Thumbprint Cookies

Thumbprint cookies are a nice and decorative way to add color and flavor to any table.  Not only are they tasty and relatively easy to prepare, but I find them a handy way to use up the mini jam and jelly jars, which tend to arrive in the holiday food gift packages.  Using the mini jars of jams and jellies as filling in these cookies will create a variety of colors in each batch and put the mini jars of jams and jellies to immediate use. 

Of course, if you just want to make a batch of the cookies, there is nothing wrong with just using your favorite jam, which is likely setting in your refrigerator.

Thumbprint CookieIngredients      

Cookie Dough

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup unshifted powdered sugar
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract

Cookie Filling

  • 1/2 cup fruit jam, divided

Thumbprint CookieDirections

  • Preheat the oven to 325o F (165 o C).
  • Combine butter and powdered sugar together with a spatula until creamy.
  • Add and combine with a spatula, vanilla extract, almond extract, salt, and egg yolk.
  • Add flour and combine with a spatula until just combined.
  • Using a small scoop, portion dough into 1/2-ounce (I-tablespoon size) balls.
  • Roll balls in a plate of white sugar to coat; roll again between your palms.
  • Place cookie dough balls several inches apart on a silicone-lined baking sheet.
  • Flatten balls slightly with a small plate or smooth spatula.

To Make Jam Promament Cookies

  • For more jam-faced cookies, press your thumb into each cookie to make a wider, shallow, indentation in each cookie.
  • Fill the indentation with jam.
  • Gently Tap baking sheet against the counter to settle the let jam.
  • Bake on the center rack of the oven (about 15 minutes ) until the cookie tops are barely blonde and bottoms are slightly golden.
  • Let the cookies rest on pan for 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool.

Bread Pudding For Two

Bread pudding has been around a very long time.  I have cooks books going back to 1901 with some variation of the recipe.  And no wonder, this is a really simple and tasty dessert for the cooler months of the year and makes a nice holiday side dish or dessert, as well.

Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups day-old or toasted white bread cubes (2 slices)
  • 2 eggs (Large or Jumbo)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins (optional)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon unsalted butter (cut in small cubes)

Directions

  • Divide bread, raisins, and butter between two greased 8 or 10 oz. Ramekins and set aside.
  • In a small mixing bowl, whip together eggs, milk, sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  • Pour in equal amounts over filling in both ramekins.
  • Bake, uncovered, at 350o F for 40-45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Allow bread puddings to cool and serve warm or room temperature.

The dark green nymph was the fly of the day

Heading out to the lake early in the day and hiking in before the heat set in to do a little flyfishing, the dark green nymph was the fly of the day. While I did catch a few panfish on a dark green woolly worm, the action wasn’t nearly as active, nor the strikes as hard, as it was in the dark green nymph. I tried a variety of other things, but the fish didn’t seem interested in much of anything else.

As I travel along the banks were, and waited in and out of the water, I tried to take some pictures of some of the critters I saw on the shore to get some ideas as to what might or might not work. Here are a few photos of the animals and insects I found onshore that had the potential to be fish food and give some inspiration as to what the fish might be eating in the local area.

As a matter of fact, the dark green nymph was so popular that I managed to catch a catfish on a very aggressive strike, which doesn’t happen to me very often. The fact that I was catching fish that one would not normally expect to catch on the fly, tends to indicate that I was using the right type of fly and that they were plentiful enough to attract other varieties of fish to feed.

Making Your Own Pumpkin Pie Spice

Pumpkin pie spice is always a useful thing to have around the house, especially in the fall when pumpkin and winter squash are cheat and abundant.  Or if you are like me and simply like to eat a pumpkin pie or pumpkin custard most any time of the year.  However, I find making your Pumpkin spice is best because you can adjust your spice volume to meet your taste and dietary needs.  Ginger something gives people trouble with heartburn and I find that orange zest gives the spice blend and nice citrus edge which appeals to many.  Here is a basic Pumpkin spice recipe, but feel free to experiment with it to best accommodate your family’s tastes.  

Pumpkin Pie Spice Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground clove
  • 2 teaspoon ground ginger or ground dehydrated orange zest
  • 2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 Tbsp ground cinnamon

Pumpkin Pie Spice Directions

  • Combine all ingredients in a small mixing bowl whisk together thoroughly.
  • Pour the pumpkin pie spice into an airtight container
  • store the sealed pumpkin pie spice container in a cool dry place.
  • The pumpkin pie spice should be used within 6 months for best results.

Cook’s Note

  • I use my coffee bean grinder to make the ground orange zest, which works fine if you start with either purchased or home make dried orange zest. however, you do want to make sure that all the orange zest is finely ground without large bits, so, it will distru=bute evenly in your recipe.

When to harvest Yardlong beans

While (Asparagus) Yardlong beans can grow up to 36 inches long, however, it’s best to harvest Yardlong beans at 18 inches or less when Yardlong beans are at their most tender and flavorful.

Nasturtium

Genus:

  • Tropaeolum majus

LIFECYCLE:

  • Nasturtiums are annual

Height:

  • 12 inches for a bush, 72 inches for vines

Spread:

  • 18 inches for bush

Description:

  • Distinctive, blue-green circular leaves are held up on fleshy stems. These annuals come in a variety of types ranging from compact bushes to long-spreading vines. They make an eye-catching addition to any garden. In addition, they have large attractive blooms that range in color from palest yellows, pinks, and apricots to deep, rich yellows, oranges, and burgundy. The vining types are great in hanging planters, window boxes, or for use on trellises and fences.

Ease of care:

  • Easy

How to grow:

  • Plant in full sun to partial shade in average to poor, moist soil.

Propagation:

  • By seed in late spring. They’re large and can be planted individually where the plants are going to grow

Pests:

  • Aphids love nasturtiums, so be on the lookout for them.

Uses:

  • Fresh leaves and flowers-salads
  • Fresh flowers-floral arrangements
  • Unripe seeds and flower buds-pickled for salads

Preservation:

  • Pickle unripe seeds in vinegar and use them in salads.

Recipe – Beef Burgundy

Beef Burgundy is a hearty beef stew, usually braised, which make an excellent lunch or dinner meal. Especially during the cooler of autumn, winter, and early spring.

Beef Burgundy Ingredients

  • 1 boneless beef sirloin steak, ½-inch thick, trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3 pounds)
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 slices uncooked bacon, diced
  • 3 cups Burgundy wine or beef broth
  • 2 medium carrots, diced
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 20 to 24 fresh pearl onions
  • 8 small new red potatoes, quartered 
  • 8 to 10 mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

Beef Burgundy Directions

  • Coat beef with flour, shaking off excess; set aside.
  • Cook and stir bacon in a 5-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat until partially cooked.
  • Add half of the beef to bacon; brown over medium-high heat.
  • Remove with slotted spoon; set aside.
  • Brown remaining beef.
  • Pour off drippings.
  • Return beef and bacon to Dutch oven.
  • Stir in wine, carrots, marjoram, thyme, salt, pepper to taste and bay leaf.
  • Bring to a boil over high heat.
  • Reduce heat to low.
  • Cover; simmer 10 minutes. 
  • Meanwhile, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
  • Cook and stir onions, potatoes, mushrooms and garlic about 10 minutes.
  • Add to Dutch oven.
  • Cover; simmer 50 minutes or until meat is fork-tender.
  • Remove and discard bay leaf. 

Servings

  • Makes 10 to 12 servings