Mexican Wedding cookies

A favorite of all and there are so many different versions of this cookie-the Austrian kipfel, Germany has kifle and this Mexican cookie are all very similar. You could vary the nut if you wished. This recipe comes from the California Culinary Academy cookbook that I love.
Mexican wedding cookie
2 1/2 c. flour (2 c. may be enough)
1/4 t. salt
1 c. finely chopped pecans
1 c. softened butter
1/2 c. confectioners’ sugar
2 t. vanilla
1/2 c. confectioners’ sugar to coat cookies
Note-if dough is dry, add 2t. water
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, salt and pecans together-I like to do this in the food processor so the nuts are finely chopped and mixed with the flour and salt. In a mixer cream the butter and 1/2 c. confectioners’ sugar, beat until fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Gradually add the flour mixture, beating just until the dough clings together. Shape into 1 1/2″ balls or the size of your choice. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes. Let cool 5-10 minutes and roll in confectioners’ sugar. Makes about 32 cookies.

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Pork Sugo

This came from a magazine article I read years ago by the wonderful Janet Fletcher.I made this with the leftover slow roasted pork and it is fabulous. Will be delicious on polenta or pasta! I used a little over a pound of cooked pork and added it after I sautéed the vegetables. Of course, you can make it with fresh boneless pork shoulder. I used the porcini broth but not the porcinis even though the recipe called for it. I have a problem with dehydrated dried mushroom’s texture!
Pork Sugo
!/2 oz. dried porcini
1# boneless pork shoulder, excess fat and membrane removed, diced
1 can 28 oz. Italian San Marzano tomatoes (WFds carries)
3 T. extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 oz. pancetta, diced
1/2 large onion, minced
1 large carrot, minced
1 large celery rib, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. minced Italian parsley
1 T minced fresh sage
1 bay leaf
1/4 t. hot pepper flakes, or to taste
1/2 c. dry red wine
Soak porcini in 1 c. of warm water for 30 minutes. Lift the porcini out of the liquid and chop medium fine. Strain the liquid through a sieve lined with a damp paper towel and reserve.
Cut meat into a 1/2-1″ dice. Heat a 4 qt. Dutch oven over high heat. When hot, add the oil and swirl to coat. Add the meat and season with salt and pepper, stirring occasionally until the meat is browned and a crust begins to form on the bottom of the pot, 6-7 minutes. Reduce heat if necessary to prevent burning. Add the pancetta and cook stirring for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic, parsley, sage, bay leaf and hot pepper flakes. Cooking stirring constantly for 10 minutes. Add the red wine and loosen the brown bits from the bottom of the pan (if using raw meat)and simmer until the wine evaporates. Add the tomatoes, porcini*(see my note above) and porcini broth. Simmer 1 1/2 -2 hours until the meat is tender. If using precooked roast pork, you only need to cook one hour. Remove bay leaf. Taste and adjust seasonings. Makes enough for 2# of pasta or for 6-8 over polenta.

Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder

This recipe comes from The Kitchen I first ate it there many years ago and it is one of my favorite recipes to make at home in my huge Le Creuset roasting pan. You can make it ahead and shred it for pulled pork or serve it hot out of the oven with a salsa verde or the strained juices that it cooked in. It cooks all day at 250 degrees however I have made smaller shoulders and they are done in less time. It is the perfect dish to make on a snowy day as it perfumes your house with wonderful aromas!

1 5-6lb Pork Shoulder
2 tbsp coriander seeds,
1 tbsp fennel seeds
3 cloves garlic
1 tbsp each salt and pepper
extra virgin olive oil
3 apples, quartered
3 branches fennel tops
1 cup onions, chopped
3 cups dry white wine
Preheat oven to 250 degrees.
If pork shoulder has skin, score it in a criss cross pattern. Grind spices together and moisten with olive oil. Rub on pork. Cover bottom of a deep lidded roasting pan with apples, fennel and onions. Pour wine over fruit and place pork on top. Roast covered 10 hours or overnight. Strain liquid and reduce.
Serve with salsa verde.

Salted Butter Pecan Shortbread Squares with Rosemary

This recipe comes from the wonderful blog The Yellow Table I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of The Yellow Table cookbook, coming any day!
I love Anna’s ingenious idea of adding rosemary to this recipe and I can’t wait to taste it. I can tell it is a perfect combination! **Update-they are fabulous-I cut the pan into 8 by 4 and they are a nice size bar.
Salted Butter Pecan Shortbread
Shortbread Base: 2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) salted butter, cut into cubes
Pecan Topping: 8 ounces pecans (about 2 cups)
1 stick (1/2 cup) salted butter
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 t. fresh rosemary, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. For the shortbread base, combine the flour, brown sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the consistency of bread crumbs. Pour the mixture into a 9x12x2-inch metal baking pan and spread evenly, pressing down gently with your hands or a spatula. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly while you prepare the topping. Pulse the pecans in a food processor until roughly chopped. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the sugar, honey, and cream and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Let simmer for 1 minute and stir in pecans and rosemary. Remove from the heat and pour the mixture over the shortbread, spreading evenly. Bake in the center of the oven for 20 minutes, until bubbling. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Loosen the sides with a knife and turn the entire pan out onto a cutting board. (This makes cutting much easier, and won’t destroy your pan!) Using a sharp knife, cut into 1-inch squares. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.

Apple Bourbon Bundt Cake

This is a perfect dish for a cool fall day from the NY Times. It is more of an adult cake because of the bourbon in the cake and glaze but delicious!
Apple Bourbon Bundt Cake
8 oz. butter, room temperature plus more to grease the pan
2 1/2 c. flour plus more to dust the pan
3 T. plus 1/2 c. bourbon or rye whiskey
1/2 c. candied ginger, chopped
1 3/4 c. light brown sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1 to 1 1/2 t. cinnamon (depending on taste)
1 t. fine sea salt
1/2 t. grated nutmeg
1 c. sour cream
1 T. vanilla extract
1 1/2 t. finely grated lemon zest
2 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and grated
1 c. toasted pecans, chopped
1/2 c. sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon
Heat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 12 cup bundt pan. In a small bowl, combine 3 T. bourbon with chopped candied ginger for 10 minutes. Strain and reserve bourbon.
In a mixing bowl with paddle attachment, beat the brown sugar and butter together for five minutes, until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one by one until incorporated. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. In another bowl, whisk together sour cream and vanilla. Pour in the reserved bourbon from the ginger and whisk until smooth.Stir in the zest.
With the mixer on low, alternately add the dry mixture and the sour cream mixture in three additions. Fold in the ginger, apples and pecans. Pour into prepared pan and bake about one hour and ten minutes. Cool in pan 20 minutes, then invert onto a rack or a plate. While the cake cools, make a glaze with 1/2 c. sugar and 1/2 c. whiskey. Heat over low until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the lemon juice and set aside. You can glaze both top and bottom of the cake or just the top and sides.

Walnut Bread

This is an easy quick bread that makes two loaves. It comes from the Rancho Bernardo Inn in San Diego. The bread is delicious on it’s own or toasted with butter or jam!
Walnut bread
8 oz. butter
2 c. sugar
4 eggs
4 c. flour
1/2 t. salt
2 t. baking soda
2 c. sour cream
1 1/2 c. chopped nuts
Cream sugar and butter together until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one by one. Mix flour, baking soda and salt together. Add flour mixture alternately with the sour cream. Pour into two buttered and floured loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees 45-60 minutes. Cool in pan 20 minutes.