Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Pecan Day: Kahlùa Lace Sandwich Cookies

Today, March 25th, is Pecan Day. Therefore I decided to post one of my favorite recipes from years past using pecans. Since I am allergic to nuts, I have to be very careful when making these cookies, and I can only eat a couple before I start to have a problem. But these are so very worth the discomfort.

I found these in a Kahlùa ad in a magazine sometime in the late 1980's or early 1990's. My friends LOVE these cookies.

Kahlùa Lace Sandwich Cookies
Yields 2 dozen

Oven Temp: 375

1/2 Cup butter
1/2 Cup coffee powder, instant
1/2 Cup corn syrup, light
1 Cup flour, all-purpose
2/3 Cups sugar, light brown, packed
1/2 Cup pecans ground
22 Teaspoons cocoa powder (unsweetened) divided
1 1/3 Cup sugar, powdered
4 Teaspoons water, hot
3 Tablespoons liqueur, Kahlúa

Grease cookie sheets, preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In saucepan, mix butter, corn syrup and brown sugar, bring to a boil. Remove from heat. In a bowl, mix together coffee powder, flour, pecans and 4 tsp of cocoa and stir into hot mixture. Mix well. Consistency will be a thick syrup.

Drop by level teaspoons onto cookie sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake 5 to 6 minutes. Cool 2 minutes and remove with spatula onto cooling rack.

Meanwhile, mix powdered sugar, remaining cocoa and water until smooth. Stir in Kahlùa. Spread onto bottom of 1 cooled cookie and place another on top to make sandwiches.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Toast Day: Bruschetta

Toast can take so many forms. My personal favorite is French Toast. I'm not sure that's what Toast Day really means, so I will save that recipe for another time (I mean, really, there has to be a French Toast Day, right?).

Yields 6 servings

6 plum tomatoes, diced
2 Tbls balsamic vinegar
1 head garlic, broken into cloves, divided
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
6 leaves basil, fresh, cut into ribbons
1 loaf Italian or French bread
Kosher salt and pepper

Mix together 2 cloves of minced garlic, the chopped tomatoes, the vinegar and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper as desired. Set aside to martinate for 30 minutes. At the last minute, stir in the fresh basil.

Preheat oven on broiler setting. Place a rack approximately 6 inches from broiler.

Slice the loaf of bread, on the bias, into 3/4-inch slices.

lace bread in oven on sheet pan and broil until golden brown on both sides, approximately 2 minutes for the first side and 1 to 1 1/2 for second side.

Remove to a platter and rub each slice of bread with the cloves of garlic and then brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

National Bavarian Crêpes Day: Dessert Crêpes

I love crêpes and it is a rare occasion we make them as the cooking process takes so long - just getting through a batch. But my favorite is then turning these into blintzes. Yum.

Dessert Crêpes
From Nancy S Frank
Yields 6 servings

3 Large egg yolk
1 Dash salt, table
1 Cup milk, whole
2 Tablespoons brandy
1/2 Cup water
1/2 Teaspoon extract, vanilla
1/4 Cup sugar, white
1 1/8 Cup flour, all-purpose
2 Tablespoons butter, unsalted melted and cooled
1 to taste cooking spray, butter-flavored

In a blender, blend thoroughly. Add melted butter. Blend. Refrigerate batter for at least 30 minutes.

In a 5- to 6-inch diameter pan, on high, spray with cooking spray and then cover bottom of pan as thinly as possible with batter and turn pan to coat evenly (about 2 tablespoons batter).

Oil cookie sheet and place cooked crepes on it.

Friday, March 21, 2008

California Strawberry Day: Strawberry Daiquiri

In my neck of the woods, I can't guarantee California Strawberries, but since it is Friday I figured a cocktail was the way to go no matter where the strawberries were grown.

Strawberry Daiquiri
Yields 1 serving

Ice cubes
2 parts light rum
1 part Triple Sec
1 part fresh strawberries, tops trimmed off
Lime juice, as needed
Lime wedges

Add to a blender and puree the ice cubes, light rum, Triple Sec, fresh strawberries and lime juice. Rub the rim of a glass with lime. Roll the glass in sugar. Garnish with lime wedges. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Ravioli Day: Prosciutto Ravioli

I love Ravioli, but sometimes it can just be too labor intensive. However, I got this super simple recipe from Giada de Laurentis and they are delicious.

Prosciutto Ravioli
Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis
Yields 6 servings
Difficulty: Easy
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes

15-ounce container whole milk ricotta cheese
10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry
4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, chopped
2 large egg yolks
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
48 wonton wrappers
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
Freshly grated pecorino

Whisk the ricotta, spinach, prosciutto, egg yolks, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl to blend.

Place 1 tablespoon of the ricotta filling in the center of a wonton wrapper. Brush the edge of the wrapper lightly with water. Fold the wrapper in half, enclosing the filling completely and forming a triangle. Pinch the edges to seal. Transfer the ravioli to baking sheets. Repeat with the remaining filling and wrappers. (Can be prepared up to 2 hours ahead; cover and refrigerate.)

Melt the butter in a heavy small skillet over medium heat. Add the oregano and stir 1 minute. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat.

Working in batches, cook the ravioli in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes per batch. Transfer the ravioli to a large shallow bowl.

Pour the oregano butter over the ravioli and toss gently to coat. Sprinkle the pecorino over the ravioli and serve.