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Posts Tagged ‘ginger’

Butter cookie base recipe from The Great Holiday Baking Book (B. Ojakangas).  Had to add vanilla and milk to thin out the batter so the cookie press would release the shapes easily.

Also made a batch of spiced ginger cookies.  It’s just not Christmastime without ginger molasses cookies!

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I love ribs.  I can go to town on some finger-licking glazed, smoked, or BBQ pork ribs.  It’s not a pretty sight and not real lady-like to be seen gnawing on a bone, face covered in sticky sauce.  Doubly true whilst pregnant!  I ate a lot of ribs while carrying Big Brother, I can’t believe he turned six on Friday.  Speaking of which, I’ve lost quite a bit of baby weight using a simple trick.  Eat like French women.  There’s a book available that is on my wish list… French Women Don’t Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano, although without reading the book I have one simple rule: only eat when I am hungry and stop when I am full.  Listen to your body and drink plenty of water and hot tea.  The hot tea bit is more of a Chinese thing, so my neighbour says, you should drink warm or room temperature drinks to not shock your system.  Green and white teas have additional benefits.

I have a craving for this one Chinese restaurant, Din Ho, where Hubby and I occasionally catch up over lunch.  I saw these ribs on Martha Stewart as part of a Pupu Platter, I didn’t have baby back ribs but these turned out just as delicious.

Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Baby Back Ribs

  • 6 lb rack of ribs, trim excess fat, divide into 3-4 rib portions
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1.5 TBSP fresh ginger
  • 3 tsp chili powder
  • 3 Tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 3/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 cup red plum preserves
  • water (if needed)

Put the marinade in a large zippered bag, mix to combine adding a bit of water if it looks too thick.  Add the pork ribs and refrigerate in a container for 12-24 hours.

Preheat the oven to 375ºF.  Reserve the marinade as the ribs are removed to a foil lined rack on a sheet or broiler pan.  Bake for 45 minutes to 75 minutes (it depends on how thick the ribs are and how you portion them), use the reserved marinade as your basting liquid.  Remove from the oven and allow the ribs to rest before cutting individual ribs.

* You could bake the ribs until they are just cooked, then finish them off on the grill.  This is a great way to get ahead of the game if you have guests to feed!  Same applies to chicken, only the chicken should be covered in foil while in the oven to help maintain its moisture.  Grill marks add a delicious touch to both ribs and chicken.

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What began as a quick weeknight supper ended up costing me more time than anticipated.  Using only one pan to crisp up small strips of pork was the downfall of the whole operation.  Or maybe it was the level of meticulously employed to remove all the visible fat while slicing up the meat.  No matter.  The end result was a tangy crispy pork with broccoli florets and onion slices.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 lb thinly sliced pork
  • 2 heads of broccoli, florets divided
  • 1/2 onion in large slices
  • ketchup
  • soy sauce
  • ginger
  • apple cider vinegar
  • red chili flakes

All I did was fry up the pork with garlic powder, salt and pepper in several batches – don’t crowd the pan or you will not get a good brown on the meat.  Clean the bottom of the pan as needed.  Steam the broccoli and add a little oil with the onion.  Stir together the remaining ingredients and add a teaspoon of corn starch if you like a clingy sauce, I certainly do.  Dump in the sauce and pork, stir to coat. 

Serve over rice and enjoy!

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Have you ever had one day where you needed to accomplish a mountain of tasks only to be challenged at every turn?

That’s today for me. 

    For the first time in weeks, I have that woman warrior power again.  There’s so much to be done, I’m under pressure from every direction.  Everything weighing on me lately just got a dose of kickass.  I’m in 4×4 all-woman drive!

    The holiday season is my favorite time of year.  Then I remember all those little projects kept in plastic tub tombs in the closets around the house.  Tree ornaments need painting.  Stockings need sewing.  Cards need to be stuffed and mailed. 

    This year I wanted to build Gingerbread houses.  I saw ready-made kits at the store yesterday and that sight really lit my mitts.  I can do this.  I will do this.  First, we need construction materials.  I need a strong cookie dough to build the houses with.  With a bit of searching through all the cookbooks standing attention on the kitchen shelf, I found a recipe.  Hmm…  Where’s the molasses?

The Dough

Adapted for my lack of enough molasses from

Better Homes & Gardens Cook Book (*) Ginger Cutout Cookies

  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 sticks room temperature butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/4 honey
  • 2 teas cinnamon
  • 1 teas ginger
  • 1/4 teas cardamom
  • 1/4 teas nutmeg
  • 2 teas baking powder
  • 1 teas baking soda

Cream the butter for 30 seconds then add the sugar.  Mix until well blended.  Add everything except the flour then mix until well incorporated.  Scrape the sides of the mixer bowl as you go.

