John’s Kitchen Sink Cookies

Kitchen catastrophe. My favorite cookie scoop BROKE – I know, we aren’t supposed to play favorites with our cookie scoops, but this one was my favorite! Perhaps from exhaustion due to over use. Perhaps a mutiny from the other scoops in the drawer. But somehow its poor little cogs slipped and it wasn’t pushing the dough out.

Do I buy a new one? Do I attempt to fix this one?

Attempt. Attempt is the key word. I knew what was wrong. I knew what needed to be done to fix it. I just couldn’t manage to get it to do what I wanted. I HATE WHEN THAT HAPPENS! Yes, perhaps a little unrealistic. But I want what I want when I want it and not being able to get the @&$*%# cogs to line up properly was making me NUTS (yes, more nuts than usual).

Enter a cowboy in a white hat. It was much like John Wayne riding in at the last moment to save the fair damsel in distress. ‘Don’t worry, sugar plum, I can fix your beloved cookie scoop for you. But it will cost you …” GULP! We’ll just gloss over the sugar plum part. I mean, he is willing to repair my scoop! For that he could call me twinkle toes! COST ME? This could be scary. Impinging on my virtue even (QUIET! SHHH!!! Say nothing! Giggles allowed!)

“Cookies, sugar plum, it will cost you cookies.” Ooooohhhhhh … can you tell I am not sure whether to be relieved or disappointed!

Cookies? I can do cookies.

Enter Everyday Food and the amazing John Barricelli AND an Every(thurs)day Food posting. Look at all the things accomplished with one stone! A fixed scoop, a new cookie recipe, and an Every(thurs)day Food event. Well, damn I’m a good sugar plum.

An aside, if you don’t have John Barricelli’s SoNo Baking Company Cookbook - get it!

  • 2 1/2 C all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
  • 1 t salt
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1 C (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 C packed light-brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 t light corn syrup
  • 1 T pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 C semisweet chocolate chunks
  • 1/2 C raisins
  • 1/2 C chopped pecans
  • 1/2 C old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
NOTE: Hate raisins. I really can’t even explain why. Yuck. I used dried cherries instead. Dried cranberries would work as well. Also, I used Lyle’s Golden Syrup instead of corn syrup. No sinister reason, it’s what I had! Oh, and I used dark brown sugar. Again, what I had.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda; set aside.

Using an electric mixer, beat together butter, sugar, corn syrup, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until well incorporated. Gradually beat flour mixture into butter mixture just until combined.

With a rubber spatula, fold in chocolate chunks, raisins, pecans, and oats.

Drop 2-inch balls of dough, spaced 2 inches apart, onto prepared baking sheets. Flatten dough balls slightly. Bake 12 to 16 minutes, or until cookies are lightly browned, rotating sheets halfway through.

Cool 5 minutes on sheets; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Liebster Award & Pasta with Cauliflower, Bacon and Sage

So here I am poking around my foodie friends’ blogs and what do I see? I was given a Liebster Blog Award by my fellow foodie friend Stella over at Lola & Finn’s Mum. Stella, I am truly touched and thank you from the bottom of my mixing bowl!

The rules are simple. Once you receive the award, you must follow five steps:

1. Thank the person who gave you the award.
2. Link back to their blog.
3. Copy and paste the Liebster award to your profile
4. Pick 5 blogs that you feel deserve to be in the spotlight (they must have 200 followers or under)
5. Blog about it and leave a comment for your nominations to let them know that you have chosen their blog.

So for my nominations:

1.  Greg from Rufus’ Food and Spirits Guide. Great photos and great recipes for food and drink.

2.  Nuts About Food. Lovely photos. Fabulous food. Wonderful stories about life and family and living in Italy.

3. JamieAnne over at A Dash of Domestic. Great cook-alongs and recipes. Love her family and all the tales about them woven into her postings.

4. Geni at Sweet and Crumby. Steal have made many of her recipes with great success. Love her photos and writing style.

5.  Mary at Barefeet in the Kitchen.  One of my family’s fav recipes is from here – untuffed peppers! Great photos and great food. WHat more does one need!

