Friday, April 29, 2011

Tarragon Lemon Butter Cookies

Tarragon is the new Basil.... yes I did just say that. There is something so addictive about it. Move over have met your match.  I have been swimming in it's heady flavor for the past three weeks. A hint of licorice and a bit of spice really have me adding it into just about every dish you could imagine. 

I have a favorite tea house in Madison, Macha Tea House ... I know.... don't you love the name. They have an amazing variety of teas and some of the best bakery in Madison. It is a sensual experience to drink tea in one of their tea rooms. You step up creaky wooden stairs, open a gauzy curtain to a room with no chairs, only cushions, and quickly sink into a tea dream world of sorts. Besides their hypnotizing tea, they have an amazing basil cookie. It is absolutely addictive and delicious... I end up eating plenty of these tiny little cookies with my tea. Their cookies were the inspiration for me to step outside my "box" and spice up, quite literally, one of my standards, Butter Cookies.

This butter cookie recipe, hands down my favorite, comes from my Great Aunt Myrtle. She made these quite often and they were always thin, rich, crisp, buttery wafers. I added the lemon zest and tarragon . A perfect compliment to something so stable as the tried and true butter cookie.

Lemon Tarragon Butter Cookies

1 Cup organic, unsalted, room temperature Butter
1 Cup organic sugar
1 egg, beaten beforehand
1/4 tsp salt
2 scant cups flour
zest of one lemon... just the zest, no rind - it amounts to about 2 tsp.
3 Tbs freshly minced tarragon
milk for smooshing cookies

Oven to 350. Cream butter and sugar, add in egg and salt. Mix well. Drop in teaspoon fulls...for small cookies onto parchment lined cookie sheet. Dip bottom of glass cup in saucer of milk. Flatten each cookie with bottom of glass cup. Bake for 10-12 minutes until edges turn golden brown. Let cool, store in airtight container. Cookies best the next day as flavors have time to set.

Foodie love and tarragon kisses! - Megan

Friday, April 22, 2011

Goat Cheese Cannelloni - Dreaming Spring

Dreaming Spring

The ravens are flying past my windows, wrens are building their nests, children are restless for sunnier days.  The sun hugs the earth as the new plants push up through the soil. It is as if I have walked through the same doorway a hundred times and yet I am always forgetting what is on the other side. There is always something more to notice. No spring is the same. The birds become brighter in their song, I can recognize more plants and the earth's rhythm becomes a bit clearer. Food even tastes better......

As I wake up from the hibernation of my own personal chocolate-education holiday.... I am again reminded of the joys of Spring. Spring is a time for letting go of the old and embracing the new. Rebirth. I am reminded of the love I have for cooking and fresh foods that expand my palate. 

Incoming.... my new Bon Appetite arrived in the mail. Frantically searching for a recipe that would teach me something new, I decided to tackle cannelloni. I am not Italian but I am married to one. I thought I would do a bit of cannelloni rolling and let my husband be the judge. These cannellonis are a fresh treat for the tastebuds. The pungent flavor of the goat cheese and the tartness of the cherry tomatoes mixed with fresh spinach is a wake up call for deliciousness!

Spinach Goat Cheese Cannelloni

Two packages of fresh pasta sheets. - I chose RP's Lasagna Sheets and cut them in half. Peter makes delicious fresh pasta available in lots of places. Give the above link a click and see if it is available near you! 
15 oz. goat cheese
14 oz. ricotta
3 oz. parmesean
8 oz fresh baby spinach
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 pints cherry tomatoes - sliced in half
1/2 cup olive oil
Fresh basil, thyme - 1 tbs of basil, 2 tsp of thyme (chopped)
kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

  1. Take the halved cherry tomatoes and place in a glass bowl with olive oil, fresh herbs, oil and mix. Salt mixture to taste and add plenty of freshly ground pepper.
  2. Slice your lasagna sheets in half. You will probably have some left over. Freeze for a later date.
  3. Chop spinach coarsely. 
  4. Oven at 325.
  5. Place cheeses in bowl, mix until the goat cheese has become dispersed. It helps if the goat cheese has been let to come to room temp.
  6. Add crushed garlic and a bit of basil to the mixture. Mix again. Add spinach. Mix until spinach is thoroughly incorporated!
  7. Prepare work area. Lay out pasta sheets.
  8. Place filling along the long edge of pasta sheets. Roll up and place seam side down on a plate or other flat surface.
  9. Drain oil mixture from tomatoes. Reserve for later.
  10. Take a bit of oil mixture and smear on bottom of a glass baking dish. 9x15 works well.   
  11. Dip fingers in oil. Rub oil over each cannelloni until coated. Place in pan. Do this until finished. Cover cannelloni with the tomatoes and the rest of the oil mixture. 
  12. Cover with foil. Place in oven for 25 minutes with foil on.
  13. Take off foil at 25 minutes. Let cook for another 20.
  14. Let sit. Enjoy!

Loads of foodie love, cannellonis and spring blossoms!