As temperatures drop and sun begins to set earlier, I start craving more time at home. Rather than going out into the cold, the perfect Saturday afternoon is spent reading, maybe sipping a cup of tea or a glass of wine, and then slowly making our way to the kitchen to prepare dinner. During the week, dinners have to be quick and simple, suitable to be consumed between 9pm when I typically get home and 1am when I'm falling asleep. On Saturdays, however, we have the luxury of time to prepare a meal that requires more than two steps, to let sauces simmer, to set a proper table and enjoy the process of cooking.
Spaghetti and meatballs make the perfect meal for a chilly Saturday. It is comforting, involved enough to require a couple of hours, but not too complicated, and makes plenty of leftovers for the week. I've tried many versions of meatballs and a recent favorite is adapted from Williams-Sonoma. These meatballs are savory with prosciutto and Parmesan, yet still feel light. It is important to work the meat gently, flipping it with the whole hand as you mix just until combined rather than mashing it with the fingers to achieve the perfectly uniform mix that would result in tough meatballs. As a side we has sauteed escarole, but broccoli rabe, kale, or even a green salad would all work.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma
Sunday, December 25, 2011
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
One of my boyfriend’s complaints is that all of the lotions in the house have a lavender scent. Meanwhile, I envy that Madina discovered L’occitane lavender perfume before me. In short, if I could I would make everything smell like lavender.
There is no better time to enjoy the soothing scent of this humble looking plant than a holiday season. This recipe is an aromatherapy for all the cooks busy baking holiday treats. While many people have been praising lavender ice cream after the release of It’s Complicated, I find that application of butter to lavender (no, no other way around), gives this flower a second chance to blossom.
1/3 cup sugar
1.5 teaspoon dried lavender blossoms, crushed
2 ounces unsalted butter, softened at the room temperature
2 ounces plain cream cheese
1 cup all-purpose white flour
½ fleur de sel
Mix sugar, 1 tsp of lavender, and lemon zest. Beat butter and cream cheese at a low speed for 1 minute. Add sugar mix to the butter mix beating for another minute or so until pale and fluffy. At a low speed, add flour and mix until the dough comes together. You might need to switch to a spatula and mix it by hand.
Gather the dough into a ball and freeze for 15 minutes.
Shape chilled, firm dough into a 4” log. Cover the log in a plastic wrap and freeze for 5 more minutes. While the dough is chilling, line a baking sheet with a parchment paper or a silpat. Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
Unwrap the dough and cut it into ¼ inch thick cookies arranging them on a baking sheet at least ½ inch apart. Sprinkle the cookies with fleur de sel and remaining .5 tsp of lavender.
Bake the cookies for 20 minutes or until the edges are golden. Cool completely on a wire rack. Enjoy with a glass of milk or champaign.