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

Chipotle-Dark Chocolate Studded with Pistachios, Almonds, Sea Salt, Espresso Powder & Cocoa Nibs – Edible Gift Giving 2015

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Holiday gift giving 2015 will soon be in full swing and there are so many ways to make it easier and more personal. I am not much for shopping but I do love to make things. This is the first in a series I will post every so often during November and December. Easy edible food gifts to help get you through the Holidays with a sense of well-being and sharing.

My recipe, if you want to call it that, for “Chipotle-Dark Chocolate Studded with Pistachios, Cocoa-coated Almonds, Sea Salt, Espresso Powder & Cocoa Nibs/Cacao Nibs” is amazingly easy. It takes no special skills and it allows for lots of experimentation. The time for this batch was about 15 minutes! It doesn’t get any better than that! Don’t you feel more relaxed already?

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Olive and Sinclair Mexican Chocolate bars melted with some Nestle’s Semi Sweet Chocolate Morsels in the top of a double boiler….

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…poured out on a flat pan covered with parchment paper & spread around with a rubber spatula….

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…dusted & studded with toppings.

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A quick chill in the freezer for about 10 minutes and it is ready to break up into bite-size pieces.

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The dusting of chipotle chili and dark espresso powders give this chocolate an indulgently intense flavor that will appeal to all your chocolate obsessed friends.

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Place pieces in decorative tins or boxes for gift giving. Great host or hostess gifts.

Chipotle-Dark Chocolate Studded with Pistachios, Almonds, Sea Salt, Espresso Powder & Cocoa Nibs - Edible Gift Giving 2015

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Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces Olive & Sinclair Mexican Chocolate Bars (or any other bittersweet chocolate)
  • 8 ounces Nestles semi-sweet chocolate chips (or other brand)
  • Chipotle Powder to taste
  • 1/2 cup pistachios, rough chopped
  • 1/2 cup cocoa covered whole almonds or regular almonds, rough chopped
  • 1 to 2 tbsp instant espresso powder
  • flakey sea salt such as Maldon
  • 2 tbsp cocoa nibs (optional)

Directions:

  1. Line a sheet pan with parchment. Gather and prep all ingredients before you start melting the chocolate.
  2. Melt chocolate in the top of double boiler pan until smooth and without any lumps.
  3. Remove from heat, wipe pan bottom with a kitchen towel and pour/scrape melted chocolate out onto the parchment paper. Smooth with a dry rubber spatula.
  4. Dust over the entire surface with chipotle powder. More or less to fit your palate. I like more.
  5. Dust with the espresso powder and sprinkle with pistachios, almonds, sea salt & cocoa nibs generously. Press larger nut pieces down into chocolate gently with fingers.
  6. Place pan in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes. Remove when chocolate is hard, break into pieces. Store pieces in airtight containers. Best made and gifted within a couple of days.

Note: I made this up on a whim using what I had in my pantry, but you can totally experiment and add chopped dried fruit, coconut flakes, white chocolate chips, black pepper, etc…

Teresa Blackburn     teresablackburnfoodstyling.com      foodonfifth.com

All-Things-Green Salad Drizzled with Red Wine-Honey Vinaigrette

IMG_8920Light olive-green Baby Lima Beans, grass Green (English) Peas, the palest yellow-green Lady Peas tossed together with emerald mint leaves, brownish-green pistachios and  lime-green pea shoots lightly coated with an easy honey vinaigrette dressing.

Third Thursday Community Potluck was once again upon us and I had to make something good and fast. Digging through my freezer I found a bag each of fresh frozen baby limas, lady peas and green peas. All from the Nashville Downtown Farmer’s Market this past summer and all grown right here in middle Tennessee at local farms.

Which brings me to fundraisers and good deeds and all kinds of things like that. My friend and neighbor, Harriet Warner, sent me some information about a gathering that addresses all of the above. It is the Cumberland River Compact’s 4th Annual “Farm to Fork” dinner which brings top chefs together to celebrate local food, drink and clean water. If you would like to attend this fabulous evening of cool people who are interested in good food and keeping our beautiful Cumberland River clean and fresh go here for lots more information including menu, chefs…who, what, when and where. Or just go right here to buy tickets to be part of this great dinner party.

Now, back to my own little farm to fork dish,….peas and beans thawed, rinsed and drained…blanched in boiling water for a few minutes and again drained.

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Ah ha! A jar of salt preserved lemons hiding in the back of my pantry! I know they are yellow, but might add just the right saltiness to the salad…slivered and chopped.

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Mint from the backyard.

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Red wine honey vinaigrette drizzled on top.

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Tender pea shoots waiting to top off the salad along with some dusty green pistachios to add a bit of crunch.

