Sunday, January 9, 2011

Culinary Success in the New Year

It is my fervent desire that, when my hubby and I finally move out of this money-sucking cosmetic eyesore in which we live --(Ever see "The Money Pit" with Shelley Long and Tom Hanks? Yeah, that's us.)-- that our new house has a large kitchen with oodles of workspace and room to move about. Yes, "oodles" is a legitimate design term. I heard Christopher Lowell use it years ago. While I have more usable counter space than some of my friends and family who also live in old homes, it just never seems like quite enough when there's more than one person working in the kitchen.

Nonetheless, this week we still managed to produce some credible culinary creations. Amy made her first batch of Orange Drop Cookies, a Christmas favorite that my mother-in-law has been making since my husband was a child. She didn't particularly enjoy zesting her own oranges, but the results were fabulous. Her biggest complaint, though, was the fact that they didn't last long!

Of course, Yaz patiently waited his turn for a taste ...

... which he eventually got. Persistence does pay off!

I also tried my hand at something new from the oven ... soft pretzels! Becky and I made both plain and pizza-stuffed versions.

While I really like the idea of stuffing the pretzels, and the method for doing so was fairly easy, I didn't really like the dough recipe. (Sorry, Guy!) It called for using a kitchen appliance I don't own, plus ingredients I don't have ready access to in my rural community. It didn't adapt well to my alterations, so I'll be looking for an older, more reliable recipe to play with in the near future. But they definitely made the kitchen smell good!

1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 Tbsp grated orange peel
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup buttermilk
Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, orange peel and vanilla. Beat until fluffy. Sift together dry ingredients; add to creamed mixture,alternating with buttermilk. Beat well after each addition. Drop on greased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 - 12 minutes. Ice while still warm.

1 Tbsp orange peel
3 Tbsp orange juice
3 Tbsp butter, softened
3 cups confectioner's sugar
Combine all ingredients until smooth and spreadable.

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