Adventures of an unfussy foodie.

October 07, 2015

Road Trip Chocolate Chip Cookies {with Rolos + Potato Chips}

A couple years ago, I did these cookies as a guest post for Bintu at Recipes From a Pantry. And this morning I woke up craving them. (Also craving revenge upon the dogs next door, since they are the reason I'm up at 4:30 in the morning...) So I thought you should have the recipe, too. I like to be helpful like that.

This makes a great plain chocolate chip cookie, but it's so much more fun with other treats mixed in. Rolos and potato chips are among my favorite road trip munchies, and I just thought they would make the most incredible cookie combo. And they do, though I say it myself. How can you go wrong, really? Vanilla-scented dough, creamy, chewy, gooey Rolo candies, and a sprinkling of mini chocolate chips, just for kicks and giggles.

We've got the treats. Let's hit the road! Where we going?

Road Trip Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from Cook's Illustrated

2 c. + 2 Tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 sticks salted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk, at room temp.
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. halved Rolo candies
1/2 c. coarsely chopped, plain potato chips
1/3 c. mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Mix the flour and baking soda in a bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, mix the butter and sugars until combined. Add egg, egg yolk, and vanilla and stir until well mixed. Gradually add flour mixture, and mix until a stiff dough forms. Gently fold in Rolos, potato chips, and chocolate chips into the dough until evenly distributed.
Shape dough into walnut-sized balls (I use a cookie scoop), and place on parchment-lined cookie sheet (the parchment is important for these, since the caramel can ooze out and stick to the pan terribly).
Bake for 8-12 minutes, or until the edges are slightly brown. Be careful not to overbake.
Let cool for a few minutes on the pan before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

October 02, 2015

Pasta in Lemon Cream Sauce with Tuna and Peas + An Announcement

I hate to be a tease, so I'll get the announcement portion of this post done right up front.

For a long while -- more than a couple of years -- I have been wanting to make some changes to this site. Major, major changes. And now the wheels are in motion to make those changes a reality. I am very excited about it! I'm talking about a total re-branding of my blog with a new name, new look, and new URL. I'm still working things out, but get excited with me because it's coming!

About this pasta.
I am a pasta addict. Sometimes I try to stay away because, you know, "carbs" and all that. But I love carbs, and there is something so satisfying about a pasta dinner.

This recipe came that primordial ooze which is called desperation on one of those nights when my dinner plan fell through and I needed something quick using what we had on hand. One lemon, a couple cloves of garlic, a splash of cream, some Parmesan cheese and a can of tuna later and dinner was on the table. I've made it twice more since that first night. Everyone in my family eats it up with a smile, including my sometimes-picky preschooler and even the baby!

The leftovers are even fantastic rewarmed the next day, which is rare in the world of cream-based pasta sauces.

Pasta in Lemon Cream Sauce with Tuna and Peas
adapted from this Rachael Ray recipe

1 lb. pasta
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 lemons, zested and juiced
1/2 - 3/4 c. cream
1 c. grated Parmesan
2 cans tuna, drained
2 c. frozen peas
salt and pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then add the pasta.

Meanwhile, heat a large deep skillet over low heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil and garlic and sauté.

When the pasta has been cooking about 5 minutes, add lemon juice, a ladle of the cooking water from the pasta, and the cream to the garlic and oil. Raise heat a bit to bring sauce to a low bubble.

Drain pasta when it still has a good bite to it, al dente. Add lemon zest and half of the cheese to the cream sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and add pasta, tuna, and peas to the pan. Toss with sauce a minute or 2, allowing it time to soak up the sauce. Stir in remaining cheese and serve.

September 07, 2015

Ginger Pear Cake

When I was in 9th grade, I had this math teacher who had us hand in our homework folded in half with our names and period number on the outside. I'm not sure if he just gave us credit for effort or if he ever actually looked at our work, but I usually got full points for whatever I turned in. Which really makes you wonder if he ever even looked at the stuff. Really.
There was a rumor going around that someone had turned in a sheet of paper that said only "You suck, Mr. Whittaker" and received full credit.

I think of that sometimes when I'm writing a recipe post with a pretty picture. Does it even really matter what I say here? Pretty picture. Scroll down to the recipe. Make. Eat. Happy face.

I think my work here is done.

What? No?

Okay. Fine.

This one is absolutely worth putting on your baking list this fall. Pumpkin and apple are not the only superstars!

This bread/cake/yumminess is the epitome of fall. It tastes like a crisp afternoon kicking around crunchy leaves as much as anything really can. It has a great hit of spice, and the lemon zest and glaze kick up the ginger flavor in such a nice way. (Though I've had it without the lemon and it is perfectly lovely still.) It also makes great loaves for giving away (or hoarding for yourself -- no judgment here), and is great with a lemon glaze, or sprinkled with turbinado sugar,  or without any such gilding of the lily. You could add half a cup of pecans and/or half a cup of dried cranberries to make it heartier, and you can also sub 1 cup of the flour for whole wheat pastry flour, if you're so inclined. And if you like it a little spicy, some chopped crystallized ginger wouldn't be a bad idea at all. Maybe a couple tablespoons to a quarter cup? I'm getting carried away, though, because this doesn't need any of that to command your full attention.

It makes a fantastic accompaniment to your favorite sweater and a cup of tea -- I like chamomile or lemon, or my favorite Passion tea.
Ah... fall. Welcome back, my dear, dear friend. I have missed you so!

Ginger Pear Cake


for cake
1/2 c. oil
1/2 c. mashed pear -- about one medium pear (applesauce could also be substituted)
3 eggs
2 c. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
zest of one lemon
3 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
3/4 tsp. ginger
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. chopped pears -- about 2 medium fresh pears, peeled and cored

for lemon glaze
juice of one lemon
1 tsp. vanilla
small pinch of salt
1 c. powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and generously grease a standard 12 c. capacity bundt pan*. Set aside.
In one bowl, mix together the oil, mashed pear (or applesauce), eggs, sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla extract. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt.
Add the sugar mixture to the flour mixture and fold together until almost thoroughly combined.
Add the chopped pears and fold gently until pears are evenly distributed and no streaks of dry flour remain. Pour and spread into prepared pan and bake for 60 to 70 minutes, or until a toothpick tested in the center of the tube comes out cleanly.
Let cool in pan 10 minutes before turning out onto a cake plate or wire rack to cool completely.
Meanwhile, mix together all ingredients for glaze in a small bowl. If you like a thicker glaze, add more powdered sugar until it reaches the consistency you like. The amounts included here will make a pretty thin glaze, which I like. When cake has cooled, drizzle with the glaze as desired.

*This recipe can also make two loaves of pear bread. Instead of using one bundt pan, grease two loaf pans and divide the batter evenly between them.
If desired, sprinkle the tops generously with turbinado sugar. Use about 2 Tbsp. to top each loaf. Begin checking for doneness at 55 minutes. Omit the glaze.

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