Monday, December 23, 2013

Rosemary and Pomegranate Gin Cocktail by Heather

With its red and green ingredients, this gin cocktail is the perfect festive drink to make while celebrating the holidays with friends and family!

1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
Gin of choice (we used Tanqueray, but Hendricks or Bulldog gin would also be good)
Club soda
POM pomegranate juice
Cranberries for garnish (optional)
Rosemary sprigs

First, make the simple syrup.  Combine the sugar, water, and rosemary in a small sauce pan over medium heat and stir until all sugar has been dissolved.  You don't want the syrup to boil, so make sure to watch it closely.  Set aside and wait until the syrup has cooled, then remove the rosemary sprig.

In a cocktail shaker, combine 1 shot glass full of gin and about 3/4 of a shot glass of simple syrup with a few ice cubes (you can use less of the simple syrup if you don't like your drink to be too sweet).  Shake for about 30 seconds or until all ingredients are combined.  Pour the contents into a cocktail glass with ice.  Top off club soda and pomegranate juice and garnish with rosemary and cranberries.  Cheers!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Classic Gingerbread by Rachel

Cookies have taken over the blog!  What's a holiday cookie care package without your classic gingerbread. I've always love gingerbread, but had never tried to make it.  After making it, I've definitely learned to appreciate it a lot more.  The work and time it takes to cut out each little man perfectly is something I had severely underestimated!

And you know what else?  The dough is REALLY sticky.  BUT!  Despite these nit-picky little things, gingerbread is, indeed, delicious and is a must-have for a holiday cookie melange!


1 stick of butter, softened
1 egg
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
3/4 cup of molasses
2 3/4 cup all purpose flour (plus extra when you are ready to roll out your dough)
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp of salt

makes about 3 dozen thin gingerbread men

Monday, December 16, 2013

Lemon Rosemary Shortbread Trees by Rachel

'Tis the season!!  Having a cookie exchange?  Need to make some cookies for friends?  Well, have I got the cookie for you!

I'm putting together a cookie care package for some of my nearest and dearest friends and I knew I had to include a shortbread, but I wanted something that wouldn't be too sweet to balance out the other cookies that I plan to include.  I had lemons and rosemary in the fridge and thought, "why not?"


2 sticks of butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg, room temperature
1 tbsp fresh, chopped rosemary
1 tbsp lemon zest (about 1 lemon)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/4 cups flour

makes about 30 cookies

Tomato Cobbler by Rachel

So much energy goes into make the holiday entree that sometimes the side dishes are forgotten.  If you're looking for something easy and new to serve at your holiday dinner this year, try this easy recipe for tomato cobbler!

It's a warm and festive dish to serve for the holidays with the bright color of the tomatoes and the toasty-ness of the biscuits on top.  Without further ado...!

Inspired by Joy The Baker

1 large onion, diced
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, diced.
2-3 pints of grape or cherry tomatoes, washed and halved
1 tbsp fresh, chopped basil
3 tbsp flour
3 large pinches of salt
black pepper to taste

Sunday, December 15, 2013

My Dad's Lamb Chops by Rachel

A great meat for a holiday dish if you want to do something a little different is lamb.  When I went home for Thanksgiving, my dad made a delicious lamb chop dish and I'm not even a lamb person.  I'm very sensitive to gamey tasting meats, but my dad's recipe eliminated a lot of that taste from the lamb chops.  They were tender and very yummy!

I made these for a holiday party with my friends and they were a huge hit, so these will definitely be going into my recipe book for life.

1 1/2 lbs of lamb chops, frenched
2 tbsps / 6 sprigs of rosemary (it's really however much you want, but don't go too overboard, otherwise your food will taste like Christmas trees...)
2 tbsp salt
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp ground black pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp agave

+extra soy sauce used during cooking

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies by Heather

Brandon and I make these cookies every Christmas.  They're really chocolate-y and have an unexpected spiciness to them.  This recipe is adapted from a Martha Stewart recipe.