Ever flip through a cooking magazine and just fall in love with a recipe? This one made my heart flutter – pasta, bacon, cauliflower, BACON, quick, BACON, sage, bacon – oh, and I think there may have been bacon in there as well.

Everyday Food Magazine, you have done it again! This recipe is wonderful. May have even turned my cauliflower haters into cauliflower lovers. Well, truth be told, we live by a strict, I make it, you eat it or starve policy in my house. One CLAIMS to not like cauliflower, the other staunchly believes he doesn’t like cauliflower – they both INHALED this pasta!

  • coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 3/4 lb of a short pasta
  • 5 slices of bacon cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 3 T unsalted butter
  • 2 medium onions, diced small
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 medium head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 2 T fresh sage, chopped
  • 2 t red wine vinegar
NOTE: I used mezzi rigatoni. The magazine suggested gemelli (my fav, but we were out!). And without having to say so, I used more than 5 slices of bacon. How many more is none of your beeswax! Also, as we all so often do, I went to the store without my list! No sage! I used dried and it was fine.
Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water. Reserve 1/2 a cup of the pasta water and drain pasta and return to pot.

NOTE:I cooked the whole pound of pasta.

IN a large skillet, cook bacon over medium until the fat is rendered and bacon is crisp. ABout 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer bacon to paper towels to drain. Add the butter, onions and garlic to the skillet and cook until onions are softened. About 10 minutes.

NOTE: Yes, my onions are a LITTLE dark. But not quite cinders. Watch the onions!

Add cauliflower, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until cauliflower is tender. About 12 minutes.

NOTE: You can substitute frozen cauliflower florets here. Just reduce the cooking time.

Stir in bacon and sage and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.

Stir in vinegar and enough pasta water to create a thin sauce. Season with salt and pepper.

Quick, easy, bacony, delicious. Even the ‘we don’t like cauliflower’ boys loved it! I might roast the cauliflower next time and then add it to the rest … hmmm, just a thought!

Slow Cooker Beef Ragu

I know you all have heard me say this before, but I love my slow cooker. I am still terrified of it, am still convinced that every siren screaming past my office window is headed for my house, but still am totally enamored by it.

By the way, I live 5 miles from my office, across a river, around a bay, and unless my entire neighborhood was aflame, there would be no possible way fire engines from a fire house near my office would be going to MY house!

But I digress – as I often do.

There really is nothing more comforting than coming home to dinner almost ready and the house filled with comforting aromas – just like every one else does every day in my house! I can see why they keep coming back! If I came home to that every day, I would never leave home either!

Winter into Spring in New York City is a very strange thing. One day it’s freezing, the next it’s hot, and some days manage to pack both into them. I wanted to squeeze this recipe in before it was too hot for this type of meal. The reality is, this is a good all year round recipe. This would be great for sandwiches.

The recipe in Everyday Food suggests serving this over pasta or polenta (which would be FAB-ulous), but I have mashed potato heads in my house, and I couldn’t imagine getting by serving this any other way. Wait, maybe over biscuits or with biscuits!

Okay, I lied! But still try this your tummies will thank you!

  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced small
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 T tomato paste
  • 3 T chopped fresh oregano leaves (or 3 t dried)
  • 4 lb beef chuck, halved
  • coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 2 C water
  • 1 to 2 T red wine vinegar

NOTE: Cut as much fat away from the beef chuck as possible.  I used dried oregano.

In a 5 to 6 quart slow cooker, stir together onion, garlic, tomato paste and oregano. Season roast with salt and pepper.

Place roast on top of onion mixture, add water. Cover and cook on high until meat is tender and can easily be pulled apart with a fork – about 4 1/2 hours on high or 9 hours on low.

Let cool for 10 minutes, then shred meat in slow cooker with 2 forks. Stir in vinegar to taste. Serves 6 and freezes beautifully.

NOTE: I used two tablespoons of vinegar. I liked the vinegary kick it gave the beef.

NOTE: One of my favorite parts about this slow cooker recipe is not having to actually saute or brown or cook anything before starting. for me, there’s nothing worse than standing bleary eyed in the morning, cooking things before I head off for work. I want to throw it all in and have magic happen while I am at work counting how many times my house burned down!



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