Cookies and Brownies, Elaine Walker

Italian Pine Nut Cookies (Pignoli)

1 pound almond paste
2 cups sugar
3 egg whites
1 cup pine nuts
confectioners’ sugar
non-stick foil

Spread the pine nuts on a baking sheet and bake at 375°F, stirring occasionally, until golden-brown, 5 to 10 minutes. Let cool.

Use a food processor to break up the almond paste into a granulated form. Gradually add the sugar and mix well. Put in large bowl and set aside.

In a separate bowl, using an electric mixer, whip the egg whites for a long time. Get them nice & fluffy. Fold them into the almond paste/sugar mixture very gently.

Line a cookie sheet with non-stick foil. (If you can’t find non-stick foil, you can use regular foil but cookies will stick. You can lightly oil the foil, but this causes the cookies to spread out more and be flat.)

Using lightly floured hands, form small (bite size) balls of dough.

Pour the pine nuts into a bowl & roll the balls of dough in it, pressing the nuts in as you go.

Put the cookies on the cookie sheet and bake at 325 degrees F for 10-15 minutes, until very lightly brown on top. Leaving cookies on the foil lined cookie sheet, let them cool for 10 minutes.

Dust with confectioners’ sugar.

Store the cookies in a tin with foil on top.

Cookies and Brownies, Elaine Walker

Maple Shortbread Sandwich Cookies

Dough:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup maple sugar
1/2 teaspoon maple flavor
1 cup + 2 tablespoons flour

Filling:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons maple syrup, Grade B preferred
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon maple flavor, optional
1 tablespoon milk (optional – only if necessary to make a spreadable filling)

To make the dough:

  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter, salt, sugars, and maple flavor.
  2. Add the flour and mix just until the dough comes together. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill for 30 minutes. (The dough can chill longer than 30 minutes, but if it does, allow about 15 minutes for it to warm a bit and soften before rolling it out.)
  3. Preheat the oven to 300°F. Lightly grease a baking sheet, or line it with parchment.
  4. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough about 1/8″ thick.
  5. Use a cutter to cut the dough into shapes — leaves, stars, hearts, circles, your choice. (To make the thicker stamped cookies, see “tips,” below.) Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheet.
  6. Bake the cookies for 20 to 25 minutes, until they’re beginning to brown a bit. Remove them from the oven, and cool right on the pan.

To make the filling:
Mix together all of the filling ingredients except the milk, stirring until smooth. If the filling isn’t spreadable, add a bit of the milk to soften its texture.

To assemble the cookies:
Spread the bottom of half the cookies with filling; if you have a scale, about 14g (1/2 ounce) is a good amount for each. Top with the remaining cookies.

Tips
An easy way to dress up these cookies is to use cookie stamps (available from King Arthur Flour) We recommend doubling the ingredients for the cookies (since you’ll need more dough to make a thicker sandwiches with the stamps) and adding 3/4 cup almond flour to the double batch to achieve a better imprint in the baked cookies.
Here are some other tips for cookie-stamp success:

  1. Chill your dough for a full 2 hours before starting the stamping process.
  2. Scoop tablespoon-sized portions of dough, rounding them into balls if necessary. Lightly dip one side in flour, and place them flour-side up onto an ungreased baking sheet.
  3. Dip each stamp in flour before pressing it onto the dough; repeat before each use.
  4. Firmly tap the stamp against the baking sheet if the dough happens to stick to the stamp. If the dough sticks really badly, clean out the stamp, reroll the dough into a ball, dust the dough and the stamp with flour, and try again!
  5. Remove excess dough around the stamped pattern before or after baking.
  6. Remember, you’re making sandwich cookies: be sure to make an equal amount of each stamp pattern.
  7. Stamp cookies may take a few minutes longer to bake because of their thickness. Aim for 23 to 28 minutes.
Elaine Walker, Soup

Cabbage Beef Soup

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound ground beef
1/2 large onion, chopped
5 cups chopped cabbage
2 (16 ounce) cans red kidney beans, drained
2 cups chicken broth
8 ounces tomato sauce
16 ounces diced tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin (or chili powder)
2 heaping tablespoons Splenda brown sugar (for Mom & Dad)

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add ground beef and onion, and cook until beef is well browned and crumbled.

Drain fat, and transfer beef to a slow cooker. Add cabbage, kidney beans, chicken broth, tomato sauce, tomatoes, and cumin.

Cook on low setting for 6 to 8 hours.

Elaine Walker, Vegetables

Green Curry Cauliflower Roast

2 tablespoons cornstarch
1-1/4 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons peanut or other vegetable oil
2 tablespoons Thai green curry paste, such as Thai Kitchen brand
One 13.5-ounce can coconut milk, unsweetened (do not use light)
1-1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
1 tablespoon finely grated lime zest
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, chopped, plus more leaves for garnish
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh lemon grass (optional)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 red bird’s-eye chile pepper, sliced, plus more for optional garnish
1 large (2- to 3-pound) head of cauliflower
Lime wedges, for serving

