Sunday, December 28, 2008

Bottoms Up!

For those able to get it, check out the offerings from Rogue Brewery in Oregon. Willing to take risks - most of which pay off - they are a brave new frontier in beer. I plan to harass the SLGA in Saskatchewan to bringing in Rogue into the province. This holiday season I had the Chipoltle Ale, (very nice, subtly spicy) The Juniper Pale Ale, (a worthy experiment but not necessarily my favourite) the Yellow Snow IPA (Pictured and very worthwhile) and the rather stunning American Amber Ale. I have also had their excellent Shakespeare Stout, Mocha Porter and Dead Guy Ale.

One of the great things about Rogue is that they have food pairing suggestion on the bottles, so gourmets and gourmands alike can gobble and quaff to their hearts and stomachs content. Check them out if you are able to.

Dagger not included

Monday, December 15, 2008

Eggnog Cookies

This weekend was mostly hibernating and for me hibernating means baking. I did make a pumpkin pie from scratch from a baking pumpkin I've had around for ages, but the crown of my queenly baking on the weekend was trying out a new recipe for Eggnog Cookies.
I know. Eggnog is good. Cookies are good. So I figured it could only be a good thing.

I baked them on my baking stone and got 3 dozen delicious fluffy, almost shortbread like cookies that taste lightly of nutmeg and are a pretty good match for eggnog.
Definitely on my list of Christmas baking...

I hate to keep the goodness to myself, so give this a try before the eggnog goes away for another year...

Mrs. Field's Eggnog Cookies

2 1/2 c flour
1 t baking powder
1/2 t cinnamon (heaping)
1/2 t nutmeg (heaping)
1 1/4 c sugar
3/4 c butter, room temperature
1/2 c eggnog
1 t vanilla
2 egg yolks

1 T nutmeg, for sprinkling on top

Preheat oven to 300. In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder and spices. Mix well with whisk.
In a large bowl, cream sugar and butter with a mixer to form a grainy paste. Add eggnog, vanilla and eggs and beat at medium speed until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and stir until they are just combined. Do not overmix.
Make ~1 1/4 inch balls of dough ( a large teaspoon full) and place them on an ungreased baking stone (or baking sheet - I prefer stones for cookies) an inch apart. Flatten slightly with a wettened fork and sprinkle nutmeg on top of the cookies.
Bake for 20-24 minutes until the bottoms turn light brown. If you overbake them they'll brown on top and not be so deliciously me, extra care at the end makes them deeeeeeeeeeeelicious.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 8, 2008


A friend gave me some squash from her garden this fall. There is an advantage to having a friend on an acreage...lots of yummy veggies in the fall.

I still had two huge kabocha squash sitting in my pantry staring at me every time I opened the door. One was about 6 Lb and bigger than my head! They are yummy flavourful winter squash -sweet and a cross between and acorn squash and a yam. Apparently after you pick them they're supposed to have a few weeks to mature and get more flavourful before you eat them...heh heh. No problem there. I've had mine a few months now :)

I was wondering what the hell to do with it this weekend when I opened the mail and found this month's Vegetarian Times in it...and on the cover was a picture of their recipe for Kabocha squash soup. And it had smoked paprika in it, which is one of my new favourite things. Score! This magazine is usually full of yummy recipes and this soup was definitely no exception-I used half my gargantuan squash to make a double batch of soup and froze the rest of the squash for another soup session. It was so simple and yummy I must post the recipe, giving full credit to the folk's at Vegetarian Times.

Kabocha Soup

1 c thin sliced white onion (~ 1 medium onion)
1 T olive oil
1 bay leaf
2 T cooking sherry
2 cloves garlic
2 t smoked paprika
~1 1/2 Lb peeled kabocha squash, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 c water
2 c low sodium veggie broth
Pinch salt
pepper to taste

Saute the onions and oil in a large saucepan for 5-7 minutes, add the garlic and saute another few minutes. Add the paprika and bay leaf and saute another minute. Add sherry, water, broth and squash and bring to a simmer on low-med heat. Let simmer with lid on for ~30 minutes until squash is softened/cooked. Add pinch of salt and pepper, fish out the bay leaf and puree the soup in a food processor. Add pepper to taste and enjoy. Easy and delicious.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Guacomole and pita chips if you have the nibbles, try this:

Take a bag of pitas, pull them all apart into two circles. Brush with olive oil and cut into eighths and bake on a sheet at 350 for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. You get golden, tasty, healthy pita chips for dipping. They burn quick, so keep an eye on them and remove from the pan as they're done...they'll bake up at different speeds, so I check the pan every few minutes.

(Image: Natalee Dee)
To go with the chips, you need to make some wicked guacamole:

Skoosh together well (I use my hand mixer):
3 avacados
1/4 c lime juice

Stir in:
1 roma tomato ,diced
1/2 c red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small jalapeno, minced (seeds removed)
1/4 c diced, pickled banana peppers
1/2 t pepper

Then do the following. Dip chip. Eat. Repeat.
This is the best guacamole I've ever tried. It tastes better if you can wait an hour and let the flavours all mix together...I can't always make it that long. I ususally just make it before I make the pita chips so it has a bit of time to sit and fuse.