Recipe #64 - Merry Meringue Christmas Cookies

Thank you to Jane Green, who, in her latest book, Promises To Keep, breaks up the chapters with recipes. Since it is still August, my no-sugar month, I haven't actually made these, but I wanted to post it so I didn't lose the recipe!

Merry Meringue Christmas Cookies

2 egg whites
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
¾ cup sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts
3 tablespoons crushed peppermint candy

Preheat oven to 250.

Beat the egg whites until foamy, add salt and cream of tartar, and continue beating until soft peaks form. Add sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue beating until meringue is stiff (ish). Fold in vanilla and rest of ingredients.

Drop by teaspoonfuls, ½ inch apart, on greased baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes. Try not to eat them all before they cool…


Recipe #63 - Deep Dark Chocolate Cookies

* Nonstick vegetable oil spray
* 1 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips (about 9 ounces), divided
* 3 large egg whites, room temperature
* 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar, divided
* 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
* 1 tablespoon cornstarch
* 1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray 2 large baking sheets with nonstick spray. Melt 1 cup chocolate chips in glass bowl in microwave, stirring twice, about 2 minutes. Cool slightly.

Using electric mixer, beat whites in large bowl to soft peaks. Gradually beat in 1 cup sugar. Continue beating until mixture resembles soft marshmallow creme. Whisk 1 cup sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, and salt in medium bowl to blend. On low speed, beat dry ingredients into meringue. Stir in lukewarm chocolate and 1/2 cup chocolate chips (dough will become very stiff).

Place 1/2 cup sugar in bowl. Roll 1 rounded tablespoon dough into ball; roll in sugar, coating thickly. Place on prepared sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake until puffed and tops crack, about 10 minutes. Cool on sheets on rack 10 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool.

Recipe #62 - Shrimp Scallion Dumplings

* 3/4 pound peeled and deveined shrimp, finely chopped
* 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
* 1 tablespoon minced garlic
* 3/4 tablespoons minced peeled ginger
* 1 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
* 3 scallions, finely chopped
* About 36 dumpling or wonton wrappers

Stir together all ingredients, except wrappers, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.

Put a rounded teaspoon filling in center of a wrapper. Lightly brush edge of wrapper with water, then fold in half (diagonally if square) and press to seal. Form a tortellini shape by moistening 1 corner and bringing 2 corners together, pressing them. Form remaining dumplings.

Cook dumplings in 2 batches in a medium pot of gently simmering water until filling is just cooked, about 3 minutes per batch. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a platter. Keep warm, covered.

Read More http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Shrimp-Scallion-Dumplings-352859#ixzz0wy9nsp8v

Recipe #61 - Spinach Mushroom Calzone

* 1 tablespoon olive oil plus additional for brushing
* 1 8-ounce package sliced crimini (baby bella) mushrooms
* 2 garlic cloves, pressed
* 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
* 4 cups (packed) baby spinach
* All purpose flour (for sprinkling)
* 1 pound fresh pizza dough (or one 13.8-ounce tube refrigerated)
* 5 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, divided
* 1 1/2 cups grated Fontina cheese, divided
* 1/4 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
* 1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

Preheat oven to 425°F. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and fennel seeds; sauté until mushrooms are brown, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and oregano; stir 1 minute. Add spinach; stir just until wilted, about 1 minute. Transfer to medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

Line rimless baking sheet with parchment. Sprinkle paper with flour. Roll out dough on lined baking sheet to 15 x 10-inch rectangle. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons Parmesan crosswise over half of crust, leaving 1-inch plain border. Top with 3/4 cup Fontina, then mushroom mixture, distributing evenly. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons Parmesan and 3/4 cup Fontina over mushrooms. Spoon dollops of ricotta cheese over; sprinkle with crushed red pepper. Fold plain half of dough up over filling. Crimp edges tightly to seal. Brush with oil.

Bake calzone until puffed and brown, about 18 minutes. Brush with oil and serve.

Recipe #60 - Caramelized Cayenne-ified Cashews

* Nonstick vegetable oil spray or use a Silpat thingie
* 2 cups unsalted raw cashews (about 10 ounces)
* 1/4 cup pure maple syrup or agave
* 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
* 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
* 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray sheet of foil with nonstick spray; set aside. Lightly spray rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray. Toss cashews and all remaining ingredients in medium bowl. Spread cashew mixture evenly in single layer on prepared sheet.

Bake nuts until golden brown and coated with maple syrup mixture, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes. Immediately pour nut mixture out onto foil, spreading evenly. Cool 10 minutes, then separate and break apart any nut clusters. Cool completely. DO AHEAD: Can be made 3 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

Think of all the money I saved making these instead of those $5 bags of Sahale snacks.

Recipe #59 - Sweet Onion Quesadillas

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! These have been pronounced "scrummy" by the household.

* 2 medium-large sweet onion such as Vidalia or Walla Walla
* olive oil for brushing onion and tortillas
* 8 6- to 7-inch flour tortillas
* 1 1/2 cups grated Pepper Jack cheese
* 1/4 cup packed fresh coriander sprigs, washed well, spun dry, and chopped

Prepare grill.

Cut onion crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices and arrange slices on a tray, keeping them intact. Brush both sides of slices lightly with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill onion on a lightly oiled rack set 5 to 6 inches over glowing coals 4 minutes on each side, or until lightly charred and softened. Transfer onion as grilled to a bowl, separating rings.

