Peppermint Meringues

HolidayGuideMeringues

 Who knew that just three simple ingredients could create something so spectacular? Our bakery makes these peppermint meringue cookies each year and they have become a staple in our Co-op. But since we’re not selfish, we’re sharing the recipe with all of you. It is the holidays after all.

To make these cookies you will need:

3 egg whites
¾ cup sugar
½ teaspoon peppermint extract

Preheat oven to 175 degrees. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk egg whites on medium until frothy. Turn the speed up to high and mix until soft peaks form. With the mixer running, pour sugar into the bowl in a slow stream and continue whisking until stiff peaks form. Stir in peppermint extract. In a pastry bag fitted with a star tip, paint a line of red food coloring down one side. Fill the bag with the meringue and pipe small circles on a parchment lined cookie sheet, leaving a couple inches in between each one. Bake for 1 hour and 40 minutes until crisp, but not brown.

APPY HOUR: Manchego + Cider Syrup Bruschetta

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Yesterday we brought you a “recipe” for Cider Syrup, which is just reduced apple cider. It becomes caramelly and tart and absolutely delicious. And, since you’re probably up to your dreidels in holiday entertaining, we’ve brought you a fantastic recipe that uses that syrup. This simple-to-assemble appetizer uses Co-op made baguettes, arugula, manchego cheese and the cider syrup and the mix of flavors is out of this world. Manchego is a sheep’s milk cheese with a bold and nutty flavor, making it a natural partner to the sweetness of the syrup. Toss in some peppery arugula tossed with a floral olive oil and be prepared to be amazed!

To make this recipe you will need:

1 baguette, cut into thin slices
2-3 cups arugula
2 tablespoons olive oil
6-8 ounces manchego cheese cut into thin slices
1/4-1/2 cup cider syrup

In a mixing bowl, drizzle the arugula with the olive oil and toss to coat. Place a small amount of arugula on a slice of baguette, top with a slice of cheese and a drizzle of syrup.

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Cider Syrup

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To call this a recipe is a bit of an overstatement. To call this amazing is a bit of an understatement. What’s a person to do? Once you try this boiled-down apple cider you’ll understand completely. Start with a gallon of your favorite apple cider. Our favorite is from Wilson Banner Ranch made on the farm in Clarkston, WA. Pour it in a large saucepot, bring it to a boil, reduce it to medium high heat and let the magic happen. In about 5-6 hours you’ll have a syrupy concentrate that can be used as a dip for fruit, spooned over ice cream or paired with sharp, salty or tangy cheese.

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Potato Latkes

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This recipe for latkes (potato pancakes) is gonna make you plotz. Latkes, traditionally made for the Jewish holiday Hanukkah, are made from six simple ingredients — potatoes, onions, eggs, flour (or matzo meal), salt and oil. Making them isn’t very complicated, but they do take a bit of time. Hanukkah is celebrated for eight nights (in honor of the miracle of oil burning for this long) and while, eating something fried for this many nights in a row, is usually a bad idea, we say, “Go for it!” Your bubby would want you to.

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One of the key ingredients to making potatoes crispy when you fry them is to eliminate as much of the starch and water as possible. The simplest way to do this is by soaking your shredded potatoes in cold water (Using water to remove water? That’s crazy!) for about half and hour. This allows the oil to cook the potato directly and not have to penetrate layers of moisture, resulting in soggy taters.

To make this recipe you will need:

1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
1/4 cup onions or shallots, finely chopped
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons of flour or matzo meal
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
vegetable oil for frying

First, grate your potatoes using the large side on a box grater. Place the potatoes in a bowl of ice water for 30 minutes. Remove potatoes from water and squeeze out as much excess liquid in a towel as possible. Let the starch settle to the bottom of the bowl. Pour off the water and add just the starch to a large mixing bowl with your potatoes. This way you just get the starch, without all the liquid. Add the eggs, flour and salt to the bowl and toss to combine. In a large, shallow frying pan heat enough oil to fill the pan 1/4 inch high. Test the oil by dropping in a small amount of the mixture. If it immediately begins to bubble, your oil is ready for frying. To make latkes, drop about 2 tablespoons of the mixture into oil, being careful not to crowd your pan. Allow them to cook for 3-4 minutes per side, until they are golden brown. Remove from pan let drain on paper towels. If you’re making a big batch, you can keep them warm in a 200 degree oven. Serve with sour cream and applesauce.

