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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?”

Thanks for coming…

I am super grateful for all the folks who continue to stop by here even though I have failed to post regularly!  

Now that spring seems to have finally sprung, I’m feeling a little more inspired to come out from under my winter rock and get back into the groove. 

So thanks for continuing to check in…I’ll be seeing you more soon!

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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.

Check out NH Maple Weekend!

 

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…

I’m not sure what’s going on this winter with the old blog here.  I have limited motivation for posting, but we really are eating very well from our freezer and pantry.  It’s this time of year that I really feel good about all that work I did over the summer and fall to can and freeze.  Even though it’s March and lots of people are talking about Spring, we’re still months away from fresh, locally grown foods. 

Lest you think we’ve been slacking, here are a few meals we’ve enjoyed, mostly from local ingredients.

I’ve discovered Vermont Smoke and Cure Pepperoni.  What better to do than try it on a pizza?
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I prefer a crust that’s crispier more than deep-dish, but this was yummy, nevertheless.

 Local: pepperoni, frozen tomato sauce, Cabot cheese.  Not-so-local: crust ingredients, mushrooms.

Then, there was this little beauty:
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A sirloin from Rock Farm, cooked rare and served with super-tender parsleyed potatoes I picked up at the Seacoast Eat Local farmer’s market on Saturday.

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The meat looks super-rare in the photo.  It wasn’t quite as bloody as it looks!  Along with this meal we enjoyed a salad with FRESH GREENS! from the farmer’s market.  Heaven.

Local: sirloin, potatoes, Cabot butter, greens.  Not-so-local: parsley, cucumber, carrot, salt and pepper.

The FRESH GREENS! have shown up in meals all week.
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Tonight, it was alongside some mini-frittatas.

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Quite yummy!

Local: eggs, milk, FRESH GREENS!, bread.  Not-so-local: salami, parmesean, cucumbers, carrots, cranberries, S&P.

The farmer’s market was great.  In addition to the FRESH GREENS! I scored some chorizo and a ten pound bag of fresh Atlantic shrimpies, now stashed in the freezer.  I’m wondering if most people cook these and then pop the heads and shells off, or peeel ’em before cooking?  Ali?  What’s your advice?

Finally, we’ve been eating home-made desserts, too.  I made a batch of vanilla ice cream that we ate with this heavenly thing, and now we’re enjoying it with apple/peach crisp made from fruit I froze this summer.  

All’s well!

While I endeavored to find lots of local spring foods in Southern California, I didn’t get to a farmer’s market at all.  I did check out a few great Latin supermarkets and stocked up on cool spice blends.  And, we passed by this sign

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and stopped for some fresh berries grown just feet from the stand.  They were mahvelous!

Our travels took us to Palm Springs, past the giant windfarm on I-10.

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We drove northwest to Joshua Tree National Park.  

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The weather was fabulous, not too hot, and a little bit breezy.
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One day we drove to the coast and hung out in Carlsbad.

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These folks were having a fabulous time.

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We also ignored the State Department’s warning about Americans traveling to Mexcio, and spent a day in Tijuana.  

 

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We enjoyed some of the local cuisine.

 

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Having lived in southern Arizona for several years, we’re familiar with border towns and the haggling and shopping.  I have to say, due partly, I’m sure to the California economy, and largely due to the warning, the place was dead.  I really felt for the vendors who had only about fifteen Americans to choose from that day.  Tijuana, contrary to popular opinion and my expectations, was quite clean, pleasant and friendly.  

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I hope they can survive the current climate.

We’re back to the snow and ice, hoping that March turns quickly into a lamb.

Dark Days: Ham & Beans

Returning from the warm, sunny West Coast to another 8 inch snowstorm was not pleasant.  

Having a snow day to simmer ham and beans on the stove, was quite pleasant!  Although, I do realize that some of you are now able to get things like strawberries and asparagus and green stuff, oh my!  

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Although pleasant to eat, this is not a very photogenic meal!

  • From here: Rock Farm Ham, homemade chicken stock, pinto beans (Maine), Rock Farm bacon fat
  • From away: organic onion, organic brown rice, salt & pepper, spices

Warm and yummy on a snowy day.