Oatmeal Cookies for Montero

So, Genesis asked for oatmeal cookies in exchange for going to the store to buy me some milk and butter. It was a pretty great trade-off too because these cookies are so tasty that I’ve been gobbling them up as well. Neither of us really like raisins so that was out. Gen wanted them plain, so I set some dough aside for his boring ones, and I threw chocolate chips into mine, because why not. These are chewy and just sweet enough with a bit of spice and they can handle chocolate chips OR raisins… or both, I am sure.

A quick story about my journey to this recipe, I was looking for “the best” recipe but was having a hard time finding a recipe that really stood  out for me. I know how to add oats to my regular cookie recipes, swap out some flour, etc., but I wanted to make an outstanding oatmeal cookie. I found one good-looking recipe that said it was only good because of the soaked raisins… well that wasn’t going to work. So I thought why not soak the oats… well, googling “soaked oat cookies” results in lactation cookie recipes… something for later in life I guess. Anyway, finally came across this great recipe from Evil Chef Mom, and was thrilled to see that she felt the same about raisins as I. Anyway, these cookies are perfect oatmeal cookies. PERFECT. Well maybe not, but I haven’t had better, yet.

Oatmeal Cookies

Adapted from Evil Chef Mom

Ingredients

  • 2 cups rolled oats (I used whole oats… which worked… I don’t know the differences and I am alright with that)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cardamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chip cookies

Directions

  1. Place the oats in a large bowl and sprinkle with the water.
  2. Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cardamon, and nutmeg in a medium bowl and whisk together.
  3. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Hell, brown it if you want,just add an extra 1/4 cup. Remove from heat and pour over oats.
  4. Stir the sugar and vanilla into the oats and butter. Add the egg and mix briskly.
  5. Add the flour mixture just until all the dry ingredients are moistened. Fold in walnuts and chocolate chips. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour, up until over night.

    They look wet because I forgot to take a picture before putting them in the oven, so they are starting to cook here.

  6. Preheat oven to 350°F. Scoop dough onto parchment-papered baking sheets. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes (I had to cook mine for almost 20, and they were still chewy and moist) or until cookies are golden brown on top. Cool cookies completely before stacking or storing. May be kept in an air tight container for several days.

So delicious and because they have oats, you can pretend they are healthfood. Eat up!

Cherry Chocolate Cupcakes for my 25th!

It was my 25th birthday on Tuesday (that’s right, mark your calendars!) and I decided on Monday night that I would bake up a batch of cupcakes to covertly celebrate. I didn’t mention the reason for my cupcake-offerings and none was asked (as they are used to weekly baking) but I was happy to see smiles all around. Gen took me out for a lovely jaunt to Granville Island and we had a romantic dinner up on The Sandbar’s patio.

 Cherry Chocolate Cupcakes

Made about 26 cupcakes.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 6-8 cups whole cherries (to be pitted and chopped… I didn’t measure the post-pitting/chopping amounts)
  • 3/4 cup of raspberry port (or some other fruit liquor that would be lovely with cherries… Kirsch perhaps)

Directions

  1. Do the cherries first, if only to avoid the frustration in the midst of baking. If you have a cherry pitter, make use of it; if not, use a bobby pin! Really, it worked for me. Rip the stem off and jab the rounded end of the bobby pin into the centre, moving it around to loosen the pit, extract pit, place pit-free fruit in bowl, grab new cherry, repeat process. Be careful, cherries are squirt-y and the juice is stain-y.
  2. Once the pitting is complete roughly chop the cherries (set aside 26 or so whole cherries for popping in the top of the cupcakes before baking) and place back in the bowl, pour your port over your cherries and allow them to soak while you prepare the rest of the batter.
  3. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line your cupcake tin.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk your flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cocoa powder. Set aside.
  5. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy, or at the very least, well combined.
  6. Pour off the port and cherry juice into the butter and sugar mixture. Add the eggs, coconut milk, and vanilla and combine.
  7. Slowly  add the flour mixture into the wet ingredients until just combined.
  8. Fold in your cherry pieces.
  9. Fill the cupcake liners about 3/4 and push a pitted-whole cherry into the top.
  10. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, OR until the top springs back when poked.
  11. Cool on wire racks for 20 minutes and then frost. I frosted mine with Dreamy Buttercream that I doused with about 3/4 cup of port… not the brightest idea as it started to separate, but with some vigorous mixing it stayed together and tasted great. Wash a bunch of cherries with nice stems, pat dry, and plop into the icing for a fancy-looking treat.

