Saturday, December 29, 2007

I'm trying to clear my house of all non-vegan items before the first. I made a batch of cookies to get rid of the last of the butter.

Damn cookies! Why are you so good?
I also used the gelatin packets I've had in my house forever. I have been promising myself to make my own marshmallows for years now, and I finally did it...and then I covered them with chocolate, cause really, why just eat pure sugar when you can cover it with chocolate.

I got the marshmallow recipe from the Dec. issue of Gourmet. They wanted me to roll them in coconut, but then I knew Al wouldn't touch them for sure, and that's just what I need, one more thing that the skinny boy won't eat and I'm forced to consume by myself.

coconut marshmallows

Servings: Makes about 96 coconut marshmallows.


14 ounces sweetened flaked coconut (about 5 cups)
3 1/2 envelopes (2 tablespoons plus 2 1/2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup hot water (about 115°F.)
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites*
3/4 teaspoon coconut extract

*if egg safety is a problem in your area, substitute powdered egg whites reconstituted according to manufacturer's instructions


Preheat oven to 325°F.

In a large baking pan spread sweetened flaked coconut evenly and toast in middle of oven, stirring halfway through toasting, until golden, about 12 minutes total. Cool coconut.

Oil bottom and sides of a 13- by 9- by 2-inch rectangular metal baking pan and sprinkle bottom evenly with 1 1/2 cups toasted coconut. In bowl of a standing electric mixer or in a large bowl sprinkle gelatin over cold water and let stand to soften.

In a 3-quart heavy saucepan cook sugar, corn syrup, hot water, and salt over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to moderate and boil mixture, without stirring, until a candy or digital thermometer registers 240°F, about 12 minutes. Remove pan from heat and pour sugar mixture over gelatin mixture, stirring until gelatin is dissolved. With standing or a hand-held electric mixer beat mixture on high speed until white, thick, and nearly tripled in volume, about 6 minutes if using standing mixer or about 10 minutes if using hand-held mixer. In a large bowl with cleaned beaters beat whites (or reconstituted powdered whites) until they just hold stiff peaks. Beat whites and extract into sugar mixture until just combined.

Pour mixture into baking pan and sprinkle 1 1/2 cups toasted coconut evenly over top, pressing lightly to adhere. Transfer remaining toasted coconut to a large bowl and reserve, covered, at room temperature. Chill marshmallow, uncovered, until firm, at least 3 hours, and up to 1 day.

Run a thin knife around edges of pan and invert pan onto a large cutting board Lifting up 1 corner of inverted pan, with fingers loosen marshmallow and let drop onto cutting board. With a large knife trim edges of marshmallow and cut marshmallow into roughly 1-inch cubes.Toss marshmallows in batches in reserved coconut to evenly coat and press lightly to adhere. Coconut marshmallows keep in an airtight container at cool room temperature 1 week.

Bake-a-thon 2007

Okay, I was too busy having fun with my parents and Al's parents, and Ed to take pictures of all this stuff, but trust me, it has been a delicious and fattening holiday season!
I wanted to share a couple of the recipes I made that I found especially tasty.
I never knew how much I loved gingerbread until this year.

I got this recipe from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody. My mom said it was the best thing I made over the holiday.

Gingerbread Bars with Cream Cheese Frosting

1 1/4 cups flour
1 tablespoon ground Ginger
1 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
1 egg
1/3 cup molasses
3 tablespoons water
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 13×9-inch baking pan with foil. Spray foil with no stick cooking spray. Mix flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda and salt; set aside.
2. Beat butter and 3/4 cup of the sugar in large bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in egg until well blended. Gradually beat in flour mixture until well mixed. Stir in molasses and water just until blended. Spread evenly in prepared pan.

3. Beat cream cheese in large bowl with electric mixer until smooth. Beat in remaining 1/2 cup sugar and vanilla extract until smooth. Reserve 1/2 cup of the icing; refrigerate remaining icing. Spoon dollops (about 1 teaspoon each) of the reserved icing over batter in pan. With knife or spatula, swirl icing through batter to marbleize.

4. Bake 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 15 minutes. Lift out of pan using foil. Cool completely on wire rack. Invert and peel off foil. Spread refrigerated icing over bars. Cut into bars. Store in refrigerator.

