Eclipse Bittersweet Hot Fudge Sauce

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Deep Dark Chocolate Sauce and My Favorite Ice Cream

OK you fellow chocoholics, listen up.  If you are like me and answer YES to the following three statements, then this one is for you!

  1. I love chocolate
  2. I always choose the darkest chocolate
  3. I enjoy hot fudge sauce on top of vanilla bean or coffee or coconut ice cream

I am naming this “eclipse hot fudge”, because I just got back from TOTALITY in Madras, Oregon with my sisters, and I told them they must make this sauce.  It is a chocolate blackout.  It is almost as good as Totality.  Truthfully though, even dark chocolate isn’t as good as Totality… Complete magic!

Sisters Spying Eclipse!

But back to my original thought.  This is the ULTIMATE hot fudge sauce.  I deleted the other recipes I have had on my computer since the end of time – all those with evaporated milk, with manufactured squares of unsweetened chocolate.  I am finished with my search for hot fudge – and once I settle on the perfect anything – be it recipes for chocolate chip cookies, brownies, or chocolate cake…I no longer am interested in a new or more hip or exciting formulation.  Call me stubborn, call me set in my ways, but that is the truth.  

Enough said.  

If you want, you could always change this a bit by adding mint extract and chopped peppermint candies to top a sundae or coconut extract with toasted coconut or almond extract with toasted almonds.  But as far as I’m concerned, just give me pedestrian hot fudge.  We did a blindfolded taste test last night with my favorite gourmet hot fudge sauce that I have been ordering on the internet for a long time, and there was no question.  THIS is the winner.

Such Simple Ingredients

The only hard part, really, is chopping up chocolate and truthfully it just isn’t that hard.  I just took a wide sharp knife, began at a corner and kind of chopped/shaved the chocolate until it weighed in at six ounces.  

I beg you to make this!  It isn’t bad at all for dipping banana chunks either.  I use this for my grandkids by warming up a couple of tablespoons of fudge in a shallow dish and then topping it with a small scoop of great ice cream.  We call this “floating island” and it is what the kids always request for dessert.  Nothing could be easier or better.  The origin of this recipe is from a 2004 issue of Gourmet Magazine, may she rest in peace.  Make this in her memory!

Eclipse Bittersweet Hot Fudge Sauce

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Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons (30 grams) salted butter
  • ⅔ cup (155 ml) heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup (170 grams) Lyle’s golden syrup (grocery stores often carry this near the breakfast syrups)
  • ¼ cup (50 grams) packed dark-brown sugar
  • ¼ cup (20 grams) cocoa powder (Scharfenberger is my favorite)
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 6 ounces (170 grams) good quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Instructions

Wash and dry two empty glass jars (I always use recycled ones) that will each hold a cup of liquid and set aside.

Combine everything except vanilla over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Barely simmer on low, stirring, for three to five more minutes after everything has melted, then remove from heat and stir in chopped chocolate and vanilla.

It’s now ready to ladle over ice cream, although it thickens more as it begins to cool, so you could also wait for 15 to 20 minutes before doing so, if it’s not too unbearable.

Pour leftovers into a jar or jars and refrigerate. Hot fudge sauce keeps chilled in the fridge at least a month and often two, although it’s rare it lasts that long.  When cold it resembles thick chocolate ganache.  This is the last thing I pack in my suitcase when I go to Belize so that I have something spectacular to eat with the excellent coconut ice cream there.

 

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One Pot Summer Halibut

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Healthy & Colorful Halibut

August is my favorite month in Seattle foodwise: warm, sunny weather produces tons of cherry tomatoes, both red and yellow, along with an explosion of fresh herbs and peppers that I grow on my deck.  And it just so happens that Alaskan halibut and Wild Alaskan King Salmon are the most affordable this time of the year. Win/win!

So the other day I picked up a pound of fresh Alaskan halibut, having no clue how I was going to prepare it.  I looked lovingly at my large cast iron skillet, and because I had recently served brown rice and sauteed eggplant, I figured I’d prepare a very, very simple halibut dish using what I had in my kitchen and on my deck. Eat local and all…

I briefly sauteed the fish in olive oil, about two minutes on each side.  Then I added my tomato/basil, garlic, lemon juice mix and swirled it in the skillet, adding a dab of butter for richness.  Everything was briefly warmed and badda bing, badda boom – I was done.  

