Outside today, the thunder is rumbling and the rain is a long steady one that won't quit. We have floodings everywhere. I'm super peeved that I won't be able to plant anything in my garden for at least two weeks now, if it doesn't rain any more between now and then, that is... so if I can't plant, and I'm stuck inside, I may as well bake!

Oh, this one is a simple and pretty treat! I have no stories to tell, no memories about shortbread cookies, but this is a perfect little snack and it is easy to do! Perfect for having that four year-old of yours join in to help!

--- Jenny


RASPBERRY-FILLED SHORTBREAD CUTOUTS

1 cup butter 
1/2 cup white sugar 
2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
2 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour 
raspberry jam     

     In a large bowl, beat butter with 1/2 cup sugar and almond extract until light and fluffy. With wooden spoon, stir in flour until smooth and well combined. Divide dough into 2 parts. Refrigerate, covered for an hour.     

     Preheat oven 300 degrees F.     
     
     On lightly sugared surface, roll out dough, one part at a time, about 1/4 inch thick. Use a cookie cutter to cut out cookies. For half of the cookies, use a smaller cookie cutter to cut out heart shape or cut out the center shape by hand. Use whole cookie as a base, and spoon a small amount of jam in center, placing the top cookie (with the center cut out) over the top. Place on ungreased cookie sheet.
     
     Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until light golden brown around the edges. Cool completely on a wire rack.

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     Welcome to Raspberry Week! We have some really nice ideas for you this time around, today starting with a super easy, super low-calorie, super healthy main dish. Roast Chicken. 
     There are some rules when it comes to cooking chicken, and some confusion that goes with it. I don't know where this idea came from, but you DO NOT have to rinse a chicken before you cook it. In fact, you actually SPREAD bacteria when you do that. Heat, rather, will kill the bacteria as the chicken cooks. 
     Today, I'm roasting a chicken with rosemary. The fragrance and flavor are really nice, and alongside the sauce, it serves as a really classy yet simple meal. Enjoy!

---Jenny


ROSEMARY-ROASTED CHICKEN WITH
BALSAMIC RASPBERRY SAUCE
1 whole chicken
olive oil
salt and pepper
2 long stalks fresh rosemary
1 6-ounce package fresh raspberries
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

In a large roasting dish, place chicken breast size up. Drizzle with olive oil and salt and pepper. Place stalks on either side of chicken in the dish, cover with foil and bake 40 minutes at 400 degrees. After forty minutes, take foil off and continue to bake another 15-20 minutes or until inner meat is fully cooked. (165 degrees measured internally with a meat thermometer)

In a sauce pan over medium to medium-high heat, mash raspberries and add balsamic vinegar. Simmer approximately 20 minutes or until mixture reaches desired consistency. Spoon over slices of chicken.

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     WHEW!!! Today is Monday, so you can do the math. Only one Ginger Week recipe remained, as of last night, and it isn't posted until today. Here's a tip: don't do a remodeling project when your fans are demanding their new recipes ideas! Well, at least the office/spare bedroom is almost finished...
   Ginger goes naturally with citrus fruits, and is a lovely additive to lemonade. I found a recipe for Lemon Sorbet online, but it was way to strong, so I tweaked it for a really nice soft lemon flavor, then added ginger. But this ended up being a granita, because I wasn't home all day in order to take it out of the freezer and stir it occasionally. (The more you DO take it out to stir, the more air is incorporated, and the smoother it becomes.)


GINGER LEMONADE GRANITA

zest of one lemon
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup carbonated mineral water
1-2 tablespoons freshly grated ginger


     In a saucepan, stir together the diced lemon peel, 1 cup of water and sugar. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and allow to cool. If you want to cool the mixture more quickly, place pan in an ice bath.

     Add lemon syrup with lemon zest, lemon juice and mineral water. Pour into an ice cream maker, and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. 

     If you do not have an ice cream maker, you may freeze it in a tall canister. Freeze for 1 1/2 hours. Remove and stir with a whisk. Return to the freezer and stir about once every hour for about 4 hours. The more times you stir, the more air will be incorporated, resulting in a lighter finished product.

