Chocolate-Chai Pistachio Tea Cookies – Great Food Bloggers Cookie Swap 2015 – Holiday Gift Giving Idea

December 2nd! Cookies baked….cookies boxed…tags made… decorations added to  boxes…post office! (Thanks Brad) Once again it is time to join all the 1000’s of other bloggers participating in the 2015 Great Food Bloggers Cookies for Kid’s Cancer fundraiser. Just another reason to celebrate this time of year…having fun and helping.

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A big hi y’all from downtown Nashville, Tennessee to my 3 new food blogger friends who will receive a tin of cookies from Food on Fifth. Please go over and check out their blogs, see what they are up to and give them a shout.

Lisa Lotts at http://www.garlicandzest.com

Aimee Broussard at http://aimeebroussard.com

Allison Day at http://blog.fridgg.com

This year my cookie is a simple, easy slice and bake “Chocolate-Chai Pistachio Tea Cookie”.

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I get all my ingredients measured and ready before I start baking. Quickly assembled and chilled this dough is easy to slice. I love the green of the pistachios  against the chocolate.

Before…..

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….after baking.

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This little not-too-sweet cookie is great with a cup of hot tea, which I had while packing up cookies to mail. Notice the sanding sugar…adds just a bit of crunch.

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 I like creative packaging that has a homemade, yet stylish look. This year I added my small collage “art cards” inside each tin and tied my business card with twine around the outside. Yes, those little squares with a hole punched into the corner are my business cards!

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These incredibly fun cards with my name and info on back & a different instagram photos on the front…each one a different food photo… I have printed at Social Print Studio, a fabulous online site.DSC_0013

Thanks to Lindsay http://www.loveandoliveoil.com/ and Julie http://www.thelittlekitchen.net/ for organizing this yearly fundraiser and for inviting all of us to participate in this good, “sweet” cause.

Chocolate-Chai Pistachio Tea Cookies

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup softened unsalted butter
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 6 Tbsp good quality cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbsp instant chai
  • 2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup shelled, unsalted pistachios
  • sanding/decorating sugar

Directions:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer cream together the butter, sugar and salt until well mixed.
  2. Add egg and blend well, scraping down side of bowl when need be.
  3. Add cocoa powder & chai to mixture blending until well incorporated.
  4. Add flour, a few tablespoons at a time, with mixer on low until blended. Dough will be stiff.
  5. With mixer on low add pistachios. Scrape cookie dough out onto a work surface and knead together. Divide dough in thirds and form into  3 cylinders, each about 8 to 10 inches long and 2 inches in diameter. Wrap each in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour before slicing.
  6. Preheat oven to 375. Cut chilled dough into 1/4″ slices and bake on sheet pans lined with parchment paper.spacing  1″ apart for 12-15 minutes. Immediately out of the oven sprinkle cookies generously with sanding/decorating sugar. Cool cookie completely on wire racks.
  7. To gift: place in tins or boxes with parchment paper sheets between layers.
  8. These cookies will keep for days in a sealed container and are just delicious with a cup of hot tea or milky coffee.  A not-too-sweet cookie with lots of chocolate-chai flavor!

Teresa Blackburn   http://www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com    www.foodonfifth.com

“X-HOT Chile Peppers & COLD Ice Cream”

   Fresh Roasted New Mexican Hatch Chile Peppers

Late August….early September…our ritual chile pepper roasting day came again this year just like clock-work. Wouter returned home to Nashville with a very large burlap bag of fresh red and green New Mexican chile peppers straight from the fields around Hatch.

This was a hard year for chile growing in New Mexico, not enough rain for too long left much of this world-famous crop of peppers more scarce than usual. Therefore,I am even more delighted to have a little part of this years New Mexican chile pepper harvest.

In his haste to get packed up for his drive back to Nashville, Wouter bought 2 bags of peppers, tossed them in the back of the car…heading East….thinking one was mild & one hot. Not so…one HOT and one X-HOT for roasting day..even better!

Roasting these peppers with their fleshy skins and thick meat is quite easy. Just a few steps takes the chile fresh from the bag to being fresh frozen in the freezer. New Mexican chiles have a very unique flavor that is both bold and earthy. We add them throughout the year to soups, egg dishes, salsa, pastas, steaks…..not to mention homemade ice cream….we’ll get back to that later. First the roasting……

Gather together the following: a few really cold beers; your chiles, prepare a charcoal grill with very hot coals (you can use a gas grill of course, but the charcoal just adds to the flavor); tongs, a couple of metal trays, a few large zip-lock type bags to “sweat” the peppers & some small pint size freezer zip-lock type bags to store peppers.