Just One Pot!

This is so bright and easy and you only dirty one large saute pan! The sauce tastes delicious over rice or sopped up with a piece of crusty bread…Run, don’t walk, to the fishmonger and pick up a halibut fillet – or two.  Make a salad, prepare some summer veggies, steam some rice or another whole grain and know that the fish, prep and all, will take no more than 15 minutes start to finish.  And the majority of that time is just for heating your skillet.

One Pot Summer Halibut

3 large servings (or 4 smaller ones)

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Ingredients:
  • 1 lb halibut fillet (with skin on)
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ⅓ cup basil leaves, chiffonade plus four whole sprigs for serving
  • 1 ½ cups cherry tomatoes (red or yellow or a combination)
  • Juice of ½ large lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp salted butter
Instructions:

Cut your halibut into three or four pieces and pat dry. Press in the salt and pepper to the side without skin.

Chiffonade the basil, cut the cherry tomatoes in half, juice the half lemon and mince the garlic. Combine and set everything aside.

Heat the cast iron or other fry pan until it is medium hot.  A cast iron skillet takes at least eight minutes set on medium heat to be ready.

Add the oil and wait a minute until it is hot.  Add the halibut fillets skin side down, shaking the pan slightly to prevent sticking.  After three minutes, carefully turn each piece with a fish spatula.  Cook an additional two minutes on the skin side.  

Add the basil, tomatoes, lemon juice, garlic and simmer with the fish for two minutes.  Add the butter until melted.  Once the fish is cooked through, another minute or so, taste the sauce and add more salt or pepper to taste.  

Place warmed rice (or another cooked grain) on the bottom of a shallow bowl, top with the fish and spoon sauce on top of the fish.  Top each dish with a sprig of fresh basil.  Enjoy!

Cooks note:  I know this sauce would be good with almost any other delicate white fish too.  Halibut is one of my faves and I only eat it in the summer when it is fresh fresh fresh!

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Hearty Chicken Sausage Rotini

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Hearty Chicken Sausage Rotini

In early June, I had a “batch cooking” day with my daughter.  We always love cooking together and on that day, we were especially productive. In a mere 3 ½ hours, we prepared enough for her household (and for the two adults in my home) including bread, cookies, pulled barbecued turkey meat for sandwiches, chicken chili (enough for 16 guests), and this whole wheat rotini pasta dish.  Other items were created, but it was such a whirlwind, I cannot remember them.  Oh yeah, Caesar salad dressing and fresh croutons, cut up veggies for the fridge…on and on.

This is one of the recipes we chose to make together.  Although this has been in my files for a long time, I forgot how unusual and delicious it tastes!  I like this pasta iteration because, ratio wise, there are less noodles and a lot more  tomatoes, chicken sausage and olives – the good stuff.  This is a great make ahead dish if you choose.  When ready to reheat, remove the serving dish from the fridge at least an hour beforehand. Either microwave to reheat or add some of the pasta water or milk, grate cheese on top and cover with foil.  Heat at 350 until piping hot.

This is kind of a seasonless recipe, although when my cherry tomatoes are growing at their peak, they make a recipe like this extra good.  With both yellow and red small tomatoes, it will be lovely!

Hearty Chicken Sausage Rotini

Serves 6

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Ingredients
  • 2 cups whole wheat Fusilli pasta (or regular semolina pasta)
  • 5 links of Chicken Basil Sundried Tomato Sausage (or any kind) casings removed and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 cup Kalamata olives, pitted, drained and halved
  • 12 brown mushrooms, stems removed mushrooms sliced thick** (see note if you or yours do not like mushrooms)
  • 1  pint cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 Tbsp capers, rinsed and drained
  • 1 ½ cups fresh Parmigiano Reggiano, grated on the microplane
  • An additional cup of grated cheese, and a few basil sprigs (to serve)
Instructions

Bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta, add 2 teaspoons of sea salt and add fusilli after it starts boiling. Cook a little al dente or about 1-2 minutes less than what the pasta package calls for.  Drain but reserve about a cup of the pasta water and set aside.

