunch spot
My delicious Ceviche Tostada
After enjoying our delicious food, and shopping a little in the market attached to the restaurant, my husband met our friends at the Track, and the kids and I visited a flea market, before we all reconvened at the Condo for dinner. Short ribs had been left to simmer all afternoon, and I baked these Apple Toffee Hand Pies for dessert.

APPLE TOFFEE HAND PIES


2 cups peeled, finely chopped apples
2 tablespoons toffee chips
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 package refrigerated pie crusts
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon butter, cut into pieces

Heat oven to 375F.
Combine apple, toffee chips, sugar, lemon juice, and cinnamon in a medium bowl.
Unroll the pie crusts on a lightly floured surface, using a 3 inch round cookie cutter, cut out as many circles as possible, re-rolling dough and cutting as needed.
Place half of the dough rounds onto a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Brush half of the beaten egg over dough rounds.
Spoon about 1 tablespoon of apple-toffee mixture onto each round, leaving a 1/2 inch border around the edges of the dough. Top each round with 1 piece of butter. Top pies with remaining dough rounds, press edges together to seal.
Brush remaining egg over each pie. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Cooking Light, January/February 2013
www.cookinglight.com/‎

The next day, after the kids had exhausted the play ground at the Condo complex, we drove out to Andrew Hulsey State Fish Hatchery, and walked the track around the ponds, taking note of the abundance of several species of birds, and the large wooden boxes containing different types of pond weed.

Boxes of different types of pond weed at the fish hatchery
We also briefly visited Lake Catherine State Park, where you can rent a cabin, yurt, or a tent site, however, we took advantage of the lovely trails, and the store stocked with snacks.
Unfortunately that was all we had time for during this brief stay in Hot Springs, but I know we will be back again soon.



Monday, January 20, 2014

ROASTED ACORN SQUASH WITH ORANGE OIL

A little burst of citrusy sunshine for a cold winters day.

ROASTED ACORN SQUASH WITH ORANGE OIL


1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 acorn squash
1/3 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
2 sprigs of fresh thyme, stems removed

Heat oven to 375F.
In a small bowl, whisk together orange zest and 1 tablespoon of olive oil until well combined, set aside.
Cut squash in half horizontally through its center. Scrape out seeds with a spoon and discard. Set each half cut-side down and slice into 1/2 inch thick half moons.
Add to a large bowl and combine with the remaining olive oil, orange juice, salt, pepper and thyme. Toss to coat.
Arrange squash, skin side down, inside a pie plate. Top with any juice remaining in the mixing bowl. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes or until squash is fork tender.
Remove from the oven and drizzle with reserved olive oil mixture.
Season with additional salt and pepper to taste, if desired.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Shape Magazine, November 2013
www.shape.com/healthy-eating/healthy-recipes‎

Friday, January 17, 2014

BUTTERSCOTCH BLONDIES

These Butterscotch Blondies were a HUGE hit with the kids - they LOVED them!! The recipe made a small batch, so I would definitely double the recipe next time.

BUTTERSCOTCH BLONDIES


3 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
generous pinch of salt
1/2 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
5 tablespoons butterscotch baking chips

Heat oven to 350F.
Line a loaf pan with parchment paper, set aside.
In a medium bowl, stir together the melted butter and brown sugar using a wooden spoon. Stir in the egg yolk, vanilla and salt. Stir in the flour, baking powder and butterscotch chips. Spread batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a wooden pick inserted near the center comes out almost clean. Lift the blondes from the pan and pace the blondes with parchment on a wire rack to cool.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Arkansas Democrat Gazette, February 2013
www.arkansasonline.com/news/features/food/‎

Thursday, January 16, 2014

SPINACH PESTO AND SAUSAGE STRATA

I served this simple but satisfying strata as a quick and convenient dinner, alongside a lightly dressed green salad.
It would also be lovely as a breakfast, brunch or lunch dish.

