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Archive for December, 2012

Apple Cheddar Latkes

Apple Cheddar Latkes

Before this year, I had never had a latke.

I mean, it’s not as if I’d be expected to have eaten latkes before, since I’m not Jewish. (Obviously, all my Jewish friends have been seriously slacking at bringing this sort of deliciousness into my life.)

But still. As someone who loves food, I feel as if it’s one of those things that should be in my life anyways.

Plus, it just plain looks delicious. (I mean, seriously. How can you go wrong with shredded, fried potatoes?)

(Of course, it’s not like I’ve never had potato pancakes before. But I see so many latke recipes all over the place around this time of year, and something just seems special about them.)

So… I’ve been bookmarking latke recipes pretty much forever. But lately I’ve gotten a little better about making particularly delicious-sounding recipes right away when I find them, especially if I just happen to have all the ingredients in my kitchen.

Which, in the case of these apple cheddar latkes from A Cozy Kitchen… I did! Woohoo! Delicious apple cheddar latkes, come to mama.

P.S. I know these aren’t what I, and probably most of you, perceive as the “traditional” latkes, made with potatoes. However, Wikipedia tells me that these are just fine, and everybody knows you can’t put things on the internet that aren’t true. So apple and cheddar it is!

Plus, the leftovers make a fantastic breakfast, especially topped with a poached or soft-boiled egg… mmmm. Dang it, now I’m craving them again.

A delicious combination

Recipe from A Cozy Kitchen.


  • 3 large apples (I used 3 large honeycrisps), peeled, cored and grated
  • the juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/4 cup extra sharp cheddar, grated
  • 1 large egg
  • vegetable oil

Cooking Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, toss the grated apples with the lemon juice and sprinkle with the salt. Let stand for five minutes.
  2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and black pepper in a separate bowl. In another small bowl, lightly beat the egg and set aside.
  3. Drain the apples and squeeze out any extra juice. Place them back in the bowl and add the flour mixture and cheese; toss until the apples are evenly coated. Add the egg and mix until completely combined.
  4. Place a skillet over medium-high heat, and pour in vegetable oil until it is half an inch deep. Once the oil is hot, place heaping tablespoons of the apple mixture into the pan a couple of inches apart, slightly flattening each one with the back of a spoon. Cook the latkes on their for about a minute or two until golden brown, then carefully flip them and cook the other side for an additional minute. Drain on paper towels, then place them in a preheated 200°F oven to keep them warm.
  5. Repeat with the remaining apple mixture. Serve with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkling of black pepper.

Lemon Crinkles, for the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap

Lemon Crinkles

Everybody loves getting packages in the mail.

Especially packages of cookies.

And as certain people know, I really like baking and sending packages of cookies to people.

Zesting a lemon

The battle against childhood cancer is also something that’s near and dear to my heart, because my younger brother had leukemia twice, as a child and a teenager. (He’s been in remission for a few years now.)

So when I heard about the 2nd Annual Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, benefiting Cookies for Kids’ Cancer, I signed up instantly.

We were all required to make a small donation to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer (if you’d like to donate, there’s a donate button at the bottom of the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap page), and then they sent us each the addresses to three other bloggers who had signed up, and we were required to send a dozen cookies to each of them.

Juicing a lemon

Another requirement was that we had to send cookies that we had never blogged about. So I spent a good bit of time looking through all the cookie recipes I had bookmarked to make in the future. It was a hard decision, but after setting aside the ones that would be too fragile to ship, the ones that seemed overly complicated, and the ones that just seemed too ordinary, I settled on these lemon crinkles.

I had doubled the batch, knowing that I would eat some, and wanted to give some to my mom (who loves lemon sweets), but good gosh, the moment they came out of the oven I was afraid there wouldn’t be any left to ship! There wasn’t anything wrong with the recipe… no, quite the opposite. One bite led to another, and before I knew it I had eaten ten (yes, seriously, ten!) cookies right off the cooling rack.

I promise you I’m not normally this much of a glutton, but with these cookies, especially fresh out of the oven, you just can’t help yourself. They’re light and soft, so it feels like you’re hardly eating anything, and the lemon flavor is refreshing enough that you just want to keep eating more!

My cookies (and some almond toffee covered in chocolate) went off to Brynn, Melissa, and Bonnibella. Hopefully you all enjoyed the cookies and toffee!

Ready to give away for the holidays!

And if you’re wondering what fantastic, delicious cookies I received…

Kate from Fleur-De-Licious sent me Halloween Candy Cookies

Bailey from Bailey Bakes sent me Vanilla Crescent Cookies

and Jessica from A Kitchen Addiction sent me Chocolate Peppermint Crinkles!

Lemon Crinkles

Recipe from Lauren Brennan


  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Cooking Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line your baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Whip in vanilla, egg, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Scrape sides and mix again. Stir in the salt, baking powder, baking soda, and flour slowly until just combined. Scrape sides of bowl and mix again briefly.
  3. Pour the powdered sugar onto a large plate. Roll a heaping teaspoon of dough into a ball and roll in the powdered sugar, making sure the entire ball is coated, and shaking off the excess sugar. Place balls on the baking sheet about three inches apart.
  4. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until the bottoms begin to barely brown and cookies look matte (not melted or shiny). Remove from oven and cool cookies about 3 minutes before transferring to cooling rack. Once cool, store in an airtight container.
  5. Enjoy!

Phở for Son’s birthday

Phở spices

I first made phở bò tái three years ago, for a Daring Cooks challenge.

I haven’t made it since then, since Son‘s dad makes it regularly, so we get to have it sometimes when we visit.

Phở meat and bones

However, Son’s dad hasn’t been cooking as much these days, so Son asked me to make him phở for his birthday last month.

Phở broth, before we removed the fat

This time we were able to find fresh phở noodles at a 99 Ranch supermarket that recently opened near us, and were also able to get better quality meat and bones, as well as the proper herbs that Son is used to eating with phở.

Son’s been experimenting with photography and lighting more lately, so he took photos of each component of the phở. (The first photo, of the spices we used in the broth, is our very favorite!)

Phở spices

Though we ended up at a dinner party on Son’s birthday, he did get to enjoy the phở earlier the week of his birthday… and enjoy it, he did!

The finished bowl of Phở