Monthly Archives: June 2011

Strawberry Shortcake Cookies

I bet you guys thought you had me all figured out didn’t you? You thought I only cooked healthy stuff. Turns out, I’m full of surprises, huh?

I have to give the hubs credit for this idea. I am pretty sure we had just finished up a batch of plain shortbread cookies, when he said, “Ooooo you know what you should do? Make strawberry shortbread cookies.” I was so proud.

I have been in love with this shortbread cookie recipe for some time now. When the Little Dude was 18 months old, I decided she was old enough for us to start the Christmas tradition of making cookies for Santa together. I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep her from eating the dough, so I was on the lookout for an egg free recipe. My beautiful sister told me about these, and now they are seriously the only shortbread recipe I use. It is perfect. I love the slightly smoky-sweet flavor that the maple syrup lends.

For this recipe, you will first want to wash up some fresh strawberries and chop them in to small pieces. Then place them on a paper towel to absorb the excess liquid.

The Dude and I even went so far as to gently (she has a baby sister, she is getting pretty good at the whole gentle thing) blot. You really want to try to get as much of the liquid out as you possibly can. You are attempting to avoid a soggy cookie situation.

While the strawberries are draining, toss a stick of room temperature butter over into to the mixer.

Then pour in your maple syrup, vanilla, and orange zest (not pictured…ooopsy). Then beat until well blended. If you feel inclined to take a taste, do not forget who you are and what you are doing, and proceed to dip everything from your fridge and pantry in it…or you can, but remember that then it is no cookie for you. And you are gonna like the cookie. 🙂

Mix together the salt and flour, and dump that over onto the butter mixture. Then stir it together until it is just incorporated.

Behold! Shortbread dough!

Pour it out onto a VERY well floured surface. This dough is extremely soft and sticky, but don’t stress out OK? If you use enough flour it is going to be just fine. I actually kneaded the dough a couple of times to get it a little bit easier to work with. And again making double sure that you have a good bit of flour where all of the dough will touch, press it or roll it out into a disc.

Before you go any further, give the Little Dude what she has been waiting for. Hey, she deserves this. She was very gentle with the strawberries! (Please, excuse those fingernails. She was actually finger painting earlier and not digging in the dirt).

Then sprinkle on a generous handful of strawberries. Gently press them down into the dough.

Then fold over, flatten it out again, sprinkle more strawberries, press, and fold over again.

Now I would urge to take one last look at the flour situation and make sure that there are no spots that need a little bit more. Because if you roll the dough onto a place that wasn’t well floured, it will stick when you try to cut it out. And I would feel sorry for you if you were to accidentally say a cuss word in front of your 3 year old. Then, gently roll out the dough into about 1/4 inch thickness.

Now here comes the fun part. Grab your favorite cookie cutter and cut out some cookies! Place them onto a greased cookie sheet as you go.

I am apparently 83 and have a very strong “waste not want not” mentality, so I keep recycling the leftover dough. I simply press it back into a ball, roll it back out, and cut out more cookies. I can usually do this two or three more times.

Place the cookies into the oven at 350 for 12-15 minutes or until slightly golden.

Let them cool completely and serve them up with a generous dollop of whipped cream.

Strawberry Shortcake Cookies, Adapted from Maple Shortbread Cookies by NSTARK, on Allrecipes.com

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/4 cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon orange zest

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup fresh strawberries, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Wash strawberries and chop them into small pieces. Place on a paper towel and blot well to absorb as much excess liquid as possible.

Blend together butter, maple syrup, vanilla, and orange zest.

In a separate bowl, stir together flour and salt.

Add the flour and salt to the butter mixture. Stir until just combined.

Turn out onto a well floured surface. Knead a few times until no longer sticky, and press into a disc.

Sprinkle on half of the strawberries. Fold the dough over, and gently flatten out into a disc. Repeat.

Roll out to 1/4 inch thickness, cut into desired shapes, and place on greased cookie sheet.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly golden.

Allow to cool completely and serve with whipped cream.

Wasabi Pea Dip

I am soooooooo excited about this recipe! Holy cow. Wasabi peas are one of my absolute favorite things to eat. Crunchy, sweet, savory, spicy. Yum! And of course, because I am an American, I freaking love me a dip. So, I have to say that putting the two together may be one of the best ideas I have ever had. Now do you wanna hear the best part? This dip is scandalously easy to make.

But before I tell you how to make it, there is something very important we must get out of the way. I need to teach you how to say wasabi like I do.

First, you must pretend that you are this guy.

Next, you must learn the correct pronunciation: wah-sah-beh.

Now for the delivery. You must say it in a very dramatic, whispering type fashion and do a karate chop with your hand.

OK. Let’s all do it together. Ready?

WASABEH!!!

That was fun wasn’t it? You are going to be like me now aren’t you; and even if you are being mature and saying it the right way out loud, you will still say it like that in your head? Yeah, that’s good. I’m glad me and my coolness is rubbing off on you.

So now that we have that out of the way, let’s make some dip!

First off, cook up about a cup and a half of frozen green peas. I like to do this by putting them in a pot, covering them with water, and putting them on the stove. The second they start boiling I turn off the heat. These green peas really do cook up so fast, and you want them to stay the pretty, bright green color.

Once your peas are cooked, next you simply throw them in a food processor with all of their friends: lemon juice, olive oil, wasabi paste, garlic, ginger, salt, and pepper. Then blend it up, and voila! You have wasabi peas you can put on a pita chip!

Now look though, don’t you take this up to your 4th of July party, not tell your friends what it is, let them assume it’s guacamole, and watch them feel the wasabi burn with no warning. Or I don’t know…maybe you should. Mwahahahhaa!

