Tuesday, June 17, 2008

matzo ball soup

We like to get in touch with our Jewish (not really) roots and make Matzo Ball Soup every now and then. It's so simple, yet hearty, and the kids totally gobble it up. You should be able to find Matzo meal at your grocery store. You might have to go to a specialty or international store. The scans above are from a recent-ish Martha Stewart magazine, but I don't know which one. I just tore the pages out. These are great recipes. The first is how to make your own stock from scratch, and then there's a recipe for chicken noodle soup, chicken and rice soup, and lastly, chicken soup with matzo balls. You can add chicken, carrots, etc., to the recipe, but we just do broth and the matzo balls. We don't follow the above recipe exactly, like we use vegetable oil in place of the chicken fat. Here's the general recipe with my changes added in parentheses:

Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls (serves 10)
4 large eggs, separated (we don't separate)
1/4 cup chicken fat, melted (we use 4 Tbsp. vegetable oil)
12 1/2 cups chicken stock/broth (we do 12 cups)
1 1/4 tsp. coarse salt (we use the kosher brand in all our food. It works in baking too)
freshly ground pepper
1 cup matzo meal
1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley (you can use the dried to taste)
Coarsely chopped fresh dill, for garnish (also can use dried to taste)

1. Whisk yolks, fat, 1/2 cup stock, and the salt in a medium bowl; season with pepper. Stir in matzo meal and parsley. (we mix: 4 Tbsp. veg. oil, 4 whole eggs, 4 Tbsp. water, salt, matzo meal, and parsley)

2. Put egg whited into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Add to matzo mixture; whisk until smooth. Refreigerate until slightly thickened, about 30 minutes. (when you skip the egg white process, you only need to refrigerate for 15 minutes or so).

3. Bring remaining stock to a boil in a large pot. Scoop out 1 1/2-inch balls of the matzo mixture, and add to stock. Reduce heat. Cover, and simmer until matzo balls are slightly firm and cooked through, about 15 minutes. Garnish with dill. (We cover and simmer for 40 minutes)

Of course, our version is less time consuming than Martha's, but whose wouldn't be? Here's how our's turned out. Delicious!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Laura Bush's Cowboy Cookies

I saw this post on Ali's blog about Hillary Clinton's Chocolate Chip Cookies and I remembered that I had the recipe for Laura Bush's Cowboy Cookies. So we made them. It was Luke's first time helping to cook something and he really enjoyed himself. We only had one major spill and that was the oats. Do you think that these first ladies really came up with the recipes on their own? I don't buy it. I think they had some help, like from their White House chefs, but it's kind of fun to have cookies like these anyway. I don't remember where I got the recipe. Maybe it was her biography or something.

Laura Bush Cowboy Cookies
3 cups flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
3 eggs
1 Tbsp. vanilla (I use pure vanilla extract because I'm a snob like that)
3 cups chocolate chips
3 cups oats
2 cups coconut
2 cups chopped pecans (I like the subtle taste of the pecans, not the chunks, so I chop them very fine)

Heat oven to 350. Mix flour, soda, powder, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Beat butter until smooth. Add sugar, eggs (1 at a time), vanilla, and then flour. Mix slowly. Add chocolate chips, oats, coconut, and pecans. Bake for 12-15 minutes.

These are pretty yummy and they make, like, a million.

rice krispie treats

(Reece's Peanut Butter Baking Chips)=
my favorite Rice Krispie treats