Directions:

1. Sort through peppers tossing out any that are rotten. Pile good firm peppers in a pan & place close to the grill.

2. Start roasting. Wouter manned the grill….the cold beers helped!

3. When peppers are black on the outside and roasted, this happens pretty quickly, place on a metal pan to cool for a few seconds. I cannot adequately describe the smell wafting up and out of our backyard…the rich earthy chile roasting smell of these particular chiles…unless you have either been in and around Santa Fe during chile roasting time or have roasted your own…it is the smell of hard work, harvest time, and things that matter.

  4. I put the still hot roasted peppers into large plastic bags & close tightly. You can add lots of peppers to each bag. Sweat peppers until they cool. This usually takes about 20 to 30 minutes.

5. When they are cool enough to handle remove peppers, one by one, from the bag & peel. You might want to wear protective gloves for this part. I usually don’t but I make sure I clean my hands & fingernails with a nail brush after peeling. I do the peeling while Wouter roasts. A cold beer helps with this process also.

6. Peeling the peppers can be a bit tedious, but I enjoy the process. Don’t fret about getting every little piece of blackened skin off every pepper. A bit of the skin just adds to their flavor. Seeds? I pretty much discard what comes out easy & rest stay.

7. I add about 2 to 4 peppers to each small freezer bag & seal tightly, press out most of the air & freeze. (A couple of these babies will be enough for most recipes.)

Peppers ready for the freezer…..and ice cream?

I have been interested in using the fresh New Mexican chiles as an addition to a homemade ice cream concoction for a couple of year. This year I came up with just the right recipe and ingredients. Each one compliments the other very well.

“Chocolate Chile Pepper Mocha Ice Cream”

Ingredients:

1 pint heavy cream; 1 pint whole milk; 1 tsp instant espresso powder; 2 tsp vanilla extract; 1 cup sugar; a dash of salt;  3 tbsp dark cocoa; 1/4 cup chopped frozen or fresh chile peppers  (For this recipe I used an electric ice cream freezer.)

Directions:

1. Freeze bowl of electric ice cream freezer based on directions with your particular brand.

2. Put sugar, salt, cocoa & chile peppers in the bowl of a food processor & pulse until well mixed & no chile chunks remain.

                                                           

3. Heat cream & whole milk over medium heat. Do not boil. Add sugar-cocoa-chile mixture to pan & sir until sugar is dissolved. Add vanilla. Remove from heat. Bring to room temp & then chill in refrigerator.

4. Pour chilled mixture into the freezer bowl and freeze according to directions…about 20-30 minutes is what it took for mine to bring the mixture to the right texture.

My “Chocolate Chile Pepper Mocha Ice Cream” had the right amount of “hot & cold, sweet & chocolate”.

The end.

“memorial day weekend dinner party”

How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!  ~Maya Angelou

The city on a holiday weekend is one of my favorite places…the traffic quietens, lots of folks have left town and a general hush falls over everything. We were invited to our good friends, John & Liz,  for a Sunday evening Memorial Day Weekend Lobster dinner party with a couple of other friends. Our hosts provided a great Cheese Platter, the Lobster, roasted asparagus, an unbelievable chocolate dessert & the wonderful ambience. We, the guests, brought a fresh garden salad, a bulghur & vegetable salad, hummus & pita, a fresh baguette, wine & Pimm’s No. 1.

We had lots of laughs and a memorable dinner.

Cheese & Wine for starters.

Jill's Hummus made from dried, cooked & blended chickpeas & tahini..the best.

Sandy's Pennywise Cab...

It's a Pimm's kind of summer!
Liz's fresh asparagus ready to be roasted!
Beautiful simple elegant centerpiece.
Warm fresh baguette....time to dine.
Homegrown & organic, Red & Green Romaine, Red & Green Oak Leaf Lettuces, Spinach, Buffalo Mozzarella & Heirloom Cherry Tomato Salad.
8 minute Lobster Tails...perfect!
Asparagus roasted with Parmesan...
Bulghur with Vegetables...another hit from Jill!
Dinner parties are naturally romantic and cozy.....
...and there was drawn butter...
...eating with our hands....
Liz made the dark chocolate crunchy crust with sea salt for this dreamy tart. Local dairy full fat whipping cream by John on top!

“Life is short…have dinner parties.”