Monthly Archives: January 2011

Beef Tagine

Admittedly, this dish is not baked. I hope you won’t hold that against me. A tagine (or tajine) is a Moroccan stew-like dish and also the name of the pot it is traditionally cooked in. The good news is that you can also make this dish in a regular ol’ pot. I tweaked the original recipe a bit, mainly omitting ingredients I didn’t have or didn’t feel like using. Like any stew, this dish is totally flexible so feel free to adjust the spices and even try different vegetables. I think a swap of sweet potatoes for the squash would be delicious. I served the tagine over jasmine rice because I love jasmine rice, but you could serve it over your favorite rice or couscous or eat it all by itself.

Beef Tagine
Adapted from Jamie Oliver


  • 1.5 pounds stew beef
  • Olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can diced tomatoes, partially drained
  • 800 ml chicken stock (~3.5 cups)
  • 1 small squash ~ 1 pound (I used butternut), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 handful of prunes, chopped

For the spice rub

  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 heaping tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 heaping tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 heaping tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 heaping tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)


Mix all the spice rub ingredients together in a small bowl. Put the beef into a large bowl, massage it with the spice rub, then cover with plastic wrap and put into the fridge for a couple of hours, overnight if possible.

When you’re ready to cook, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a medium pot and fry the meat (reserve any spices left in the bowl) over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Add your chopped onion cook for another 5 minutes. Add the chickpeas and tomatoes, then pour in 400ml of stock and stir. Add the remaining spices. Bring to the boil, cover, and reduce to a simmer for 1½ hours.

At this point add your squash, prunes and the rest of the stock. Give everything a stir, then cover again and continue cooking for another 1½ hours, stirring occasionally.

If it seems a bit too runny, simmer for 5 to 10 minutes more with the lid off. Adjust seasoning to taste.  Serve over couscous or rice.


Double Chocolate Cookies

Why do I keep making cookies? I have no idea. Probably because they’re easy. Easy to make. Easy to grab one every time you enter or exit your apartment. Errr…I’ve eaten a lot of cookies lately. I should probably be nice and give you some healthy options to help you take that holiday weight off, but that’s just not my style.

That’s not to say that I’m not trying to eat healthier or that I don’t want you to eat healthier. I just love baking unapologetically. That means butter, sugar and chocolate. If it makes you feel better you can partner a cookie or two with a salad. I call that dinner.

This recipe came from Ina Garten. The only changes I made were to replace the white chocolate chips with semisweet (I have made them with white chocolate though and I think I may prefer it, and that’s coming from someone who isn’t a huge lover of white chocolate), and to bake less than 15 minutes. I had mine in for about 12 and they were definitely on the more done side of where a cookie should be. Delicious nonetheless. I also halved the recipe because I did not need 40-48 cookies sitting in my kitchen taunting me.

Chewy Ginger Cookies

One perk of being Jewish is that it’s easier to get away with doing things that are typically associated with Christmas at times other than Christmas. Since I’m not supposed to be eating candy canes in the first place, who cares if I eat them after December 25th? I use this weak logic to justify making ginger cookies well into the new year. Isn’t life swell?

This recipe comes from my aunt’s friend Patty (heck, she’s my friend too). It’s the kind of recipe that makes you feel like it’s the holidays even if it’s, oh, the middle of January. If you think that’s it’s still reasonable for me to be making these cookies, talk to me in June when I’ll probably be whipping up another batch.

These cookies are so freaking good. I mean, I’m a friend to all cookies, but these are special. Patty even got a shout-out on NPR because they were so good. You’re not going to questions NPR, are you?

Chewy Ginger Cookies


  • ¾ cup shortening
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 2 ¼ cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger*
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • Raw or granulated sugar, for rolling

*You can also add crystallized ginger for a more intense ginger flavor.  I recommend processing about ¼ cup of crystallized ginger with the molasses into a paste in the food processor then adding it where you would normally add the molasses.


Preheat oven to 375 F. Cream shortening and sugars until fluffy. Add molasses (or ginger molasses paste) and egg. Sift together flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Stir dry ingredients into molasses mixture. The dough will be slightly crumbly but should hold its shape, if it doesn’t, add a little more molasses as necessary. Scoop dough into balls (I use a 1½ tbsp scoop) and roll in bowl of sugar. Place on greased or parchment lined cookie sheet and flatten slightly. Bake for 7-8 minutes and remove cookies when they look slightly underdone.

Makes 2 dozen

Meyer Lemon Bars

I don’t really think of lemon desserts when I think of Wintertime, and I certainly didn’t have any plans to make any this winter. But when Meyer lemons show up in the grocery store at the end of December for the first time all year, you buy them and you make lemon bars. It’s the law.

I found a good looking recipe on Epicurious and, despite suggestions by some of the reviewers, I kept the proportions of crust and filling as written and was not disappointed. Also, although the bars looked thin in the pan they were actually a nice size once cut into 24 bars. I used Meyer lemons instead of regular lemons (duh) and they were delicious, but I’m sure the original version would be just as good.

Meyer Lemon Squares
Adapted from Epicurious


  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup (1 ½ sticks) butter, cut into pieces, room temperature
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • ½ cup fresh Meyer lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons grated Meyer lemon peel
  • Powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine 1 ½ cups flour and ½ cup powdered sugar in large bowl. Add butter and cut in until mixture resembles coarse meal. Press mixture into bottom of 9×13-inch baking dish. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

Beat eggs, sugar, lemon juice, flour and lemon zest in medium bowl to blend. Pour into crust. Bake until mixture is set, about 20 minutes. Cool completely. Sift powdered sugar over the top then cut into 24 bars.

Makes 24 bars