SPINACH PESTO AND SAUSAGE STRATA


6 ounces of fresh spinach
1/3 cup jarred pesto
salt and pepper
3 eggs
1 cup half and half
1 cup grated pecorino-romano
3/4 cup sliced scallions
12 ounces Italian sausage, casings removed
1 loaf sourdough bread, sliced 1/2 inch thick
2/3 cup ricotta cheese
2 cups grated fontina cheese

Heat oven to 350F.
In a food processor, puree 2 cups spinach with the pesto, season with salt and pepper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, half and half, pecorino-romano and scallions. Season with salt and pepper.
In a skillet, cook the sausage over medium-high heat, breaking it up, until cooked, about 7 minutes, finely chop the remaining spinach and add to the skillet, cooking for 2 minutes more. Transfer to a bowl.
Using half of the ingredients, arrange bread in a 7 by 11 inch baking dish, spread on pesto, then ricotta, pour in egg mixture and top with spinach-sausage mixture and fontina. Repeat. Let stand for 10 minutes.
Bake the strata until puffed and browned, about 45 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Rachael Ray Magazine, April 2013
www.rachaelraymag.com/recipes/‎

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

CRAB GRATIN WITH ANCHOVIES AND PARMESAN and SPINACH SALAD WITH POACHED PEARS and CHICKEN DIJON and CARDAMOM VANILLA CUSTARDS

At one of our first dinner parties of the New Year, we gathered wonderful people, good food and great wine.
We started with champagne, Crab Gratin and a cheese plate, then made our way down to the wine cellar for dinner and dessert, venturing out periodically to watch the exciting Football game that was unfolding that evening.


It was an interesting evening/menu to put together, as one of our guests is not able to eat anything "on the hoof" following a tick bite many years ago, and another of our guests didn't care much for seafood.
This was our meal, I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

CRAB GRATIN WITH ANCHOVIES AND PARMESAN


4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
3 tablespoons flour
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup seafood stock
1 pound crabmeat
2 cups parmesan cheese, grated
salt and freshly ground black pepper
10 to 12 anchovy filets

Heat oven to 425F. Grease a 2 quart baking dish.
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add garlic, cook until soft, about 1 minute. Add flour, cook, stirring until smooth, for about 2 minutes. Whisk in milk, cream and stock, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cook until slightly thick, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat, fold in crab meat, 1 cup of cheese, salt and pepper. Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish, spread in an even layer. Arrange anchovies on top and sprinkle with remaining cheese, bake until golden brown and bubbly, about 25 minutes.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Saveur
www.saveur.com/‎

SPINACH SALAD WITH POACHED PEARS


4 pears
1/2 cup white wine
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 whole star anise
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
1/2 cinnamon stick
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups baby spinach leaves
2 tablespoons walnuts, toasted
2 tablespoons dried cranberries
1/2 cup thinly sliced Manchego cheese

Peel pears and cut in half, scoop out seeds. Place in a pan, cut side down. Combine 1 cup of water with wine, sugar, vanilla extract, star anise, lemon and orange zest and cinnamon stick, and pour over pears. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to low and simmer for 25 minutes or until pears are tender.
Remove pears from pan, strain the liquid, and reserve 3 tablespoons, discard the spices and remaining liquid. Slice pears into thin strips and set aside.
In a food processor or blender, combine the slices from 2 pears with reserved poaching liquid, oil and vinegar. Pulse until smooth, then add salt and pepper to taste.
Toss remaining pear slices with spinach, walnuts, cranberries and Manchego.
Divide salad evenly among plates and serve drizzled with dressing.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Shape Magazine, October 2012
www.shape.com/healthy-eating/healthy-recipes‎

CHICKEN DIJON


1 teaspoon coriander seeds
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 chicken thighs
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup chopped onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
3 tablespoons creme fraiche
2 teaspoons chopped tarragon
crusty bread for serving

In a large skillet, toast the coriander seeds over moderately high heat until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer the seeds to a mortar and let cool. Crush the seeds coarsely with a pestle.
In the same skillet, heat the olive oil until shimmering. Season the chicken with salt and pepper, add them to the skillet and cook over moderately high heat, turning, until golden brown all over, about 10 minutes. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the broth and crushed coriander and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over moderately low heat until the chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes.
Transfer the chicken to a platter, cover and keep warm. In a small bowl, whisk the mustard with the creme fraiche and tarragon. Whisk the mixture into the skillet and simmer the sauce over moderate heat until thickened, about 5 minutes. Return the chicken to the skillet and turn to coat. Serve the chicken with crusty bread.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Food and Wine, October 2011
www.foodandwine.com/recipes‎

