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Sunday, July 29, 2012

Amy's Favorite Oatmeal Raisin Cookie

Given the sad state of our recent postings over the past month—nonexistence—we are very grateful that two of our guest bloggers came through this week. Amy Friedman offers her recipe for oatmeal raisin cookies below, and later this week we'll feature a foolproof bread recipe courtesy of Ro Ann Redlin. 

As we love, love, LERVE oatmeal raisin cookies, we can't wait to try this recipe. Thanks, Amy! 

In the past, when I've contributed to this blog, it's been a recipe I made up myself. This time, at Ruth's request, I'd like to offer my very favorite oatmeal raisin cookie recipe.

The recipe comes from Gifts from Your Kitchen, a 1988 Sunset book. The Sunset books, which focused on the domestic arts (recipes, household organization, woodworking and the like) were incredibly popular back in the day, especially for do-it-yourselfers. I have a small collection of them (so do we!—R&T), and this one is a particular favorite—so well-thumbed that the pages are all loose from the binding! But I digress . . . 

Anyway, as oatmeal cookie recipes go, this one is a little different from most. It's one of the few that doesn't include vanilla but does include lemon juice. It's flexible: you can halve it (I do so frequently), subtract the nuts for allergic friends, use light brown instead of dark brown sugar, throw in a little ginger or cinnamon, leave out the raisins or put in chocolate chips instead. No matter what, it works fine. 

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

1 c. (1/2 pound, or two sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature 
2 c. firmly packed brown sugar (light or dark—your preference)
2 eggs
3 T lemon juice (RealLemon OK)
2 c. all-purpose flour
1 t salt 
1 t baking soda
3 c. quick-cooking oats
1 1/4 c. raisins
1 c. chopped walnuts

1. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar till creamy. Add eggs and lemon juice. (I use a handheld mixer.)

2. In another bowl, stir the flour, salt and baking soda. Gradually add these dry ingredients to the wet, and blend well. Add the oats, raisins and walnuts, mixing well after each addition. , 

3. Drop dough onto ungreased baking sheets. (I roll the dough into little balls, about one inch in diameter, and place them on the sheets. Don't worry about not greasing the sheets—you won't need it. Promise.) 

4. Bake cookies in a preheated 350 oven for 12 to 14 minutes. (Check after 12 minutes: the edges of the cookies should just be browning, and they should smell GOOOOOOD.)

5. Take the cookies out of the oven, and let them sit for about five minutes (they'll bake a little more, from the heat of the cookie sheets). Loosen cookies from the sheets with a metal spatula, and place on a plate to cool.  I store them in a Ziploc bag. And no, they don't last long! 

A few notes:

 I sometimes substitute craisins for the raisins or put in a mix of the two. 
* You can use margarine instead of butter.
* If you use salted butter, omit (or reduce) the salt.
* If you forget to take the butter out to soften the night before, just put the stick(s) of butter on top of the stove when you're preheating - by the time the oven is at the right temperature, the butter should be usable. (I tend to keep my butter in the freezer till ready to use, and this method works even with frozen butter. It won't be soft, but will be usable.)
* Half the recipe will produce about 3 dozen 1 1/2 inch wide cookies.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Refreshing Summer Zucchini 'Sushi' Rollups

Our vacation house had little in the way of food or good utensils, but we did have a lot of zucchini from our CSA box. We had invited some other couples over and the main course was prepared ahead of time.

 But what to serve for appetizers while we sat around and got reacquainted?

Boursin or Rondele cheese spreads are now available everywhere, so we bought two tubs (the Boursin was on sale, so we went that way) with he idea of making zucchini rollups that looked like little sushi rolls.

 With the mandolin and super slicer back at home, the generic potato pealer would have to do -- and it did nicely. Thin strips of zucchini, a teaspoon of cheese spread, and a slice of bell pepper to give it some color. Red would have looked best, but oddly, we had a yellow pepper, so that's what we used.

 Secured with a toothpick and served on a plate where we gathered for refreshments, these rollups were very popular, and had just enough tang to go with the crisp white wines we were serving.

 A pretty quick and easy app.

 We also served watermelon squares drizzled with a balsamic vinegar reduction. Also very refreshing during our heat spell.