Martha Stewart’s Apple and Onion Galettes

Ok, its happened.  I am SO sick of apples.  I’m pretty sure I can wait until next year before I even look at another apple.  On the bright side, I did make it through my many, many bags.  I fear for when my pumpkin craving hits.  I have yet to have my first Pumpkin Spice Latte, but I think its time is coming soon.  

This is the recipe that started off my apple binge.  I made it for my mom and sister (who are awesome) last weekend.  When we returned from the orchard, filled with an excitement of apple promises that have now grown cold, I told them I would make dinner.  This was at 4:00.  We finally were eating at 8:30.  So, heed my warning, start early, as there are many steps, and most of them require 30 minutes of wait time.  

We all agreed that these would be great appetizers for a Fall cocktail party.  But also, they would be killer with a little brie mixed in, and some chicken.  Mmm…We topped ours with Pepper Bacon. They are good on their own, but I would categorize this as a base recipe.  There is so much you could do with these, so share I am.  Be creative, and enjoy.

I hope you liked my apple recipes.  Normalcy returns on Monday.  I’ve decided I’m going to tackle one Julia Child recipe each week.  I’m starting with her infamous Chocolate and Almond Cake.  What could I call it…Jeudi avec Julia..French Chef Friday…Chubbing up with Child, no,that’s not good…what do you think?  

Martha Stewart’s Apple Galettes

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 3 medium Gala apples, peeled, cored, halved, and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 8 medium yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • All-purpose flour, for dusting
  • Rosemary-Manchego Tart Dough (see below)
  • 1 cup coarsely grated manchego cheese (2 to 3 ounces)
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Heat oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add apples and onions, and cook until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Cover, reduce heat to low, and cook until very soft and caramelized, about 35 minutes. Add vinegar and salt, and cook 5 minutes. Let cool.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to a generous 1/8 inch thick. Cut out six 7-inch rounds, gathering scraps and rerolling dough if needed. Place on parchment-lined baking sheets.
  3. Puree half the apple-onion mixture in a food processor until smooth. Using an offset spatula, spread 3 tablespoons apple-onion puree over each dough round, leaving a 1-inch border around edges. Sprinkle each with 2 tablespoons cheese. Season with pepper. Top each with a generous tablespoon of remaining apple-onion mixture, and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons cheese. Fold edges of dough in, crimping with your fingers. Refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  4. Bake until edges are golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes. Serve tarts warm or at room temperature.

Manchengo-Rosemary Crust

  • 1 small parsnip (about 4 ounces), peeled
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup finely grated manchego cheese (about 1 1/2 ounces)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup ice water

Directions

  1. Finely grate parsnip (you will need 1/2 cup). Place on a clean kitchen towel (do not use paper towels), and squeeze to extract as much liquid as possible.
  2. Pulse parsnip, flour, salt, sugar, pepper, butter, cheese, and rosemary in a food processor. Add yolk, and pulse to combine. With machine running, add ice water in a slow, steady stream, processing until dough just comes together (no longer than 15 seconds). Shape into a disk, and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (or up to 2 days).

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Chicken Burgers with Caramelized Onions and Apples

This burger is everything that’s right with the world.  Really, there is nothing else to say on the matter.  Well, you could add bacon…then, there’d be absolutely nothing more.

What is your favorite cheese to put on a burger?  Or are you a no-cheese-er?

I linked this recipe up at Jane Deere’s blog.  You should TOTALLY check it out.  Great Blog!

Chicken Burgers with Caramelized Onions and Apples

1 Tb olive oil

1 Tb butter

2 onions, sliced

2 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced thin

2 Tb apple cider vinegar

Salt and Pepper

1 lb ground chicken

2 TB green onions, chopped

3/4 C cheddar cheese, grated

1/2 C cooked brown rice (you can use bread crumbs)

2 TB maple syrup

1 egg 

Salt and Pepper

1/4 C Greek Yogurt

2 TB Maple Syrup

1 Tb Dijon Mustard

Blue cheese or Cheddar, the debate continues

6 hamburger buns, split

In a saute pan, add oil and butter, and heat until butter melts.  Add onions and apples.  Cook covered for 10 minutes (medium low heat) Remove lid, and cook uncovered for 25 minutes or until onions are caramelized and golden brown.  Add the vinegar, salt and pepper, and bring to a boil, until vinegar almost disappears, about 2 minutes. Set aside.