Gingerbread Pudding Cake:

I got some sugar-free vanilla ice cream to serve with this because of my dad's diabetes and all...I don't know why I would bother serving SF ice cream with this. It's like ordering the double double with a diet coke. Anyway...the ice cream was gritty and I rarely recommend SF anything, so this was much better when I just piled an obscene amount of whipped cream on it.


  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups hot water
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, salt, allspice and nutmeg in medium bowl; set aside.
  2. Beat 1/2 cup butter and sugar in large bowl on medium speed until creamy. Add egg; continue beating until well mixed. Reduce speed to low. Continue beating, alternately adding flour mixture with molasses and 1 cup water, beating after each addition just until mixed.
  3. Pour batter into 13x9-inch ungreased baking pan; sprinkle with 3/4 cup brown sugar.
  4. Combine 1 1/2 cups hot water and 1/3 cup melted butter in medium bowl; carefully pour over top of batter. Bake for 40 to 55 minutes or until gingerbread is cracked on top and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Serve warm with ice cream, if desired
These sparkling ginger cocktails were in the Dec. issue of Gourmet. I still have some of the ginger syrup left, and I imagine it would be delicious mixed with just about any alcoholic beverage. It was pretty awesome. I garnished with a circle of crystallized ginger (instead of doing the whole rim of the glass thing), which no one ate but me. People don't know what's good.

sparkling ginger cocktails


Active time: 15 min Start to finish: 1 hr (includes chilling syrup)

Servings: Makes 10 drinks


3/4 cup water
1/2 cup sliced fresh ginger (2 ounces)
3/4 cup sugar, divided
1 tablespoon finely chopped crystallized ginger
2 lemon wedges
2 (750-ml) bottles chilled Prosecco


Simmer water, fresh ginger, and 1/2 cup sugar in a small saucepan, uncovered, 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let steep 15 minutes. Strain syrup through a sieve into a bowl, discarding solids. Chill until cold.

Finely grind crystallized ginger with remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a blender or food processor, then spread on a small plate.

Run lemon wedges around rims of glasses, then dip rims into ginger sugar. Put 1 tablespoon syrup into each glass and top off with Prosecco.

Cooks' note: Syrup can be chilled, covered, up to 2 weeks.

Yeah, I made a lot of not sweet things too, but who cares about those. I made some biscuits that didn't rise very well, a pork roast for Christmas day, some great, that's about it. The rest of the time we were eating out and stuffing ourselves until we begged for the sweet release of death...and that's just how I like it.

Oh, January, we have so much work to do.

And just for fun, here is a picture of Al and Ed and I getting rained on in Rockefeller Plaza.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I can't believe that I haven't posted a blog in so's not like I haven't been baking up a storm...I certainly have. Last weekend I made almond cookies, thumbprint cookies, and my mom's famous chocolate chip cookies (which is hilarious, because she just uses the recipe on the back of the Nestle chocolate chip bag, but for some reason her cookies always taste better than everyone else's...she says it's because she uses real butter...but there's something else to it.)
When I was a kid my grandma, who we all called Gammi, lived with my mom and dad and I. She loved Christmas. She was pretty much the best person in the world. She loved people unconditionally and always helped anyone who needed it (lucky for me I got surrounded by a family full of people like that). She passed away when I was 14, and it's really weird to think that I've been alive almost as long without her around then with her around. Since she died Christmas hasn't really had the same feelings around it. I didn't think it would until I had my own children, but I have to say, living here in NY, well, Christmas really feels great again. Everyone seems happier and more giving. It snowed a little and everything is lit up. Everywhere you go is so crowded that you know people are flocking here to feel that wonderful feeling of Christmas in New York (and to shop).
I'm eating too much and the pants that fit last week didn't really want to go on today...but man, this is Christmas in New York...and who am I to judge me?

I guess I better soak up all this over-eating now, cause my New Year's resolution is to be vegan.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

My new toaster

Moving to NY has been a challenge in a lot of ways, not the least of which has been space. I thought our apartment in LA was small, but this is tiny. I gave up on having a lot of appliances because we just don't have the space. I had given up on having a toaster too, but was about to break down and buy my own when I got one as a birthday gift from Al's parents.
I love it. You never realize how much you use something until you haven't had it for a long time.
All those mornings without the possibility of toast are over.