Up close and personal with a classy cupcake.

Tequila Lime Chicken (or shrimp) with Fennel and Fresh Salsa Quinoa Salad

This is a recipe I came up with a couple years ago when I wanted to do something awesome with shrimp. I also wanted to try fennel because it scares me. Well this is a fresh recipe that is easy to jazz up with your favourite raw salad veggies. It was great with shrimp two years ago and was pretty great with chicken as well. Tequila is the great flavour booster, without overwhelming the freshness.

Tequila Lime Marinaded Chicken or Shrimp

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp gold tequila
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic (1-2 cloves)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 large chicken breasts (or try it with 1 pound large peeled shrimp)

Directions

  1. Whisk together all ingredients and pour into a large ziplock.
  2. Score the chicken breasts and drop into the marinade, smoosh around to properly coat. Place the ziplock in a bowl. Refrigerate 1 to 4 hours before grilling and try to re-smoosh halfway through the marinating time.
  3. Heat grill (I used my George Foreman). Drain and discard marinade from the chicken.
  4. Cook, over medium-high heat until done. Depending on your grill, it will take from 8-15 minutes. Cook until the juices run clear, or until the meat is white throughout, turning once. For shrimp, turn once and cook for 5 to 7 minutes until pink.
  5. Serve over Fennel and Fresh Salsa Quinoa Salad with a squeeze of lime.

Marinade prep

Fennel and Fresh Salsa Quinoa Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 lime
  • a large bunch of cilantro
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pinch of cumin
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups water

Directions

  1. Cook quinoa with water according to directions on package. Let it cool after fluffing.
  2. Chop onion and place in a bowl with some ice water and lime to mellow the bite.
  3. Slice fennel, chop tomatoes, rinse black beans, and chop cilantro. Combine all the ingredients for the salad and taste, adjust spices as needed.
  4. Serve as side or as an awesome combo for the main.

So fresh and tasty. I definitely forgot to add the black beans to the salad, but we added them after the picture. Definitely use them, so good!

Not Crocker, oh where are you?

I am in Toronto.

Apparently I consider this evidence that I am in Toronto!

I came to Toronto on Wednesday morning (think waking up at 4am for a 7am flight). Six of us MPubbers decided to go to Book Summit 2012 (which you might have gleaned from my extensive #bksummit12 tweeting). The conference was yesterday, Thursday, but we are here until Sunday morning. I’ve been having a great time cruising this fun city, though the heat Wednesday and Thursday was a tough sell. After some rain last night it’s nicely cooled off to, oh, 32° or so.

We are going to relax on Toronto Island tomorrow after some tasty brunch, and then an earlyish night before we head home.

Anyway, all of this just so I can apologize for the lack posts this week. I have one queued up, but it isn’t finished and it is nothing particularly special. I mean, it’s tasty, but it’s also super simple.

I hope you’ve all been enjoying cruising the recipes on here! Let me make some recommendations of stuff to try out as you wait for the next recipe!

  • If it is cool where you are (ugh, I wish!) make yourself some shepherd’s pie! There are two kinds: Beef and Lentil OR Gordon Ramsay’s.
  • Have a farmer’s market near by? Buy a box of strawberries and make these Fresh Strawberry Cupcakes (forgo the icing and totally top them with some lightly-sweetened whipped cream for an awesome summer treat!)
  • Need some spice in your life? Amazing Curry is just that, amazing!
  • Want to make something that will make your breakfasts a touch sweeter? These Coffee Cake Muffins are lightly sweet and so good! OR make my mom’s Brown Sugar Scones, which are so good, I am making them the minute I get home from Toronto.

Anyway, thanks for coming back and being awesome despite my mysterious absence! Awesome recipes to come! OOOOOOHHHH I bought the Flavor Thesaurus, so you can imagine that I am going to have some killer ideas from reading that baby! I hope your summers are going well!

Peanut Satay Dragon Bowl

The Coup (hmm, how do YOU pronounce it? I always say it like “coo”, drawing on my french, but others say it like a chicken coop). Anyway! The Coup in Calgary is one of my favourite restaurants and it just so happens to be vegetarian and vegan, and delicious. I almost always get the same dish when I go there, I am one of those people, and when I moved to Vancouver I missed that dish very much! The other day I was wandering the internet for recipes to try and came across this funky blog, that happily had posted The Coup’s Peanut Satay Dragon Bowl recipe, right from their cookbook which I have to get my hands on when I get back to Calgary. Well first, I told her how thrilled I was to find this recipe, and second, I made it! And it was GREAT, just like the restaurant. Genesis’ quote, “This meal was f’ing amazing, you should sell the sauce!” (and Gen is not the sweary type) He also wants it known that the pictures I took do not do the deliciousness justice (sigh, my picture taking is still not the best). Anyway, stop reading, start making!