In a medium sized bowl, add chicken, cheddar cheese, green onions, brown rice, egg, maple syrup, salt and pepper.  Mix until well blended.  Shape into 4-6 patties.  You can cook in two ways: 1.) on the grill.  This is the healthier option, but the chicken will slightly dry out.  2) Add vegetable oil to the saute pan, and heat.  Add patties, cook until slightly browned on both sides (about 5 minutes per side).  This method will result in a juicier burger, since much of the fat is trapped in the burger.  I’d suggest this way, if you have a meatosaurus at home.  They might not even be able to tell the difference between chicken and beef!

In a small bowl, mix the yogurt, maple syrup, and dijon mustard.  

To assemble, spread the yogurt mix on one half of the bun. Top with burger, then cheese, followed by the onions.  It would truly be heavenly with bacon.  I’m just saying.

 

Acorn Squash and Apple Soup

 

A sign of the season, Acorn Squash.  This soup can easily be made with Butternut Squash, if you’d prefer.  It has a creamy, slightly sweet taste, with a tiny bit of a kick.  The base of the soup is pureed vegetables: onions, carrots, leeks, apples and squash.  It has chicken broth, but can be made with vegetable broth to make this a vegetarian soup.  

It only has a splash of cream for color, so, if you’d like a lower fat soup, leave it out.  It will still be decadent.  If you REALLY want to wow people, add 1/2 C of cream. My husband told me, if I ever open a restaurant, I should just throw the whole carton of cream in the pot.  So, if you want to try that, let me know how it works out 🙂

On a difficulty level, this soup is about a 1.  I think there’s like 3 steps.  Oh, 4…because you have to eat it.

I garnished my soup with light sour cream and some crumbled bacon.  If you want to try using goat cheese, instead of the sour cream, I’ll marry you now.

 

Acorn Squash and Apple Soup

2 Tb Olive Oil

2 Tb Butter

2 onions, diced

2 carrots, peeled and sliced

1 leek, sliced thin

2 Tb Curry Powder

2 Acorn Squash or 1 lg Butternut Squash, peeled, seeds out, and chopped into 1 inch pieces

2 C Apple Cider 

3 apples, peeled, cored, and chopped

2 C Chicken or Vegetable Broth

Splash of Heavy Cream

Salt

White Pepper

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/4 tsp allspice

1/4 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp dried basil

*All the above ingredients are a general estimate, start small, and taste as you season.  I’m just guessing, as to what I put in.

Sour Cream, as garnish (optional)

Bacon, as garnish (optional)

 

In a deep skillet, add olive oil and butter.  When butter melts, add onions, carrots, leek, and curry powder.  Sautee until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes.  Add squash and apples, sautee for 5 minutes.  Add the broth.  Lower heat and simmer for 35-40 minutes, or until squash and apples are soft.  

Puree in a blender until smooth and creamy.  Return to pot, add apple cider and cream.  Stir.  Add water or broth, if the consistency is not to your liking.  Add spices.  Add more to taste.  

Serve warm with bacon and sour cream.  Great with a gooey grilled cheese sandwich!

Caramel Nut Apple Pie

What a weekend! It started with the beautiful wedding of a great friend, and ended with delicious Apple Cider donuts at the local apple orchard.

Most of the week’s recipes will focus around apples due to the fact that my kitchen is exploding with bags of freshly picked apples of various shapes and sizes, and I would love to see my countertop sooner than later.

With this in mind, our first recipe will be for a Caramel Nut Apple Pie. Yum!

