Friday, July 31, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookies

David was craving chocolate and decided that chocolate chip cookies would be just the thing. I couldn't find the recipe my mom uses, so I adapted this recipe from the back of the Nestle's Toll House semi-sweet morsels package. And believe me, if you follow their recipe exactly, your cookies will be a lot flatter than these! The secret is to add more flour, which has been done already in the following recipe.

-Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

- Combine the following in a small bowl:

3 1/4 cups of flour

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1 teaspoon of salt

- In the mixer, beat until creamy:

1 cup (2 sticks) of softened butter

3/4 cup of granulated sugar (the only granulated sugar that I had was vanilla sugar)

3/4 cup of brown sugar, packed into measuring cup

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

- Add 2 large eggs into the mixer one at a time, making sure the first is well-mixed before adding the next.

- Gradually, add the flour mixture into the mix. If you add too quickly, you get a big "pooof!" of flour flying up.

- Stir in 12 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate chips. Spoon the dough onto greased baking sheets, being sure to leave space between cookies for expansion. I know some people like to use a small ice cream scoop to put the dough onto the cookie sheet so that they're more uniform, but I really like using a spoon and scraping the dough off with my finger. For whatever reason, it makes me feel like they're more homemade.

- Once they're on the sheet, slide them in the preheated oven and let them bake for 9-11 minutes or until they're golden brown. Let them cool completely on wire racks ...... or eat them warm .... whatever!!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Baked Spinach & Artichoke Dip

I don't remember eating much spinach growing up, mostly collard or turnip greens. I'm not sure how that happened since I grew up right next to the self-proclaimed "Spinach Capital of the World."

I recently attended a barbeque and I'd been asked to bring chips and dip along. I thought it might be nice to make the dip instead of simply mix together something like sour cream and onion soup mix. I found a spinach dip recipe in The Best of Southern Living Cookbook. It was so easy to make (even so, I admit my boyfriend David helped due to time constraints). The recipe that follows is an adaptation:

- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

-2 (1o oz) packages of frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained very well. Try squeezing in cheesecloth or a clean lint-free towel..... I found that papertowels stick to the spinach in a very unhelpful way.

-2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, cubed

-2 cups (8 oz) of shredded Monterey Jack cheese

- 1 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese

- 1 small onion, chopped

- 1 (14 oz) can of artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

- 2 (10 oz) cans of diced tomatoes and green chiles, undrained

- 2 teapsoons of ground cumin

- 2 teaspoons of chili powder

- 1 teaspoon of garlic powder

I tossed all the ingedients into a large bowl and mixed thoroughly with my hands (don't worry; you can use a spoon if you want). The recipe wanted me to use a 2 1/2 quart baking dish.... but I only had a 2 quart baking dish and a small Corningware dish. Both of those were greased of course. I popped both dishes into the preheated oven and left it to bake for 30 minutes. By this time, the dip was bubbly around the edges. The smell which filled my apartment was so enticing that David and I tried the dip before leaving for the party. Oh Yum!

It was a great get-together. Everyone dug into the dip with tortilla chips while we waited for the smoked ribs to finish. When everything was done, we had fabulous food all around and I got to pass my recipe on to two other people.