Tag Archives: holiday

Brussel Sprout Soup

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As you know I am totally and completely focused on seasonal eating, but for some reason I got a massive craving for brussel sprouts this week and had been wanting to make Brussel Sprout soup ever since I got the inspiration flipping through a cookbook at Le Pain Quotidien where I visit my friend Lauren when I need some solace from office. Okay, I guess it’s really not all that surprising considering I could eat an entire pound of brussel sprouts in one sitting if I didn’t control myself. I didn’t mind the warm hearty Fall and Winter flavors in this delicious creation since we’ve been experiencing some June Gloom here in LA this week. But if you are totally opposed to hot soup in the summer, store this away for later this year and you will not be sorry. It would be a great twist on the classic Brussel Sprouts dish to start off Thanksgiving dinner! In fact, I may add this to my second-annual Fall dinner party menu.

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Brussel Sprout Soup (Difficulty-Easy; Serves 4)

  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 organic scallions, chopped
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 lb. organic brussel sprouts, trimmed and halved (or quartered if they are exceptionally large)
  • 2 large organic parsnips, finely chopped
  • 2 sprigs organic thyme
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 4 c. water, veggie, or chicken broth (I used water but would opt for organic chicken broth next time)
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. dried mustard
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 c. aged cheddar cheese, plus more for topping
  • 4 slices cooked bacon, crumbled (optional)

In a large dutch oven, saute the onion and scallions in butter until slightly translucent, 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic, brussel sprouts, and parsnips and continue cooking until the sprouts have slightly changed color, about 5 minutes. Add the thyme, nutmeg, lemon pepper, dried mustard, salt to taste, and water or broth. Simmer until sprouts are cooked through, about 10 minutes.

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Remove half of the soup mixture from the pot, add 1/2 c. cheddar cheese (Do yourself a favor and buy Trader Joe’s aged goat’s milk cheddar–pictured below! It is divine and our bodies actually process goat and sheep’s milk products much better than cow’s milk), and puree remaining veggies in the dutch oven using an immersion blender. If you don’t have an immersion blender, simply transfer the mixture to a regular blender. Spoon about 1/2 cup of whole veggies into soup bowls and ladle the pureed liquid over the top. Season with salt and pepper and top with grated cheddar cheese and bacon crumbles (if using–I highly recommend Trader Joe’s Applewood Smoked Bacon that comes from a local Woodland Hills butcher). Enjoy!

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Car Bomb Ice Cream Floats- Happy St. Paddy’s Day!!!

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I am a firm believer that Irish Car Bombs are way better in theory than in practice. I mean, really, who can actually chug an entire pint of Guiness?!? Not me! Instead, here is a leisurely decadent way to enjoy your Guinness and Baileys–in an ice cream float! Smooth, velvety Guiness poured over a scoop (or two) of cold, rich, creamy Baileys ice cream with a gooey, slightly minty, fudge ripple, studded with mint cookie crumbles. Now that’s what I call a car bomb! I think the Irish would be proud. I also prefer my car bomb in cupcake form–click here for the recipe.

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Car Bomb Floats (ice cream adapted from Katie at the Kitchen Door) (Difficulty-Intermediate; Makes 4-6 floats)

  • 1 1/4 c. Bailey’s, divided
  • 1 1/2 c. organic whole milk
  • 1/3 c. organic honey
  • 2/3 c. whole irish cream flavored coffee beans
  • 1 tsp. instant coffee
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 c. organic heavy cream
  • 5 organic cage free egg yolks
  • 2 c. Newman’s mint flavored O’s, divided
  • 4-6 pints of Guiness or preferred stout

Make the Ice Cream:

Add whole milk, honey, coffee beans, instant coffee, salt, and 1/2 c. of heavy cream to the medium saucepan  Stir briefly to combine ingredients.  Heat over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, just until the milk begins to simmer.  Remove from heat, cover, and set aside for 1 hour, to allow the coffee beans to steep.

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Meanwhile, pour 1/2 c. of the Bailey’s into a medium, heavy bottomed saucepan.  Heat over medium heat until simmering gently.  Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the Bailey’s is reduced by half.  Pour into a bowl and set aside.

In a food processor, pulse 1 1/2 cups of the Newman O’s until they are fine crumbs.  Add 1/2 c. of the Bailey’s and pulse until a thick paste is formed.  Scrape into a bowl and set aside.

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After the hour has passed, gently rewarm coffee-milk until hot to the touch, but not simmering.  In a medium bowl, thoroughly whisk together the egg yolks.  In a large bowl, pour remaining 1 c. of cream, set a large mesh sieve on top, and set aside.  Carefully pour the hot coffee-milk mixture over the eggs, whisking vigorously as you do so, to temper the eggs.  Still whisking, pour the egg and milk mixture back into the saucepan and cook for 5-10 minutes until the mixture has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, stirring constantly (a wooden spoon works better than a whisk here) to keep the eggs from scrambling and frequently scraping the bottom.

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When the custard has thickened, pour through the mesh sieve into the remaining cream, to strain out the coffee beans and any cooked egg bits.  Discard beans.  Stir the cream and coffee custard together, then add the remaining 1/4 c. of Bailey’s, as well as the 1/4 c. of reduced Bailey’s syrup, and stir to incorporate.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight.

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Process the chilled custard according to ice cream maker instructions.  As the mixture churns, place a 9×13 pan in the freezer.  Microwave the chocolate fudge ripple (Bailey’s and cookie mixture) for 30 seconds and stir, just to make it spreadable (don’t let it get too hot!). Crush the remaining 1/2 cup of Newman O’s with a rolling pin or meat pounder. When the ice cream is finished churning, spread it into the pan.  Dot the top with the fudge ripple mixture, then use a spatula to quickly but gently fold it in to the ice cream.  Stir in the cookie crumbles. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze until firm, at least 1 hour.

