Cornmeal Lime Cookies

Lately I've been a big fan of the blog A Sweet Spoonful, by another Seattleite, Megan Gordon.  So I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when a recipe for cornmeal lime cookies caught my eye on The Kitchn.  It turns out Megan was the brains behind the recipe and I knew I had to make them.  I've been on a Thai cooking kick lately so I had a bag of limes lying around.  I figured it was meant to be.  Megan's recipe is so easy to follow and I appreciated the reassurance in her instructions like "don't worry" if your mixture starts to separate, it will come together again.  Anyone who knows me knows that as much as I love baking, I tend to fret if something starts to go awry.  With this recipe I stayed calm and collected, and in return I was rewarded with a delicious treat for my afternoon tea.  Recipe below.
Recipe for Megan's Cornmeal Lime Cookies (makes about 16 cookies)
1 1/2 cups white whole-wheat flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 sticks (16 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons lime zest (from 2 large limes)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from 2 large limes)
1 1/3 cups powdered sugar, sifted
1 tablespoon lime zest
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350 F.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or using hand beaters), cream the butter and sugar together on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the lime zest and vanilla and mix until just combined. Scrape down the bowl. Add the eggs and lime juice and mix to incorporate, about 30 seconds. If your mixture seems to separate at this point, don't worry. It will come together again when you begin to add the flour.
Slowly add the flour mixture in three stages, mixing to incorporate in between each addition.
Using an ice cream scooper or large tablespoon, scoop out the dough in heaping 1-inch balls and place 2-inches apart on a parchment-lined (or greased) baking sheet. Lightly press down on each ball with the palm of your hand, slightly flattening each into a disk shape.
Bake for 14 to 16 minutes or until no longer soft in the middle and ever-so-slightly golden on the edges.
Meanwhile, make the icing: whisk together the powdered sugar, lime zest, and lemon juice until smooth. Once out of the oven, allow cookies to cool completely on a wire rack before icing. Spread glaze over the tops of each cookie. Let sit 1 hour to allow glaze to firm up.  Enjoy!
{If stored in an airtight container, cookies will remain good for up to 3 days.}


Around Here Lately

 A croissant from Besalu
  Birthday cake for S.
Homemade yogurt for breakfast
 Impromptu arugula and red pepper pesto
 Short-lived but appreciated sunny days
 Too much pie for my own good- recipe coming soon


The Bread Chronicles: Pizza

In this segment of the Bread Chronicles, I present to you pizza dough.  It's simple, no-fuss, and far better than the stuff you buy at the store.  (I really don't have an excuse for buying dough anymore.)  What I love about this pizza dough is that it adapts well to any style pizza.  Personally, I like to roll out the dough a little on the thin side, for a crispier quality.  One of my favorite pizzas to make is the classic Margherita- but as far as toppings go, you can be as adventurous (or not) as you'd like.

Pizza Dough recipe, adapted slightly from The Italian Cooking Encyclopedia

1 package dry yeast
1 cup lukewarm water
pinch of sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3- 3.5 cups unbleached white flour

Put yeast in medium mixing bowl and pour in warm water.  Stir in sugar and mix with fork.  Let mixture stand until yeast has dissolved and starts bubbling and foaming (about 5 minutes).
Put salt and about 2/3 of flour in a food processor fitted with metal blade.  Pulse and add in yeast mixture.  Add rest of flour, pulsing only enough until dough forms a ball around edges of food processor.  Test dough with fingers- if it's too sticky, add a little more flour and pulse.  
Flour hands and remove dough from processor.  Knead dough a little and form into ball and place in an oiled boil.  Place plastic wrap or a damp dish towel over bowl and let sit until ball doubles in size, at least 45 minutes.
Punch dough in with fist to release air.  Knead for 1 minute.  Dough can either make one large pizza or two medium-sized pizzas.  (Can cut ball in half).  

Preheat oven to 475 F.  Make sure oven is at correct temperature.  Bake pizza for about 15-20 minutes or until crust is golden and cheese is melted and bubbling.

Margherita pizza
Take one ball and roll out over floured surface.  Spread tomato sauce (I simmer bottled tomatoes with a little garlic and spices) thinly over dough.  You don't want to overdo this part or you will have soggy pizza!  Break apart pieces of buffalo mozzarella and scatter across pizza.  Place some full basil leaves and cook following the directions above.

Burrata and pesto pizza
Take one ball and roll out over floured surface.  Spread white sauce then pesto sauce (combine basil, garlic, olive oil, and grated parmesan in a food processor and blend until creamy and smooth) thinly over dough.  Cut cherry tomatoes in half and scatter across pizza.  Cook following the directions above.  When the pizza is removed from the oven, break apart pieces of burrata over the pizza and serve.  Enjoy!


