A Special Night

Tonight my co-workers and I had our holiday dinner at Blossoming Lotus, an all vegan restaurant located in NE Portland. Gifts were exchanged, food was enjoyed, and desserts were demolished. The food at Blossoming Lotus is always amazing, beautifully presented, and nourishing. Despite the list of specials, I went with my all time favorite, the Crispy Thai BBQ Salad:

Mt. Hood Salad 02December Photo Project 2012: Day #20

This picture was taken in very dim light, but what you see is a Mt. Hood sized plate filled with mixed greens, romaine, cabbage, carrots, cucumber, raisins, crispy rice sticks, fresh herbs, curry peanuts, coconut, Thai spiced barbecue soy curls, sweet ginger dressing and sesame seeds. Crazy delicious. I cleaned my plate with the exception of a few random scallion rings and a leaf of cilantro (I am a hater).

Dessert was a share-all affair. We ordered multiple items from the menu, put them in the middle of the table, and dug in. No rules!

I only got a photograph of the chocolate coconut cake, which was too bad because the best dessert was a mixed berry pie.

Cake 02

My belly is happy and full.

My evening was complete because I got to take home this lovely gift (click to see what was inside the package!!):

Gift 02

Many appreciative thanks to my incredible work family.

Goodnight :)

Double Ginger Shortbread: A Recipe

I had every intention of posting this recipe yesterday, but decided to spend time in the kitchen preparing homemade gifts for friends instead.

Ginger Shortbread 02December Photo Project 2012: Day #19

I ended up making double ginger shortbread, hazelnut brittle, and crunchy peanut butter cups. My kitchen was a mess, but the results were worth the clean-up that had to happen later.

My favorite of the three was definitely the shortbread. The recipe is so simple and you don’t need many ingredients. It makes the perfect amount for gifting to a couple of friends. The key is to handle the dough as little as possible to obtain a light texture.

Double Ginger Shortbread 

Makes however many cookie you prefer

Scant 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unrefined sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ginger powder
Pinch of salt
1/3 cup non-dairy butter, softened
1-2 tablespoons ice water
1 tablespoon coarse sugar
2 tablespoons roughly chopped crystallized ginger

1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, first measure of sugar, ginger powder, and salt.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter at medium speed for about a minute. Add in the flour mixture and beat at low speed until crumbly. Add in ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until a dough forms. You may not need both tablespoons of water. The dough shouldn’t be sticky or wet, but more like a cut-out cookie dough.

3. Gently shape the dough into a small round and place in a large ziplock bag. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat.

5. Remove dough from fridge and roll out between two pieces of plastic wrap or parchment paper. I rolled mine out into a circle about a 1/2″ thick. Sprinkle the dough with remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar and press lightly so it adheres to the dough. Score the dough into 8+ wedges, but don’t cut all the way through. Put a few pieces of crystallized ginger onto each wedge and press down lightly.

6. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until just turning light brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for several minutes before cutting through the score lines. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Cookies will firm up nicely as they cool.

Enjoy!!!

Tonight I am going to a holiday dinner with co-workers so hopefully I’ll be back with a photograph of something fun and/or interesting!

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