a new baby on the way...

My newest nephew is due any day now.  Little no-name-yet is scheduled to enter this world next week via c-section, but who knows, he may just decide to forgo the surgical intervention and make an appearance on his own. 

We had a baby shower for my sister Katie last weekend and thankfully I got a small quilt done just in time.  This one features the monkey theme my sister is using to decorate the baby’s room. 

But most impressive was the blanket my niece Colleen made for her new cousin.  Folks, this is Colleen’s very first sewing project!  I love it. 

With a little help from her maternal grandmother, she learned to use the sewing machine I gave her for Christmas and made something really special.  My sister (pictured right) will definitely use this one!

Of course good times call for good food so I also made some lemon cookies. The Italians make these moist and delicious ricotta cheese cookies for special occasions like weddings and christenings.  Most cookies are crispy in texture--but these aren't so they're great for brunch. 

Here’s the recipe…enjoy! 

Italian Ricotta Cheese Cookies 

Ingredients 

  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter (room temp)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 8 ounces fresh ricotta (I used the store bought variety!)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract2 teaspoons lemon zest plus ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 cups confectioner’s sugar (sifted)

Directions 

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Sift together flour, backing powder and salt into a bowl.  Set aside.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Cream the sugar and butter in a mixer with your paddle attachment on high speed until the mixture is light and fluffy.  Reduce the speed to medium and add eggs one at a time. Plop in the ricotta, vanilla and lemon zest.  Add the flour mixture and beat on low until everything is mixed.  Don’t overmix! 

Drop the dough in heaping tablespoons onto the baking sheets and bake for 20 to 22 minutes.  The cookies should be puffy and golden when you remove them from the oven.  Cool on wire racks.

After the cookies are completely cool, you can make the glaze for the top. 

In a bowl, whisk the confectioner’s sugar with lemon juice to a smooth consistency.  You might have to add a little water here, but don’t overdo it.  You want the glaze to be thick enough to adhere to the cookie—but not too watery. 

Dip the top of each cookie in the glaze and let them dry for a couple of hours on the racks before you serve them. 

Buon Appetito!

Posted on Monday, May 7, 2012 at 11:43AM by Registered CommenterQuiltology | CommentsPost a Comment

Happy Holidays...!

It’s the holidays—Eat with impunity!  Pretend like there are no consequences and defer to a healthy new year on the treadmill. 

The Halsted Street shop is now closed and we’ve got some packing to do for our move over to Diversey, but first—a much deserved break for the holidays. 

I do Thanksgiving so my brother Bill and sister-in-law Marilyn host both sides of the family for Christmas.  We gather early so there’s plenty of time to, as Bill says, eat ourselves into a food coma. 

I’m making my Swiss and Bacon dip again.  This one is always a real crowd pleaser.  Let’s face it, any time there’s bacon involved, your family and friends will think you’re a culinary genius.  

In the spirit of the season, I thought I'd share.  Here’s the recipe (with a special thanks to Rachel Ray.) Enjoy the cheese and accolades.

  • 8 slices center cut bacon (chopped)
  • 8 ounces softened cream cheese
  • half cup mayo
  • 2 big tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1.5 cups shredded Swiss cheese
  • 3 scallions (chopped)
  • half cup smoked almonds (optional)

Serve with baby carrots and flat breads (I like the cocktail sized pumpernickel!) 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. 

First, brown the bacon over medium heat in a nonstick pan.  Drain on paper towel. 

In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, mayo, Dijon mustard, Swiss cheese and scallions with cooked bacon.  Transfer to a small casserole dish and bake until the top is golden and the edges are bubbling (this usually takes 15 to 18 minutes.) 

Note: If you’re taking this on the road, wait to bake it at the host’s house so it’s nice and hot when you serve it. 

Top with almonds and place on a platter surrounded by breads and carrots. 

Merry Christmas everybody!

ccc 

Posted on Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at 11:53AM by Registered CommenterQuiltology | CommentsPost a Comment | References11 References