Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Awkward Situations...Just Hug

So many parties, so many people on the list. I pretend to start my holiday shopping early, but I inevitably forget. Like when you forget to buy lemons at the store. I do that a lot too. And then there's the whole situation of forgetting to put people on the list and those last-minute awkward present exchange situations (where you get something, but have nothing to give in return). Yeah, just smile and hug the other person, it's less awkward that way. Trust me.

Or you can just have some of these babies on hand.
My heaven
Yes, that's infused olive oil. The little gift that I made for every smiling guest at our wedding. I was hoping they would remember this gift in the future in case I ever forgot to buy a holiday gift. It was like a pre-gift.

And if I can make 150 of these in one day, you surely can make 10, have them on hand and distribute as needed. First, you MUST have a pretty (heat-proof) glass container. And then you are off and running

Rosemary Infused Olive Oil
Enough GOOD olive oil for each bottle
One rosemary sprig for each bottle

  • Heat olive oil over LOW heat. You'll be tempted to turn it up, just eat chocolate instead. You want to heat it so you can still stick your finger in there and its warm but not boiling. (I have no way of telling you how to do this so let's just pretend you'll watch it for a bit)
  • Meanwhile place rosemary sprigs in each bottle.
  •  Once oil is heated either using a funnel (a kitchen one please) or a measuring cup (something with a spout) pour the heated olive oil into the containers. This infuses the oil with the rosemary flavor.
  • Wait for the oil to cool and close each bottle. 
If stored in a nice cool place these can last for a couple of months. But let's be honest, you're going to want to take some crusty bread, yummy cheese and dip right in. Don't you think?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Cookies Happened...

For a Cause. I love this cause, because of the cause and because there are cookies involved. Are you confused? I'm kinda confused - but that's the norm for me.

So back to it. The Great Food Blogger Cook Swap 2012, or as my brother-in-law likes to call it - cookies from friends on the internet. (Don't worry he ate the cookies). Our lovely friends over at OXO helped us out this year and we all set out to bake cookies, REALLY good cookies, for each other in support of Cookies for Kids' Cancer. And our donations to participate meant that OXO would match dollar for dollar back to the cause up to $100,000. See why I love them so?

It doesn't get much better than that, unless I let you into my little cookie world and let you drool over the creation that came to be. Lucky ladies Hannah over at Blue Kale Road, Rachel over at Williams Kitchen and Adriana over at Food-N-Thought got to taste test my treats. I hope they were good (I tried one, they were kinda delicious).

I took a classic. And by classic I mean anything by Joy the Baker, she's the best, and added my special holiday flavors. These are the distinct tastes that come to mind when I close my eyes and envision the holidays. Chocolate, white chocolate, espresso and orange. (Yes my mind is a little crammed, but I went with it and these cookies did not disappoint.)

Dark Chocolate Cookies a-la Holiday
adapted from Joy the Baker's recipe

10oz ounces good quality dark chocolate , 60%-72%(chopped or in chips)
3 Tablespoons butter (always use Organic unsalted when baking, it tastes better trust me)
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs (again Organic and cage-free)
1 1/2 teaspoons espresso powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped white chocolate (use the good stuff)
zest from one fresh orange

In a double boiler, melt together the chocolate and butter over low heat. Stir continuously until all the chocolate melts.

In a separate bowl, beat together the sugar and eggs till they’re thoroughly combined. Add the melted chocolate mixture, then stir in the remaining ingredients, including the chocolate chips, white chocolate and orange zest.

Preheat the oven to 325 F.  Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets, three if you have them. Drop the cookie dough by the tablespoonful onto the prepared baking sheets. 

Bake the cookies for 11 to 12 minutes, until their tops are shiny and cracked.  They won’t crack until the very end, so keep a close eye on them; when they’re cracked all the way across the top surface, they’re done. Remove the cookies from the oven. Wait 5 minutes then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool.