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Chutney Cookies

Kelly Williams Brown offers 387 easy steps towards becoming an adult on her blog, Adulting.  Although I have not had the pleasure of reading through the entire blog, I belive that one of these steps must be Use Leftovers.  Using up leftovers saves money, is ecofriendly, and leads to a cleaner kitchen.  Goodness, do I struggle with the concept.

Seriously, help me out here.  I shop with a list and an eye towards what I plan to make throughout the week.  I plan my meals carefully.  For example, if I know that pork chops come in a pack of 5, I will plan 3 meals around pork chops to use them all up.  Regardless, I end every week with a list of things lingering in my refrigerator.  What am I missing?  Mom, I know you read this occasionally.  Help me out.

For example, I made an apply chutney to go with the aforementioned pork chops.  However, I ended up with about a cup leftover.  What do you do with a cup of leftover chutney?  I liked the idea of an apply chutney pie; new twist on a classic.  I was concerned that the chutney would pack too much of a punch for anybody to want to eat an entire slice of it.  So, I went with a modification of apple pie cookies from Deb of Smitten Kitchen.  She mentioned that the cookies did not contain very much pie filling but rather were a celebration of pie crust.  The cookies seemed like an excellent vehicle for a filling that packed a punch.  Here is her recipe.  I stole was inspired by her technique and swapped out the filling.

I loved the result.  Chutney cookies are easy to make, tastier cold so you can make them the day before, flavorful and surprising, and a sweet snack but does not feel like it should be dessert.  Furthermore, the cookies used up the extra chutney.  Yay!

I admire Kelly Williams Brown’s chutzpah as she stands up and offers to lead her audience to adulthood.  Me, I can’t even claim to be able to solve your leftover problem.  However, if you happen to have some extra chutney cluttering up your fridge, these cookies are perfect.

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“There is a privacy about it which no other season gives you…. In spring, summer and fall people sort of have an open season on each other; only in the winter, in the country, can you have longer, quiet stretches when you can savor belonging to yourself.”  ~Ruth Stout

The week, Portland has experienced snow and sunshine in the same hour.  I revel in the warm sunny days.  I have less appreciation for the cold, rainy ones.  I want to pack up my thick sweaters and forget winter ever existed.  I like Ruth Stout’s reminder of winter’s charms.  Something to contemplate while enjoying this French Onion Soup.

I used the above pictured ingrediants. I also used chicken stock, salt, pepper, cheese, and bread.

Saute the onion in enough butter to keep it from sticking on low heat for 20 minutes. The onlons should be sweet and golden brown. Add no more red wine than will cover the onions and cook for another 5 minutes. Add chicken stock untill the soup is your prefered consistency. Salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon the soup into oven safe bowls. Cover with bread cubes and cheese. Broil uncovered for 5 minutes or until the cheese is metly and brown.

And… We’re Back

Oh my goodness, February was a long month.  I am so sorry to have gone so quiet without warning.  We moved and it took foooreeeeevvvvveerrrr.

We are in the new place, unpacked, and ready to cook.

In addition to the packing, I have spent February  reading other people’s blogs.  I owe you some links to some incredible food writing and photography.

One of the highlights is this post at The Yellow House blog.  In the post, Sarah honors home cooks and the challenges they face.  She expresses concern that perhaps pretty pictures of six-hour food projects take away from the joy of cooking daily.  Taking her lead, the next few posts will be weeknight dinners.  They are not as pretty, elaborate, or pricey as my weekend bake-a-thons but they bring me more joy.

I like providing for my little family of three (update to come).  I like budgeting, considering calories, and the creative use of leftovers.  So stay tuned for White Fish with Lemon Caper Butter, brocoli and Cucumber Salad.  Which, I promise, will post in a timely fashion.

Seriously. .  . look at these pictures.  I didn’t take these, Brett took these.  Darn good cookies, yes?

I really like these cookies.  They are nutty with a perfect chewy texture.  The recipe is here.  I didn’t do much to change it so I would recommend going directly to the source.  For as much as I liked the cookies, they struck Brett as good but not great

Having found myself  such an adorable man, I would like to keep him.  I’m told that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.  So, I am searching for the perfect almond dessert.  It should feature nuts and not be too sweet.  Any thoughts?

