Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie

Baked

We’ve had snow. We’ve had rain. We’ve actually had SLUSH fall out of the sky. Windy … well, all I could think upon opening one eye one morning was ‘Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore!’ Ice everywhere. So much ice our friends won’t all drive down our driveway, and I find myself praying as I drive up the driveway, please make it, please make it, so that I don’t suffer the INDIGNITY of being watched as I don’t quite make it to the top of the hill!

Welcome to Maine! Seems to be the mantra here of fellow sufferers, or perhaps it’s a condolence from another who has not managed to escape.

As we stand outside, the Dear One keeps looking at me, mostly smiling, an occasional grimace as a blast of arctic wind finds a tiny speck of skin not covered, and asks, ‘You will be here when I get back, right?’  Ask me again when I’m not shivering in my boots … well, truthfully, the answer will be the same, yes, I’ll be here when you get back, and if I can manage the driveway, I’ll even pick you up at the airport.

(As an aside … I have spent two weeks either in slippers or my Bean boots. I have had a line from a movie constantly floating around in my head. Remember the Goldie Hawn movie Private Benjamin? The scene where she’s marching around in a circle out in the pouring rain wailing  “I WANNA WEAR MY SANDALS! I WANNA GO OUT TO LUNCH!” All I keep thinking is … I want to wear shoes! I want to wear a cute pair of heels!)

But when it’s too frigid to go outside. Well, too frigid for me to go outside, I get bored. We’ve watched all of Sherlock, The Tudors, House of Cards, Jon Stewart, every decent movie on Hulu, Netflix and Crackle. Bookshelves have been built. Every single bit of laundry done. It’s 9:00 am … NOW WHAT!?

When cabin fever sets in I only have a few things on my mind … cooking and eating (oh, what did you think I was going to say!!). If I cook or bake, I don’t want to eat. So better to cook than graze. But what to make?

Baking is more time consuming than cooking. You have to pay attention to every ingredient and it takes time. Cookies are always good. The Dear One LOVES chocolate chip cookies, and he did build a bookshelf in the kitchen for all most of my cookbooks. SO chocolate chip cookies it is! This recipe has been calling to me for quite some time, what better time to try it!?

  • 6 T unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 C packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1/2 C granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 t pure vanilla extract
  • 1 C all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t coarse salt
  • 1 C semisweet chocolate chips

NOTE: Room temperature is really subjective. Room temperature, in Maine, is not the same as it was in NYC. A little zap in the microwave did the trick.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Creaming

In a large bowl, combine butter and sugars with a wooden spoon.

NOTE: The allure of this recipe, besides one ginormous chocolate chip cookie, was not using baking sheets AND the Kitchen Aid AND making a huge pile of bowls and pans, etc., BUT, that being said, creaming sugar and butter together by hand is for the birds!

Stir in egg and vanilla. Stir in flour, baking soda, and salt.

Adding chips

Stir in chips.

Transfer to a 10-inch cast-iron skillet; smooth top.

Ready to Bake

NOTE: A glob. A glob, I tell you. It’s the same as cookie dough that you would scoop for individual cookies. Getting it into all ends of the pan is tough. And smoothing it? HA! I tried flouring my fingers, no. I wet my fingers with cold water and that let me push the dough around to get the job done. But ICK!

Bake until cookie is golden brown and just set in the center, 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes.

I cut this into wedges to serve.

Steamed Clams & Tomatoes

STeamed Clams & Tomatoes

I have been in the car for a lifetime. Okay, not quite a litetime, perhaps it was just a month. Okay, fine, not a month. SIGH! It had to be a week. Really. Those 6 1/2 hours in the car battling Friday traffic to the Cape seemed to have lasted at least a week!

I am TIRED!

My tushy is SORE!

I am CRANKY!

I am STARVING! Yes, I know, when am I ever NOT starving.

A quick stop at the supermarket and then I can stretch (unpack the car), have a glass of wine (put the groceries away), and do what helps me unwind best (we’re hungry, what is there to eat) … COOK!