Heat a large, 12-inch skillet and when hot, add olive oil.  Wait one minute then turn the heat to medium and add chunks of sausage.  Turn the sausage so it starts to brown, and after about three minutes add the garlic, olives and mushrooms**. Continue cooking until the sausage is done.  

Add the drained noodles to the pan and then add the tomatoes followed by the capers. Add some pasta water if the dish seems a little “dry”

Add the grated cheese to the hot pasta in the skillet and stir to combine.   Taste and add more salt or pepper to taste.  I rarely add much salt due to the kalamatas, capers and cheese!

Serve in bowls with additional grated cheese and fresh basil.

** Regarding the mushrooms, if you are serving this to children who are mushroom-averse, you chop them very finely in a food processor or nutribullet.  The flavor from the mushrooms is so good, and not having chunks of identifiable mushroom seems to make this a child-friendly dish.

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Triple Lemon Coocakes

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lemon-cookies-plated

Luscious Lemon Coocakes

I am a lover of most things lemon, or most things citrus for that matter.  I mean, what vegetable isn’t improved with a squeeze of lemon?  And pastas?  Salads? Soups?  Fruity things?   

So when I spotted a recipe for lemon ricotta cookies, I investigated further.  This highly touted recipe for lemon cookies began with Giada over at Food Networks.  Right off the bat I could tell that Giada, as cute and peppy as she appears, is not a cook like me.  Who would want to battle with mushy batter for cookies?  The cookies spread out and weren’t attractive in my eyes.  And why would she show a quart sized container of ricotta cheese?  I could tell from looking at the recipe that her original formula would be way too sweet for my taste – especially when I thought of eating them with coffee in the morning (in my humble opinion there is nothing wrong with cookies for breakfast).  

And so, before I even started, I began conjuring my version of these cookies and am happy to report that they turned out to my liking.  And to the liking of my son and my grandson and my daughter.   I would not call these little lemon-infused desserts cookies or cakes, but rather a hybrid of the two.  They are mixed together like cookies but have the texture of cake, or even a scone of sorts.

Cooled and glazed and ready to eat!

Cooled and glazed and ready to eat!

Why, I ask myself, isn’t the Food Network hiring me, a 66-year old grandma who loves to cook, to be on TV and talk up my recipes?  Well, the answer is that most viewers would rather look at cute little Giada.  What a pity.

I made these before Thanksgiving to have around for my out of towners and to give to my kids who live nearby.  35 large cookies is a lot.  I confess I put a couple dozen out of sight but I”m going to the cookie drawer daily and withdrawing a couple of these. So I hope there are still a few around when my guests arrive…

Triple Lemon Coocakes

Makes 33-35

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Cookie Ingredients
  • 2 ½ cups bread flour (The package will say Better for Bread or just Bread Flour)
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • 1 tsp non aluminum baking powder
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 15 oz whole milk ricotta cheese
  • Grated zest of 1 large lemon
  • Juice of one large lemon (at least 3 Tbsp)
  • ½ tsp lemon extract
Glaze Ingredients
  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • Zest of 1 large lemon
  • Juice of 1 large lemon (about 3 Tbsp)
Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 with rack in the middle (I used my convection setting at 350 and put the three racks in there at the same time – one middle, one four inches above and one four inches below).  Line three cookie sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, combine the bread flour, salt and baking soda. In a large bowl, cream the butter with the sugar on medium to high speed for four minutes.  Add the eggs and mix in well. Add the ricotta, lemon zest, lemon juice, and lemon extract and mix again.  Stir in the flour mixture until just combined – do not over mix.

Refrigerate the dough for at least two hours or even overnight.

Scoop about 2-3 tablespoons of dough per cookie (my scoop said #30) onto the parchment covered cookie sheets – I made 12 cookies per sheet.  Bake 15 minutes for a single sheet in a regular oven at 375 degrees until the edges are slightly brownish.  Remember, I baked all three sheets of cookies together on convection 350 for 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and put the sheets onto cooling racks – you don’t need to transfer the cookies at all (Giada, please note this).  

While the cookies are baking, make the glaze by stirring the ingredients together.  The consistency is a little thicker than maple syrup.

