22 February 2010

Spiced Red Potatoes

These red potatoes are really tasty, especially dipped in a tiny bit of vegan ranch dressing.  They have a nice mix of chili powder, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, salt, pepper and paprika.  I tried making these last night for Sara's birthday dinner, but I cut the potatoes too large and they burned outside while they remained raw inside.  It was a total failure.  I don't deal well with failure, so I gave them another go for dinner, and they turned out really well.

My hints for this recipe:
  • Be sure if you make them, cut your baby red potatoes really small (I cut them into 1/4-inch pieces or slightly larger).  That way they'll cook evenly and won't result in total cooking failure like I experienced last night.
  • Mix the spices in a tiny prep bowl and add slowly, tasting as you go along.  What tastes amazing to me might be too much for someone else or vice versa.
Here's My Recipe:
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  • 1 to 1 1/2 lbs. baby red potatoes
  • 3 TB olive oil
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  1. Chop potatoes as noted in the hints above.
  2. Heat oil in a 12-inch straight sided skillet over medium heat for about 4 minutes, or until shimmering not smoking.
  3. Add potatoes in single layer in leave about 5 minutes without stirring (this helps brown the potatoes on that side).  Check a few pieces to see if the bottoms are browned.
  4. Stir potatoes around with a wooden spoon and arrange in a single layer again, trying to get the browned sides of potatoes up so the opposite sides brown.
  5. Cook another 4-7 minutes, or until fork inserted into potatoes meets little resistance and outsides are lightly browned.  
  6. Place a layer of paper towel into a bowl and place potatoes on top to soak grease.  Using another paper towel, dab at potatoes until most oil is removed.  Then, remove the paper towels.
  7. Shake spice mixture, a little at a time, over potatoes and toss to combine..  Add more spices as needed.

Spectacular Snickerdoodle Cookies

I really LOVE snickerdoodle cookies, but had never made them before today.  It's not like I need an excuse to make some goodies, but I was pretty glad that my friend, Sara, was coming over because she likes them, too.  And, tomorrow is her birthday, so there was just another reason to make these fabulous cookies.  I got the recipe here.  I love these snickerdoodles!  They were really easy to make and taste great, especially once they're cooled completely.  

My hints for this recipe:
  • If you like poofy cookies, don't smush them once on the cookie sheet.  I rolled the dough to about 3/4 inch to 1-inch balls.  Once they are rolled in the cinnamon/sugar mix, you can smush the dough somewhat with your thumb and they will spread out more when baking.  This makes a thinner cookie.  I liked them a little poofy, so I didn't smush all of them down.
  • I baked some on a silicone baking sheet and the rest on parchment.  The parchment was great too, and didn't even grease the paper.  It was perfectly non-stick.
Here's the Recipe:
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  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar (found in the spice aisle)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons Earth Balance or your preferred butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup pure vegetable shortening
  • 1 3/4 cups sugar, plus more if needed
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon, plus more if needed
  • 2 egg replacements (I used Ener-G Egg Replacer)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, with one rack in top third and one rack in bottom third of oven. Line baking sheets with Silpat baking mats or parchment paper; set aside.
  2. Sift together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt; set aside. 
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine your butter, shortening, and 1 1/2 cups sugar. Beat on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. 
  4. Scrape down sides of bowl. 
  5. Add egg replacements, and beat to combine. 
  6. Add dry ingredients, and beat to combine.
  7. In a small bowl, combine remaining 1/4 cup sugar and the ground cinnamon.  This is what you're roll the dough balls into.
  8. Using your hands, roll dough into small balls about 3/4 of an inch to 1 inch in size.  Roll dough balls in cinnamon sugar (I placed them in the cinnamon/sugar bowl and put the lid on and then shook it to coat them in small batches). 
  9. Place about 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets (smush them down a bit if you'd like). Bake until the cookies are set in center and begin to crack (they will not brown), about 10 minutes, rotating the baking trays halfway through cooking (transfer bottom sheet to top rack and vice versa).
  10. Transfer the sheets to a wire rack to cool about 5 minutes before transferring the cookies to the rack.
Store in an airtight container up to 1 week.