But it’s late and the sun is setting. I really want to sit with my love and watch the sun set over the bay and don’t necessarily want to be tied to the stove (an electric one to boot … oh, the horror), so whatever it is it has to be quick … but it still has to be GOOD!

Oh, Everyday Food, you have saved me yet again. While I miss the printed magazine terribly – oh, please bring it back – the online version will suffice (a little) and brought me this fabulous, quick and easy recipe.

To make this a little more substantial, I put it over linguine. But for a really light supper, just bread and a salad would do the trick!

  • 2 T olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 t hot pepper flakes
  • 3/4 t dried oregano or 2 teaspoons fresh
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved (2 cups)
  • 4 pounds clams, scrubbed and rinsed
  • small handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

NOTE: I used Little Neck clams.

Ingredients

In a large pot heat oil over medium-high, add garlic, hot pepper flakes, and oregano. Cook until fragrant, 1 minute.

Add tomatoes

Add tomatoes, increase heat to high, and cook until the tomatoes burst, about 4 minutes.

NOTE: They don’t really burst, they’re already cut in half. But the skins start to pucker and the tomato halves start to break down a little.

Add clams

Add clams and 3/4 cup water, cover, and cook until clams open, stirring once, 8 to 10 minutes. Discard any unopened clams.

Drizzle with oil and sprinkle chopped parsley on top to serve.

NOTE: I sliced some Italian bread, brushed it with olive oil, a sprinkle of salt, and put them into the oven as I dumped the clams into the pot. Perfect to sop up all the delicious liquid in the bowl.

Baked Cod with Beurre Blanc Sauce

I have been wanting to make a beurre blanc sauce since watching Meryl Streep drool over the sauce while portraying Julia Child in Julie & Julia.  I am an easily intimidated cook. Just the thought of making a beurre blanc had me quaking in my Wellies.

A little encouragement from a friend and I decided to give this a whirl. After all, my set of Mastering the Art of French Cooking has been sitting on my shelf, beckoning to me. I usually avert my eyes and run quickly by them. But really, for how long can one be frightened of sauce? So into the deep we go …

For the fish:

  • 6 6-oz cod fillets
  • 1 T lemon juice (the juice of about ½ lemon)
  • 2 oz unsalted butter (½ stick), melted
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Ground white pepper, to taste

For the Beurre Blanc

  • 1/4 C white-wine vinegar
  • 1/4 C dry white wine or dry white vermouth
  • 1 T finely minced shallots or scallions
  • Salt and freshly ground white pepper
  • 8 ozs [2 sticks] best-quality unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 16

For the Fish:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Arrange cod fillets, skin-down, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

With a pastry brush or even a paper towel, brush the fish with lemon juice and then melted butter.

Season with Kosher salt and with a pinch of white pepper.

Bake until the fish is opaque and just beginning to flake, 10-15 minutes or so, brushing once with more melted butter about halfway through the cooking.

Serve topped with hot beurre blanc sauce.

NOTE: That’s the easy part!

For the Beurre Blanc:

In a 1 1/2 quart saucepan combine vinegar, wine, shallots, salt and white pepper and bring to a simmer.

Gently simmer liquid until reduced to 1 1/2 tablespoons. Remove from heat and immediately swirl or whisk in 2 pieces of chilled butter. As the butter is incorporated into the liquid add another piece and continue to swirl or whisk. Return pan to low heat and while constantly swirling or whisking add successive pieces of butter. When all of the butter has been added remove from heat. Sauce will be thick and creamy. Adjust seasoning to taste. Serve immediately.

NOTE: My sauce BROKE! Broke I tell you! THere it was … beautiful, luscious, creamy, thick. And then, in the few seconds it took me to reach into the oven and grab the fish, the sauce BROKE! Timing with this dish is EVERYTHING! Or, don’t cook alone and have someone in the kitchen at the critical moment to pull the fish out of the oven! I was able to salvage it by putting a bowl in the freezer for a few  minutes and then transferring a few spoonfuls of the sauce into the cold bowl and gradually whisking in the rest of the sauce by the spoonful. It still wasn’t as luscious and creamy as it appeared to be getting before the DISASTER, but it was still DAMN good!