February 13, 2014

Valentine's Snickerdoodles with Sprinkles

Chris and I haven't celebrated Valentine's Day since our dating days ten years ago but I do enjoy baking Valentine's treats each year.  How about you?  Something to celebrate or just another day? 

This year I combined Valentine's sprinkles (aka jimmies) from Target's dollar spot with Joanne's soft and chewy snickerdoodle sprinkle cookies and loved the way they turned out.

It's a quick recipe to make because it yields just 32 cookies unlike some recipes that make quantities more appropriate for a bake sale.  Just two cookie sheets in and out of the oven and you're done!

I made a couple minor changes to the recipe, using less sprinkles (my package was 3.2 oz, about a 1/2 cup) and using nonstick cookie sheets instead of parchment paper.

One $2 plate from Target later and you're all set to serve these cookies :)

February 05, 2014

Roasted Eggplant Dip

I'm currently reading Food Blogging for Dummies and despite the title, it's a really good book.  It probably sounds like it's geared for beginner bloggers, but I think you need to be at least a couple years into blogging to really benefit from the book.

One piece of advice from the book that I don't adhere to is "pay attention to seasons and holidays."  The author says "For example, posting a pumpkin pie recipe on Thanksgiving Day isn’t very useful for your audience and you probably won’t have the best-tasting tomato salad in December."

I know that eggplant, peppers and tomatoes aren't in season right now in the vast majority of the U.S. but they are here and that's the beauty of Pinterest.  I recommend pinning this recipe from the Barefoot Contessa now and then making it when eggplant starts arriving in your CSA box.

I saw Ina make this recipe on one of the many episodes of Barefoot Contessa I've watched over the past few months.  It's the only cooking show that I typically pin several recipes from after watching.
This time around, I made the recipe exactly as written, but would like to try a fresh tomato in place of tomato paste next time.  Our CSA box is heavy with tomatoes each week and I find it difficult to find enough uses for them.  Hopefully our next freezer is bigger and then I can freeze marinara sauce.
I really liked this dip with Stacy's naked pita chips, but I can imagine it making a tasty sandwich spread too, topped with some crunchy cucumbers.

Roasted Eggplant Dip

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients (8 servings)
  • 2 medium eggplants, peeled
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded
  • 1 red onion, peeled
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (use less if serving with salted pita chips)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (from one lemon)
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Cut the eggplant, bell pepper and onion into 1-inch cubes, then place inside a large Ziploc bag. Add garlic, olive oil, cayenne, salt and pepper to the bag, then shake until the vegetables are coated in seasoning.
  • Line a baking sheet with foil, then spread the vegetables out in a single layer. Roast for 20 minutes, then toss vegetables. Roast for another 20 minutes or until the vegetables are lightly browned and soft. Cool slightly.
  • Place the vegetables in a food processor, add the lemon juice and tahini, pulse a few times to blend. Transfer to a bowl and add chopped parsley. Serve with pita chips.
Recipe Source: Barefoot Contessa
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