06 March 2012

Butter cookies

Last Saturday I went to see the newest addition to our family. My cousin had her first baby boy and we just had to swing by the house to see him. The family so far has 45 people in Holland and baby Tobey is number 46. Can you imagine the chaos we have when we have family dinner? I guess that’s why we haven’t thrown a house warming party yet. I’m panicking only thinking about it, but this summer I’m making the jump. After 2 years in the new house it’s about time.

I was running a bit late and I really wanted to bring something besides the cutest stuffed animal and the cutest little baby outfit I could find. This cookie recipe is just perfect; everything can be done within 30 minutes.

For about 15-20 cookies depending on how big you make them you’ll need:
-       40 grams of powdered sugar
-       100 grams of room temperature butter
-       2 egg yolks
-       1 bag of vanilla sugar
-       125 grams of flour
-       1 teaspoon of lemon zest
-       A pinch of salt
This is the first time I use this nice scale my sister got me for Christmas. It took me a couple of minutes to figure it out, but it can’t be that hard when there are only 2 buttons. So I started with weighing the sugar.
Then the flour…

And because I didn’t plan it well my butter came straight out of the fridge. I didn’t had time to wait till it soften so I popped the bowl in the microwave for just a couple of seconds…just enough to soften it.
I started with mixing the sugar with the butter till it was nice and creamy. Then the egg yolks went in one by one. Now it’s time to preheat the oven on 180C degrees.
When the eggs were incorporated I added the flour, the vanilla sugar, the salt and the lemon zest and mixed it till I’ve got a smooth dough. It will still be a bit wet, but that’s ok because this is not a roll out cookie. This cookie needs to be piped.
My piping skills needs some practice, but it still looked pretty good for an amateur.
The cookies only need 12-15 minutes in the oven and then you’ll have these delicious treats. When they were done I put them on a rack to cool for a bit.
Unfortunately I didn’t had a nice box to put them in so I sacrificed one of my little plates.
Now this looks like a great treat for a new mom and dad! A little bit of plastic wrap and a nice ribbon makes a world of difference.

Spaghetti with shrimps and zucchini

I hope you all had a great weekend. Mine was quite packed with social activities, but I manage to bake some cookies and will share the recipe very soon. So happy I’ve got some baking done.

Monday’s is always somewhat busy for me because every Monday night at around 7 pm I have a date. A play date that is. It started when my hubby and my Greek neighbor John had Dutch lessons together one evening a week. Me and Georgia (the wife) would get together and cook and hang out. There is not much cooking going on nowadays, but lots of playing with Spyros aka “the monster”. Since we are not blessed with any kiddies of our own I love my play time with Spyros. We play with trains, puzzles, footballs, balloons; basically whatever he gets his hands on. He’s starting to talk and sometimes forget that I don’t speak Greek. I try to pick up some words here and there, but thank god he does understand English as well. It’s always good fun. Because he has to go to bed in time I try to go over there at around 7. This means I have about 1 hour to make and eat dinner. That’s very tight considering the time I need to cook. Today I actually had time left. I made this super easy spaghetti dish using just a few ingredients:
-       Spaghetti (one handful)
-       Shrimps (as much or as little as you like)
-       Some white wine (again as much or as little as you like)
-       1 zucchini
-       Garlic (I used a lot, about 5-6 cloves, but you can use more or less)
-       About half a lemon
-       1 big tablespoon of crème fraîche
-       Salt and lots of fresh grounded pepper
I started with cooking the spaghetti in water with some teaspoons of salt. I always salt the water after it boils because if you do it ahead it takes longer for the water to boil.
As my shrimps came out of the freezer I put them in a bowl with some lukewarm water so they could defrost enough for me to peel them. If you have fresh and peeled shrimp you could make this dish even faster. To make it look more I sliced them in half.
I used a potato peeler to cut my zucchini in nice thin ribbons. Now it’s time to put it all together.
I put some chopped garlic (2 cloves) in a bit of olive oil and let them brown a bit. Then I added the shrimp shells. The shells have lots of flavor so I normally keep them and try to extract as much flavor as I can. When the shells change color I added a bit of white wine so the flavor could infuse in it. Then I put it all aside. You can skip this step if you are in a hurry.
Again I added some olive oil and the rest of the garlic. I started on low heat so the garlic can flavor the oil a bit. Then I put it on high and added the shrimp. I seasoned it with some salt and lots of fresh pepper.
Then I added the zucchini ribbons and the liquid I got from the shrimp shells.
When they soften a bit the spaghetti went in and another splash of wine. And to make it nice and creamy I added one big tablespoon of crème fraîche. To finish it all I squeezed a good amount of lemon on top.
I’ve never made this before so I’m very happy it turned out like this. It was so good my hubby and sister went back for seconds. Yah to stress free Monday meals!