Friday, March 13, 2009

no cooking today, but i did lug out my cooking magazines (since most of my cookbooks are in storage) to start creating a set of menus. for right now, until we move, i'm not going to try to do any hardcore dieting, for reasons that are unimportant. however... i will be eating very diet friendly, healthy meals. but the sonoma thing has to wait a little while.

the best resource i've found for healthy, tasty meals, has been tasteofhome's healthy cooking magazine. all the nutritional info is in there, there's pictures for pretty much every dish, and while the recipes are fun, none are impossible to source ingredients for. something important when living in the mountains of north georgia.

so tonight, i wrote down every dish that interested me, and then made lists of breakfast, lunch, dinner, and drinks and dessert items. tomorrow, while waiting for the hubs at the dentist, i'll start creating menus. pairing items according to taste, and calorie count. so tomorrow, i should have some linkage for the upcoming week's menu, starting with sunday. i might try to do this more often, as i enjoy using the computer as a brainstorming device. for some reason, it makes more sense when i see it on screen.

also! in this sunday's paper there were coupons for garnier fructis shampoo/styling aids. if you watched walgreen's ad, garnier shampoo, conditioner and styling products are all 99 cents. anyone want some free shampoo? because walgreens wants to give it to you.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

peanut butter amazingness

post soundtrack - jon foreman - instead of a show
the last lonely cookie

okay. at long last. THE peanut butter cookie. seriously. i don't think i've had any quite this good. ever. you can do them the traditional way, with a small spoon of dough, pressed down with a fork, or you can do what i did. drop huge chunks of dough on the baking sheet, and don't squish it. the recipe called for chocolate chips. which i didn't have. so leave them in or out. they're gonna be awesome either way.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies - makes like 18. or so. depending on size.

1/2C (1 stick) softened butter
1/2C peanut butter (chunky or smooth)
1/2C sugar
1/2C packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 1/4 C unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1C chocolate chips (optional)
granulated sugar to sprinkle on top (also optional)

preheat oven to 375°F. cream butter, peanut butter and sugars until light. add egg, and mix until fluffy.

blend the flour, baking powder, soda, salt together well. add dry ingredients to butter mix. mix well.

drop by tablespoonfuls onto baking sheet. don't squish 'em.

bake for 12-15 minutes, until nice and golden. the middles will still be chewy, and the outside edges crisp. if you make smaller, pressed down cookies, bake for less time. 10-12 minutes or so.

eat with a big cup of milk. mmmmm.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

edinburgh tea squares

post soundtrack - feist - sea lion woman

okay, so the tea squares? really really killer. i had some frozen dates from when they were in stores here as fresh dates. so i modified the date layer a bit. a little less water, and a potato masher to get it smooth. they were oaty - hence the edinburgh reference, but the dates with the brown sugar was lovely. chewy, crunchy, and all together awesome. i ended up having extra dough/topping, and not enough filling. so next time i'm doubling the dates. however, i really love dates, so i'm a little biased. sorry for the not so pretty pic, but i didn't want to waste eating time with picture taking.

Edinburgh Tea Squares -

Dough -

1/2C - 1 stick softened butter or margarine
1C packed brown sugar
1/2C oatmeal - i used the regular kind, not quick cooking
1/2tsp salt (i initially typed sake. hahaha.... this isn't THAT kind of recipe)
1C unbleached all purpose flour

Filling -

1C fresh dates
1/4C water
a pinch of salt
1T lemon juice
zest from one lemon (which i didn't have, so i left it out)

preheat oven to 350°F.

cream butter until light. add brown sugar and continue beating (either a stand mixer, or a hand held will work) until fluffy. mix in oatmeal, salt and flour. pat 1/2 of this mixture evenly into a lightly greased (i used cooking spray) 9 inch pan.

cook dates in the water until soft, add lemon juice salt and rind (if you use it). i mushed them with a potato masher, but a food processor would work too. less cleanup is better though.

spread filling over dough, and sprinkle with remaning dough.

bake for 30-40 minutes, cool and cut into squares. try not to eat them all too quickly.

digestive recipe

post soundtrack - Feist - I feel it all

so let's get down to business, shall we? i've not been cooking a whole lot since giving up on artisan bread making. i even tried the pretzel recipe, but it was gross. seriously. i don't know what my deal is, but i cannot cook out of that cookbook.

i can however cook out of this one. the king arthur flour 200th anniversary cookbook was a thrift store find of mine, and so far has been worth the 50 cents i bought it for.

this week, i've made digestives **which were good, but not as good as McVities,** and edinburgh tea squares. and cheese crackers. oh yeah. and really really good peanut butter cookies. so, some recipes are in order. these are adapted from the originals, and i've posted my version.

Digestives -

1/2C unbleached all purpose flour
1 1/2C whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2C (1 stick) room temp. butter
3/4C confectioners sugar
1/4C cold milk

place the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl, and cut in butter using pastry blender, 2 knives or fingertips. i used fingertips. add sugar and enough milk to make a stiff dough. (don't be like me, and add the sugar with the flour. the dough gets really stiff). knead mixture until smooth on a sugared or floured surface.

chill for an hour. or so. whatever you have time for.

preheat oven to 350°F. roll out dough til it's about 1/6 inch thick. eyeball it. don't bust out a ruler for these bad boys. use a slightly floured (or confectioners sugared) rolling pin, because this dough liked to pull up on me. cut yer biscuits, don't forget to prick with a fork (i totally forgot this step.) and bake between 15-20 minutes. (unti pale golden)

i used one of zoƫ's cups as a cookie cutter, since mine are all in storage.

verdict: these seemed like a whole wheat shortbread... with less butter. it was super good with tea, not so much with coffee. i don't know if i'll make this particular recipe again, but all 2 dozen or so cookies got eaten.