Sunday, February 24, 2008

Greg came down into the kitchen yesterday and said I was crazy for what I was doing, which was cutting out cookie shapes with a with a tin pudding mold. I told him I was having a blast, which is what cooking is all about right? He said "sure, what are you making?" I said "homemade milk chocolate covered oreos." He said I was crazy and left the room.

First, I made a decadent chocolate sugar cookie dough.
melt 3 oz of semi-sweet chocolate in a double boiler.
sift together:
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 a cup unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powers
l teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
cream 2 sticks butter
add 1 1/2 cups sugar and beat until light and fluffy
add one egg and 1 teaspoon or so vanilla
add melted chocolate
incorporate flour mixture
scrape into a ball and divide in two.
place onto wax paper and flatten into a disc
I used a trick I found on the food network of rolling out the dough between two pieces of waxed paper, BEFORE chilling the dough. When it comes out of the refrigerator, it needs but 10-12 minutes to relax and soften a bit before you start cutting your shapes.

place the shapes gently on parchment paper on top of cookie sheets and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven until the sides are crispy and the center is firm

While the cookies are baking, whip two cups whipping cream with 3/4 cup confectioners sugar until stiff and add 4 tablespoons finely chopped candied ginger or a cup of thawed frozen raspberries. Refrigerate.
When cookies are cooled, pipe cream onto middle of one cookie (make sure it is just enough cream and not too much so it won't ooze out of the sides. sandwich anotehr cookie on top and chill.

when chilled, dip cookie in melted milk chocoate. I simply dipped one side, but you could certainly set that side and then dip the otehr side in either dark or white chocolate for a contrast.
Enjoy...your guests will.

I was reminded yesterday by a new reader that I have been remiss in updating this blog with material. With that in mind, I want to share some photos of a few things simmering on my stove at the moment. I tried to photograph the mushroom risotto that I made last night, but it has the poor appearance of dog poop when put on a plate, so I will skip that visual aid all together! It was tasty, but I think I let it scorch in the cooking process, so the risotto came out a bit mushy. It was pretty damn good in our scrambled eggs this could it not be good with Prosecco, fresh grated parmesan cheese, and porcini and crimini mushrooms...yum!

One thing I did make this week that did come out beautifully were my pot stickers. We were invited over to friends house for stew on Friday night, so I brought pot stickers along as a starter. After six years of making these suckers, I finally have the wrapping down pretty well. I used to bring all four corners of the wonton together (thats after I stopped making my own wonton dough) and the pot stickers came out looking like they'd been made by someone with mittens on. Now, I use square wontons that one can buy in the produce section of their super market. I fill the center with maybe 1/2 a tablespoon of filling and fold the wrapper on the diagonal to make a filled triangle (well duh! some of you might think, but then I was never a master of the obvious) For the filling, I marinated 1 lb of lean ground pork with soy, seseme oil, scallions, rice wine vinegar, a tough of mongolian fire oil, and some pepper. I tossed it with chopped up 1 1/2 cups nappa cabbage that I salted in a collender in order to squeeze out some of the water. I also added shredded carrots and the green stem of the scallions. The mixture should be damp, but not watery. Lastly, right before putting the mixture in the wontons, I added some low salt chicken broth that I had reduced from a cup to about a 1/4 cup, so it was really concentrated. It adds a burst of flavor to the meat that will suprise you.
After stuffing the wontons, I steamed them on parchement paper in a bamboo steamer. Of course the steamer is covered. I have a two tray steamer that works so well in the wok. I can fit around 11 pot stickers in each tray. When I first started making pot stickers back when we lived in Chicago, I would fry them...sigh, that was the best.
This recipe makes about 45 pot stickers, so you can have them for lunch pretty easily the next day. I made 22 for our dinner with friends and four of us had no problems eating our fill. I brought along two soy based dipping sauces, one was a lime scallion sauce with a bit of rice wine and the other was a mustard and seseme oil sauce with garlic. Yesterday, we ran out of soy and so we made these for lunch and drizzled seseme oil on them...decadent!