When the cookies are cool to the touch slide the parchment with the cookies off of the trays for easy cleanup (Giada, please note this too).   Any frosting that drips off the cookie will end up on parchment!  And just so you know, I lick any frosting drips.  Put about one teaspoon of glaze on each cookie and skim it over the entire top with a knife or the back of a spoon.  Let the frosting harden – this took me about one hour maximum.  Pack into a cute container and eat or gift them.  

I did freeze these but when defrosted the frosting became tacky.  Wait a bit and the icing hardens,  so I would still freeze them and I imagine they would keep for at least a month frozen.  HAHAHA, you’ll never have them around that long.

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Middle Eastern Carrot Salad

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Colorful Carrot Salad

I titled this “Middle Eastern” carrot salad just because…cumin, roasted garbanzo beans, tahini,  lemon, pistachios…need I say more?  This salad was calling my name and originally came from the Smitten Kitchen website.  As always, I did some tweaking and I have to say, I’m pleased with the results.  On a hot summer day when you can’t bare the thought of another lettuce salad, make this.  It is crunchy, tangy, sweet, chewy and just downright delicious.

Summertime Middle Eastern Carrot Salad

Serves 4-6

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Roasted Chickpeas Ingredients
  • 1 ½  cup cooked chickpeas, or one15-ounce can
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ½  teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
Salad Ingredients
  • 5 large fresh carrots, peeled and grated coarsely by hand or in the Cuisinart
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped flat leaf Italian parsley
  • ¼ cup shelled, salted pistachios
Dressing Ingredients
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and minced by hand
  • 1 large lemon, juiced
  • 3 tablespoons well-stirred tahini
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and a tiny pinch of red pepper flakes to taste
  • White pepper to taste
Instructions

Roast chickpeas:

Heat the oven or toaster oven to 425 degrees F. Dry the chickpeas in a couple of paper towels and toss them with one tablespoon olive oil, salt and cumin until they’re all coated. Spread them on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet or pan and roast them in the oven until they’re browned and crisp, about 15 minutes or even longer.  Shake or stir them occasionally to make sure they’re toasting evenly. Set aside to cool until needed. Note: if you want to cook your own chickpeas, try your pressure cooker! I didn’t even soak the beans and they came out so darned perfectly in 45 minutes start to finish.  Fellow pressure cookerites can write me if you want explicit instructions for this.

Make dressing:

Whisk all ingredients together until smooth, adding more water if needed to thin the dressing slightly. Be aware that it thickens as it stands.  Taste but I wouldn’t mess too much with it even if you taste a lot of lemon.  This sourness contrasts nicely once you put this on the sweet carrots.

Assemble salad:

Place grated carrots in large bowl and toss with the parsley. Mix in a little over half of the dressing, adding more if desired. Taste, then more salt and pepper if needed. Right before serving, sprinkle with the roasted garbanzo beans and pistachios.  

Notes:
  • I get my pistachios at Costco in huge bags – I’m a pistachio fan so they are always in my pantry.)
  • I often make just the oven crispy chickpeas as a type of pre-dinner munchie.  I learned this from my Israeli friends, and adults as well as kids adore them.  
  • Finally, I made this again and used fresh roughly chopped mint leaves.  It tastes totally great and is a nice refreshing change from parsley.
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Savory Summer Corn Pudding

Reposting an old favorite … hopefully you’ll have time to whip this up while our beautiful corn and tomatoes are in season! (Originally appeared on July 22, 2015!)

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Comforting Corn Pudding with Colorful Tomatoes

Comforting Corn Pudding with Colorful Tomatoes

I love brunch in the summer – more specifically, Sunday morning gatherings with friends or family.   Most of the invitations I receive or brunches that I host become potluck events – easy, casual ways to entertain.  Unlike many people, I never sign up for bringing fruit, or coffee, or orange juice or bagels (not that there’s anything wrong with that!).  I suppose I figure, because cooking is easy and joyful for me – why not make something homemade. And I tend to make food that presents as more hearty, a little eggy, often a savory dish.  One of my “go to” recipes has been Spinach or broccoli frittata. This summer, however, I have a new fave.  I’ve been buying fresh sweet corn to grill, to put into salads or soups and this week I remembered an old recipe in my files for a corn “pudding.”

Some recipes require a lot of chopping, sauteeing, baking, what have you.  This little gem requires nothing.  Nisht.  Nada.  Just get the ingredients, stir them together and VOILA.  It’s not the most healthful thing in the world, but it’s quick and fresh tasting.

