12 Weeks of Christmas Treats ~ Almond Crescent Cookies

I’ve joined the blog hop 12 Weeks of Christmas Treats hosted by Brenda Thompson from MealPlanningMagic.com.  If you’d like to join us, please fill out the form on Brenda’s blog.

To start off the twelve weeks I’ve made these Almond Crescents from a recipe that my friend and neighbor had given me after she gave us some of these cookies last Christmas.  The recipe is easy to make, the cookies are lovely and have a great presentation.

The chocolate and green frosting drizzle is great for Christmas.

Almond Crescent Cookies

Yield:  48 crescents                 Cook Time:  8 minutes

Ingredients

Cookies:
1 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
2 1/2 cup all purpose flour

Drizzle:
1/2 cup semi-sweet or milk chocolate baking chips
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon water
green or red food coloring

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Cream butter and 1 cup powdered sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment.  Mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy.  Mix in egg yolks and almond extract.  Reduce speed to low and and gradually mix in flour.
  3. Shape the dough into crescents about three inches long and half an inch thick.  Place formed cookies on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes (the cookies will barely change to golden on the bottom).  Do not over-bake as this will dry out the cookies.  Let cookies cool completely before adding drizzle.
  4. To make the chocolate drizzle, melt the chocolate and drizzle over the cookies.  To make the icing glaze, mix the powdered sugar with the water.  Add drops of water to reach the right consistency to drizzle over cookies.  Add green food coloring for Christmas.

Cookie recipe adapted from neighbor Marla.

12 Weeks of Christmas Treats Blog Hop

Week 1, September 27, 2012

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Never Forget September 11, 2001

The above pictures are from the 9/11 Memorial site showing where my cousin’s name is located on the memorial.

On September 11, 2001 I had taken the day off from work to take my Father to an appointment.  In the morning I was exercising on the treadmill, totally unaware of what was unfolding and what was about to unfold.  Then I received a call from my co-worker.  We worked in mid-town Manhattan at the time and she alerted me to a plane striking the first tower.  I stopped what I was doing and turned on the TV.  At first no one knew what was happening.  The first plane had hit and they thought it was an accident.  There was no mistake when another plane hit the second tower.  I told my co-worker to leave the office and go home immediately.

There was so much confusion and it was hard to believe this could happen in the United States.  As the events unfolded in Manhattan, my eyes never left the TV for the rest of the day.  I watched in real time as second plane hit and then the towers collapsed.  Since nothing had ever happened like this before, it was unbelievable even though we were seeing it with our own eyes.  The whole day was surreal and I felt numb.

I could only think that I had been in lower Manhattan just a week before and I felt that I had been lucky that it wasn’t on the 11th.

It was couple of days before I knew the full extent of how these events affected me personally and those close to me.

In the next couple of days I found out that my cousin had perished in the first building.  She worked on one of the floors that was the initial impact zone.  Although some people received phone calls from the loved ones they lost, no one heard from Loretta and no remains were ever identified.  Her Mom searched the newspapers everyday for the rest of her life looking for some information that Loretta had been found but to no avail.  Another cousin worked in the Mariott and was helping someone on the street when his best friend ran into one of the buildings to help but the friend perished.  This caused my cousin a lot of distress and grief.  My neighbor barely escaped with his life as the towers collapsed and debris fell everywhere.  A current co-worker was in lower Manhattan on that day and he has given me pictures he took when his company finally realized that they needed to let the employees go home.

In the days after the attack when people began returning to work, there was an eerie feeling on Manhattan streets even in mid-town.  There were much fewer people on the streets in the days and weeks after that fateful day.  As time passed things seemingly started returning to old routines but beneath the surface September 11th changed all Americans.

In recent years I’ve heard some saying that we need to move on.  I disagree.  I’ve taken September 11th as a vacation day every year since 2001.  I watch the Memorial so I can hear them read the names of all those that died during the attack including my cousin’s name.  I also know that others believe in a conspiracy theory and yet others that believe that we deserved this.  To the latter I would say – how could my cousin have deserved this as an American Express Corporate Travel Agent?  As for the former, I can’t believe that our government would do this to our own citizens.

No sense can be made of this terrible attack.

Last year Lori from Recipe Girl had a lovely post, remembering 9/11.  There are some additional sites that have poignant messages and pictures:  September 11, 2001; Remember September 11, 2001; 9/11 Memorial Guide.

We must never forget.  I know I never will.  Will you remember?

Cucuzzelli (Little Zucchini)

Hopefully some of you still have some of your zucchini harvest.  This zucchini recipe has been in my family since before I was born.  It works just as well with store bought zucchini.  I haven’t had any luck with growing zucchini but that may be due to the fact that I grow my garden in pots and may not have enough nutrients.  It’s almost like a stew – hard to describe because there really isn’t anything similar except maybe Eggplant Caponata.

The gravy that’s needed in this recipe can be Marinara or a meat gravy.  A large fresh loaf of crusty Italian bread is delicious with this recipe.

My husband’s family recipe was called Ciambotta and included potatoes.  My family didn’t make this way and I don’t even know how or when to add the potatoes.  Does your family have a vegetable stew recipe?

Enjoy.

Cut zucchini and starting to heat.

Zucchini after the liquid is expelled during heating.

Add the gravy after the liquid has evaporated and the zucchini has become soft.

Mix the gravy in.  Note how the color changes.

Add an egg and mix well.  Notice the flecks of egg white in the mixture  Add the second egg and you’ll need to mix well.

Cook a few minutes to ensure the eggs are fully cooked and heated through.   Add the grated cheese.

Mix well and prepare to serve.  Notice the color of the mixture has become much lighter.

Cucuzzelli

Ingredients

  • 4 to 5 medium zucchini
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons or to taste
  • 1/2 to 1 cup gravy or to taste
  • 1 to 2 eggs
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cups grated cheese or to taste (I use Pecorino Romano)

Directions:

Step 1:  Cut the zucchini lengthwise into quarters and then into 1/4 inch width-wise (1/8 inch if you are using fewer larger zucchini).  Place 1/3 of cut zucchini into a small stock pot or large sauce pot and sprinkle with some of the salt.  Repeat with 1/3 more of the cut zucchini and salt and then with the remaining zucchini and salt.  Heat the pot on medium or a little lower with the cover on.  Stir often with a wooden spoon so the zucchini doesn’t stick.  If there’s condensation on the pot cover when you lift it, don’t let the liquid fall back into the pot as it will be that much more liquid that has to evaporate later on.

Step 2:  As the zucchini cooks for 20 to 25 minutes, liquid will be expelled from the squash.  When the zucchini has softened, most of the liquid has been expelled.  Turn the heat down to low or a little higher.  Continue stirring frequently with the cover removed until the liquid has mostly evaporated.  This could take another 20 to 30 minutes.  The squash should be very soft at this point.

Step 3:  Add the gravy and mix well.  Cook for an additional few minutes to ensure the addition is heated through.  Notice that the color of the mixture has changed to be rather red.

Step 4:  Add an egg and stir well to break the yolk and incorporate it well into the mixture.  You may see some small specks of egg white in the mixture.  If using the second egg, repeat with the second egg.  Cook for an additional few minutes to ensure the eggs are heated and cooked through.  The color of the mixture has lightened a bit with this addition.

Step 5:  Add the grated cheese and mix well.  Serve with fresh crusty Italian bread.

This recipe stores well in the refrigerator and tastes just as good as left-overs.

Enjoy!!!

My family recipe.