Dana Treat – Treat Yourself

New Classes!

Posted June 25, 2011

(New classes are announced!  Come learn some summer recipes!  Check here for details.)

If you come here on a semi-regular basis, there are probably a few things you know about me.  Most likely you know that I am a vegetarian, I love chocolate, I have two young boys, and I live in Seattle.  You may even know that I teach regular cooking classes that are open to the public.  But unless you have attended one of those classes, you probably don’t know this.  Each participant walks out with a Dana Treat.

I know there are lots of cooking classes available these days, both on a grand and small scale.  If you want to learn to cook or learn some new tips or how to work with certain ingredients, there is no shortage of places you can turn to – in Seattle at least.  I like to think that what I offer is a little different.  For example, at the end of each class, after the demonstration is finished, the group moves into our dining room to eat the main course dishes we have prepared.  The line between cooking class and dinner party blurs a bit.  More bottles of wine are opened and people stay past the 9:30 end time – I like that.

I like to begin my classes with a homemade nibble.  Start time is 6:30, almost always on a Thursday, and I know people are coming from work or from hectic home life and they are hungry.  Depending on the class, the first recipe we make and eat could be an hour from start time.  I know people need a snack.  Homemade crackers are a popular choice as are these nuts.  So yes, we start with a nibble and then end with a treat.  A Dana Treat.

When I am hosting a dinner party, I look forward to serving my food to friends.  I anticipate each course, kind of like sharing presents with our guests.  As we are all enjoying dinner and I feel the momentum of the evening settling, no longer diving headlong into the meal but starting to slow, I always get a feeling of sadness that the evening will come to a close.  That is when I am really happy that I have made a dessert.  I have one more thing to share, one more trick up my sleeve.  I love that.  I knew I would have that same sense with my classes.  I love teaching.  I look forward to each class and I put a lot of time into prep and the actual teaching.  At the end of my portion and as class participants are moving into the dining room, I feel a bit of that same sadness.  But wait!  There is still the Dana Treat.

The Treat is what I hand to them as they are putting on their coats, gathering their belongings.  It is a final thank you from me.  Maybe they enjoy it when they get home from class, maybe they save it until the next night, maybe it is breakfast, or maybe they eat it in the car on the way home.  That makes me smile.

This week I taught two Vegetarian Thai classes.  One of them got my most favorite granola as their Treat and the other class got these cookies.  I had the idea that I wanted to do something citrus-y – that that flavor would go well with the Thai food.  I found this recipe in the most recent issue of Bon Appétit.  Lemon, lime, and basil flavor these super simple to make cookies – a perfect sweet after homemade summer rolls, yellow curry, and coconut milk noodles.  I used a bit more basil than called for which is why they are a bit green.

One Year Ago: Asparagus and Caramelized Leek Bread Pudding
Two Years Ago: Fennel and Almond Soup with Saffron and Ricotta Dumplings
Three Years Ago: Mushroom Pearl Pasta with Sweet Peas and Goat Cheese
Lemon-Lime Basil Shortbread Cookies
Bon Appétit
Makes about 16

Yes!  I am aware this entire recipe is in italics.  Sorry about that.  I cannot seem to fix it.

1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup powdered sugar, plus more more pressing cookies
½ cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch chunks
2 tbsp. sliced fresh basil leaves
1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest, plus 1 tbsp. lemon juice
½ tsp. finely grated lime zest
¼ tsp. kosher salt
Sanding sugar (optional)

Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Place flour, ½ cup powdered sugar, butter, basil, both zests, lemon juice, and salt in a food processor.  Pulse until large moist clumps form.  Measure level tablespoonfuls of dough; roll between your palms to form balls.  Place on a large baking sheet, spacing 2 inches apart.  Lightly dust the bottom of a flat measuring cup with powdered sugar and press cookies into 2-inch rounds., dusting cup bottom with powdered sugr as needed to prevent sticking.  Sprinkle tops of cookies with sanding sugar, if using.

Bake until edges are brown, 15 to 20 minutes.  Transfer to a wire rack; let cool.

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