Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Cookie Monster Strikes Again

Before Hurricaine Irene I posted a cookie recipe that I called "Cookies Before the Storm", and that recipe has taken me through many a trying experience, including no power for 4 days during said storm. Well this winter, I re-vamped those cookies and made them almost as crazy as Paula Deen's "Everything Cookies" and thank goodness I had the sense to leave out the M&M's. But this is a cookie that any cookie monster would want to experience. And due to the climate we've been having in the North East lately, I've decided to call this new batch Cookies Before, During and After the Storm. You'll yield about 40 cookies and they are yummy!  It's a basic chocolate chip cookie with a few extras thrown in. Today I added dark chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, crushed walnuts, raisins, coconut, rolled oats and sea salt. They're simple and deeelish!

Cookies Before, During and After the Storm

2 sticks butter softened
1 cup Splenda no calorie sweetener
1/2 cup Splenda Brown Sugar Blend
2 large eggs (room temp if possible)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
1-1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup rolled oats
2-1/2 to 3 cups assortment of goodies- like chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, crushed walnuts, raisins, coconut and coarse sea salt for sprinkling on top before baking.

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees and line baking pans with parchment paper. Place butter and sugars in a large bowl. With hand mixer combine sugars and butter until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla extract and incorporate. Set aside.

In separate bowl combine flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Mix to incorporate (I just use a fork). Add the flour mixture in two batches to the wet ingredients and combine. Now add the rolled oats and the chips/raisins/nut mixture. Spoon tablespoons of the dough about 2 inches apart onto the parchment paper, sprinkle with sea salt and bake for 9 minutes. Crowd pleaser? YES! Just make sure to take a few for yourself before they are all gobbled up by your cookie monster friends. Hope you enjoy!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Rx from Dr Dalton: Amped Up Hot Asian Soup

This is a re-mix of an Asian soup that I made a few years ago that knocked the flu bug out of me like nobody's business. This year I feel a stronger medicinal soup is in order. I can't say it works yet as I've only had one dose, but have faith my friends, it's a delicious concoction of spices that will definately let you forget your ailments while you're enjoying it. And don't forget to use your napkin every few minutes- not to wipe your chin, but to blow your nose. It's better than any over the counter remedy I've found, and it's simple as simple can be. What would you expect from a cook with the flu? Get ready- it will be done in 30-40 minutes.

Amped Up Spicy Asian Potsticker Soup
Serves 3 or 4

32 oz low fat/low salt chicken broth
2 cups water
Zest of 2 limes
3 cloves garlic chopped or zested
3 T ginger chopped or zested
3 scallions chopped
3 T fish sauce
1 T Splenda no calorie sugar substitute
1 T soy sauce
2-3 Fresno chilis sliced in rings, seeds removed
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Juice of 2 limes
4 oz mushrooms sliced (optional)
6 frozen chicken potstickers (I use the Tai Pei)
1/2 cup frozen peas

2 scallions chopped
Sambal Olek (Thai chili paste)
1 -2 T soy sauce
sesame oil

There is nothing difficult about making this soup. But you do have to infuse the aromatics in the store bought broth and water. That's the only time you have to think about anything. So prepare your aromatics- the ginger, garlic, lime zest and scallions.

Heat a medium to large saucepan with chicken broth and water and add the aromatics. Cook uncovered for about 15 minutes. You can smell the goodness already, right?

We don't want our broth to be clouded with pieces of ginger, garlic, scallions and lime zest so the simple solution is to strain them out of the broth and just enjoy the flavors they bring to the dish, Take a strainer and pour your broth into a separate bowl and discard the goop.

Take a taste of the broth. I always do. So far, I've got an exotic flavor that appeals to me. Pour clear broth back in your cooking pot and add what you think fits into you flavor world. I like to add a little sugar (I use Splenda), fish sauce, chilis for heat, lime juice and soy sauce. Cook about 3 more minutes.Taste the soup again and see if you want another spice or flavor in there. I like Sambal Olek (but I save it for a garnish and it works great for me).

Now it's time to add the vegetables. Today I had sliced mushrooms and peas. Perfect for me, not so much for Dan Clark, but I think he could eat this soup sans veggies. I added the mushrooms and cooked them for 7 minutes. Then I added my beloved potstickers and cooked them for 5 minutes (covered). I then added the peas, cooked another 2 minutes and got ready to plate. Don't forget to add the Sambal, and as a decadent addition, the soy sauce and a drizzle of sesame oil. If my flu doesn't disappear soon, my next post might be an elixer that has root vegetables that you have to rub on your chest until spring. Lets hope it doesn't come to this.

On a happier note, doesn't this soup look divine?