Movie Night

Caramel Bacon Popcorn is awesome.  It is sweet and salty and proof that bacon does, in fact, make everything better.  I recommend this popcorn paired with Princess Bride or Spanglish.

Ingredients

1 bag microwaveable popcorn

1 and 1/2 Tbs butter

1 and 1/2 brown sugar

6 Tbs water

1/2 pound bacon

1. Cook bacon.  Mince into very small pieces(smaller than pictured).

2. Stir butter, sugar and water until sugar dissolves.

3. Bring to a boil.

4. Cover and cook for 3 minutes.

5.  Pop popcorn.

6. Uncover caramel mixture and cook without stirring to soft ball stage, 238.

7. Spread popcorn over cookie sheets to make a single layer sprinkle bacon throughout.

8.  Drizzle caramel mixture over popcorn.

9.  Allow popcorn to dry, 12 – 24 hours.

Adapted from “Candied Popcorn”  in the Joy of Cooking.

Its cold, its grey, and the holidays are over.  In California, I would be fine.  Here  in Portland, I am . . . adjusting.  I carry a space heater and a blanket with me as a migrate from room to room.  I arm myself with hot tea, lip balm, and plenty of layers before venturing out into the cold and grey. But some days, none of these precautions are enough.  I need more to combat Portland dreary.

On days like today, I turn to Chipotle Brownies.  The oven warms up my house, the spice warms my belly, and the chocolate warms my heart.  These Chipotle Brownies are moist, chocolate-y with a slow burning heat at the end.  They are perfect if you like chocolate and spice.

Very slightly adapted this recipe from Jerry Russell at Cooking by the Seat of my Pants

Ingredients:

Spray oil to coat the pan

8 ounces chopped semi-sweet chocolate

1 cup butter

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 1/2 tsp. ground chipotle powder

6 eggs

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

To Do:

1.  325 degrees.

2.  Spray square pans.

3.   Combine chocolate and butter in a double boiler or in a bowl placed over a small saucepan of simmering water until melted and smooth.

4.  Combine cocoa powder and flour.

5.  In an electric mixer or large bowl, combine sugar,  cinnamon and chipotle powder.

6. Add melted chocolate.

7. Beat with an electric mixer or the whisk attachment of a stand mixer on medium speed for 1 minute, scraping bowl occasionally.

8.  Add eggs one at a time, beating on low speed after each egg is added until just combined.  Beat in vanilla until just combined.

9.  Add flour mixture 1/2 cup at a time, beating at low speed until just combined.  Beat on medium speed for an additional minute.

10.  Spread batter evenly into baking pans and bake in preheated oven  for 35 to 40 minutes.

11.  Remove from pan and cut into bars or wedges.

Infusing Flavor

Before the new year, I removed some of the excess in my life to make room for 2012.  Then, I took stock, made some stock, and figured out that I am looking forward to all sorts of things in the coming year.  Mostly, I am looking forward to adding flavor to the warm, comforting base Brett and I have created.

2011 has been a quiet, cozy year.  I have enjoyed creating a home, getting settled in a job, and adjusting to the dreary Portland weather.  In 2012, I look forward to meeting new people and seeing new places.  Adding some flavor to my warm, comforting home base.  similarly, last week’s stock needs some flavor added.

I served my miso soup with Lemon-Simmered Sweet Potato and New Years Salad.  I really liked both because they are a bright and flavorful way of eating my vegetables.  The kick of color and tart was a nice contrast to the gray day and provided a bit a kick in the pants to enact the goals that I have set for myself    Both recipes came from Elizabeth Andoh’s Washoku.  Here is my interpretation of the Lemon-Simmered Sweet Potato.

1 cup Basic Sea Stock

10 oz sweet potato cut into chunks

1 small lemon, zest removed and juiced

1 1/2 Tbs soy sauce

1/2 Tbs brown sugar

1.  Combine the stock, lemon juice, and brown sugar.

2.  Bring to a simmer and add the squash.

3.  Simmer for 3-4 minutes.  Test with a toothpick for squash that you can pierce but still meets some resistance.

4.  Flip the squash and cook for another 2 minutes.

5.  Add the soy sauce, swirl, and simmer for 30-40 more seconds.