Saturday, January 29, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Recipe #66: Page 766-767 in the 75th anniversary edition of the Joy of Cooking. Yep, you'll have to look it up the old-school way, on paper.

Well, some days you just need something familiar to cheer you up so I figured a day of snow and cold temperatures would be a good time to make a familiar recipe for chocolate chip cookies. My mom makes these for my dad on occasion so I asked her for the recipe. Turns out it's in my very own copy of the Joy of Cooking that I got for Christmas in 2009.

I didn't really do much in the way of substitution for this recipe. That's not as easy in baking as it can be in cooking, or so I'm learning. The only thing I did differently was use Splenda in lieu of the (white) sugar called for.

I always thought this recipe would take a long time to make, but it's pretty quick. I'm glad I was wrong. My mom said she usually doubles it but since I'm not making mine for the masses, I used the original quantities. The book says it yields about 36 2.5 inch cookies.... I got 18 obese ones.

That reminds me of the time my best friend and I made this recipe in a fit of domesticity when we were young. She's always been better in the kitchen whereas I'm the better reader, but somehow between the two of us, we overlooked the fact that these are "drop" cookies, and we carefully flattened each of ours before chucking them in the oven. We ended up with two giant cookies pretty much the exact dimensions of our cookie sheets...

In truth and in fact, I prefer these cookies when my mom makes them. Hers are probably the proper size which means the middles aren't thick and almost not-quite-baked-enough like mine. Hers are a bit crisper overall too. If you like big, soft, chewy chocolate chip cookies, then by all means use their "heaping teaspoon" measurement literally like I did when dumping them on the cookie pans. Otherwise, maybe you'd better ask her what she does differently. Mine are still edible but things taste better when they're made by a mom with love.

Monday, January 17, 2011

20-Minute Chicken Linguine

Right, so I've been off the air for a while, haven't I? I seem to have done nothing in the kitchen (worth blogging) for the month of December. Well, now that I've returned to school and am still working, which translates to even less spare time than when I was only working, I'm hoping to keep up better with the blog.

Tonight's recipe was a bit of a whim. It got emailed to me in the weekly suggestion list from Canadian Living. A few emails home to see whether a) the recipe would be agreed to for dinner, and if that was successful, then b) what ingredients I already had on hand. A couple of hours of rock climbing after work then a trip to the grocery store on the way home and I'm ready to go.

I'm not sure who thought to give a time definition for this recipe. It certainly took me far longer than 20 minutes - more like nearly an hour. Not good when I've been up since 0530 and I'm eating dinner at 2100. Mind you, some of the delay came from my having to thaw the chicken while I chopped garlic and onion (and mistakenly rubbed my eye afterward). Regardless, it wasn't 20 minutes at this house.

As for alterations: I had chicken thighs already, not breasts. I just used all the thighs in the bag but it probably equated what the recipe called for. I couldn't find cherry tomatoes so I used grape ones. We didn't have linguine at home so I used up the remainder of the vermicelli. I opted for spinach instead of raddichio as the Charmer doesn't like raddichio. I passed on the green onion altogether. Blech.

I chose to roughly measure the S&P into the plastic bag that had held the chicken, then returned the now-sliced chicken to the bag and shook it up to season it. The advantage to having used the vermicelli is that it took 5 minutes to cook al dente whereas the recipe calls for linguine that takes 10 minutes. I'm hungry and really tired. I haven't got an extra 5 minutes to wait for food.

So the end result it surprisingly tasty. I'm always a little skeptical of pasta without some kind of traditional "sauce" (white, red, blush), but this one still has good flavour. It has the added bonus of good-for-you-ness with the garlic, tomatoes, olive oil and spinach. Give it a try and tell me how yours turns out.