Posted by: kriscdub | December 24, 2010

Holiday Cookie Madness 2010 Part 3: Hamantaschen

Last year we make pineapple kolacky, or kipfels as my father calls them. Wrapping all that jam up in little pastries was exhausting, and until we started impaling them with toothpicks, they mostly just unfolded themselves in the oven anyway. So of course I decided that the best plan was to do it all over again this year in a different and more complicated shape. Hamantaschen are a Jewish cookie traditionally made for Purim, but since they’re basically hat-shaped kipfels, I decided to try them out. This recipe is similar to the one we used for the kolacky last year, but with the addition of orange zest, which really takes the dough to the next level. As an added bonus, hunching over folding these cookies for hours makes for a great ab workout! The sore abs were worth it though, because these cookies are tender like a great pie crust , lightly citrusy, and can be made with whatever jam or filling that makes your heart flutter.

On an extra exciting note, this is our 50th post!

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Ah, decoratively iced sugar cookies –  extravagant, sometimes cloyingly sweet, and elevating style far above substance, these are the Katy Perrys of the cookie world. Like Katy Perry, they’ve been kicked off of Sesame Street and then took their case to Saturday Night Live.

That’s as much work as I’d like to do for a bad cookie joke.

Anyway, decorated sugar cookies are the classic Christmas cookie. Normal people would make stars, trees, presents, and other festive holiday themed shapes. We are not normal people, so you get dinosaurs and Star Wars characters. The great thing about sugar cookies is that you can make them as fancy or simple as time allows. They can be a fun family bonding experience or a flashpoint for a boiled over sibling battle that needs to be cleaned off the walls a week later. Whichever you prefer.

This particular incarnation uses as its foundation a vanilla-almond flavored cookie that’s not too sweet, not too crunchy, not tasteless, and not too puffy or cake-like to decorate well. For icing, we picked a nice royal icing applied with an “outline and flood” method that leaves a sweet, glossy, gorgeous topping. Without further ado, the prettiest of the sometimes foods… Read More…

Garrick and I are home for the holidays again, a bit later than last year, but that means it’s time for our second annual Holiday Cookie Madness! Be sure to check out our holiday cookie recipes from last year, a couple of which (Gingerbread Sandwich Cookies and Turtle Pretzels) we’re making again this year. We’re also trying out several new recipes, of which these are the first. We started yesterday with three and a half pounds of butter in the fridge and possibly a bit of madness in our hearts. By Christmas there will be some (hopefully) epically frosted sugar cookies, some excellent thumbprint cookies, the traditional Jewish version of last year’s Kolacky, and whatever other surprises we can squeeze into the last couple days before Christmas. Let the madness begin!

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Posted by: kriscdub | November 19, 2010

Deer Delicious: Venison Tenderloin in Mushroom Red Wine Sauce

It’s deer season here in Michigan, and that means it’s time to celebrate the most delicious meat that has ever been prepared by my hands in the hopes that soon there will be more in my freezer (I’m looking at you, Dad. You can pretend you don’t hear me because you’re in the UP and don’t have Internet, but I know you do). If I could only eat one type of meat for the rest of my life, it would be venison without question. It can be tough to get if you don’t have a hunter in your family, but if you get the chance, definitely try some venison. It’s lean and flavorful, with none of that gamey flavor that you can get with other wild meats, like bear. I’m just gonna suggest never eating bear. Perhaps if it had been prepared in a form other than Hamburger Helper Bear Stroganoff I would have liked it. But I doubt it. Venison, on the other hand, is great in just about anything, including tacos, chili, and biscuits and gravy. The tenderloin is, of course, amazing, as tenderloin tends to be, and this recipe highlights everything that is wonderful about it. Best of all, it is much easier to prepare than it looks or tastes. You can substitute beef if you can’t get your hands on any venison, and in fact the recipe is originally written for beef. It will still be delicious, and I will only be a little disappointed in you.

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Posted by: kriscdub | October 21, 2010

When One Vice Isn’t Enough: Chocolate Bourbon Cake

Alright, show of hands, who thought I fell off the face of the earth? You? You? Yah, me too. But look, I’m gonna make it up to you. You see that cake? That shiny ganache covered hunk of heaven? This is what you’ve waited for, and baby, it was worth it. I always thought that my grandma’s chocolate sour cream cake was the best chocolate cake there could possibly be. She covers it in fudge frosting, and it’s got this small, moist crumb that makes for the perfect dense-but-soft texture. Serve it with a scoop of ice cream and you’re on your way down a slow chocolate river of yum. Well, I’ve made this cake twice now, and this is like Grandma’s cake, but with bourbon.