CARDAMOM VANILLA CUSTARDS


4 cups half and half
8 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Heat oven to 325F.
In a medium saucepan, bring the half and half to a boil, then remove from the heat. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks, sugar, cardamom and salt until thick ribbons form when the beaters are lifted, abut 2 minutes. Slowly pour the warm half and half into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Stir in the vanilla.
Divide the mixture among ramekins. Place the ramekins in a large baking pan. Transfer the pan to the oven. Pour in enough very hot tap water to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Cover the pan tightly with foil. Bake the custards, until the centers are just set, 55 to 60 minutes. Let the custards cool in the pan for 20 minutes. Carefully remove the ramekins from the water and let cool on a rack until just warm to the touch.
Refrigerate the custards until chilled completely, about 1 hour.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Rachael Ray Magazine, November 2012
www.rachaelraymag.com/recipes/‎

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

TRAVEL TUESDAY - BARTLESVILLE, OKLAHOMA - HOT SPINACH ARTICHOKE DIP

I first heard about Woolaroc while sitting in the backseat with a friend, on our way into the Arkansas Wine Country for a Rotary meeting - and was immediately intrigued.
The break after Christmas seemed like a great time to go and explore a new, relatively close town, so we packed up the car and were on our way.
We arrived in Bartlesville in time for dinner, and our first stop was The Price Tower -  originally commissioned to serve as an office building, it is now a hotel, bar and restaurant and is famous for being Frank Lloyd Wrights only skyscraper. The Copper Restautant and Bar is situated on the 15th and 16th floors, and as children have to be seated 30 feet away from the bar, we found ourselves enjoying our beverages and appetizers in solitude, in the loft.



We chose the Copper Bruschetta (a baguette topped with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, red onion, tomato and mozzarella cheese), and the spinach and artichoke dip.

The Copper Bruschetta
The Spinach Artichoke Dip 
The rest of the menu consisted of burgers, sandwiches and salads so we decided to sample an appetizer at a different restaurant and discovered Luigi's. My husband and I shared a bottle of Italian wine, the kids shared a pizza and we also tried a soup, salad and sliced Italian sausage appetizer.

The next day we toured Woolaroc (which stands for WOOds, LAkes and ROCks), Frank Phillips' Ranch Retreat. It was established in 1925 and consists of a museum, petting barn, Historic lodge home and walking trails.
Frank Phillips has an extremely fascinating life story, which includes starting out as a barber at age 14, owning all of the barber shops in Creston, Iowa ten years later, and almost going bust, before striking oil, in the first of 80 consecutive producing wells.
Although he wasn't a hunter, there was an impressive and interesting array of taxidermy on display in the Lodge and the museum held such novelties as shrunken human heads and a large collection of colt guns, and we learned the story of how the Phillips 66 name was chosen, which was fascinating.

We gained a large appetite while touring the museum and great outdoors, so we journeyed into town to find lunch. A restaurant that seemed to have produced a lot of interest was the Indian Coffee Co., so we settled in, and fueled up on Indian Fry Bread, a Sweet Thai Shrimp Salad, and an Adam and Eve Pizza - topped with roasted garlic, olive oil, fruit jam, roast chicken, mozzarella, parmesan, spinach, roasted pine nuts and goat cheese - fabulous!
Hot drinks abounded to counteract the cold weather, and included a Vanilla Steamer which tasted like a warm marshmallow.

Sweet Thai Shrimp Salad at the Indian Coffee Co.
The Adam and Eve Pizza at the Indian Coffee Co.
We made it to the Phillips family home in town, just in time for the final tour of the day. Although it is only about 20 minutes away from their country retreat, the grounds, decor and stories are worlds apart.

Dinner was at Sterlings Grille, which appeared to be Bartlesvilles most highly acclaimed and popular steak house, and dessert was at Freddys Frozen Custard, close to our hotel.


