Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Joy of Peanut Butter Cookies

Fathers deserve lots of love. Especially tummy love, since there is no better way to a man's heart than through his stomach -- true for young and old alike. :) When I want to show my daddy how much I love him, I know just the cookie to go to.

My father and grandfather are infatuated with good, old-fashioned peanut butter cookies. The more peanut butter, the better, they tell me.

Another man in my life, who has never steered me wrong when it comes to baked goods, led me to this fanastic cookbook with the best cookie recipes hands-down. (Perhaps there are other good recipes in there too, I just can't seem to make my way out of the cookie section....) If you haven't tried the oatmeal cookies yet, you must. But make sure you double the batch, for you will eat all the batter of the first batch. And, by the way, there is no subsitute for butter...I reluctantly substituted margarine once and it tasted awful.

Oh yes, the peanut butter cookies. (Heh, distractions.) When I was in search of a peanut butter cookie recipe the other day, I knew just where to go. I believe half the dough contains peanut butter so you better be prepared for the peanut explosion in your mouth. Personally, I can't get enough of peanut butter. I mean, they are called peanut butter cookies for a reason, right? These are so good that, although the first round I stuck in the oven got burned, they still tasted good. (Although maybe not as good as the ones correctly cooked....) The plate of them disappeared before dinner even began. Perhaps these need a double batch as well.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Cherry Cobbler

Nothing makes my heart sing quite like beautiful fruit.
My housemates and I can't get enough of this delicious, summery dessert. I've made it several times with fresh Rainiers from the farmers' market.
A cherry pitter can make your job quick and easy, but I prefer the drawn-out method. Sitting on the floor, leaning against the cupboard, carefully coaxing the pits out of each cherry, dropping them into a bowl....it is so very human and relaxing.

2 1/2 c. cherries
1/4 c. sugar (less if you have sweeter cherries)

1 1/4 c. flour
2 t. baking powder
1/3 c. brown sugar
1/4 t. salt
1 egg
1/2 c. buttermilk
3 T. butter

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
Mix pitted cherries in a bowl with 1/4 c. or less of sugar. Spread in the bottom of a pie dish of 9x9 square pan.
Mix together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. In a small bowl, mix together egg, buttermilk, and melted butter. Incorporate into dry ingredients until just combined. Spoon by tablespoonfuls onto the cherries.
Bake 25-30 minutes, until browned on top.

Enjoy with a glass of cold milk.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Baby S'mores

What do you do when you are without a good ol' campfire to roast s'mores? Make s'mores mix full of baby s'mores, of course!
S'mores Mix
1 bag Golden Graham cereal
1 bag of mini marshmallows
1 bag of chocolate chips

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Teriyaki Chicken with Bok Choy

If you aren't one for frequenting the Saturday morning markets, you're missing out on some of the finest produce this time of year. I purchased some Rainier cherries at the grocery a bit ago, and then another bunch at the market a few days later. There was a significant difference in sweetness between the grocery pick and the market pick, as well as in price. My market find was by far the better deal and was keener in satisfying the sweet tooth.

One of the finest vegetable stands at the one I visit carries a variety of Asian produce. I chose to be a bit adventurous last week and purchased baby bok choy, a vegetable I've never cooked with before. I remembered encountering previously it in stir-fry dishes, but was certain there were other ways to enjoy its leafy green goodness. Here's an option. :)

Teriyaki Chicken with Boy Choy

4 heads of baby bok choy
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 T. olive oil
1/4 c. water
pinch of sliced almonds

1 chicken breast
salt and pepper, to season
1 T. olive oil

1 clove of garlic, minced
1 shallot (or other onion substitute)
4 T. soy sauce
2 T. vinegar

Slice ends off of bok choy and rinse thoroughly. Separate stalks.
Heat olive oil over medium-low heat in sauce pan. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add bok choy and cook about 1 minutes, stirring. Add water and turn heat down to low. Cover and simmer about 5 minutes, until bok choy is softened.
Rinse pan. Add 1 T. olive oil. Heat at medium-low. Slice chicken in strips. Season with salt and pepper.
Add garlic and shallots to the pan, cook about 2-3 minutes until softened. Add chicken to pan and turn, browning on all sides.
Mix together vinegar and soy sauce. Pour over chicken and cover pan, turning down heat to simmer. Let cook about 10 minutes.
Place cooked bok choy in a bowl. Sprinkle with sliced almonds. Place chicken atop bed of bok choy. Enjoy with or without chopsticks. :)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Let's Hear it for the Red, White and Blue

Summer camp at the school where I work is always an adventure. But this year we've taken it one step further and have made it a BIG adventure shooting back and forth between different places in time. (Eerily reminiscent of Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure perhaps.... :-p) Our first few weeks started out with a time machine to take us there. Unfortunately, some punk kids from the neighborhood thought it appropriate to creep by in the middle of the night and walk off with our black box of adventure. It's okay. We can still access the time contiuum portal without it. You can take our machine but you can't take our imaginations....

This week was supposed to be a jump back to the colonial period. I stopped by the first grade classroom to catch the kids inventing a machine -- a la Ben Franklin -- with their bodies. It was the noisiest, craziest machine I'd ever seen....loved it!! :)

Red, white and blue permeated the week in true patriotic style. The counselors-in-training challenged all to a cake baking contest Friday with the only requirement being that is was patriotic. My co-teacher of the day in the 3rd-4th grade classroom is a Disney fanatic. Do you know of anyone who spends every vacation at the happiest place on earth and explains nearly every project according to an analogy based on a scene from a Disney film?? :) He announced that we would be making a Mickey Mouse cake, no questions asked, explaining that Mickey was certainly one of the most patriotic things around. Hey, when you love something that much, you can make it fit into any category you desire. Don't judge.
Wild West Mickey? Dress him up like a cowboy. Star Wars Mickey? Darth Vadar-style. Wii Mickey? Just make that round face a little chubbier and cut off his arms. San Francisco Mickey? Put some flowers in his hair.

Patriotic Mickey? Let's hear it for the red, white and blue.
And don't forget the fireworks.