Friday, December 30, 2022

Almond Macaroons

This year I was very careful to halve the nuts and sugar to make half of a recipe of Almond Paste to use for my Cranberry Stollen. Then I got to the egg, and, whoops, in went the whole egg white. Rather than waste what was in the food processor bowl, I added more nuts and sugar to make a full recipe of Almond Paste.  I figured I'd find a use for the extra paste after Christmas.  The first thought that came to mind was macaroons. I found a couple of recipes on-line that looked promising.    Actually not recipes, photos of ingredients and cookies but no quantities or baking temperatures or times. Minimal help. Then  I went to my trusty New York Times Cookbook (1950-1960 recipes from the NYT). Typical of that era, the recipe contained lots of sugar and correspondingly called for "3 egg whites, approximately" - "Use only enough egg white to make a soft 'dough' that will hold its shape when dropped from a spoon." Interestingly, one of the on-line recipes that gave only the quantity of egg whites warned, " Two large egg whites should weigh 60 grams. Using more or less will change the texture and spreading of the cookie. For best results measure the egg whites."  I reduced the sugar from one cup to one-quarter cup and used a small egg white (25 g).  I did not use any vanilla or almond extract as called for in some recipes I reviewed. I was delighted with the results (crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside),  as were two of my"testers".  The third "tester" weighed in at "pretty good!" but no comment for improvement other than probably making Nut Puffs instead.  The macaroons, however, have minimal sugar and no egg yolks or butter!

In a food processor bowl fitted with a steel blade combine:

1/2 pound almond paste, cut in small chunks

1/4 c sugar

White from a small egg (25 grams)

Pulse until well blended. Remove from bowl and shape into small balls about 20 g each.  Place on a non-stick cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees F/300 degrees F convection oven for approximately 20 minutes. Makes about a dozen cookies. Scale accordingly.


Thursday, December 29, 2022

Almond Paste


At the height of the pandemic I could not get almond paste for my Christmas 2020 Cranberry Stollen at the curb-side delivery stores I shopped, so I made my own. So easy! I have been  doing it since.
(photos are for half recipe)

In a food processor bowl fitted with a steel blade combine:

1 1/2 whole blanched almonds

1/2 c powdered sugar

Mix until the nuts are very finely ground (but not almond butter!), stopping periodically to scrape the sides of the bowl.

Then add:

1 c powdered sugar

Pulse until the sugar and nut-sugar mixture are blended.

Then add:

l large egg white

1/2 t almond extract

Process until the mixture forms a clump. break up clump and mix once more until another clump forms. Remove mixture from bowl and form 2 logs, approximately 8 ounces each.


Thursday, June 9, 2022

Maple Mustard Salmon

Although I am still partial to Salmon Rub on fresh salmon, this sauce has become a favorite to top frozen salmon. Its inspiration is a recipe I saw in The New York Times, but I have deleted the mayo and added lime juice. This recipe serves two, scale accordingly.


1 T maple syrup

1 T Dijon grainy mustard

1 T lime juice

                                                      6 cilantro stems, chopped very finely*

Coat with the above mixture and marinate for about an hour:

2 ~6 ounce  piece of salmon

Cook in a slow (325 degree F) oven for about 10 to 15 minutes or until temperature reaches 120 degrees (should be custard-like at this temperature) or 130 degrees F max. Alternatively  grill over a low fire.

Serve garnished with fresh cilantro leaves.

. *If I don't have any fresh cilantro I use 1 loosely packed T of frozen cilantro mixed into the marinade.

Monday, May 2, 2022

Carrot Cupcakes

I was having a party for Tokio's birthday and asked Chris, in jest, if Tokio, who loves carrots, would like a carrot cake. Chris replied, independently looking at the Smitten Kitchen recipe I was considering, she (he!) would love one! The recipe that follows is loosely based on this recipe. The SK recipe calls for 3 cups of grated carrots but does not specify loose or packed. Unpacked a cup weights approximately 3.9 ounces, packed, 4.9. I give weights for carrots along with flour and sugar.
Per SK suggestion, I did grate the carrots by hand. Planning on having hummus and carrots as an hors d'oeuvre, I saved my knuckles and one end of the carrot to use for carrot sticks.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 24 cupcake molds with papers, or butter and flour them. Whisk in a small bowl until well blended: 
      10.5 oz flour
      2 t baking soda
      1/2 t salt (I omit)
      2 t ground cinnamon
      1 t ground ginger

Whisk in a large bowl until well blended: 
       15 oz sugar
       1 1/4 c canola oil
       4 eggs, 1 at a time breaking into a small dish first.

Add flour mixture to the wet mixture and whisk until well blended
Add and mix until well blended: 
        12.5 oz grated carrots
        1 c coarsely chopped walnuts 
        1 c raisins.
Distribute batter among the 24 cups. Bake for 14 - 18 minutes or until a small metal skewer inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
SK does a piped frosting that puts a lot of frosting on each cupcake. I planned on a more modest amount of less sweet frosting and modified the recipe accordingly. Because I cut down on the sugar but not the maple syrup or butter the frosting is not as firm and would probably not lend itself to piping. If you like things on the sweet side you may want to increase the sugar up to 1 1/2 c per the SK proportions. No raw eggs, so taste and adjust accordingly!

