Saturday, June 14, 2008

Cut Cookies

These are a family favorite that recently went public at a friend's baby shower. They take a lot of work to make them look pretty, but you can ice them in solid colors to simplify things. After all, patterns don't change the taste.


Cookies:
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
flour for rolling out dough



Cream the butter and sugar. Add the egg.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Note - I love the taste of cinnamon and nutmeg, so I always put in slightly heaping teaspons of the spices.
Slowly add the dry mix to wet ingredients.
Wrap dough in waxed paper and freeze for 3-4 hours, or overnight.
Dough can be frozen for up to 6 months.

Let dough thaw slightly.
Sprinkle work surface and rolling pin with flour.
Roll out dough fairly thin for crispy cookies or thicker for chewy cookies. Cut into shapes with cookie cutters.
Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.
Note - We like them less done, so I cook them for 7-8 minutes.
Transfer to cooling racks. When cookies are cool, decorate with icing.
Depending on the size of the cookies, makes 3-4 dozen.



Icing
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup Crisco
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
about 5 cups confectioner's sugar (powdered sugar)
2-4 tbsp milk
gel food coloring (optional)



Beat together butter and Crisco. Add vanilla.
Alternate adding sugar and milk until desired consistency is reached. If you are planning to pipe the icing, thicker and stiffer consistency is better.
If tinting icing, separate into bowls and add food coloring. Spoon icing into pastry bags and pipe onto cookies.



Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Three Bean and Goat Cheese Salad


It's summertime and that means one thing: salads.

I went through this faze last summer where I ate only lettuce-free salads. I have nothing against lettuce except that everytime I make a salad using it, my salad somehow winds up slimey and gross. This could be because I'm lazy and my bag o'salad (as my family calls it) and I usually bring said salads to work for lunch. This means that the salad has sat in it's fake tupperware for hours soaking up olive oil and vinegar dressing.

But I digress.

Lately for lunch, Hungry Cougar and I have been hitting up the local Au Bon Pain for their ginormous salad bar. The other week I noticed they had three bean salad out.

I love, love, love three bean salad.

I know what you're thinking:

three bean salad? That's the food of choice for potlucks and picnics. My grandmother makes that.

This isn't your grandmaother's three bean salad, I promise you.

The secret ingiedient (which isn't a secret because it's in the title of the post) is goat cheese. A few weekends ago I visited Mr. and Mrs. Butter in Indianapolis and had the most wonderful local goat cheese from their local farmer's market. The minute I got home I went to my local farmer's market and picked what I can only describe as goat cheese heaven.

It was goat cheese with olive oil and garlic. It was divine.

I hadn't intended originally to put the cheese in the salad but I threw it in at the last minute and it seriously brought the whole meal together.

Three Bean and Goat Cheese Salad (a Wicked Good Cook Original)

Ingredients:

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
6 scallions, chopped
1 cup green, red, and orange bell peppers,diced
1/2 cup cucumber diced into 1/2 inch cubes
1 cup mixed olives
1 cup pepperchinis (optional)
3-4 oz goat cheese
3 tbsp italian dressing

Directions:
Mix all ingriedients in a large bowl

Chill for 30 minutes.

Enjoy!

The best part about this recipe is that you could literally throw anything into the mix: feta cheese, tomatoes, red onions, celery, carrots, ect. After all it is a salad.

You could serve it as a side dish, or on top of lettuce, or even eat it as a meal. Just remember, there are a lot of beans. Eat at your own risk.

It's a totally veggie friendly meal. Make it vegan by taking out the goat cheese.