Raspberry Rugelach Pinwheels

IMG 1754 585x585 Raspberry Rugelach Pinwheels

I promise not to make a habit of quick posts relying on subpar iPhone photos, but I’m up in Jasper at Christmas in November for 10 days, which is always a whirlwind of food/friends/hiking trails/sessions, and if I don’t share little bits here and there it might wind up being a long radio silence. It’s like Christmas camp in a time warp.

I know it still sounds too early to start talking Christmas cookies, but it’s not too early to plant ideas… and these aren’t really Christmas cookies per se, although they are the perfect sort of cookie to become holiday tradition. It’s the kind of cookie I associate with the Canadian Living magazines of my childhood, and especially the special holiday cookie issue. And so I was suitably giddy to be able to join Elizabeth Baird and Emily Richards in a little early holiday cookie baking this afternoon.

Raspberry Rugelach Pinwheels

from Elizabeth Baird and Emily Richards, via Christmas in November

Dough:
1 pkg. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup butter, at room temperature
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. almond extract
2 cups all-purpose flour

Filling:
3 oz. white chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup finely chopped almonds
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 cup raspberry jam

Preheat the oven to 350F and line two rimmed baking sheets with parchment.

In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter until blended. Beat in the sugar, salt and almond extract. Stir in the flour, 1/2 cup at a time. Shape into four 3-inch squares; wrap and chill until firm.

Working with one square at a time, roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface into an 8×10-inch rectangle.

In a bowl, stir together the chocolate, almonds, sugar and cinnamon. Spread 3 Tbsp. of the jam over the rectangle, leaving a half inch border along one long edge.

Sprinkle a quarter of the chocolate mixture over the jam. Starting at a long edge opposite the un-jammed border, roll up firmly. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. Chill rolls until firm, about 2 hours. (Logs can be wrapped at this point and frozen for up to 6 months.)

Preheat the oven to 350F. Cut into 1/2 inch slices and arrange 1 inch apart on the prepared sheets. Bake until light golden on the bottom and the filling bubbles, about 18 minutes.

Let the cookies firm up for 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool.

Makes about 75 rugelach.

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November 09 2014 | cookies & squares | 10 Comments »

Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Soup

IMG 1546 585x585 Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Soup

I only have the photo I took of this soup with my phone – and not a great one at that. Even then it had already been pilfered, skimmed of its sliced mushrooms, which looked so nice floating on the surface, and of its green onions. There wasn’t much left but shredded chicken, torn cilantro and a few strips of red pepper, but still I have to share. (It’s far prettier here, my launching point, although not quite the same.) Mike looked up from his bowl and said, “you must be happy with this one.”

I kind of love that it has no rice or noodles – no filler. Although you could certainly pile some into your bowl and ladle the soup overtop.

My kitchen is humming slowly along.. I have an oven now, and countertops! But no backsplash, and there are issues with the fridge that prevent me from actually emptying things into it. But we have ice! I’ve never had ice in my house not made from those awkward plastic trays I never seem to have room for in my breadbox-sized freezer. And the sink is technically in, but not sealed. And the counter around it isn’t completely finished. So.

We’re still very much living out of my makeshift dining room kitchen, where pieces of old, torn-out countertops hold the microwave and a few dishes, and a chair beside usually has a slow cooker or electric skillet sitting on top of it. There have been some in need of comfort this week, and so I pulled one of the (many) bags of frozen chunks of meat out of the freezer – this one happened to be most of a very meaty roasted chicken – plunked it in the slow cooker and covered it with water. When it was stock, I pulled out the bones, shredded the chicken and returned it from whence it came, and added some other tasty things to make it coconutty and Thai. It was a hit.

Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Soup

I cheated and got the vegetable bits for the soup in the deli section of the grocery store; I filled a small container with a few sliced mushrooms, purple and green onions, sliced red pepper and radishes. An expensive way to do it I know, but I’m heading out of town in a few days and it saved me buying a big bunch of each and chopping them at home. When the stock was done, I just stirred in the seasonings and upended the container into the pot.

1 leftover meaty roasted chicken carcass
a few thin slices of fresh ginger
big pinch of salt
1 14 oz. (398 mL) can coconut milk
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1-2 Tbsp. Thai curry paste
2 Tbsp. fish sauce
2 Tbsp. peanut butter
1/4 small purple onion, thinly sliced
1/4 red pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
a few sliced mushrooms
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus extra for garnish
1 lime

Place the chicken in the slow cooker and cover with water. Add the ginger and some salt, cover and cook on low heat for 4-6 hours.

Pour the stock through a colander or sieve into a bowl and once it’s cool enough to handle, pull any meat off the bones. Return the stock and meat to the pot and add the coconut milk, brown sugar, curry paste, fish sauce, peanut butter, onion, red pepper, mushrooms and cilantro. Stir, cover and let sit for about 15 minutes, or until the veggies have softened and everything has heated through.

Cut the lime in half and squeeze the juice of half into the soup. Cut the other half into wedges to serve alongside. Serve the soup hot, topped with extra cilantro.

Serves 6.

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November 04 2014 | slow cooker and soup | 9 Comments »

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