Thursday, February 11, 2010

shortbread refined & my funny Valentine

Walking to my mailbox has never been so fun! After Fort Worth was graced with inches and inches of snow this last quiet Thursday, all I could do was stare at the blanketed-white splendor. The roads were isolated, coffee shops were bustling and the city was quiet.

After work was canceled, I spent the evening swaying to Van Morrison, sipping wine and baking a warm comfort perfect with a cup of hot, Sleepytime tea with lemon.

Blueberry Rosemary Shortbread
I love the ease of being able to bake with what you have. Obviously, a trip to buy eggs at the market was not an option due to the inclement weather. I always keep fresh blueberries in the freezer to pour over my morning cereal and make my milk icy cold. This recipe used the same blueberries as well as woodsy rosemary that keeps fresh for weeks in the refrigerator.
2 c AP flour
3/4 t salt
1.5 t baking powder
1 T fresh rosemary, minced
1 1/2 plus 2 T unsalted butter, cold but softened slightly
2 t honey (I used Acacia honey)
1/2 c confectioner's sugar
1 T vanilla sugar
1/2 c fresh blueberries, chilled in freezer to prevent bleeding

Preheat oven to 30o degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Whisk together flour, salt, baking soda and rosemary in a bowl.

Mix together butter, honey, vanilla and confectioners sugar in a separate bowl with a stand mixer on low until combined. Add flour mixture and mix until butter is combined and pea-shaped. Add frozen blueberries and gently mix until just combined. Gather dough into a ball and transfer to a sheet of parchment paper. Between 2 sheets of parchment, quickly roll out dough with a rolling pin into a uniform disk (about 1/2 inch thick) . Remove top layer of parchment and cut out heart-shaped cookies with cutters. Transfer immediately to lined cookie sheet.

Bake shortbread until golden and set, approximately 18-20 minutes. After shortbread has set a few minutes, gently transfer cookies to a rack to fully cool.

Makes approximately 20 small cookies.
After nibbling on these
warm, butter-layered delights,
I sat on my balcony around midnight in awe. The snowy white landscape made the cold air still and the usual darkness of late night was brightened like an early morning. Magical.

...speaking of cookies...

My apartment runneth over with sweets during my crazy, work-filled, red-wined Valentine's weekend. For my cookie monster boyfriend, sugar-filled delicacies are truly the way to his heart.

I stopped by McKinely's Bakery and Cafe on University and filled a box to the brim with a chocolate ganache cupcake, chocolate-dipped strawberry, peanut butter cookies, snickerdoodles and my favorite-- thumbprint cookies. After stocking the fridge with his beloved whole milk, the box was dismantled immediately.

After two nights of cooking up decadent prix fixe for Valentine's date patrons, I returned home sweaty (with a particular duck fat aroma) to find gorgeous flowers and dinner on the table-- savory filet of beef with a succulent herbed pan sauce, smoked paprika mashed potatoes, spicy sugar snaps and champagne.

After this spicy tease, I made tapas the next evening before a romantic (gush...gush) evening out. Amongst a fiesty Tempernillo, crustly prosciutto and black pepper baguette, I served the perfect skewered companions to tantalize our tastebuds:
Skewered Shrimp with Lemon-Marinated Olives, Rosemary, Manchego and Almond Romesco

Serves 2.
Romesco sauce:

1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 orange bell pepper
1/4 red onion
1/4 c toasted almonds
2 cloves garlic
1/4 c olive oil
1/4 t red pepper flakes
1/4 t rosemary
zest and juice of 1/2 lime
salt to taste

Roast bell peppers and red onion at 425 degrees approximately 45 minutes until skin has charred on peppers. Remove skin and seed from peppers. Add roasted vegetables to food processor with remaining ingredients. Pulse until a smooth consistency is reached- sauce will be a bit grainy as a result of the almonds.

Shrimp skewers:

1/4 lb peeled and deveined 21-25 shrimp
lemon-marinated green olives with juice reserved
1 T olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
aged manchego cut into 1/2 inch cubes
fresh rosemary, minced to garnish
2 wooden skewers

Season shrimp with salt and pepper and quickly cook in a heated saute pan with olive oil on both sides until just opaque. While still warm, coat shrimp in reserved olive juice. To assemble skewers, rotate olives, shrimp and manchego cubes. Drizzle with romesco, garnish with minced rosemary and serve immediately.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.