Saturday, February 20, 2010

Braising cross cut veal shanks ...

to make Osso buco. It was a treat to be able to make Osso buco because veal is quite expensive, regular price $7.99/lb at my local Safeway. This morning, I got them for 50% off in the sale section. I learn something new today, our local Safeway, will put their meats in the sale area on the morning of the 'sell by date' if it doesn't sell. I was able to make 4 servings of Osso buco for about $20.

It smell so delicious when I took it out of the oven.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Introducing a new cookie...

my son calls it the Boy Scout's Turtle Cookie. The cookie experiment came about with the timing of the Girl Scout's annual cookie sale. One of our family's favorite is the toasted coconut caramel and chocolate cookie called the 'Samoas'. We have included a link to a Samoas recipe from Nicole's Blog site call Baking Bites Nicole has many other wonderful recipes, including recipes from other 'Girl Scouts' cookies.

This is a 3 part recipe for making this cookie. The cookies are fairly time consuming to make, if you take your time and have fun, the results will be well worth it. Your time will be well rewarded.

Step 1: Shortbread Cookie base recipe

1 cup unsalted butter, soften
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups AP flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup finely chopped toasted pecans
up to 2 tbsp milk

1. Cream together butter and sugar in large mixing bowl.
2. Mix in sifted flour/baking powder/salt at low speed, followed by vanilla and milk as need. Add in finely chopped pecans.
3. The dough should come together as a not too sticky ball.
4. Place the dough on a large piece of parchment or wax paper.
5. Smooth and shape the dough into an evenly shaped log that is about 8 inches long. Then thoroughly wrap the shaped log in the parchment or wax paper, twists the ends of the paper to seal the log, and place in the refrigerator to chill for at least three hours, or up to three days. (The log can also be frozen for about one month. If freezing, it is best to let the log stand at room temperature about 15-20 minutes before slicing.)
6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F with the rack in the center of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
7. Using a thin bladed knife, slice the log into 1/4 inch (5 mm) thick slices. Place the cookies on the prepared baking sheets, spacing about 2 inches (5 cm) apart. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool completely on a wire rack.


2 cups white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup corn syrup
1 cup evaporated milk
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Grease a 8"X8" pan or line the pan with parchment paper.
2. In a medium-size pot, combine sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, evaporated milk, whipping cream, and butter. Monitor the heat of the mixture with a candy thermometer while stirring. When the thermometer reaches 250 degrees F (120 degrees C) remove the pot from the heat.
3. Stir in vanilla. Transfer 1/2 of the mixture to the prepared pan and let the mixture cool completely. When cooled cut the Carmel into small squares and wrap them in wax paper for storage.

Step 2: Caramel Coconut topping with toasted pecans

1/2 pan of Caramel recipe
1 cup toasted unsweetened shredded coconut
2 cups toasted pecans halves

For the Caramel Coconut topping, add the following to the caramel mixture left in the pot:
1 cup shredded toasted unsweetened coconut**

**For toasting coconut, preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Spread coconut on a parchment lined baking sheet with sides and toast 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until coconut is golden. Cool on baking sheet, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

1. While caramel/coconut mixture is still warm, use a small offset spatula to spread the mixture on the center of the shortbread cookie base.
2. Pat on the toasted pecans on top of warm caramel mixture.
3. While the caramel/coconut and pecans set up on the cookie base. Prepare the chocolate topping.

Step 3: Chocolate coating:

8 ounces chopped dark or semisweet chocolate chips

1. Melt chocolate in a small bowl. Heat on high in the microwave in 45 second intervals, stirring thoroughly to prevent scorching. Dip the base of each cookie into the chocolate and place on a clean piece of parchment paper. After dipping all the cookies, transfer the remaining chocolate to a small Ziploc sandwich bag with the corner snipped off and drizzle finished cookies with chocolate.
2. Let chocolate set completely before storing in an airtight container.

The recipe makes about 3 dozen cookies.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Making BBQ pork buns with mom...

for Chinese New Year. Usually mom doesn't like to do much cooking for Chinese New Year, and for New Year's Eve, it has been a family tradition to go out to a restaurant for dinner. However this year was an exception, her favorite Chinese restaurant 'V Garden' went up in flames in mid January. She kept things simple, we had prime rib roast, roast chicken, steamed Sockeye Salmon with ginger, soy and scallions, sauteed Gai Lan (Chinese Broccoli) with oyster sauce and black bean crab over a bed of bean thread noodles.

For fun, she wanted to learn how to make BBQ Pork buns, only because the week before, I made a batch of chocolate and Nutella buns and baked them in her oven. The light bulb went off and she thought, "hey we can use the same dough to make BBQ Pork buns." Dad contributed to mom's cause by making the BBQ pork filling, he diced up the BBQ pork, mixed it up with some sauteed translucent diced onions and created a slurry of oyster sauce, Hoisin sauce, sugar, cornstarch, and water.

The recipe for the dough is a simple bun recipe from King Arthur Flour. It is an egg free and soy free recipe. The only changes to the recipe we tweaked was to brush the proofed buns with a mixture of 2 parts milk to one part water and after baking the bread for 20-25 minutes to brush the buns with the melted butter mixed in with an addition of a teaspoon of honey and tablespoon of hot water. Brush on the mixture and let the buns bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes. Remove the buns from the oven and give it one quick brush of the same mixture and let them cool down before serving. As you can see from the photos, mom was pleased with her tray of buns, she counted 27 buns.

I found it to be a great versatile bun recipe for eating on it's own or filled with whatever your taste buds desire. My weakness is usually dark chocolate and Nutella.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Valentine's Day party preparation...

it's that time of the year again, hearts and sweets for your sweeties. We only had one set of cards to do this year, our third grader decided that we should make some cookies to include with his cards. What a cute idea. While perusing the internet for a simple cookie recipe that would look cute and easy for him to tackle, we found a simple Icebox Cookie recipe from Joy of We had all the ingredients except for the candied red cherries, I looked all over town for those cherries, usually they are in an abundant supply right before the Christmas holiday for baking the infamous fruitcakes. Now in February, none can be found, so another internet search on what to substitute for the red cherries. I happen to find a recipe for making your own red glace cherries from a jar of maraschino cherries.

Just sharing some photos of how his cookies and cards turned out.

Happy Valentine's Day!