Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Gingerbread Shortbread Cookies

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Wait, is it gingerbread or shortbread? What did you make us here, Anita? Well, the answer is a combination of both. Since it's mid-December, I'm definitely feeling the gingerbread vibe. But I have a soft spot in my heart for shortbread. I found a bunch of recipes for ginger shortbread and even some packaged versions from cookie companies I really like. But they taste like ginger, not gingerbread. I needed a better marriage of the two.

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If I want it and I can't find it, I usually try to make it. So I threw all my standard shortbread ingredients into a bowl and added a few things from the gingerbread playbook. I figured it would either be great or I would learn there's a good reason why I haven't found this recipe but I was prepared to sacrifice some dough for the sake of research.

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Happily, no sacrifice was involved because this turned out exactly how I envisioned. The texture of buttery shortbread with the smell and kick of gingerbread. You can definitely amp up the holiday thing by adding cloves but I'm not a big cloves fan so I skip it.

Because these cookies are firm, you can definitely get out the piping bag and cookie color flooding kit and make beautiful gifts to give to people. Maybe I'll do that someday but today is not that day. I added white chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate and peanut butter to 3 separate bowls. Then I warmed them in the microwave till they were runny, used a spoon to drizzle it all over the place and threw some sprinkles on them in a carefree manner. I call it abstract cookie art. The people I gave the cookies to seemed happy. Enjoy!

Gingerbread Shortbread Cookies
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by Hungry Couple
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 20 Minutes
Ingredients (12 Cookies)
  • 1 1/2 Sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 Cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/4 Cup brown sugar (light or dark)
  • 1 Tablespoon molasses
  • 1 Teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 Cups all purpose flour
  • 1 Teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 Teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 Teaspoon salt
  • 4 oz. White chocolate chips for drizzling
  • 4 oz. Semi-sweet chocolate chips for drizzling
  • 4 oz. Peanut butter chips for drizzling
  • Sprinkles (white or chocolate) for topping
Instructions
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Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Add the butter and sugar to a large bowl and cream together using a hand or stand mixer. Mix in the molasses and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, ginger, cinnamon and salt. Add the dry ingredients into the wet and stir to combine.

On a well floured board, roll the dough out to approximately 3/4" thick and use any cookie cutters you like to cut out shapes. A 3 1/2" cookie cutter should yield about a dozen cookies. Place the cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 20 minutes or until the edges are a light golden brown. Allow to cool thoroughly before handling.

Add the white chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate and peanut butter chips into 3 separate bowls and microwave for about 30 seconds or until melted. Stir thoroughly and drizzle over the finished cookies as desired.

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Monday, December 11, 2017

How to Build a Dessert Treat Board

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One of my favorite things about the holiday season is the visits and get-togethers with friends. There's just something about that whole time between Thanksgiving and New Year that's perfect for gathering. And it's the time of year when I find myself creating a lot of cheese boards and various fun appetizers but somehow I get stuck thinking dessert has to be more formal. Why? I love eating lots of little tid-bits so why should the end of the meal not be as fun as the start?

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Cheesy White and Sweet Potato Latkes

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Hannukah is about a week away so my mind has been drifting to classic holiday favorites like latkes and doughnuts. It's a celebration of oil, after all. But you don't have to be Jewish to appreciate fried potato pancakes anymore than you need to be Christian to eat Christmas cookies.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Honey Apple Gingerbread Cake

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I'm normally a fan of easy desserts and I stay away from anything that looks too fussy or elaborate. I want you all to actually try making my recipes so I keep it simple. But the holidays deserve at least a little bit of a fuss. And it's hard not to want to wow your guests. Best of all is when I can create a wow looking dish that's actually not hard to make.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Chocolate Fluffernutter Martini

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Did you grow up with fluffernutter sandwiches? Do you still sometimes make one for yourself? Come on, tell the truth. It's overly sweet, way too sticky and...we still love them.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Loaded Breakfast Pot Pie

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The holidays are probably the only time I even remotely consider entertaining guests for breakfast. I don't mean that I invite them over for a breakfast party, a la Barefoot Contessa. Ina Garten is my hero but I really can't get it together before, at least, brunch. But if family and friends are visiting, possibly staying with me, it's nice to give them something a little more special than a bowl of cereal. Just to keep it real, I'm usually so uncoordinated in the morning that even adding milk to my cereal sometimes seems like too many steps.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Thanksgiving Pie Round-Up

