November 24, 2010

Matcha Green Tea Shortbread Cookies

As we enter into this holiday season of celebrating and giving, I can't help but reflect on all the things that I'm thankful for. So much has happened since last Thanksgiving -- including a new place to call home, new travel memories, two new jobs, new friendships, a new car, and new opportunities for loved ones -- that I still can't believe we packed it all into just one year.

On numerous occasions throughout this year, AC and I have talked about how incredibly blessed we are. To live near family, to be able to go to work every day, to have so many college friends live close by, to see loved ones thrive and succeed in new places, to have plenty of food to eat (sometimes too much!) and a warm bed to sleep in every night...the list goes on and on. And while I don't want to bore you with all the little details of this list, somewhere a bit further down on it are these lovely matcha green tea shortbread cookies ;)

Remember my matcha green tea obsession last year? Well, like most things in life -- it comes and goes in cycles. And lucky for us, my matcha craving came back...just in time for the holidays!

We made these the other day when a couple of friends came over for an "Asian themed" dinner. While they seemed to enjoy the meal thoroughly, their hands kept reaching for these cookies. Incredibly stunning, healthy (what? antioxidants!) and GREEN, these treats taste even better than they look. Like any respectable shortbread cookie, they're delectably crumbly and buttery. But their unique matcha green tea flavor is what really makes them shine. Subtle, delicate, and not too sweet -- no wonder why they won Golden Scoop's Best Bakery Recipe award!

Have a great Thanksgiving, everyone! We're so thankful for love, family, friends...and of course these delightful cookies. What about you?

Matcha Green Tea Shortbread Cookies
Recipe from Lovescool

3/4 cup Confectioners sugar
5 oz Unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 3/4 cup All-purpose flour
3 Large egg yolks
1.5 TBS Matcha (powdered green tea)
1 cup Granulated sugar (for coating)

* Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
* Whisk the confectioner’s sugar and green tea together in a bowl.
* Add the butter and green tea/sugar mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix until smooth and light in color.
* Add the flour and mix until well combined.
* Add the egg yolks and mix just until the eggs are fully incorporated and a mass forms.
* Form the dough into a disk and chill in the refrigerator until firm (about 30 minutes).
* Roll the dough out to ½” thickness.
* Cut the dough with a cookie cutter.
* Toss each cut cookie in a bowl of granulated sugar to coat.
* Place the sugar-coated cookie on a parchment lined pan. Bake at 350F for 12-15 minutes, or until slightly golden around the edges.
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November 21, 2010

(Momofuku Inspired) Bacon-Sriracha Brussels Sprouts

I know it's hard to believe, but we actually do eat more than just cupcakes, cookies, and carbs in this house. It's just that blogging about vegetables is so boring...I mean -- arugula or baby spring greens? balsamic or ranch dressing?? -- how's that for an exciting afternoon read?

So while I usually try to keep our adventures in salads and steamed broccoli to a minimum, I couldn't let this bad boy pass by. Especially when it involved a craaaazy looking stalk of brussels sprouts and bacon: the antithesis of anything bland, boring and healthy. Plus (and this is probably the real reason why we made this), after our last encounter -- ok, disaster -- with this lovely vegetable, some sort of brussels sprout redemption was desperately in order.

I can't believe I'm saying this, but these brussels sprouts were like candy. Yes, better than any late-night chips, ice cream or popcorn snack we've ever had; addicting in so many ways. Perhaps it's because they hailed from the recipe files of the infamous David Chang, or maybe it's because of all the flavor that came from the bacon drippings, or the subtle but fiery kick from the sriracha sauce, or how tender and caramelized everything became -- regardless, I have officially converted into a true brussels sprouts lover :D

Now how's that for a little brussels sprouts redemption? ;)

Bacon-Sriracha Brussels Sprouts
Recipe adapted from David Chang

1 pound fresh Brussels sprouts
3 T olive oil
1/4 pound thick-cut bacon (about 4 slices)
Butter (optional)
Sriracha hot sauce
Lemon or lime
Salt and pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. With a knife, trim the hard, woody ends of the sprouts, then slice in half lengthwise through the core. Place in a roasting pan.
3. Pour olive oil over brussels sprouts and toss until evenly coated.
4. Cut the bacon into small chunks and place over brussels sprouts. Add 1-2 slices of butter, if desired.
5. Bake for around 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Brussels sprouts should be tender and slightly browned.
6. Add a few squirts of sriracha hot sauce (depending on how hot you like it) and a squeeze or two of fresh lemon/lime juice. Season with salt and pepper, if necessary.
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