Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Good luck, Marky!

Tonight I am a teensy bit nervous because Marky has an important interview tomorrow.  Important as in, probably my entire future depends on tomorrow.  So anyway to keep my mind of if (and keep from scream crying with fear) I made dinner and dessert tonight.  I think Mark might be cooking to keep busy as well, since he actually did most of the work for dinner!

We ran to Vincent's because they posted on Facebook that they had a crazy deal on lobster tails.  They were selling two for $6!  So Mark and I ran down there and unfortunately found only one package left, but hey, I have two lobster rolls in the fridge for tomorrow!  We also tried to find something good to make, and when Mark spotted shrimp, we decided to make shrimp scampi.

Let me tell you: this was the best shrimp scampi I have ever eaten in my life.  I like shrimp, but I don't love it.  I hate it when it tastes... well, shrimpy.  And when they get chewy or rubbery? Blegh.  I think I have figured out why this shrimp tonight was absolute perfection: they snapped when you bit them, the texture was so perfect.  They didn't taste shrimpy at all, but buttery and garlicky.  I think the secret is not buying cookied shrimp, but raw frozen shrimp.  I even had to devein and peel them, whih was pretty gross but not as bad as cutting chicken.  And they were worth it.  Mark cooked them in butter and garlic, which made them taste insanely delicious.  The linguine soaked up the sauce and we tossed in the last few handfulls from my parsley plant on top and.... wow.  It was amazing.  Mark, Kenzie, Nick and I were the only lucky people to partake in this delectable scampi dinner, and we all agreed it was by far the best shrimp scampi ever.  This is a dinner that we will be eating again ASAP.

Then, in between practice interviewing Mark, I also made a batch of cookies.  I let him flip through my new Food Network Magazine to choose a cookie from their list of 25 (overwhelming in a wonderful way!) and he chose glazed citrus rounds.  I love citrus and still have one tangerine left that I wanted to use up (too many seeds to eat them regular), so I started right in.  I have to confess that I was nervous that something went wrong with this dough: it is the dryest cookie dough I have ever seen.  The only liquid is two egg yolks, and everything else is dry (or butter).  What you get is rather similar to pie crust dough.  I had to work really hard to form the dough into cookies to put on the baking sheets; what I ended up doing was pressing it with my hand into a tablespoon, and then pushing the round out of the spoon.  They crumbled really easily.  They had to be frozen for 30 minutes - luckily it's cold enough outside for me to just put them in the garage (why is that lucky!?) - and once I brought them back in, they were much more firm.  After I baked them, I then had to make the glaze, and of course I was out of zest, but it was all right because it tasted just fine without it.  In the end, the cookies are very citrusy and delicate.  I now know why I compared it to pie dough, because it is kind of similar!  No one but Mark and I have tried them yet, so I will have to wait and see if they pass the family test.

One interesting note: the recipe calls for the cookies to bake on parchment-lined baking sheets, but I ran out of parchment paper on the second sheet, so I used tin foil and lightly greased them with Pam.  That batch of cookies came out much better, actually; the bottoms were golden instead of browned and they seem to stay softer than the parchment paper cookies.  Keep that in mind if you try them!

shrimp scampi

glazed citrus rounds

from the December 2012 issue of Food Network Magazine

Makes about 24 cookies

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1  1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1  3/4 cups granulated sugar
1  1/2 tablespoons finely grated citris zest (orange, lemon, lime or grapefruit... or I used tangerine)
2 large egg yolks
3/4 teaspoon lemon extract
1/4 teaspoon orange extract (I didn't have it so I used more lemon extract)\
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2-3 tablespoons fresh citrus juice (use the same as the zest)

1)  Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl.

2)  Beat the butter in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until smooth.  Add the granulated sugar and 1 tablespoon citrus zest and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.  Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time, then beat in the lemon and orange extracts.  Reduce the mixer speed to low; add the flour mixture and beat until a soft dough forms (and they mean really soft!).

3) Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper (or greased tin foil).  Scoop rounded tablespoons of dough about 2 inches apart onto the prepared baking sheets.  Freeze at least 30 minutes or overnight.

4)  Preheat the oven to 375.  Bake the cookies straight from the freezer, 1 baking sheet at a time, until the edges are set and the bottoms are lightly browned, 15 to 17 minutes.  Let cool 3 minutes on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

5) Meanwhile, make the glaze: whisk the confectioners' sugar, 2 tablespoons citrus juice, and the remaining 1/2 tablespoon zest (I had hardly any zest left but it was okay!) in a medium bowl until thick and smooth. You can add 1 more tablespoon citrus juice if the glaze is too thick.  Spread on cookies; transfer to a rack and let set, about 1 hour.

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