Let me report that this savory dish flew off the buffet I just brought it to … fortunately I had made a second pan full.  Everyone wanted the recipe…and so I present to you SUMMER SAVORY CORN PUDDING.  It could just as well be a dinner item, and leftovers reheat beautifully.  Make it while there is fresh, succulent sweet corn at the market.  And because it is a bit drab in the old appearance department (golden yellowish brown), slice some ripe tomatoes to serve alongside or include other side dishes with pretty colors.

Corn Pudding in My Favorite Dish

Corn Pudding in My Favorite Dish

I try to use an oval, ceramic dish to bake my corn pudding – like the one pictured.  I find it much more appealing than preparing it in a clear glass pyrex container. It’s like night and day really.

Summer Savory Corn Pudding

Serves 10

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Ingredients
  • 5 large eggs
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 2 cups half and half
  • ⅓ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups fresh corn kernels (about 2 large ears)  or leftover grilled corn kernels
  • 1-15 oz can cream corn* (see “PPS” note at the bottom)
Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 and put the rack mid oven.  Spray an 9 x 12 baking dish.

Whisk the eggs in a large bowl to blend, stir in dry ingredients but DO NOT add THE CANNED AND FRESH CORN until the end.  Whisk to blend, adding both types of corn last.  Pour into the prepared pan and bake until the top is golden brown and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about 1 hour and 10 minutes.

PS: I have been known to make this in the winter months using frozen corn kernels, defrosted and drained on paper towels.  It is still a wonderful thing but not as tasty as when you make it from sweet corn just cut off the cob.

PPS:  It kind of grosses me out to be using creamed corn from a can!  I never, ever use canned vegetables and I’m including the creamed corn here as an option for you.  However, next time I am going to measure out 1 ½ additional cups of fresh corn, puree it slightly then add ½ cup of milk and 1 teaspoon of cornstarch to thicken it slightly.

 

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One Pan Seafood Fajitas

I feel like I was way ahead of today’s “one-pot meal” movement.  Since the beginning of time, I have made my version of one pot meals or sheet pan dinners and did so as part of “batch cooking.”  If only I’d capitalized on this huge trend…

Although this recipe is for fajitas, I usually serve this seafood fajita style one night, then repurpose the leftovers as a topping for brown rice or even a hearty cabbage/kale/romaine salad.  The spice mix also works for chicken if you want to make chicken tacos or fajitas later on! So double or triple the mix for later use! The fajita filling is so good but 1 ½ pounds of seafood is just too much for two (old) adults.  If you are cooking for a family, you could double the filling ingredients for planned leftovers.  Or invite friends and family and have a party!

FYI – this was one of the dinners I made for my grandkids in California while filling in for their parents in March.  The kids (16 months, 5 and 7) loved this and loved the leftovers too.

Sheet Pan Fajitas

Ingredients for Spice Mix-you can make more and have this on hand for furture use too.
  • 2 teaspoons ground chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Ingredients for Fajitas
  • 3 medium bell peppers, seeded and thinly sliced (I used green, yellow and red)
  • 1 medium red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh peeled and minced garlic-I do this by hand
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided 2 Tbsp and 1 Tbsp
  • 1-½  pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined OR 1 ½ lbs of raw firm fish – cut into 1-inch squares.  (I have used salmon, halibut or cod)
Ingredients for Serving
  • Juice from 1 lime (about 2 tablespoons)
  • Fresh chopped cilantro, for garnish
  • 4-6 large flour tortillas
  • Your favorite toppings (Choose what you love: sour cream, shredded spicy cheese, avocado, diced tomato, shredded cabbage, hot sauce, etc.)
Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly spray a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray or lightly brush with oil.  Even without parchment, it’s not hard to clean.

Prepare the seasoning by stirring the chili powder, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper in a small bowl until well combined.

In a large bowl, toss together the peppers, onions and garlic. Drizzle with two tablespoons of the olive oil and toss to coat evenly. Sprinkle with about half of the spice mixture and toss again to coat evenly.

Spread the seasoned vegetables evenly on the baking sheet and bake uncovered in the middle of the oven for 13 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the shrimp or cubed fish in the same large bowl in which you tossed the vegetables. Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over the fish or shrimp and toss to coat evenly. Sprinkle the remaining spice mixture over the seafood or shrimp and toss again to season.

