Hi, I'm Jaden, a professional recipe developer, food columnist and food photographer specializing in fast, fresh and easy recipes for the home cook. Most of my recipes are modern Asian! About meFast, fresh & easy recipes for the home cook.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
When I married my husband, I knew I was also marrying into generations of family holiday traditions. In fact, I think it was written in the marriage contract, squeezed right between not touching his BBQ grill and promising to love him even when he’s 80 years old and I still look 35. The first Christmas together was a little stressful, but I kept notes of all the little things I needed to remember – like what kind of candles to buy for the German pyramids (skinny, small), the placement of hand blown glass ornaments on the tree (big ones on bottom), and what kind of cookies are served Xmas morning (shortbread).
I did ok when both kids were too young to really understand the holidays, so I mostly winged my way through it. I mean, would they really remember that I spaced out opening their chocolate Avent calendar the first 2 weeks of December? Oh, and that I ate all their chocolate for them because pediatric dental visits are expensive?
Last year though, both kids were of speaking age, meaning that they could rat me out if I forgot something or did something wrong. There’s nothing more embarrassing than a 2 year old shrieking to Grandma, “SANTA DOESN’T LIKE US!” …continued…
Grandma helped the kids, who were in their flannel jammies set out a plate of cookies, glass of milk for Santa and a bowl with mini corn on the cobs for the reindeers. A perfect little treat from perfect little kids.
After they went to bed, the family elves scurried to the living room to set up the train set, while I stayed in the kitchen to clean. As OCD I am about tying up the end of the bread bag after you’ve taken a slice of bread, I am even more neurotic about food left on the counter. Bare, exposed food is left out to defend itself against germs, bacteria and late night infomercials about men with small pee-pees.
On the big morning, the kids ran straight to the kitchen counter. They didn’t see anything so they opened the trashcan to look for crumbs. Sitting right on top of the pile of trash were cookies uneaten and corn untouched.
Oh shit. There goes another $10K in future therapy bills for them.
I’m prepared this season. I got a pack of Post-its to remind myself what I need to do, including my midnight snack of gnawing corn, chomping cookies and gulping milk. But of course, my husband gently reminded me the yesterday that I really should remember leave some crumbs on the plate as Santa’s mittens are quite bulky, so most likely he’d be a little clumsy eating. To which I replied, “Well, can’t I leave antibacterial wipes and the Shark-Vac next to the plate?”
Mimi’s Shortbread Cookies
To be served on Christmas morning for breakfast
Ingredients:½ cup butter, at room temp
1/3 cup powdered sugar
¼ tsp vanilla
1 cup flour, unsifted
Cream butter on high until light yellow. Turn speed to low and add in powdered sugar. When mixed, turn speed to high and add vanilla. Turn back to low speed and add flour, 1/3 cup a time until crumbly. Use hands to gather dough together. Knead dough on a lightly floured counter until nice and smooth. For shortbread pan: spray lightly with nonstick spray, firmly press dough into pan. For heavy baking sheet: turn baking sheet over, spray back of sheet with nonstick spray. With floured rolling pin, roll into a circle, ½”thick and 8” wide directly on baking sheet. Use hands to nudge into round shape with smooth edges. You may find it easier to wrap and refrigerate dough for 20 min before rolling.
Prick surface with fork. Bake 325F for 30-35 minutes until lightly browned. Cool on pan for 10 minutes, loosen edges with knife. If using shortbread pan, flip pan over onto rack. If using baking sheet, carefully slide cookie onto rack. Cut into wedges while warm so it doesn’t crack.
Thank you thank you thank you to everyone who nominated me for one of the annual Well Fed Network food blog awards! I can’t believe that 11 months ago, I started this dinky blog thinking that I could hide out on the Internet and just use it to keep track of recipes. Wow, was that small thinking on my part!
I’m very honored to be a finalist in 3 categories – Best New Blog, Best Photography and Best Writing. 3 categories! WOOHOO! While I know winning all three would be a long shot (and I think some of my competitors in the writing and photography are pretty damn awesome) will you at least vote for me so that I won’t go down in blog history as, “the chick who was a finalist for 3 categories but didn’t win shit.”
That, my dear, would suck.
So, if you vote for me, I’ll promise to write a letter to Santa, Buddha, God, Jesus, Lady Godiva, Annapurna…or whoever you want, saying wonderful things about you. Good karma will come your way.
Voting ends Friday, December 14th 11:59 pm. Vote right here, baby!
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