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     In one of my many, many cookbooks, (Giada’s Kitchen by Giada de Laurentis) there is a recipe for orange and chocolate zeppole, which are little Italian doughnuts. I’ve always wanted to try them, but I never have. I decided to make them this week for my dessert. I modified them very, very slightly (so that they were no longer orange and chocolate) and rolled them in a ginger sugar. They’re pretty easy
to make and best when eaten warm.
---Karly


ITALIAN DOUGHNUTS WITH 
GINGER & CINNAMON SUGAR

1 stick unsalted butter
¼ cup sugar
Pinch of salt
½ cup water
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs
Zest of 2 lemons
Vegetable or peanut oil, for frying 

Ginger Sugar:
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1-2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Combine ginger, cinnamon, sugar  and half of the lemon zest by whisking the ginger and sugar together in a small bowl. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine the butter, sugar, salt, and water over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Take the pan off the heat. Stir in the flour. Put the pan back on low heat and stir
continuously, until the mixture forms a ball, around 4 minutes. Put the dough ball into a medium bowl, and using a mixer on low speed, beat in the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the other half of the lemon zest.

Bring about 2 inches of vegetable oil to 350 degrees in a large frying pan. Using 2 small spoons, drop about a tablespoon of dough into the hot oil. (Be careful!) Drop in 3 more doughnuts, making sure you don’t overcrowd the pan. Turn each doughnut once or twice and cook until they are puffy and golden, about 5 minutes. Remove from the oil, roll in the sugar mixture, and transfer to a paper-towel lined plate. Cook the remaining doughnuts in batches of 4. Serve immediately.

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     I'm so happy you could join us for Ginger Week! 
     Typically, ginger implies Asian cuisine of some sort, but I was bored or uninterested with the lack of variety when I thought of the potential for ginger. I knew there WAS potential, but wasn't getting inspired. So I looked in the refrigerator, and LO! The broccoli. I needed to cook it anyway, as it had been in the fridge for a week already. So I cut it up. Now what?
     Ginger. Grate it. Okay... I always like butter with my broccoli, so now I have butter and ginger in my head. Hmmm... Orange would be nice, but I don't have an orange. I scan the kitchen counter. Wine, vinegar, honey. HONEY! Could it be that simple? You betcha!
     This is one of the simplest recipes I have invented, and it was delicious!!! Low-fat, low-calorie, HIGH-flavor!

--- Jenny


ROASTED BROCCOLI WITH

GINGER HONEY BUTTER

2 medium-sized heads of broccoli
olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
salt

     Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a baking sheet with a thin layer of olive oil. Cut broccoli into bites and lightly coat each bite with olive oil. (I poured a small amount into my palm and spread the oil onto each piece.)

     Bake 20-30 minutes to desired tenderness. Meanwhile, in a small sauce pan over low heat, combine butter and honey. Grate ginger with a grater (not a zester). After removing broccoli from oven, transfer to a medium-sized bowl with the honey mixture and toss well with a large spoon. Salt lightly and serve.

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     I love stuffed peppers, and I like to think of different ways to make them. When we decided to do ginger, I immediately thought Asian food. This is what I came up with for my main dish, and it was a hit!
Try them tonight!
---Karly


ASIAN STUFFED PEPPERS

¾ cup brown rice (you can use white)
1 ½ cups water
4 medium-large bell peppers
Sesame oil
Grapeseed or olive oil
½ pound of a pork tenderloin, in small chunks
2 carrots, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
4 green onions, sliced (if they’re super thin, use 5 or 6)
4-6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2-4 Fresno or jalapeno peppers, finely chopped
1-2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1 small handful cilantro, chopped
Salt and pepper
½ cup honey
½ cup soy sauce
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
1-2 teaspoons Sriracha hot sauce (optional)

     Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. In a small saucepan, cook the rice in the water until done. Set aside. In a large pot, bring water to a rolling boil, then add the peppers. Cook for 5 minutes, drain and let them cool. When you can handle the peppers, cut off the tops and take out the seeds. You can also thinly slice a little off of the bottom of the peppers so that they stand upright without falling over.

     In a small saucepan, heat the honey, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and hot sauce over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, turn the heat down and let it simmer 10-15 minutes.

     Heat some grapeseed and sesame oil in a skillet over medium-high heat (about a tablespoon total). Add the pork tenderloin and cook until browned (season to taste with salt and pepper), about 5 minutes.Remove from heat and set aside. Add some more oil to the skillet. Add the carrot, celery, green onion, and Fresno peppers, season with salt and pepper, and cook until crisp-tender, 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, and cilantro, and cook for 1-2 more minutes.

     In a large bowl (or in the skillet if large enough), mix the veggies, rice, and pork. Spoon the mixture into the peppers and place them in a baking dish. Drizzle the sauce over the peppers and bake for 15-20 minutes. Top them with toasted sesame seeds if desired.