 Mix together in a stand mixer or a food processor (my choice):
    12 oz cream cheese, softened 
    6 T unsalted butter, room temperature
    1 c confectioners sugar
    3 T maple syrup

When blended smooth, frost the cooled cupcakes .If desired, decorate with carrot shapes or grated carrots. (If I make some cupcakes with raisins and some without. I put a carrot decoration on top on the ones with raisins.) 

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Pasta with Mushrooms, Garlic and Sage

There can be too much of a good thing.  Almost every week I had been making Mushroom Risotto. Ed and I would have some for dinner with a salad, skip a night and have the same menu again, skip a night and have the rest of the risotto with Brussels sprouts and roasted winter squash, more veggies than risotto.  One night I had only enough mushrooms to make half a recipe of risotto and was ready for a change so I used most of the same ingredients but pasta instead of rice. The key ingredient here in addition to the mushrooms is olive oil and garlic, the garlic cooked until it is crunchy golden brown.

Start water for pasta and then cook pasta, according to manufacturer's instructions so pasta and sauce are ready at approximately the same time.  Alternatively for more flexibility sauce can be made and then just rewarmed a bit before serving.

Heat 2 T olive oil (or a mix of olive and truffle oil)


4-6 cloves garlic

When garlic is golden brown, add and mix well

6-8 oz shiitake mushrooms
1 T sun dried tomatoes, broken in small pieces (optional)

Saute until soft then add

Several leaves sage, chopped (optional)

I often  serve on a bed of

Arugula or baby spinach

Top with

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional, and I usually don't)

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Chicken Stuffed with Goat Cheese, Fig, Arugula and Prosciutto

The Goat Cheese, Fig, Arugula, and Prosciutto Tapas made me think of  three of my favorite recipes: Pollo RellanoChicken Stuffed with Spinach, Goat Cheese and Mushrooms, and  Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breast with Red Chili Mole, and the possibility of a fourth favorite in this category.  Tried this stuffed chicken breast variation and was not disappointed. The first two favorites are panko/breadcrumb covered and baked while the third is pan fried.  The first few times I made this recipe I dipped the chicken in egg then bread crumbs and baked. Excellent. Now one of "four favorites".

Then I was looking for a recipe for a "hearty lunch". First recipe that came to mind was Seafood Gumbo, but I'd already served this to the intended guests. Why not pan fry (we use cast iron skillet on grille), slice and serve on a large platter on a bed of arugula along with crusty bread - sort of a chicken sandwich on steroids. Very well received. Recipe is for 2 - 3 (if larger breast and sliced), scale accordingly.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cut a pocket the whole length of 

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (~6 to 8 oz each)

Fold open the chicken and place in order, using the prosciutto to cover any holes in the chicken and then fold prosciutto before closing the breasts to help keep the cheese in place:

1 oz goat cheese
1 T fig jam (I like Trader Joe's Fig Butter)
1 piece prosciutto 
Several leaves of arugula 

Fold the top of each breast over the filling and secure closure with toothpick if necessary.

Whisk in a small bowl: 1 egg  (I have on occasion used 1/4 c or less "egg product"  - 1 egg will actually do 4-6 pieces -  but I think in this case using the real egg is better.)

Dip each piece of chicken in the egg then coat by dipping in

Bread crumbs or panko

Place on oiled baking sheet and lightly spray with olive oil.

Bake for approximately 30 minutes (for a medium sized breast) until the chicken is cooked through and opaque (~160 degrees F) and the bread crumbs are browned.  Serve whole, or, particularly if larger breasts are used, slice crosswise into 3/4 - 1 inch wide pieces.


Omit the egg/breadcrumb process and

In a skillet large enough to accommodate both/all the chicken breasts heat: 

2 T olive oil

When oil is hot,  place the chicken breasts in the skillet and cook approximately 6 minutes on a side (longer if breast pieces are more than 6 oz each) until both sides are browned and chicken is cooked through (and temperature is ~160 degrees F). 

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Goat Cheese, Fig, Arugula, and Prosciutto Tapas

This hors d-oeuvre comes from a late night sandwich that Alex and Dan had in Tarragona, Spain in 2014. They along with Henry (then 3 months old) after several tries,finally found a hotel. It was late so Dan went out for sandwiches and came back with one they particularly liked.  Based on the ingredients they subsequently made tapas for a party. What follows is the recipe they kindly shared with me.  Trader Joe's is a one stop source for all the ingredients (though bread availability may vary) and their fig butter is excellent.

Slice a ficelle or very thin baquette into small rounds. Spread each one in this order with:

Goat cheese

Fig butter

Top with a few sprigs of:

Arugula, the smaller the leaves the better

A small piece of prosciutto (omit for vegetarians)


Return to the source and use same ingredients to make a sandwich.