The Recipe I Had To Share – Rose Pistachio Shortbread

Rose Pistachio Shortbread | My Blue&White Kitchen

I didn't actually plan this to happen. Maybe you think "but she already posted a cookie recipe a few weeks ago!". Well, I can't blame you. This is probably considered "bad food blogging" to some standards, as a nice mix of different kinds of recipes is seen as being the ideal. However, as I'm not really organized when it comes to blogging at the moment (Will there be a post next week? What will it be about? Guys, I have no idea.), you're going to see what's going on in my kitchen anyway, blog or not. As it's December and holiday season, it's mostly sweet things, such as cookies. Okay, and pomegranate seeds in my morning yogurt but that's another story.

At 9pm last week, I suddenly got the urge to bake a batch of rose shortbread. You know when inspiration hits and there's just no way you could resist running into your kitchen? That happens every now and then, or at least it does happen to me. I was inspired by Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks and Ashley of Gather & Feast who both blogged about rose shortbread a while ago. As I was making the dough, the idea of adding pistachios crossed my mind (probably cause I'm a sucker for Aran Goyoaga's Pistachio Sandies; a must-bake). First, I planned to make only round cookies, but that tiny dalahäst cookie cutter wanted to play along as well so I let him. He's just too cute, right?

I still wasn't completely sure whether I would blog about these beauties or not, but after getting rave reviews from a bunch of wonderful women at my most favorite yarn store, I knew I had no choice. It would be madness to keep you in the dark.

These are lovely for the holiday season but they would also be wonderful to serve at a wedding or a baby shower. Please note that the scent, strength, and quality of rosewater varies depending on which brand you use. If in doubt, start by adding only two thirds of the amount of rose water the recipe calls for, taste, and add more if necessary. The flavor should be present but not overwhelming. For these cookies, I used Steenbergs organic rose water.

Hope you're all having a wonderful and not too stressful pre-Christmas week!

Rose Pistachio Shortbread

makes 3 to 4 sheets, depending on the size of your cookies

300 g (5 ½ dl; 2 ⅓ cups) all-purpose flour
¼ tsp fine sea salt
200 g (1 ¾ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
100 g (1 dl + 1 tbsp; ½ cup) granulated sugar
1 egg (European size M; U.S. size L)
1 tsp vanilla paste or vanilla extract
1 tbsp rose water
1 tbsp dried rose petals + more for sprinkling
45 g (¼ cup) pistachios, roughly chopped

In a medium-sized bowl, combine flour and salt. Set aside.

In a bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and mix until combined. Scrape down the bowl if necessary. Add the vanilla and rose water and mix. Add flour and mix until just combined. Finally, add the rose petals and pistachios. The dough will feel quite sticky, but resist the temptation to add more flour, as this would result in hard shortbread. Shape the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Line a few baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

Lightly dust a clean work surface with flour. Roll out the dough to about 0,5 cm / 0.2" thick. Cut out the shortbread using a cookie cutter of your choice. Place onto the prepared baking sheets. Should the dough get too warm, put it back to the fridge for a while, as it's easiest to work with a well chilled dough. Sprinkle with rose petals.

Bake on the middle rack for 10 to 15 minutes or until they start to get golden brown around the edges. Should you bake shortbread of different sizes at the same time, be sure to take out the smaller ones earlier. Remove from the oven. Let cool on the sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Let cool completely before storing in a tin box or a jar.

Rose Pistachio Shortbread | My Blue&White Kitchen

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Glorious Green Couscous Salad

Green Couscous Salad | My Blue&White Kitchen

A few weeks ago I was at the grocery store wondering what to make for dinner. I stood in the middle of the vegetable section seeking inspiration. What should I make? My mind was blank. And then I knew it: couscous salad. I took my phone, typed "couscous Ottolenghi", and hit the search button. Scrolling. Finally my eyes locked on the title that said "Green couscous". There it was: my dinner inspiration. Thank heaven!

Why Ottolenghi, you may ask. Well, there are certain guys whose taste buds I truly trust and Yotam Ottolenghi surely is one of them. His recipes never fail to amaze me, and his take on food, especially vegetables, is quite unique. If you haven't made his recipes yet, I encourage you to dive into his culinary world, and if you don't have his books yet, I encourage you to run to the next bookstore. Like right now even if the temperatures are below zero (greetings from the north, everyone!).

The original recipe calls for parsley but I used kale instead. Actually, this was a result of a misunderstanding. You see, I thought I had a bunch of parsley in my fridge, but as I realized once I got home, I didn't. What I had, however, was kale. Thankfully, it turned out that kale worked great in this recipe! I, furthermore, omitted the green chili and added some tanginess with freshly squeezed lime juice. Inspired by the Israeli Couscous Salad from David Lebovitz, I added some dried fruit when I made it for the second time yesterday. I think the dried fruit made this salad even better and more interesting than it already was.

This salad is one of the best things I've eaten in a while. Packed with herbs and flavor, it makes a great side or main dish. The first time, I had it with grilled salmon and plain yogurt. Yesterday, I first had a serving for lunch and served it as a side with veal roast for dinner. I can also imagine that it would be lovely served with braised lamb or basically any kind of grilled fish. To make a vegetarian-friendly meal, top it with grilled halloumi or feta and pomegranate seeds.

