Sunday, January 12, 2020

Char's Almond Crunch Cookies

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This has to be one of my favorite cookie recipes.  They are crunchy on the outside, soft in the middle with a buttery toffee taste. Be sure to toast the almonds or buy roasted unsalted almonds and roughly chop them, as it adds to the flavor and texture of the cookie. This recipe comes from my Jazzercise friend, Char, who is an expert baker. She baked these for our class during the holidays, making it a very memorable treat.  I will definitely be making these again. 

1 cup sugar
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 cup butter (Challenge or Land-o-Lakes)
1 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 tsp almond extract
3-1/2 cups flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cream of tartar
2 cups chopped almonds, roughly chopped, roasted, unsalted
1 (8oz) pkg Heath almond brickle chips
Additional sugar 

Combine sugar, powdered sugar, butter and oil in large mixing bowl; beat at medium speed with electric mixer until blended.  Add eggs and almond extract, beating well. Combine flours, soda, salt and cream of tartar; gradually add to creamed mixture, beating just until blended after each addition. Stir in almonds and brickle chips.  Chill dough 3-4 hours.  Shape dough into 1-1/2 inch balls, place at least 3" apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten cookies with a fork dipped in sugar, making a criss cross pattern. Bake at 350 degrees for 12-13 minutes or until lightly browned on edges and soft in middle. Transfer to racks to cool.

Phyllis' Spanish Marinated Olives

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A delicious blend of olives, cheese and salami from my friend, Phyllis Hays-Martin. This is a recipe you can make ahead of time and refrigerate overnight before serving.  You can substitute the salami with chorizo, and use whatever olives you like.  It makes a great appetizer to serve with your favorite wine.

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp sherry vinegar
1/2 cup mozzarella pearls or cubed mozarella
1/2 cup machego chese, cubed
4 cloves garlic thinly sliced
3 springs fresh rosemary
2 bay leaves
zest 1/2 orange, peeled in long thin strips
1 cup Castelvetrano olives, pitted
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted
1/2 cup cured Beldi olives, pitted
1/2 cup salami or chorizo, cubed

Whisk olive oil and sherry vinegar. Add the rest of the ingredients except for the chorizo and refrigerate overnight or 8 hours. To serve, drain off excess liquid. Add the chorizo, toss and serve.

Phyllis is pictured here (5th from the left in the back row) at Dee Thomas' birthday party in October 2019.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

New Year's Day 2019 at the Obatake's

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Another wonderful New Year's Day feast at Hide and Reiko Obatake's. This year surpassed previous years in the selection of dishes, all perfectly cooked and beautifully presented. It is the highlight of our annual holiday trip to Seattle. Hide is a truly gifted and talented chef. We are so fortunate to be invited.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Salmon Onigirazu

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Here's a new twist on Japanese onigiri. In this photo, rice, smoked salmon and red leaf lettuce are layered and wrapped in a sheet of seaweed (nori). Other fillings could be scrambled eggs, ham, sliced cucumbers, umeboshi, lettuce, avocado, teriyaki chicken, fried Spam, etc. 

To make one, place a whole sheet of nori on a piece of plastic wrap. Add cooked Japanese rice in the shape of a square 4"x 4"x 1/2", place it in the center of the nori making sure it is placed diagonally to the edges. Top with whatever ingredients you wish, add a little more rice. Moisten the corners of the nori with a dab of water. Fold the corner points of the nori into the center (like an envelope). Wrap in plastic wrap. Press it together lightly, then cut in half through the plastic wrap.  

You can search on "onigirazu" on for videos of the folding technique and other ingredient ideas.  

Blueberry Scones

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This could be my favorite scone recipe. It is so easy to make. You just drop the dough onto a baking sheet with no rolling of the dough. It has a delicious rich buttery flavor. The almond glaze is optional, but adds just enough sweetness to the scone.

2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup cold buttermilk
1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

1 cup powdered sugar
2 T whole milk
1/2 tsp almond extract

Mix dry ingredients, then cut the butter into the mixture with your fingers or a pastry cutter until it resembles coarse crumbs.  Add the berries and buttermilk, and mix just until combined. Drop in 1/2 cup size mounds onto a parchment lined baking sheet about 3 inches apart.  Bake 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Drizzle the icing when cooled.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Liz's Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I must have a dozen chocolate chip cookie recipes, but this is a good one where the cookies turn out crispy. Liz is a master cookie baker who has experimented with multiple cookie recipes and uses this one as her basic recipe, adding raisins, craisins, coconut, nuts or whatever is on hand. This picture is cookies with semi-sweet chocolate chips and macadamian nuts.

1 cup melted butter
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1+ cup nuts
2+ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Mix the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar together. Add the eggs and vanilla. Then add the flour, soda and salt. Stir in the chocolate chips and nuts. Drop tablespoon size onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 8-10 min. Cool on a wire rack.

Phyllis' Lemon Shrimp

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Phyllis made this shrimp for us, and we could not stop eating it. It is simple to make as it has only a few ingredients. It makes a great appetizer or main dish. Serve it with a baguette to soak up the butter.

