Thursday, November 11, 2010

Ginger Rules!

There are those who love the taste of ginger and those who hate it.

  I put myself in the category of those who absolutely love it.    I will buy anything I see that has ginger in it,.. ginger preserves, ginger cookies, ginger chews candy, ginger name it..I buy it.!

 Did you know that even Hagen Daz  has come out with a Ginger Ice Cream in their Five Ingredient line?  If you haven't tried it, and you love ginger as much as I do, you just have to run out and get it..!    Well, not right this minute.. Right now,  I'm about to tell you about the most delicious ginger cookie that was posted on FB, recently. 

Nick Malgieri, author of those fabulous baking cookbooks posted a recipe for Ginger Bar Cookies, this past weekend.  They are laced with candied ginger and topped with a thin veil of luscious lemon icing.

As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to run out to buy all the necessary ingredients that I didn't already have in my pantry.  and, um, well..I had also run out of candied ginger!

The recipe was not at all difficult and they turned out to be my new favorite.

To keep myself from eating them all, I decided to freeze some and that turns out, is a great way to store them, because if you're like me, you'll eat them up, if left  sitting on the counter in a cookie tin.  I  found that layering them between sheets of waxed paper, did the trick.  Now when I want one, I can just pop it in the microwave for 9-10 seconds and have a cookie that tastes exactly like the day I baked them.  The icing stays intact and the texture is nice and crumbly.  Please..if you love ginger..try them. You won't be disappointed.


Makes 24 2-inch bars


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off)

3/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons ground ginger (more if you like)...add more!!

2 teaspoons baking powder

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter

1 large egg

1/4 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger  (  I increased it to 1/2 cup..  )

2 tablespoons honey

2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest


2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted after measuring

3 tablespoons lemon juice, strained before measuring

One 9 x 13 x 2-inch pan lined with buttered foil

1. Set a rack in the middle level of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees.

2. Mix the flour, sugar, ground ginger, and baking powder in a medium bowl.

3. Melt the butter over medium heat and immediately add to the dry ingredients; use a large rubber spatula to stir to a smooth, shiny dough. Add the egg, crystallized ginger, honey and lemon zest and beat vigorously to make a smooth dough.

4. Scrape the dough into the prepared pan and use the floured palm of your hand to evenly press it over the bottom of the pan. Don’t be concerned if the dough looks greasy after pressing it onto the pan – the butter will be reabsorbed while baking.

5. Bake the bars until well risen, firm, and lightly golden, about 20 to 25 minutes.

6. While the bars are baking, use a small rubber spatula to beat the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice together. Add water, 1/2 teaspoon at a time, if it’s too thick to spread.

7. As soon as the bars are baked, place a cutting board on the pan and use oven mitts to invert the hot bars to the board. Remove the pan and foil. Immediately use a small offset spatula to evenly spread the lemon glaze on the bars. It will set as the bars cool.

8. Use a ruler and a sharp knife to mark, then cut, 2-inch squares.

9. Store the squares in a tightly-covered tin or plastic container between sheets of wax paper.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Fit for a BBQ

One of my favorite BBQ side dishes is from a recipe I found on the Food TV Network website.

 It is a salad that combines roasted corn and jicama with mango, red onion and cilantro. It's best when made a few hours before, so the clean fresh flavors of the orange/ lime vinegarette can soak into the salad.

I'm sure this will become one of your backyard BBQ standards.

                                            Roasted Corn, Jicama and Mango Salad


• 4 ears fresh corn, unshucked

• 1 large jicama, peeled and thinly julienned

• 1 ripe mango, peeled and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces

• 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

• 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves

• Citrus vinaigrette, recipe follows


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Put the ears of corn , with the husks still attached, onto a baking sheet and place in the oven for 45 minutes. Remove and let cool. When the corn has cooled, shuck it and stand it on end. Using a sharp knife, run the blade down the cob to cut the kernels off. Rotate the cob and repeat until all the kernels have been cut off.

Combine the jicama, mango, red onion and cilantro in a large mixing bowl. Add the cooled corn, and toss with the vinaigrette. Chill until ready to serve.

