Friday, November 28, 2008

TWD Linzer Sables

I went cookie crazy today! My daughter came home after her first week in the Israeli army and I decided to totally go all out with baking and cooking. I used the opportunity to make this coming week's TWD recipe for Linzer Sables. I have made these cookies before but the dough was quite different- more of a butter cookie. They were easy enough to make and came out quite good, although I think I and the othermembers of the household prefer the dough without the ground nuts. That's just a personal preference. I filled them with raspberry jam which is one of my favorite things i the world ,so anytime I have a chance to use it in a recipe or just eat it- is fine with me!
I also made a batch of chocolate chip cookies and oatmeal cookies which have been a favortie around this house since the girls were young. I added a few peanut butter chips as well- couldn't hurt huh?
I spent the whole day making a big dinner so she could have some good home-cooked food after a week living in a tent with 16 other girls ( with a hole in the roof of the tent I might add- and it rained too!!) Dinner went like this: salad, homemade chopped liver, a yummy, thick pea soup, roasted chicken with whole garlic cloves and a sauce made with maple syrup(mmmmm!), zucchini with chunked tomates and a wonderful risotto I tried for the first time. It turned out so good and I can tell it will become a favorite around here. I took the recipe from Recipe Zaar for a classic risotto.
Dessert was a plateful of all the cookies and a quick pumpkin cheesecake I threw together ( at the request of my eldest daughter) using the last bit of pumpkin I had. ( canned pumpkin is a real rarity here in Israel, so when I find it I buy a few cans to have around but boy is it expensive!!!) The cake went home with her since it is a disaster for me to have those things around the house.
Now, I will never receive a prize for being a quiet , demure person, or one who holds her thoughts to herself. It usually gets me in a bit of trouble but as the years pass, I am learning to think before I speak and keep certain thoughts to myself. In this case I may be saying something that many people don't agree with, but I have to say it anyway. I waited for the book " Baking, from my house to yours" for a long time, since it came from overseas. After reading the blogs of people who participate in Tuesdays with Dorie, I was very anxious to begin. I have now baked a month's worth of recipes and I am very disappointed. None of the recipes have been anything to speak of; some things didn't turn out as they were supposed to and others- well, I just hope that maybe it was the specific recipes that were chosen and I have better ones to look forward to.
In any case - I just keep on baking, and chalk it up to a learning experience.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

TWD Twofer Pie

I go to all this effort to bake and come out with wonderful results. That's very nice- but then I always seem to forget to take a picture of it! The thought comes right after everyone has dug into the cake, pie or whatever. I suppose I could take a picture half eaten as well- at least people could see that it is being consumed!

In any case, the pumkin-pecan pie chosen for this week's TWD recipe was lovely to look at and even better to taste. I must say, I was becoming a bit skeptical about the recipes in the book, since the last few I've made were quite unimpressive- even nasty tasting.

The crust that Dorie uses did not work at all for me. I prefer using all butter. I went ahead and tried her recipe with a combination of shortening and butter and it just didn't work for me. I had to throw it out! Ouch! It was probably a mistake of some sort that I made and not the recipe , but I went back to my old standard that has worked so well for me over and over again. The recipe comes from Marcy Goldman's Better Baking site-

The filling was delicious. I took the pie to a staff Thanksgiving dinner last nite and it was the first to go. I will definitely make this again!

This week my youngest daughter will be entering the Israeli Army. My baby is flying from the nest! The house will seem strange with just the two of us here. On the bright side- more time for baking and another group of tasters for my baked goods. I am looking forward to sending her back each week with a box of yummies. Until next time...........

Monday, November 17, 2008

TWD Arborio Rice Pudding

I love the fall. The weather is finally cooling down and the night air is crisp. This is the time of year I sleep the best.
I have never tasted rice pudding before. Yes, it may sound unbelievable, but true. My mom never made it and I never really had the craving to try it. So this weeks recipe from Dorie's book was a perfect opportunity. After some searching I found the right kind of rice and began the task- a really easy process but for some reason, it just didn't turn out the way it ws supposed to. All went well until I put it in the fridge and waited and waited and waited. It barely thickened and the next day was still a bit soupy. I probably would add less milk next time- but there will not be a next time. Just not my " cup of rice" if you know what I mean. Maybe puddings in general are not my favorite thing- I'll take a rich cake, cookie or cupcake anytime! The taste and texture were strange for me and the rest of my family. Very , very sweet - and let me tell you- I love sweet, but this was sort of sickening. Chalk this one up to experience!
Wherever you are in the world- enjoy the season, be it fall , summer or spring!

Monday, November 10, 2008


Lot's of work for a fairly dull tasting cake. I used dried cranberries since I had no raisins in the house. It  was a good substitution- probably any dried fruit would be good. I think if I were to make it again I might make a few changes. My husband ( the main taste tester in the house!) said it was good. He suggested adding some sort of syrup over it other than butter . Maybe a sugar syrup or even maple might be interesting.
I wasn't sure I would get to this recipe but I was determined to try. I am glad I made the effort since I look at every recipe as an experiment. I can say the experiment was successful- whether I use it again or not is a different story.
Next week's recipe is for a rice pudding which, believe it or not, I have never tasted in my life. I have never seen the arborio rice here in Israel but after reading up on it a bit, I may try and substitute sushi rice. Looking forward to the pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving. Just in time for the staff party!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

First TWD recipe November 4, 2008

I don't know if I have been officially added to the TWD group but I went ahead and made the recipe for last week anyways. I decided that in the beginning, at least, I will follow the recipes to the word and see how they turn out and then alter or adapt them for my use according to the results. Since I live in Israel, some of my ingredients may be a bit different or unavailable and I may need to do some substitutions. Of course I will always note this when reporting on the recipe. The rugelach were easy to make and turned out really yummie. I made half of the batch with nuts and half without ( for those few in my family who shy away from nuts). Both were delicious- took extras to work and they were gone before I had a chance to put the dish down. I can always be sure of an enthusiastic , but truthful, group of tasters at work! They will certainly let me know what was good, what wasn't - needed more of this or that, less of this or that! Ok- on to the kugelhof!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Back to routine

Daughter's wedding is over! Out-of-town ( country!) guests are now gone and I am finally getting back to a somewhat regular routine. I've done so much baking and cooking inthe last few weeks for this wedding, I thought I would be ready to take a break. Now that I have received a copy of the book , "Baking- From My House to Yours" by Dorie Greenspan, ( I had my Mom bring it to me from the States) I am ready to jump in again and try some new things.
The wedding cookies were a big hit and I am so glad I made the effort to do them. Of course, as things go with me, I forgot to take even one picture of the over 150 decorated cookies I made! Unbelieveable! Oh, well.... that just gives me another reason to make more.