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Whisk together the cornstarch and 1/4 cup of the broth in a small bowl; this is a slurry that will help thicken the sauce.
  2. Pour the oil into a cast-iron skillet or other oven-proof pan over medium heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the curry paste and stir-fry until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in the coconut milk, the remaining cup of broth, the cornstarch mixture, sugar, salt, lime leaves, chopped basil, chopped lemon grass (if using), the lime juice and chile. Increase the heat to medium-high; cook until the sauce starts bubbling, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until it thickens, 5 minutes. Taste, and add more salt, as needed. Carefully pour the sauce from the skillet into a pitcher or liquid measuring cup.
  3. Trim all the leaves from the base of the cauliflower. Trim the thick part of the stalk as much as needed so the cauliflower can sit flat in the skillet.
  4. Place the cauliflower bottom side up in the skillet, and pour about half of the curry sauce onto the cauliflower, letting it seep into the florets for a minute. Flip the cauliflower right side up and repeat, pouring the remaining sauce over the top and letting it pool back around the cauliflower. Use a brush as needed to coat the cauliflower thoroughly.
  5. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and roast for 30 minutes, until the cauliflower starts to become tender when pierced with a large metal skewer or fork. Uncover, baste with the sauce from the pan and continue roasting, basting every 10 minutes or so, until the cauliflower is tender and has turned golden, about 30 additional minutes.
  6. Carve into thick wedges or slices and serve hot, with the extra sauce from the pan spooned over or served on the side. Garnish with more basil leaves, the lime wedges and the chile slices, if desired.
Elaine Walker, Vegetables

Whole Roasted Cauliflower with Whipped Goat Cheese

2-1/2 cups dry white wine
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup kosher salt
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon sugar
1 bay leaf
1 head of cauliflower, leaves removed

Whipped Goat Cheese and Assembly
4 ounces fresh goat cheese
3 ounces cream cheese
3 ounces feta
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for serving

Roasted Cauliflower
Preheat oven to 475°. Bring wine, oil, kosher salt, juice, butter, red pepper flakes, sugar, bay leaf, and 8 cups water to a boil in a large pot. Add cauliflower, reduce heat, and simmer, turning occasionally, until a knife easily inserts into center, 15-20 minutes.

Using 2 slotted spoons, transfer cauliflower to a rimmed baking sheet, draining well. Roast, rotating sheet halfway through, until brown all over, 30-40 minutes.

Freeze the cooking liquid for use a second time.

Whipped Goat Cheese and Assembly
While cauliflower is roasting (or a day ahead*), blend goat cheese, cream cheese, feta, cream, and 2 tablespoons oil in a food processor until smooth. Transfer whipped goat cheese to a serving bowl and drizzle with oil.

Transfer cauliflower to a plate. Drizzle with oil. Serve with whipped goat cheese.

*DO AHEAD: Whipped goat cheese can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill.

Dad, Elaine Walker, Mom, Vegetables

Cheesy Ranch New Red Potatoes

12 small new red potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 cup Ranch salad dressing
1 (8 ounce) package shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese (or Cheddar)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place potatoes in a large saucepan over medium heat, and cover with water. Bring to a boil, and cook 15 minutes, or until tender; drain.

Place cooked potatoes in a 13x9x2 baking dish. Spread Ranch dressing on top. Sprinkle with cheese.

Bake for 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted.

Eggs and Pasta and Legumes, Elaine Walker

Wild Rice with Cranberries and Almonds

3/4 cups wild rice or brown and wild rice mix (Uncle Ben’s)
2-1/4 cup chicken broth or water
1 tablespoon butter
1/3 cup slivered almonds
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries (Craisins)

In a medium saucepan, add the rice, broth or water and butter. Bring to a boil, then simmer with lid closed for about 25 minutes or until most of the liquid is gone.

Remove the lid. Add the almonds, parsley and cranberries. Cook another five minutes.

Note: Mom and Dad didn’t like it.

Breads and Muffins, Cake, Elaine Walker

Chocolatey Pumpkin Bread

2/3 cup vegetable oil
1-1/2 cups semisweet or dark chocolate chips
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup pumpkin puree
1-3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with the rack in the middle. Grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with vegetable oil.

Chop 1/3 of the chocolate chips into small bits; return them to the remaining chocolate.

With hand mixer or stand mixer fitted with a flat beater attachment, combine the granulated and brown sugars, eggs and vanilla. Mix on low speed until smooth, about 1 minute.

Add the pumpkin puree and 2/3 cup oil and mix on low until thoroughly combined, about 1 minute.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ginger, allspice and cloves until combined.

Add the dry ingredients to the pumpkin mixture and mix on medium-low speed until just incorporated and no bits of flour mixture remain. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into the loaf pan and smooth out the top. Sprinkle extra brown sugar and cinnamon on top, if desired.

Bake for about 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until the top of the bread is firm to the touch and springs back when lightly pressed with your finger, and a cake tester or wooden pick produces only chocolate when inserted into the bread.

Transfer the loaf pan to a wire rack and let cool completely. To unmold, run a knife around the perimeter of the loaf pan and invert the pan. Slice the bread and serve at room temperature.

Breakfast, Dawn Butler, Eggs and Pasta and Legumes

Green Chili Strata

6 slices firm bread
butter
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack (or Havarti) cheese
8 ounces canned, chopped green chiles, drained*
6 eggs
2 cups milk
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon crumbled oregano
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard

Trim crusts from bread and spread one side of each with butter.
Arrange bread, butter side down in a 9×12-inch baking pan.
Sprinkle cheeses evenly over bread. Distribute chiles evenly over cheese layer.
In a bowl beat eggs with milk and all seasonings until well blended. Pour egg mixture over cheese.

Cover and chill overnight or at least 4 hours.

Bake, uncovered, at 325F for about 50 minutes or until top is lightly browned and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

*Note: might be good adding more chiles and/or some chopped tomatoes.