About Me

I have been cooking my way through life for over 50 years, beginning with mud pies as a child. I've turned a corner now and feel a Renaissance in my life. Recipes and Random Thoughts is my personal spin in a blog about how to prepare good food and how it prepares you for life. I want to share with you, honest to goodness food punctuated with perspective from the special memories and moments that have marked my journey.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Just A Little Something - The Simple Valentine Cookie

I used to make elaborately decorated Valentine cookies.  I had the idea to sell them at Valentines as, "Just a little something" for the hairdresser, the teacher or your grandmother.  I labored over 300 cookies and sold out quickly a few days before Valentines.  I could have sold 3000 if I could have mass produced.  We all want to express special appreciation to someone without buying a dozen roses.  This year, I came across a way of marbling the cookie dough to give it something extra and not having to sweat a piping bag full of royal icing.  It was the right thing at the right moment when my housekeeper teared up over her divorce and the difficulty of single parenting.  I handed her one of these cookies and she.....well, she just needed a little love.  Pass it on.

For the cookie dough:

1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp table salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add the egg and beat until incorporated.
Add the flour, baking powder, salt and mix well. Add the vanilla and mix until incorporated.
Divide the dough in half, wrapping the half you are not working with in plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Add Deep Pink gel food coloring to the other half and knead until well incorporated.  It's a good idea to wear latex gloves to protect your hands from the food coloring. Now divide the pink and the plain dough into 8 portions about the size of a golf ball. Arrange the dough balls alternately on a well floured surface.

Knead half of the dough balls into one mass.  Do not blend the colored dough too much or you will wind up with an all pink cookie. Remember rolling the dough with a rolling pin will also blend the color.  You're striving for a marbled effect.

Roll the dough out on a well floured surface and cut with any size heart you like.  Bake 10- 13 minutes depending on size on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Cool on a rack.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Quinoa, Golden Beet & Feta Salad

Well the title gives you the gist of this recipe but that's just the beginning.  Quinoa is one of those hot super foods that is a platform for so many options that contribute, not only, to nutrition but a for base  combining so many different flavors and textures.  It's one of those, "what's your thing" moments when you start to consider the options.  I don't think I've come up with anything surprising, it's just tasty and good for you.  Quinoa is a nutrient dense pseudo cereal that requires simple preparation. Adding your favorite herbs, nuts, fresh vegetables and a light dressing delivers a powerful and filling meal or side as you choose.  Use you imagination.

1 cup quinoa, rinsed in a mesh strainer under cold water
2 cups water or stock
1 tsp salt
1 tsp neutral oil

Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer for 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is puffed.  Allow quinoa to cool to room temperature and transfer to a mixing bowl.
In the meantime, roast two golden beets.  Wash, trim and coat the beets lightly with oil.  Wrap tightly in foil and roast in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes until tender.  When cool enough to handle, peel away the skin and cut beets into bite size pieces.

Add the golden beets,
1/3 cup chopped chives
1 cup crumbled Feta cheese
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts

Dress with a simple vinaigrette.

May be served cold or at room temperature.