My dad used to make the best Apple Pie. One of my biggest regrets, now that he is gone, is that I didn’t write down his recipes or pay more attention to him as he cooked. Fortunately, his “award winning” Clam Chowder, the one for which he (according to him) won several Chowder cook-offs on the shores of Cape Cod and spent years perfecting, can be easily found in one of the Disney Cookbooks…hmmm, odd.

The Apple Pie, though, I don’t know where this recipe came from. So, my quest is to find something close to what I remember growing up.

This recipe, though not a traditional Apple Pie, is DELICIOUS!! We watched Modern Family last night on Hulu, and ate a piece. When the episode was over, we ate another. And for breakfast, I had another slice. Its ok though, because its rainy outside, which means Mother Nature wants me to lock myself away eating pie and muffins.

Here is the recipe for a great pie. You will wow friends and family alike. If there is any left, after you get to it, of course.

Caramel Nut Apple Pie

For the crust:

Adapted from Martha Stewart

2 ½ C All-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp cinnamon (I added this, and I think it makes all the difference)

1 C (2 sticks, uh-huh!) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

¼-1/2 C ice water

Pulse flour, salt, sugar, and cinnamon in a food processor. Add butter, and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal, with some larger pieces remaining. Drizzle ¼ C water over the mixture. Pulse until mixture just begins to hold together. If dough is too dry, add more water 1 Tb at a time.

Divide the dough in half onto two pieces of plastic wrap. Gather into two balls, and loosely wrap. Press each into a disk and refrigerate until firm, one hour. You can keep in fridge for up to 2 days. Freeze for up to 3 months, and thaw before using.

For the filling:

3 TB flour

3 lbs or about 5 apples, assorted: peeled, cored and cut into ¼ inch slices (Use tart apples)

2 Tb fresh lemon juice

¼ C sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1/8 tsp salt

3 Tb caramel sauce

½ C chopped walnuts

On a lightly floured surface, roll out 1 disk of the dough to a 13-inch round. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate, do not trim overhang. Refrigerate or freeze until firm, about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425. (The high temperature will help set the crust quickly. We’ll lower it later, but no one wants a soggy crust.)

In a large bowl, toss together apples, flour, lemon juice, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, caramel sauce, and nuts. Pour mixture into chilled pie shell, piling in center. Dot with butter.

At this point, you can either roll out your second disk for a crusty top, or you can continue below for a crumb topping. If you use the second disk, roll out the dough, as before. Use a sharp paring knife to cut slits in top of the dough. Brush rim of crust with a wash of 1 egg yolk and 1 TB of heavy cream. Center dough on top of pie plate, and trim with kitchen shears, leaving a 1-inch overhang. Tuck dough under bottom piece, and crimp edges. Brush with egg wash, and sprinkle with sugar. Refrigerate or freeze until firm, 30 minutes.

For Crumb Topping:

1 C Flour

1 C Brown Sugar

1/4 C butter, cut in small pieces

About 2 Tb Caramel Sauce, more if desired

Mix together the flour and sugar. Add the butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Top pie with crumb topping. Drizzle with caramel sauce. Refrigerate or freeze until firm, 30 minutes.

To Bake Pie:

Transfer pie plate to a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Bake on lowest rack until crust begins to brown, about 25 minutes. Reduce heat to 375, and bake until crust is golden brown and juices bubble, about 60-70 minutes. If top or crust begins to brown too quickly, tent pie with foil. Transfer pie to a wire rack to cool completely.

Meatless Monday: Asian Grilled Tofu with Sauteed Spinach

I have to admit, I was a Tofu skeptic.  I had never had it before, and was very wary of spending the money, only to have my husband complain and my two year old not eat.  

I am happy to say, none of these things happen.  What did happen was my two year old cleaned his plate, and so did my meat loving husband. It was very good.  Really good, even!

This is a really quick weeknight meal that everyone will love.  It’s meatless and Vegan.  So, you should try it.  You really should.  I pity the ‘fu that doesn’t try this.

Make sure you press out the extra moisture from the tofu.  This will increase the firmness and its ability to absorb the marinade.  This equals more yummier.  (I know…yummier isn’t a word.)

