Saturday, December 26, 2009

Green Bean and Fennel Salad

We had a pretty delicious Christmas dinner last night: baked ham, sweet potatoes, and this delicate and crunchy green bean salad. With it's fresh ingredients and simple citrus dressing, this would be perfect for an outdoor summer lunch dish.

Green Bean and Fennel Salad
Serves 8-10

1/2 lb fresh green beans, cleaned and trimmed
2 cups thinly sliced fennel bulb (one large)
3/4 cup julienne-cut red bell pepper
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1.5 tablespoon light olive oil
1 teaspoon grated orange rind
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoon minced fennel leaves

Wash the beans. Trim the ends, remove the strings and cut the beans in half. Place the beans in a vegetable steamer and place over boiling water. Cover and steam for 5 minutes or until tender-crisp. Drain beans and plunge into cold water. Drain again.

Combine beans, fennel bulb, and bell pepper in a bowl; toss gently and set aside. Combine lemon juice and next 5 ingredients in a bowl; stir well. Pour over vegetables; toss gently to coat. Sprinkle with fennel leaves. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

Tip: extra virgin olive oil is too heavy a flavor for this dish. When you julienne the red pepper try to keep them about the same size as the green beans. Use fresh lemon juice only! You may want to add a bit of grated lemon rind to taste.

copyright 2009 What's Cooking?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Marble Man and I found ourselves way ahead of the curve this year:

lists have been checked, and double-checked
gifts are wrapped and mailed
the tree is up

Lots of time left over for baking cookies. Marble Man has so many favorites, that I asked him to narrow his choices to two types.

His pick for this year:

Vera's Checkerboard Cookies

Chocolate Crinkles

Chocolate Crinkles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
makes 52 cookies

2 C plus 2 T all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 C butter, room temperature
1+3/4 C granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
4 squares unsweetened baker's chocolate (1 ounce per square), melted
1/2 C confectioners' sugar

Mix flour baking powder and salt. In a large bowl, beat butter and granulated sugar with electric mixer until fluffy.

Beat in eggs, one at a time until mixture is pale yellow, then vanilla and chocolate until blended.

Gradually add flour mixture, mixing just to blend. Refrigerate dough 1 hour.

Lightly grease cookie sheets. Shape heaping teaspoonfuls of dough into 1.25 inch balls and roll in confectioners' sugar. Place on cookie sheets 1.5 inches apart.

Bake about 12 minutes until tops are puffed and cracked. DON'T overbake! Cookies are quite soft when hot but firm and chewy when cool. Remove to rack to cool.

Per cookie:
80 calories
1 gram protein
12 grams carbs
3 grams fat
20 mgs cholesterol

Enjoy! (Just don't worry about that last part there. ;)

And while you toss some treats together for your family, here's a little Holiday fun to keep you company: Tennessee Ernie Ford singing for a group of children.

His son (sitting next to him) is so into the song that he has to really work to keep from cracking up.

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

copyright 2009 Shibori Girl

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Bratwurst and Sweet & Sour Red Cabbage

This winter, Marble Man and I signed up for a fresh-meat-and-eggs co-op through Fickle Creek Farm, one of the vendors at our local Farmers Market. The meats have been incredibly delicious, and the eggs colorful - brown, blue, green... and also delicious. Every two weeks, we head to the market to pick up our assortment of sausages, roasts, chops, and chickens. This week's sausages were bratwursts, and I think they were the best I've ever had.

I cooked them in beer with lots of onions, and a side dish of sweet and sour red cabbage. *Slurp* So good!

serves 6

6 large bratwurst
1 C sliced onions
1 C beer

Prick each sausage before adding to a large skillet. Pour in enough water to cover the sausages with 1/2 an inch of water. Partially cover the pan and simmer until the water has evaporated. Be sure not to let the water boil - this will cause the bratwursts to burst. Uncover and cook the sausages in the small amount of fat remaining in the pan to brown. Add onions and saute until translucent. Pour in the 1 C of beer and simmer another 5 minutes. Serve with spicy mustard on the side.

Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage

Serves 6

1 head red cabbage, shredded
2 Granny Smith apples, cut in small wedges
4 slices bacon, diced and fried
3 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tbsp. vinegar plus same amount sweet pickle juice
Salt and pepper

Fry bacon. Leave fat and bacon in skillet and add remaining ingredients. Cover tightly and get it hot, then turn down heat and cook slowly until tender. May be fixed ahead of time and reheated. This would make a wonderful Christmas Eve dish.


And I want to thank everyone who weighed in on my new image signatures. I will see what I can do to make them less intrusive.

copyright 2009 Shibori Girl