Peanut Satay Dragon Bowl

Recipe adapted with my notes, happily found here, from Meet The Coup Cooks.

We used light peanut butter, reduced sodium soy sauce, and light coconut milk with no issues except I did have to add a dash of salt to the sauce to make up for the reduce sodium soy… a stupid trade off, it was just what we had on hand. I might also add fresh ginger to the sauce next time. I will report back!

Ingredients

Sauce of the heavens (this makes a ton, feel free to halve, or save it for future meals)

  • 2 cups crunchy peanut butter (or smooth with 1/2 cup chopped raw peanuts)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • the juice of 1 lime
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 3 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 3-6 tbsp of sriracha (or your preferred chilli sauce. The recipe called for 2 tbsps, we added 6, and could’ve gone with more, taste as you go)


Stir-fry

  • 1 package of extra firm tofu (would also be great with cubed chicken, beef, shrimp, etc.)
  • 4 cups of seasonal veggies of your choice (I used zucchini, red peppers, and broccoli)
  • 1/2 bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped peanuts

Directions

  1. In a large pot over medium heat, mix the peanut butter and water together.
  2. Continue to stir until you reach a smooth consistency, watching that you do not burn the peanut butter.
  3. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients and continue to cook at a low heat, stirring often for about 20 minutes.
  4. In the meantime, in a large pan, sauté the tofu until the edges are crispy and lightly browned.  Add the chopped veggies and a splash of water to just cover the bottom of the pan. Sauté until tender-crisp.
  5. Pour the peanut satay sauce over the tofu and veggie mixture and heat until it bubbles.
  6. Serve over your favourite grains or noodles.
  7. Garnish with cilantro and chopped peanuts.

Getting ready for saucing.

Black Bean and Salsa Chicken on rice

This is another recipe from my mom. It’s easy and tasty and can be spiced up or down, which is great for the wary. Top it with some plain yogurt and you are good to go.

 

Black Bean and Salsa Chicken

Ingredients

  • 2-3 chicken breasts, cubed
  • olive oil
  • 1 large jar of salsa, your choice of spice level
  • 1 large can of black beans (or cook up a cup of dried beans)
  • 2-3 jalapeños
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar
  • plain greek yogurt or sour cream for topping

Directions

  1. In a large skillet, over medium-high, cook up the chicken with a drizzle of olive oil. When the chicken is browned and cooked through, remove from pan and set aside.
  2. Back in the pan mix up the salsa, drained black beans, and the diced jalapeños. Stir in the chicken and let it all cook down for 15 minutes over medium heat. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
  3. Stir in 3/4 cup of the shredded cheddar and cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Serve over rice, top with a sprinkle of cheese and a dollop of yogurt.

Rum Cupkrakes (with Kraken Rum)

So The Kraken rum is dark, smooth, and almost most importantly, comes in a gorgeous bottle. The design and the name inspired my purchase but the rum inspired my baking. I love rum cake. The first time I tried it was a few years ago when a colleague came back from some rum-producing nation and baked us a batch. It was heaven and I’ve made it a couple of times since then. But, baking for a large group means that cakes aren’t particularly fun to haul around, so I tend to cupcake things that might not normally be cupcaked. This is one of those times. Also, full pun-credit must go to Genesis, he is the one who masterminded the Kraken pun. He is also very handsome, this may or may not be unrelated.

Rum Cupkrakes

Adapted from this all-homemade recipe for Rum Cake.

Ingredients

Cupcake

  • 3/4 cup walnuts, crushed
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3 tbsp + 1/2 cup grapeseed or canola oil (low flavour), separated
  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup DIY vanilla instant pudding mix (or packaged mix)
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup dark rum (The Kraken)
  • 1 tbsp vanilla

Rum syrup

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark rum

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line your cupcake tin, and distribute a layer of crushed walnuts (making sure to keep enough for other rounds).
  2. Cupcakes: In a large bowl cream the sugar and the butter. Add the oil, flour, cornstarch, baking powder, and salt combining until evenly distributed. Mix in the pudding mix.
  3.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, yogurt, water, rum, vanilla, and remaining oil. Add to the dry mixture and mix well. The batter will be smooth, thinnish, and will pour easily.
  4. Ladle (a new trick that I should’ve discovered years ago) into the prepared cupcake liners, about 3/4 full and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the cupcakes comes up clean.
  5. While the cupcakes cool on a rack, prepare the rum syrup.
  6. Rum syrup: In a small saucepan, combine the rum, butter, water, sugar, and salt. Cook over medium heat until the butter completely melts and the sugar dissolves. Let reduce slightly, keeping an eye on it so it doesn’t boil over, it will bubble a lot.
  7. Place copious amounts of wax paper under your cupcakes, or even better, a baking sheet (to catch the excess syrup). Spoon the hot rum syrup over the cupcakes and let soak for 8 hours (overnight).

