October 2007 Posts


Autumn cookies x 2

Fall is here, which means it’s the perfect weather to curl up with a warm drink and, of course, one other essential. No, not a good book. A plate of good cookies.

Here are two recipes for delicious and very fall-ish cookies. They are oldies with a twist.

First up: molasses cookies. Except these have liquefied chocolate in them. You’re simply melting a little butter and some chocolate chips together (Caution: Even though this mixture is in the microwave for only a minute or so, it is hot enough to burn your tongue.) and then adding ingredients from there.

The dough is very sticking and looks a little like, well, poo. It is easiest to drop onto the cookie sheets using two spoons to gather and scrape.

Second, but equally delicious: oatmeal spice cookies. These treats are loaded with cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. And lots of it. Don’t worry if it seems like too much. The excess is what makes them so good.

Be careful not to over bake. The oatmeal cookies will look a little doughy in the center when you take them out of the oven. This ensures they are still soft and chewy once they’ve cooled.

Chocolate molasses cookies
Ingredients:

2/3 C. semisweet chocolate chips
½ C. unsalted butter
1 ½ C. flour
¼ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
2/3 C. brown sugar
1 egg
2 Tbsp. molasses
1 tsp. vanilla
white sugar for dusting

Directions:
Melt chocolate and butter in the microwave in 20-second increments, stirring in between, until smooth. Let cool slightly; mix in brown sugar, egg, molasses and vanilla. Then add flour, baking soda and salt. Stir well. Drop small globs on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 9 to 10 minutes. Immediately after removing pan from oven, lightly pat each cookie with your hand to slightly flatten. Sprinkle white sugar on top. Let cool on pan.

Oatmeal spice cookies
Ingredients:
1 C. shortening
1 C. brown sugar
1 C. white sugar
2 eggs
2 Tbsp. water
1 1/2 C. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cloves
2 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3 C. quick oats
2 C. raisins

Directions:

Cream shortening and sugars; add eggs and water. Add dry ingredients, mixing in oats and raisins last. Mix well. Drop small balls into lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 11 minutes.

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Here’s a French entrée that’s almost as easy as a la mode.

So breaded chicken, a little ham and some melted cheese hardly seems like French cuisine, but, oui oui, it is.

And as it turns out, chicken cordon bleu is surprisingly easy.

A few tips:

1. Use fresh chicken breasts rather than frozen. Straight from the store is easier to work with than thawed meat.

2. You need a very sharp knife to slice through (but not all the way through!) the chicken length wise. Don’t cut the breast completely in half, instead, slice it so it can be opened like a book and then closed up once the cheese and ham are inside.

3. The cheese and ham. Go to your grocery store’s butcher so you can get exactly what you want: thick cheese and thin ham. About a quarter-pound of each will do.

Beyond this, you’re simply stuffing, coating and baking. Bon appetit!

Chicken Cordon Bleu
Ingredients:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 slices Swiss cheese, about half an inch thick
4 slices cooked ham, thinly cut
½ C. seasoned bread crumbs
2 eggs, beaten

Directions:
Cut each chicken breast almost in half, length-wise, leaving one side in tact. (This will help the stuffing stay in place.) Fold a thick piece of Swiss cheese around a thin slice of ham and tuck inside the chicken breast so it is completely enclosed. It may be helpful to secure it will a toothpick. Dip the chicken in the egg and then roll in bread crumbs. Place on a baking sheet coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.

Vodka (a la Diablo) sauce

Marinara is boring. Alfredo is boring. But, together (and with a little kick) the two make magic.
Think creamy tomato with as much or as little red pepper as you want. Delicious!

This spicy vodka sauce recipe is so easy, you can whip it up on the spot for a simple pasta dinner, or make it in advance and freeze it for nights when you're in a pinch.

I've used this one batch three times now, serving it over noodles, cheese ravioli and manicotti. It's a hit every time and makes dinner fast. It does take at least a day to thaw in the fridge, though, so think ahead.

Vodka (a la Diablo) sauce
Ingredients:

½ C. butter
1 small onion, diced
1 C. vodka
2, 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
1 pint heavy cream
Directions:
Saute onion in butter in a large skillet over medium heat. When soft, add vodka and let cook for 10 minutes or so. Add tomatoes and cook for 30 minutes. Add cream and cook for another 30 minutes.

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Experiments in Cookology by Brye Butler
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