Thursday, January 26, 2012

Duchesse Cookies

This recipe comes from one of my mother's Swiss Betty Bossi cookbooks. The cookbook is solely dedicated to baking cookies and is full of mouthwatering pictures. Even though the recipes in this book are old (this book was published in 1978), they always seems to produce great results. Betty Bossi is kind of like the Martha Stewart meets Betty Crocker of Switzerland. I think every Swiss household has at least one Betty Bossi cookbook in their possession.

This recipe usually creates a cookie that looks pretty different from mine. The cookie is meant to have a chocolate filling that gets sandwiched between cookies. The cookies are also supposed to be piped into the shape of a meringue kiss, so you end up with a three dimensional cookie. I rushed these a bit too much and hastily spooned my batter onto cookie sheets/ sure enough, they turned out flat, but they still tasted amazing. My family prefers these without the chocolate and has these cookies with tea or coffee. If you're trying to make a more elegant cookie, add the chocolate filling. I also apologize that I didn't remember to convert the gram measurements into cups, so hopefully you can get your hands on a scale.

(photo from the cookbook- the intended shape)
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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Halibut with Red Pepper Harissa

Last week I was at one of the "big" grocery stores near the village I call home these days. I got really excited when I read that they had just received a shipment of fresh halibut, but could not figure out where they were hiding it. I asked the man at the fish counter for 4 pieces of halibut, expecting to see the big steak-style cuts of halibut that I used to get at home. It turns out they thinly fillet their halibut in Switzerland, making it really delicate and tricky to work with. But I was determined to give this recipe a try, so I bought the halibut and get to work. If you can find the halibut steaks, this fish will look much nicer.

The red pepper harissa in this dish is amazing. I made this for myself and 3 guys and we devoured every last drop of it. I could have probably made more since we ended up pouring it over our rice as well. As with all spicy foods, just cut back on the amount of chile peppers you use. I used 3 little red Thai chilies since we don't have jalapeƱos over here, but we all liked spicy food. The spicy kick is great in this recipe, but you could probably omit the jalapeƱo entirely if you don't do well with heat. The spices and the roasted red pepper will make a great topping to any kind of white fish.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Frozen Frangelico Coffee with Cream

I realize frozen drinks aren't exactly the right thing for winter, but the flavor combination in this one is perfect. Although I made mine a frozen drink, you could just as easily serve it warm. What's makes this so delicious is the combination of the hazelnut from the Frangelico and maple flavored cream. I'm not a coffee drinker, but I thought this looked pretty, so I made this for other people. I tried some myself and really enjoyed they way the flavors all came together, but one taste was about all I could do. Don't skip the step of adding the maple syrup to the cream since that is what stands out the most (at least in my non coffee liking opinion). This is one of those recipes where you can tweak everything to your personal preferences. If you prefer less Frangelico, use a bit less. If you want the cream sweeter, you can add a bit of sugar as well.

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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Simple Potato Leek Soup

What I love about this Martha Stewart recipe (aside from how easy it is to make), is the creamy texture she creates without using any cream or other heavy dairy product. The flavor of the leeks come though without being overwhelmed by the potatoes. Even when there is a massive pot of this soup in the kitchen for days I don't seem to get sick of it. This soup also tastes great days after you make it and it freezes well too.

If you've never worked with leeks before, makes sure you really wash them thoroughly. After you slice them, push apart the rings before washing. You'll be surprised how much dirt gets stuck between the layers of leeks. Aside from this step, there really isn't anything difficult about this soup. If you're really starving when you make this, you could get away with keeping the heat higher in the final step of simmering and cooking the potatoes until they are tender. I've made this soup when I didn't have a blender available before and still found it to be great. I hand mashed some of the potatoes in the pot to try making the texture a little creamier and that worked alright. You definitely do not need to garnish this soup with anything if you're not too worried about a colorful presentation. I bet a dollop of sour cream would also go well as another garnish option.

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