Brush 2 tortillas lightly with oil on one side and put, oiled side down, on a platter. Divide onion, Monterey Jack, and coriander between tortillas and cover with remaining 2 tortillas. Brush tops of quesadillas lightly with oil.

With a metal spatula transfer quesadillas to a rack set 5 to 6 inches over glowing coals and grill until undersides are golden brown, about 1 minute. Sandwiching each quesadilla between 2 metal spatulas, flip quesadillas over and grill until undersides are golden brown, about 1 minute.

Transfer quesadillas to a cutting board and cut into wedges.

Recipe #58 - Baked Cheesy Grits

Have I mentioned that I love grits? Have I mentioned that I am the ONLY one in my house who does?

* 6 cups water
* 2 1/4 teaspoons salt
* 2 cups yellow grits
* 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
* 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
* 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
* 1/2 lb Cheddar, coarsely grated (2 cups)
* 3 large eggs
* 1 cup milk - I used soy

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.

Bring water and 3/4 teaspoon salt to a boil in a 4-quart heavy pot.

Add grits in a slow stream, stirring constantly. Reduce heat and gently simmer, stirring frequently to avoid sticking, until very thick, about 30 minutes. (Use a long-handled spoon to avoid bubbling and popping hot grits.)

Add butter, remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, pepper, garlic, and cheese, stirring until butter and cheese are melted. Lightly beat eggs and milk in a small bowl, then stir into grits until combined.

Pour into an ungreased 8-inch square baking dish (2 inches deep) and bake until set and lightly browned, about 1 hour. Serve immediately.

I added even MORE cheese thinking it would entice other folks to enjoy this, but, alas, I sat and snarfed a whole bunch of it solo.

Recipe #57 - Beets and Caramelized Onions with Feta

* 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
* 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
* 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
* 3/4 teaspoon salt
* 5 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 lb onions (2 medium), quartered lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
*1 big bunch of beets, boiled, peeled and quartered

* 3 oz crumbled feta (1/2 cup)
* 1/4 cup pine nuts (1 oz), toasted and coarsely chopped

Whisk together vinegar, mustard, pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a large bowl, then add 3 tablespoons oil in a slow stream, whisking until combined well.

Cook onions with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Add onions to dressing, then add beets and cheese, stirring gently to combine. Serve sprinkled with pine nuts.

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm - the beet peepsils in the house LOVED this.

Recipe #56 - Cheddar Jalapeno Corn Sticks

* 1 cup yellow cornmeal
* 1 teaspoon agave nectar
* 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 cup well-shaken lowfat buttermilk
* 1 large egg
* 1/4 pound coarsely grated extra-sharp Cheddar (1 cup)
* 1/4 cup finely chopped scallion (white and pale green parts only)

* 1 to 2 tablespoons finely chopped drained pickled jalapeños
* 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 425°F. Heat cast iron pan in oven 10 minutes.

Whisk together cornmeal, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk together buttermilk, agave and egg in another bowl, then add to cornmeal mixture along with Cheddar, scallion, jalapeños (to taste), and 2 tablespoons butter, stirring until just combined.

Remove pan from oven and pour in remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Bake until top is golden and a wooden pick or skewer comes out clean, about 15 to 20 minutes

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. With 5 bean chili? Sigh.

Recipe #55 - Plum Almond tartlets

I didn't use white sugar!

* 1 sheet frozen puff pastry (half of 17.3-ounce package), thawed
* 4 tablespoons almond paste, crumbled
* 4 plums, halved, pitted, cut into 1/4-inch-thick wedges
* 1 large egg, beaten to blend
* Sliced almonds
* 2 large plums, coarsely grated
* 1/3 cup plum jam
* 1 tablespoon butter
* 1 squirt of agave nectar
* 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Unfold pastry; cut into 4 squares. Set on sheet; pierce all over with fork. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon almond paste over each square, leaving 1/2-inch border. Place plum wedges atop pastry, leaving 1/2-inch border. Cut 1/2-inch slits around edges of tartlets. Brush edges with egg; sprinkle with almonds.

Bring grated plums, jam, butter, sugar, and allspice to boil in small saucepan, stirring often. Brush 1/2 tablespoon plum sauce over plums on tartlets. Bake tartlets until golden, about 20 minutes. Serve with remaining plum sauce.

Recipe #54 - Butter Mochi

Thanks NPR for the story on Hawa'ii food today. As soon as I get to have white sugar again, I will make this:

Butter Mochi

This heavy, satisfying dessert is Hawaii's equivalent of the brownie, found everywhere from bake sales to lunch wagons. This recipe is adapted from The Food of Paradise by Rachel Laudan (University of Hawaii Press 1996).
Butter Mochi
Enlarge Michele Kayal for NPR

Butter Mochi
Michele Kayal for NPR

Makes 24

3 cups mochiko (sweet rice flour)

2 1/2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

Two 12-ounce cans coconut milk

5 large eggs

4 ounces melted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the mochiko, sugar and baking powder in a medium-sized bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the coconut milk, eggs, butter and vanilla, and whisk until incorporated. Gently stir in the dry ingredients until thoroughly combined.

Pour into a 9-by-13-inch, ungreased cake pan. Bake for 1 1/2 hours. Let cool completely. Cut into brownie-sized squares and serve.

How could it not be yummy?