It's a great dish to serve for brunch or a get-together. It's pretty to look at, relatively quick to make (ready in 15 minutes), and can easily be made ahead; it will keep in the fridge for up to two days. Awesome work lunch, anyone? Double or triple the recipe as needed and be ready to respond to numerous recipe enquiries.

Green Couscous Salad

adapted from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi, p. 255
serves 4

2 ½ dl (1 cup) whole-wheat couscous
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
¼ tsp fine sea salt
¼ tsp ground cumin

for the herb paste
packed 1 heaping dl (packed ½ cup) roughly chopped kale
2 ½ dl (1 cup) chopped cilantro
2 tbsp chopped tarragon
2 tbsp chopped dill
2 tbsp chopped mint
6 tbsp olive oil

1 heaping dl (½ cup) unsalted & shelled pistachios, toasted and roughly chopped
3 green onions, thinly sliced
2 large handfuls of arugula, chopped
lime juice, to taste
1 heaping dl (½ cup) diced dried fruit, such as apricots, cherries, cranberries, or sultanas

optional: plain yogurt, to serve

In a small pot, bring 160 ml (¾ cup) water to a boil. Take off the heat, add couscous, cover, and leave for 10 minutes.

In the meantime, fry the onion on medium-high heat until soft and golden. Add salt and cumin. Mix and let cool slightly.

To make the herb paste, place all ingredients in a food processor and mix until smooth. Set aside.

Combine the couscous and herb paste in a large bowl. Use a fork to fluff up the couscous. Add the onions, pistachios, and arugula. Add lime juice to taste. Finally, top with the dried fruit. Serve lukewarm.

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Bright Stars – Rustic Peach Galette

Rustic Peach Galette | my blue&white kitchen

I've been trying to write this post for two days now, but I seem to have lost the flow of writing. I see words but I don't see a story. Maybe this isn't so much about a lost writing skill or mood; maybe it just reflects my current flow of thoughts and feelings.

I've tried to write something about June and summer and all that goodness that lies ahead of us. But somehow it felt like nonsense; like this post wasn't supposed to be talking about weather and farmers' markets. So give me just two paragraphs to spit out something that I've carried with me since last week before we discuss how unbelievably delicious this peach galette is.

Rustic Peach Galette | my blue&white kitchen

Last week, I saw a glimpse of how quickly life could be over. I looked up at the sky but all of a sudden, it was blurred. I couldn't find the stars where they used to twinkle so brightly. It happened so very quickly, totally unexpectedly. Without those stars I felt lost; I couldn't navigate. Luckily, the stars weren't lost forever, just hidden behind a cloud for a brief moment. But it was enough to scare the hell out of me. It was enough for me to look at the sky more consciously. To remember why that starlit sky was so very essential to my being.

So find your bright stars, stick to them, hold them dear. There's no way you can predict the course of life. Nothing is certain. Don't take anything for granted. Because you never know when one of those stars, shining so brightly in your sky, collapses into a black hole.

Rustic Peach Galette

I made an open-faced galette to praise this season's first peaches. A galette that looks rather rustic on the outside but is, in truth, pretty elegant and classy. I added some buckwheat flour to the crust and topped it with green pistachios. Other than that, I really wanted the juicy, delicate peach to be the heroine of this dessert. The galette turned out fantastic. It tasted like summer; just like I wished it would.

for the crust
165 g (5.8 oz; 3 dl; 1 cups minus 1 tbsp) all-purpose flour
60 g (2.1 oz; 1 dl; ⅓ cup + 1 ½ tbsp) buckwheat flour
1 large pinch of fine sea salt
2 tbsp granulated sugar
150 g (5.3 oz) cold, unsalted butter, cut into cubes
3–4 tbsp ice cold water

for the filling
2 tbsp ground almonds
~ 400 g (14 oz) peaches, sliced
2 tbsp demerara sugar + more for sprinkling
small handful of pistachios, roughly chopped

whipped cream, crème fraîche, or coconut whipped cream, to serve

To make the crust
In a medium-sized bowl, combine both flours, salt, and sugar. With your fingers, quickly rub the butter into the dry ingredients until well incorporated and crumbly. The dough should now resemble coarse bread crumbs with plenty of pea-sized pieces of butter remaining. Add water gradually just until the dough holds together when pinched. Try to work as fast as possible to avoid over-working the dough. Alternatively, you can use a pastry cutting tool or a food processor to make the dough.

Form the dough into a disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for an hour or until ready to roll.

To assemble and bake
Preheat oven to 180°C (355 °F). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Lightly dust the chilled dough with flour. Roll out on a well floured work surface into an about 3 mm (0.1") thick circle. If the dough cracks, don't worry; just pinch it back together. Transfer to the parchment paper lined baking sheet. Sprinkle with the ground almonds, leaving a border of about 5 cm (2"). Arrange the peach slices in the center and sprinkle with the sugar and pistachios. Fold up the edges, brush with water, and sprinkle with some sugar.

Bake on the middle rack for 40–50 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and the filling bubbles.

Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream, crème fraîche, or coconut whipped cream. Personally, I like to reheat any leftovers; the warmth brings out the flavors of the peach filling and the crust seems to melt in your mouth.

Rustic Peach Galette | my blue&white kitchen