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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.

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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.

Roasted Chicken with Tangerines and Olives

Done

Now, you all know I am a huge fan of EveryDay Food Magazine. Really, Martha, what were you thinking by getting rid of our beloved little digest!?

And there has never really been a recipe I tried from EveryDay Food that I haven’t liked … until now. I think it’s just a matter of taste as I am sure many have tried this and loved it, but the brininess of the olives and the sweetness of the tangerines … well, YUCK. It just didn’t work for me. That and someone around here does not like olives. That should have been my first clue.

It may work for you.

  • 1 whole organic chicken, cut into pieces
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 tangerines, unpeeled, quartered
  • 2 T tangerine juice
  • 2/3 C pitted green olives 4 oz
  • 4 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 T honey

Ingredients

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Ready for oven

Arrange chicken pieces on a rimmed baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Add tangerines and olives and garlic to pan. Roast 30 minutes.

NOTE: I used only thighs.

Whisk together juice and honey. Remove pan from oven and brush chicken with juice mixture. Return to oven for another 10-15 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.

NOTE: If I make this again, I’ll skip the olives and perhaps add in fennel, or something that better compliments the tangerines.

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!

 

Chicken with Ginger, Peaches and Onions ~ My first Guest Blog!

Today I have a special post! I am guest posting at my friend Brandie’s blog , The Country Cook. I met Brandie through our mutual friend Liz from That Skinny Chick Can Bake. My very first EVER guest post!

Her recipes are terrific. She’s very witty and funny – and yes, there is a difference – and always ready to jump in and help a fellow blogger. She helped get my FB page passed around by always giving a shout-out or a happy Friday. If you haven’t read her blog, head over there! If you’re on FB, like her page!  

You can find the recipe for this great dish here  – easy in the summer and a bit of summer in the winter! Head over to Brandie’s and take a look!

Chicken with Ginger, Peaches & Onions