Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Pumpkin Pudding Cookies

Today is my last day of freedom before I start my new job tomorrow. The Beau and I were going to walk to the beach, get ice cream at the Malt Shop, all of those fun summer things.
And then it decided to rain all day long.
Suddenly unseasonably cold, I spent the day making a pot of french onion soup. It was starting to feel (scarily) like fall, which tempted me into baking these incredibly easy peasy fall inspired cookies.
Now, JELLO only releases this pumpkin spice pudding at thanksgiving time, and I make sure to stock up on it for my friend Amanda's favorite Pumpkin Chiffon Pie. I ended up with 5 spare boxes, and used them in this little cookie recipe. The result is beautiful and delicious.

2 sticks (1 cup) soft butter or margarine
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 (3.4 ounce) package JELL-O Pumpkin Spice instant pudding
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs
2 cups flour
Powdered Sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 325 Degrees F and cover two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Combine sugar, baking soda, and pudding mix in a bowl using a fork or whisk, and then plop the butter on top. Mix it all until nice and fluffy using a hand beater. You'll need to scrape the sides plenty. The pudding must make it extra sticky or something.
Crack in one egg at a time, beating well after each mix.
Incorporate flour, a half cup at a time, until everything is mixed.
Now, at this point, for some reason, I decided to spoon the dough into a pipping bag. The consistency is EXACTLY that of a good chocolate chip cookie without the chips, so this step is not an important one. Feel free to spoon the cookies onto the parchment covered pans, and you can shape them a little with your fingers. Keep them spaced far apart from each other, because they expand like nobody's business.
Bake for 10 minutes, rotating once halfway through (I'm tempted to say you might have to keep them in for a few minutes more, my oven is unreasonably hot and the cookies were done in only 10).
Cool on baking racks and dust with powdered sugar.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Fresh Peach and Dulche de Leche Tart

Peaches are my all-time favorite fruit. Being so far north, we only get good peaches for a few weeks in the summer, so I wanted to grab as many as I could when I went to the store last. I knew I wanted to make a dessert, so I adapted an caramel apple tart recipe I had.

Peaches and Caramel are besties.

Here it is!

Fresh Peach and Dulche de Leche Tart

For the crust:
3/4 cup margarine
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons water
1/8 t salt

Melt butter, water, sugar and salt in the oven (Yes! In the oven. If you don't believe me, check out this awesome blog by David Lebowitz. His recipe is a titch different but the method is the same). I use my smallest circular casserole. Take butter mixture out after about 10 minutes at 400 degrees F. Add flour, half at a time, and you will get a rich, yellow dough. Dough will be hot!

Dough will fit a 10 inch quiche pan perfectly. Plop it in there and spread with a spoon until evenly covered. Prick all over with fork and then stick it back in the 400 degree oven for 10 minutes (sometimes I am impatient and it doesn't really make it 10 minutes in is very forgiving).

For Tart:
2 Large peaches (or 3 medium peaches)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoons nutmeg and allspice (OK! I never measure the cinnamon, nutmeg, and
3 tablespoons butter allspice. It's up to your tastes.)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Place 3 tablespoons butter into a small ramequin and soften. Mix with 2 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon until you have a lovely little paste. Spread this on the cooling tart crust (it'll melt, it's fine).

Cut your peaches into spices. My slices are always different.
I always slice my peaches around the pit, cutting first four equal sections...
and then dividing the sections. The slices always come out easily

Place peaches in bowl and sprinkle with sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Stir gently to coat.

Lay your peaches on top of the butter mixture, starting at the outer edge and then moving in.

Bake at 400 degrees F for 10-15 minutes, or until peaches are looking bubbly and syrupy.

Melt your dulce de leche down a bit and drizzle all over tart.

This baby is not only beautiful, but so fresh and delicious. It looks so gourmet but is so easy to make, and will impress the snot out of your summer guests.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A Bacony thought.

I've never been super obsessed with Bacon. I like it and all, but I'd never been so inclined to order it with breakfast and I never really would just eat a slice of bacon.
But things with bacon-y flavor, for some reason, I love. Like, artificial bacon....I don't know. I'm messed up. Or something.
Like, Bacon bits (which are predominately soy protein, depending on what brand you get) or turkey bacon, which I absolutely adore even though I'm sure it's just processed turkey bits with bacon flavor injected into it. Whatever. Inject away. It is amazing.

But I had something tonight that was so super, I had to share it.

Bacon Vodka.

You have simply no idea. My family went out to "Moscow on the Hill", a Russian restaurant near Grand Avenue in St. Paul. It's a pretty spendy place, but I'm guessing people don't go there for the food. They have over 200 different types of Vodka, and we had fun ordering different drinks (I got a "Blond Bomb", which I thought was fitting-it was electric blue and made from blueberry stoli and lime juice. My sister ordered an Anastasya, made with raspberry stoli and french chambord). I ordered a beef stroganoff, which might arguably be my favorite meal (it was alright).

At the end of the meal, it is customary to finish with a shot of vodka. My mother chose a ginger flavored Polish vodka, and the waitress asked my sister and I if we had chosen any. I said no, unless she had bacon flavored...I was completely kidding, but she quickly replied that she did! They had just gotten it in, and it was not even on the menu yet.

Let's just say the Blond Bomb had made me a little overly excited, and I didn't even give myself time to be scared before ordering a shot.

The shot came with a pickle sitting on top of the glass. The waitress instructed us that the shot goes first, pickle Kirby and I bravely bottomed-up and...

It was SO super!

The vodka itself had no bite to it, didn't make me shiver or cringe. It was so smooth, and the taste was really delightfully...bacony. The pickle really did the job, though, and I will most DEFINITELY be ordering a bottle of Bakon Vodka online for Christmas.

I found this recipe through google.
I am, however, too nervous to try making it myself. Something about meat sitting out for two weeks (in 100 proof, I understand there is no worry of spoiling, but still, it's the principle of the thing)...maybe, just maybe one day, I will try and we will see if the result is as wonderful at the shot from Moscow on the Hill.

Also, on a side note, we saw many prostitutes and their pimps at Moscow on the Hill...Did we uncover a mail order bride situation? Interesting.