peach wontons with browned butter whiskey sauce

Here’s another recipe where the measurements are up to you. Ingredients: fresh peaches, brown sugar, wonton wrappers, butter, and whiskey. Once the peaches are sliced (or diced), sprinkle them with brown sugar (I used smoked demerara sugar, but brown sugar is also good). Place the peach mix on top of wonton wrappers. Fold over and pinch edges together using water or egg white as adhesive. Fry one minute on each side in hot oil. Drain and cover with powdered sugar or browned butter whiskey sauce. To make the sauce, brown some butter on the stovetop, then whisk in some whiskey and brown sugar. Cook till it reduces to a near caramel state and pour over tops of fried peach wontons. Voilà: crunchy dough, spiked glaze, sweet steam, and warm August peaches, intersecting in one juicy wonton bite.

celery date salad

Last week my mom spent a day researching the great-granddaughter of Martha Washington at the library where I work, so we had a lunch date downtown!  We walked to a sit-down restaurant where I ordered a falafel with a side dish of celery salad. I enjoyed so much of that chunky crunch that I made up my own salad at home based on the combination of flavors on my lunch plate that day.  It’s a great dish to prepare on a night when you crave the catharsis that accompanies chopping vegetables, and now every time I eat it I will remember the intrigue of Mary Custis Lee and that fun lunch.

For the salad:

Chop up celery, dates, and red onions.
Whisk together apple cider vinegar and honey.
Toss it all real good.
Sprinkle crumbled feta over top.

Turn a side dish into a meal:

Add crispy bacon and/or roasted chickpeas to the pile.

my introduction to ground cherries

In a parking lot on a card table before a rusty pickup truck.

Nestled beside zucchini logs and onion bundles.

Spilling from a flimsy wooden box.

Pocket-size paper lanterns?

Husks grass to blush.

Petite globe fruit packages.

Green apple, roasted pineapple flesh.

New ritual for the summer pre-meal ceremonies.

Shucking corn, snapping beans, unwrapping ground cherries.

bourbon lime butter cookies

I am bringing these buttery cocktail cookies to the cookie mountain! Did I mention that the bride is a letterpress lady? Subtle in bourbon and perky with lime, these are slightly crumbly cookies that melt in your mouth. Can’t wait to celebrate with Jarrid & Emily!

Bourbon Lime Butter Cookies

4 oz. (one stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons bourbon
zest & juice of 2 limes
1/2 large egg yolk
1 cup all-purpose flour

Beat the butter, sugar, salt, bourbon, lime zest and lime juice together until creamy.
Mix in the egg yolk completely.
Add the flour and mix just until incorporated.

If you want to cut out shapes:
Roll dough into patties and place between two large pieces of plastic wrap.
I use this method to keep the cookies from becoming too dried out.
Roll over top of the plastic wrap until the dough is thin.
If dough is difficult to cut out, chill it until it hardens a little and use a little flour or confectioner’s sugar with your cutters.

If you want to slice cookies:
Roll dough into a log, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge (freezer if you can’t wait), and slice when ready to bake.

Before baking, preheat the oven to 325°F.
Line your baking sheets with parchment.
Bake 8-10 minutes. About 2 dozen cookies.

molasses chocolate cordial kisses

You know the peanut butter cookies with chocolate kisses in the middle? The slightly salty peanut butter cookie is soft and chewy, and then hello! a sweet solid chocolate enters the center creating a perfect flavor marriage. I love those treats. Here’s my late summer wedding inspired version made with homey molasses cookies and dark chocolate cordials.

I originally posted my Great Aunt Velma’s molasses cookie recipe* when I made molasses cookies with black cherry gelato earlier this year. For this test run, I rolled the spicy dough in pink sugar (~32 cookies when you make the dough balls tablespoon size) and placed dark chocolate cherry cordials and blackberry brandy cordials in the middles as soon as they were done baking (~8 minutes in the oven). The cherry cordials have a definite ooze effect, so it may be appropriate to take a generous bite to save the spiked juices from flowing down your shirt as you crack the chocolate shell. But who said a messy surprise is such a bad thing?

*The first go ’round I failed to follow one of Aunt Velma’s footnotes: place a drop of water on the center of the dough balls before baking. They taste the same, but they seem to crackle evenly with the water droplet.

! cookies

I’m doing some cookie testing, because it’s fun, and because I got this snappy wedding invitation in the mail that also invited guests to contribute a kick-ass cookie to the celebration’s cookie mountain. This couple is awesome, and I want to bestow some worthy-tasting and fun-looking cookies to that sweets sierra.

First up, aesthetics and edible letterpress! I tested out my letter pressed cookie cutters on some basic sugar cookie dough. I have a feeling that a shortbread cookie will better hold shape and impression more than the flopsy sugar cookie recipe. I have it in mind to come up with a cocktail twist on a basic butter cookie inspired by the bride and groom, so TBC…

In the meantime, I tested the letterpress look using the ! cutter/stamp. Sometimes a lone ! is the vaguely perfect expression of a thought or feeling inside of me. In sentences, I try not to use them too much. If it bothers you, you’ll have to either ignore it or forgive me; I get excited.

Remember the Seinfeld Episode where Elaine is accused of haphazardly using exclamation points?

Jerry: You’re out of your mind you know that.

Elaine: What?

Jerry: It’s an exclamation point! It’s a line with a dot under it.

Elaine: Well, I felt a call for one.

Jerry: A call for one, you know I thought I’ve heard everything. I’ve never heard a relationship being affected by a punctuation.

Elaine: I found it very troubling that he didn’t use one.