3T butter, melted
1 lemon, thinly sliced
1-lb raw jumbo shrimp, shelled
Good Seasonings Italian salad dressing mix (dry)
Extra virgin olive oil

Place melted butter on a baking sheet. Place the lemon slices on top of the butter. Sprinkle the dry Italian dressing mix on both sides of the shrimp. Put the shrimp on top of the lemon slices. Drizzle olive oil over all.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15 min. Garnish with chopped parsley (optional). 

Pictured above is Phyllis (in the middle) with her husband, Dana, and good friend Laurie.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Caramel Pecan Ice Cream Dessert

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This is one my favorite ice cream desserts.  It has a nutty, crunchy cookie crust and topping with vanilla ice cream and caramel syrup inside of it.  It is a rich dessert, so serve it in small portions. It feeds at least 16 people. This recipe also works well with chocolate ice cream and chocolate fudge syrup.
1-3/4 cups flour
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1 cup melted butter
1 jar caramel ice cream topping
2 quarts vanilla ice cream, softened

In a large bowl, combine the flour, pecans, sugar and oats. Add the melted butter and mix well. Spread in a thin layer on a large cookie sheet with sides. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 min. stirring occasionally until golden brown. Crumble while warm. Cool. Press half into a 9x12 pan. Spread half of the ice cream. Drizzle with the caramel syrup. Spread rest of ice cream. Top with remaining crumbs. Cover and freeze. Remove from freezer 10 min. before serving.

We served this dessert on our last trip to Hawaii at a group dinner with our Seattle, Kaneohe and Tokyo friends.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Corinne's Almond Cake

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This easy recipe came from my good friend, Corinne, who got it from Sally at her husband's office. It is moist and so delicious!  It has a rich almond flavor and tastes great when served with a little bit of whipped cream.  I will definitely make this one again.

3/4 cup butter
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1-1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp lemon extract (optional)
1-1/2 cups flour

1 T sugar
3/4 cup SLICED almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt butter.  Pour butter in a bowl and stir in sugar.  Add eggs.  Stir until creamy.  Add the salt, all the extracts and flour.  Grease bottom and sides of a 9" spring-form pan.  Spread the batter in the pan.  Sprinkle the almonds over the top, then sprinkle the sugar.  Bake for 30-40 min. until the top browns.

Hide and Reiko Obatake's New Year's Feast 2018

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This year we attended the New Year's Day Feast at Hide and Reiko Obatake's house. Each time we go, the meal surpasses the previous year's meal in creativity, presentation and taste.  Each dish is colorful and beautiful to look at, as well as tasting delicious. Hide is a super organized multi-tasker, who pays close attention to detail, resulting in each dish being a true masterpiece.  Attending his dinner is the highlight of our holiday season in Seattle, something we look forward to each year.  Here are photos of this year's osechi ryori.

Bea Kiyohara’s Almond Crescent Cookies

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Here's a Kiyohara family favorite recipe for Almond Crescent Cookies.  Bea's mother would make this for Christmas each year. It is like a Mexican wedding cake cookie, but richer and more buttery in taste.

1 lb butter
2/3 cup sugar
1–1/3 c ground almonds
3-1/3 c. flour
1/2 tsp salt
Powdered sugar

Mix butter, sugar and almonds. Add flour and salt. Shape into crescents. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet at 325 degrees for 14-16 min. Cool 10 min., then roll in powdered sugar.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Peanut Butter Shortbread Kisses

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This cookie is an egg-free peanut butter shortbread cookie topped with a Hershey's kiss. Denny and Tim can eat a whole plate of these.

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 stick of butter, room temperature
1 tsp vanilla
1-1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 pkg Hershey's kisses

Mix the butter, peanut butter, sugars and vanilla together until blended. Add the dry ingredients. Roll dough into 1" balls. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 10-12 min. Top with a Hershey's kiss while warm, pressing it down slightly.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Ham and Cheese Puff Pastry Appetizers

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It's a ham and cheese sandwich in puff pastry, a cute appetizer for a dinner party or perfect for lunches.  The flaky buttery crust is irresistible.

1 box Pepperidge Farm puff pastry (2 sheets)
2 T dijon mustard
1/4 lb. thinly sliced ham
1/2 lb. thinly sliced gruyere cheese

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.  Defrost the puff pastry, then roll to make two, 10"x12" rectangles.  Place parchment paper on a baking sheet, and layer one sheet of the puff pastry, followed by the mustard, ham and cheese. Top with the second puff pastry sheet.  You can brush the top with an egg wash, if you like (1 egg mixed with 1 T water).  Bake for 20-25 min. until golden brown.  Cut into squares before serving.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Bea's Waverly Cookies

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This recipe originally came from Bea and Denny's Aunt Teru Kiyohara. Waverly Wafer crackers make up the crust for this cookie, which is then topped with buttery sugar and almond slices.  It is flaky, salty and sweet at the same time.  We enjoyed them at Bea's talented daughter, Joby Shimomura's glass show in West Seattle in August.

1 box Waverly Wafer crackers
1 cube butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Almond slices

Stir the melted butter, sugar and vanilla together until blended.  Line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper.  Add the Waverly Wafers in a single layer in the pan.  Pour the sauce over the crackers and spread evenly.  Top with almond slices.  Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes.

Joby Glass: