Thursday, July 29, 2010


Wow, I've been really bad lately about posting. But hey, I've been ridiculously busy. Give me a break. This weekend will be the fifth weekend in a row I haven't slept in my own bed. So instead of writing seven blog posts, I'll give you a photo summary.

SB Bachelorette Party

SB got married.
I went for a hike.
Went crabbing at Camano Island. Don't be fooled, this dude was huge.
I finished a birthday project!
Man, it's been fun, by holy criminy, I'm exhausted! But I'm glad I managed to fit in some knitting time to finish that hat. It was a birthday present that was given a bit late due to all the activities. I normally like knitting hats, but this one was pretty much just obnoxious. It's the same one I made for my brother for his birthday, but with different yarn. I hated knitting it then, but I really liked the finished product, so I caved and made it again.

Pattern: Wilson Hat by Norah Gaughan, modified to knit in round
Yarn: Something foreign from Bad Woman I bought because it was soft
Needles: Size 6 Circulars, Size 8 Circulars

I told myself my next project was for me, so I've gone back to working on a bag that I started in early spring. It's an easy pattern, so hopefully I can get in some good knitting time in the car this weekend on my next adventure to E.Wa.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Everyone has a chocolate chip cookie recipe and thinks it's the best. I roll with the classic recipe on the back of the Toll House semi-sweet chocolate chip bag. I'm not saying it's better than yours, but it's my favorite to bake. It's what my mom used, and I've made them so many times I have it memorized.

Toll House Cookies

3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
16 oz (2 cups/1 regular bag) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Pre-heat oven to 375F (I've found I like them better at 350F). Mix sugars in medium bowl. Cream in butter. Beat eggs into mixture until even consistency. Add vanilla.

In separate bowl, mix dry ingredients. (I generally skip this step if I'm using my KitchenAid, but I've found that if hand mixing with a wooden spoon it's totally worth it.)  Add chocolate chips.

Drop rounded tablespoons of dough onto ungreased cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (just started doing this and it's awesome. You can pull the cookies off with your fingers -- no spatula required!). Bake for 9-11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 2 minutes on pan; remove to wire rack to cool completely.

My friend is getting married this week and requested a batch of these cookies to have around the lodge for munching on in the morning while we're getting dressed. I decided to make a batch of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies as well because there will be a ton of people about that morning.

I modified this recipe after eating a giant cookie that an old co-worker of mine made. It was so delicious and chock full of oatmeal that it was almost more granola bar than cookie. She said that she loved her chocolate chip cookie recipe, but just didn't think it was healthy enough for her kids, so she started adding oatmeal to it... then added more oatmeal the next time she made them... then added more the next time.  Now she adds as much oatmeal as she can and still have a dough-like consistency. If she added any more oats it would fall apart when baked. I've started making these, but with all the tricks I've learned to cut out fat and sugars (read calories) in baked goods.

"Healthy" Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
From me!

3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup Splenda
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 egg
1/3 cup egg substitute (such as Egg Beaters)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 2/3 cup flour
~6 cups Quaker Quick-cooking oats (I've tried store brand and much prefer Quaker)
16 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Cream together brown sugar, granulated sugar, and butter. Add applesauce. Don't worry if it looks kind of water and not how creamed butter and sugar usually look.  Beat in egg and egg substitute. Add vanilla

In separate bowl, combine salt, baking soda, and flour. Add to wet mixture and stir until combined. Add oatmeal, 1 cup at a time, until dough is saturated with oatmeal. Add chocolate chips (sometimes I'll add more than 16 ox if I add more than 6 cups oatmeal).

Drop balls of dough onto ungreased cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10 minutes or until tops of cookies just begin to brown. Note: cookies will not flatten or expand if saturated with oats.  Cool 2 minutes on pan; remove to wire rack to cool completely.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Georgian Cheesy Bread

Last summer we had a friend visiting for a long weekend. She had just returned from a trip to Georgia and wanted to thank us for the hospitality by cooking us a Georgian dinner. The whole visit she kept talking about rugs and I was very confused. What, do they make a lot of rugs with peaches on them or something? Later, I found out that she wasn't visiting the state of Georgia, but the country. This small fact made all of the little details suddenly make sense. Like why she was trying to find sour plums, not watermelon and fried chicken.

The meal was delicious. It consisted of a carrot/dill mixture, a green bean and walnut mixture (lobio), some sort of chicken dish, a tart plum sauce (tkemali) to be poured over the entire meal, and a fried bread filled with cheese (khachapuri). All of it was delicious, but sometimes I still dream of of that bread, nicely browned with cheese oozing out of the middle.

So a while back I asked for the recipe and bought the ingredients. I finally got around to making it last week and the results were just as delicious as I remembered.

Khachapuri: Georgian Cheese Bread
From Poppy

2 cups flour
3 Tbsp oil
3/4 cup plain yogurt
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp bakign soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup feta OR 1/4 cup Roquefort cheese
1 cup grated mozzarella (or Georgian suluguni cheese)
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp butter

In medium bowl, beat in 1/3 cup flour with oil.  Add yogurt and mix well. Stir in 1/3 cup more flour. Sift in cornstarch, baking soda and salt into flour mixture.  Gradually stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft but not sticky dough.  Lightly dust with flour and cover with a kitchen towel and let rest at room temperature for 1 hour.

If using feta, soak in water 10 minutes and drain and crumble.  In medium bowl, mix feta or Roquefort  and mozzarella and egg.  Shape cheeses into 2 medium balls and set aside.

Divide dough into 2 portions and roal each into balls.  On floured surface, flatten each ball into a 7-inch round.  With floured hands, gently rotate dough and pull into a 10 inch circle, 1/4 inch thick.  Be careful not to tear dough.  Pat each cheese ball into a 5-inch circle on center of dough.  Gently pull up edge of dough, pleating and pinching to enclose cheese.  Pat into a 7-inch round.

Heat a large cast iron or non-stick skillet over low heat for 3 minutes.  Lightly film skillet with melted butter.  Place bread seam side up into skillet.  Cover and cook for 12 minutes over very low heat, shaking pan occasionally.  Uncover and flip bread over, covering and cooking over low heat until deep golden brown, about 12 minutes.  Lightly brush top of bread with butter and let bread stand for 5 minutes.  Use serrated knife to cut bread and serve warm. 

If you don't have a large enough skillet, bread can be baked in the oven at 375 until golden brown.