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Classic Apple Pie Recipe

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Warm apple pie, there’s nothing like it. With a flaky, buttery crust and tart apples it’s one of the most comforting things around. And since we’re in the midst of the holiday season, who couldn’t use an extra dose of warmth and comfort? There are dozens of apple pie recipes out there, but this classic is sure to please. We recommend tart apples, like Granny Smith, but any apples you have on hand (Fuji or Gala, perhaps?) will do.

To make the crust you will need:

2 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 cup organic vegetable shortening
12 tablespoons butter, cold and cubed
1/4 cup to 1/2 cup ice water

Place the flour, salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl and whisk together. Add the shortening and use your hands to break it up, coating it with the flour.Add the butter in and work quickly with your hands or a pastry cutter to work it into the flour mixture. It should end up resembling course meal.  Add the ice water in a couple tablespoons at a time, bring the mixture together to form one large dough ball. After it comes together, stop working with the dough. You want to make sure that pieces of butter and shortening are still visible. Separate the mixture into 2 disks and wrap with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 45 minutes to an hour.

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For the filling:

8-10 apples, peeled, cored and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. With floured rolling pin, roll one disk of pie dough into  a circle, about two inches larger than an upside-down 9-inch pie plate.Place dough into plate, pressing firmly against bottom and side. In a large bowl, mix sugars, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Stir in apples until well mixed. Spoon into pastry-lined pie plate. Cut butter into small pieces and sprinkle over filling. Roll the other disk of dough into a 10-inch circle. Place dough over filling and trim the overhanging edges 1 inch from rim of plate. Fold and roll top edge under lower edge, pressing on rim to seal. Cut slits in the top for the steam to escape through. Cover the edge of the pie with a two inch strip of foil to prevent excessive browning. If you’d like, brush the top with butter and sprinkle sugar over the top. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until crust is golden and the filling bubbles through the vents. Remove the foil during the last 15 minutes of baking. Let pie cool before slicing.

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DIY Gift Idea: Peppermint Bark

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Since you now have to dedicate a good chunk of your time to scraping the ice of your vehicle, shoveling your walk and building fires in your fireplace, why not make your holiday gifting and entertaining easier? Not only is this recipe for Peppermint Bark simple to make, but it’s a real crowd pleaser. It’s a nostalgic treat for some and a holiday staple for others, but anyone who loves peppermint, will definitely appreciate it.

To make this recipe you will need:

2 pounds white chocolate, chopped
12 candy canes, crushed with a rolling pin
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
Line an 11 x 17 inch baking sheet with parchment paper. Place one inch of water in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Place a heatproof bowl over the pan, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water. Place white chocolate in the bowl and melt, stirring constantly. Add extract and crushed candy canes to the white chocolate and stir until well combined. Pour onto lined baking sheet and spread in a thin layer with a rubber spatula. Melt dark chocolate in a separate bowl. With a spoon drizzle dark chocolate over white chocolate mixture. Using a skewer or tip of a knife, swirl dark chocolate into white chocolate. Let harden on the counter for 3-4 hours and break into pieces. Package in cellophane bags or metal tins and tie with twine.

Let’s Toast: Stout Gelato Float

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Nothing is hollier or jollier than a stout float with eggnog gelato. Nothing. Not reindeer prancing through a snowy field. Not listening to Blue Christmas for the fortieth time. Nothing. And not only is this float holly and jolly, it’s boozy too. It uses the Sacred Cow Coffee Milk Stout from Paradise Creek Brewing Company and Talenti Eggnog Gelato, so it’s truly holiday treat. The stout is dark and robust, a perfect pairing for the rich, creamy and slightly spiced gelato. And for a limited time when you purchase the stout and the gelato, you’ll receive 10% off both items.