Before leaving town the next day, we visited the Phillips Petroleum Company Museum, where the kids and I had some hula-hoop fun, and Nellie Johnstone Number 1 - the first oil well in Oklahoma

Nellie Johnstone Number 1
and of course Frank and Lolas. My social media research claimed it overwhelmingly to be THE restaurant to try, and I was too intrigued to miss it. I must admit I was a little underwhelmed by the menu, even after a 35 to 40 minute wait, and the great anticipation. My husband had the pulled pork and I tried the pork green chile, and the kids enjoyed their selections from the kids menu.

The Green Chile Pork Stew at Frank and Lolas
HOT SPINACH ARTICHOKE DIP


1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise
4 green onions, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups shredded pepper Jack cheese
10 ounces of fresh spinach, chopped
1 (14 ounce) can of artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

Heat oven to 350F.
Stir together the parmesan, sour cream, mayonnaise, green onions, lemon juice, garlic and 1 cup of pepper Jack cheese. Fold in spinach and artichokes, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon into a baking dish, and sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of pepper Jack cheese, and freshly ground black pepper.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until center is hot and edges are bubbly.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Southern Living, December 2011
www.southernliving.com/food/‎


Monday, January 13, 2014

BLUE CHEESE BRUSCHETTA WITH CARAMELIZED PEARS

Following a joyous Church service on Christmas Eve, we had been invited to continue the festivities with friends. Toasts and good cheer, delicious food and jubilant conversations were in wonderful abundance - and Thankfully, they continue throughout the year.

BLUE CHEESE BRUSCHETTA WITH CARAMELIZED PEARS


4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup blue cheese crumbles
2 pears, peeled, cored and sliced
2 tablespoons butter
toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
honey
bruschetta

Mix the cream cheese and blue cheese together in a small bowl. Set aside.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Place pears into skillet and cook until softened and browned on both sides.
Spread the cheese mixture on each bruschetta, top with a piece of pear, sprinkle with toasted walnuts and drizzle with honey.
Enjoy!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

CHOCOLATE BUTTERSCOTCH LAVA CAKE

A friend hosted a "crock-pot" party New Years Eve which I thought was such a fun idea, and immediately began searching for a specific recipe I had been excited to try.
I wasn't able to locate the recipe I had planned to make - a luscious chocolatey dessert, so I ended up taking an appetizer I wasn't thrilled with!
However, while looking through my extensive recipe pile a few days later, I came across the coveted recipe, and when we tried it, it was every bit as delectable as I had imagined!!

CHOCOLATE BUTTERSCOTCH LAVA CAKE


16 1/2 ounce package dark chocolate cake mix
3.9 ounce package chocolate instant pudding mix, divided
1 cup sour cream
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/4 cups milk, divided
3 eggs
8 ounce package chocolate covered toffee bits, divided
1 cup butterscotch chips

Measure 1 ounce of the chocolate pudding mix and set aside.
In a large bowl, beat cake mix, remaining pudding mix, sour cream, butter, vanilla, 1 1/4 cups milk and eggs, with an electric mixer at medium speed for 2 minutes.
Stir in 1 cup of the toffee bits. Pour the batter into a lightly greased slow cooker.
In a medium saucepan, heat remaining 2 cups of milk over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until hot and bubbling. Remove from heat.
Sprinkle remaining chocolate pudding mix over the batter in the slow cooker, and top with the butterscotch chips.
Slowly pour the hot milk over pudding and chips.
Cover and cook on low for 4 1/2 hours. Let stand for 15 minutes.
Top with ice cream or whipped cream and garnish with remaining toffee bits as desired.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Northwest Arkansas Times, November 2012

Friday, January 10, 2014

BEEF GOULASH WITH BLUE CHEESE

Every time I mentioned Goulash was on the menu, my husband would visibly cringe, although he had tried the real thing in Hungary, and claimed to have enjoyed it.
The kids, however, were excited to try the beef, tomato and paprika mixture, as their current toy obsession "trash packs", feature a figure called "gross goulash", and they were curious what that was. The horrible little rubber collectables with detestable, disgusting names, were at least encouraging my kids to branch out and taste new foods.
As it happened, my husband had a meeting in Little Rock, a three hour drive from where we live,  the day the goulash was to be for dinner. He called me later to let me know, that unfortunately he was going to have to get a hotel room and spend the night out of town, as the roads were too icy and dangerous to attempt the drive home. Some people will do anything to get out of eating goulash, but the rest of us thought it was delicious!!

