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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A special cookie for a special occasion

Baby Maiyo Torin was born yesterday to Mary and Anastacio weighing 6 lbs, 13oz, 20 inches long, same as Jaxon on the day we brought him home. I had been thinking of him all day and have been so excited to finally go meet him. I felt that the cookie of choice to bring to Mary at Sutter should be Mexican Wedding Cookies for no other reason than they are pretty amazing tasting! I've heard they are supposed to be crescent shaped to be called that, but according to whom...? They've also been known to be called Russian Tea Cookies. They are not really tied to any culture specifically, but traditionally they are served to guests at special occasions or holidays because they are made with rich and expensive foods ( (the richest butter, the finest sugar, and choisest nuts)
Basically, they are a nutty shortbread rolled in powdered sugar. But these little snowball like cookies just melt in your mouth. Once they hit your tongue, the powdered sugar just dissipates. The buttery cookie center is slightly crunchy then they too just melt away. I don't know how else to describe them. The cookie itself has very little sugar in them since they're coated twice in powdered sugar once they're baked. But the final product isn't too sweet, they're just perfect.


  • 2 cups whole pecans, chopped fine
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 lb butter ( 2 sticks), softened
  • 1/3 c. superfine sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners sugar for rolling cooled cookies
1) Heat oven to 325 degrees. Mix 1 cup chopped nuts, flour and salt in medium bowl; set aside. Using food processor fitted with a steel blade process remaining nuts to the texture of fine cornmeal. Stir into flour mixture and set aside.
2) Either by hand or in bowl of an electric mixer; hand or standing, beat butter and sugar until light and creamy, next add in vanilla scraping sides and bottom of bowl with rubber spatula; add flour mixture and beat at low speed until thoroughly mixed without over-mixing.
3) Working with about one tablespoon of dough at a time, roll and shape cookies into balls, crescents, rings or cigar shapes as desired. Bake until tops are pale golden and bottoms are just beginning to brown, approximately 10- 15 minutes. ( although baking times will differ on your oven) If using a convection, only heat oven to 275, and bake for 7-10 minutes.
4) Cool cookies on sheets for about 2 minutes. Remove with metal spatula to wire rack. Cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. Then give a first dusting of confectioners' sugar, working 3 or 4 cookies at a time. Before serving, roll cookies in confectioners' sugar a second time to ensure a thick coating, and tap off excess.
(Can be stored in air-tight container for up to 5 days)

Monday, June 20, 2011

1st Fathers Day! Stuffed Bells

My husband has had to work so much, even on Fathers Day he worked until 2:00 or 2:30; however, we spent a nice afternoon at the pool and his special dinner request was stuffed red bell peppers. Coincidentally, just a week ago, I had come across a recipe ( from a health magazine no less) that I had saved and had 'stuffed' in an old binder. We were both pleasantly pleased with how they turned out!

Stuffed Red Bell Peppers- By Susan Irby, The Bikini Chef

  • 4 red bell peppers, tops sliced, seeds removed
  • 1/2 pound lean ground turkey- or in my case I used Jenny-O Spicy Turkey Sausage
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 to 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tblsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 tblsp chopped fresh sage leaves
  • 3 cremini mushrooms, chopped ( I omitted)
  • 1/4 cup fresh frozen kernel corn, ( about 1 large ear of corn)
  • 1/2 cup chopped broccoli florets
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Sea Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup cooked white, brown or basmati rice ( I used brown)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In large saucepan over medium heat, add turkey and saute until beginning to brown. Add onion and garlic. Saute until tender and turkey is browned. Add thyme, sage, mushrooms, corn, broccoli and saute until tender, about 4 minutes. Add cayenne pepper, and season with salt and pepper. Add rice and mix well.
Using a kitchen spoon, spoon rice mixture into peppers, pressing down to stuff. Transfer stuffed peppers to an iron skillet or small roasting pan, standing up, place tops on top ( its ok, if peppers are overstuffed.) Place in oven. Bake 40 minutes or until peppers are tender, but still slightly firm. Remove from heat and serve.

Susan Irby, the Bikini Chef is a radio host, author and specialist in healthy "bikini" cuisine.