Tag Archives: ginger

Crab Stacks with Ginger Lime Dressing

If the end of January is approaching then I know I can expect a variety of things:  emails from sites I subscribe to sharing the perfect Super Bowl snacks, bloggers swapping their tried and true party dish faves, and people talking about whether they’re planning on a game day get together or not.  None of it has been discussed in our house yet, because we’ve been busy, busy, busy with life enjoying a long weekend making like tourists in West Hollywood, soaking up the last bits of our youngest’s company before he returns to San Francisco for the spring semester, celebrating family birthdays and anniversaries, and in the past couple of days, nursing one of our cats back to health after a run in with a neighbor’s kitty.  Goodness!  And it’s not over yet.  Any time now, my husband will ask about what’s on our  Super Bowl agenda.  It always seems to be a last minute sort of thing most years, and that’s just fine with me because it doesn’t take too much thought to decide which snacks football fans will expect to have at their fingertips whether they’re for our small family, or a larger group.

I doubt there has ever been a time we haven’t had fresh salsa or pico de gallo with guacamole and tortilla chips.  A pot of chili with all the fixin’s and a salad for halftime eats are also the norm even though the chili recipe varies from one year to the next.  But I’m also known for sneaking in something that may raise eyebrows, causing certain guests to cast one another a nervous glance before pointing and asking, “What is that?” then politely suppressing the urge to continue with, “Do I have to eat it?”  as they reel their fingers back in.  Actually, they now ask, “How do I eat it?” because it seems my food often has rules that accompany it — or must seem like it does.   Is it supposed to be dipped, or layered?  Which of the ingredients on the plate create the best bite?  Is it finger food, or do I need a plate and fork?  To their credit, they seem much more enthusiastic than they did years ago, so I know my risks to encourage people to try something new haven’t failed, and that makes me happy.

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Ginger Sandwich Cookies with Lemon Cream Filling

Dear Nick Malgieri,

I saw your Ginger Sandwich Cookies filled with lemon cream in a recent issue of Food & Wine magazine and decided I’d give them a try.  Although gingersnaps have never been and will never be a cookie I find myself craving, the lemon filling did catch my attention and I thought that with the ginger, the flavor could be exceptional.

Although that did not disappoint, the molasses, on the other hand, gave me pause because the last time I made cookies that had molasses in them, the results were less than appealing until I bent them into submission after much trial and error.

Now I know I’m far from perfect on most days, but I have had a modest amount of experience cooking and baking with great success — thankfully more times than not.  I also use excellent equipment and so cannot blame poor result on either of those factors.

What I’m left with is a question, and I’m asking it of you since this is your recipe and the photograph chosen to illustrate the intended results looks far different than mine — especially my first batch.Ginglemoncook

  • When baking cookies with molasses, is there something I just don’t understand?  What causes them to spread so?  I know sugar in general causes that, and when using molasses, a smaller quantity is needed, as in this recipe which calls for only 1/4 cup.  Could it be the brand of molasses?  I use Grandma’s which is just about the only kind I’ve ever used, and the jar I used for this batch was opened recently.
  • Although keeping a very close eye on the Ginger Sandwich cookies during the required bake time, I realized I needed to remove them from the oven only half way through the expected 20-minute baking time, and even then, the cookies were far too done.  Actually, burnt.
  • I prefer to use convection settings for everything except for recipes with a high quantity of egg, so am used to reducing the heat and cooking time to compensate for that choice. However, because of the previous results, I chose not to use convection heat for this recipe.  On the second batch, again, with only 7 minutes of the baking time elapsed, I had to remove the cookies.

Mr. Malgieri, I know that often, baking is an adventure, and I accept that most of the time.  Because I’m used to reading recipes, I can usually spot one that I think could be problematic, and with this recipe, the cooking time did get my attention.  Cookies rarely bake that long.  Nevertheless, I proceeded like the trusting home cook I am.

I will say your ginger cookies are lovely tasting with a nice bite — chewy, with a pleasant tartness from the lemon cream which blends well with the overall sweetness.  Very, very nice.  I just wish I’d done them justice.  So I’m curious and would enjoy trying these again, but detest wasting food so need some direction.

Did Food & Wine misprint the recipe?  Or am I just someone who should step away from the molasses?

With the utmost respect,
Kelly

p.s.  They stack very well, though!

