Shortbread Cookies for Mom

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Drinking tea before bed is a time-honored tradition with the women in my family. As long as I can remember, my mom, aunts and grandmother always made a cup of Lipton‘s tea with a dash of milk – sometimes accompanied by a cookie. When my mom helped me move into my LA apartment, the first things she got at the grocery store were Lipton’s tea, milk and shortbread cookies. For this Mother’s Day, I thought I would make her some homemade shortbread cookies to enjoy with her nightly tea!

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INGREDIENTS:

3/4 Pound of Butter (Room Temperature)

1 Cup of Sugar

1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

3 1/2 Cups of Flour

1/4 Teaspoon Salt

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Luckily for me, shortbread is relatively easy to bake and only requires 3 ingredients! This recipe is based on Ina Garten‘s shortbread cookie.  First mix the butter, sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer.

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In a separate bowl,  sift together the flour and salt. Sifting flour brought back my most vivid memories of my grandmother, or Grammy as I like to call her. She was ALWAYS sifting flour, so I made sure not to skip this step, because who wants chunks of flour in their cookies? Thanks Grammy!

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Combine the flour and butter mixtures until it comes together as a dough. Kneed together and wrap tightly with Saran Wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

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Cover rolling pin and cutting board with flower, and roll out the dough until its about 3/4 inch thick.

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I picked out a cute little star cookie cutter for these cookies. I think making smaller cookies is best, because shortbread is quite rich as it’s packed with butter! Cut out the cookies and arrange on an un-greased cookie sheet. Greasing the cookie sheet causes the cookie to expand on the bottom, loosing their form. Since again, these cookies already have so much butter, they will pop right off the pan no greasing needed. They also don’t expand like other cookies while baking so you can fit a lot on your baking sheet without worry of overcrowding.

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Traditional shortbread cookies have little dots in the middle, so I took a fork and pricked three times in the center of each cookie and sprinkled the tops with a little extra sugar.

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Bake in the oven at 350 for about 10 minutes until the edges start to brown. (Ina says 25 minutes, but I found this to be much too long for a smaller sized cookie)

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Since my mom lives in Sacramento, I found this adorable cookie tin and ribbon at the Container Store to send the shortbread in. I lined it with wax paper, piled in the cookies and wrapped it all up in a pink polka-dot bow.

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My mom is the inspiration for this blog. Even though she works countless hours as a pediatrician, she always makes time to tie the perfect bow, cook the best pot roast, throw unforgettable parties, arrange the pillows just right, and bake a three-tiered cake for my birthday no matter what. Her ability to balance her career and being a mom and homemaker so flawlessly is something I hope I can live up to. She is the epitome of style, class and poise and I’m lucky to have such an amazing role model. Happy Mother’s Day!

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Not Your Average Pasta Salad: Lemon Orzo

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This is my favorite go-to pasta salad. Combining orzo with tart lemon juice, peppery arugula, creamy goat cheese and juicy shrimp makes this recipe a show stopper, and it’s so simple to make!

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INGREDIENTS:

1 Box of Orzo

1/4 Pound of Peeled Shrimp

3 Cups of Baby Arugala

2 Ounces of Lemon Juice

2 Ounces of Olive Oil

1 Cup of Artichoke Hearts

1 Cup of Cherry Tomatoes

1/2 Cup Goat Cheese Crumbles

1/4 Cup Chopped Basil

1/2 Teaspoon of Salt

1/2 Teaspoon of Pepper

1/8 Teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper

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Cook the orzo in boiling water for nine minutes until al dente.

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While the pasta cooks, I like to make the lemon vinaigrette. Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, and 1/4 teaspoon of both salt and pepper. Immediately pour over strained orzo in a salad bowl and mix through until it coats all the pasta. Let the orzo sit for ten minutes to absorb.

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Once the orzo has cooled slightly, toss with the baby arugula.

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Peel the shrimp and remove the tails. I like to use a medium sized shrimp so that it’s easy to eat. Lightly pat them down with a paper towel to remove any extra moisture. Season both sides with remaining salt and pepper, and cayenne pepper.

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Sautee on high heat with a little olive oil for about five minutes, until the shrimp are slightly browned and no longer translucent.

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While the shrimp cook, I like to prepare the other ingredients. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half, cut the artichokes into bite size pieces and chop basil.

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Add everything to the orzo and serve! This can be eaten warm or cold – it’s great both ways.

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Sometimes I replace the shrimp with sausage which is also a big hit! What I like about this salad is that there is a treat in every bite. You don’t have to dig through it to get to the good stuff because it’s all delicious. I hope you enjoy!

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This orzo recipe was inspired by Ina Garten’s which is always fantastic: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/orzo-with-roasted-vegetables-recipe/index.html