I knew that I needed to bring a knockout recipe to the food blogger cookie exchange that I attended last week, so I turned to these citrusy butter cookies. With a delicate crumb, a texture similar to soft shortbread, and a creme brulée-like smattering of burnt sugar that lightly shatters when you bite into it, Bruléed Orange Butter Cookies are a welcome contrast to the denser oatmeal and peanut butter cookies that are so prevalent this time of year. Although these cookies are a festive treat for the holidays, they make a delightful accompaniment to a cappuccino any time of the year.
Click to get the recipe for Bruleed Orange Butter Cookies –>
Ropa Veija is a traditional Cuban dish featuring beef that is slowly stewed in a sauce of tomatoes, garlic, and bell peppers until it falls apart into shreds. With the texture of pulled pork and the comforting flavor of pot-roast, Ropa Veija is a real crowd pleaser!
Although it does take a while to make (about 3-1/2 hours), the recipe couldn’t be simpler and it doesn’t require a lot of hands-on time. It’s also the kind of dish that tastes even better the next day, after the flavors have had more time to meld. I like to make a big batch on a lazy Saturday afternoon, then make Ropa and Swiss Sandwiches – a dish I fell in love with at New World Bistro Bar – to eat while we watch football (go Bills!) on Sunday.
This spin on classic pasta fagioli was nothing more than an excuse eat tortellini.
Seriously. I’ve been craving it ever since I made Tortelloni Di Ricotta Di Noci Tostate but, since I find tortellini so easy to overeat, I try not to make it too often. Then I had a brilliant idea: stretch out a serving of tortellini by adding it to a soup full of nutritious ingredients. As it turns out, the soup that I created ended up being crave worthy in its own right — and is so much healthier than just eating a giant bowl of carbs and cheese for dinner (which is what I would have done otherwise).
I always say that I like to make soup because it’s so simple, and this is one of the easiest yet — other than chopping an onion, all you have to do is open jars and dump them in your pot. Since there are so few ingredients in this recipe and I wanted to be sure that the final dish was full of flavor, I turned to my old favorite: fire roasted tomatoes. I really love the slightly smokey, charred flavor of these tomatoes and they really added a nice dimension to the soup.
Instead of regular cheese tortellini, I grabbed a package of chicken and proscuitto tortelloni from Buitoni. I LOVED the way these tasted in the soup! They were very delicate but they added a ton of flavor (they reminded me a little bit of wontons). I definitely recommend using them, but if you can’t find them — or if you’re a vegetarian — you can easily substitute regular cheese tortellini.
If you’ve hung out around this blog for a while, you know that risotto is a staple in our house. You might even says it’s my thing. In fact, when I was asked to bring a gift that represented my blog to the Foodbuzz Festival I brought a risotto kit.
So when Marx Foods was looking for people to test and review four different kinds of risotto rice, I jumped on the opportunity. I almost always use arborio rice, both because its easy to find and affordable and because its what I know, but I was super excited to try out the rice that Marx Foods sent me: Vialone Nano, Organic Arborio, Organic Integrale (a brown rice), and Organic Carnaroli. Shawn and I did a blind tasting and ended up ranking the rice the exact same way as each other — and the results surprised us!
First, the ground rules: In order to keep the results as unbiased as possible, I identified each rice only by the pan that I cooked it in; I didn’t know which was which until the end. I prepared them all at the same time (quite the task!) using a simple recipe that would let the flavor of the rice itself shine through — just the rice, some onion, white wine, and chicken stock. I kept detailed notes as I cooked and tasted and rated each rice on appearance, creaminess, smell, and taste. When Shawn came home from work, he tasted each and ranked his favorites (again, he didn’t know which was which. He also didn’t know that I used the same recipe for each version of the risotto.)