 

Grilled Asian Tofu with Sauteed Spinach

Adapted from Epicurious

1 Pkg Extra Firm Tofu

1/4 C low sodium soy sauce

1 tsp Sesame oil (I used Japanese)

1 1/2 tsp brown sugar

1 1/2 tsp finely grated peeled fresh ginger

1 small garlic clove, minced

1 Tb green onions, chopped

1 1/2 lb baby spinach

 

Cut tofu crosswise into 6 slices.  Arrange in 1 layer on triple layered paper towels.  Top with three more paper towels.  Put a shallow baking dish on top, and leave on for 2 minutes.  Repeat 2 more times, with new paper towels.

Stir together soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, and green onions.  Add slices, placing in a single layer.  Marinate for 8 minutes, turning over every few minutes.

Spray your grill with non-stick cooking spray and heat to medium high heat.  Lift tofu from marinade with slotted spatula and keep the marinade.  Grill, turning over once carefully, until grill marks appear and tofu is heated through, about 6 minutes.

While tofu grills, add olive oil and garlic to a skillet over medium high heat.  Add spinach, some salt, and pepper.  When spinach begins to wilt, add remaining marinade.  Toss, until greens are just wilted, about 1 minute.

Serve greens with tofu slices.  Great with brown rice on the side!

Serves 3

Peanut Butter and Banana Muffins/Bread

Things that go together:

Peas and Carrots

Socks and Shoes

Ernie and Bert

Cookies and Milk

Pizza and Beer

AND

Peanut Butter and Bananas

 

Now, you may not agree with me there, but frankly, I don’t care.  Elvis would, and that’s all that matters.  Here are what would surely be his favorite muffins.

They are, however, a nut allergists worst nightmare. (Sorry again, Lisa!)

 

Peanut Butter Banana Muffins (Low-fat)

Adapted from Joy the Baker

Originally from Cooking Light

Makes: one 9×5-inch loaf or 12 muffins

 

1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas

1/3 cup plain or vanilla fat free yogurt

1/3 cup creamy all-natural peanut butter

3 tablespoons butter, melted

2 large eggs

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 C maple syrup

1/4 C Hershey’s Syrup (optional)

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup all-purpose flour or cake flour

1/4 cup ground flaxseed meal (I’ve also baked this bread without the flaxseed meal… because I forgot to add it, and the bread was still moist and delicious)

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 cup chopped dry roasted peanuts

Powdered Sugar for dusting

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together flours, flaxseed meal, baking soda, salt, ground cinnamon and ground allspice.

In a medium bowl, whisk together  mashed bananas, yogurt, peanut butter and melted butter.  Whisk in eggs and sugars.  Blend mixture until no sugar lumps remain.

Pour the wet mixture into the larger bowl with the dry ingredients.  Fold together with a spatula until no more flour bits remain.  Fold in the chopped nuts as well.  Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan and cake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 20 minutes before running a butter knife along the edges of the pan and inverting the bread onto a wire rack to cool completely.

This bread lasts, well wrapped at room temperature,for up to 4 days.  It is also great to store, well wrapped, in the freezer.

 

Chicken Pesto Pizza

I don’t have too much to say about Chicken Pesto Pizza, except that its really, really, really good.  I make my own pesto and pizza dough (the recipes are below), so it tastes extra fresh.  If you can still find them, use fresh tomatoes.  This is something you can whip together on a Friday night and really impress your friends, boyfriend, husband, sister, kids, or for whomever you may be cooking.  And, if its just you, eat the whole thing.  I would.  I seriously would.

Do you like my timer?  Look at the look of excitement on his face!  He knows what’s coming!!

Chicken Pesto Pizza

For the dough:

Adapted from Annies Eats

1/2 C warm water

1 env. instant yeast

1 1/4 C water

2 tb extra virgin olive oil

4 C whole wheat flour, plus more for dusting

1 1/2 tsp salt

olive oil or non-stick cooking spray for bowl

Directions:

Measure the warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup.  Sprinkle in the yeast and let stand until the yeast dissolves and swells, about 5 minutes.  Add the room temperature water and oil and stir to combine.  