Citrus Vinaigrette:

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

2 tablespoons fresh orange juice

1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest

2 teaspoons sugar

Dash hot sauce

1/2  cup olive oil

Salt pepper

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves

In a large bowl combine the lime juice, orange juice, orange zest, sugar and hot sauce. Whisk together and slowly add the olive oil, whisking as you go. Add salt and pepper, to taste, and cilantro and whisk until combined. Yield 1 ¼ cups Serves 6

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Birthday Dinner

Last week was my brother's birthday.

Birthday dinners are a big thing in my family. A lot of time and effort goes into planning the menu, even if the dinner is for a small group. If you don't already know, my brother is a chef.  That puts a little more stress on me, when it's my turn to host the dinner...sigh.

When I asked him what he wanted this year, he chose stuffed lobster, champagne and an italian rum cake.  Thankfully, I didn't have to make the cake, as he specified that this cake should be purchased at Rispoli's in Ridgefield Park. I just had to order it and pick it up.

The Stuffed Lobster was another story.

The thing about this particular recipe is that it calls for female lobsters.  Why female lobsters, you may ask? Well, inside a female lobster is the coral roe and tamale( liver) that gets incorporated into the stuffing, along with bread crumbs, butter and tarragon.  It sounds gross, but it actually tastes quite delicious.

Finding 4 female lobsters was a bit of a feat. I had spoken to a few fishmongers, but none could guarantee that they would have them on Sunday, never mind have four of them. In this economy, I was told, people are not splurging on lobsters, so, they are not carrying the kind of inventory they used to.  But, as luck would have it, the day before, I just happened to pass a seafood store on Rt#9 with a giant sign of a red lobster overhead.  Wohoo!! On my way home, I stopped in, and they had a huge tank of lobsters, and they were able to pick out four 2 lb lobsters for my dinner. I know, this may sound crazy, to you all..but you have no idea how relieved I was to find them.

Now to make these lobsters.

Well. first you have to split them, while they are alive.  This, I tell you, I cannot do.  So, I waited for Bro Chef to arrive and he took care of that part. I prepared the stuffing, and into the oven they went. Then, the birthday guy and the rest of our group feasted on some Pol Roger Champagne and an assortment of cheeses, while the lobsters cooked.

Dinner was served, and it was splendid.  The rum cake was great, too. He made a good choice on that one.

Anyway, here is the recipe for the Stuffed Lobster.. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Four  1 1/2-2 lb lobsters
1/4 lb butter
1 cup bread crumbs
1/3 cup oil
4 T melted butter
2 T finely chopped tarragon

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

Split lobsters in half and remove  the intstinal tract and the small hard sac near the eyes.
Arrange the lobsters split side up, in a roasting pan.  Cut off the claws and put in a separate pan.
Remove the coral roe and liver and place in a mixing bowl.
Add butter and  the bread crumbs.
Beat mixture with a spoon until blended, and mix in tarragon.Add salt & pepper taste.
Fill each cavity with the stuffing mixture, being careful not to cover the tail meat.
Sprinkle the tail meat with salt & pepper and drizzle 2 T oil over each half.

Bake 20-30 min.  Drizzle with melted butter and serve.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Macerated Oranges and Moscato

Happy New Year!

After all the eating and celebrating these past few weeks, I decided to make something light for dessert.  I had some oranges left over from the Holidays, so I scoured my cookbooks and came up with this simple recipe from Eating Well.

Served up along side a 2009 Bartenura Moscato, it was the perfect foil for the sweet wine.  Try them both and I think you'll agree.

Macerated Oranges

4 Navel Oranges
2 T orange juice
2 T lemon juice
1 T sugar
1/4 t  cinnamon
Sprig of mint (optional)

Cut away the rind and the white pith from the oranges.  Slice the oranges in half, lengthwise, and then cut each half into 5-6 slices. Place them in a serving bowl.
Whisk together the next ingredients  and pour over the orange slices.

Soooo easy and delicious.

Another serving suggestion would be to lay the slices on a platter and drizzle  the mixture over the oranges.  Place a sprig of mint in the middle of the platter.