Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Cookies bring Holiday Cheer

Emergency batch of cookies were needed for the preschool holiday party. I had Poilane's butter cookie dough waiting for me in the frig for christmas baking. I realized I had to bring in treats for the kids. Didn't have enough energy at that moment to whip up royal icing. So, melted up some chocolate and did some quickie piping before scurrying off to school.
I was not in any holiday spirit until I started baking off my gingerbread cookies. The spicy smell of cookies and icing kicked me into holiday cheer. Hope you all had a very sweet holiday and looking forward to more cooking assignments in 2008.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Elaine: Pork with Calvados

Pork for Hanukkah? Don't know what Mike's parents would think of that but Cooking Diaries before judaic laws ;) I first brined my pork while trying to quickly thaw my pork loin out this afternoon. With my preference for pork that is slightly pink in the center, I left mine an inch in thickness. I actually didn't overcook my pork today or the brining really made my pork super juicy. Don't know which it was but it was mmm mmm good! I didn't have a couple of ingredients on hands so I had a couple substitutes in my sauce. I minced up some red onion as a sub for shallots. I used 1/2 c. of sour cream and 1/2 c. of milk as a sub for cream. And I added 1/8 c. cognac and added 1/8 c. more of apple cider. We loved the sauce paired with the pork. Mike loved the apples as well. I personally would have preferred those apples sandwiched between some pie crust to follow my pork dish but thats just me. Such a simple sauce that I might try with a rib eye next time.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Ashley: Pork with Calvados

I made this meal for my neighbors a few weeks ago and am just getting around to post. The only thing that I was dissappointed in was that the sauce didn't seem to double very well. I don't know why based on the ingredients, it could've been that I was in too much of a rush and just wasn't patient enough!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Holiday Cookies

With some coaching from Elaine on some holiday cookie best practices, I embarked on my first ever foray into cutout holiday cookies and royal icing. If you can believe it, I've never baked a holiday cutout cookie (save for a handful of disappointing attempts as a teenager) -- let alone make enough to give to local friends and family as a kick start to the season. But recently I was reading through old pages on our blog and came across Elaine's post of holiday cookies last year as well as the Poillane butter cookie recipe. That was all the inspiration I needed.

What fun I've had these past two days putting together these little treats. I couldn't imagine doing this every day the way Elaine did at Bittersweet but for a few days just after getting our tree up it was exactly what I needed to get in the holiday spirit.

Although I love the look of the classic ginerbread man, I must admit that I am a true sucker for those butter cookies. They very well may just be the most delectable things I have ever baked in my kitchen ... so simple, only four indgredients, but incredibly delicious especially with a fresh pot of tea. I used Irish unsalted butter and the results were wonderful. And I'm looking forward to trying with some indulgent French butter as well.

In terms of shapes, I fell in love with the snowflakes. They're so pretty and delicate and to me are very evocative of winter.

Can't wait to share some of these treats in the coming days and weeks. If you guys haven't started your holiday baking yet ... call Elaine as she'll get you in the perfect mood!