Cardamom shortbread

August 29, 2012 § 10 Comments

This past Saturday was my sister’s bridal shower. In addition to supplying the decorations (in the wedding colors, of course), I also felt I had to bring some traditional British foods to the party, since the theme of the shower was “English tea party.”

At first I thought (bad maid of honor alert!) themes were kind of, well, cheesy, but it turns out they are a party planner’s best friend — tea party means you serve tea, cookies, and little open-faced sandwiches, and decorate with fresh flowers and tissue paper poufs.

I volunteered to make shortbread: it’s traditional and most everybody loves it. I wanted not just any shortbread though, and I finally found a great recipe to try, which combines the classic buttery delight with one of my favorite spices, cardamom. The cardamom shortbread comes from the charmingly creative (but probably not as well-known as it should be) cookbook The Sugar Cube, which is written by the owner of a food truck I desperately want to visit in Portland, Oregon.

It was the perfect recipe to try since I could tell Kir Jensen appreciates cardamom as much as I do; I think cardamom is under-appreciated in baked goods, especially sweet ones. When partnered with vanilla its bright, almost herbal flavor complements the buttery shortbread without overpowering it, and I was really pleased at how much everyone else enjoyed the shortbread too. « Read the rest of this entry »

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Oreo truffles

August 15, 2012 § 2 Comments

This year marks the 100th anniversary of Oreo chocolate cream-filled sandwich cookies. Up until a week ago I was completely baffled by all the Oreo affection that everyone seems to harbor, especially in elementary school when they were a hot bartering commodity at the lunchtime swap.

Now, however, I totally understand the Oreo hype, because my friend Allison made a batch of these Oreo truffles and brought them in to share at work. The experience was revelatory. Even our friend Kyle, an avowed Oreo fan, was impressed, with both of us exclaiming that the Oreo truffles are what Oreos should taste like. « Read the rest of this entry »

Roasted spicy-sweet pumpkin seeds

August 1, 2012 § 13 Comments

The fashion and design industries are notorious for the phenomenon I call “season creep” as evidenced by heavy cabled sweaters appearing in early August, when the thought of wearing wool is about as appealing as donning chain mail and standing in the center of an unshaded parking lot. The food world seems to be a bit more resistant to season creep, I suppose because it is at the mercy of perishable produce.

However, there’s something to be said for the anticipation of the season and foods to come. Thus, these roasted spicy-sweet pumpkin seeds serve as a sneak preview; they’re rather like that cute dress you wear now with sandals that transitions perfectly into fall with tights, wedge boots, and a cardi. Why yes, I have been shopping online rather a lot lately…

Much like that dress, these roasted pumpkin seeds are great because they’re so versatile. They are at once smoky, spicy, and sweet. Maple syrup, together with melted butter, creates an almost lacquered coating for the pumpkin seeds, with chili powder contributing subtle heat, rosemary adding an herbal freshness, and my tweak, a pinch of onion powder rounding everything out with an extra hit of savoriness.

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