Pasta with Lemon, Arugula, and Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

 A few weeks back, I was on the great recipe/photography blog, Shutterbean. (If Tracy's pictures don't make you want to get up and cook, I don't know what will.)  She mentioned a Seattle food blogger's take on one of her recipes.  I followed the link to Dana Treat, and made Dana's delicious recipe which includes roasted cherry tomatoes, shallots, and feta cheese.  The peppery quality of the arugula contrasts perfectly with the hint of lemon.  It's the perfect summer pasta and I'll be making it a lot this season.  Recipe below.

Dana's Pasta with Lemon, Arugula, and Roasted Tomatoes
Serves 2-3 
Olive oil
20 small cherry tomatoes
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 large shallot, finely diced
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
Zest and juice of 1 Meyer lemon
4 ounces feta cheese, cut into small cubes
4 ounces arugula, plus more for garnish
8 ounces spaghettini (I used my favorite spaghetti- Da Cecco)
Preheat the oven to 375ºF.  Place the tomatoes on a small baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast in the oven until they soften, brown in spots, and start to collapse a bit, about 20 minutes.  Set aside.
Meanwhile, place a large skillet over medium heat.  Drizzle in just enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan, then add the shallots, red pepper flakes, and a large pinch of salt.  Sauté, stirring frequently, until the shallots soften and start to brown in spots, about 5 minutes.  Grate in the lemon zest and turn off the heat.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil, then add the pasta.  Cook according the package directions until just al dente.  Taste it to make sure.  Using tongs, transfer the pasta to the skillet with the shallots.  Turn the heat to low and stir to coat the pasta with the shallots and pepper flakes.  Ladle in some pasta cooking water to loosen the sauce.  Add half of the arugula and keep tossing the pasta so that the arugula wilts.  Add the other half of the arugula along with the lemon juice, feta cheese, and the tomatoes.  Add more cooking water if the pasta seems too dry.  Toss carefully.  Serve each portion topped with more of the arugula.


Cafe Breizh in Paris

I have a sweet spot for oysters so on my last visit to Paris, I headed over to Cafe Breizh, a spot in the Marais specializing in all things Bretagne.  I indulged in the meatiest oysters resting over a bed of sea salt.  They give you bread and butter with your meal and be sure and try it as the butter is divine: a creamy blend with a hint of salt and lemon that will whisk you away to the French Atlantic coast.  We finished off our meal with buckwheat crêpes: smoked salmon with crème fraîche and chives and a dessert one with bananas and cream. 
Cafe Breizh is located at 109 Rue Vieille du Temple in the 3rd arrondissement in Paris


Bia Bistro in Cohasset, MA

Since my mom grew up on the South Shore of Boston, I've spent considerable time in the area.  For a bunch of small towns, there are a lot of great food opportunities to satisfy even the city folk from Boston, who often come down for dinner.  Bia Bistro in Cohasset is a favorite of mine.  A laid-back Mediterranean-style restaurant, it sits directly in the center of town.  In the summertime, a seat on the front patio is always lovely, but be sure and eat before dusk falls, or you will be forced inside by the mosquitoes as we were one night.
The food at Bia is classic Mediterranean fare-- simple, but wonderfully cooked and with an elegant finish.  On one evening, I enjoyed a perfectly cooked duck accompanied by vegetable risotto and tender carrots. 

Bia Bistro is located at 35 South Main Street in Cohasset, MA 
BIA Bistro on Urbanspoon


Scoops Ice Cream in LA

T. finally took us to Scoops on our last visit in LA.  I think I can safely declare it to be my favorite place for ice cream ever.  (It's not gelato but it's the best frozen treat I've come across.)  I challenge a place to top Scoops for not only the innovative flavors, but the insanely perfect texture and quality of the ice cream.  Theirs is creamy and soft, without being rich and heavy.  And they encourage sampling- by that I mean they have no problem with you trying every flavor on offer.  This is because they change out most of their flavors daily- yes daily.  Some customer favorites like brown bread remain constantly on the menu, but I found myself enjoying other flavors even more.  Even the pizza flavor was satisfying; the only reason I didn't order it was because I couldn't see another flavor pairing with it.
Flavors like pizza, rosemary-olive oil, green tea-jasmine, and brown bread
I couldn't help but spoon some rainbow jimmies on top 

Scoops has two locations in LA:
one at 3400 Overland Ave in the Palms area
and the other at 712 N Heliotrope Dr in the Wilshire Center neighborhood 

Scoops Westside on Urbanspoon