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This year, Farm to Philly will kindly host One Local summer again.  

If you’re not familiar with OLS, the rules are simple:  cook up one meal each week during the challenge (June 1st through August 30th) using locally grown ingredients (exceptions: oil, salt and pepper, and spices).  Post about your meal on your blog, or email it to your regional coordinator – a round up will take place each Tuesday at Farm to Philly.

Participation is a great way to motivate yourself to find local ingredients, seek out unique regional ingredients, and post regularly to a blog!

Click here to sign up by May 30th.

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Thanks, hon!

I drink Pepsi about two times per year.  I have a sudden craving for cola, and I usually buy a 16oz bottle and make it last a couple of days.  So, when that craving hit on Saturday and my husband went out to run some errands, I asked him to grab me a bottle.  

He brought this back:

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Pepsi made with cane sugar!  

Then, on his drive home today, he heard a story on NPR about these “throwback” drinks.  Check it out here if you’re interested.

I can’t imagine this makes my biannual Pepsi any better for me, but maybe a fraction more “whole?”

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What is it about a chocolate chip cookie that drives us to try recipe after recipe, forever pursuing chocolate chip perfection?

Whatever it is, the May/June (yes, that’s right, May/June) issue of Cooks’ Illustrated includes a tweaked version of the classic Toll House Cookie recipe that immediately caught my eye in my search for Shangri-La.

I shoudl say that I did not jump on the NYT Chocolate Chip Cookie bandwagon last year, and I haven’t even attempted that recipe, which has made the rounds of nearly every food blogger in the blogiverse.  I haven’t found myself anywhere that I could pick up chocolate feves, I don’t always have cake flour, and I usually want cookies NOW, not tomorrow, after resting the dough.  That may very well be the cookie I’ve been searching for.  I’ll just have to go there one day.

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The CI version was appealing for it’s familiar ingredients (flour, baking powder, butter, granulated sugar, dark brown sugar, vanilla, egg, chocolate chips) mixed with just enough kitchen dorkiness to make it something of an adventure.  

The real twist in this recipe is that most of the butter is melted and browned before being whisked with the sugars, egg and vanilla.  The other different technique is to let that mixture sit for a few minutes between three rounds of whisking.  

Sunday dawned rainy and dreary around here (Don’t get me wrong, rain=snow melt!) so I made a batch of the cookies.

Were they perfect?  I’m not sure.  They were, however, pretty darn good!  The browned butter definitely lends a toffee flavor that is more pronounced than in the everyday recipe.  The texture is crispy, chewy and moist, but I’m not sure it’s any better than a good traditional cookie. 

I’d definitely make these again, perhaps doubling the recipe.  The original recipe calls for cookies made of 3/4 cup of dough, yielding only 16 cookies.  CI likes the bigger cookie to allow for even more contrast in texture between the crispy outside and chewy inside.  I, however, wanted more than 16 cookies, so I made mine smaller and ended up with 28.  Those will definitely be gone by Wednesday!

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A couple of other folks have already tried the recipe and have their own spin on it, and FamilyFriendsandFood got permission to include a copy of the recipe, if you’d like to check out her thoughts.   

So, perfect?  I think maybe my perfect cookie would be warm, homemade and baked by someone else in my kitchen, which they clean up after serving me cookies and milk.  But maybe that’s just me.

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Tapping at home!

Tapping at home!

Last year around this time, I did a post about how pothole season means maple syrup season around these parts.  You can check that out if you’d like more information about the nuts-and-bolts of maple sugaring (in NH, sugar is a verb!).  

Meanwhile, though, if you live in or around NH, I’d encourage you to check out your local sugar house this weekend during NH’s Maple Producer open houses.

Mmmmmmm…

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My egg store.  Sandwich, NH.

My egg store. Sandwich, NH.

Fresh eggs.  Self-serve (write your name in the log and deposit cash in the box).

Make your own change.  

Open 24-hours.

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Last week’s pot roast was a slow-cooked, braised meal.  This week’s meal is, too, I’m afraid.  This weather (bitter cold, windy) really lends itself to this type of cooking, though, and it’s the perfect time of year to use up those big, frozen cuts of meat that require an afternoon in the oven. 

This week: oxtails.

Oxtails aren’t really ox tails anymore.  They’re the tails of beef animals.  This was my first time cooking them, and I just sort of winged the recipe, figuring the technique for other tough cuts would work just fine.

I crisped a couple of pieces of bacon in my dutch oven, then removed the pieces.  I took out all but about a tablespoon of the fat and browned up the pieces of meat, removed those, then softened onions in a little more of the drippings.  Once those were soft, I threw in a few cloves of garlic and a tablespoon of tomato paste.  After stirring for about a minute, in went a couple cups of beef broth, a half cup of red wine, some thyme and a couple of bay leaves.  The meat and any accumulated juices went back in, I brought the whole thing up to a simmer and plopped it in the oven (covered) for about four hours, flipping the meat pieces once.

Oxtails are quite fatty, and even after trimming the big chunks off before cooking, I anticipated a pretty rich dish, so I refrigerated the whole pot overnight.  Before reheating in a 200 degree oven for about a half an hour, it was easy to remove the cap of fat from the broth.

I served the tail pieces with buttered, homemade noodles, leftover from Italian night. The noodles obviously got smushed before freezing, so some of them were more dumpling pieces than noodles.  They tasted good anyway!

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  • From NH: Bacon, oxtails, onions, garlic, beef broth, noodles
  • From NE: Butter
  • From Away: Tomato paste, salt, pepper, spices, wine

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Hope to see you out and about, and that the weather cooperates for everyone!

South Tamworth, NH 10-2 p.m. @ Union Hall, Local meat, dairy, breads, pies, jams, vegetables, natural cosmetics, honey, frozen berries and fruits and more! 

Winter/Holiday Market sponsored by SeacoastEatLocal.  Lots of vendors here…think stocking up and last-minute gifts!  Click the link for a list of vendors and directions to Macintosh Culinary Academy.

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