Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Alice's Chocolate Chip Cookies

I'm usually a Nestle Toll House cookie kind of gal. Baking right from the recipe on the bag, but I decided to give a new recipe from Alice at Savory Sweet Life a try. Living on the edge as usual. I learned a baking lesson recently that I don't need to bake enough to feed an army so I cut the recipe in half AND I followed the directions. I still was able to get 2 cookie sheets out of the recipe.
A strange thing happened, when Alice said to whip the butter for 5 minutes, and I followed her instructions, my butter and sugar mystically changed to the "whipped" butter a lighter fluffier consistency... so I followed her instructions on adding the eggs, baking, cooling, and well when they were done baking, they darn-well turned out looking like her cookies. I was amazed. Obviously I take too many liberties when I bake if I'm "amazed" when something turns out. These had a malty kind of flavor to me. Maybe it was the milk chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet? If only I could get this excited about cleaning the bathroom. 
Alice’s Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes approx. 45-48 cookies using a sm-med 2tbl. cookie scoop

1 cup (2 sticks)  salted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups (12 oz) all-purpose flour *If at all possible, please weigh the flour (I added 2 T unbleached flour for altitude)
1 tsp. smallish-medium coarse sea salt *please do not use table salt, the sea salt gives the cookies a nice flavor and hints of texture. If you only have table salt, use 1/2 tsp. *When using sea salt, you will get small crunchy flecks of salt when you bite into the cookie.  If you do not like this taste, go with 1/2 teaspoon of table salt. (I used kosher salt)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 cups/16 oz of semi-sweet chocolate chips *I use Nestle Toll-House (I used milk chocolate)

Preheat oven to 360 degrees. Cream butter, sugar, and brown sugar until it is nice and fluffy (approx. 5 minutes on medium speed on a K-5). Add both eggs and vanilla and beat for an additional 2 minutes.  Add baking soda, baking powder, salt, and flour until cookie batter is fully incorporated.  Finally add chocolate chips until well distributed.  The cookie batter should be somewhat thick.  Drop about 2 tablespoons of dough or use a medium cookie scoop and plop the batter onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake for 12-14 minutes until the edges are nice and golden brown. Remove from heat and allow the cookies to stay on the cookie sheet for an additional 2 minutes.  Pick up the parchment paper with the cookies still on top and transfer to a cool non-porous surface.  Allow the cookies to cool on the paper for at least 3 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Recipe Source: Savory Sweet Life: Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe by Alice
Chocolate chip cookie and milk
Chocolate chip cookie and milk.
Please visit Alice's blog if you'd like chocolate chip cookie troubleshooting help! BTW the 13 minute baking time is the perfect amount of time to unload and load the dishwasher. Amazing how these things work.
After I'd tried a warm cookie, I took Squirrely to see the honeysuckle vines down the street. They are AMAZING! You smell the perfume in the air before you even see the flowers. It's like with the cookies... a nose knows... "What's that? Someone's baking?" Only better.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Columbia Restaurant "1905 Salad"

I had never heard of the Columbia Restaurant (the oldest restaurant in Florida) or the famous "1905 Salad" until recently when I stumbled upon the recipe on the Sticky Gooey Creamy Chewy blog. Maybe this isn't surprising since I live in the landlocked west and the Columbia Restaurant is located in Florida.
I'm recovering from surgery and my sister Janel came over to make lunch for me and my family. I was her virtual grocery list connecting her (at the store) to the recipe. The results were a tangy, savory summer salad. She brought the locally famous "Hotel Utah" rolls which we served with creamy Tillamook butter.