After 13 minutes, remove vegetables from oven and evenly add pieces of seafood or shrimp to the roasted vegetables. Return to the oven.

Place tortillas (I dampen them a bit) wrapped in aluminum foil on the top rack of the oven. Bake an additional 7-8 minutes, or until shrimp or fish is cooked.

Before serving, drizzle the entire sheet pan contents evenly with lime juice and sprinkle with the desired amount of chopped cilantro.Scoop into heated tortillas with your favorite toppings.

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Daniel’s Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

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Reuben-Approved Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

As I type this, I wonder … does it seem boring to post a recipe for a common cookie like Oatmeal Raisin?  Perhaps. However, these are anything but boring for those who love this old “standard”.  Late this winter, when I was in California taking care of my three grandkids for a week, I cooked my brains out and wanted to leave food behind so everyone would miss me after I returned home.  My son Daniel always has loved these cookies that I often made for catered events; after all, they are a non-chocolate option (as you may recall, Daniel – unlike me – is not a huge chocolate fan. Go figure…).  

Levi & Yael give them the thumb’s up too

The original recipe started with Gayle’s Bakery near Santa Cruz, California where Sister Sue lives.  I adore Gayle’s — I love their bakery and every item on their menu. In fact, everything I have ever made that was inspired by what I’ve devoured at Gayle’s has been perfect.  From the original recipe I did cut the sugar down and find them still plenty sweet!

For this recipe, soaking the raisins and adding some cinnamon, then changing proportions a bit makes these the best recipe ever.  They remain chewy and soft, And for your information, I did leave about 30 dough balls in my son’s freezer, ready for when they have an urge for freshly baked cookies. Yes, they love me. And so I present:

Fresh out of the oven!

Daniel’s (Really, modified Gayles) Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Makes about around 35 large cookies or 60 smaller ones
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Ingredients
  • 1 C (2 sticks) salted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 C granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup + 2 Tbsp brown sugar, packed (I use dark brown sugar but light brown is fine too)
  • 2 whole large eggs
  • 1 egg  yolk
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 C unbleached white flour
  • ¼ tsp table salt
  • 3 ½ C raw old fashioned oatmeal
  • 1 ¼ C brown raisins (soaked in hot water for 10 minutes, then drained well)
Instructions

Preheat oven to 350. Line baking sheets with parchment.

Cream butter & sugars. Add eggs, one at a time; mix in vanilla

In a separate bowl combine cinnamon, flour, salt & baking soda.  Add to creamed mixture just until incorporated.

Add oats and raisins and mix until just combined

Refrigerate the dough in the same bowl for a ½ hour, then spray or oil a 1/4 cup ice cream scoop and scoop the dough into cookies balls, two inches apart.  Smash down the balls into disks about three inches in diameter for large cookies  If you prefer smaller cookies, use a 2 Tbsp scoop but still smash them flatter than balls.   Place the cookie sheet on the center rack for 12-14 minutes or until golden and still soft in the center. Cool on wire racks

Cook’s Notes:

You can substitute chocolate chips (regular or bittersweet)  in lieu of the raisins for oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.  I don’t do this but I’ve had them, and they are good.  

I have made these with tart dried cherries, adding some grated orange zest rather than using raisins.  This is my preferred combination since I am not a raisin lover, but my kids like the original raisin variety.

I also pre-scoop balls of dough, flash freeze them and then put the dough balls into a container in the freezer.  If you get the urge for a cookie at night, simply defrost the cookie dough ball for about a half hour, smash it down with the heel of your hand into a circle and bake in a preheated toaster oven (on a small sheet lined with parchment) for about 10-12 minutes.  For me, I prefer to “bake as I go” so I rarely bake a huge batch of cookies at one time. 

My California grandkids dipped the warm cookies in milk.  I am not a dipper but my kids and husband love to do this.  

Cookies or dough can be frozen for up to six months.

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Early Spring Nutty Citrus Miso Dressing

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Colorful, Healthful Salad – My Favorite!

I am obsessed with all the fresh kale and greens this spring, so every day for the past two weeks I’ve been playing around with different salad dressings and ingredients.

