Monthly Archives: December 2009

Holiday Cookie Extravaganza

Christmas Cake Balls

We don’t have much and I wasn’t sure what we could afford, so I came up with the idea to do a “12 Days of Cookies” gift for my parents, my mentor and my sis. I didn’t get to make a dozen types of cookies, stopping after nine. I ran out of baking steam when I got sick a few days before Christmas.

In the end, my family loved the cookies. Most of the recipes came from the little booklet included with the December issue of Food Network Magazine. They came out fairly well, though I wasn’t happy with the lack of strength of flavor in the lemon volcanoes and peanut butter tigers.

The runaway favorite of the entire deal? Cake balls. The very thing that decided to give me a meltdown.

What I love about them is the hard crunch of the candy shell and the soft, chocolatey inside.Christmas Cake Balls

We don’t have much and I wasn’t sure what we could afford, so I came up with the idea to do a “12 Days of Cookies” gift for my parents, my mentor and my sis. I didn’t get to make a dozen types of cookies, stopping after nine. I ran out of baking steam when I got sick a few days before Christmas.

In the end, my family loved the cookies. Most of the recipes came from the little booklet included with the December issue of Food Network Magazine. They came out fairly well, though I wasn’t happy with the lack of strength of flavor in the lemon volcanoes and peanut butter tigers.

The runaway favorite of the entire deal? Cake balls. The very thing that decided to give me a meltdown.

What I love about them is the hard crunch of the candy shell and the soft, chocolatey inside.

Posted in american, cookies, recipes, snack, untranslated | 1 Comment

Šķovēti kāposti (Braised Sauerkraut)

Šķovēti kāposti

When it came time to discuss what we would be having for our Christmas dinner, my husband knew immediately that he wanted šķovēti kāposti, which is braised sauerkraut. I couldn’t remember if I had had it at any of the restaurants or at my mother-in-law’s house, so I was a little unsure of just what would happen to sauerkraut when cooked for a long time.

As it turns out, it becomes really, really good.Šķovēti kāposti

When it came time to discuss what we would be having for our Christmas dinner, my husband knew immediately that he wanted šķovēti kāposti, which is braised sauerkraut. I couldn’t remember if I had had it at any of the restaurants or at my mother-in-law’s house, so I was a little unsure of just what would happen to sauerkraut when cooked for a long time.

As it turns out, it becomes really, really good.

Posted in dairy-free, gluten-free, latvian, recipes, side, untranslated, vegan, vegetable, vegetarian | 3 Comments

Merry Christmas! Priecīgus Ziemassvētkus!

Pelēkie zirņi (Grey Peas)

Our Christmas meal consisted of pelēkie zirņi ar sīpoliem un speķi (grey peas with bacon and onions), speķa rauši (Latvian bacon and onion rolls), a spiral-sliced ham, šķovēti kāposti (braised sauerkraut), apple cobbler and mulled wine. (Mmm.. mulling spices + inexpensive merlot.. Wonderful.)

On Wednesday, I told you that we’d been waiting all year for one special dish. These, my friend, are pelēkie zirņi. Grey peas. This is also the last of our supply we brought with us from Latvia and, unfortunately, will be the last until we go back.Pelēkie zirņi (Grey Peas)

Our Christmas meal consisted of pelēkie zirņi ar sīpoliem un speķi (grey peas with bacon and onions), speķa rauši (Latvian bacon and onion rolls), a spiral-sliced ham, šķovēti kāposti (braised sauerkraut), apple cobbler and mulled wine. (Mmm.. mulling spices + inexpensive merlot.. Wonderful.)

On Wednesday, I told you that we’d been waiting all year for one special dish. These, my friend, are pelēkie zirņi. Grey peas. This is also the last of our supply we brought with us from Latvia and, unfortunately, will be the last until we go back.

Posted in dairy-free, gluten-free, holidays, latvian, pork, side, untranslated, vegetable | 7 Comments

Christmas Eve is nigh!

It’s almost Christmas Eve and I’ve been busily baking up a storm all week. A very slow storm who stops and rests quite a bit. Luckily, I’ve only got a head cold and it’s been manageable, but I still have a lot to accomplish today and tomorrow.

