Sunday, December 14, 2014

Recipe shenanigans

Holiday baking is underway, in preparation for gift-giving, parties, etc. Every year I debate whether I should just stick with what I know, or branch out and try something new. This year I went with a compromise: something new, but from a recipe source I trust implicitly: Bruce and Mark. I've had my eye on these jam roll cookies ever since they were posted this time last year, and yesterday I decided to try them out with homemade cranberry jam and pecans.

The verdict: they tasted great, but they didn't look anything like jam rolls - more like giant jam blobs. I don't know if I let the dough get too warm, or did something else wrong, but visually they were not at all what I was expecting. I will say again, though, that they tasted great.

I still had half the dough in the fridge, having run out of time to make the second roll. Today, on the hunt for something to make for our street's holiday party, I decided to turn the dough into thumbprint cookies, filled with cranberry jam (no nuts - better for the kid portion of the party) or Hershey kisses. These were much easier to assemble, and came out of the oven still looking like thumbprint cookies.

And while those were baking, I decided to mess with another recipe, too: I whipped up a batch of Emergency Scones, swapped in sour cream for some of the heavy cream, threw in big handfuls of chopped bacon and grated gouda, and baked up some savory mini scones. (Also good, although next time I'll add a big pinch of cayenne or mustard powder for a little extra punch.)

What to make next? I'm deliberating between sugar cookies and Russian tea cakes at the moment. Teacher presents up this week....  

Sunday, December 7, 2014

In My Kitchen, 12/14

My blogging pal Celia of Fig Jam and Lime Cordial has been hosting a monthly series called In My Kitchen that I've been enjoying for years - but, despite my best intentions, have never managed to join until now. If you head over to her blog, you can see the full list of this month's participants, and take a peek into kitchens around the world.

Here's a sample of some recent happenings in my kitchen:

My favorite concoction from this year's Thanksgiving leftovers - a sort of rustic pot pie, with leftover chopped turkey and vegetables underneath, in a sauce mixed up from leftover gravy and stock, topped with a leftover bread stuffing crust. Definitely a keeper for next year.

After years of paying attention to little besides the food in the kitchen, my Thanksgiving decoration efforts have given me a newfound interest in flower arranging - especially when it provides some scope for creativity and frugality. I bought two bunches of gerbera daisies at the farmers' market this weekend for $10, and made them into an arrangement using cuttings from my garden - including from my giant mint and rosemary bushes (back to the food again).
 Also from this weekend's farmers' market haul: the first stone fruits of the season. I'm already looking forward to my first batch of nectarine-lime jam (a variation on this peach-lime jam).
We haven't started Christmas decorating in earnest yet, but one thing always comes out on December 1 - Miss B's advent calendar, handmade by her grandmother to replace the one DP and his siblings grew up with. One of our favorite family traditions.

And even without the decorations, it's beginning to look a lot like that time of year, as preparations and supplies for Christmas baking and giving start to pile up.
For cooking inspiration, there's the mother of all Christmas cookbooks within easy reach....

...and, to balance out my northern inclinations toward wintery Christmas food, the December issue of delicious., to provide some ideas that will likely be more suitable to the temperature of Christmas Day in Canberra!

What's in your kitchen this month?

Monday, December 1, 2014

Music Monday

A little something to spruce up your (and my) Monday:

"Jackie Wilson Said", Van Morrison
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