Rummed and ready for the oven.

Release the KRAKEN! (into my belly!)

Cookie Dough Dip

Another cookie dough related post! This was the second dip I brought to my friends’ party, the first being the glorious, much loved Buffalo Chicken Dip. This dip was also well-received, served with simple cookies and some apple slices. It is sweet but not too sweet, fluffy, and distinctly tastes of a lovely cookie dough. Wanted to try this type of a sweet dip, enjoyed it, may make it in the future.

Cookie Dough Dip

Adapted from this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 – 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Cream together cream cheese and butter.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and mix until well-combined.
  3. Serve with light cookies (in flavour, try to find sturdy cookies, this dip is fluffy but still needs a strong cookie, the ones I picked were a little delicate) or apple wedges. Also, nearer the end of the night, some were eating this with carrots which they claimed tasted like carrot cake… so, to each their own. This dip is good to make the day before, it stayed fluffy and smooth overnight.

Whipping it all together.

Gen is doing some stellar hand-modelling.

Cookie Dough Bites- because sometimes you need a ridiculous treat

Hmm, what do I categorize these as? They aren’t cookies, they never make it that far… but they aren’t officially truffles, hmm. I will ponder on it.
Cookie dough bites have been on my mind since I saw them on Tastespotting, I love cookie dough, more than I love cookies, so they needed to happen. I changed nothing from the recipe, it is just delicious cookie dough heaven. Enjoy!

Cookie Dough Bites

Recipe from Cooking Classy (I only changed the chocolate chips and brown sugar for the things I have on hand/prefer)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, chopped (the idea is to get them to be about 1/2 – 1/3 their original size)

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, whip together butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and salt until pale and fluffy.
  2. Stir in cream and vanilla extract. Add in flour and mix just until combined (dough will seem dry at first but it will come together). Stir in chopped chocolate chips.
  3. Scoop dough out 1 equal tablespoon at a time and roll into balls. Place on parchment or wax paper.
  4. Store in refrigerator in an airtight container.

These look huge but trust me, that bowl is tiny! It is a bowl for ants!

Buffalo Chicken Dip

I know, I am dip-crazy lately. Dips are easy, delicious, and you can make a few for a single event, perfect! This dip was the result of my Googling “best dip ever.” And it was pretty amazing! There are only five ingredients (a tiny change from the original recipe) and it is killer, it tastes just like hot wings dipped in ranch dressing, but you scoop it up with a chip or some celery. You can mix it up with some blue cheese dressing if that’s your thing too, it’s not mine. Make this this weekend for that party you have to go to. Or, if you have no parties, make this anyway so you have some delicious to eat all weekend, by yourself…

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Found in the Chowhound forums.

Serves: a small party  ♦ Time: aside from boiling the chicken… 10 minutes prep, 40 minutes cooking, 10 minutes cooling → 1 hr total

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, about 2 pounds, boiled and shredded with 2 forks (you can also use a roasted chicken from the store)
  • 1 1/2 cup Frank’s Hot Sauce (whole 12oz bottle) (do NOT substitute, this is the only sauce to give the wing flavour, it’s not too spicy, don’t worry)
  • 2 – 8 oz packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 bottle Ranch dressing (450ml, 16oz) (try with blue cheese dressing, or half ranch and half blue cheese!)
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss together the shredded chicken and the Frank’s. Spread the chicken in an even layer in the bottom of a 13 x 9 inch baking pan.
  3. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine cream cheese and entire bottle of Ranch dressing, stirring til hot and smooth (mine never got totally smooth, but it was even, good enough!). Pour this mixture evenly over chicken mixture.
  4. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes.
  5. Add the shredded cheese and bake uncovered for another 20 minutes or til bubbly.  Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes. Serve with celery and chips for scooping and devouring!

Ready to spread the ranch-cream cheese mixture.

I was too slow to get a pristine picture. This dip went quickly, it is fabulous!