Chocolate Sables

I just totally love these. That is all.

swellkid

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For me this is the perfect cookie.  It’s crisp but not crunchy.  Deep chocolate in flavor, but not bitter.  Freezes well, and can be made and stored for at least a week.  Another name for these could be Grown-Up Valentine’s Day cookies.  Grown-up because they are just barely sweet with an intense cocoa flavor.  Sorry kids, these are too good for you.  Since my husband doesn’t care for chocolate, I’m not sure who I made these for….ahem.   Recipe slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen.

  • 1 C. flour
  • 1/3 C. Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1/4 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 C. salted butter, room temperature
  • 2/3 C. sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 3 1/2 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • Turbinado sugar for sprinkling

Combine the flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda in a bowl and set aside.  Cream the butter, sugar, and salt until fluffy.  Add the…

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Old Fashioned Sugar Cookies with Melted Butter Icing

Now that George is almost 9 the Valentine card writing experience is not quite as harrowing.

swellkid

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Ten years ago Valentine’s Day was about roses, dinner out, maybe even a new pair of unmentionables. Today, Valentine’s day is about boxes of perforated Power Rangers cards with Tootsie Pops taped to them and forcing my 5 year old to write his own name 28 times like a Drill Sergeant. G-E-O-R-G-E! Again! G-E-O-R-G-E! Again! Just get it done! Oh, and it’s also about frosted sugar cookies. 

IMG_0458For the dough:

  • 4 sticks salted butter, softened
  • 3 C. sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 t. orange or lemon extract
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • zest of 1/2 a lemon (about 1 T. finely grated zest)
  • 4 3/4 C. flour

For the frosting:

  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • food coloring- I used Chefmaster food coloring gel in Christmas Red to get the violent pink color.
  • 2 1/2 C. powdered sugar
  • 1/4 t. vanilla
  • water as needed for thinning

Cream the butter and sugar until…

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English Toffee

This is one of my most popular posts for the holidays. English Toffee makes a great gift!

swellkid

I believe homemade gifts are the best kind.  A homemade gift shows that you cared enough to spend your time on it and put a little of yourself into it.  The holidays are a great excuse for making something decadent like English Toffee.  What teacher, coworker, or mail carrier wouldn’t like a gift like this?  Real English toffee calls for dark chocolate, but I prefer milk.  Use whatever chocolate you like.

  • 2 sticks of butter, divided
  • 1 C. superfine sugar
  • 2 T. cold water
  • 1/2 C. chopped raw almonds
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • 1 C. milk chocolate chips

Use one T. of butter to coat a rimmed baking sheet, set aside.  In a heavy bottomed saucepan, bring 14 T. of the butter, all of the sugar, and the water to a boil.  Boil for about ten minutes, stirring constantly.  Use a candy thermometer and boil the mixture until it reads 300…

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Show-stopping Holiday Mains

The holidays are a time for showcasing your best cooking and hospitality. If you’re hosting dinner this year, try one of my special occasion roasts or braises.  Be sure to plan ahead so that your meat counter or butcher has what you need.  The butcher in any grocery store- even Safeway or Fred Meyer, can have these cuts ready for you with a little notice, so don’t feel like you have to go to a fancy specialty butcher shop.  Although if you have time, I really recommend Sheridan Fruit Company’s butcher for the best meat selection in Portland and the most knowledgable staff.  There’s a recipe here for every budget and level of cooking experience.  Except for vegetarians. Then you should click here. 

Crown Roast of Pork

The ultimate holiday centerpiece

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Porchetta

Italian-style pork roast, a crowdpleaser

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Red Wine Braised Short Ribs

A decadent family favorite

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Rotolo Di Manzo

Braised, stuffed beef roulade

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Chicken Apricot Tagine

Casual and budget friendly and super delish

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Holiday Turkey Roulade

Stuffed and rolled turkey breast, perfect for a smaller group

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Classic Prime Rib

The mother of all holiday roasts

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Roasted Turkey and Bread Salad

For the traditionalists

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Braised Brisket 

Easy and inexpensive

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Oregon Oyster Stuffing

New Season’s has freshly shucked and jarred oysters in their seafood case.

swellkid

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Oyster stuffing, or dressing, originated in New England, some say all the way back to the Colonial period when oysters were extremely plentiful and therefore eaten by rich and poor alike.  They made their way to tables in the Midwest during the 1850’s when refrigerated train cars were first used. Since they had to be transported at great expense, they became more of a delicacy and were reserved for special occasions. In the 1900’s NE oysters went out of fashion due to high levels of pollution in the Atlantic.

Living in the Pacific Northwest has the huge perk of being close to some of the best oyster beds in the world, like Netarts and Yaquina Bay. You don’t need to shuck oysters for this dish.  Buy a jar of freshly shucked oysters at your local fish market, and be sure to reserve the “liquor” from the jar.

The oysters lend…

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Simple Cranberry Orange Sauce

Back in 2012 when I first posted this recipe I wrote, “you’ll never go back to canned.” Now I would say, “This is really easy, but use canned if making your own cranberry sauce will put you over the edge.”

swellkid

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This is so easy and quick.  Once you’ve tried it you’ll never go back to canned.

  • 12 oz. fresh cranberries
  • 1 C. sugar
  • 1 C. orange juice
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1/4 t. fresh grated nutmeg

In a heavy bottomed saucepan, heat the cranberries, sugar, and orange juice to a boil over high heat.  Reduce the heat to medium and boil for about ten minutes, or until the berries have broken down and the juice is almost all evaporated.  Remove from the heat and stir in the zest and nutmeg.  Allow to cool a little bit before serving.

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Harvest Moon Pies

Who doesn’t love an ice cream sandwich?  These pumpkin and spice moon pies are the perfect treat for fall.  Thanks to my husband Harley for the catchy title.

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 C. brown sugar
  • 1 C. vegetable oil
  • 2 C. canned pumpkin,
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1 t. ground ginger
  • 1/4 t. ground cloves
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1 t. baking soda
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 t. maple extract
  • 3 c. flour
  • ice cream for filling (vanilla, pumpkin, butter pecan…)

Beat eggs, brown sugar, and oil until smooth.  Add the pumpkin, spices, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and maple extract.  Add the flour a little bit at a time.  Drop scoops of batter onto a parchment lined baking sheet.  Smooth them out into rounds.

Bake at 350 degrees for 12-14 minutes or until the tops are set.  Cool completely on a wire rack.  Let the ice cream soften for about twenty minutes.  Spread about 1/4 C. of ice cream in between each pumpkin cake.  Wrap in waxed paper and freeze for at least an hour before serving.

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