Sunday, July 17, 2011

Distractions Abound

Although we continue to cook and eat, I’ve been unable to focus on writing lately. The accumulation of almost 18 years of papers, emails and files need to be sorted and dispositioned as I prepare to leave my job (and maybe my career). I’m contemplating what I might do next. I have been concerned with illness and tragedy in the lives of my family and friends. And I’m faced with preparing for a whirlwind vacation from West to East where we’ll visit both family and friends, staying 8 different places in 17 days. I’m tired just thinking about it.

Last night we entertained friends for dinner. The meal was a resounding success, even though every item on the menu but one was a first time recipe. I’ll start with the dessert since that’s the only photo I took. I wanted something light for a summer evening, but decided on gelato too late to make it ourselves. We purchased limoncello gelato, but I did make these shortbread cookies. I served the gelato with a splash of Kim of Liv Life’s homemade limoncello on top, along with the cookies. One guest requested a cup of tea after the gelato and polished off most of the rest of the cookies. Need I say they were good???!!! And really easy to make, too.

Lemon-Lime Basil Shortbread Cookies
(from Bon Appetit Magazine)

1 c all-purpose flour
½ c powdered sugar, plus more for pressing cookies 
1 stick unsalted butter, chilled, cut into ½” cubes
2 Tbsp fresh basil leaves, sliced
1 tsp lemon zest, finely grated
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
½ tsp lime zest, finely grated
¼ tsp kosher salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place ingredients in food processor and pulse until large, moist clumps form. Measure tablespoonfuls of dough and roll between your palms to form balls. Place on a large baking sheet, 2 inches apart. Lightly dust the bottom of a flat measuring cup with powdered sugar and press dough balls into flat 2 inch rounds. Bake until edges are brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool.

It was fun planning a menu for people who don't like salmon, cheese, spicy food, and can't eat nuts or fruit. These are the staples or our regular cuisine. For appetizers we had garlic shrimp, steamed artichokes and La Brea rosemary bread with a garlic wine dipping sauce accompanied by La Honda Sauvignon Blanc. The main course was skewers of grilled chicken with mint and red onions, Greek salad of tomatoes, cucumbers and Feta cheese (on the side) with tzatziki and fresh pita bread. A second bottle of sauvignon blanc was consumed; this time we chose Kendall Jackson. 

Maybe soon, life will become more normal.


  1. I love adding what most would consider savory ingredients in sweets and desserts. I once had the most sublime cilantro sorbet (albeit paired with pineapple). Stay safe on your whirlwind trip and good luck in making your major decisions regarding work.

  2. Judy I can taste those! What a great flavor combo. I'm printing the recipe for next time I bake. Kate @ kateiscooking

  3. What gorgeous cookies and love the combination to finish off the meal in style with the ice cream & limoncello topping. Sounded a fantastic evening! Not easy to cope with dislikes but sounded like you really pulled it off and with amazing wines, too; I adore Kendall Jackson (difficult to get a hold of in France, as you can imagine.)
    Your trip sounds absolutely fantastic, Judy. Enjoy it! What a great way to finish off the end of a chapter and on to another exciting one ahead.

  4. Sounds like you have a lot on your plate, Judy... 18 years of files??/ Ugh!! I wouldn't even know where to begin! Though my file cabinet is pretty much overflowing too.
    I've recently had a basil cookie sort of like these and while I admit I first sort of turned my nose up at it, I ended up loving it! These little guys are printed!
    AND... a happy bday to the little guy!!! I can't believe it's been a year. You were the first blog Facebook friend that I had and that was shortly after I started blogging. I'm so glad to have 'Met" you, Judy!