Columbia “1905″ Salad
4 C iceberg lettuce, broken into 1 1/2″ × 1 1/2″ pieces
1 ripe tomato cut into eighths (we used cherry tomatoes)
1/2 C baked ham, julienned 2″ × ⅛” (may substitute turkey or shrimp)
1/2 C Swiss cheese, julienned 2″ × ⅛”
 (we used mild)
1/2 C pimiento-stuffed green Spanish olives
2 C “1905” Dressing (see recipe below)

1/2 C Romano cheese, grated
2 T Worcestershire sauce
1 lemon

Combine lettuce, tomato, ham, Swiss cheese, and olives in a large salad bowl. Before serving, add “1905” Dressing, Romano cheese, Worcestershire, and the juice of 1 lemon. Toss well and serve immediately. Makes 2 dinner salads or 4 side salads.

1/2 C extra-virgin Spanish olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 t dried oregano

⅛ C white wine vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix olive oil, garlic, and oregano in a bowl with a wire whisk. Stir in vinegar, gradually beating to form an emulsion, and then season with salt and pepper. For best results, prepare 1 to 2 days in advance and refrigerate.

For the dressing we used Bernstein's Light Fantastic "Cheese Fantastico" which Janel added garlic to. I needed a "low-fat" alternative.

This salad is tied up with so much history from the Lea & Perrins President  trying the salad to the use of this salad to fight the salad bar craze of the 70's. It's just a fascinating story the more you read. Here's the restaurant's timeline.

Recipe Source: The Columbia Restaurant & the blog post at Sticky, Gooey, Creamy, Chewy

Thanks for lunch Janel! It was wonderful!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Kheer (Indian Rice Pudding)

This rice pudding gives you all sorts of flavors; rich crunchy roasted nuts, sun-ripened sweetness of golden raisins, and reducing the milk makes the dairy flavor pop. This particular rice pudding is special. It's called Kheer/Pal Payasam which is Indian rice pudding which is made for holidays and events. The pictures on DK's "The Chef in You" blog were awesome and the descriptions so friendly, I had to try making it. My daughter and I had this for bedtime snack (the dog had a small smackrel too).
Toast the rice in the same pan, it will pick up the butter and I think the flavor is a richer. I had long grain Jasmine rice, the original recipe suggests short grain rice for best results.
Reduce the milk by half. Stay with the pan. Don't let the milk scorch. Seriously. You've burned cream of mushroom soup before, right? Gross. No scorching.

Kheer/Pal Payasam (as close as I could come from my pantry)
1 t butter
1-2 T nuts (almonds and cashews, carefully picked out of the Kirkland snack mix)
1/4 C rice (I used long grain Jasmine)
4 C milk (I used 2%)
Sugar 1/4 C
pinch of saffron (I didn't have any so I used a pinch of cinnamon)
1/4 tsp cardamom powder (Didn't have this either so I used 1/4 t fresh ground nutmeg)
1 T golden raisins

Chop the nuts. In a saute pan melt the butter then add the nuts and raisins. Cook until the nuts start to brown and the raisins puff up. Remove the nuts and raisins from the pan and put them aside in a bowl for later. Put the rice into the same saute pan and toast. In a soup pan add the milk, and then stir in the rice. Bring the mixture to a low boil and add the sugar. Stir regularly and continue to cook on a low boil for 30 minutes. Stay with the pan, stirring, stirring. Do not scorch the milk. The milk will reduce by half. Remove from the heat and add the spices and half of the nuts. Serve and sprinkle with remaining nuts.

Recipe Source: ChefInYou.com, Kheer/Pal Payasam by D.K.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Proud of Him: Oatmeal Cookies

Oatmeal Cookies
Cookbook Bites: Oatmeal Cookie recipe review
In the kitchen 2 cubes of Tillamook Sweet Cream salted butter are coming to room temperature on the counter. There's just enough time to tell you about why I'm making these cookies. They're not top secret. They might even be so "common" that they're overlooked. They are Eric's favorite cookies and I don't make them often enough. You can find the recipe in your pantry. Where? Just crack open your canister of oatmeal (the canister your teacher might have helped you craft a Thanksgiving drum out of when you were in elementary school-like mine did) and look at the inside of the lid. Yes, it's the Quaker Oats "Vanishing Oatmeal (Without Raisins) Cookies" recipe. Why else am I making these? Well, besides he asked me to bake some again?

