Sunday, October 30, 2011

Fruitcake Cookies

1/2 pound pitted dates
1/4 pound golden raisins
2 ounces candied cherries, coarsely chopped
2 ounces dried apricots, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons dry sherry
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
6 ounces chopped pecans
1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup superfine sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 extra-large egg
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
kosher salt

Coarsely chop the dates. In a medium bowl, combine the dates, raisins, cherries, apricots, honey, sherry, lemon juice, pecans, and a pinch of salt. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit overnight at room temperature.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, cloves, superfine sugar, and brown sugar on medium speed until smooth, about 3 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the egg and mix until incorporated. With the mixer still on low, slowly add the flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt just until combined. Don't overmix! Add the fruits and nuts, including any liquid in the bowl. Divide the dough in half and place each half on the long edge of a 12 by 18-inch piece of parchment or waxed paper. Roll each half into a log, 1 1/2 to 1 3/4-inch thick, making an 18-inch-long roll. Refrigerate the dough for several hours, or until firm.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
With a small, sharp knife, cut the logs into 1/2-inch-thick slices. Place the slices 1/2-inch apart on ungreased sheet pans and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly golden.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Olive Garden-Type Soup

Since it was cool and rainy yesterday, I made this soup for supper.

Ditalini Soup
1 pound Hamburger or sausage, cooked and crumbled
1 cup Ditalini, uncooked
1/2 cup Celery, sauteed
1 package Lipton Onion Soup Mix
1 28 oz. can Tomatoes
1 15 oz. can Red Beans
1 15 oz. can Pinto beans
1 15 oz. can Black beans
1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
garlic or garlic salt to taste
Water or Tomato Juice to thin
Cook and crumble meat. Sometimes I use 1/2 pound only. Cook ditalini macaroni and drain. Saute' celery a little so it won't be so crunchy. In a large pot, make the onion soup as directed for a base to the soup. I squeeze the tomatoes into the onion soup after it has simmered for a while. Then I add the undrained canned beans, celery, garlic, pasta, meat, and Italian seasoning. If it looks too thick add some tomato juice or water to thin. Simmer for a little while longer and serve.

Servings: 12
Preparation Time: 1 hour
Notes: This soup is best when its just made. I keep it in the refrigerator or freeze it and it's OK, but better the first day. The beans I listed are just a suggestion. Use any combination of two or three beans that have a good color contrast.
I now use Hunts Diced Tomatoes with Basil and Garlic instead of regular tomatoes.
Serving Ideas: Serve with homemade cheese bread.
Categories: Soups And Stews