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Organica Deluxe Eco-Friendly Ginger Cookies

It's a bit humbling to realize that when you've been denied access to your computer, that life just isn't the same.  Actually, it's pathetic.  And nearly three days of sustained denied access?  It's downright painful.  No kitchen, no computer, garden all spiffied up…what was I to do?  My poor doggo and cat — both no longer youngsters — kept me company on a bench outside with my pile of food magazines and cook books on the last day until I couldn't stand it a minute longer.  I decided to leave the dust heap and do some "window" shopping for a final few items for our remodel:  a bathroom mirror, shelves, and bedding.  So much for the "window."

Sitting in front of my Mac saves money — I know that for sure now.

Thank goodness for Saturdays and construction men who have the weekend off!  I am firing up my oven to finish my 12 Days of Cookies and beginning to unravel our house.  Hopefully by Tuesday, things will be completely back to order — but with lovely new changes for us to enjoy — and a holiday to prepare for.

And speaking of holidays and other special occasions…

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Since I don't have my own cookies to share with you, I wanted to take the opportunity to share some delicious cookies I recently sampled from Organica Deluxe.  The oversized chewy ginger morsels were delicately spiced and perfect on a morning when I needed something pleasant to take my mind off noise and dust. 

Organica Deluxe is an Eco-Friendly organization that produces a variety of products beyond yummy baked goods.  Purchasing just one of their gift boxes helps support 15 eco-friendly businesses such as sustainable manufacturers, organic farmers, and community artisans. 

I like that idea.

Now, off to my oven.  I have my own cookies to bake!  Let's see…I think I have only three left to go.

Tune in later!

Nectarine Ginger Shortcakes

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Years ago, one of my students gave me a gift certificate to a bookstore as a parting thank you for the school year.  With it, I purchased a tiny book called Biscuits and Scones:  62 Recipes from Breakfast Biscuits to Homey Desserts by Elizabeth Alston.  Until Sunday, I’d never made another biscuit or shortcake recipe because those recipes are the very best.

Until Sunday.

When it comes to the perfect shortcake recipe, I think it should be only slightly sweet since it’s going to have macerated fruit poured over each piece.  It should have a sturdy exterior with a pleasant bite — almost a crunch.  The center is more dense and very nearly like a sponge that will soak up the juice of the berries without getting mushy.  A bit obsessive, yes?

But Sunday, after the BBQ Beef Sandwiches with that amazing crunchy Coleslaw with Bacon and Blue Cheese, we had Nectarine Shortcake make with a different recipe.  The ginger called for in the original recipe from this August’s issue of Bon Appetit, which I cooked the hell out of, caught my eye.  In my recent kitchen reorganization, I unearthed a bag of crystallized ginger that I swear I bought two years ago, so now seemed like it was free.  Ridiculous reasoning, I know, but it’s kind of like finding money in the pocket of a coat you haven’t worn since last winter, right?  The other thing that caught my eye about the recipe was the addition of ginger ale.  No milk.  Well, not as much as the recipe I’ve been using.

Of course I’d like to say that I made this recipe exactly the way it was written, but I somehow forgot to increase the amount of butter along with the other ingredients since I was making more than what the recipe called for.

I’m sure Alton Brown would have something to say about the chemistry of the missing butter, but they turned out famously.  Crunchy tops, easy to split, and very nice with nectarines that have been macerated in quite a bit less sugar than what the recipe called for.  Some lime juice splashed in for good measure was almost perfect.  I’d have added some basil to it all if we’d not had some younger people at the table who wouldn’t try the dessert if there were green shreds in it — but next time.

And yes, there will be a next time.

These are outstanding!

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Sesame Ginger Chicken Salad: It’s a Meal

My husband is more than a little dismayed about the weight he gained over the busy season this year, so guess what we’ve been eating?

Salad.  Lots of it.

But we’re regular salad eaters, so this isn’t dismal news.  I just make the salad the main course when we’re feeling tubby.  My lanky almost sixteen-year-old son tolerates it for a couple of days and then invariably wants to know where the meat is.

Lettuce in Your Kitchen by Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby was a birthday present from a good friend many years ago.  One of the most frequent ways I’ve used it is to get dressing ideas.  I don’t have difficulty putting salad ingredients together ever.  But I do struggle from time to time with more than the same old citrus based dressing I tend to rely upon.

It had been quite some time since I made what is often referred to as a Chinese Chicken Salad, and although I was in the mood for something Asian inspired, I didn’t want canned mandarin oranges, or any fruit, for that matter, in our dinner.  At least not this week.  Give us time, and we’ll be desperate.

So I settled on a crunchy combination of vegetables with sauteed chicken and a dressing I altered because although I loved the sound of the ingredients, the quantities were pretty bold — especially the sugar.  There’s no point in eating salad if the dressing is loaded with calories, right?

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