Christmas Eve is when my husband has traditionally celebrated Christmas and we’ll be continuing that tradition together, seeing family on Christmas day and following. We have plans for a great Christmas dinner, including one meal we’ve quite literally been waiting all year to have.
It’s almost Christmas Eve and I’ve been busily baking up a storm all week. A very slow storm who stops and rests quite a bit. Luckily, I’ve only got a head cold and it’s been manageable, but I still have a lot to accomplish today and tomorrow.

Christmas Eve is when my husband has traditionally celebrated Christmas and we’ll be continuing that tradition together, seeing family on Christmas day and following. We have plans for a great Christmas dinner, including one meal we’ve quite literally been waiting all year to have.

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Goat Cheese & Garlic Pasta

Goat Cheese & Slow-Cooked Garlic Pasta

I found a recipe in one of my cookbooks that I always mean to cook more from: Nigel Slater’s Real Fast Food. I like his recipes, they’re fast, simple and quite to our taste.

This one caught my eye. It involves slow-cooking garlic, starting when you put the pot of water on to boil, and crumbled goat cheese. That was just perfect for lunch, combining some of my favorite things with another of my favorite things: warmth. I tweaked it a little and wished vainly for some spinach, but alas, we had none in the house. It was beautifully garlicky and tangy, perfect for a cold afternoon.Goat Cheese & Slow-Cooked Garlic Pasta

I found a recipe in one of my cookbooks that I always mean to cook more from: Nigel Slater’s Real Fast Food. I like his recipes, they’re fast, simple and quite to our taste.

This one caught my eye. It involves slow-cooking garlic, starting when you put the pot of water on to boil, and crumbled goat cheese. That was just perfect for lunch, combining some of my favorite things with another of my favorite things: warmth. I tweaked it a little and wished vainly for some spinach, but alas, we had none in the house. It was beautifully garlicky and tangy, perfect for a cold afternoon.

Posted in american, gluten-free, pasta, untranslated, vegetarian | 2 Comments

Cranberry, Oatmeal & Walnut Cookies

Cranberry, Oatmeal & Walnut Cookies

When he found dried cranberries at Winco in the bulk food section (love), he asked me to make him a batch of cranberry walnut cookies. Now, one thing you should know about my husband is that he’s crazy for whole wheat. I changed out all-purpose for whole wheat in my chocolate chip cookies and made him a very happy man, so I knew that whatever recipe I wound up using needed to use whole wheat too.

In the end, I took one I particularly liked for inspiration and played around. I think they came out pretty darn good — and I’m not even that particularly crazy about oatmeal cookies! These aren’t spreaders, they bake up soft, puffy and chewy with just a hint of spice.Cranberry, Oatmeal & Walnut Cookies

When he found dried cranberries at Winco in the bulk food section (love), he asked me to make him a batch of cranberry walnut cookies. Now, one thing you should know about my husband is that he’s crazy for whole wheat. I changed out all-purpose for whole wheat in my chocolate chip cookies and made him a very happy man, so I knew that whatever recipe I wound up using needed to use whole wheat too.

In the end, I took one I particularly liked for inspiration and played around. I think they came out pretty darn good — and I’m not even that particularly crazy about oatmeal cookies! These aren’t spreaders, they bake up soft, puffy and chewy with just a hint of spice.

Posted in american, cookies, untranslated | 2 Comments

Mini Coconut-Chocolate Pies

Mini Chocolate Coconut Pie

Okay, these little minis are really little brothers to my German Chocolate Pie with a few changes. What I love about these is that they’re fast, single-serving pies with plenty of crust and room for topping.

Now I loved the German Chocolate Pie, but it was just on the edge of being too sweet. I decided to try semi-sweet chocolate instead of sweet chocolate and was amazed at the stronger, richer flavor. The sweetness was just perfect.Mini Chocolate Coconut Pie

Okay, these little minis are really little brothers to my German Chocolate Pie with a few changes. What I love about these is that they’re fast, single-serving pies with plenty of crust and room for topping.

Now I loved the German Chocolate Pie, but it was just on the edge of being too sweet. I decided to try semi-sweet chocolate instead of sweet chocolate and was amazed at the stronger, richer flavor. The sweetness was just perfect.

Posted in american, pie, recipes, snack, untranslated | 1 Comment