Saturday, September 26, 2009

Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate Chunks and Coconut

So today I really wanted those fabulously fattening, filled with refined sugar....Mounds bars (or Almond Joys would have sufficed), but frankly I cannot justify buying that crap! I pretty much satisfy my rare, but intense, candy bar cravings once a year. That's right: Halloween. It is pretty easy to do considering that my kids still like the chewy, fruity stuff and are happy to pawn off the chocolate on Mom. In any case, the Halloween candy has hit the shelf at the grocery store and has been calling my name for days. Sadly. So I decided why not indulge in a cookie with chocolate, coconut and (to hearty it up a bit) oatmeal. I think they turned out great! So please enjoy... Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate Chunks and Coconut
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar (I use organic - it is now available at Costco)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 large egg
1/2 rounded tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup unbleached flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)
1 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 - 3/4 c coconut
3.5 oz. dark chocolate bar, chopped

Cream together the butter and sugars very well. Add your egg and vanilla, mix, scrape down the bowl, mix again. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt separately. Add to the butter/sugar mixture and stir slightly, scrape down the bowl, add the oats, coconut and chocolate - then mix again (just until all is incorporated). Bake the cookies in mounds (about 2 Tbls. of dough) at about 10 to a sheet. They will spread slightly. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-9 minutes. They will be very fragile when first removed from the oven, let them sit for a minute before you try to move them to a cooling rack. They will harden and set up a bit more as they cool.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Thank you!

Well Kristin was the first one to let me know that our Blumatoes are actually called "Wonderberries", a man-made cross between Solanum villosum and S. guineense, produced in the early 20th century by renowned plant breeder Luther Burbank. Crazy. However did they pop up in my garden I wonder? If only they could speak...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Bread Crumbs

Waste not Want not!
So, these big sandwich rolls I bought the other day had gone just beyond their prime. Not yet moldy, but too dry to know what I mean? So I just thought I would briefly post about the place such breads play in my life. They are perfect for making bread crumbs, which are easily frozen and ready to use for any number of dishes. I try to always have them on hand (you do not want to be near me if I reach into the freezer for bread crumbs, a dish of pasta on the counter waiting to be topped, and do not find bread crumbs - it gets ugly). I like to dress mine up with just a little of Parmesan and some salt, but it is also smart to have some with only salt - for dishes where Parmesan may not be quite the right flavor accent.
It is as simply as this: break the bread into chunks, put it in your food processor, add a little salt and Parmesan and then pulse until the chunks become fine little crumbs. Place the crumbs into freezer safe containers (I reuse these great little "to go" containers that I get at a local deli) and freeze for up to 6 months.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Has anyone ever had Blumatoes in their garden?

It's a blueberry - it's a tomato- it's a Blumato (or so we call them!)

Has anyone else had this occur in their garden? Last year we planted a blueberry plant too close to the tomatoes and they must have cross pollinated because half way through the summer these funny shoots grew out of the blueberry plant that had suspiciously tomato like leaves and strange little berries. The berries are nearly black, round, shiny and are full of seeds (just like tomatoes). They are slightly sweet, a little sour, and not terribly unpleasant. The kids say they taste like Trix, but let's just say no one wants a whole bowl of them. I am thinking that they must be pretty high in antioxidants, right? Oh anyway.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Rainy, chilly days call for Chai

I am just putting this here to tempt you..... homemade Chai. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. I will not give you my recipe yet, I am debating whether I will ever post it at all. We' ll see......

Easy Chicken Parmesan

I was busy writing for my internship and preparing activities for the kids in school tomorrow...who would have thought I had time to make this as well?! Surprise! And the only thing my husband had to do for dinner was boil the pasta.

2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 cup dried bread crumbs ( I always have these in the freezer - when a loaf is just past it's prime do not throw it out - dry it up instead! Combine, In the food processor, the dried bread, a little salt and some Parmesan cheese. Throw it into a freezer safe container and keep it on hand!)
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
(honestly I used half and half - we were out of milk)
salt & pepper
Fresh Mozzerella
(two - 4 slices your preference)
your favorite bottled Tomato Pasta Sauce

Olive oil (about 2 Tbls.)

1 Tbls. butter

First the chicken must be totally thawed. Take each breast, fold it between sheets of plastic wrap or waxed paper and beat the daylights out of it with a rolling pin! They should be uniformly smooshed to about a half inch thick.
In a large rectangular casserole dish dump the red sauce. It will serve as a pool of sauce for the chicken to bake in. Set aside.
Whisk the eggs with the milk, salt and pepper. In two dishes have the bead crumbs and (separately) eggs set aside. You want an assembly line: chicken, eggs, breadcrumbs. In a large frying pan place the olive oil and butter over medium high heat. First dredge the chicken in the eggs, shake off a bit, then cover each side in the bread crumbs. Place the chicken in the frying pan and fry until golden brown on each side (but don't worry about cooking it through, that will happen in the oven). Once the breast is browned, place it carefully in the sauce in the casserole dish - you want the top to remain un-sauced. Repeat the process with the next chicken breast. Cover both breasts with a slice or two of fresh Mozzerella. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for about 30 minutes - take the foil off for the last 5 minutes to brown. While the chicken bakes boil water and cook your preferred pasta to serve the chicken and sauce over. Another fabulous idea, but one that takes more time, is to serve the chicken on top of Garlic Mashed Potatoes.
P.S. Chicken Parmesan makes for great sandwiches!! Just serve on toasted hoggies or ciabatta rolls.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Pancakes and Bed Head go together like peanut butter and jelly.

Ode to lazy mornings, summertime nectarines, music (downright danceable) coming from the computer, maple syrup and perfect pancakes. Ahhhhhh. On top of that a little boy with crazy bed head who is convinced our dog dances when we leave the room (yes, I put the thought in his head, but he believed it).

Perfect Pancakes

Okay folks with this recipe the tips on "how to" are extremely crucial so read up. They make all the difference in the pancake texture.
2 T. butter (melted)
1 T. sugar (I use turbinado)
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 t. salt ( I use Real Salt or Sea Salt)
1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1 and 1/4 c. unbleached flour
cold water

Mix melted butter with sugar. Add egg and buttermilk, mix well with whisk. Separately sift or whisk together the remaining DRY ingredients. Go stand by the sink and start a medium trickle of COLD water. Add your dry ingredients to the wet with a rubber scraper (not whisk) and add water as needed to get a thick, lumpy batter. It will usually take about a 1/2 cup of water . Don't mix it until it is uniform, it should be lumpy. Just mix it until all the flour is incorporated. As you make this recipe over and over you will begin to see the subtle changes in texture based on how long you mix the batter. But even if you do over mix it - you will have good pancakes. For perfect pancakes that are not heavy and have a high rise the batter will be thick enough that you need to sort of spread them out when you dump them onto the griddle. Set your griddle to medium heat and only flip the pancake over once the bubbles have begun to form in the middle of the cake. Butter is a good option on the griddle because it makes for a lovely taste and texture, and I for one don't use butter on the pancakes after they are cooked. We like to have ours with yogurt and jam or fresh fruit. We eat them for dinner sometimes too....yum!