Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

It's an agenda that I believed would not, should ever not fill the roster here. Because I knew I'd have to prefix it with perfect. But tell me, is there one-fits-all- perfection for this type of bill?

I'm talking about The King of Cookie, chocolate chip, whose bestest of the best I'd been on a massive hunt for most of my adult life, which could easily be known as the mom part of life, since I no longer remember any other. Until David Lebowitz ended my search for magnificence, duly giving me a chance to bake the same at frequent intervals, fulfilling the all too maternal role of the milk and cookie afterschool benefactor for the small people I house, who started out both in stature and nature-read attitude- quite very small (are you reading this, underlings?). Times have changed even if the cookies haven't.

Which brought me to the realization, when you have Perfection etched in your head and written for posterity by one of the best chefs/ authors/ culinary stalwarts/ foodblogger extraordinaires of all time  you could in no way alter, or recite that level of grand. Those several dozen batches who through the years granted much sustained happiness and joy when many things could and would not, I am forever grateful and loyal to. And believe me I've baked to countlessness, more times than many might consider moral or right. But who's to judge?

So then we have a different sort of chocolate chip inclusion, a batter that might come in the guise similar to the obsessionyielding treat, but achieves a different purpose, because we're not here to compete with gods.

Today's chip cookie standards are a set different, like I said, honorable in its own class and division, with not just cocoa to yield to its awesome nature, but something substantial and brilliant, so much that it begs on me to present it in full order. Those with weblogs will understand the perfunctory call that can in no way be eased, but onto superbright electronic screens.

They contain the lovely stuff that fantastic confections necessitate, bolder, better and beyond. The coupling of textures/strengths in chief ingredient chocolate gets boosted with the absolute necessary addition of oats, thus making the whole thing sing. Rich gorgeous chunks lay misshapen on purpose to further become molten ambrosia, amidst a chewy, crusty, buttery layer of divine oatmeal dough, easy to mix, scoop, drop and spread. Clear indication that it's as swift and dreamy to bring together as it is to pounce on its exit from the oven.

Therein, you should rightly deduce that oats and cocoa make a mighty neat combination, so well fit, it would be heinous to call one to the party without the other. Could be an experience you may not have undergone much in your life, even if you've tried every single ch. chip cookie aspirant under the sun.

In the past year alone, several oatmeal chochip batches became a favorite lunchbox item, maintaining their primary, not-to-desistrole of allthefriendsandneighborsofthelunchtable subsist, truly easy breakfast item, (why, with a side of milk we've covered almost all major food groups), afternoon tea accompaniment, postworkout, more-satisfying-than-energy-bar replenisher and midnight meal snack when dinner leaves the table without you, something I have no explanation for. 

Nonetheless the speed in which it disappears will not deter, but only power you through to keep on baking more.

So, then, are you ready? Because they are finally ready for you.
Chilling dough is essential people. The progress from meh to oh- my- gosh-what-have-I-done, def:  golden edged plush perfection, comes from a mere thirty minute refrigeration break. Perfect for dunking, carrying in hands and if done correctly, hide between cheeks.

(Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour)
  • 1 cup unsalted butter(16 tbsp), at room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ cups milk chocolate chips
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chunks 
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugars until smooth.
  • Add the egg, egg yolk, and vanilla one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  • In a separate bowl sift flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and add to the butter mixture.
  • Mix until everything is thoroughly incorporated, scraping sides and bottom of the bowl.
  • Stir in the chocolate chips.
  • Keep dough covered with plastic wrap and refrigerate for  thirty minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 325°F. Line two large baking trays with parchment or silicone baking mats.
  • Using a tablespoon scoop drop dough onto prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2" between each.
  • Bake the cookies for 12 to 17 minutes, until they're a light golden brown, with darker edges. (The less they bake, the softer they turn out)
  • Remove cookies from oven, and as soon as they're set enough to handle. Transfer to wire racks  to cool.
  • Store in airtight containers for upto a week.
These are excellent after freezing.  If storing dough for longer, keep double wrapped in the freezer. Thaw and bake when needed.