07 February 2010

Russian Tea Cakes (aka Mexican Wedding Cookies)

Call them what you will: Russian Tea Cakes, Mexican Wedding Cookies, and I think a few more names.Why a cookie has so many different names is beyond me, but I do know that we really love these cookies.  I've never made them before, but these turned out to be absolutely delectable.  Buttery, rich, and they melt on your tongue.  Sometimes when you get them from others, they just don't hit the spot...maybe too floury or hard as rocks.  But, I swear, if you follow this recipe, you will be in cookie heaven.  

This recipe makes 2 dozen 1-inch cookie dough balls.  They poof somewhat when cooking, so put them about 1/2 to 1 inch apart on your baking sheet.

Here's My Recipe:
  • 1 stick (8 TB)  vegan butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar for dough
  • 1/2-3/4 cups powdered sugar for topping
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup pecans, ground fine (I put them in a baggie and pound with a coffee mug until they reach a fine consistency)
  1.  Put crushed pecans in small saucepan and turn heat to medium.  Stir often about 3 minutes or less. Remove from heat when you begin to smell the aroma of the pecans and they are heated through.
  2. Using electric mixer, beat butter until light and fluffy.
  3. Add in 1/4 cup powdered sugar and vanilla, beat until well combined.
  4. Beat in flour and nuts. The dough that forms will be clumpy and moist-looking.
  5. Place dough on plastic wrap and shape into a ball.  Place in fridge about 30 minutes.
  6. Heat oven to 350.
  7. Spray a cookie sheet.
  8. Remove dough from fridge, and lightly flour your palms.
  9. Break off bits of dough and roll into 1-inch balls using your hands.
  10. Space cookie balls at least 1/2 inch apart on cookie sheet.
  11. Bake about 15 minutes, or until bottoms are golden and tops feel firm to the touch, but are not really browned.
  12. Once you remove the cookies from oven, add the rest of the powdered sugar to a pie pan or bowl.
  13. Roll cookies in powdered sugar until coated on all sides.
  14. Sit powdered cookies on a cooling rack with a sheet of foil underneath to catch extra sugar.
  15. The sugar will seem to melt into the cookies, so what I did is take the rest of the leftover sugar from the bowl and sifted it lightly over the tops of the cookies on the cooling rack.

04 February 2010

Lemony Linguine with Bell Pepper

 This recipe is entirely my own creation based on things I had a lot of and needed to use up.  It turned out to be delicious and rather nutritious.  I served the linguine with some homemade garlic bread.   I think that the sweetness of the bell peppers is contrasted nicely with the lemon's tartness.  I really loved the lightness of the linguine, but I think I would have liked angel hair pasta even better.  I loved this one, so I knew I had to post it here.

My Hint:
Make sure that you read how long your desired pasta is supposed to cook.  Different brands and kinds (linguine takes longer than angel hair, etc) take different times to cook.  My linguine said 7 minutes, but that doesn't mean yours will. 

Here's My Recipe:
Click Here to Print This Recipe!
  • 8 oz dried linguine
  • 3 medium to large bell peppers (I used one each of red, orange and yellow), seeded and ribbed, cut in 1-inch chunks
  • 1/2 red onion cut in large chunks
  • 4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • Juice of 2 average size lemons
  • 3 TB olive oil
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste
  • (optional) 1/2 cup parmesan or vegan equivalent
  1. Put a large pot of water on to boil. Add a tsp. or so of salt.
  2. Using a 12-inch skillet, pour about 2 Tb oil in and heat until shimmering on medium heat. 
  3. Add pasta to boiling water and stir occasionally so it doesn't stick together or to the bottom.
  4. Add peppers to skillet and stir occasionally, about 4 minutes.
  5. Add in onion, stirring about 6 more minutes, or until peppers softened and onions translucent.
  6. Add in garlic and stir, 1-2 minutes. 
  7. Add lemon juice and take off of the heat.
  8. Drain pasta (it is okay if it has a touch of water left on it).
  9. Add past to the skillet and use tongs to gently toss and combine. 
  10. If the pasta is a touch too dry, add the rest of the oil and continue tossing.
  11. Add the salt and pepper to your own taste. 
  12. Add about 2/3 of the parmesan cheese and toss more.
  13. Serve it up!
I put the rest of the cheese in a bowl and used it to top our individual servings.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
February 7, 2010 Edit: This recipe was not good left overnight in the fridge.  It turned too oily when re-heated.  I'm not sure how to change that.  However, my mom said she added Italian dressing and parmesan to the leftovers and ate cold, like a pasta salad and she loved that.  I just wanted to let everyone know that!