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So, it's Wednesday. The day before Thanksgiving. And you've done your shopping and set your table and prepped all the various bits and parts of the epic feast. But you haven't made the pies. Not sure what flavor to make? Nervous about becoming involved with pie dough? Hoping dearly that all your guests will declare they've given up sugar? Nah, you've got this.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Roasted Honeynut Squash Salad with Candied Pecans

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I feel like the only food I eat lately is tastings of cake and cookie batter. OK, that's possibly a slight exaggeration but I was feeling like the fresh greens took a back seat once the temperature started dipping.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Maple Glazed Autumn Spice Treat Cakes

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OK, I confess that I have very little ability to resist baking pans with adorable autumn themed shapes. My problem extends to cookie and pie cutters, too. Fortunately, this recipe can be made just as well in large muffin cups or even mini bundt molds. So you don't have to buy this particular baking dish although, clearly I couldn't resist it.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Cheesy Spaetzle and Mushroom Bake

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It's been such an unusually warm autumn in New York that I almost didn't notice that somebody pulled the winter switch somewhere. I stepped out the other day to walk my dog, wearing the light jacket that's been my staple this past month, and suddenly had to run back upstairs to grab a winter coat, gloves and scarf. Going from 70 degrees down to 20 is just not right, Mother Nature.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

White Bean Stew with Bacon

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Confession. When the weather is chilly and I don't have to feed anyone but myself, I pretty much live on soup for dinner. Just give me a slice of crusty bread and a big bowl of hot, preferably creamy, soup and I'm good till breakfast. Is that weird?

Monday, November 6, 2017

Roasted Cauliflower Gratin with Crispy Shallots

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Let's talk vegetable side dishes. Whether you're planning the meal for Thanksgiving, Christmas or any entertaining in between, I'm upping my roasted cauliflower game big time.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Crumb Babka

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Growing up in New York, babkas were a part of my life. They're sweet, yeast risen cakes common in Eastern Europe (and, obviously, New York) where they were typically filled with dried fruit. The Jewish version is more common now and filled with chocolate and cinnamon, twisted into a loaf shape. If you're a fan of the old Seinfeld show, you know that Jerry considered the chocolate version superior and it's hard to argue with that.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Baked Polenta with Bacon and Gruyere

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Let's get the basics out of the way before we dive, face first, into this pan of deliciousness. Is it cornmeal or polenta? What's the difference? What should I buy? Why does one bag say cornmeal and the other bag say polenta? So, polenta is the name of the dish and cornmeal is the stuff it's made out of. Easy, right? You can use regular, medium or course ground cornmeal to make polenta but very fine ground will make it gummy. So, if the bag is labeled polenta, all it means is that the grind of the cornmeal is OK to make that dish. I buy cornmeal, in a regular/medium grind because it's the most versatile.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Caramel Pear Bourbon Cocktail

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The weather is finally chilly in New York and that makes me want to drink things like bourbon while wrapped in a cozy throw blanket by the fire. Um, except that I don't have a fireplace and the dog is currently using the throw blanket as her own. But bourbon I have plenty of!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Crumb Cake

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Crumb cakes never last long in my family. Or, rather, I should say that the crumb topping itself has a shorter life span than the actual cake. The cake will eventually get eaten as well but it will likely be missing a lot of it's crumb by then. It's so bad sometimes that, a crumb cake left on the counter almost needs a guard posted to protect it. Assuming, of course, that the guard can be trusted not to eat the crumb topping. The struggle is real here, folks.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Autumn Squash and Smoked Gouda Mac

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October, aka my favorite month, is here - check. Cooler weather is here - check. Market full of pumpkins and squash - check. Bring on the comfort food! Creamy, extra cheesy homemade mac and cheese clearly qualifies as comfort food. And even if you're a purist who doesn't like extra vegetables snuck into the mac, I would argue that squash is an exception. It adds a creamy sweetness that's just another layer of comfort.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Sweet Pumpkin Fritters

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You want these, don't you? Admit it. You know you want them. Hot, fried balls of sweet pumpkin flavored dough. Just a touch of spice, without overwhelming you, and tossed with glorious powdered sugar. It's everything we love about summer street fair food but at home, autumn style.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Vegetarian Tortilla Pie

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In case you all were wondering what the most popular dish on my blog is (I'm 100% sure that none of you were wondering this), it is my Mexican Tortilla Pie. It's crazy good, has been featured in a magazine and is served for dinner on repeat in my house. It uses ground beef but I decided to make a vegetarian version of it for non-beef eaters and for any meatless Monday dinner makers. Also, I was out of beef.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Loaded Turkey Sandwich with Sweet and Spicy Mango Honey Sauce