Place the flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Briefly combine the dry ingredients at low speed.  Slowly add the liquid ingredients and continue to mix at low speed until a cohesive mass forms.  Stop the mixer and replace the paddle with the dough hook.  Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.  Form the dough into a ball, put it in a deep oiled bowl, and cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise until doubled in size, about 1 ½ to 2 hours.  Press the dough to deflate it.

To bake, place a pizza stone in the lower third of the oven.  Heat the oven to 500° for at least 30 minutes.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface.  Divide the dough into two equal pieces.  Form both pieces of dough into smooth, round balls and cover with a damp cloth.  Let the dough relax for at least 10 minutes but no more than 30 minutes.

Working with one piece of dough and keeping the other covered, shape the dough and transfer to a pizza peel or round of parchment dusted with semolina or cornmeal.  Top as desired.  Slide the dough onto the pizza stone. Bake until the crust edges brown and cheese is golden brown in spots, about 8 to 12 minutes.  Repeat with remaining ball of dough or freeze for later use.

For the Pesto:  

Yields 4 C

Adapted from Ina Garten

5 C basil

1/2 C pine nuts

3 Tb garlic, chopped

1 1/2 C olive oil

1 C freshly grated parmesan

Directions:

Place pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, parmesan and basil in a blender.  Puree until smooth.  Use right away or freeze with a thin film of olive oil on the top.

For the Pizza:

1/2 recipe of pizza dough, see above

1-2 C of pesto, depending on your taste

1 cooked chicken breast, chopped into bite size pieces

1 C grape tomatoes, cut in half

2 C mozzerella, part-skim

1/2  C parmesan cheese

Preheat  oven to 500.

Place pizza stone on bottom 1/3 of oven.  

After rolling out the dough, transfer to a pizza peel or parchment paper.  Spread pesto to about 1/2 inch of the edge.  Place chicken and tomatoes on to pesto.  Cover with mozzerella cheese.  Sprinkle parmesan on top.  Move to pizza stone and bake for 8-12 minutes, or until cheese begins to brown.  Let cool 5 minutes before eating.

 

Roasted Eggplant and Portobello Lasagna

Lesson of the Day:

Tomato Paste, you know those little teeny tiny cans you buy in the Italian aisle at the grocery store. The thing that you use like ONE scoop of and throw the rest away. Wasteful. Yes, I’m talking about you.

I saw this amazing recipe on Foodess.com, and it looked so good I had to try it. So, I pulled together my ingredients. Canned diced tomatoes, check. Lasagna Noodles, check. Eggplant and Portobello, check and check. Tomato Paste, AH!! What to do!!

So, with a little help from Seattle Times, I discovered that you can boil down pureed tomatoes until the liquid reduces, and you’re left with that thick paste of tiny containers. SAVED!

Now, I have shared my wisdom; you must pass it on to someone else. You’re welcome. No, no, really. It’s ok. It’s why I do this.

I now present: Roasted Eggplant and Portobello Lasagna: aka, What Dreams are Made of…

A Word of Caution: This is not something you whip together. It is VERY time consuming, but delicious. So, if you’re having company over, this is a dish for you.

First things first, you must chop your veggies. Salt the eggplant generously, and let sit for at least 15 minutes, but longer is better. This will draw out the bitterness of Eggplant and allow it to cook nicely instead of getting goopy and oily (Think Eggplant Parm, YUMMO!)

Then crank that broiler up, and let the veggies char. Flip and broil for a few minutes more. Now you’re ready to move on to the marinara.

Add a generous amount of olive oil to a deep skillet. Let it heat until it shimmers and add your chopped onions. Cook until translucent and divine smelling, and add a heap of minced garlic. Oh, doesn’t that smell nice??? Add the canned tomatoes and tomato paste (that you made yourself) to the pot. Sprinkle with salt. Add some spices, basil, oregano, and parsley are good. Let this simmer for at least 20 minutes. If you have one of those food immersion tools, use it. If you don’t (don’t feel bad, I don’t either), put it in your blender and give it a whirl.