PS 3: Toy Story 3
PS3: Toy Story 3
Recently DIMG also known as the Disney Interactive Media Group (the Avalanche Software studio) completed the video game Toy Story 3. A lot of people put in a lot (I mean seriously a lot, a lot!) of time pulling it together. A big "Hip-hip-hooray!" is in order for everyone who worked on the movie and the video game(s) - and their families! Eric's not a programmer, an artist, a game designer... and he down-plays the work he did. He may not have camped out at the office, or put in the hours that the programmers did, but he did his part too. We missed him, but understood. His job, is luckily what he's good at and what he enjoys and--he loves working for Disney! He makes things work all smooth like. If there's a bump in the road, he's there making everything peachy again. Networks are happier, the data flows better, computers bee-bop along - it's a good place for someone like him with his Disney-friendly IT skills to work. Here's to you Eric, for long hours, dedication, and supporting the people at your studio (and here's to the next games too and the fun they will share) while managing to maintain a presence at home. Happy Father's Day!

I had to include this picture of the mixer dancing. Looks like the Nat Geo pics I've seen of Whirling Dervishes. Well, with a little imagination...

Quaker Oats Vanishing Oatmeal Cookies
2 Sticks of butter
1 C brown sugar (packed)
1/2 C granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 t vanilla
1 1/2 C flour
1 t Baking Soda
1/2 t kosher salt
3 C  Quaker Oats

Preheat oven to 350. Blend butter and add both the brown and granulated sugar and blend. Then add the eggs and the vanilla and blend. Add the flour, baking soda and salt and mix together. Add oats and mix well. Drop by scoopful onto cookie sheet, and "don't crowd the cookies" or they'll run into each other instead of remaining separate and individual little cookies. Bake for 10 minutes, 11 if you must. Take them out. Trust me, they will still look a little uncooked on top, but about 10 seconds out of the oven, they'll be fine and you will indeed have a "chewy" oatmeal cookie.

He just walked by munching on a cookie hot from the cookie sheet: "These are great." What a nice thing to say. :)

Recipe Source: Quaker Oatmeal Canister Lid

Here are some cool Toy Story 3 links:
Cookbook Bites
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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Teriyaki Chicken

If you like Teriyaki Chicken you'll be glad you found this recipe. It is possible to make a decent Teriyaki sauce at home. Much, much better than any I've found pre-made in a bottle.

Teriyaki Chicken
2-3 C Jasmine Rice or other White Rice prepared
2-3 C chicken (pan fried and cut into bite size pieces)

Restaurant Teriyaki Sauce
1/4 C soy sauce (La Choy if you're watching your gluten)
1 C water
1/2 t ground ginger
1/4 t garlic powder
5 T packed brown sugar
1-2 T honey
2 T cornstarch
1/4 C cold water

Mix all but cornstarch and 1/4 cup water in a sauce pan and begin heating. Mix cornstarch and cold water in a cup and dissolve. Add to sauce in pan. 
Heat until sauce thickens to desired thickness. 
Add water to thin if you over-thick it :)."

When the sauce is ready serve. Add a helping of plain rice to the plate, and a serving of chicken. Spoon sauce over the chicken. Very savory, and just right if you like Teriyaki chicken!

Recipe Source: Restaurant Teriyaki Sauce by Juniper NW at RecipeZaar

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Maddox Family Drive-In

Maddox is a restaurant I remember from when I was a kid. When we drove through Brigham City it was a no-brainer that we would stop at Maddox for dinner. Usually something like steak and mashed potatoes. They've been around for a long time, originally opening their doors during WWII. 