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Is it back to school time where you are? Or do you just have a need for a good desk lunch, day in and day out because that's definitely the case for me. Either way, you've probably got sandwiches on repeat.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Roasted Pear and Arugula Salad with Toasted Walnuts

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I was in the park the other day, chatting with a few of my neighbors while our dogs played, and we all said how we felt this was a long summer. Maybe due to life events, maybe because it was such a hot one but either way, we were trying to decide if we were happy to see it end. We're not looking forward to snow and early sunsets but we're still a few months away from that. For now, we're kind of looking forward to the slight cool down of September and the energy the city gets after Labor Day.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Thick and Gooey Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I still remember the first time I was told about Costco's gourmet chocolate chunk cookies. They were raved about with so much passion but, never having tasted them, I wasn't that excited. How good could they be from a package? Of course, I changed my tune the first time I actually tasted them because...wow. Hello new addiction.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Taco Meatballs

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I'll admit that I don't eat tacos all that often but, every time I do, I ask myself why not. They're easy to make and fun to eat so it's a win-win situation. What I do make quite often is meatballs because I like how versatile they are. With a few changes in herbs and spices, I can create completely different flavors. So, it was a natural thinking progression to taco meatballs, right?

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Roasted Corn Fritters with Tzatziki Sauce

Roasted-Corn-Fritters-with-Tzatziki-Sauce

For me, there's always been something about the last two weeks of August. Historically it's the time when most New Yorkers take their vacations, even if it's just to head out to the beaches of Long Island. The temperatures get more comfortable and the city empties out slightly. I mean, this is New York so truly empty is never an option but it's still a noticeable difference. And there's a combination of anticipation of fall but also the desire to take advantage of the last bits of summer.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Caramelized Onion and Gruyere Skillet Tarts

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In the realm of favorite food smells, it's hard to top the aroma of onions caramelizing in a pan. Not only does it bring me right back to childhood, because my mother believed sauteed onions made everything better, but it makes me instantly hungry. All onions are capable of doing this but it would be such a shame to pass up the sweet summer onions while we have them. I want to caramelize them all!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Bourbon Peach Shrub

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Do you associate certain smells with certain times of the year? I definitely do and, although the smell of summer, to me, is the smell of the ocean, August has it's very own aroma. Peaches! For the past few days, whether I'm at the produce section of the grocery store or at the farmer's market, the air is perfumed with peaches.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Brownie Bottom Cherry Swirl Cheesecake

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It's that time of the year again. The time when I celebrate my birthday (tomorrow) and my lifelong love of cheesecake. And yes, I am one of those people who makes my own birthday cake because I take my cheesecake very seriously.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Blueberry Lemon Galette with Labneh Whipped Cream

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Galette is the French term for a flat pastry but I just consider it a nice way of saying lazy pie. As in, I found some beautiful blueberries in the market and I really feel like eating blueberry pie but I really don't feel like dealing with crust crimping. No problem, just make a galette!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Frozen Mint Lychee Daiquiri

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I get very happy when each seasonal fruit I love finally appears in the market. The first cherries, mangoes, figs, etc. are all cause for celebration and recipe planning. And lychees definitely belong in that category. I can never resist those little rough looking pinkish orbs.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

No Bake Cheesecake Mousse with Cherry Compote

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It's been kind of quiet around here, hasn't it? You might have wondered where I've been for the past few weeks. Well, I'm going to tell you and get a little personal today. Or, if you've got enough on your own plate, just skip down to a simple and perfect treat recipe.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Black Bean and Vegetable Meatballs with Zucchini Noodles

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In my life I've met some pretty amazing homemade tomato sauce makers. But I'll admit this is an area where I'm more likely than not to get a little help from the store. Still, it's got to be good and I want to be able to pronounce all the ingredients. I also really want any sweetness to come from ripe tomatoes and not a pound of sugar. Fortunately, the selection of good store bought sauces has grown a lot over the years.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Lemony Angel Hair Pasta with Carrots and Zucchini

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I'm in summer recipe planning mode these days and definitely going for dishes that are light, easy and quick to make. Because I want to be outside in the warm sunny weather and not in the kitchen chained to my stove. Bonus points for dishes that taste good at room temperature as well as hot. Extra extra bonus points if I can work a few veggies into it.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Pan Roasted Smokey Potato Salad with Corn and Bacon

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We are officially two weeks away from the unofficial start of summer. Yup, Memorial Day weekend is when I've always considered it the beginning of the season because that's when summer time shares typically start, summer work schedules go into effect and I start to want grilled food and potato salad every weekend.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Watercress Salad with Honey Sauteed Apples and Almonds