My favorite so far?  A hearty green salad filled with nutritious nuts, seeds, avocado, mango, etc., etc. — the ingredients and combinations are endless! One day I used previously served, shredded halibut and blood oranges instead of chicken and mango.  A few days ago, my daughter stopped by on her way home from work so I made her this salad for lunch, sans the mango since she does not care for chicken and fruit in a salad together.  The citrus dressing was OK for her too.  Incidentally, this combination is now one of my favorites.

I hope you try this soon — particularly while the little Manila mangos are still available.  They are so yummy we have been eating two mangos per day (for two adults, not bad).  And remember that this is a perfect salad to pack for work or on the go.

Nutty Citrus Miso Dressing (can be doubled or tripled)

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Dressing Ingredients
  • ¼ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • ¼ cup fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tbsp white miso paste
  • ½ inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 Tbsp peanut butter or almond butter
Dressing Instructions

Place all ingredients in a  blender or Nutri bullet and blend thoroughly.   Store in a sealed jar in the fridge.  I use about three tablespoons per serving so this amount will make 4-5 salads

Salad Ingredients (for each salad)
  • ½ large just-ripe avocado, peel and slice thin
  • Approximately 1 cup of cubed chicken breast (see note below on how I do this)
  • ½ mango, finely sliced -optional
  • 1 celery stalk, finely sliced
  • ¼ yellow or red pepper, finely sliced
  • Approximately 2 cups of fresh arugula or romaine or napa cabbage a combination of these greens.  I usually do a combo.
  • 2 Tbsp fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp toasted, coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1 Tbsp roasted unsalted  sunflower seeds
  • About 3 Tbsp of salad dressing
Salad Instructions

Layer all of the ingredients above in any way you wish: I always put the lettuce on the bottom of a jar or glass pyrex dish then add groupings of the ingredients.  Pour about 3 Tbsp of dressing into a small container alongside the salad.

When ready to eat, coat the salad with the dressing and mix well.  
Note: If I plan to add chicken to salads or pasta during the week, I take chicken breast halves on the bone with their skin  Blot off any moisture with paper towels, then place the chicken on a square of foil, season the skin liberally with salt, pepper and smoked paprika and seal the foil tightly.  Bake on a tray in the toaster oven (preheated to 425) for 40 minutes.  Cool, remove skin and bones and shred or cube.  I keep the bones in the freezer for chicken stock.    

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Late Winter Apple Muffins

Click here to view recipe.

Hearty Apple Muffins

Right before Passover, I spotted this muffin recipe on the King Arthur Flour website.  Since I love King Arthur flours, particularly the white whole wheat variety, I decided to try these breakfast apple muffins.

I cut the sugar way, way back and still find these pleasantly sweet for me and for the rest of my extended family too.  I added some grated lemon zest because, in my humble opinion (or IMHO as the kids say), lemon makes everything taste better. And I added crunchy turbinado sugar, just a bit, for the topping in lieu of more brown sugar for texture.

Right out of the oven!

Apple Whole Wheat Muffins

Yield: 12 nice sized muffins

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Ingredients
  • 1 cup (120 grams) white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup (130 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp lemon zest, grate on microplane
  • 1 stick of  salted butter, at room temperature
  • ⅓ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup (95 grams) dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup kefir or buttermilk (I used kefir since that is what I have in the fridge always)
  • 2 large apples (I used Pink Lady), peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped into pieces about ⅓ inch by ⅓ inch
  • 3 Tbsp turbinado sugar for the topping
Instructions

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Spray 12 muffin cups and set aside.

Mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, zest and cinnamon, and set aside. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and add the granulated sugar and the dark brown sugar. Beat until fluffy. Add the egg and mix well; stop once to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl. Mix in the kefir gently. Stir in the dry ingredients and fold in the apple chunks.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, they will reach the top of the cup or be slightly over.  Even out the thick batter with a knife that you spray with oil and sprinkle the three tablespoons of turbinado sugar on top.

Bake for ten minutes mid oven, turn the heat down to 400°F and bake for an additional five minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool the muffins for five minutes in the tin, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Transfer to a tightly covered container.  These stay fresh for at least five days at room temperature, if you can stop yourself from indulging.  I love these slightly warmed with whipped cream cheese.

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