Ten Glazed Lemon Cookies

Ten Lords-a-leaping,  that just makes me laugh.  For some reason I am imagining football player like men jumping around in ballet costume. Haha.  Well now after I got that image  in your head, now don’t ten glazed lemon cookies sound amazing!

When I bake for the holidays I like to reach all types of cookie flavors- the classic sugar cookie, a peanut butter cookie, a peppermint cookie, a chocolate cookie, and a lemon cookie.  This particular recipe is my boyfriend’s favorite.  The cookie itself isn’t lemon flavor but the glaze is made with lemon zest, lemon juice and powdered sugar and it gives the cookie a great lemony sweetness. I bet you can’t eat just one!

Glazed Lemon Cookies

Ingredients

Cookies:
3/4 cup of unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup of sugar
2 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups flour

Icing:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
Juice from 1 lemon
Zest from one lemon

Directions
In the bowl of an electric mixer beat butter and sugar until smooth.  Add egg yolks, vanilla extract and salt, mix to combine.  Gradually mix in flour until all of it is incorporated.   Form a large ball with all the dough.  Divide in two balls.   Roll each ball out to 1 ¼ inch diameter logs and wrap in wax paper.   Refrigerate for about 30 minutes, or until firm.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment papers.  Cut dough into ¼ inch slices.  Re-round the edges if they lose shape, and space 1 1/2 inches apart from each other on the baking sheet.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, until firm.   Try not to let them brown that much.   Let them cool on cooling racks

To make Icing- Take 1 cups of confectioners’ sugar and mix with lemon zest and half of lemon juice.   If too thick, gradually add more lemon juice until the glaze is pourable.  Once cookies are cooled, dip them in the icing.  Shake off excess glaze and let dry on wax paper.

Source:  adapted from Real Simple Magazine, December 2008

-K

Eleven Buckeyes

Eleven pipers piping – ehh, don’t know if that is a gift I would love (my boyfriend should take note of this since he is still Christmas shopping for me… Babe- No pipers or drummers please.)  Eleven chocolate/peanut butter Buckeyes though… Yes please!

Oh buckeyes, you are how this all started. If you have been reading our blog since the beginning, you would know that buckeyes were our first post.  Buckeyes are those cookies that everyone always goes nutty about (no pun intended) and are asked for every time you offer to bring cookies. Don’t get me wrong- they are quiet delicious, similar to a peanut butter cup.  I just have made them 12,000 times. Since I have made them so many times, I have got it down to an art. Once the dough is made, I sit down in a comfy chair and watch tv as I make the balls. Also, a tip- don’t made them to huge, the size of a quarter is perfect, a half dollar is too much!

So what are you doing still reading this blog? Go make some buckeyes!  Your friends will thank you, and then request them over and over again…hahaha.  Also another tip I  never gave before… use your mixer if you have one, that way your can mix all the ingredients and only have to make the balls by hand instead of all that mixing.   However, its also very possible without a mixer.   I did many Christmas cookies without a mixer for years!

-K

 

Our First Ever Giveaway Contest at 2 Sisters 2 Cities!

This giveaway is now closed- see below for our big winner!  Please check back often for more giveaway contests from 2 Sisters 2 Cities.

We are pleased to announce our very first giveaway contest today!  Red Pack tomatoes has offered us a great gift package to give to one of our readers.  The gift pack includes two cans of Red Pack tomatoes- whole and crushed.  In addition it has some great kitchen tools-  a can opener, a pasta spoon, a pizza cutter, and a red spatula.  Best of all, it comes in a jumbo-sized Red Pack storage tin and includes recipe ideas for the tomatoes!  Check out the picture below of the prize pack:

In order to enter, please leave a comment below describing your favorite recipe to make with canned tomatoes?  When I think of Red Pack tomatoes, I instantly think of spaghetti sauce with pasta on a cold night.

The Rules: One entry per person, U.S. residents only.  Commenting will close on Friday, December 16th at 10:00 pm, EST.  Entries that do not follow the entry requirements will not be considered.  One winner will be chosen at random and announced next week.  Void where prohibited.

The contest is now officially closed!  Using random.org, we have picked our winner- comment #5.