May 2014~ Flan
So, in concurrence with the several million lizards that believe mi casa su casa is a personal invite coined just for them, a great big fat rattlesnake decided to park in and make my backyard a little more interesting. This, alongside finals for my kids (so remind me, why do they grow up so fast (?), passing through grades before the half blink of an eye), last day parties and several cake pops for staff and teachers. Challenges, triumphs, tears and joy, there is a time and season for everything. Life, maintained by a God who orchestrates it and whose glory we're all created for. These are piercing reminders of how well He keeps, shields and fortifies us and the universe through upcycles and down. Almighty, All-knowing, All-powerful and truly, truly good. I praise Him, because I know even the  darkest valleys are temporary. And I am most ever grateful. 
So also, to our local fire force, the 5 man battalion, who quicker than I could raise a scream and despite their heavy schedules, came to the rescue and bucketed a reptile I hope never to see again. To these for-real superheroes, I salute and thank you much. Let the Lord's face shine upon you and keep you, safe, secure in your steps and always always blessed.
The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Spicy spaghetti with seared scallops and salami

As I throw an argument for an nth pasta recipe to be exhibited on The World of Internet Cooking, I'll have you bear with me in some mere beginning notes, a forewarning perhaps. This implementation could be part and parcel of those heirloom recipes you keep tucked away from everyone's eyes but yours, a gem you'll be entirely grateful for the rest of your life. Your welcome.

I clearly believe it's my righteous duty to affix this treasure here. Today. This moment. My good service to you for being so faithful even after the loud clatter of losing more than a dozen followers, what comes to be after Google's change in policy on who can follow whom, how and why. This for the remaining of you that haven't been thrown over, and several ghost readers that drop in and linger, it's yours to archive, pin, take notes and place on your dinner table. A conglomerate of several outline formulae I've bookmarked, not less than a dozen times, and worked on for an aggregate of half a decade. Again, your welcome.

With just a swift few steps most of which are done in a single pan, it contains  all the elements of a quality meal and may just end the Dominion of any fashionably complex Red Sauce. Angel hair spaghetti  with all the notes of fresh, light, sharp and bite, balancing touches, tastes that weave in and through its entirety, clamoring on to what can only be described as flawlessly perfetto.

Not only does this hit all the right spots for the pasta craver, it may be the antidote to many poorly cooked and oversauced plates of noodles served and experienced throughout the course of your life. Moreover, with the article I include a companion guide on the few don'ts of pastamaking; never overcook pasta; don't drown it in sauce and try not to serve huge portions, which in all fairness is particularly beneficial to the one (ahem) who needs an ease of conscience, every time they go in for second and third helpings.

An excellent almost quicker-than-you-think meal, holding soft scallops with a bite of garlic and enough spots of pepper. Crisp salami to top a terrifically satisfying sauce that could be described as the distant cousin of Alfredo, less the cream, with a more cleaner, brighter feel.

You'd presume that delectably thick juicy bivalves and curlicues of cured seasoned sausage would steal the spotlight from a humble pound of pasta secca. A sprightly drenching of a wine- stock based liquid, emboldened with lemon, completes the same modest bunch, where pasta does inevitably become star, so much that we can fawn over its salient features, al dente firm, lanky thin, enough chew to stand up and thereby respond impressionably well to the whole gamut of texture, flavor and pure awesome.

Finally, with enough parmesan cheese showers, spicy spaghetti takes dimension of much finer levels; luxe dolce, spice, and just about everything way too nice.

If I've not put you to sleep by now, I think all this should be taking you up and off the edge, of your chair, and for sure the drudging dinner routine that needed some serious shaking up anyway.

As my argument reaches conclusion, I leave you with today's edit and a few brazen images that beyond a shadow of a doubt brings clarity to the fact that it's a presentation nothing less than spectacular, and proves most definitely it really is a great bowl of pasta.

If this isn't viable dinner potential, then I don't really know what is.
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 pound large sea scallops, about 12-15
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 3 tbsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 10-12 slices genoa salami, cut into 1/2 inch strips, lengthwise
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 8-10 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 pound angel hair pasta, cooked, drained according to package directions
  • ½-¾ cup chicken stock
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • salt
  • pepper
  • freshly grated parmesan
  • Rinse, clean and drain scallops. Pat dry. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, parsley and 2 tbsp crushed red pepper.
  • Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to a large skillet over medium high heat. Brown scallops 3-4 minutes per side. Remove from pan and cover loosely with foil.
  • Pour in remaining 2 tbsp oil, add in strips of salami and cook till almost crisp, about 1 minute. Remove salami from pan and set aside.
  • Add tomatoes, garlic, remaining red pepper, thyme to the pan and stir till softened. Add wine and loosen up any bits at the bottom of pan. Let cook and reduce liquid for a couple of minutes.
  • Add up to 3/4 cup chicken stock, as much needed, lemon juice and allow to simmer for another 2-4 minutes.
  • Stir in cooked spaghetti to the sauce.
  • Stir in scallops and salami. Taste and season with more salt and pepper as required. 
  • Take off heat.
  • Top with freshly grated parmesan.
  • Serve warm.
"Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up." Psalm 71:20