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup high quality unsweetened cocoa powder 
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. coarse salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
2 large eggs
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp chipotle chile powder

Truffled Mushroom Risotto with Gruyere by Heather

It was a snowy evening in NYC, so I wanted to make something warm and hearty, and this risotto does the trick.  It takes some work to make risotto, but the end product is definitely worth it.   It definitely helps if you have somebody that can help you stir!

1 lb. arborio rice
3 tbs. olive oil
2 32 fl. oz cartons chicken stock
13 fl. oz marsala wine
7 oz (2 packages) shiitake mushrooms or assorted mushrooms, diced
1 onion, diced
3 sage leaves, minced
1 spring rosemary, minced
.3 lb shredded gruyere cheese
.1 lb shredded mozzarrella
truffle oil for drizzling
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup parsley, chopped

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Kale Caesar Salad by Heather

This Ceasar salad is based on a similar salad I had a couple of months ago at Il Buco.  The key to making any simple salad exceptional is to use high quality ingredients.

1/2 loaf of day old bread (I used a rosemary sourdough boule)
1 salad container of assorted kale
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 anchovies in olive oil, minced
Parmigiano Regiano shaved into strips
3 tbs. olive oil, plus more for drizzling
juice from one lemon
sprinkle red pepper flakes
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp Greek yogurt
1 tsp dijon
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 lb shrimp, defrosted and peeled

Cut bread into large cubes, and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Sprinkle liberally with olive oil, salt and pepper, and 1 of the cloves of minced garlic.  Bake in oven at 375 for 7-10 minutes, or until golden brown.

Heat a medium saute pan with olive oil and a little garlic.  Add shrimp with salt and pepper, and sauté until pink.

To make the dressing, combine the rest of the garlic cloves, 3 tbs. olive oil, lemon juice, anchovies, Worcestershire sauce, dijon, Greek yogurt, and salt and pepper into a small jar and shake to combine.

Toss all ingredients in a large bowl until kale is coated with dressing.

Shrimp and Spinach Wontons by Heather

These wontons look like they are hard to make, but they're actually quite easy.  If you wanted to make these vegetarian, you could easily swap the shrimp with sautéed shiitake mushrooms.


Dipping Sauce:
3 tbs. soy sauce
2 tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. rice vinegar
1 scallion, chopped
1/8 tsp. granulated sugar
dash red pepper flakes

1 package wonton wrappers (you can choose square or circular; these are normally in the refrigerated section of the grocery store near the tofu)
15 uncooked shrimp defrosted, shelled, and chopped
2 scallions, chopped
2 tbs. cilantro
2 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. corn starch
1 tsp. rice vinegar
1 small nub fresh ginger, grated
1 cup chopped spinach
salt and pepper to taste

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Dark Chocolate Ganache and Hazelnut Praline Tart by Rachel

The reason why I love baking so much is because you can create such beautiful desserts if you put your mind to it.  Of all the desserts I've made, tarts are my favorite.  I love the way that tarts look they are really a very easy dessert to make.  Don't get scared off by having to make your own crust- you can do it!

I went home to North Carolina for Thanksgiving and my mom gave me a ton of Lindt chocolate that she happened to have (not sure why...), but I took it and turned it into a beautiful tart!  


For the chocolate crust (8 inch tart pan)
10 tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 pinch of salt
1/4 unsweetened cocoa powder
1 egg
1 tbsp ice water

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Special Ingredient: Potato and Crab Croquettes with Sweet and Spicy Aioli by Rachel

After thinking long and hard about an ingredient to feature in December, Heather and I decided that we would feature potatoes.  They are a starch used in so many foods and I wanted to pair them with something that people might not usually think to pair potatoes with.  I chose crab meat.

Boring, old potatoes?  I think not!
Crab meat is such a delicate thing and potatoes are so heavy, but when brought together in a nice and crispy croquette, they are unforgettable. I had friends in town from LA (my dear friend, the Skinny Critic and her fiancé) as well as my fiancé's brother.  I wanted them to have a really special dinner with us so I made these croquettes as an appetizer.


makes about 24 croquettes

3 large russet potatoes
1 pinch of salt
2 tbsp heavy cream
16 oz of canned crab meat (lump)
1 tbsp paprika
1 bag of panko bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup all purpose flour
Canola oil