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Make the floats:

Add two or three small scoops of ice cream to a frosted glass. Pour 1-2 cups of Guinness over and devour with a spoon!

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Watercress Soup with Whiskey Cream

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Continuing with my St. Paddy’s celebration, I made green (Watercress) soup topped with Irish whiskey cream. This is a very easy dish and would go great with a traditional meaty entree like Shepherd’s pie (check out my spin on this classic dish with pulled pork here) or a stout-based beef stew for an authentic meal. But it is a satisfying dish just on its own.

Watercress soup with Irish Whiskey Cream (adapted from Food Network Magazine) (Difficulty-Easy; Serves 6)

  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk organic celery and leaves, chopped
  • 1 medium organic parsnip, peeled and chopped
  • 2 1/2 c. organic low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 tsp. organic honey
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 bunches organic watercress, rinsed and tough stems trimmed
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. Irish Whiskey (I used Jameson)
  • 1 cup greek yogurt

Melt 2 Tbsp. of butter in a stock pot over medium heat. Add the onion and celery; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups water, the parsnip, broth, honey and 1 teaspoon salt; bring to a simmer and cook, partially covered, until the parsnip is tender, about 10 minutes.

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Meanwhile, make the whiskey cream by add whiskey to 1 cup of greek yogurt and stir to combine.

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Add the watercress to the saucepan and simmer until just tender, about 5 minutes. Using an immersion blender, puree until smooth. You can also transfer the mixture to a regular blender and puree. Return to the saucepan and bring to a bare simmer; season liberally with salt and pepper, and swirl in remaining 1 Tbsp. butter. Simmer on medium for 10-15 minutes, until soup slightly thickens.

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Ladle the soup into bowls and top each with a dollop of the whiskey cream.

Rugelach Cookies

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My friend hosted an end of Passover celebratory dinner for all of her Jewish and non-Jewish friends alike. Since during Passover, any foods that are leavened (grains risen through a biological fermentation process) are forbidden , she made sure these foods were in abundance at the dinner party, including bagels and noodle kugel, and she couldn’t leave out the brisket! While this was no traditional Passover event, I was excited to experience my first Passover party nonetheless. And since the whole focus of the dinner was essentially on carbs, I jumped at the chance to make my mom’s delicious rugelach cookie recipe. Actually, these cookies are kosher for Passover since they do not contain yeast or any other leavening agent for that matter–score! So feel free to make them for any upcoming Jewish occasions, or if you just feel like a big bite of cinnamon-sugary cream cheese heaven. Ironically, they are a Christmas cookie staple in our house. 🙂 IMAG0729

Rugelach Cookies (Difficulty-Intermediate; Makes 4 dozen cookies)

Cookie Dough:

  • 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temp.
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temp.
  • 2 c. all-purpose unbleached flour

Filling:

  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 c. finely chopped walnuts
Make the dough: Using a stand or handheld mixer, blend the butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Lower the speed, and gradually add the flour until a solid dough is formed. Divide the dough into three equal balls, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for an hour or more.
 
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Assemble the cookies: Preheat oven to 350° F. To make the filling, combine the sugar, cinnamon, and chopped walnuts in a bowl.
 
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Sprinkle about 1/4 cup of the mixture onto a clean surface to roll the dough out. Place one ball of dough on top of the filling mixture and roll dough into a 9″ circle. Sprinkle a generous scoop of filling onto the dough and spread evenly.
 
 
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Using a pastry or pizza cutter, cut the dough into 16 equal parts.  Tightly roll each piece of dough from the outside into the point. Place the cookies point side down on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake 18-20 minutes.
 
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Almost Primal Valentine Cookies

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Every Valentine’s Day I bake my favorite linzer hearts recipe from my Aunt Nancy. So this year I wondered if I could make a grain-free linzer heart. I made the dough replacing flour with almond meal, and confectioner’s sugar with a little honey. Even after refrigerating the dough for several hours, I was able to roll the dough out, but it was too wet for the hearts to hold their shape. Alas, I settled for round almond ‘shortbread’ cookies and made a little heart shaped well for Penzey’s Raspberry Enlightenment, which is not so primal but I only used about 1/2 tsp. per cookie so I don’t think its the worst thing you could eat. They were quite tasty, but I do have to say I miss the crumbly flaky texture of the decadent linzer heart sandwiches. Oh well! Maybe next year I’ll find the solution. In the meantime, enjoy these cute little treats!

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Grain Free Shortbread Cookies (Difficulty-Easy; Makes 12-14 cookies)

1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 Tbsp. organic honey

1 tsp. vanilla

2 c. almond meal

1/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

raspberry jam or Raspberry Enlightenment from Penzeys

small heart shaped cookie cutter

Cream butter and honey together on medium speed with a stand or handheld mixer. Add the vanilla and mix until incorporated. Add the almond meal, baking soda, and salt and mix until dough is formed.

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Wrap the dough in saran wrap and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll about 1 Tbsp. of dough into balls and lightly press down onto a baking sheet with your fingers so they are flattened. Bake for 9-10 minutes. Transfer cookies to a rack or wax paper to cool.

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When cool, use a small heart shaped cookie cutter to make a well in the center of the cookie. Fill with raspberry jam or Raspberry Enlightenment. Enjoy with your loved ones! ❤

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