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All-Things-Green Salad with a Simple Red Wine-Honey Vinaigrette

  • Servings: 12
  • Print

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Ingredients:

  • 3 cups each fresh or frozen Baby Lima Beans, Lady Peas, and Green(English) Peas
  • 1 bunch of fresh mint
  • 2 TBSP’s thin slivers of preserved lemon
  • 1/2 cup shelled pistachios
  • 2 cups loosely packed green pea shoots
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 TBSP honey
  • 2 tsps Dijon mustard
  • sea or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a bit of salt.  Toss in the baby lime beans, lady peas & green peas. Cook for about 5 minutes. Pour peas and beans into a colander to drain. Rinse with cool running water. Leave to drain and cool down for 20 minutes. Place in a large serving bowl.
  2. Pour the olive oil, vinegar, honey and mustard in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid and shake to emulsify. Season with a bit of salt and black pepper to suit your taste. Set aside.
  3. Roughly chop the mint leaves and add to the bowl of beans and peas along with the preserved lemon slivers. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
  4. When ready to serve drizzle the vinaigrette over all and toss gently. Top with the tender pea shoots and pistachios.

Note: This is a perfect salad for a crowd. I made it for the September Third Thursday Community Potluck dinner. You could also cut it in half for a family dinner. There was a little bit left so I ate it the next day for lunch and it was even better!

You can use edamame if you cannot find lady peas. I used summer beans and peas that I had frozen, but store-bought frozen product works great too.

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

 

Pesto & Poetry – “Emerald Pesto Tossed with Trotolle Pasta”

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Have you ever made deep-of-summer pesto? Do you ever sit and sip and read poetry on a warm night?

Many years ago I discovered my love of both and as I made pesto a few days ago using the emerald-green basil from our garden I remembered how much I love the prose-like poetry of Diane Wakoski. Especially a book of her poems entitled “Emerald Ice”. The selection above is from the first few lines of the first poem in this collection.

So here is a quick pesto using deep-green Basil leaves, a bit of sassy-green Arugula and the slightest-green pistachios. Tossed with a hearty & hollow Trotolle pasta…the pesto seeping onto and into the noodles…edible poetry!

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A few handfuls of Basil leaves & Arugula, fresh lime juice, shelled pistachios & a good olive oil is all you need.

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Emerald green pesto……

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…tossed with some al dente Trotolle, also called “spins” as they look like little spinning tops. Sprinkle with shredded Parmesan. This is pretty much…along with love…all you need.

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Emerald Pesto tossed with Trottole Pasta

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Print

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Ingredients:

  • 1 handful fresh basil leaves
  • 1 handful fresh arugula leaves
  • 1/2 cup shelled pistachios
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup good olive oil
  • 8 to 12 ounces Trottole pasta noodles cooked al dente (or any other short pasta)
  • additional shredded Parmesan cheese to top
  • salt &  black pepper optional (the lime juice and Parmesan will add a natural saltiness)

Directions:

  1. Place the pistachios in a food processor and pulse a few times.
  2. Add basil and arugula leaves. Pulse again 2 or 3 times.
  3. Add Parmesan and lime juice and pulse.
  4. With the processor running quickly drizzle in olive oil to your liking.
  5. Scrape finished pesto out of the processor bowl into a jar. Toss some of the pesto with hot, cooked & drained Trottole pasta. Scatter additional Parmesan cheese over the top of each serving and enjoy. Salt & pepper if desired.

Store any leftover pesto in a jar in the refrigerator or freezer for later use. I usually make extra while I am at it and freeze small jars for winter dishes.

“Falling in Love…Ines Rosales Tortas with Dark Chocolate & Pistachios”

Ines Rosales tortas

Do you believe it is possible to “fall in love” with an inanimate object? In this case a “food object? Well, it happened to me the first time I bit into an “Ines Rosales Torta” a few years ago. To this day these uniquely crisp sweet olive oil tortas from Seville, Spain are at the top of my indulgent food list. From the style of the packaging to the savory-sweet crispness these tortas appeal to every one of my senses. They are full of rustic charm & rare combinations of flavors.  Originally they made and sold just the Sweet Olive Oil Tortas, but now have flavors such as Seville Orange, Rosemary & Thyme, Cinnamon and Sesame & Sea Salt. Perfect as they are, they are very well suited to a bit of embellishment (previous blog on Ines Rosales).

I had been thinking for a while that a drizzle of really rich dark chocolate & a sprinkle of pistachios would take these tortas to a whole new level of goodness for a special celebration. On New Year’s Eve I pulled out my stash, got out the chocolate & nuts and brought this idea to life.

Ines Rosales Tortas, Chocolate & Pistachios

This is so easy and so elegant.

1. Spread 6 Ines Rosales Tortas out on a sheet pan covered with parchment.

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2. Melt 3.5 ounces of good quality dark chocolate (Green & Black’s Organic is a good one) in a saucepan with 3 tablespoons of good butter (Kerrygold is my favorite) over low heat until chocolate is completely melted & silky. Roughly chop pistachios.

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3. Here is what you do. Drizzle chocolate……..

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…Sprinkle pistachios….

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….take a bite…and fall in love.

Ines Rosales Torta with Chocolate & Pistachios

These large (5 to 6 inches in diameter) round tortas (cracker-like flatbreads) come individually wrapped in printed waxed paper in packages of 6. They are a bit pricey…anywhere from $4.50 to $6.00 per package. I first found them at Whole Foods but you can also purchase them online of course.

Stack of Ines Rosales Tortas