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Posted by: gbdub | October 15, 2010

Das Pig – Smothered Pork Tenderloin

Ah, fall is upon us. For those of you up North, that means it’s cold, rainy, and windy. Time to look at the trees and change the oil in the snowblower. Down here in Arizona, it means double digit temperatures (finally) and, apparently, dodging tornadoes. Whatever the weather, something primal tells me it’s time for some savory comfort food – a little change of pace from all the bright Mexican flavor I’ve been throwing at you lately. Today for our inspiration we turn east (not that far east… more in the middle… okay a bit north of that…) to our Teutonic friends. Out of the cantina and into the bierhaus, if you will.

Pork tenderloin is one of my absolute favorite meats – melt-in-your mouth tender and deeply flavorful without being overly fatty or heavy. And though this preparation may be all dressed in shades of brown, don’t think it skimps on taste. Well-browned, sweet-sharp onions and spicy, grainy mustard meld with porky essence into a rich sauce, with fresh dill cutting through to provide balance. And at any rate, there are few things more comforting than a pan-simmered hunk of meat on buttered noodles. So let’s get at this.

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Posted by: gbdub | August 26, 2010

Torta Recall – Black Bean Chorizo Tortas

Tortas de Chorizo y Frijoles Negros – from Bayless’ Mexican Everyday, make up Bayless entry #4. Tortas are basically Mexican sub sandwiches – hearty assemblies of beans, meat, cheese, avocado, and something spicy (or whatever else strikes the chef’s fancy) served between two halves of crusty-on-the-outside-chewy-soft-on-the-inside bolillo rolls. This particular variation uses the spicy Mexican sausage, chorizo, and a spread of mashed black beans as the main filling, and is topped off with queso fresco, avocado, smoky-hot salsa, and a bit of Mexican crema (because I’m naughty). Screw you Jared, I want a torta.

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Posted by: gbdub | August 1, 2010

Roasting Arizona – Rajas de Chile Poblano

Rick Bayless #3 – otherwise known as roasted peppers with onions and herbs. Rajas is Spanish for “strips”, but in Mexican cuisine it almost always means “strips of green chile”. Which is exactly what this delicious vegetable side dish is: fragrant and gently spicy poblano chiles, roasted over an open flame, then simmered with onions, garlic, herbs, and cream. Simple, not terribly pretty, but amazingly delicious. You’ll never want green bean casserole again. Okay, you will, but not as often.

This recipe also gives me the chance to demonstrate the all important skill of roasting fresh peppers – you’ll find roasted peppers to be delicious on their own and a great ingredient for southwestern cooking. They are also surprisingly good on burgers. Hopefully you’re better at peeling them than I am.

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Posted by: kriscdub | July 28, 2010

Passion Palmer: Copycat Ice Tea Lemonade

I have a serious addiction to Arnold Palmer. I’ve recently started buying it in gallon sized jugs, because there is no other way to keep enough on hand to sate my thirst. I know it’s not the best thing for me, what with its artificial sweeteners and questionable amount of actual tea, but it’s just so refreshing. It’s the perfect summer drink. At least, it was. On a recent visit to another questionable source of tea, I saw a poster for Passion iced tea lemonade. Despite the mouthful of a name, I knew I had to have it. See, Tazo Passion is the best herbal tea known to man. Add this to my lifelong obsession with anything lemonade and, well, you’ve got a drink of delicious proportions on your hands. Unfortunately, said coffee shop was out of lemonade, so I had to settle for Passion iced tea. I vowed on that disappointing day that no lemonadeless coffee shop would stand in my way of the combination of the most deliciously refreshing drink of which I could conceive. You, dear Sibling Cutlery readers, can now reap the fruits of my quest to recreate the drink that I so devastatingly desired, or something similarly evocative of me slaying a dragon for your benefit.

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Posted by: gbdub | July 18, 2010

B-Day Booze – Caipirinha

So my baby sister turned 21 yesterday and is all growed up an whatnot. In her honor, I present her favorite cocktail, which she has of course never had before today. Being 2000 miles away, she of course couldn’t enjoy this frosty libation, so I assure her (and all of you) that it was delicious.

The caipirinha in the national cocktail of Brazil. It’s the preferred method of drinking the local hooch, cachaça (ka-SHAH-sa). Cachaça is much like rum, but while rum is made from molasses, cachaça is distilled from fermented sugarcane juice. The flavor is a bit different, smooth and clean with a distinct sweet toasted sugar /caramel note. A bit of sugar and lime are all you need to make the perfect cocktail for a hot summer evening.

Happy Birthday Kristen! Read More…

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