Moving on to the spinach and cheese mixture. If you have a food processor, you are awesome. Mine got lost in either my move, or kitchen renovation, but its all for the best. It was terrible. Christmas gift?? Mince the spinach in your food processor and stir in the ricotta cheese or cottage cheese. If you have to use your blender, I added a splash of milk to get things moving. It made a delicious creamy spinach concoction.

We’re ready!! Here we go, time to put it all together!

Let it bake uncovered until the cheese browned and its bubbly. Mmm…that looks good and it tastes even better!

For the full recipe, visit Foodess.com

Roasted Eggplant and Portobello Mushroom Lasagna

1 box oven-ready lasagna noodles
2 cups ricotta or cottage cheese
6 oz spinach (about 6 cups)
1 lb mozzarella cheese, shredded (makes 4 cups)
1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano (optional, do not substitute the powdery parmesan cheese)
1 recipe Marinara Sauce (below)
1 recipe Roasted Eggplant and Portobello Mushrooms (below)

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mince spinach in a food processor, then stir in ricotta or cottage cheese. Set aside. Spread about 1 cup of marinara sauce in the bottom of a 13″ by 9″ baking dish, and arrange 3 lasagna noodles over top. Spread another 1 cup of sauce over noodles, and add half of the roasted vegetables and 1/3 of the cheese. Top with 3 more noodles, then the spinach/cottage cheese mixture. Repeat with another layer of sauce, vegetables and cheese. Top with noodles, the remaining sauce, the remainder of the mozzarella, plus the parmagiano reggiano, if using. Bake uncovered for 35-45 minutes, and let rest 10 minutes before cutting.

Basic Marinara Sauce

1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, diced
5-6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp tomato paste
4 cups diced, canned tomatoes
Salt

1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Saute onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and saute 2 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and canned tomatoes. Simmer 20 minutes, uncovered. Puree sauce with an immersion blender, or in batches if using a regular blender. Season well with salt, tasting as you go.

Roasted Eggplant and Portobello Mushrooms

1 large eggplant or 2 small ones
2-3 portobello mushrooms
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt

1. Preheat broiler, and arrange a rack at top of the oven. Slice eggplant into 1/4 inch rounds. Sprinkle generously with salt on both sides, and layer in a colander. Let eggplant sit for at least 15 minutes, then rinse with cool water and dry well with paper towels.

2. Slice portobello mushroom caps into 1/3 inch strips. Coarsely chop stems. Toss mushrooms and eggplant with 1/4 cup oil and arrange in a single later on a baking sheet. Broil until soft and charred, flipping after about 6 minutes and cooking about another 3 minutes on the other side.

Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies

Yesterday, I fell in love.  He was sweet, warm, soft with a home-made, old-fashioned goodness.  And to top off his perfection, he was filled with coconut, white chocolate, AND walnuts.  Oh, this cookie was heaven.  I don’t know if I will find another that can replace him.  Fortunately, I only made six of these bad boys and have a whole tub of cookie dough perfection waiting to be savored.  

I am a profound lover of the chocolate chip cookie.  Don’t believe me?  Ask my mother-in-law.  I ate 30 of her chocolate chip cookies after my mud run on Saturday.  There is nothing more comforting than a chocolate chip cookie just out of the oven.  The smell fills your home with warm childhood memories and you find yourself standing in a pool of drool in front of your oven just waiting for that buzzer to go off, so that you can dive into their tastiness.

Growing up, I have vivid memories of opening my front door to the smell of cookies.  My mom-queen of “the diet starts Monday”-once came up with a theory that if she made everything she loved and didn’t eat it, it would prove the strength of her willpower and her diet would be successful.  This “diet” consisted of cookies, brownies, potato chips, and baked potatoes.  While it may not have been her favorite fad diet, it certainly was mine!  I was the benefactor of such deliciousness!!  

