Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Cookie Decorating Party

Happy Holidays! We hosted close to fifteen friends for our 1st Annual Cookie Decorating Party this past weekend.

Cookies - I made 3 batches of Elaine's gingerbread cookie recipe with 5 different cookie cutter shapes - gingerbread man, Christmas tree, stocking, candy cane and star. My arms were about to fall off after all that dough-rolling. Particularly in light of the last minute guest cancellations, it was WAY too many. I froze a bunch (both iced & un-iced) and have been giving them away as gifts as well.

Frosting - I used meringue powder in lieu of egg whites. Frosting colors were red, yellow, green, blue and white. Paint brushes from Sur La Table worked well for "painting" the cookies. I also purchased one container of pre-made icing as I didn't want to deal with icing pipers.

Toppings - Mini chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, red/white and green/white chips, M&Ms, tons of sprinkles

Our "Finished Cookie Drying Station" -

Finished cookies -

Decorating workstation (aftermath... there were sprinkles everywhere) -

Monday, December 08, 2008

Elaine: Roasted Butternut Squash Salad

Additions to the recipe: Romaine lettuce to lighten up the salad, roasted chicken breast that I had made the night before, and some grape tomatoes.

I really wish my butternut squash wasn't overcooked because the consistency of my mushy squash didn't go with the rest of the salad. I don't think I've ever eaten black eyed peas until today. I really enjoyed them. I didn't buy them frozen. I actually bought the 365 Whole Foods brand from the can. I am glad I tried something new. I've really been into hearty soups and salads this month. 

Mike and I went to a cooking class a couple weeks ago for one of his work events and made this easy delicious Tortilla Soup that I totally recommend. Enjoy!

Tortilla Soup
Serves 6

1 whole chicken breast, roasted, cooled and cut into a dice
4 cups chicken stock
1 large onion
4 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons oil
14 oz can chopped tomates
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1 jalapeno seeded and minced ( I left in half the seeds)
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
4 corn tortillas, sliced
tortilla chips to garnish

Cut tortillas into 1 inch pieces. Heat oil over med heat. Add tortilla pieces and cook until crips and golden, stirring occasionally, about 15 min. Add chilies, onion, garlic and saute about 2 min. Add stock, tomatoes with canned liquid, and cumin. Simmer for 10 min. Puree in the pot with a hand blender. Add diced chicken. Stir in lime juice and season with salt and pepper.
Garnish with avocado, black beans, cilantro, cheese, sour cream, chips.

I'm going to double the recipe for this weekend because I'm planning to serve it to friends for our main course.