Archive for October, 2016

Rosquillas de Vino – Spanish Wine Cookies

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On my last trip to Spain I was introduced to these small and simple cookies called Rosquillas de Vino (Wine Cookies). They were dainty, delicate, and lightly hinted of wine – I loved them straight from the plate or box, dunked in morning coffee, or dipped in a glass of after dinner wine. I came home with a box of these cookies and savored every bite while thinking about Spain and its beauty. I also fully intended to bake them myself, but then life got busy and the small pleasure of simple but perfect cookies slipped like the days along the Mediterranean into a memory. That was until the other week when I went to see the new Pedro Almodovar film JULIETA at the New York Film Fest. The film was as sumptuous as Spain and made me want to return. It also reminded me of the cookies I loved as much as the olive oil, the art, the sun soaked days. 

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This recipe is a compilation of a few recipes I found online, and while I am not sure if it is the quintessential recipe it reminded me of the light, slightly sweet cookies kissed with anise and olive oil and a touch of wine. They are traditional for Christmas but I found them just as lovely in the summer along the Costa Blanca and in Fall in Brooklyn. There is so much I love about travel but one of my favorite things is the way the memories, the tastes, the images enrich my life long after I return home; the way a place changes me and a part of the place stays with me forever. These Rosquillas de Vino will always remind me of the full moon over the Mediterranean and the days I have spent in Barcelona, Cadaques, and the Costa Blanca, all places that now inhabit parts of my heart. 

Beso,

Ramona

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Rosquillas de Vino Recipe – Spanish Wine Cookies

This recipe made approx 3 dozen cookies.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 cup butter

1 and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 cup wine (I used a white Albarino wine, but saw these also made with red wine)

1 tbs anise extract or anise seeds ground

3 cups flour

granulated sugar for topping cookies

  • Preheat the oven to 350°. Prepare and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. 
  • Using a hand mixer combine the sugar, olive oil, butter, and baking powder together in a large mixing bowl.
  • Add wine and anise and mix well.
  • Add flour one cup at a time; the mixture will seem dry or crumbly. I mixed the last cup in using my hands.
  • Working with a small amount of dough at one time roll into a rope 1/3″ thick on an un-floured cutting board. 
  • Cut into 4″ long pieces and fold into a circle with an overlapping end (kind of like a wreath). 
  • Place on the prepared cookie sheet. Continue to roll and form cookies. 
  • Bake cookies 18 – 20 minutes or until they become golden in color. Be careful to not burn the bottoms. 
  • Let cool on a wire rack for 5-10 minutes.
  • Roll cookies while still warm in a dish with granulated sugar until they are nicely coated. 

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23

10 2016

Fresh Thai Salad with Cayenne Cashews

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“It’s been about the sun and the moon. It’s been about happy times together. It’s been about the shade and the old people and the children. It’s been about colors in Fall. It’s been about seasons…” ~ THE FALL OF FREDDIE THE LEAF by Leo Buscaglia

We are solidly settling into fall here in New York and that is not a bad thing. Fall and Spring have always been my favorite seasons in New England the change and the slow feeling of relief and gratitude for more temperate days and nights and the visible transformation of color in all of nature. The sentiments of this time of year feel so fittingly captured in this quote from the children’s book THE FALL OF FREDDIE THE LEAF.

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And just as the sentiments of fall are captured in this quote they are also captured in this salad. This is a salad filled with color, subtle spice, crisp crunch just like the autumn leaves on the ground. The purple, red, orange, and green salad is dressed in a delicious and enticing nut (either almond or peanut) dressing, and an exotic touch from the spices and the toasted cashews. It holds up well to travel and it makes both my appetite and my taste buds happy, added bonus is all of the healthy ingredients. This salad is about colors, its about seasons, and its about enjoying what we have in front of us.

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Fresh Thai Salad with Cayenne Cashews From Goop

 
Ingredients for the cayenne cashews:

1/3 cup cashews

1 teaspoon coconut oil

¼ teaspoon salt

⅛ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Ingredients for the dressing:

1 tablespoon almond butter or peanut butter

Juice + zest of 1 lime

Pinch of Cayenne Pepper

2 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce

1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger

1 clove garlic grated

4 tablespoons sesame oil

1 tablespoon honey

Ingredients for the salad:

2 carrots, washed and julienned or finely chopped

1 red pepper, seeded, stemmed, and finely chopped

1 cup purple cabbage, finely chopped

1 cup cilantro, washed and chopped

  • In a saucepan over medium heat, lightly toast the cashews, tossing constantly, until fragrant and golden brown. Toss with cayenne, coconut oil, and salt; set aside.
  • Pulse together all dressing ingredients until smooth.
  • Pour over vegetables and cilantro, tossing until well coated. Top with cayenne cashews.

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14

10 2016

Montego Bay Bars

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The other weekend the weather turned from summer to fall and I wanted to bake something but didn’t know what I wanted to bake. I didn’t want cookies, it wasn’t a cake I had in mind, I wanted something slightly fruity but also a bit of chocolate. I didn’t want to spend a lot of time on baking and I didn’t want a lot of ingredients.

I looked through old recipes I had filed away and at blogs, but what I was looking for eluded me. That brought me to the tried and true 1976 Betty Crocker cookbook that always lived on the thick wood book shelves in my mother’s kitchen and now lives on a narrow wood bookshelf in my hall. Before the internet or as my mom called it “Mr Google” there was the Betty Crocker cookbook. It could teach you how to make rice, roast a chicken, or decorate a cake, all in one book everything was there in the yellowing pages that are starting to separate from the spine of the book. I leafed through and fell on Montego Bay Bars…and just like that I knew. This was what I had been looking for!

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I had never made these growing up, there is no emotional story to connect to, I had first heard of these bars at a favorite Brooklyn bakery but had never felt more then a curiosity towards them. But as I read they seemed perfect – the centers were chocolate and slightly jammy from dates, the crumb was easy and I had most of the ingredients on hand, and they were fast and uncomplicated. I made them and felt jubilant at finding exactly what it had been I was looking for.

Indeed these bars were so good I gushed about them to Anne who shortly there after made them herself. The recipe has been altered slightly, Anne thought we needed more butter to hold them together and she was correct, and I wanted to try toasting the nuts. You could use any nut but to echo the exotic feel of the name Montego Bay Bars and the way it makes me invasion white sand beaches and swaying palm trees I choose a combination of macadamia nuts and almonds. For all of my flare for the dramatic I am not exaggerating (or I might be) when I say these bars might just change your life. They might make you want to make them again and again, they might be the perfect answer to the elusive what shall I bake conundrum, or they might just make your taste buds happy and sometimes that is enough in life. 

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Montego Bay Bars

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups cut-up dates

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

3/4 cups water

1 1/2 ounce bittersweet chocolate (60-70% dark)

1/2 cup butter softened (1 stick)

1/2 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup quick-cooking oats

1/3 cup chopped nuts (I liked almonds and macadamia to make it fancy but walnut or cashew would also be good)

  • Heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease square pan, 8x8x2 or 9x9x2 inches. 
  • Cook dates, granulated sugar, water, and chocolate in a saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, about 10 minutes or until mixture thickens. Cool.
  • Meanwhile cream the butter and brown sugar. Mix in remaining ingredients. 
  • Press half the mixture evenly into bottom of pan. Spread with date mixture; top with remaining crumble mixture, pressing lightly. 
  • Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool; cut into bars.

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11

10 2016