Congratulations to “B” for winning the great Red Pack Tomato Gift Pack!  Thank you to all our contest entrants for some fabulous recipe ideas for Red Pack canned tomatoes.

B

JTizzle, that bisque sounds amazing, I love Romano cheese!

I use Red Pack tomatos for when I cook my Mom’s recipe of Spaghetti Sauce with Sausage. I make 3 batches worth at a time and freeze most of it so I have supply for a few weeks. Yum.

-m

South African Man-Sandwich

I didn’t want to post this.  But, I lost a mean game of rock-paper-scissors.  Therefore my dear readers, you must endure a post about the man sandwich from my husband:

Perhaps looking for a something to do with that leftover turkey? If you’re hungry, try making this “hell of a sandwich”. This idea was inspired by his trip to South Africa. He was so impressed by the quality of the meat and eggs and produce in South Africa, that he wanted to reconstruct a version of a double decker sandwich he had while down there. Here in the US, your avocado might not be as green, your eggs might not be as deep a rich orange, and you may have to use turkey instead of ostrich or springbok, but if you have a good appetite, you will probably enjoy this hell of a sandwich.

Ingredients:
-Three thick slices of good bread
-two eggs
-Avocado
-A big chuck of cheese (gouda preferable)
-quarter pound of thick cut (cooked) meat- ostrich or springbok preferable, but turkey leftovers or pork or even chicken are usable
-6 strips of thick cut bacon
-Mayonaise
-Sliced avocado
-Sliced tomato

Directions:
-Toast your favorite bread, three slices.
-Cook six strips of thick cut bacon in a pan.
-Once the bacon is done, fry two eggs, without adding any butter or milk. Put the eggs right in the pan that you fried the bacon in, without removing the grease.
-Once the eggs are done, put the previously cooked meat in the frying pan to warm it up.
-Take the bread out, and create the following layers:

1-first layer: bacon, then egg, then avocado.
2- second layer: Put down another layer of bread. Cover it with the cheese. Then put down the tomato, the meat, and then finally the mayonnaise.

Now you have one hell of a sandwich. Cut her in half and open wide!

I knew I should have gone with scissors…next time.

-m

Twelve Salted Caramel Chocolate Shortbread Bars

Why twelve you say?  Well, because this is the Twelve Cookies of Christmas,  and today we are officially 12 days from Christmas!

That’s right 12 types of cookies…I have officially gone Christmas cookie overboard. What’s worse is that I made 8 types over the weekend on top of hosting a dinner on Saturday. Let’s just say when Christmas music is playing, I can crank those Christmas cookies out!

So here we are 12 days before Christmas and I thought what would be a better present to all our readers than sharing 12 different recipes for the cookies I have made for the holiday season.  Just don’t tell weight watchers that I went this cookie crazy!

What are better than 12 drummers drumming? Well, after going to my boyfriend’s shows for his band Emergency Now, I can tell you that 1 drummer drumming is powerful enough, so 12 of them would probably hurt your ears.  Ear plugs would be a must!  Anyways back on topic, 12 Salted Chocolate Carmel Shortbread Bars are what are better!  This recipe was probably those most labor intensive of the cookies, but holy crap they are amazing.  It definitely helped that I made these first.  Make them!

Salted Caramel Chocolate Shortbread Bars

Yield: about 5 dozen small bars
Ingredients:
For shortbread layer-
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup sugar

For caramel layer:
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 cup sugar
4 tbsp. light corn syrup
2 cans sweetened condensed milk

For chocolate layer:
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate chips (chopped if you can’t chips)
1 tsp. light corn syrup
½ cup  unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Fleur de sel or sea salt or Kosher salt

Directions:
For Shortbread layer:

Preheat the oven to 325° F.  Line a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with parchment paper so that the paper comes up on the sides.  In a bowl mix together flour, baking powder, and salt.  Next in mixer bowl, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed for about 1-2 minutes or until blended.  Slowing the mixer to a lower setting, mix in the dry ingredients.  Transfer the dough to the parchment paper lined baking pan and spread out evenly.  Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden.  Make sure the crust doesn’t have any bubbles in it,  if so push them down with a spatula.   Move pan to a wire rack and let cool.

