Friday, December 21, 2007
I guess, technically, they are Middle-Eastern cookies, but the first one I ever had came from an Armenian bakery in Burbank, CA... So I call them Armenian :) I kinda made this recipe up. I have The Complete Armenian Cookbook by Alice Bezjian, which is an awesome book (I found my old, tattered copy on Amazon) with tons of recipes that my husband and his family are fond of, plus others from around the world, from Lasagna to Chile Relenos. I used her recipe along with some others I found on the internet and mixed 'em all up to make my version.
Anyways, these are called ma'amouls. It's a shortbread like dough which you stuff with usually a pistachio, walnut or date filling. The ones I had in Burbank had dates and pistachios, but when I was trying to figure out the fruit in the filling I thought it was figs, so that's what I made these with. Next time, because there will be plenty of next times, I will try the dates and tell you which one tastes better.
So, you make your shortbread. I used the basic 1 cup butter, 1/2 cup sugar & 2 cups flour, but then instead of vanilla, use orange flower water. I know it sounds weird, but that's what makes these taste Armenian! Then while you are chilling the dough, boil about 1 cup figs (or dates) with 1/2 water and 1/2 sugar + a splash of orange flower water. Simmer it until almost all the water is out, squishing the figs with your spoon. After that, blend the fig stuff with 1 cup of shelled pistachios in a food processor until it looks like this...
Interesting, huh? I promise, it tastes very yummy. Get your dough out of the fridge and roll walnut size pieces into a ball, poke a hole almost all the way through with your finger, and fill with a small amount of the filling. Pinch the dough back up and then shape into little flattened logs. Once you have a pan ready, PUT IT IN THE FRIDGE while you get the other pan ready. They need to firm up before baking or else they'll melt in the oven. After chilled for about 10 minutes (the time it takes to make the other pan) bake in a 350 degree oven for 13-17 minutes, just until the bottoms are golden brown. The tops won't get much color, so check the bottoms.
Cool on a cookie rack and then sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
From top left: outside The Bellagio with the amazing water show; our big, cooshy bed; replica of the Statue of Liberty outside of New York, New York; the lobby in our hotel (the Venetian); outside on one of the balconies outside our hotel at night; the entrance to The Luxor; Hubby sitting at Mario Batali's restaurant INSIDE of The Venetian (bet you thought we were on some patio in Venice, huh?); also INSIDE The Venetian... you can take gondola rides, it looks like you're in Italy!; and then an outside pic of our hotel, it was much bigger than I could capture on my camera, but I think this is a cool image.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
1. Put your iTunes/ music player on Shuffle (use a stereo or a list of your favorite songs if you don’t have an iPod)
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
3. YOU MUST WRITE THAT SONG NAME DOWN NO MATTER WHAT(this is in capital letters, so it is very serious. No hiding your showtunes, folks!)
After you’ve answered all of the questions, tag 5 other people and then let them know they’ve been tagged to do the meme themselves!
IF SOMEONE SAYS “IS THIS OKAY” YOU SAY?
The Difference Between A Woman And A Man - Josh Turner
WHAT WOULD BEST DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONALITY?
Spanish Caravan - The Doors
WHAT DO YOU LIKE IN A GUY/GIRL?
Get Busy Living Or Get Busy Dying - Fall Out Boy
HOW DO YOU FEEL TODAY?
Stormy Weather - Ella Fitzgerald
WHAT IS YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE?
Give a Little Bit - Supertramp
WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO?
Are You Gonna Be My Girl - Jet
WHAT DO YOUR FRIENDS THINK OF YOU?
Nobody Said That It Would Be Easy - Alan Jackson
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR PARENTS?
Outrageous - Britney Spears
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT VERY OFTEN?
Naughty Eye - Timbaland
WHAT IS 2+2?
Cinema Paridiso - Josh Groban
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR BEST FRIEND?
Gone - Kelly Clarkson (how crazy is that? She's like 250+ miles away! :( )
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE PERSON YOU LIKE?
Secret - Maroon 5
WHAT IS YOUR LIFE STORY?
Lady Marmalade - Moulin Rouge Soundtrack
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP?
Zoot Suit Riot - Cherry Poppin' Daddies
WHAT DO YOU THINK WHEN YOU SEE THE PERSON YOU LIKE?
Fix You - Coldplay
WHAT DO YOUR PARENTS THINK OF YOU?
Can't Help Falling In Love - Michael Buble
WHAT WILL YOU DANCE TO AT YOUR WEDDING?
Crash - Dave Matthews Band
WHAT WILL THEY PLAY AT YOUR FUNERAL?
Everything You Want - Vertical Horizon
WHAT IS YOUR HOBBY/INTEREST?
Sin Wagon - Dixie Chicks
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST SECRET?
The Game of Love - Santana ft. Michelle Branch
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR FRIENDS?
Let It Roll - Train
WHAT SHOULD YOU POST THIS AS?
Hurts So Good - John Cougar Mellencamp
I forgot the tagging part of my meme. If you wanna play, play!
Sunday, December 9, 2007
I was so busy, tho. I forgot to take pictures of all the food I made... 2 pans of home-made lasagna, spinach ravioli, bacon and almond green beans, garlic bread, and 2 cakes. I managed to snap one of the half eaten, from-scratch carrot cake, but didn't get one of the 2 layer chocolate. Sorry guys!
Now, for the fun! The winner of my give-away is... *drumrollllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll* Jenn and Jacqui from The Browerbirds Nest! Since this is a blog, I decided to pick the winner in a different way. I went here, and they randomly mixed up the names I put in their list to give me a first place winner. How cool is that?
Now for what my friends Jenn and Jacqui won. How cute are these??? Sorry I didn't get a better pic of them before I gave them away, but I'm sure momma will take a cuter pic and post it on her blog. Email me ladies (email@example.com) and give me your address and I'll send you your very own hand crocheted cupcake! My little cousin thought they were pretty cool!
Thursday, December 6, 2007
We made macaroons, chocolate crinkle cookies, lemon white chocolate chip cookies, the best ginger cookies (soft!) and fudge... The easiest fudge in the world. It only takes 2 ingredients... Ready? One bag of chocolate chips and one tub of chocolate frosting! Really, I swear! It's so easy, all you do is melt them in a saucepan until it just starts to boil and then pour it in an 8x8 cake pan, or little chicken pot-pie pans like we did. The only fudge we've ever been successful with :)
Know the best part about baking with your mom? You bake, she does the dishes :) Hehe! Can you tell I don't like dishes???
Anyways, keep commenting on the post below to try to win a fun surprise!
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
And for some pics, here's some more Christmas at my house. The handpainted reindeer, Frosty and houses were all made by Momma herself, and were always out and about at Christmas when I was growing up. Lucky for me, she decided to part with some and they're now hangin' out at my house :)
Sunday, December 2, 2007
They're 7 feet tall and I think they fit like they were meant to be. Just festive enough and hubby was happy that there were no ladders involved :) Along with my home-made wreath, I think my front yard looks pretty nice! Except for the ugly bushes that I'm currently trying to get our association to fix. If they can't find pretty plants, I'm going to pull them out and plant my own, and I won't hear one word from them!
Now, when I see a big bag of lemons, many yummy, yummy things come to mind. Lemon bread, lemon merengue pie, lemon cooler cookies... my favorite, tho, is lemon bars, so when I found a recipe for one you make in a pie pan and serve in triangles, I had to try it...
I'll post a pic of the yummy dessert later and if the recipe's good, I'll share it!