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     For my main dish this week, there was no special epiphany, but my mind connected seafood, ginger and garlic. I opted to put it all into a pasta with a basic alfredo. Since my husband's stomach is so sensitive, I kept it to a minimum of ingredients and he loved it! "It's not very fishy at all," he said. Pffft! (He has an aversion to fish, so I suppose this was a major win on my part.)
     As far as preparation goes, this one should be a go-to dish for a quick dinner. It went together in about 15-20 minutes, and it's restaurant-worthy!

--- Jenny


BUTTERY GINGER & GARLIC SCALLOPS WITH 
ANGEL HAIR PASTA & ALFREDO SAUCE

1 pound large scallops
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4-1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
pancetta, chopped
pasta

     Over medium high heat, melt 1/4 cup butter and add garlic, ginger and scallops. Juice from scallops should incorporate into the butter and form a base for the butter sauce. Continue to cook until scallops are no longer translucent. Use a slotted spoon to set scallops aside. 
     Slowly add cream, 2 tablespoons butter, Parmesan and pancetta. Stir until creamy. Remove from heat to allow sauce to thicken.
     Arrange scallops on a bed of pasta and pour sauce over the top. Add freshly ground pepper to taste.

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This is my own version of chicken salad that I came up with about 6 years ago.  It’s really good on a croissant, with crackers, pretty much however you want to eat it.  Serving it in wonton cups makes it a great, easy, and fun appetizer.  Try it soon!

---Karly



ASIAN CHICKEN SALAD CUPS

Wonton wraps
2 cups chopped chicken
1 small can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
½ cup chopped green onion
Small handful chopped cilantro
2 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
¾ cup mayonnaise
1-2 tablespoons Teriyaki sauce
1-2 teaspoons sesame oil
Salt and pepper to taste

     Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Put the wonton wrappers in a mini muffin tin, and bake them 10-15 minutes, until golden brown. Let them cool on a cooling rack.
     Combine chicken, water chestnuts, onion, cilantro, garlic and ginger in a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine the mayo, Teryaki sauce, sesame oil, and salt and pepper. Mix well, and then combine with the mayo mixture. Season with more salt and pepper if needed.
     Fill the wonton cups with the chicken salad and serve.

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     Pesto is such an easy thing to make, and you can do so many things with it: put it on crusty bread, toss it with hot pasta, top chicken or fish with it, stir it into some plain Greek yogurt for a creamy dip, or simmer it with heavy cream to make a cream sauce. The other nice thing about pesto is that it doesn’t always have to be the traditional basil kind. Get creative with it! 
     I had some peppery arugula and thought that fresh mint would complement it perfectly for this pesto. It worked! The pesto has a nice flavor, with a subtle hint of the mint.  This is truly fantastic after it sits for a day or two and the flavors have time to marry.  Enjoy!
---Karly


ARUGULA MINT PESTO

1 packed cup fresh arugula
¼ cup fresh mint leaves
Zest of one orange
Juice of half an orange
½ cup whole almonds
¼ cup freshly grated Romano cheese
Grapeseed oil (you can also use olive oil)
Salt and pepper to taste

     Combine everything but the oil in a food processor and blend for one or two minutes. With a food processor on low speed, slowly drizzle in the oil until the pesto reaches your desired consistency. Add more salt and pepper to taste.


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     The quintessential pair. Chocolate and mint. Who doesn't think of chocolate when thinking of a dessert with mint in it? Such was the case for me, especially when I had considered that I hadn't had a brownie in forever. But, as is the custom here at KP, I had to do something a little out of the ordinary. So I rolled up the brownie and gave it a filling! So rich and delicious! Can you diggit?

--- Jenny

CHOCOLATE MOCHA MINT

BROWNIE ROLLS

Brownies:
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
½ cup butter
¾ cup light brown sugar
¾ cup sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons strongly brewed coffee
1 cup flour
½ teaspoon salt

Mint Filling:
¼ cup butter, softened
¼ teapoon salt
2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoons strongly brewed coffee
2-3 tablespoons chopped mint
2 tablespoons milk or cream

     Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Melt chocolate chips and butter over low heat, stirring. Remove from heat and whisk in both sugars. Cool Slightly. Whisk in 4 eggs, one at a time, along with vanilla extract. Stir in flour and salt. Spread in a greased baking pan and bake 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool on a rack.

     Use a hand mixer to blend butter, salt and sugar. Stir in coffee and mint. Add milk to desired consistency.

     To assemble: After brownies are cut into squares, roll a brownie to a 1/4” thickness. Spread icing over brownie and roll up. 


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