To make caramel layer-

In a medium sauce pan combine  butter, sugar, corn syrup and condensed milk over medium heat.  Stir occasionally until the butter is melted.  Increase heat to medium-high and bring caramel mixture to a boil.  Stirring constantly, reduce to a simmer.  Continue, until the mixture thickens and becomes darker (Keep stirring and make sure the heat isn’t too high or it will burn).  Pour the caramel over the shortbread layer and smooth out.   Chill to harden slightly before pouring chocolate on it.

To make chocolate layer:

In a double boiler combine chocolate, corn syrup, and butter and melt completely until smooth. Pour chocolate mixture on to the caramel layer and spread so that it is even. Allow to cool for a minute then sprinkle with salt.  Cover an chill until ready to cut and serve.

Sources: Annie’s Eats and  Lisa is Cooking, components originally from Baked and The Golden Book of Baking

-K

Seafood Sensation- Linguine Frutti di Mare with Vodka Marinara Sauce

Every so often on Sunday evenings, Husband M likes to do the cooking for the night.  I sometimes get a little nervous about the idea as I don’t like to give up control of my kitchen (and his methods are a bit more messy than mine!)   A week or so after Baby T was born, he decided to re-create one of his favorite restaurant meals, Linguine Frutti di Mare.  It’s basically pasta with seafood.  Husband M prefers his with a lot of garlic (he uses a whole head of garlic) and a lot of seafood (no skimping here.)  He decided to make this dish again last night for dinner and took pictures this time.

Linguine Fruitti di Mare

Ingredients:
-Jar of vodka marinara sauce or make your own (see below for our “half-homemade” version)
-12 oz. fresh linguine (you can also used dried pasta if you can’t find fresh)
-5-6 cloves of garlic, minced
-1 small sweet onion, chopped
-8 oz of clams (chopped or whole)
-1/4-1/2 lb scallops
-1/4-1/2 lb calamari, chopped into bite size pieces
-12 large peeled and deveined shrimp

No skimping on seafood or garlic in this house!

Directions
Prepare or heat up the vodka marinara sauce in a saucepan and keep on low heat.

Prepare the fresh pasta according to the package directions.  Keep in mind that fresh pasta usually only needs 2-3 minutes of cooking time.  Drain and keep warm

In a large skillet, heat up the olive oil on medium high heat and add the garlic and onion.  Saute for 3-4 minutes until soft.  Meanwhile, have all your seafood prepared (peel and devein shrimp, drain clams if using a jar/can, etc).  Pat dry the seafood with a couple of paper towels.  Once garlic and onions are soft, throw in all the seafood into the skillet and stir to combine.  Cook the seafood mixture for 4-5 minutes until all ingredients are cooked to your desired level.

At this point, place the cooked pasta in a large serving bowl.  Add the seafood mixture and heated vodka marinara sauce.  Combine all ingredients and serve loudly singing an Italian song about how you just created the best pasta dish around.

Also, if you want to spruce up just a plain jar of marinara sauce, here is our  partially homemade version of vodka marinara sauce:

“Half Homemade” Vodka Marinara Sauce

Ingredients:
-25 oz jar of marinara sauce
-3/4 cup of vodka
-1/2 cup heavy cream (room temperature)
-salt and pepper
-1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Directions:
In a large saucepan, combine the marinara sauce and vodka.  Cook over low heat for 30 minutes, stirring every so often.  Once the sauce has been slightly reduced, add cream, salt, pepper, and parmesan.  Stir together and serve.

-m

What the Heck Are You Looking For?

Even though I haven’t posted in awhile, I enjoy checking in once in awhile to see how many hits our blog get and what search terms people have used to stumble across our site.  Sometimes the search terms can be pretty funny.  Here are the top 10 from this past year that I had a good laugh at:

1. White Trash Party Ideas- What?  We never had a white trash party?  What are they insinuating?
2. Baby Bunk Bad- First of all, I think they meant “baby bunk bed.”  Second of all, I think it would be a really bad idea to put a baby in a bunk bed, even if they were bad.
3.  Found black cats in NJ- I think Animal Control would probably be a better place to check than our little ‘ole blog
4.  Turning cupcakes in cash- We actually got multiple hits from this search term.  I believe you need to bury the cupcakes in your backyard and grow a cupcake tree, which buds cash every spring.
5. Tree- You searched the word tree across the entire internet and came across our blog?  How many pages of search results did you go through to get to us?
6. I am open window- It’s getting a little cold, so can you just close the window, you.
7. Desserts to make with sisters- So cute, but pretty sure you can make any dessert with your sisters.
8. Pics of blue arrangements for men- Don’t want to know..
9. Pot party favors- What kind of party are we throwing here?
10. Two sisters making out- This is a family blog!  Who would search for that??  Stop it!