WASABEH!!!

Wasabi Pea Dip

1 1/2 cups cooked green peas

juice from 1/2 lemon

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon wasabi paste

1/2 teaspoon minced garlic

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked sea salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Place all ingredients in the food processor and blend until smooth. May be eaten right away or after chilling in the refrigerator for a few hours. Serve with pita chips.

Sweet Potato Pie Granola Bars

Hello. My name is Amy, and I have a homemade granola bar obsession.

I dreamed up these little morsels while trying to figure out what to do with the leftover half of a baked sweet potato that I could no longer convince the Little Dude to eat.  I hate to throw away food.  And boy am I glad I didn’t throw out the sweet potato today, these puppies are tasty!

Start out by measuring out a cup of oats.

…my kid is easily amazed.

Next, add in whole wheat flour.

Then, a little wheat germ.

Do we need to think up a little bit more appetizing sounding name for this stuff? Yes.

Do you still need to eat it anyway in the meantime? Yes. Because it is good for you

….I can sense that you are impressed by how quickly I can turn on the Mom-mode.

Next up: Milled flax seed!

Uh-oh…you are getting scared now aren’t you? You don’t want to make these because I am putting too many healthy things in it, and you are afraid it might taste bad. I promise these are yummy…just stay with me. It is about to get real good…

…here we go. Here comes the stuff that makes it taste like pie.  Brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, ground ginger, allspice, and some freshly grated nutmeg. You feeling a little better now? Goood.

At this point, I said a little prayer and handed the bowl and a spoon over to the Little Dude and let her go to town stirring it up while I worked on the wet ingredients.

I am proud to tell you that she spilled very little. 🙂 …quite the little sous chef.

In a separate bowl (and I urge you to be classy like me and use the tupperware that you were storing it in), start mashing up that sweet potato. If it is coming out of the fridge like mine did, you may want to nuke it for a few seconds to soften it or add a little bit of water so you will have an easier time of it. Once you have it pretty soft, crack in the egg and add in the vanilla. Then stir them up until it is smooth and no longer lumpy.

How gorgeous is this?!?! You know you are getting excited about these granola bars now.

Now pour this into a mixer with honey and apple sauce and blend until well combined.

Then, get your dry ingredients from the Little Dude and note the tell-tale bits of dry ingredients all around her mouth. Then ask her if she ate any of it while she was stirring.

Does this face look innocent to you?

Yeah, me neither.

So anyway, next pour your batter into a well greased 8×8 pan and pop it into the oven for about 30 minutes.

Amazing. Delicious. Nutritious. Homemade. Sweet Potato Pie. Granola Bars. Yes!

Sweet Potato Pie Granola Bars

1 cup oats

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup wheat germ

2 tablespoons milled flax seed

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/8 teaspoon allspice

1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 baked sweet potato

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup apple sauce

1/4 cup honey

Mix dry ingredients together.

In a separate bowl, mash sweet potato. Then stir in egg, and vanilla. Mix well until smooth and lump free.

Add honey and apple sauce to the sweet potato mixture and stir until well combined.

Stir in dry ingredients until well moistened.

Pour into a well greased 8×8 pan, and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.

Cut into bars immediately out of the oven.

Oven “Fried” Okra

Is this a recipe? Not really. Then why did I choose it as my first post? Because it is delicious, super simple, and I need the practice. OK?

Geez, I’m kind of testy when I write my first blog post huh?

And I seem to write a lot of questions.

Hmmm….may hap I should get on with telling you about what will be your new favorite snack.

Yes let’s do that.

So as I said, this isn’t exactly a recipe. It is just a method really. And pretty much my most favorite method for veggie cooking — roasting at a high temp until brown, crispy, nutty, and probably devoid of any and all nutrient value therein.  Oh well. It has to be better than potato chips right? (oops, here I go with the questions again…sorry about that)

So wash up a generous handful of fresh okra, then cut off the stems and tips. Now look, I know that this is all really hardcore culinary techniques, but just try to keep up.

Now go ahead and cut it on the bias. It will make the okra feel elegant. And you know the okra needs a little self esteem boost due to it’s little slime problem.

Now isn’t that pretty? This is some confident okra here.

So all you  need do now is drizzle a bit of olive oil on it and seasoning of choice. Today, I chose to keep it simple with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Then get in there and mix it all around with your hands, and spread the okra out in a single layer so that no pieces are touching on a cookie sheet. This is probably the only important part.  Keeping them from touching helps them to get all super crispy and crunchy.

Now pop them into a 400 degree oven for about 15 to 20 minutes. But this time will vary depending on how thick you cut your okra and how well you were able to follow my one rule about not letting the okra touch each other (uh oh..am I getting testy again? Was that another question??). Just keep peeking in there to see if they look right to you.

And when they do look right to you, pull ’em out and do your best to wait until they aren’t going to burn your mouth before you start eating them up. I, being the very picture of self-control, definitely did not suffer any such injuries…oh wait. Yeah I definitely burned both my finger tips and taste buds. But I couldn’t wait any longer.

So yummy!! Enjoy!

And again, this isn’t really a recipe at all. But I will write it out so I can feel like I really contributed something serious on my first post.

Oven “Fried” Okra

  • Okra
  • Freshly cracked sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Olive oil
  1. Wash okra, and cut off tips and stems.
  2. Slice okra into thin strips, and pile onto a cookie sheet.
  3. Drizzle with enough olive oil to coat, and salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste.
  4. Bake @ 400. For 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.