Add the first cup of flour and blend slowly.  Then add as much flour as you can of the remaining 4 cups.  You should be able to mix it all in, or finish it off by kneading the flour into the dough.  It was not necessary to knead when I made this dough.

Divide the dough in to four equal parts and form a disc out of each.  Wrap in plastic and let the dough chill out in the fridge for 3 hours, or up to overnight.  This recipe is enough for two cottages, about 6.5 inches tall.

The Mortar (Royal Icing)

I have a royal icing mix from a bakery shop which was intended to serve as icing on cute pumpkin cupcakes for Little Sister’s birthday party.  I ran out of time for decorating the cupcakes, so there’s plenty of icing for the gingerbread cottages! 

Whisk one 16 oz bag (or box) with 5 tablespoons of water.  You don’t really need any fancy cake decorating tools for this job.  A plastic sandwich bag will be fine.  Fill one or two bags with the icing then snip one corner at the bottom.  Twist the top of the bags to get all that sticky sugar down to the opening.  The zipper top will tend to pop open (learn from my mistake!) so keep the top end tight with a twist-tie if you will set it down for any reason during cottage construction.  For the children, put a small amount of the icing into smaller bags if you have them, this way they can help themselves to sticking candies to the cookie walls.  I used one bag for the whole lot, Big Brother directed me where to apply his glue.  

Designing Gingerbread Cottages

I really enjoy this part because baking and art come together!  Art that is edible rocks if you ask me.  Trust me, watercolor paint does not taste good at all.  (Go ahead and ask me how I know this.) Make templates – any cardboard or heavy stock paper will work.  I had to get out my civil engineering cap to find a suitable size for my little cottages, and use the dough that was already made.  The east and west elevations consist of a 4″ x 4″ square with a peak 2.5″ on center.  The front and back elevations are 4″ x 4″ squares, the roof pieces are 5.25″ x 3.5″.

 

Roll the chilled dough to 1/4″ thick, a quarter of it at a time.  The templates can be placed quite closely together to maximize the useful areas of the dough.  The extra dough can be gathered up and rolled again.

There was even enough for a few star cookies, a warranted snack for the hungry cottage builders.  Use a fine toothed grater to smooth and square the edges.  Apply a plump strip of icing to the interior edge of the wall, press gently to adhere then prop the walls up with cans.  Let the walls dry and harden before affixing the roof.  Use plenty of mortar for the roof!

The Candy-Coated Cottages

 

What makes edible art that much more fun is involving the kids in the creation.   Big Brother really had fun adding his special artist’s touch to his house.  I made the second one for Little Sister, who was napping at the time.

Improvise and have fun building and designing your gingerbread cottages 🙂

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Some of our fondest memories are attached to our five senses. 

The warm hug of your favorite aunt. The smell of freshly picked berries in summer.  Glorious sunsets over the gulf spent with your spouse on a deep-sea fishing trip.  The song which played during your first dance as husband and wife.  The taste of gingersnap cookies shared with grandma at tea time.  The latter is my memory of the moment.  I loved sitting next to grandma as she poured cups of orange pekoe or earl grey tea, the perfect accompaniment to her store-bought gingersnap cookies.  My grandmother was very advanced in her years, but sharp as a whip for the longest time.  She told me many stories of people she knew, friends, former neighbors during our tea time.  When I bake a batch of these cookies, I have such a warm feeling from her spirit, and that everything will be okay.  Grandma K, you would have loved this cookie…

  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick) at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp ginger powder
  • 1 tsp Saigon cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp allspice powder
  • 1/4 tsp pepper (fine grind black pepper)
  • 2 Tbsp crystalized ginger, chopped fine
  • 3/4 cup confectioner’s sugar (set aside)

Beat the butter, sugar, and molasses until smooth.  Add the egg and beat.  Sift the dry ingredients, leaving out the confectioner’s sugar.  Add the dry mixture to the butter and beat on low.  Stir in the crystalized ginger.

Spoon the dough into 1.5 inch balls, then roll in the confectioner’s sugar.  Place the balls on a greased cookie sheet, or silicone pad on a sheet, even parchment paper will work.  Keep the cookies 2 inches apart.

Bake at 350 F for 9 minutes for chewy cookies, 13 minutes for crisper cookies.  Let the cookies cool on the pan until firm then remove to a rack to finish.  Store in airtight containers until ready to serve.

Tidbit: Use room temperature dough and back off the flour a touch, these cookies will spread and crack more.  If the dough is chilled first and a little more flour is added, the cookies do not spread out as much and appear smooth on top, which is better for making shapes which will be adorned with icing later.

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