Sunday, December 15, 2013

RASPBERRY JAM-FILLED HEART COOKIES

I usually make these cookies at Christmas time using star cookie-cutters. Sometimes I add poppy seeds to the dough. These make great little treats for Valentine's Day.


1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar

2 large egg yolks

1 t vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
Raspberry jam

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, mix butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add egg yolk and beat to incorporate. Mix in vanilla, flour and poppy seeds until well combined.
Divide dough into two equal pieces.  
Form each piece into a disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.

On a lightly floured surface, working with one piece at a time, roll dough to a ⅛-thickness.
Use a (2 ½ inch) heart or star cookie cutter to cut out cookies.
Transfer to baking sheets. 
Use a smaller cookie-cutter and cut out the center of half of the cookies.

Bake for 10-12 minutes. 
Transfer to wire racks and cool completely.
Place cookie tops on the baking sheets again and sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.
Spread about ½ t of jam on all solid cookies and gently top with cut-out cookie.


Saturday, November 23, 2013

GRILLED TURKEY BREAST

This turkey cooked 2 ½ hours on the grill and I added extra coals two times.  I served the turkey with roasted white and sweet potatoes and sautéed Swiss chard.




1 (8 to 9 lb) bone-in turkey breast
Apple or hickory wood chunks, soaked in water for at least 4 hours
1 cup apple juice 
1 T grape seed oil or extra-light olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Prepare coals on both sides of the grill for indirect heat.
Place aluminum foil on bottom of grill and place a pan on top with the apple juice or water.
Clean the grill with a wire brush.

Remove any excess fat and skin that is hanging from the turkey.
Rub the oil all over the turkey's skin and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Place turkey directly on the grill in the center.

Cook with vents partially open and add any coals as needed.

Check every 30 minutes. 
After 30 minutes of cooking add the wood chunks to each side of the hot coals.

Turkey is done when internal temperature of meat is 170 degrees F.



Saturday, June 15, 2013

STEAMED CHESAPEAKE BAY BLUE CRABS


Catching crabs is part of the summer fun on the Chesapeake Bay area of Maryland and Virginia.  You can identify a male crab by blue tips on its claws and an image of the Washington DC Monument on its abdomen.  A female crab has red tips on its claws and an image of the US Capitol Building on its abdomen.  You should always throw the female and small crabs back in the water.  If you buy crabs, ask for number one Jimmies.  They are the largest male crabs available and measure about 6 to 6 ½ inches. 


3 dozen live blue crabs
½ cup Old Bay Seasoning
¼ cup sea salt
3 cups beer
2 cups white vinegar
1 cup water

Layer crabs in the top portion of a crab pot and sprinkle with the Old Bay Seasoning between layers. Place the lid on securely.
Combine the sea salt, beer and white vinegar in the bottom of a crab pot. 
Stir and bring to a low boil.
Put the top portion with the crabs on top. 
Let steam 20 to 30 minutes until they turn bright orange.

While crabs are steaming, cover your table with brown packaging paper or newspaper.

Place wooden mallets on table along with small paring knives, a roll of paper towels or large napkins.

Spread crabs on table and sprinkle with a little more Old Bay Seasoning before serving, if desired.

Serve with beer, corn on the cob and a tomato salad.

Serves 4