I usually do a ton of cooking on Sunday so I don’t have to cook much during the workweek. I tried a lot of new recipes this week and I have some winners!! Ding ding!
First up are blueberry muffin bites. Think Lara bar in blueberry muffin form! The flavor is just like a blueberry muffin and the lemon zest balances out the sweetness of the dates and blueberries.
I braised vegetables a lot this week. Thekitchn.com did a focus on them so I had to try a couple types. These simple braised carrots with dill are finished with a bit of sherry vinegar and quite refreshing. And the braised radishes have a unique flavor while maintaining that radish crunch.
Next up, I poached beets in a vinegar solution. It was easy (no peeling beforehand) and made the kitchen smell fantastic. I love beets cooked any old way but it was a new method and I’m hooked!
For Sunday dinner, I stuck to an old standard: root vegetable mash, served with bacon apple pork chops. It was my first time using arrowroot as a thickener and I’m all in. It was easy and no strange flavor!
I made a few other things but I haven’t adequately sampled them so I will wait to share my biased opinion. The excitement today is my first day of our new (to me) CSA. We are getting watermelon, cantaloupe, peaches, grapefruit, cucumbers, tomatoes, and summer squash! Welcome to summer!
It’s no doubt that I love cookies. I make them a lot, but don’t blog about them (ok, lately I don’t blog about much) because they are usually the same chocolate chip recipe- my recipe. Ok, maybe I need to blog them. They are special. I digress. Chocolate chip cookies are a popular favorite for good reason. The dough is relatively easy to assemble. Butter. Chocolate. Do you need more of a reason? For the Great American Cookie Swap, I knew I needed something a bit MORE. In a sea of so many delightfully talented food bloggers, how would i stand out? Joy the Baker’s Homemade Decadence is how. When I saw her idea of adding pistachios, my favorite nut of the moment, and smoked sea salt to the classic chocolate chip cookie, I knew I had a winner. I tweaked the process a little because I have found in my hot Arizona kitchen, chilling is needed between forming and baking to prevent the dreaded spread. The salty brings out the sweet in these slightly addictive cookies. I hope Mackenzie at Susie Freaking Homemaker, Juliana at Julie’s Jazz and Melissa at Served Up With Love enjoyed them.
Meanwhile, I made out like a bandit with this year’s Great American Cookie Swap. I got crunchy, coffee-dunkable chocolate chip biscotti from Miss over at Miss in the Kitchen. The pretzel, toffee, chocolate chip cookies from Jamie at the Kitchenarium were super addictive. And Mindy at the Cheater Chef hit it out of the park with my favorite non-chocolate flavor: Lemon Poppyseed Cookies.
Smoked Sea Salt Pistachio Cookies
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
1 cup shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped
smoked sea salt, for sprinkling
- Put racks in center and upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugars until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the egg and beat for about 1 minute. Add the vanilla and beat until incorporated.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add this mixture all at once to the butter mixture. beat on low speed until just incorporated. Beat in the chocolate chips and nuts.
- Scoop the cookie dough, about 2 tablespoons per cookie, onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches in between each cookie. sprinkle generously with smoked sea salt.
- Put the cookies in the freezer for at least 30 minutes.
- Bake until just golden brown, 10-12 minutes. Let the cookies cool on the pans for 5 minutes before transferring them to wire racks to cool completely. The cookies will last, well wrapped, at room temperature for up to 4 days.
A lot has been going on in my little world. I could probably do 10 on Friday but that isn’t as cute and I need to get down to business!
1. I got a new job! And it is related to my degree! This is great news. I am so excited to be using my education. Of course, it means more studying, but that is ok. I had the pleasure of getting fingerprinted for it, which is always interesting. I have now been fingerprinted 5 times. One time with ink. That was no bueno. I was in a suit too, so I was very nervous about getting it on myself. This time was electronic. Much cooler. Apparently I didn’t burn off my fingertips when I worked in restaurants.
2. I started Crossfit again. I am just in need of a major change with my fitness and this is a great way for me to get back on track. The gym was amazing and I am super excited about getting back into it. I never felt that comfortable at crossfit but maybe Tucson is the place for me to do that! I did a lot of burpees and power snatches last night. Weeeeeeee. I probably look more like this than this.
3. I am officially obsessed with the Gilmore Girls. I play it constantly on my Kindle Fire and carry it with me from room to room while I am doing things around the house. Lorelai annoys me slightly but also reminds me of a good friend (in a good way) and I adore Rory so much. I have no idea why I didn’t watch the show when it was on TV but I am glad I have it now! Now Lorelai and Luke need to get together (no spoilers, I’m on season 4).
4. I am in a major purge of EVERYTHINGGGGGGG. It’s a long story but my clothes have been in a storage unit far away from me for over a year. So when we were reunited, I was motivated to junk a lot of them. Two large trash bags later and now I am itching to be rid of more stuff. Why is there so much stuff everywhere??? It takes time but, it feels so good when it is gone. I am trying to replace things and not add to the clutter. One in, one out.
5. I am in a cooking rut. I think I have too many options from which to choose. I just got Homemade Decadence, by Joy Wilson and Plenty More, by Yotam Ottolenghi, but I haven’t made a single dish from either. I keep dragging them out, paging through half the book and putting it down and doing nothing. I was using Seriously Delish, by Jessica Merchant a ton when I first got it and love it, I think I just need to make a concerted effort to use books and not the internet.
In my opinion, it’s not too late to join the Joy the Baker Podcast Summer Bucket List because summer starts on 6/21. Ok so now that that is out of the way…dumdumdadum….
Summer Bucket List 2012!
- shop at the Farmer’s market twice a month
- go to Crossfit 3 times per week
- make grapefruit curd sandwich cookies
- make a Paleo ice cream, a sorbet and a fruit ice cream
- eat lunch at City Bakery
- make this cake for my birthday: Seven Sins Chocolate Cake
- make 2 new recipes per week and blog them!
- get my nails painted a not pink/red color….eek I’m nervous about this one!!
Phew, I’m tired just reading it! I can’t wait to update you on my adventures. I will say that I went to Crossfit 3 times this week and my hip flexors are out of control sore. Like woah. Time to eat some dark chocolate and rest up for the farmer’s market tomorrow morning!!
Man, this month has just flown by. I finished finals, did a whirlwind visit with Sparky’s parents and (re)started my summer job (I had been working there part time during March and April). The last few weeks, I feel like I am just getting my sea legs back, plus getting used to a regular work week. I think I am back to share some recipes with ya’ll. Anyway, before we get to that, I simply must discuss the amazing box that I received from Julie at Julie Goes Healthy.
First off, I was delighted to meet her because we both lived in NC at one point. She has since moved back to Cali and I requested local items. Ya’ll, Julie has set the bar super high! Every treat was special, delicious and Sparky and I tore through that box pretty darn fast. In fact, this is all I have to show for it:
So lame. We just couldn’t stop nibbling and I just never took a picture. So the goods were:
- “Have a Corn Chips” – Laguna Beach, CA
- “By Hand Granola” – Hermosa Beach, CA
- Chocolate Covered Corn Flakes from Christopher Michael Chocolates – Costa Mesa, CA
- These amazing raw peanut butter cookies that I loved tremendously
- A super delish granola that I ate before I went to work out
- and Acai Berry Sambazon energy drink – the one thing that I am saving, perhaps it will get consumed this weekend!!
Thanks, Julie – you are an amazing pen pal! Thanks for such a special box of treats.
If you are interested in participating in the foodie pen pals, the awesome Lindsay at the Lean Green Bean has organized this and you can learn how to participate here.