don't go empty handed

i hope everyone enjoys this time with family and friends. please relax and enjoy. indulge in some good food and conversation. and if you still havent found that little something to bring along with you on your visit, try this simple but delicious recipe sent to me by my friend sarah. at the very least it will make your home smell delicious!

Warm Mixed Nuts

5 c. of raw mixed nuts
1 T. olive oil
2 shallots
3 cloves of garlic
2 T. unsalted butter
1/4 c. fresh rosemary
1/4 t. cayenne
1 T. brown sugar
1 T. course salt
Heat oven to 350. Place nuts in a single layer on baking sheets. Toast until golden and fragrant for 8 to 12 minutes rotating pans. Put in a bowl and set aside. Thinly slice the shallots into rings. Thinly slice the garlic lengthwise. Heat oil over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic until golden. (3 to 5 min.) Remove from oil and drain on paper towels. Melt butter and pour over mixed nuts. Add rosemary, cayenne, brown sugar, and salt. Stir. Toss in garlic and shallots.


oh snap

ginger snaps to die for
ginger snaps are a necessity this time of year in my opinion. dont get me wrong, they are delicious year round, but now when it is cold (for some) and you have a cup of hot tea or coffee that is just begging to have a little something dunked in it, this is everywhere you want to be. these gingersnaps are thin and crisp, sweet and spicy and just that darn good. eliot and i shared a few during our afternoon fika last week, and then i had a few more (five...) that evening. ok, so they are dangerously addictive. but dont worry because this recipe makes the kind of dough that you keep in the freezer. if you have weak self control like myself, only slice off three or four and bake them. they are also perfect for that unexpected visitor. warm the oven, put on the kettle for tea, slice a few of these and in twelve minutes you sit down for a lovely visit over tea and cookies. i found this recipe last year on marikos blog and have been using it ever since. i promise dear readers, that soon i will give you more than cookie and dessert recipes. just bear with me, i have been having so much fun baking that it is hard not to share. ok, here you go. enjoy.

Chez Panisse Gingersnaps

8 ounces unsalted butter
1 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 small eggs or 1 1/2 large eggs
1/3 cup molasses
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. ground black pepper

Cream butter until soft. Add sugar, and beat until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and eggs, and beat until fluffy. Add molasses and beat until well-incorporated. Sift the dry ingredients, and add to the mixture. On low speed, mix until it all just comes together. Line a 9" x 5" loaf pan with plastic wrap, so that some hangs over the outsides. Press the dough into the bottom of the pan. Pack it tightly, and try to make the top as level as possible. Cover the dough with the plastic overhangs. Freeze until very firm, preferably overnight. Unwrap and remove dough from the pan. Slice brick into thin slices, no more than 1/8". Place on a parchment-lined sheetpan and bake at 350 degrees until the edges turn dark brown, about 12 minutes.


soup IS a meal

potato of the sweet variety
in my book, soup is definitely a meal. i think i could eat soup everyday from now until march, and then switch to gazpacho. mmm. lately my favorite has been to take a heap of sweet potato and through magic of the culinary type turn it into a satisfying bowl of thick, silky soup. all you need is a hunk of crusty bread and a small bowl of salad and there you have it. a meal.

this recipe was adapted from i think october's cookie magazine.

chunky sweet potato soup

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving

1 medium onion, diced
1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and sliced crosswise
1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 teaspoon dried sage (less if it is ground or to taste)
2 large sweet potatoes (about 1½ pounds), peeled and cubed
6* cups chicken or vegetable broth
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan***

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, fennel, and garlic and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften and begin to caramelize, about 10 minutes**. Stir in the sage and cook 1 minute more. Add the sweet potatoes to the pot and stir. Pour in the broth and bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, until the potatoes are fork-tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Season with the salt and pepper. Transfer half of the soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Return to the pot and stir to combine. Ladle the soup into bowls and drizzle with more olive oil. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and serve.

* the original recipe called for 4 cups but i used a 6 cup can, which was nice because it tends to thicken after a day or two. but believe me it is still way yummy.
** i usually use this time to peel and cube the sweet potatoes, making the whole process much easier.
*** i like to keep a block of decent to good parmesan cheese in my fridge, and find it easier and prettier to shave slices with a vegetable peeler. so professional...
**** (getting ridiculous i know, but also satisfying to see that many astrics lined up) the first time i made this soup i only had one sweet potato on hand but happened to have a small butternut squash on my counter. threw that in along with the s.p. and it was just fine.

there you have it folks. so easy that when i made this monday night, i also made a pot of broccoli cheese soup for eliot and a batch of chili. the sweet potato goodness was all mine as the rest of my family is crazy and doesnt eat them, except arlo of course. if you are big fan of sweet potato/pumpkin/butternut squash (or anything else orange for that matter) like i am, then you should also take a look at mollys puree. to die for. i just said that.


have you made anything yet?

orange chocolate chip
i did, the orange chocolate chip muffins. they were stupid easy and so good. perfect breakfast this morning at work. have you tried anything yet? let me know and if you have and took a picture, even better! share share!


