Wednesday, February 18, 2009


This was a new recipe I tried this past Christmas. I've seen Palmiers in bakeries, and tasted them, and when I saw this recipe, I figured I could actually do this!


Sugar for rolling and sprinkling

Puff Pastry (I used frozen & thawed)

Dust a work surface liberally with sugar, and then roll out the pastry into a rectangle 9 by 14 inches and about 1/4 inch thick. Trim the edges so the rectangle measures about 8 by 13 inches. Sprinkle the rectangle with sugar. Fold over 1 inch along a 13 inch side of the rectangle. Repeat on the opposite side. Sprinkle the folds with sugar and again fold over the sides 1 inch, sprinkle with sugar, and repeat until each side meets in the center of the rectangle. Pressing gently on the rolling pin, roll over the entire surface of the rectangle. This will help it hold its shape and will also lengthen it by about 1 inch. Fold the two sides of the rectangle together, folding the long sides in to meet in the center. Press gently along the sides of the rectangle to even them out, and roll over the now long, thin rectangle with the rolling pin. Cover and chill for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Slice the rectangle crosswise into 1/4 inch wide slices. Coat the slices with sugar and arrange the slices on the prepared pan, spacing them about 2 inches apart.

Bake for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Flip each cookie over and bake for about 5 minutes longer, or until brown on both sides. Let cool on the pan. Store tightly sealed in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

--My note: These really are pretty easy to make, but they burn pretty fast. So I advise checking on them starting 5 minutes before they're done. The original recipe said to bake for 25 minutes, but that was WAY too long--they were quite burnt. One recipe I saw for these said to just bake on one side, but I didn't try that version. Maybe next time. These cookies are crispy, but flaky and sugary. Really quite tasty. And a simple cookie that looks pretty impressive. I also read somewhere that someone make cinnamon sugar and coated the cookies in that. Maybe something else I'll try next time.

Update: Cinnamon sugar used in place of regular sugar was really, really good. And I noticed the second time I made these that I don't roll the pastry out to be 1/4 of an inch thick. It's probably thinner than that. I just roll out the frozen stuff so it's about 9 x 14 inches and go from there.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Shrek Soup

My friend Rachel in my ward gave me the recipe and said her kids love it because she calls it shrek soup. It is the easiest soup recipe ever and I have made it so many times. Every time I make it Billy and I both wonder why it is so tasty. I actually made this last night with a big yummy salad (with the dressing recipe that follows) and some really good rosemary olive oil bread. Soup and salad is one of my favorite dinners. There are not that many ingredients and it's not fancy, but man this soup is so good and so healthy.

Shrek Soup

saute 1/4 c onion in 1 T butter
add 1 clove garlic and saute until soft
Add 1 48 box of chicken broth, 1/2 c frog eye pasta (acini di pepe), 1/4 t nutmeg and some salt and pepper and simmer for 5-7 minutes
Add 1 10 oz pkg frozen chopped spinach (I actually use fresh spinach)
Simmer soup for 5 minutes and top with fresh grated parmesan cheese and serve (it's so good with fresh parmesan so don't forget this)

Poppy Seed Dressing

This is my new favorite salad dressing. My aunt Erin makes the most incredible salads I have ever tasted. I know, it's salad, but they are one of my favorite foods. This is kind of a twist on poppy seed dressing. It makes a lot, but it keeps in the fridge for a while. After having homemade dressings for so long, I can no longer eat store bought salad dressings. Homemade dressings are just too easy and so much better.

1/4 c apple cider vinegar
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
2 T fresh lemon juice
2/3 c sugar
1/2 pureed purple onion
1-2 T Dijon mustard
1 t salt
1/2 t paprika
11/2 T poppy seeds
1 c canola oil

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Pan-Roasted Pork Chops with Berry Sauce

This was an interesting recipe we found that combines pork chops with a striking sauce of blueberries. Blueberries? Yes, and well you might ask. But it actually works quite well. And when paired with mashed potatoes made of sweet potatoes, it makes for a really attractive dish.

Pork Chops and Berry Sauce - Makes 4 chops and 1 cup of sauce

4 boneless pork chops, 1/2 inch thick, halved crosswise, seasoned with salt and pepper (1 lb.)
1 T shallots, minced
1/4 C dry red wine
1 C fresh or frozen blueberries
1/2 C beef broth
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 T brown sugar
1 T unsalted butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Garnish with fresh parsley and lemon wedges

-Saute pork chops in oil in large saute pan over medium-high heat for 2 minutes per side. Transfer chops to a plate and keep warm; return pan to the burner. Add shallots and saute 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
-Deglaze with wine and simmer until nearly evaporated. Stir in blueberries, broth, vinegar, and brown sugar; bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until blueberries begin to burst and sauce thickens, 2-3 minutes.
-Off heat, stir in butter and season with salt and pepper. To serve, place a mound of sweet potatoes on each plate, spoon some of the sauce over potatoes, then top with pork chops. Garnish if desired with parsley and lemon wedges.

For 4 cups of mashed sweet potatoes:

-Boiled 2 pounds of sweet potatoes, peeled, and diced, until tender. Drain, then mash with a bit of butter (3 T butter) and juice of half a lemon.

--My note: This was a really interesting dish, both flavor-wise and in appearance. Blue, orange, and then the pork chops. We really liked it. And the mashed sweet potatoes were really tasty, and could be something we do more often with other things. The recipe says to cut each chop in half because they thought it looked more interesting, but you can leave them whole if desired. If they are cut in half, serve two halves per person. If you can't find boneless pork chops, just cut out the bone like we did. Also, there is a really great brand of alcohol-free wine out there called Arial. We have found it so far at Emigration Market in Salt Lake, I believe they are an Associated Food Store, but I could be wrong.