Vanilla Cranberry Shortbread
Last week I had a sudden urge to make some cookies. I haven't baked too much this summer because I don't like having the oven on any more than I need to when it is hot out, but Tim and I were both craving cookies, so I figured I'd better do something. Tim tried to remedy his craving a few weeks ago by making some good old fashioned chocolate chippers but he failed miserably. This only made him want good cookies even more. So, I went ahead and turned to what is probably my favorite type of cookie:shortbread. Pioneer Woman had also devoted a few posts to shortbread cookies and their versatility last week which only enhanced my cravings. She has some great ideas, so if craisins and vanilla are not your poison of choice, I bet that you can find something in her arsenal that would work for you. I whipped together a basic shortbread recipe, which consists of: 2 sticks of butter (if you use unsalted add some salt to the batter), 1 cup of granulated sugar, 2 cups of white flour, 1 cup of corn or potato starch. I added about a teaspoon of REAL (please use real, your friends will know if you don't) vanilla extract and a couple of small handfulls of Craisins. It was pure deliciousness. If you like shortbread, but have never made it you should do it once, because you will see just how easy it is, and you should have all of the ingredients that you need on-hand already. That is of course unless you don't habitually buy butter in mass quantities like I do. Then you may need to go out and get a package. But if you're like me and you feel the need to buy 4 packages of butter every time you are at the store, then you should be all set. Another great thing about shortbread: you can eat the dough raw because there are no eggs in it :-)
I have no pictures of these because I brought them along on a hiking trip and since they are so fragile, the leftovers were reduced to crumbs. Delicious, but not photographable.
Red Pepper Hummus:
This may not seem exciting to you but it was to me. I made hummus for dinner Monday night because I had some dental work done that afternoon and knew I would be needing to eat something soft for dinner. While I love hummus, it is a staple in our house, so it can become something similar to baked chicken or spaghetti. Yummy but somehow, boring. I had a revelation though-I decided to add some new flavor to our basic hummus recipe. All I did was add a little extra garlic, onion, and 1 small red pepper to the mix. It was so good that Tim has been saying how he wished there was more of it all week! Something so simple makes a mundane dinner way more exciting. We had it with the usual adornments-cucumbers, carrots, green pepper, black olives, and of course, toasted pita. In case you don't have a go-to hummus recipe, try this one:
15 oz garbanzo beans or chick peas, 2 tablespoons minced onion, a few cloves of garlic, depending on how much you like-I add 3-4. You can add the garlic to the food processor whole, no need to mice it ahead of time. 7 tablespoons of lemon juice a few teaspoons of good quality olive oil, (if you do not have good oil, just leave it out) and 2 tablespoons of tahini. Throw everything in your food processor and pulse until it is smooth. You can top it with fresh parsley if you want to. This will just add some color and a nice boost of flavor.
In other news, I saw Julie & Julia last night. It was such a fun movie, full of delicious looking food. It will make you hungry so have some popcorn handy! If you are a food-lover you will definitely enjoy the show!