Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hurricane Cookies by Candlelight

Things have been interesting out here on the coast. I am at the campus library, which is the only place with power, more or less. Last night I made cookies by candlelight, mostly to have the oven on (gas) to keep warm. You won't have any pictures of them, but you may have the recipe:

Hurricane Cookies by Candlelight

1/4 cup of butter, softened
1/4 cup of peanut butter or chocolate peanut butter or a mixture of both (that's what I had, actually, a mixture)
1/2 cup of packed brown sugar
1 egg
2/3 cup of all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
1/8 teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. If you have a mixer and power, mix the butter, peanut butter, sugar, and egg until creamy. If you don't, do the best you can with a spoon by candlelight. You'll need to shine your lantern into the bowl to make sure you don't have any big lumps of butter. (Some little tiny lumps are okay.)

Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; mix well. Shine the lantern in again to be sure it's not got any streaks of dry flour. Mix in chocolate chips.

Shape into balls of about 1 1/2 inches and dip tops into granulated sugar. Place on ungreased baking sheet about 3 inches apart. Do not flatten.

Bake about 10 minutes. You are welcome to open the oven a lot to feel the warm air puff out, but be aware that it will take a little longer to cook that way. The cookies are done when you shine a lantern on them and they don't look all liquidy in the middle, or when golden brown (which you will see if you have actual lights on). Remove from oven. (Leave oven open for a while to let the warm air out into your apartment.) Allow to cool on baking sheets for about 4-5 minutes. You may then eat some, and cool the rest on a wire rack, then transfer to a sealed container to eat for breakfast the next morning.

Stay safe and warm out there!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

No Free Lunch? Ha!

I have been traveling again, and tomorrow I'm going to eat a free lunch on campus. But I haven't forgotten you. Mango-quinoa-bean salad awaits us soon.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Laptop Lunches #124

Yesterday I tried something out that failed miserably. I did end up packing my lunch in a tiffin, and I photographed it, but I am still debating whether it is worth showing to you. I made beef lettuce wraps with sides of marinated tofu, cut apple, and a hard boiled egg. It was fine, but I have a few thoughts on how to significantly improve the recipe on the beef lettuce wraps. So I guess we'll all just wait and see.

And then today's lunch photographed sort of blurry for some reason. I had some problems with lighting in my kitchen; the dark season is upon us again. But lest you think I've fallen completely off the lunch radar, I decided to go ahead and post it. This one, at least, I was pleased with, minus the blurriness.

Fresh tomato and cucumber salad (Betty Crocker's Cooking for Two), marmalade chicken (Eating Well Serves Two), broccoli stir fry with ginger and sesame, and purple rice (recipe and instructions below).

The tomato and cucumber salad was fine, although I don't think it really went with my Asian meal--maybe with a nice slice of crusty Italian bread and some proscuitto and fresh mozzarella next time. Mmm...

I've never attempted purple rice, though I've eaten it many times (as happens when you befriend Koreans). This turned out slightly darker than I had hoped, but that's easy to remedy. Purple rice is far more interesting with something as lacking in color as white meat chicken than white or brown rice, though it tastes more or less like a mixture of the two. Purple rice is black and white rice, cooked together. Just mix a bit of black rice in with the white and cook as usual (I use a rice cooker, which makes it truly simple). Nonetheless, here's a recipe for those who need more guidance.

Purple Rice
Serves 2-4

Rinse about 1 tablespoon of black rice in a fine mesh strainer until the water runs clear and put into your rice cooker's 1 cup measure (or into a regular 1 cup measure). Fill the measuring cup the rest of the way with white short or medium grain rice (I use Calrose rice), and rinse again if you want (I don't bother to rinse the Calrose rice myself). Dump into a rice cooker and add water to the line for 1 cup. If not using a rice cooker, add two cups of water to the pot you are using. Here is what mine looked like before I added water:

Cook. If using a stovetop, bring to a low simmer and simmer, covered, and do not stir, until the water is absorbed and rice is tender, which should take about 20 minutes, give or take a few. The rice cooker will, of course, just stop when it's done.

Viola! Purple rice with no artificial coloring to astound and amaze your family and friends.

Or just to cheer up a boring looking meal.

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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Lunchopolis #3

Today, the Lunchopolis set made sense, because this was pretty light and bulky. I have tofu salad (America's Test Kitchen Cooking for Two 2011), black olives, half a honeycrisp apple, and some little yellow heirloom tomatoes of some sort.

I don't actually like bean sprouts. I don't know why I went ahead and put them in, but I did. Other than that, this was a reasonably good salad--red bell pepper, shredded carrot, snow peas, scallions, and broiled tofu in a spicy sesame-peanut dressing. I probably won't make it again, though.

I love honeycrisp apples. Around here it is closing in on apple season, which has me excited. What do you like to do with apples?