Yesterday we went on a day trip to the Golden Spike National Park. After running around on a few side trips we went to Maddox for dinner, the only catch? We had to wait 1 hour to be seated.
We decided to head next door to the drive-in.
Good "drive-in" food and friendly servers. Crunchy, tasty batter dipped fries with just the right amount of salt. Healthy? It's a potato for Pete's sake! Ok, so they're deep-fried, in batter... Fine, I don't want to talk about it...
1900 South Highway 89 (Main Street I think), Brigham City, Utah 

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Lemon Granita

Yesterday afternoon I was quite jazzed to find 3 fresh lemons in my fruit crisper. This was one of those un-planned recipes where all of the ingredients were in the right place at the right time! Hooray for icy-lemony goodness! I spotted this recipe on Twitter from Pioneer Woman. My daughter helped me cook this fun summery desert. Here's a quick visual tour of the recipe:
Did I mention that I really like the color yellow? This post has just a smashing amount of yellow in it! Love it! Lemony-yellow... Right. Moving along. Here's the recipe:

Lemon Granita
3 Lemons
1/2 C sugar
3 C water

Wash, then zest the lemons. Add the lemon zest to a saucepan. Juice the lemons, then add the lemon juice to the pan. Add the sugar and mix. Bring to a boil then let it reduce just a little so it's not runny like water, a little more syrup - but not a thick syrup. Remove from heat and add the 3 cups of water. Pour mixture into a freezer friendly container and place the mixture in the freezer for 1 hour. Then with a fork break up any ice crystals. "Rinse & Repeat" well, just as a figure of speech - no rinsing! Put the Granita back in the freezer and keep going back about every hour, to break up the crystals with a fork until you end up with...
It smelled like a lemon drop had arrived and moved into the kitchen. If you like sweet summer lemonade chances are you'll like Lemon Granita. Better than a snow cone, less fat than ice cream. Yum! (I kept setting the kitchen timer so I wouldn't forget to go fluff the granita crystals.)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Mom's Potato Salad

Are you a dill pickle fan? Do you enjoy the crunch of fresh onion and celery? I bring you my mom's potato salad! So, much better than store bought! Seriously. My mom passed down the quintessential potato salad serving dish: the "yellow tupperware" which is perfect for this salad. Don't suffer with store bought potato salad any longer. Make some fresh potato salad at home instead!
This recipe is a little different. You boil the potatoes whole and leave the potato skins on in the salad.
The recipe calls for celery seed. Have you ever made anything with celery seed? I think this is the only recipe I have made that calls for it. It is vital to the taste, just like the dill pickles.
Mom's Potato Salad
6-8 White Rose or Red potatoes
3 stalks of celery (finely chopped)  or 1/4 t celery seeds (I used both, I know... living on the edge)
1/2 C dill pickles (chopped) can use sweet pickles if you prefer
1 1/2 T mustard
1/4 C mayonnaise (more as needed) I used about another 1/2 C
Celery salt 1 dash
Onion salt or powder 1 dash
1/4 t seasoned salt
1 medium onion finely chopped (Sweet or Bermuda) I used yellow onion
3-4 hard boiled eggs (I used 2, chopped and added to the salad)

Scrub the potatoes and leave the potato skins on. Remove blemishes from the potatoes. Boil whole potatoes until tender then cool in water. Cut potatoes into cubes and add to a large bowl. If you use the celery seed grind it with a mortar and pestle. In a separate bowl combine mustard, mayonnaise and seasonings. Coarsely chop 3 hard-boiled eggs and stir into salad. Add additional mustard and pepper to taste (I also added a couple teaspoons of the dill pickle juice). Stir to combine. Add more mayonnaise and mustard if necessary. Slice the remaining egg to garnish and make a daisy  of sliced eggs. Add a sprig of parsley and finish with a sprinkle of paprika. Chill. Let the salad sit in the fridge overnight for a more intense and yummy flavor. 

Recipe Source: My mom

Who knew celery seed was so good? Seriously.


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