sugar cookies

I've never made a great sugar cookie, but it's been years since I tried. New project: find a recipe and method that works.

Tonight I made the dough for Alton Brown's recipe:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon milk
and I added 2 tsp vanilla.
I creamed the butter by itself first, then added the sugar. I never really get my sugar totally dissolved in my butter so it's not gritty, and this time was no exception. My arm just gets too tired. Someday with a better-sized bowl, or a stand mixer, I'll try that. (Or maybe a food processor. Hmm.) By the time I was done adding all of the flour, the dough was in small clumps and didn't/wouldn't really cohere. I'm not sure if that was because my mixer bowl is gigantic, but I think it's happened before. At any rate - you're supposed to chill the dough for two hours, so I divided it in half, scooped up half and molded it into a lump with my hands (and I think the heat and pressure from my hands helped it cohere quite a bit) and wrapped it in plastic wrap, and then added a little more milk to the second half, mixed it more, and wrapped it up. We'll see which (if any) comes out better. Next time, (if I'm not happy with these results) I'll try a recipe that uses two eggs.

Verdict: I am giving up on making sugar cookies because I cannot roll them out without them sticking to the surface or breaking for love or money.

Dutch Babies

I made a Dutch Baby (man, the name is silly) pancake for brunch today using this recipe:

I don't have a 10" skilet so I made it in a 9.5" Pyrex pie pan. I used an electric hand mixer instead of a whisk, and I didn't sift the flour because I have no sifter (or even strainer, sigh. This is not a well-equipped kitchen.) I added a splash of vanilla extract and some sugar to the batter.
It came out looking like this:

chicken and sage and onions and stuff

This was really tasty:

3 frozen chicken tenders, mostly defrosted, sliced into small pieces
marinated in:
juice of half a lemon
soy sauce
ground sage

most of an onion, sliced
one carrot, sliced
maybe 5 mushrooms (which had been frozen, just thrown loosely into a plastic container and left for 3-4 months!), sliced
one small potato, microwaved to pre-cook it, sliced
and the chicken,
sauteed in some oil with some added paprika, with a lid on the pan

I added a bit of water at one point after the natural juices seemed to be drying up.
At the end I added this roux-ish thing I made out of a TBS of butter and some flour, which was a bit...odd, since I don't really know my way around roux.

But damn, the whole thing was super tasty. I think sage is my new favorite herb. And next time I'd like to try it without the roux. I'm curious how much the butter added. I hope it'd be tasty without it.
ETA: I made it again and it was fine without the butter mixture. I added an extra potato, also pre-cooked, which broke apart a bit and added some thickness. It doesn't look glamorous, but it's gooooood.

kale/chickpea soup

I tried this recipe tonight, slightly modified.

Original said:
You could also switch out the beans for chickpeas and use cumin and smoked paprika and crushed red pepper and I think also get a very nice soup with a different flavor.

Bean Soup with Kale

Olive Oil
8 large garlic cloves, crushed or minced
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
4 cups chopped raw kale
4 cups vegetable broth (I add more if needed)
2 15-oz cans of white beans such as cannellini or navy, undrained
4 plum tomatoes chopped (I used 2 cans of diced tomatoes)
(optional) 1/2 butternut squash, cubed or a couple of sweet potatoes
2 tsps. dried italian herb seasoning (or 1 tsp each dried thyme and rosemary)
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, heat olive oil. Add garlic and onion; saute unitl soft. Add kale and saute, stirring until wilted. Add potatoes or squash and saute, stirring until soft. Add broth, bean and all of tomatoes, herbs and salt and pepper.

Sometimes I put 1/2 can of the beans in a blender with some broth and blend until smooth and I stir that in the soup to thicken or use a hand blender in the pot at the end of cooking.

Simmer on low for a couple of hours.
I used canola oil (olive oil isn't good for high heat), slightly more kale, vegetable bouillon instead of broth, a little less than half a (large) butternut squash, only one can of chickpeas, a large onion (plus a little more I had in the fridge added later), a little more than half a 26-oz package of chopped Pomi tomatoes, added a single stalk of celery, and used the red pepper flakes/paprika, and cumin as seasoning.

pasta + vegetables

I watched a friend make this last night and would like to replicate it some time. It was richer than I'd expect.

chopped onion + garlic
sliced vegetables: bell pepper, broccoli, snow peas, grape tomatoes

Saute onion and garlic with some Italian seasonings, then add other veggies. Toward the end--some grape tomatoes.
Then, add milk(mixed with buttermilk, this time) (and I think also some vegennaise?)and cook for a bit. Then add "Italian" breadcrumbs. And add some cheese (he used grated Havarti.) Serve over pasta and with some chicken or other meat for protein.


1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1/2 of a large bunch of kale, shredded into thin ribbons (I include the stems, especially if they're not too tough.)
grated cheese (maybe 3 oz?) I used Havarti but anything would probably be tasty

Put quinoa and water in a pot; bring to a boil. Cover and lower the heat. After 15 minutes, turn off the heat. Dump in the shredded cheese and stir a little bit with a fork. Add the shredded kale and stir a bit too. Put the lid back on and let sit for about 5 more minutes to lightly cook the kale and melt the cheese. Stir again and eat/serve.

Chocolate chip cookies (without a mixer!)

Recipe modified from

1 cup butter
1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 cup uncooked rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1.5-2 cups chocolate chips

Melt the butter over the stove in a large pot. Turn off the heat. Stir in the sugars until well mixed, then place in fridge for 10 minutes to cool. Meanwhile - combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
Remove mixture from fridge. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. Stir in flour mixture and oats, then chocolate chips.

Form into 1" (or slightly less) balls on parchment paper on cookie sheet. Chill in fridge for 30 minutes or more. Preheat oven to 325, bake for 12-14 (or more)
minutes. Remove parchment paper from cookie sheet and let cookies cool.

These are nice and chewy, not too thin...but I think I might omit the cinnamon next time. It's distracting. I can also see using a little bit less sugar and slightly fewer chocolate chips.
Next attempt, 1/24: 1 cup packed dark brown sugar, 1/4 cup white sugar, no cinnamon, 1 1/4 cups of chocolate chips. The amount of chocolate chips was good, but there was something off about the taste and texture. More sugar next time, I suppose.

poppyseed muffins

1.75 ? cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
2.5 tsp baking powder
dash of salt
1+ cups milk
1/2 cup poppyseeds
1/4 cup melted butter
1 egg
good bit of vanilla

Soak poppyseeds in milk. Combine ingredients like you would for other muffin recipes...

These were very poppyseed-y, but tastey. A little bitter in spurts, which might have been bites of poppyseeds that didn't get submerged fully while being soaked -- not sure.

whole wheat muffins

2 cups white whole wheat flour
3 tsp (1 TBS) baking powder
a few dashes of salt
a few dashes of cinnamon
1/2 c. brown sugar, packed (because my house has an insane glut of brown sugar right now)

1/4 cup melted butter
a little bit of oil (to make fat = 1/3 cup approx.)
2/3 c milk
1 egg
2/3 ? cup chocolate chips

(Standard mix dry + wet, put in chips, greased pan at 400 degrees, yada yada yada.)

These came out pretty well...