Happy searching!

-m

Tale of the Two Turkeys

No…not us!  I was referring to the two different turkeys we made for Thanksgiving this year, but we have been a bit fowl (teehee) for not posting in so long!  The M family has recently moved to the burbs and it’s been a crazy few months of packing, unpacking, and settling into our new place with Baby T.  I think I was also on the sidelines deciding whether or not I wanted to continue this blog, but I’ve suddenly been motivated to get going again as we approach our two year anniversary of the 2 Sisters 2 Cities blog!  (It doesn’t hurt that Husband M also decided to write most of this blog entry to get me going…)

We hosted our first Thanksgiving in our new home this year with my parents and all 3 sisters making the trip to the Boston area (including Sister K!)  A few years ago, we had purchased a turkey fryer to keep a large batch of gumbo warm for a football tailgate.  It had sat sadly in storage for many years.  This year, we decided to bring it out for a battle of the two turkeys…fried vs. roasted!   Here is Husband M’s rendition of the fried turkey tale:

Frying a turkey for Thanksgiving was something we had always wanted to do because we heard how good fried turkey tastes. We had been somewhat cautious after hearing how dangerous this can be, as some serious accidents and fires have occurred as a result of improper turkey frying (search the internet for turkey frying.)  However, after following directions properly and using caution, we are happy to report that our fried turkey was a great success. We had one slight distraction- an unexpected and ironic guest, which we will discuss in a minute.

Ingredients:
1) One small to medium-size turkey, depending on pot size (we used 11 lbs).
2) Some type of dry spice rub to put on the turkey before frying (we used Paula Deen’s version found here)
3) Peanut oil (we bought a large vat at Costco)

Anyone doing this should consult the proper instructions that come with the proper equipment, but here is a description of the steps we undertook that lead to a successful outcome

-Using proper equipment and being located outside, at least twenty feet from any structure.
-Filling the oil only partially (measuring displacement with water first). You don’t want hot oil overflowing out of your pot and on to the flame- this will cause an explosion.
-Not letting the oil temperature exceed 350 degrees.
-Making sure the turkey was completely thawed and dry. This required four full days of defrosting. This is a key step as throwing a frozen turkey in boiling oil will result in a fiery explosion (see results of internet search mentioned above).
-Turning the heat off while placing the turkey in the pot. This way, if the oil were to boil over due to a mistake made in one of the points above, the overflowing oil would not fall on a hot flame and ignite.
-Letting the turkey fry for approximately 3.5 minutes per pound.

Again, these are just an illustrative description and not a complete set of instructions. This is a potentially dangerous process, and anyone looking to fry their own turkey should follow the full instructions that come with the equipment and/or speak with their local fire department. We are not responsible if you melt your face off or burn your house down.

The result was a fast cooking time and a tender bird with great taste. It was not oily at all, contrary to what one might think. I guess the oil just seals in all the moisture.

Here is a picture of our guest….look carefully. A wild turkey ran by our yard while we were cooking our turkey. Perhaps he is thankful he is not in that pot.

Our new house has a lot of turkey visitors…we all found it very funny that they decided to show up as soon as we started frying up his cousin from Butterball County.  Sorry bird!

Here’s a final pic of the fried turkey…yum!:

We also did a basic roast turkey just in case Husband M botched up the friend turkey, ergh, I mean in case we wanted more turkey.  We used this recipe in this year’s Cooking Light.  My mom brought the gravy so we did not make the version in the recipe.  We also used a Reynolds oven bag to cook the turkey in to seal in the moisture.  Here’s a picture of me with the two finished birds sitting side by side:

The final verdict: we loved both of them!  The skin on the fried turkey was amazing, but the oven bag really helped keep the roasted turkey moist.  It may be a tale of two turkeys every year for Thanksgiving going forward.

-m

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