Archive | October, 2012

Everything but the kitchen sink…cookies

3 Oct

On a girl’s weekend this summer my friend KJ brought some AMAZING cookies. They were full of nuts and cranberries so we fooled ourselves into thinking they were health bars or something. They barely lasted two hours. Anyhow, her recipe is super easy and very adaptable. I’ve experimented making healthier versions. And not by doing something silly like reducing the butter content, but using more whole grains and fiber-rich ingredients. The result has always been delicious!

Posting this recipe also gives me the chance to show off some of my newly acquired Adobe InDesign skills! (My fingers are itching to re-do the other recipes I’ve posted…)

My latest batch included pecans, cranberries, almonds, sesame seeds and coconut.  Why fork out $10 for English Bay cookie dough when you can whip up your very own – somewhat healthier – batch anytime?

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Got green tomatoes?

1 Oct

Fried Green Tomatoes: slice, dredge in seasoned flour, dip in egg wash, coat with panko, and fry. Serve with some mozzarella, basil and a squeeze of lemon.

My mum was recently ‘gifted’ with two pail-fulls of big green tomatoes on her doorstep.  Apparently our family was the last hope for these tomatoes, their gardener’s were confident we ‘would know just what to do with them.’  Beyond frying them up I really had no clue of what to do with this many green tomatoes.  There are lots of recipes for jams, relishes, pickles and chutney’s but nothing that excited me about using or gifting.  And as excitement is the catalyst for my fanaticism, I was feeling quite uninspired.  Then my Mum dug out a recipe from The Timberland Shoebox Collection for Green Tomato Mincemeat.  It’s harkens from an era sometime before I was born – when suet was easier to come by – and came with Mum’s Guarantee of Deliciousness.  It also included the requisite post-it attachment with modern-day substitutions.  I’ve recreated the recipe here, because I recently took an Adobe course and I’m design-happy.

DISCLAIMER & DEFENSE: I know that mincemeat conjures up images of nasty bits of mystery meat masked by high fructose corn syrup and overpowering spices.  I get that it sounds terrible and could really use a rebrand much like Fruitcake Panforte.  Regardless of the name, it’s been around for at least a millennium so obviously there’s something to this mysterious confection that keeps it in our history books.  It’s got to be worth trying to make…at least once.

Mincemeat Wednesday

Now inspired by my mum’s well-worn recipe card, I hacked into those unripened heirlooms with fervor.  There’s a virtue that comes when working with a challenging ingredient, especially one that might otherwise meet its end in a compost heap.  It took us nearly four hours to simply chop up the tomatoes and apples. NOTE: Have a good knife and a sharpener on hand!  Flash-forwards of a possible three AM canning session danced before me, so we hit the pause button and plastic wrapped everything to be finished the next day.

Mincemeat Thursday

Feeling decidedly refreshed, we reconvened after work.  It was luxurious to have everything prepared!  Well, almost everything.  Preparing the second half of the ingredients is easy and quick, with the exception of peeling and juicing the citrus fruits.  That’s mostly because I’m a peel purist so I pared the oranges and lemons by hand, shaved off the bitter white bits and then finely minced them.  You could also use a grater.  Within an hour we were simmering our first batch.  (The recipe below is for one batch and I’ve adjusted the timing accordingly.)  The addition of the cider, spice and citrus mixture causes a marked difference in the consistency and color of the mincemeat.  We let it cook down for an hour or so before hot packing the jars.  This is where a six (or eight!) burner cooktop would really be great as we had to do some careful yet dodgy rearranging of the simmering mincemeat and boiling water canner.

The pan on the left shows the mixture just after adding the second half of the ingredients. The pan on the right shows the mincemeat after 45 minutes of simmering.

Look at all that nice dice!

We’ll let the jars sit for a month before cracking into them.  Early taste tests indicate it’ll be amazing!

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