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Spicy Sweet Onion Dip

Friday, December 31, 2010

My 10 Favorites of 2010

Thank you all for visiting my site in 2010. Here are some of my favorites from this past year, the items that have been made many times and will find their way to our table again in 2011. Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Salted Brown Butter Rice Krispy Treats

Ok, I couldn't take the Black and White theme anymore. I had to change the colors. I feel better already! I am trying to give the blog more of a Fairbanks feel, but the grey was just too much. After all, it's almost the new year and with solstice behind us the days are getting longer. They say the temperatures are supposed to get up to 20 degrees by this Saturday. That is 20 above zero. I notice as time goes on that we just say it is 20 degrees, when it is actually 20 below.
I have made these Rice Krispy treats several times since they were first posted on the Smitten Kitchen blog. They are the grown up version of rice krispy treats. What does that mean exactly? Well, with the addition of salt, they become quite addictive. They have that whole salty sweet thing going on. I'm not a huge regular rice krispy treat fan, but every once in a while I want something with that chewy texture. These really do the trick. I always have to make sure to make them when I am going somewhere, otherwise half the pan disappears and innocent people (puppies) get blamed.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Peanut Blossoms

As we finished up our Christmas dinner, David and I got to talking about the end of the year. His feeling was that the year should be over at Christmas. Christmas, more than any other holiday is a marker of milestones. I have to agree that I do more reflecting on Christmas day than I do on New Year's Day. On New Year's Day I mostly reflect on what I drank the night before. But I disagree that the year should end with Christmas. This week  between Christmas and New Year's Day is very important for transition. What other time of year is it encouraged to eat yourself into a coma for a month and then go on a crash diet and re-organize your life? I usually start eating a little healthier during this week, but at the same time I always purchase one last carton of egg nog and slowly come to grips with the fact that there will be no more Christmas cookies for breakfast. Although there is no reason I couldn't make them year round, I rarely make peanut blossoms outside of the Christmas season. So I will have just a few more cookies (or maybe a batch) this week, maybe with a glass of egg nog (it might have to be milk, the grocery didn't have any in stock today) by the fire while I pull out all my books and plan to make 2011 the best one yet.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Still looking for something delicious and super easy to make Christmas morning? Pannukaku is a traditional Finnish Breakfast dish usually served with jam. It is related to crepes, swedish pancakes, and I believe most resembles the Dutch Baby. It is definitely more buttery (making it good for special occasions as you might only want to eat it once a year) and a little more custardy. Although I never had it growing up it was very popular where I lived. They even serve it at a local restaurant, The Suomi Cafe where the pronunciation sounds more like Bunn-oo-guck-oo. The pronunciation is probably more Yooper (a person living in Michigan's Upper Peninsula) than Finnish.Now, I have to stop in for breakfast and Pannukakku every time I visit. Traditionally, I believe it is supposed to be served with Lingonberry Jam. The Suomi Cafe serves it with Raspberry, and David eats it with Maple Syrup. I say make your own traditions. We will being eating our traditional cinnamon rolls, but if I thought I could get away with something this simple I would! Happy Holidays everyone.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Peppermint Candy Cane Cupcakes

Every Christmas time I always have to make at least one thing with crushed candy canes. If I don't, then I at least add them to heavy cream to top hot chocolate. It just isn't Christmas for me without it. Lately, I get all my cupcake ideas from Trophy Cupcakes Facebook feed. When I saw they were making candy cane cupcakes I knew I had to have one. The problem: Trophy Cupcakes is in Seattle. I decided I would search out my own. A candy cane cupcake search produced a lot of cupcakes with boxed cake mix. Not exactly what I was going for. Luckily I thought to search Peppermint Cupcakes and came up with this great recipe that I was able to adapt for candy canes. I was able to create exactly what I was looking for, the cake is subtly flavored (more vanilla), and the frosting packs a nice peppermint punch.
I already had the box of Christmas decorations on the dining room table. I pulled out the lights and turned them on to take these photos. I heard a little crunching noise until the table, I figured our pup had scavenged up some broken bits of candy cane on the floor. Turns out he was chomping away at our Christmas lights under there! Looks like I need to add new lights to the shopping list...

Monday, December 20, 2010

Salisbury Steak

Am I the only one who woke up this morning to realize there are no weekend days left before Christmas? Am I the only one who has not even begun to shop yet (except for the fact that I had to go to the Feed Store and got suckered into the Christmas clearance section for our furry friends)? Do you still have presents to wrap, trees to decorate, and holiday menus to plan? This is an easy, quick weeknight meal.
A few weeks ago David and I were chatting about the kind of food we ate growing up. I shared the fact that on occasion we had TV dinners. After the initial shock, David asked what my favorites had been. I was a big fan of Salisbury Steak, well not so much the steak as the chocolate cake that came with it. With hesitation he then asked, "What is Salisbury Steak"? When I saw this recipe in the most recent Cooking Light magazine I couldn't resist. Turns out that this Salisbury Steak even without the chocolate cake as incentive can be pretty good.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Pumpkin Cake with Dulce de Leche Icing

Ok, I admit we are a little beyond pumpkin season. I also know I'm not the only one who stocked up on pumpkin this year. If you are one of those people who was worried about the pumpkin shortage and possibly have a little extra taking up space in your cupboards, this is the perfect recipe for you. This cake is super easy to make. It's one of those great things to bring to a potluck or anywhere else you want to feed a lot of people. The original recipe was called Pumpkin Bars. A friend told me that it came out more like cake in the recommended 9x13 inch pan, so I put it in a 10x15 hoping for bars. The results... still cake, but a might moist and flavorful one. Also, I realized that I was not going to have enough icing to cover a larger cake and decided to add Dulce de Leche to the icing. What a happy little accident, it really added to the overall flavor.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Green Apple and Shallot Raita

At the end of each semester all of the professional staff in my office gathers together to make a feast for our student employees during exam week. It is a fun day and a great way to thank all of our students for the hard work they do. I always have a hard time deciding what to bring, so I wait until I see what all my other co-workers write on the sign up sheet and then I try and make something to compliment their dishes. I can't tell you how thrilled I was when I saw that one of my co-workers wrote 2 Indian dishes on the list. My favorite part of making Indian food is the Raitas and the Chutneys. I'm looking forward to making some new recipes, but I can guarantee this one will be at the top of my list for the feast next week.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Pignoli Cookies

Would you like a cookie that fell in the snowbank? I love the winter light in Fairbanks. We get very little of it, but what we do get is quite spectacular. The problem is that what we do get five days of the week falls during the hours that I am working. I enter my office in the dark and leave in the dark. That makes photographing food nearly impossible. A couple weeks ago I decided that I would bring these cookies to work to photograph them during my lunch hour. The good thing about college campuses is that you can photograph cookies outside in -10 degree weather and nobody gives you a second glance. Unfortunately, my fingers don't work so well in these temperatures and at one point I lost control of the entire plate and all the cookies fell into the snow. So, in case you were looking for the directions where you sprinkle the cookies with sugar, well that's not sugar!
Pignoli cookies are a traditional italian cookie. I had never tried them until a few weeks ago, but instantly fell in love with them. I knew I had to make them. The recipe I found looked pretty easy,in fact it is the only cookie recipe I have ever made that made exactly the number of cookies that the recipe yielded. They were just as good as the ones I had with burnt caramel ice cream at a restaurant in San Francisco.
When I returned to work I jokingly asked if anyone would like a cookie that fell in the snowbank. Well, they must have been pretty good, because someone ate the whole plate!

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