BEEF GOULASH WITH BLUE CHEESE


2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound ground beef
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons of smoked paprika
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 can (14.5 ounces) petite diced tomatoes
1 cup beef stock
1/2 pound macaroni
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 cup crumbled blue cheese
chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high. Add the beef and cook until browned. Add the bell pepper, onion, garlic and paprika, season to taste with salt and pepper.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes and beef stock and simmer until the goulash is slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, salt the boiling water and cook the macaroni until al dente, drain.
Stir the sour cream into the goulash.
Place pasta and goulash in a bowl, top with the blue cheese and parsley.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Rachael Ray Magazine, December 2013
www.rachaelray.com/‎

Thursday, January 9, 2014

CRANBERRY POMEGRANATE COSMOPOLITANS and TURKEY MEATBALLS IN CRANBERRY BARBECUE SAUCE and CRANBERRY AND LIME LEAF DRUNKEN CHICKEN and CRANBERRY SALAD DRESSING and APPLE CRANBERRY SLAW and ROASTED CARROTS WITH DRIED CRANBERRIES AND SMOKED ALMONDS and CRANBERRY GOODNESS and SPARKLING CRANBERRIES

While cooking before and after the holidays, I incorporated fresh cranberries, dried cranberries, cranberry juice, and cranberry sauce!

CRANBERRY POMEGRANATE COSMOPOLITANS


2 cups vodka
1 cup orange liqueur
1 cup cranberry juice cocktail
1/2 cup pomegranate juice
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

Combine the vodka, orange liqueur, cranberry juice, pomegranate juice and lime juice in a large pitcher. Fill a cocktail shaker half full with ice, pour the cocktail mixture in and shake for a full 30 seconds. Pour into martini glasses.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Ina Garten, 2008
www.foodnetwork.com/ina-garten/recipes/‎

TURKEY MEATBALLS IN CRANBERRY BARBECUE SAUCE


1 can (16 ounces) whole berry cranberry sauce
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
2 egg whites
1.25 pounds lean ground turkey
2 green onions, chopped
2 teaspoons grated orange peel
1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine cranberry and barbecue sauces in a slow cooker. Cover, cook on high for 20 to 25 minutes, or until cranberry sauce melts and is heated through.
Meanwhile, place egg whites in a medium bowl, beat lightly. Add turkey, green onions, orange peel, soy sauce and pepper. Mix until well blended. Shape into meatballs.
Spray a skillet with cooking spray, heat over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes or until meatballs are no longer pink in the center, turning to brown evenly. Add to heated sauce in the slow cooker, stir gently to coat.
Turn the slow cooker to low, cover and cook for 3 minutes. Remove meatballs to a serving platter.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Crock Pot cookbook
www.crock-pot.com/accessories/cookbooks/SCBESTLOV.html‎

CRANBERRY AND LIME LEAF DRUNKEN CHICKEN


1 roasting chicken, giblets removed
2 cups cranberry juice
1 (750 milliliter) bottle of red wine
zest and juice from 2 oranges
zest and juice from 2 lemons
1 cup fresh cranberries
1/4 cup kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons lemongrass paste
2 tablespoons ginger paste
2 tablespoons whole black peppercorns
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
1 tablespoon salt

At least 8 hours before serving, place all ingredients in a bowl, large enough to hold chicken and liquid. Cover and refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight. When ready to cook, heat oven to 400F.
Pour marinating mixture through a sieve. Discard liquid, and put solid remainder in chicken cavity.
Place chicken in a roasting pan and cook uncovered until an internal thermometer reads 160F and skin is golden and crisp 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Let chicken sit for 10 minutes before carving.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Oprah Magazine, November 2010
www.oprah.com/food.html‎

CRANBERRY SALAD DRESSING


Combine 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons honey and 1/4 cup cranberries in a saucepan, bring to a simmer over medium heat. Turn off heat and allow to cool, then combine with 2 chopped dates, 1/3 cup olive oil and a pinch of salt.
Enjoy!

APPLE CRANBERRY SLAW


1/3 cup Italian dressing
2 tablespoons maple flavored pancake syrup
1/2 (14 ounce) package of coleslaw blend
1 apple, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Mix all ingredients together.
Enjoy!

ROASTED CARROTS WITH DRIED CRANBERRIES AND SMOKED ALMONDS


7 carrots, peeled and cut into slices
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1/4 cup chopped shallots
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup smoked almonds, coarsely chopped

Heat oven to 400F.
Place carrots in medium baking dish and drizzle with honey and olive oil. Sprinkle with thyme and toss to coat. Sprinkle with shallots and dried cranberries. Bake 15 to 18 minutes, or until carrots are tender. Sprinkle with smoked almonds.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Arkansas Democrat Gazette, November 2013
www.arkansasonline.com/news/features/food/‎

CRANBERRY GOODNESS


1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup quick oats
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
3 apples, peeled and diced
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup butter, melted

Heat oven to 350F.
Coat a 3 quart casserole dish with nonstick spray.
In a large mixing bowl, combine sugars, oats, flour and cinnamon. Add fruits and nuts, mixing well. Spread mixture in prepared dish. Drizzle melted butter over the top.
Bake for 30 minutes.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Arkansas Democrat Gazette, November 2011
www.arkansasonline.com/news/features/food/‎

SPARKLING CRANBERRIES


Cook 1 cup of pure maple syrup in a saucepan over medium-low heat, 1 to 2 minutes. (Don't let the syrup get too hot or cranberries will pop). Remove from heat, stir in 2 cups of fresh cranberries.
Cover and chill 8 to 12 hours. Place 1 cup of sugar in a large bowl. Drain cranberries in a colander (about 15 minutes). Add 4 to 5 cranberries at a time to the sugar, gently toss to coat.
Repeat with remaining cranberries. Place cranberries in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. Let stand until completely dry.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Southern Living, November 2013
www.southernliving.com/food/‎

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

EASY CHOCOLATE CHIP BARS

In the snow days immediately following the Christmas break - I felt like I was also still on holiday. I slept in and baked and lay around reading to the kids - all thoughts of paying bills, writing thank you notes and catching up on other recently neglected tasks were forgotten.
A friend called in for a brief visit - her car is obviously not a REAR-wheel drive - and I served these chocolate chip bars to the kids. Her son told her later "Mom, this tastes like a piece of heaven!!!!
Thankfully I was able to indulge in some girl time, as later that afternoon my husband dropped off 3 extra kids, a couple of pizzas and left to have dinner with friends at James at the Mill www.jamesatthemill.com/‎

EASY CHOCOLATE CHIP BARS


1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350F.
Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until well blended.
Add flour and salt, mix well. Stir in semi-sweet and white chocolate chips. Press mixture into a 15 by 10 inch baking pan (I made half of the recipe and used a 7 by 11 inch baking pan).
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes (I baked my smaller pan for 15 to 20 minutes), or until lightly browned.
Cool for 5 minutes. Cut into bars while still warm.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Food and Family, Fall 2006
www.kraftrecipes.com/foodfamilyarchive/foodandfamilyarchivelanding....‎

Monday, January 6, 2014

FRENCH LAVENDER POUND CAKE and BLUE CHEESE AND ONION DIP WITH LAVENDER and LEMON LAVENDER BARS and LAVENDER AND HONEY SHORTBREAD

A friend organized an evening out with a group of fabulous ladies, for a Holiday Boutique show. I was amused at the entry fee and the available bar, but shopping is definitely more fun with friends and a glass of chardonnay.
I discovered a booth that sold spices, and was immediately entranced. Following a fascinating conversation with the owners, about food and offering suggestions of local restaurants they should try, I purchased lavender and vanilla sugar, fabulous smoked paprika, and curry powder.
I was very excited to try the latest additions to my cooking arsenal, and baked loaves of French Lavender Pound Cake - one to keep and one to share with a friend.
I have also shared the Blue Cheese and Onion Dip with Lavender, Lemon Lavender Bars and the Lavender Shortbread, food is also definitely more fun with friends and a glass of chardonnay.

FRENCH LAVENDER POUND CAKE


1/2 cup lavender sugar
1 teaspoon lavender buds
4 eggs
1 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup sour cream
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon butter, melted
3 to 4 teaspoons of lemon juice

Heat oven to 325F.
Process the lavender sugar and lavender buds in a food processor (it will be like powdered sugar). Let the eggs, 1 cup of butter and sour cream stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Grease and flour 2 loaf tins, set aside.
In a medium bowl, stir flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat the lavender sugar mixture, sugar, 1 cup of butter and vanilla with mixer on high speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping sides frequently.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating on medium speed 20 to 30 seconds after each addition. Alternately add flour mixture and sour cream to butter mixture, beating on low speed after each addition until just combined. Stir in lemon peel. Spread in pans. Bake 45 minutes.
Cool completely.
Mix powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon butter and lemon juice.
Spoon over cake.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from The Spice Market
www.spicemarkettogo.com/‎

BLUE CHEESE AND ONION DIP WITH LAVENDER


2 tablespoons of olive oil
2 tablespoons of butter
2 leeks, chopped
1 onion, chopped
pinch of sugar
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
black pepper
1 tablespoon lavender, chopped fine

Heat the olive oil and butter in a skillet, cook the leeks and onion for about 10 minutes, over medium-low heat. Add the sugar and continue to cook, stirring occasionally until browned, about 15 more minutes. Remove from the heat and cool.
In a bowl, blend together the mayonnaise and sour cream. Add blue cheese, lots of black pepper and lavender. Gently combine then stir in the onion mixture.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Fresh Approach to Cooking
freshcatering.blogspot.com/2005/.../blue-cheese-and-onion-dip-with.htm...‎

LEMON LAVENDER BARS


1 cup flour
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar, plus more for dusting
1/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter, cold and cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon dried lavender
1 cup sugar
3 eggs, plus one egg yolk
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon

Heat oven to 350F.
Line an 8 inch square baking pan with parchment, leaving a 2 inch overhang.
In a food processor, pulse 3/4 cup flour, confectioners' sugar, cornstarch and 1/2 teaspoon salt to combine. Add butter and lavender, and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
Transfer the dough mixture to the prepared pan, press down to form the crust.
Bake dough until set and golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Reduce the oven temperature to 325F.
In a bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat sugar, eggs, and yolk until pale yellow. Beat in lemon juice and zest, and remaining flour and salt, until well combined. Pour filling over the still warm crust and bake until filling is set, about 20 minutes. Remove pan from oven and let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least an hour. (I seem to remember the lemon bars were still a bit gooey after cooking, so they may benefit from a longer oven time).
To serve, use the parchment overhang to lift the dessert from the pan. Dust the top with confectioners' sugar and cut into squares.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Country Living, October 2013
www.countryliving.com/recipefinder/‎

LAVENDER AND HONEY SHORTBREAD


1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
1 1/3 cups confectioner's sugar, divided
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 cup butter, at room temperature, cut into chunks
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon dried lavender
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
2 tablespoons cream

Heat oven to 300F.
Mix flour, 1/3 cup of the confectioner's sugar and cornstarch in food processor. Add butter and pulse until coarse crumbs form. Add honey, lavender and 1 teaspoon of the vanilla. Cover and pulse until the dough pulls away from the bowl.
Place dough in a greased tart pan (I made half of the recipe and used two 4 1/2 inch tart pans). Press the top to form a smooth, even layer. Pierce the dough with a fork (I forgot to do this).
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes (I baked my smaller ones for 20 minutes). Place the pan on a wire rack to cool.
Mix the remaining confectioner's sugar, vanilla and cream in a small bowl, until well blended and smooth. Drizzle over the cooled shortbread.
Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Mc Cormick Gourmet Collection
www.mccormick.com/gourmet‎