{coffee} + {cookie} = {fika}

first a thank you to mav for letting me use her beautiful picture of her very own fika from last week. a second thank you goes to melissa for sharing a recipe from the "family vault". you know it has to be good if it was locked up right? right. so please take the time to read the wikipedia link to the word fika because i think we all need fika in our lives, especially at this time of year. we all have to admit to a love/hate relationship with the holidays. some days i just want to give, give, give and then some days i feel so grinchy that i think i could fast forward to march (without skipping eliot and arlo's birthdays of course). for my peace of mind and a perfectly legitimate reason to enjoy all the holiday cookies that will be coming our way i plan to take time out each afternoon to enjoy fika with eliot. i know he will love it. ok, now onto the recipe!

Russian Teacakes

1 cup butter or marg softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup finely chopped nuts

Heat oven to 400. Mix butter, sugar and vanilla.
Work in rest until dough holds together. Shape
into 1" balls--on ungreased baking sheet. Bake
10-12 min. until set but not brown. While warm
roll in powdered sugar. Cool and roll in sugar again.

how easy is that? so easy. oh and one last bit of cookie talk, did you see abby's post for persimmon cookies??? i was so excited when i saw it because i have never ever heard of such a cookie, and very rarely do i meet a cookie i dont like. time to make a new acquaintance...


starting monday with muffins

orange chocolate chip muffins
2 cups self-raising flour
3/4 cup castor sugar
zest of 1 orange
juice of 1/2 an orange (approx 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup olive oil
3/4 cup milk
2 eggs
1 cup choc chips
Mix the flour, sugar and zest in a medium
bowl. Mix (whisk with a fork) the juice,
olive oil, milk and eggs. Make a well in the
centre of the dry ingredients. Pour in the wet ingredients and chocolate chips.
Mix until just combined. Spoon into lavishly buttered muffin pans and
bake for about 20 min in a moderate oven (180C or 350F degrees).

this recipe was sent to me from melissa at melmo's world. i thought it sounded like a
great way to start off the week. while i havent tried this out just yet i already know
that i will love it. i have a crush on quick breads and muffins, especially if they have
chocolate chips in them! yum. i am so ready for this time of year, all the baking and
stewing and roasting makes the house smell so good and puts a smile on my face.
what is your favorite holiday fare?

more to come soon, i have some good things up my sleeves. and did you see
mavs recipe? go check it out...


the recipe cards are here!

can i just tell you that the more i fiddle with beta the more i love it?? oh yes, it is good. you know what else is good? all your enthusiasm for this idea! yah! so glad you all are as excited about this idea as i am. anyway. enough feel good gushing, lets get to the nitty gritty. the recipe cards. if you look over there to the right, you will see a link to two sizes of recipe cards that you can download. clicking either will lead you to a pdf that you can print to card stock as many times as your little heart desires. cut them out, write down a recipe from here, from your own collection, from where ever! doesnt it just feel good to copy down a recipe by hand? i think so. but i also tend to be a freak about lettering and have been known to throw a card away and start all over if i make a mistake. if you are at all like that, dont worry! pdf + printer = a very very good thing. i should be back with a recipe soon, until then, take a moment to go visit sweet sweet molly. she is a true master/foodie/damn fine writer and photographer and i love her blog. i have already used many a recipe from her treasure trove and plan to continue to point you all to ones that i particularly love... mmm mmm. have a good weekend friends!



just wanted to say hello to everyone and welcome them to the recipe box. this is the place where we will share old recipes, new recipes, but most importantly very tasty and yummy recipes. it seems to me that this holiday time of year is the perfect time to share with others the perfect shortbread cookie to have with your cup of tea. or a potato gratin that makes your mouth water before you even pull it out of the oven. whatever you want to share let me know. email me (hannah.therecipebox @ gmail.com) and i will post your recipe, or if you are looking for something specific, leave a comment. i know someone who is reading will have what you are looking for. mostly just sit back and enjoy. and if you really feel like it, copy one down, take some time one evening and create something wonderful in your own kitchen!