It's about time

...For me to do a cookie update!  While there are plenty of excuses I could make about why I haven't updated, it all boils down to one thing: this has been a busy summer.  This comes as a combination of teaching, research, meeting with friends once a week for dinner, leading a bible study, and going to the gym 5-6 days each week.  Oh, right, and spending time with Phil.  Let me tell you, finding shared free time for two graduate students can be pretty nearly impossible some days.

But now I have a "free" night, and it's about time I post my cookies before I forget what they were..

 152. Cream Cheese-Lemon Bows
A few months ago,  I broke my frosting bag, and I haven't yet bothered with replacing it.  Sometimes there are workarounds for this - I have a cookie gun too - but sometimes they don't work.  I tried to use my cookie gun, and the dough wouldn't come off properly, so these "bows" ended up being rounds instead.

These cookies are full of butter with a bit of cream cheese, along with lemon zest and juice.  After baking, they were pretty delicious, but a bit dry for my taste.  Maybe it had something to do with changing the shape, but I wasn't too impressed.

 153. Lemon-Apricot Sandwiches
Oh, these were good.  The cookies are crisp and lemony, given some extra nice texture with the addition of almond flour and corn starch, and apricot is a fantastic pairing.  The cookies themselves weren't very sweet, which meant that the jam completed the taste rather than making the cookies too rich.

 154. Bourbon Currant Cookies
Here's another winner.  These flaky cookies made with bourbon and currants (as indicated by the title) can be cut out into any shape, but I thought elephants were appropriately whimsical, and everyone I shared this with seemed to agree.  Before being baked, the cookies were brushed with heavy cream, and somehow that flavor came through spectacularly.  I will absolutely be making these again!

 155. Biscuit Sandwich Cookies
There's something about chocolate filling that makes everything better, and these cookies are no exception.  These cookies were pretty flaky, probably due to the combination of butter and heavy cream in them.  Although usually cookie fillings are some kind of ganache (that is, heavy cream mixed with melted chocolate), these are filled with melted milk chocolate.  A note on cooking with milk chocolate: you should always opt for the more expensive stuff.  Cheap milk chocolate is not the same at all.

 156. Homemade Graham Crackers (definitely a best cookie)
I'm always skeptical of the glowing comments that go along with the recipes in this book, but the ones for this recipe were entirely deserved.  Indeed, these cookies were not difficult to make, and they're full of whole wheat flour and wheat germ, which makes them pretty healthy!  Oh, right, and they taste really really good.  I'll be making these again and trying them with s'mores.

157. Meringue Porcupines
I have a confession to make.  I went home over the 4th of July weekend and completely ran out of time to make cookies.  Yes, that's right, I skipped a weekend.  This was not okay with me, so last weekend I doubled up and made two batches of cookies.  This was the first batch, prepared for a pizza-making and Munchkin-playing party at my friend's condo.  And so, in the midst of a busy Saturday, I had yet another meringue fail.  I don't know why, but I just can't seem to get meringues to work when I use the whisk attachment on my electric mixer.  It's very frustrating, and every time it happens it make me feel like a total kitchen failure.

So I beat and beat these egg whites, waiting for them to form stiff, glossy peaks, and I guess I added the vanilla too early, because they went from soft peaks to no peaks at all.  Nevertheless, I cooked what I had made, and the meringues turned out decently.  In the middle of the baking (drying?) process, I took them out of the oven and pushed their bottoms in a little bit.  When it was time to serve them, I put apricot jam in the divot of one and whipped cream with almond extra in the divot of the other, and sandwiched them together.  Everyone enjoyed these very much, but I think the meringues were a little too sweet.  If I ever try making these again, I will add less sugar to them.

Vegetable Adventures, Week 4

You may have noticed that I haven't posted in over a month.  Oops!  Here's a second post that I had half written and then never loaded any images.  Between gym time and actual cooking and GCF stuff and so on, I hadn't found the time to upload images and post them until now.  This means that the week-by-week farmshare idea is dead, but I'll post some of the more interesting vegetables and/or recipes.  And maybe a few invented recipes too!

Swiss chard, cooked and ready to eat

Asparagus: see recipe below
Salad mix
Strawberries: Some eaten plain, the rest on my Cheerios
Swiss chard: Chopped and cooked with last week's oregano and a garlic scape according to a recipe about halfway down the page on this website.
Radishes: Added to home-made miso soup.  Note to self: red miso is salty, use less of it.
Sugar snap peas: tasty raw nom-noms
Garlic Scapes: used like garlic.  See an example below

Having spent the last three years taking huge amounts of time cooking for myself, it's about time that I start actively inventing recipes.  This week, wanting carbs and to use up my asparagus, the following quick dish came to life:

"Thai" Asparagus, Tofu, and Noodles (Serves 1)(413 calories)

1/2 C asparagus
2 oz rice noodles
1/4 C firm tofu, pressed and cut into 1" cubes
garlic scape, chopped (or use a clove of garlic)
2t olive oil
pinch salt
1T hoisin sauce
3C water

1.  Rinse the asparagus and cut into pieces approx 2" long.  Place in a small pan lined with foil and toss with 1 t olive oil.  Sprinkle some salt on, to taste.  Bake in a toaster oven at 350˚F for 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, boil water.  Place the rice noodles in a medium bowl.  When the water boils, pour it on the rice noodles, making sure the noodles end up submerged completely.  Let sit 10 minutes, or until the noodles are tender.

3. Pour 1 t olive oil into a small frying pan and heat on medium.  When the oil is hot, add garlic (scapes) and sautee for a minute.  Add tofu, and allow one side to cook for about 5 minutes.  Turn tofu over to cook other side for 3 minutes.  Remove from heat.

4. Place rice noodles in your serving bowl.  Add tofu and asparagus, top with hoisin sauce, mix it all together, and enjoy!

Vegetable Adventures, Week 3

In week 3, all my vegetables were a repeat of week 1 and 2 offerings, so I decided not to take a photo of my produce as given.  Fear not, however, I have been taking pictures of the results - that is, the cooked or otherwise prepared dishes - and I'll still be telling you what it is I actually made.

Asparagus - tofu stir fry
Salad mix - salad with radishes, topping for smoky miso tofu sandwiches (amazing recipe here)
Radishes - salad (pictured to the right)
Kale - half made into low-calorie chips (recipe here), half sauteed
Dry peas - half cooked and made into a yellow pea hummus, the other half waiting to become something.
Oregano - see week 4.


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