Beach Picnics Part 2 – Lemon Rosemary Shortbread Cookies

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Oh, the Pinterest Fail. Nothing snaps me right back to the reality that I am not crafty at heart than those two words muttered at the end of a project via Pinterest: Nailed it.
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Behold, the angriest shortbread ever. Forget thumbprint cookies and make an angry balled fist instead!

1. Make a recipe for lemon rosemary shortbread you found on Pinterest.

2. Have it come out too crumbly, so wrap it in log shapes and refrigerate like you would normally do with shortbread.

3. Wake up the next morning to find no progress in the texture.

4. Furiously mash piles of shortbread dough together in your palm. Emphasis on the furiously.

5. Bake for twice the time in the original recipe until they look golden around the edges.

6. Let cool and enjoy!

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But really, give this a recipe a shot. Even though it didn’t quite work out for me perfectly, they were still delicious and were a great addition to my chicken salad sandwiches for my beach picnic way back last summer.

2 cups of unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 ½ cups of all-purpose flour
1 lemon zested
2 Tbs. fresh rosemary, chopped

1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.

2. Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy and white using a hand mixer or stand mixer.

3. Add your lemon zest and rosemary and mix until incorporated.

4. Add your flour and mix until incorporated.

5. Pat out the dough into a ½ inch rectangle and cut into your desired shapes.

6. Place onto a cookie sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes until lightly browned.

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Dinner: Lentil, Bacon, and Rosemary Soup

I’m pretty sure this is my favorite take on lentil soup. It’s just the right amount of broth, the lentils haven’t soaked up all of the liquid, and if you keep your veggies roughly chopped you’ll end up with a hearty, rustic soup. Split pea soup should be creamy in my book, but lentil soup should have lots of texture. For only using a cup of lentils, this recipe actually yields a good amount. Freeze extra in bags or containers and reheat later when you don’t feel like cooking or for an easy lunch.

You’ll need:

1 cup of lentils
3-4 strips of bacon, chopped
1 onion, diced
1 leek, chopped and rinsed thoroughly
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 carrots, diced
2-3 sprigs of fresh rosemary, chopped
2 bay leaves
1 14oz can on whole plum tomatoes
1 ¾ quarts of stock
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Brown the bacon in a heavy pot until crisp on medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until the onions are translucent.

Everything is better with bacon...

Everything is better with bacon…

2. Add the leek, celery, carrot, rosemary and bay leaves. Stir everything to coat with the bacon drippings, and cook 3-5 minutes.

The base for the soup

The base for the soup

3. Add the canned tomatoes (juices included) and the stock. Bring to a simmer, then cut the heat down to medium-low. Cover the pot and simmer for 2 hours.

4. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot with crusty French bread!

Sides: Roasted Potatoes

I just got home from work, and I’m beat. I’ve been looking at Excel spreadsheets all day, coding surveys and thinking of how to analyze them. I will not be going to the gym as planned. I will be looking for leftovers to heat up so I don’t have to think. Thankfully there is no derby practice tonight. I just want to put on my pajama-jams and zone out while watching a History Channel documentary of The Dark Ages on Netflix.

But first, the stressed-out hormones in me are calling for tasty carbohydrate comfort on this soon-to-be-44-degree night. Since the gym is a no-go, so are French fries. Luckily there are a few things that are go-to dishes for me that feel much more decadent than they are to make. Roasted veggies are one of those things. I’ll roast anything, especially veggies if it means that I’ll eat them! I happen to have those cute little multicolored potatoes that cost far too much for me to buy any other time aside from BOGO.

Colorful baby potatoes!

Colorful baby potatoes!

To make me feel a little healthier still, I happen to have some carrots that haven’t made their way into a soup. Roasted carrots are my favorite way to eat them. Their natural sugars caramelize and leave a totally different flavor profile from raw or steamed, both of which I’m not a big fan of.

Oh, look. See how much healthier that just got?

Oh, look. See how much healthier that just got?

I know this recipe sounds a little bit like a cop-out, but the key to taking plain ol’ potatoes and carrots to something really delicious are the spices. Season liberally with salt and pepper, and rosemary just brings out the earthiness. I like to make a little extra and save some for in the morning, when I’ll top them with eggs over medium and some cheese. My favorite meat to serve them alongside hands down is my roast chicken. I’ll be sure to post that recipe eventually…

You’ll need:

A sheet pan lined with tin foil (less clean up, yo!)

About 2-3 cups of your favorite potato and/or root veggies

A heavy drizzle of good olive oil

Rosemary, fresh or dried

Salt & pepper

1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

2. Cut up your veggies into uniform chunks, about ½ inch by ½ inch. This will make sure everything cooks at about the same time.

3. Pile your veggies into the center of your lined sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. If you’re using fresh rosemary, mince it up and add them. If you’re using dried be sure to go a little lighter (dried herbs have more concentrated flavor) and be sure to pinch as you sprinkle to release the flavor. Roll everything around so it gets nicely coated, and spread your veggies out into an even layer.

4. Bake for 25 minutes until everything is fork-tender and crispy on the outside! If it needs a little longer (some ovens do) then give it another 5-10 minutes until it’s done to your liking.

Chicken stuffed with mushrooms from the store, steamed broccoli and roasted potatoes and carrots!

Chicken stuffed with mushrooms from the store, steamed broccoli and roasted potatoes and carrots!

Lunch: Rosemary and White Bean Soup

This is based off of one of Ina Garten’s recipes out of The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. I’m a big fan of her recipes because many times they are timeless classics with just a few ingredients. Like all soups, this one tastes even better as leftovers. It makes a big batch, which you can divide into single servings and freeze for an easy dinner or lunch later in the week.

You’ll need:

1 lb Great Northern beans, soaked overnight in water

3 onions, sliced

¼ cup of olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 branch of rosemary (fresh should be used, but if you can’t find even a little plant at your grocery store use about 1 Tbs dried)

2 quarts chicken stock (or vegetable stock for a vegan option)

1 bay leaf

Salt and Pepper to taste

  1. Sautee your onions in the olive oil until they are translucent.
  2. Add your minced garlic and continue cooking for another 3 minutes.

    The ingredients to a rosemary and white bean soup.

    The ingredients to a rosemary and white bean soup.

  3. Add the drained beans, stock, rosemary, and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer and let it cook for about 40-45 minutes. The beans will be very soft when done.
  4. Remove the rosemary branch (if fresh was used) and the bay leaf. Ladle into a food processor or blender, but reserve a cup or two if you like your soup with some texture. Pulse until roughly pureed.
  5. Pour soup back into the pot, season with salt and pepper to your liking, and serve hot with crusty bread and a salad.

    Rosemary and White Bean soup with french bread and Mettwurst

    Rosemary and White Bean soup with french bread and Mettwurst