With that cookie love, I am always trying to find the “perfect” cookie.  And, while I LOVE the traditional chocolate chip cookie, this Double Chocolate Coconut Cookie is as close to perfection as I’ve ever come.  To quote my husband as he ate his way through this 3 cookies, “I am already depressed that they’ll be gone, and I still have two cookies to go”.  You must make this cookie.  And I don’t mean someday, I mean right now.  Like, stop reading this and get in your kitchen.  Why aren’t you there yet?  Oh, you need the ingredients…

 

Double Chocolate Coconut Cookies

From Martha Stewart Living (where else would the best cookie ever come from??)

 

1 C (2 Sticks) unsalted butter, softened

1/2 C granulated sugar

3/4 C packed light-brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 3/4 C all-purpose flour

1/4 C unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp coarse salt

1 12 oz bag of white chocolate chip

1 3/4 C sweetened flaked coconut

1 3/4 C coarsely chopped walnuts

 

Preheat oven to 350.  Cream butter and sugar in your electric mixer with paddle attachment, mix on medium until smooth.  Stir in vanilla.

Sift flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl.  Add to butter mixture on low speed until well combined.  Stir in chocolate, coconut, and walnuts.

Using a 1 1/2 inch ice cream scoop, drop batter onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper, spacing 2 inches apart.  Flatten slightly.  Bake until set, 10-12 minutes.  Let cool on cookie sheets on wire racks for  2 minutes.  Transfer cookies on parchment to racks to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week.  They won’t last that long, trust me.

 

Meatless Monday: Barley Risotto with Butternut Squash

What is your key food?  The ingredient that catches your eye on a menu and makes you scream, “MMMM!!! I’m having that!!!”  For me, it’s Risotto.  For my sister, it’s Goat Cheese.  For my husband, I’m thinking its Onion Straws.  The boy will eat anything that has onion straws on it.  I once discovered him eating a can of French’s Fried Onions because it kinda tasted like onion straws.  

When I came across this recipe, I thought I have to have it.  Risotto with ANYTHING would make me happy!  And, since its Meatless Monday, we’re going to use Barley, instead of the traditional Arborio rice.  Let’s pause for a word about barley:

Fun Fact #1: In medieval Europe, Barley was considered a peasant food, while the upper class consumed only breads from wheats.

Fun Fact #2: Barley contains EIGHT amino acids

Fun Fact #3: Eating whole grain barley (like we’ll be doing in a moment) regulates blood sugar for up to 10 hours after consumption!

Fun Fact #3: Barley is in beer and beer is good.

Now, a discussion on Risotto..some of the key ingredients include wine and cheese.  I mean, really the only thing that could make this dish better is if you could some how get chocolate in the mix.  I know, I know that would be gross, but it’s an interesting concept, just the same.

So, with all this in mind, Barley Risotto makes the perfect dish for a Meatless Monday. 

 

 

Barley Risotto with Butternut Squash

 

Adapted from JenMenke.com

For the Barley

1 C Barley

4 C Water

1 C dry white wine

2 tsp salt

 

To Complete the Dish:

2 C Butternut Squash, cubed and roasted

1 Tb Olive oil

1 small onion chopped

1/3 C dry white wine

1/2 C Parmesan Cheese

1 Tb fresh thyme

1 tsp saffron threads

1 tsp freshly ground pepper

 

To Roast Squash:

Preheat oven to 400

Peel and cube squash.  Place on a sheet pan.  Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes.

 

For the Barley:

Bring the water, wine and salt to a simmer in a pot over medium-low heat.

 Add the barley, stirring frequently, and cook for an hour or until the barley is cooked through.

 

To Complete:

Place a saute pan over medium-high heat.  Add a olive oil, then add chopped onions and saute for 5 minutes or until onions are translucent. 

Add the white wine and cook for about 3 minutes, or until the wine reduces slightly.  Pour the barley and its liquid into the pan.  Add the cooked squash.  Add additional water or chicken broth to bring the risotto to preferred consistency.

Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, add spices.  Enjoy!