Dueling cookies

It is cookie season as if anyone needs to be told that. My sister and I took cookies over to the people who work in the assisted living unit where my mom spent her last years. I made chocolate chip cookies and my sister made sugar cookies. She did not use my sugar cookie recipe but the America’s Test Kitchen’s recipe for what they say are the best sugar cookies. And they were really good. OK, gauntlet thrown.

I found the recipe on line. Not not the ATK site since you cannot access that without paying for an ONLINE subscription even though I have had a subscription to their printed magazine for decades, but that’s another matter (that if I think about it will throw me off kilter for the day. I’m not going to dwell on it, as my mother would say).

This recipe has no eggs in it which is a plus for people who, hm, I dunno, it’s not vegan because there’s a lot of butter and cream cheese in it. Anyway, it’s a pain to roll out since it has to be done between layers of parchment but I am engaged in serious business and following the recipe exactly, so fine. The dough, though, was lovely and in the end the cookies were really good. As I already knew they would be.

Next step: My cookies.

Food or landscape?

My sage plant is gorgeous. It stays green (ish—it really isn’t all that green anyway) all winter and I use it a lot in cooking (an added plus is that rabbits and squirrels don’t eat it). Currently I am making Tuscan bean soup (a lot of sage, garlic and giant white beans) and am anxiously awaiting the first steaming bowl of it. I went out to clip off a few branches and was shocked to see it. From the front it’s a glorious bush, from the back, not so much.

It’ll be gone by the new year but it’ll be back in the spring for more abuse.

If it wasn’t perfect enough

I made a birthday dinner for someone who has the good sense to tell me in no uncertain terms, and frequently, which food I make is her favorite so when her birthday rolls around I know what exactly to make her. Rather than annoying me, it takes the burden of having to decide what to make off my shoulders.

And if chicken pot pie wasn’t enough, I made the most exquisite herbed rolls for the 3rd time since Thanksgiving. They are so fine-o-mite. With Irish butter. I’d have made my own butter but that would have taken the dinner into the realm of ridiculous.

Egg wash

When I make pies, or empanadas, or any crust covered baked thing I like to put an egg wash on it for extra lustrousness. The egg wash is a mixture of egg and cream, in these cases anyway, when I am done I’ve used about a teaspoon of it and I hate to waste it so I decided to microwave it rather than dirty a frying pan. Here are the results of 2 different outings. I am not sure what I did differently, probably just a matter of timing.

The first one was totally luscious. The second was like egg jerky. I ate it but I’ll eat nearly anything that isn’t anchovies or smoked salmon.

Of course there were hitches

I ordered a fresh turkey from Whole Foods. To me “fresh” means not frozen. I picked it up on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Frozen solid. Naturally, I was totally calm, once I stopped screaming.

It was fine, I defrosted it in the bathtub with running water. So much fun.

The best thing

Thanksgiving meal was good. Everything went off without a hitch. OK, there were hitches, like this happened when I was trying to make the dough for the rolls.

OK, sure I lost my paddle, (used approximately 4 times) and had to hand knead. Not the end of the world. But these herbed rolls. OMG, so freaking good. Sally, who apparently has a baking addiction, gave me the recipe which you can find here. I took the long way ’round and did a 24 hour rise. I got nothing but time. I baked them the day before and right before dinner I brushed them with butter and flaky salt, and did a quick 15 mins in a hot oven to brown the top. Fabulous.

It’s insane but I just gotta

It’s not just about flavor, but it is about flavor too, it’s about canned, prepared food with preservatives and whatnot. I try not to use too much in the way of already prepared food (don’t worry, I eat my damn fair share of it) but the classic green bean casserole is super easy (not) to recreate without the use of preservatives and cans of already prepared things.

Not that I would’t happily eat the classic: Canned green beans, Campbell’s condensed sodium bomb and the even-saltier French’s french fried onions. In a heart beat. But my version will taste way better.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Piña emcoladas

Food group was going to meet and I’d signed on for dessert duty. The theme was Mexican, Enrique Olivera, specifically, but that got changed to just Mexican in general which worked for me since I did not want to buy his cookbook and most of his recipes are not to be found online and the only dessert recipe from him that I could find required burning corn husks and using the ashes. For dessert. I did read that he made pineapple empanadas, although there was no recipe, I can make them without one, obviously not one of his empanadas which I am sure was deeply weird.

At the last minute the dinner was cancelled and I was stuck with the pineapple since I’d planned to make the pineapple turnovers, or more Mexicali, empanadas, with piña colada ice cream. I had the dough and the pineapple so I just made the damn things. That pineapple filling was sooooo good. Brown sugar, vanilla, spiced rum, butter. I covered some of them with coconut. I could not have them in the house. I’d have eaten them all and in a very short time span, say 20 minutes. I took them to my niece and nephew’s house. They weren’t home, I just left them on the counter. They can deal with them.

Housekeeping cooking

To open up shelf (or drawer or whatever) space in my kitchen I’ve been making a vague attempt to use the stuff in my cupboards rather than rush out and buy new mealtime things to eat like Cheetos or Twizzlers. Among other things, I have several bags of oatmeal since I tend to not look, or maybe not look in the right place, before I go out to get ingredients for things, in this case it was cookies, I imagine.

So oatmeal. I like oatmeal well enough, rib sticking and all that razzmatazz. I upped the ante with raisins and a couple three TBs of tahini. (I’ve got a whole panoply of nut butters in my arsenal de cuisine, so in that went). I have to say it was super delicious and really changed the essence of the thing. Two thumbs up. I wish those nut butters weren’t so hard to clean off of surfaces though.