Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Lemon-Lavender Madeleine Cookies, a Belated Birthday + OXO Giveaway!!



Bon Appetit!! As many of you already know, August 15th would have been Julia Child's 100th Birthday!  PBS Food has created a wonderful website to honor this great American icon which I strongly urge you to go check out. Here is the link if you are interested: http://www.pbs.org/food/julia-child-100-birthday/.

They featured one of my many favorite quotes from her:




Having fun in the kitchen is so important, it should be fun and exciting to see how your creation turns out to be! It's empowering to be able to say "I made that!," and for me one of the most rewarding things is having my loved ones enjoy my food. I feel like Julia Child helped so many home cooks become empowered to learn how to cook at home. It is on my bucket list to someday go see her kitchen at the Smithsonian in D.C. So in honor of Julia Child's birthday I decided to make some French Madeleine cookies. On one of my dance tours to France I picked up this Mastrad silicone madeleine pan:



If you've never tried madeleines before they are best described as little French butter cookies that are cake like and soft on the inside and slightly crisp and golden brown on the outside! Lots of bakeries sell them, as well as Starbucks....but once you try these you'll never go back to those dry things! I added lavender because it reminds me of France and well, I had some in my pantry. You can easily omit the lavender and just have delightful lemon cookies.


Lemon-Lavender Madeleines 

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), melted, plus more for pans
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour, sifted (not self-rising)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (2 to 3 lemons total)
  • 1 tsp. culinary lavender buds
  • Confectioners' sugar, for dusting (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter two madeleine pans; set aside. Sift flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl; set aside.
  2. Put eggs, egg yolks, granulated sugar, vanilla, and lemon zest and juice in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until pale and thickened, about 5 minutes. Mix in butter and lavender. Using a spatula, fold flour mixture into egg mixture. Let rest 30 minutes.
  3. Pour batter into buttered pans, filling the molds 3/4 full. Bake cookies, rotating pans halfway through, until edges are crisp and golden, 7 to 8 minutes. Let cookies cool slightly in pans on wire racks. Invert, and unmold. Dust with confectioners' sugar, if desired.
(slightly adapted from Martha Stewart)
Of course, after you make these cookies you will need something to keep them in so they don't get dried out. I have the perfect thing for you! As part of the OXO Blogger Outreach Program, I was offered to host a giveaway of some of their awesome products! I love OXO products and just ask anyone who has been in my kitchen, most of my gadgets have the OXO brand on them. I often suggest them to customers at work at Sur La Table because they are an affordable and well reputable brand. I'm so happy they now have their own section dedicated to their products at Sur La Table. So back to the cookie storage......I'm giving away some of OXO's Good Grips LockTop Containers. I have two sizes: 
Source
The first being a 6.3 cups container that my husband and I have been using to perfectly store homemade ice cream. These containers are BPA Free (a must in our kitchen!), dishwasher safe (however, I never put plastic in the dishwasher, microwave safe, freezer safe, and leakprook because the locking creates an airtight and watertight seal!            
The second size is a 4pc. set of mini containers perfect for dressings, condiments, spices, leftovers (I have some egg whites in one of mine in the fridge).                        
Source
~OXO GOOD GRIPS LOCKTOP CONTAINER GIVEAWAY~

  1. *ONE lucky reader will win the OXO products mentioned above
  1. Leave a comment below answering this question~
 "Have you ever been to the Smithsonion to see Julia Child's Kitchen?
For extra entries you can do the following:
1. Follow me on Twitter: @dancerkitchen
3. Subscribe to A Dancer In The Kitchen by email or RSS reader

Leave a seperate comment for each entry. If you already follow me on any of the above just leave a comment saying you do! You can get up to 4 total entries! The giveaway will end August 29, 2012 at midnight. (US residents only)


*As part of the OXO Blogger Outreach Program I received free products from OXO.
Ciao,
Betsy







Sunday, August 5, 2012

Quick Summery Veggie Tart

I've had too many people ask lately if I'm still doing my blog. This dancer in the kitchen has still been making dishes like this:


Those questions really made me want to get back in to the blog on a more regular basis so here we go. I guess I've just been too tired by the time I get home, to get on the computer to write a post. I think I'm finally getting the hang of figuring out my schedule with my new three jobs. It's SOOOOOO hard for a foodie like me to be working at Sur La Table. I want to buy so many things there and occasionally I do.... however, I need to start getting better at saving money for things (like future children, yoga teacher trainings, and Ireland!). Even though I am currently making less money than I did in the dance company (and I didn't make much there) I am enjoying so much having a different day to day schedule. After having the same 9-5 schedule for the last six years, it's just nice to be able to come home for lunch or fit in an exercise or yoga class in the morning before coming home to get ready for one of my shifts. 


I did go and take a dance class at the company on Tuesday and it felt great. I can takes classes at Ririe Woodbury for free, it's one of my perks of retirement, lol! I was also asked by the company to come in two weeks ago and teach Intermediate Repertory for the their summer dance workshop. I ended up teaching the choreography from a piece called 80's Night. It was lots of fun however, I don't think any of those students were even born yet in the 80's, which made me feel really old!

The great group of intermediate dance students I taught. 

I was glad my picture finally made it onto the summer workshop brochure!


Since I'm making less money right now, I'm really trying to be better at not letting food go to waste. I've been using things up that are in my pantry and pairing those with everything I have in my fridge. Luckily, I had all the ingredients on hand to make this next dish. I found this recipe in a Good Housekeeping magazine while at my Grandmother's house. It's quick, simple and would make a great dish for brunch or like we had it for dinner with a nice big green salad!





Quick Summery Veggie Tart



  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed with press
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup fresh shelled green peas
  • 1 large red pepper, thinly sliced
  •  Salt
  •  Pepper
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped, plus additional for garnish
  • 1 small (4 ounce) zucchini, trimmed
  • 1 small (4 ounce) yellow squash, trimmed
  • 1  (9-inch) refrigerated pie crust, ready-to-unroll



  • Directions

    • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
    • In 12-inch skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil on medium-high. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds, stirring. Add onion, red pepper, peas, and 1/8 teaspoon each salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook 4 minutes or until softened and browned, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Mixture can be refrigerated, covered, up to overnight.
    • While mixture cools, combine cream cheese, basil, and 1/8 teaspoon each salt and pepper; stir until well mixed. With vegetable peeler, peel zucchini and squash lengthwise into thin ribbons. (I used a Julienne peeler to make thin shreds)
    • Lay pie crust flat on jelly-roll pan. Spread cream cheese mixture in even layer, leaving 1-inch border. Spread onion-pepper-pea mixture over cream cheese; decoratively arrange zucchini and squash ribbons on top. Fold border of dough over vegetable mixture. Brush remaining teaspoon oil over zucchini and squash.
    • Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until browned. Serve tart warm or at room temperature.

    (slightly adapted from Good Housekeeping)
     


      It feels good to be back so please keep reading! Also, check back soon because I have a great giveaway coming up.......


    Ciao,
    Betsy







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