February 2012

Lofthouse Sugar Cookies

lofthouse-sugar-cookies
Um….have you ever seen these in the grocery store? Have you ever eaten them?
If you have, you’re probably drooling right now. These cookies are magical. They’re irresistible. And they’re not chocolate and I’m still raving, which means they’re legit.
I always wondered what sneaky things the lofthouse people put in these things, to make them so fluffy and flavorful and fun. Well, here you go – from the lofthouse kitchen, to mine, to yours – YOU WILL LOVE THESE AND BECOME A COOKIE HERO.
Recipe
  • 3 cups cake flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2  Large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2-3 teaspoons vanilla

Frosting

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • food coloring (optional)
In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time. Add the sour cream and vanilla, then the flour mixture. Stir just until combined. Cover bowl and refrigerate for at least one hour (this is important).
Preheat the oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll about 3 tablespoons of dough into a ball, place on the baking sheet and flatten with your hands until about 1/2 inch thick.  Continue with remaining dough, placing each cookie at least two inches apart.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the cookies are just slightly underdone.  Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.
When all the cookies are done and cooled, mix the frosting ingredients together and frost them generously.  Top them with sprinkles (crucial).
And realize that from this moment on, your life will never be the same.
You are in the presence of greatness. Good luck having these in the house.
creamy-vegetable-pasta-primavera-wi
I am writing this post under an extreme case of jet lag. I got into Thailand last night, was wide awake the entire night, and hit the gym by 3:45 AM.  I am killing some time before my next meeting by writing about the incredibly delicious dinner my husband and I made last week. That’s right, I am giving him partial credit. He suggested we make some sort of creamy pasta with tons of vegetables, and top it with steak and shrimp. It all sounded great until he said ‘topwith steak and shrimp.’ That sounded awful busy to me, with the cream, pasta, all the vegetables etc. However, as a gal who loves a cooking challenge (and a dinner thumbs up from her husband), I agreed and went to the grocery store. We love what happened here. John claimed it was one my best ever (though you may find that comment on a few of my recipes, so take it with a grain of salt)….but I concur. This was dang good.
Recipe
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 lb asparagus, chopped
  • 1/2 lb mushrooms, any variety
  • 4-5 tomatoes, sliced and seeded
  • 1 can corn
Sauce
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 – 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
  • fresh oregano (2 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley

Pasta

  • 1 lb bowtie pasta
One of the keys to making a good vegetable primavera is to not let the vegetables get too overdone. I ensured this by lightly sauteing them in batches. I heated a tablespoon of olive oil with a tablespoon of butter over medium heat. First, I added the onions and cooked for about 10 minutes.
Then, I removed those and lightly cooked the asparagus, about 3-5 minutes. I then cooked the mushrooms about 5 minutes, then the tomatoes just until done. Transfer all the remaining vegetables to a plate. Reduce the heat to medium-low.
Meanwhile, prepare the pasta, drain and set aside.
Pour 1/2 cup dry white wine in the sautee pan to deglaze. Add 1 tablespoon butter, and 1/2 cup chicken broth. Whisk to combine, then bring to a low boil and let reduce…about 10 minutes.
Add the heavy cream and milk. Bring the sauce to a low boil and let it thicken for about 15 minutes.  Add about 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Whisk in the 2 tablespoons cream cheese and 1/2 cup grated parmesan. Combine thoroughly and remove from heat.
Stir in plenty of fresh parsley and the oregano (or basil would be awesome!). Mix in all the vegetables and pasta. If the sauce is too thick for you, feel free to add another splash of milk.
We topped ours with grilled shrimp and filet mignon…but chicken would be awesome too. For the grilled shrimp, simply toss peeled shrimp with olive oil, salt & pepper, and grill on each side for about 3 minutes. I don’t know how to grill the filet. My husband did that.
  Here they are hanging out together by the fire (it was a chilly night)…
And getting a little cozier…
Top with plenty of parmesan and enjoy!

Super Bowl Sunday

I am not excited for the Super Bowl. I couldn’t care less about either team, I am annoyed that Madonna is the halftime show, and I think the event is about 2 hours too long. That being said, I hope you are all getting excited for Super Bowl Sunday! If I wasn’t being a Super Bowl Scrooge, these would be my top picks for game time snacks: