Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is another cookie that I just sort of threw together. And I did it for you, gentle readers: I was hankering for peanut butter chocolate chip cookies, but I wanted something new for the blog. I had a full container of oatmeal in the refrigerator and thought to myself: self, why not make a new, healthier cookie that contains the aforementioned craved ingredients with an added healthful bonus?

These really are delightful. Because of the oatmeal and peanut butter, they’re also relatively un-guilty as cookies go – I’m of the school that believes there’s nothing to be feared from butter and sugar in moderation, and if you add healthy fats (in this case, peanut butter) and whole grains, then it’s practically health food. (Not really. Don’t go telling your doctor you only eat these healthy peanut butter cookies you found on a blog, so they couldn’t *possibly* be causing your raging diabetes …)

This is in contrast to the cupcakes I made over the past weekend, which have absolutely no redeeming nutritional qualities but which are also delicious. I’ll post that recipe next.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

ee cummings

So spring is here, the weather is lovely, and all I want to do is wander about outdoors and stare at blossom-laden trees.  Here's a whimsical poem in honor of spring by ee cummings.  He seems never to have taken himself or his art too seriously but remains an excellent poet all the same -- perhaps all the more. 
Bonus points to anyone who can identify the little lame balloonman.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Orange Almond Cake

Please ignore the crack. I didn’t drop it, exactly; it flopped onto the counter in a funny way as I was attempting to ease it off my cooling rack. The resultant break did nothing to diminish the flavor of the cake, nor my enjoyment of it … but it did make photography a bit of a challenge.

This was so tasty I had to share it anyway. It’s a first for me in that it’s a gluten free recipe. I didn’t make it for that reason – neither I nor the husband need restrict our intake of wheat protein – but rather, because I thought this might combine the virtues of Shaker Lemon Tart and amaretti in one recipe. It calls for whole oranges and ground almonds. You bind it with egg, sweeten with sugar, and leaven with baking powder. I added a bit of vanilla, but that’s it. Really, this is a ridiculously simple conceit for a recipe.
This cake is adapted from Nigella Lawson’s recipe for Clementine Cake. I love clementines, but I love them raw; I can’t imagine eating them baked into something. Oranges, on the other hand, are heaven in all sorts of confections.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Banana Bread (traditional)

I think of this as my traditional banana bread recipe, but it’s actually quite atypical in its way. It’s loosely adapted from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, but we’re talking about a pretty aggressive adaptation. Mostly, I just really like his suggestion of adding dried coconut to the batter.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Vegetable Tart

I bought a new tart pan a while back, and at the time, I had been concerned that this was a frivolous and superfluous kitchen indulgence. Did I really need it? Would I ever use it?

When I married, I didn’t know what size tart pan was standard and registered for (and received) a shallow 11” tart pan. I learned shortly after the wedding that 9” is the norm
and I’ve been kicking myself ever since, though, of course, most tart recipes are adaptable to either size.

Anyway, I bought a 9” pan, and it’s been in near-constant kitchen rotation since I made the ($8) splurge.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

John Berryman II

One wonders if his morose attitude contributed to his eventual suicide.  He appears neither a bored nor boring figure in photographs.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Gougeres Two Ways

So this is going to be an oddity of a blog entry. I’m showing pictures of one version of gougeres, but I’m going to recommend a non-depicted recipe that I made two days before. Both were done in a bit of a rush – one for a friend’s birthday party, and one for a French-themed dinner with some other friends. I only had a moment to photograph the second batch of gougeres, but I thought the first one was better.

Gougeres, if you aren’t familiar with them, are a pate a choux-based French cheese pastry. They taste rather like the most decadent cheese bread rolls imaginable. Pate a choux is the same pastry used to make ├ęclairs and chouquettes. It’s quite the versatile combination of flour, water, eggs, and butter.

Both versions of gougeres were plenty tasty. The main difference is that version #2 deflated slightly after I took them out of the oven, whereas version #1 stayed fat, puffy, and round even after being hastily stuffed, still a touch warm, into a paper bag and thrown in the passenger seat of my car.

I’m all about fancy presentation like that.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Oatmeal Bread with Apricots and Almonds

So this is a very rustic, very slapdash loaf that I threw together to get rid of some near-stale almonds and dried apricots. And it works! This loaf is delicious.

On occasion, I fall victim to ill-advised Trader Joe’s impulse buys. A cupboard full of almonds and dried apricots was the fruit of such impulsive purchasing (pun … intended?). I thought they might be a nice change from endless permutations of cinnamon raisin bread. Plus, so much white bread was starting to make me feel a bit unwholesome and doughy, so I wanted to make something a healthier.