Monday, April 23, 2012

Fannie's Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies


I have been going back and forth for about a week trying to figure out what to post next.  I have a spring soup that I really want to share but then I love me some fish tacos, and have gotten a recipe I use often, to the perfect place.  I don't think it needs any more tweaks and should be ready for you guys. BUT....buuuuut, then there are these cookies.  Oh, for the love of Pete, these cookies.

I had a mini epiphany when I realized I hadn't posted anything about baked goods yet... specifically sweet ones, muahaha.  Now, I am not going to lie, I enjoy cooking much more than baking because it's less science and more "a lil bit o' this, a lil bit o' that." There's plenty of room to play. However, I really enjoy eating baked goods, specifically sweet ones :)

Do you know Fannie Farmer?  OH, YOU DON'T???  You really need to meet her.  It's really all about first impressions so we'll introduce you to Fannie via her oatmeal, chocolate chip cookies.  YEAH, I said it, EVERYONE'S FAVORITE- Chocolate Chip Cookies!!!!! What?  Those aren't your favorite? Um... awkward moment. You should probably think about that long and hard.

Whenever there is an opportunity to sample an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie, I take it.  I really don't know how many versions of the cookie I have sampled but it may or may not be...a lot.  They are all pretty great, but I have never tasted one that made me say, "Uhhh, this is the best oatmeal chocolate chip cookie I have ever had.  I never want another version..." well, until I tasted Fannie's.

At a yard sale a few years ago, I saw a bunch of cookbooks hanging out to the side of all the odds and ends. Fannie was one of them.  The cover was ripped, it was dusty, some pages were yellow, it smelled like a cellar, it was $3...so I bought it.  My mom has another Fannie Farmer cookbook and it always has the greatest recipes, so I hoped this one would offer me the same kind of awesome.

I slowly started cooking my way through the pages (not ALL 527 pages yet, but I am determined) and everything was just as I had hoped- reliable, comforting, easy, and delicious.  Then I got to the cookie recipe, and after making one batch, her little red ribbon bookmark that came attached to the book found a permanent home on page 435.

I will probably be sharing quite a few of Fannie's recipes with you along the way, because she is just the greatest.

With a chocolate chip cookie, cooking time is probably the most important element.  I don't care what goes into the cookie, if you overcook it and it loses that chewy goodness, game over.  That's why I am going to be very specific with you guys on the size of dough dollops I put on the cookie sheet and how long they cook.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Spicy Smoked Mac & Cheese


This evening I decided it was time to get a little funky in the kitchen. Peter has been requesting mac & cheese for the past month, and although I enjoy classics, I just couldn’t do the normal mac & cheese tonight... I JUST COULDN'T! I needed to be weird with it. Not too weird, like using ice cream to make the b├ęchamel base or anything like that, but weird enough that I became scared when mixing the ingredients together and then did that happy food dance when I tasted the results. (You know that happy food dance? It's usually done by females. Sometimes you see it done in restaurants upon first bite, sometimes at your dinner table, or like me, in the kitchen with a wooden spoon in one hand. It's like a happy squirm... alas, I digress.)

Some of you will probably read the ingredients for tonight's mac & cheese and think, "What is so weird or scary about that??", but I was just having one of those timid nights, I guess.

Behold, my smoky and spicy goat and gouda mac & cheese with spinach (that’s quite a mouthful, and how appropriate! This dish is quite a mouthful, indeed!)

I warn you- these flavor combos are kind of addicting. You may find yourself wanting a bowl of this spicy, creamy, goodness at weird hours. My recommendation?  Just do it, shhhhhh... tiptoeing optional.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Steamed Artichokes with Lemon-Caper Aioli

Phew!  After that pizza post, I think it's time to sit back and let the oven do the cooking for us... just for a bit.

Those delicious Rosemary Roasted Beets got me thinking about how awesome side dishes can be so, I decided this would be a great time to chat a little about one of my FAVORITE sides- Steamed Artichokes!

Artichokes can be cooked and eaten many different ways, but sometimes the simplest things are the best things. So, why not start with the simplest artichoke preparation, and a dipping sauce to bring out their unique and delicious flavor?

Well, if it's your first time getting to know Artichoke, you may not be smiling when you look at her (yes, I've decided it's a she). Artichokes are intimidating-looking and have multiple layers, and when you think you've conquered the layers... there's a completely different thing goin' on inside! Wowzas!

Don't fret! I am here to help. There's nothing fancy about this method. It's pretty straightforward but very satisfying and, might I add, entertaining to eat! You can serve the artichokes as a side or even as an appetizer. I've dressed this recipe up with a lemony aioli, but you can serve artichokes with all types of flavors, like a vinaigrette, melted butter, or even plain.

Now, grab a knife, scissors and a steamer!  Onward!!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Beet Pizza with Arugula and Goat Cheese


Have you ever had this happen? You're at the store, you have a grocery list and then you pass something, say, in the produce section, and you're like, "Oooo, those look good. I'll just buy them because I'll use them sometime this week." And then you realize mid-week that they are still sitting in your crisper drawer and you already bought dinner for the next two nights. Well, it's okay if you say, "No, this has not happened to me. You're weird." But it did happen to me last week with beets, and I want to share the tale because a delicious new pizza came out of it. So don't call me weird just yet... unless you hate the pizza.


I was in Whole Foods and I walked by the beets and all of a sudden I wanted beets so I bought them, thinking, "Oooo, those look good. I'll just buy them because I'll use them sometime this week." Come Wednesday, I discovered the beets in the crisper but had my heart set on pizza that night. So, duhhh, I made a beet pizza.



Yes, I was pretty skeptical because I was literally throwing things I thought would be good in a beet salad onto a pizza crust and then cooking it, but I had a hunch that everything would be ok...

IT WAS DELISH!!!  So delish in fact that I kinda wanted to add it to my blog mid-dinner, but I held off.

I cried myself to sleep with happiness that night! ...Okay, that last part is not really true, but I did lie in bed thinking about the leftover slice sitting in the fridge, wondering if I should just eat it right then and there.  I held off and was rewarded with a great lunch the next day, so I guess everything worked out!









This isn’t the fastest pizza recipe in the world, but I think it is worth every minute.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Rosemary Roasted Beets

These beets burst with rosemary and always come out perfectly cooked.  They are simple to prepare but will dress up any side dish, even the fanciest.  They also make this pizza one that may find itself reappearing on your regular menu.