Sunday, January 17, 2010

Edible art

My 4-year-old and I had a blast painting these cornmeal cookies. It is such a fun idea -- use paintbrushes and food coloring to make edible works of art! You could do it with sugar cookies, too. All you need is a cookie that can be glazed so you end up with a flat, smooth, dry, nonporous surface. Use clean craft brushes or makeup brushes, nothing too thick. The fine-tipped ones work great. You only need a tiny dip into the food coloring. The glaze recipe is below, along with the cornmeal cookies.


2/3 c. butter, softened
2/3 c. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 egg
1 1/2 tsp. finely shredded lemon peel
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 c. flour

Beat butter and sugar. Add baking powder and salt. Beat in egg, lemon peel and vanilla, then cornmeal and flour. Wrap dough in plastic wrap or waxed paper and chill in refrigerator for a couple of hours. Work it with your hands until it is easy to handle, then roll out dough on floured surface until it's a fourth-inch thick. Cut into shapes and place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 7 to 10 minutes, or until edges start to brown very lightly. Dip fronts of cookies into glaze or spread glaze with a knife. The glaze is self-leveling. Let dry before painting.


1 1/2 c. powdered sugar
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 1/2 Tbsp. milk

Stir together ingredients until you reach spreading consistency.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Use your leftovers

If you need a great way to use leftovers from a holiday ham, try this -- ham fried rice. It's easy, and it tastes wonderful. Plus, you can adjust the ingredients any way your sweet little heart desires. There's no need to add salt, though, because there's enough in the soy sauce and ham.


3/4 c. uncooked white rice
3/4 c. uncooked brown rice
2 eggs
1 1/2 c. diced ham
1 c. peas
4 green onions, chopped
2 Tbsp. oil (I used canola)
1/4 c. soy sauce
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. ground red pepper
1 Tbsp. brown sugar

Cook rice according to package directions. (Remember, brown rice takes more water than white.) In large frying pan or electric skillet, scramble and cook eggs. Add cooked rice, ham, peas and onions. Toss with oil and keep frying. Add soy sauce, spices and sugar, and keep frying until you feel good about it. The ham and eggs will get a little browned on the edges. Turn off the heat and let it sit until you're ready to eat. It tastes best if you let the flavors mix for a little bit.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Polly want a cracker?

Have you ever thought of making homemade crackers? I hadn't, until I ran across this recipe on Smitten Kitchen. These Parmesan cream crackers are a nice little treat. They are thicker than a store-bought cracker and extremely easy to make. After rolling out the dough, I cut it with one of my kids' playdough accessories to make the crackers look more like the real thing. Feel free to get creative. You could spread something on them or serve them with soup.


1 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. grated fresh Parmesan cheese
4 Tbsp. unsalted butter*
1/4 c. cream or half-and-half

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or lightly dust with flour. Put flour, salt, cheese and butter in bowl of food processor. Pulse until combined. (You could do it by hand with a pastry blender.) Add cream and mix until dough forms. (You'll probably have to finish combining it by hand.)

Roll out dough on lightly floured surface until it's a fourth-inch thick or less. From into individual crackers -- mine were about an inch and a half long. Place on baking sheet and poke with fork. Bake until moderately browned, about 12 minutes. I think mine took longer. Cool completely on rack before eating so they will be dry and crisp. Makes about 30 crackers.

*If you are using salted butter, reduce the amount of salt in the recipe by half.