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Can we talk about my favorite new healthy green that's not kale? When I say new I mean new to me, of course. Watercress has been around a long time and I had heard of it but I'm ashamed to say I hadn't tried it. Somehow I had this idea that it was super bitter or something so I kept buying spinach and kale and passed it by. Not anymore!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Baked Pine Nut Falafel Sliders with Hummus Slaw

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It's time, once again, to celebrate one of my favorite foods. Yes, this coming Saturday, May 13th, is International Hummus Day and it totally makes me happy that hummus is so widely appreciated.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Corn and Bacon Fritters with Apricot Yogurt Sauce

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I am all about the sweet and savory together. Yes, that's why I love chocolate covered pretzels but it's also why I like apple tarts baked with cheddar cheese, sweet fruit compotes over brie and maple syrup on bacon. And I know just where I get this particular set of taste buds, too. Yup, just like mom. So it makes sense that I make a sweet and savory treat for her for Mother's Day, right?

Monday, May 1, 2017

Cherry Blossom Cocktail

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I've always been completely obsessed with cherry blossoms and eagerly wait for them every year. They bloom for such a short period of time and I check the city parks regularly to make sure I don't miss them. For the record, I get like this in the fall, too, when I'm planning a road trip to see the leaves turn and monitor the foliage report like a stalker. Anyone else?

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Smoked Gouda Pretzel Cheese Dip

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Serious pretzel lover here! Not the hard, crunchy ones you snack on. Wait, I mean, yes, those, too. But I'm talking about the soft, bready ones. Is bready a word? Let's just say it is. Pretzels are all my New York childhood memories of getting the big salty ones from street vendors when my mom and I went to watch the ice skaters at Rockefeller Plaza. Pretzels are my jam.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Liz's Shabbat Apple Cake

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Today I have the pleasure of sharing a recipe with you that comes from my friend Liz's new book, The Ultimate Jewish Shabbat Dinner. Liz writes the blog, The Lemon Bowl, and she shares many recipes from her Jewish and Syrian childhood. Given my passion for Middle Eastern cuisine, I'm obviously a fan.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Potato Hash Shakshuka

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The first time I saw shakshuka on a restaurant menu, I flashed to my first experience of huevos rancheros, the popular Mexican breakfast dish. The two aren't really similar at all except for the tomato sauce but, since my first huevos experience wasn't good, I kind of mentally banned eggs and tomato sauce, no matter the cuisine. I know better now, of course.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Strawberry and Honey Oat Scones

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I'm always fascinated by cooking / lifestyle programs that talk about entertaining over breakfast. I mean, I love entertaining. Come for lunch, come for tea, come for dinner or drinks. It's all good. But please don't come for breakfast. Unless you either enjoy cold, half eaten toast or like having your breakfast around Noon. I just can't fathom it any other way.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Cream Cheese Stuffed Pretzel Bagel Balls

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Being a native New Yorker, I'm used to a bagel with a schmear (of cream cheese) as a given. Every deli has it as the morning special with coffee, as do the street vending carts that offer breakfast options in midtown. It's our thing. Our delicious thing. The only question, really, is what kind of bagel you want with your schmear.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Chocolate Crumb Snack Cake

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Last weekend I was home, wanting a beautiful spring day but, instead, watching it snow outside. I was alternating between watching that giraffe cam and snuggling with my dog (my own personal petting zoo). Are you guys into the giraffe thing? I have no idea how I got sucked into waiting for a giraffe to give birth but now I'm involved so I'll wait it out until she has that baby and then go on with my life. But, in the interest of sanity, I decided to bake a cake.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Loaded Egg Salad Bagel with Honey Roasted Bacon

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What's that expression about, if you're going to do something then do it right? Well, this is a breakfast sandwich done right. More of a weekend project for me but definitely a special Sunday morning treat. Maybe even an amazing brunch for two after a good long sleep.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Middle Eastern Potato Snack Platter

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I'm impatient for spring to arrive. It always happens to me around this time of year. I feel like I've endured two months of freezing cold and snow and now I want cherry blossoms and warmth. Soon, I know, but not quite yet. So, while it's still cold and bleak, I'm catching up on my streaming movie watching and that requires snacks.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Smokey Black Bean Burgers

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The other day I was looking through my refrigerator and cupboards and pulling out ingredients to make lunch. No particular plan. Just seeing what I have and what I could make with it. My own personal episode of Chopped?