To make this float, place 2-3 scoops of gelato in a chilled glass. Top with stout. Drink. Repeat.

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DIY Gift Idea: Lemon Thyme Salt Scrub

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If you’re looking for some really simple (like pour and stir, simple) ideas for holiday gifts this year, look no further! You can purchase everything you need for this Lemon Thyme Salt Scrub right here in the store, even the beautiful jar. For the month of December the Veriditas Botanicals essential oils are on sale for 20% off. These are the purest oils out there and we’ve got ‘em! To learn more about Veriditas Botanicals check out a blog post we wrote on them awhile back.

Lemon and thyme are natural complements to each other. Lemon is detoxifying, brightening and energizing and is perfect to combat the winter doldrums. Thyme is also detoxifying and is a natural antidepressant, which is great for these really short days with very little sun.

To make this scrub you will need:

1 cup fine grain sea salt
1/2 cup sweet almond oil
10 drops lemon essential oil
5-7 drops thyme essential oil
In a sterile jar combine salt and oils and stir to combine. To use, dampen skin and exfoliate gently. Either wipe clean with a washcloth or rinse off in the shower.
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Persimmon Upside Down Cake

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Although winter can last FOR-EV-ER here on the Palouse, there are some wonderful things to look forward to. Sledding, hot chocolate, going to bed at 8 pm and it being totally acceptable and persimmons! Persimmons are small, soft, orange-fleshed fruits native to China and Japan and delicately sweet. The most common types of persimmons found in Co-ops, grocery stores and farmers markets are Fuyu (smaller, rounder and lighter in color) and Hachiya (darker, brighter and heart-shaped) and both are delicious. Hachiya persimmons should be eaten at a very specific ripeness (when they feel super soft to the touch) to avoid any bitter flavor and can be spooned out of their skin and eaten. Fuyu persimmons are heartier and stand up better to baking and cooking.

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For this Upside Down Cake recipe, we used persimmons (instead of more commonly seen pineapple) and brown sugar to make a caramelized crust when it’s flipped over.

To make this cake you will need:

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2-3 Fuyu persimmons, sliced thinly
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup almond paste
3 eggs, separated
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9″ cake pan (at least 2 inches deep) and line with parchment paper. Beat 2 tablespoons of butter with the brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Spread the mixture over the bottom of the pan with a rubber spatula. Arrange sliced fruit in the pan on top of the butter and sugar mixture. In a medium bowl whisk together all dry ingredients. Beat the remaining butter with the almond paste and 3/4 cup of sugar until smooth and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks followed by the vanilla and almond extracts. Add the dry ingredients in 2 parts, alternating with the milk, mixing until well combined. In a separate bowl using a mixer, beat the egg whites until foamy. Gradually sprinkle in the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and beat until soft peaks form. Fold a third of the egg whites in the cake batter, being careful not to deflate them. Gently fold in the rest of the egg whites and pour batter into the pan. Bake for 60-70 minutes then remove from oven and let cool for at least 15 minutes before inverting the cake.

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Roasted Lemony Green Beans

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By now, you’re probably looking for really simple recipes that you can add to your holiday table. And if simple, but robust flavors are calling your name, these green beans are for you. This dish is also vegan, so it’s sure to please a variety of diets. Again, we’re using fresh green beans, but the flavor and crunch really can’t be beat.

To make these green beans you will need:

2 pounds fresh green beans, washed and trimmed
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ cup slivered almonds
1 teaspoon lemon zest
juice from ½ a lemon

 Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a large bowl toss the beans with the oil, garlic and salt. Spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet (you may need to two baking sheets) and roast for 15 minutes. Rotate pans in the oven and continue roasting for 10 more minutes. Remove from the oven and place beans in a large bowl. Add lemon juice, zest and almonds and toss to combine.