Wednesday, February 24, 2010

about me

My name is Abi.
I live in Portland, OR with my husband and our two kitties. 
When I'm not doing those things I enjoy baking, running, crafting, and exploring new towns. 

Thanks for stopping by!


if you have a question or just want to say hello, please email me. I'd love to hear from you!

vanillaandlace(at)gmail . com

Chocolate chip cookie dough truffles

I've been in a cooking rut for the past two weeks. It isn't that I can't find inspiration, my bookmarks folder is bursting at the seams with delicious recipes for goodness sakes. It has much to do with the fact that I'm still (after over two years!) getting used to juggling two dinners a night. You see, I am a long time vegetarian gone mostly vegan, and my husband is a carnivore who hates cheese and garlic, (however he does love every vegetable, which is more than I can say). So this leaves me with cooking two separate meals each night. Good thing I like to cook, right?

Well sort of.

Most days I plan our menu with all the same elements, subbing orange tofu with brown rice for his orange chicken with white rice. Lasagna means cheese-less, just meat sauce in between noodles for him. Cheese-less, meatless, add eggplant, spinach and pine-nut spread for myself.

But lately I haven't done so well at the planning and by the time I've prepped, started and finished his dinner I have absolutely no energy to make mine. Then I sit down with pretzels and a small dish of melted chocolate chips and call it a night.

And it was two of these cookie dough truffles that made up the majority of my dinner on valentines day. And for once I was quite okay with being tuckered out after fixing dinner for my husband.

It is exactly what you think it is. Chocolate chip cookie dough, dipped in chocolate. And they are egg-free for those who worry (and easily adapted to be vegan). My chocolate coating doesn't look perfect but that was okay with me cause once in my mouth they were nothing short of perfect, and cut me a break, as I was dipping them in the chocolate I was balancing the phone on my shoulder so I could chat with my mom about a future vacation. And that night I found chocolate in my hair.

Chocolate chip cookie dough truffles (a love and olive oil recipe)
makes 3-4 dozen, depending on size.

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup milk or soy milk
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips, or small chocolate chunks.

14 oz dark chocolate candy coating, (i didnt have any so i used chocolate chips)

Beat butter and sugars and in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add soymilk and vanilla. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt and mix on low speed (or by hand) until incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips.

Cover and chill dough for 1 hour.

When dough is firm enough to handle (it may help to lightly flour your hands), form dough into 1″ balls and arrange on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper. Place sheets in freezer and let chill for 30 minutes.

Melt chocolate candy coating in a double boiler or in microwave according to package directions. Using forks or a dipping tool, dip cookie balls into candy coating to cover. Tap fork on side of pan to remove any excess coating, and return to waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Chill until set. Store, chilled, in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Or freeze for frozen treats.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A homemade life

I've been slacking in the blog updating department. I have plenty of posts lined up, pictures taken and ready to go but for some reason I don't think to do it until the end of the night when all I want to do is lay in bed and read. I checked a large chunk off my to-do list today so hopefully i'll be back to the normal routine tomorrow.

But for now I wanted to leave you with this book recommendation. I'm positive many of you read her blog, Orangette, and may have already read her book A homemade life. I checked it out at the library a week ago and I couldn't put it down! It it written somewhat blog style with a chapter containing stories about her life mostly pertaining to food (but also about relationships, living in paris, her father dying, and more) and at the end of each chapter is a recipe. It is a roller coaster ride of emotions and it made me long to go back to Paris. I also craved crusty, chewy french bread throughout the ENTIRE book, so beware.

The one downside is no pictures. But the recipes sound amazing and her writing is descriptive enough that you almost forget there aren't beautiful pictures to look at.

I highly recommend it, especially to foodies, avid blog readers and people who love Paris.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

English Scones with devonshire cream

Teas were a huge part of my childhood. There were fancy birthday teas, the annual ladie's christmas tea at church, and every so often mom and the girls (I have 2 sisters) would go to the Pomeroy House tea room to have afternoon tea. It is one of my most beloved memories about childhood and I cherish every cucumber sandwich, scone and drop of tea. So of course, when I planned our trip to Washington scones with devonshire cream and lemon curd and jam were top priority. Right up there with shopping at H&M.

These scones and devonshire cream are about as close as you can get to the ones in England, without being there. I prefer to break them apart bite by bite with my fingers and layer on the jam or lemon curd, and top with a generous dollop of devonshire cream. Or you can always slice it like you would a roll and spread the jam and cream as pictured.

Either way, you will be biting into heaven on earth. The scones are soft, buttery pillows and when layered with jam and cream they become divine. And ohhh, devonshire cream. It makes them. I'm telling ya, you are missing out on something great if you don't eat it all together.

English Scones
Makes 16

4 cups Flour
3 tablespoons Sugar
4 teaspooons Baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 1/2 cups Half and half
1 1/2 sticks of butter - chilled
1 large egg yolk (save white for brushing)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cream of tartar. Cut in butter, until combined and resembles a course meal. (the butter lumps should not be pea sized)
Add egg yolk to half and half. Stir half and half mixture into dry ingredients. Knead slightly in the bowl to combine. Divide dough in half. Form each half into a round, slightly dome shape about 1 inch thick. Cut the round into 8 wedges. Brush tops with egg white. Place the wedges on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 18-20 minutes, tops will be golden brown.

Devonshire cream

1 cup Whipping cream
2 tablespoons Powdered sugar
1/2 cup Sour cream

Whip the cream until soft peaks form. Stir in powdered sugar and sour cream.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Black raspberry thumbprint cookies

We had an amazing visit to the pacific northwest to start off our February. Just about everyone in my immediate and extended family, as well as many friends live in Washington and Oregon. So our (much-too-short) 10 days were jammed packed with plenty of laughs and good times. (And good food.)

I'll share a couple posts about our visit, but I wanted to start out with these cookies.

I woke up the morning after getting into town and my mom was baking these. A classic staple to the many teas I grew up around. (I'll be going into more details about those teas this week)

They are simple, and stunning and delicious. If you're hosting/attending a tea in the near future, I would urge you to make these.

Black raspberry thumbprint cookies

1 Cup Butter
1/2 Cup Powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla

2 Cups Flour
1/4 teaspoon Salt

Black raspberry jelly (or jelly of choice)

Powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Cream butter, powdered sugar and vanilla. Add flour and salt.
Roll into small 3/4 inch balls and use your thumb to press down center.
Use a small spoon (We found using a baby spoon works great) to fill center with the jelly.

Bake for 15 - 20 minutes, until just SLIGHTLY darker than the raw dough. Once thoroughly cooled, dust with powdered sugar.