Wednesday, May 27, 2009


These cookies are my new favorites! Loved them. I found this old Marshall Fields recipe at Cookie Madness. After I mixed up the dough I chilled it for two hours.

Butterscotch Walnut Wheat Cookies aka “Butterscotch Granola Cookies”

1 C butter (I used room temp unsalted) — 220 grams
1 2/3 C brown sugar, packed — 260 grams
2 t vanilla
3 eggs
2 1/4 C stoneground whole wheat flour - 290 grams
2 t cinnamon
1 1/2 t baking soda
1 t salt
12 oz butterscotch chips
1 C old fashioned rolled oats — 90 grams
1 C walnuts, chopped — 100 grams
1/3 C wheat germ
1 /3 C coconut (I used unsweetened)
Cream butter, sugar and vanilla util light. Combine and add eggs, beat well. Combine dry ingredients. Add to butter mixture. Add chips, oats, nuts, wheat germ and coconut. Drop onto greased cookie sheets. Bake at 350 for approximately 10-12 minutes.
Makes 4 dozen lovely cookies.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


This was fun to make. I love plain cheesecake with a sour cream topping and this was lovely. Two cups of sour cream to finish it off--I knew it would be good when I spotted that in the recipe.

In Ruth Reichl's book, Garlic and Sapphires, this recipe was at the front of the book and I tucked it away in my mind for future baking. Very creamy, the hint of lemon is just right, and the sour cream topping should be on top of every cheesecake. Reichl's recipe calls for gum-free cream cheese--this is not at my market so I used regular cream cheese. The only thing I would do differently is to follow the directions exactly after slathering on the sour cream--the recipe says bake for another 12 minutes and I cooked it for 13 minutes which I think overcooked it a bit. So, darn, I will need to make it again...


1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (about 6 ounces)
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese, preferably without gum, at room temperature
4 eggs
3 teaspoons vanilla
grated zest of one lemon
2 cups sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix the graham crackers with 1/4 cup sugar and the melted butter and press into bottom and sides of a 9-inch ungreased springform pan. Chill while preparing filling.

Beat the cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar, eggs, 2 teaspoons of the vanilla, and lemon zest until smooth. Pour into chilled crust and bake 50 minutes to an hour, or until the cheese is set and starting to turn golden in spots. Remove from the oven (leave oven on) and cool for about 15 minutes on a wire rack.

Stir together the sour cream, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, remaining teaspoon of vanilla and spread over cooled cake. Return to oven for 12 minutes until glossy and set.

Cool completely, cover, and chill at least 8 hours.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


So, do you have too much stuff? Need a simple plan to declutter that won't take a ton of time or stress you out? I came across this little gem of an idea: toss or give away one thing every day for 365 days. And no, it can't be something that you normally throw away, such as an apple core (which you should be composting, anyway).

I've been doing this for one week--and it is surprising how hard it is to come up with one thing even though I know I have too much stuff! But I have either tossed or given away: one pair of old boots, refrigerator magnets (seven that I only counted as one), bath gel, baseball cap, and a few other boring items.

My clutter-free friends (Cassandra, Alicia, Jennifer) cannot even imagine having 365 items to get rid of. But my guess is a few of you may decide to embrace this idea to get you on to the path of a semi-clutter free life (I say "semi" since the thought of zero clutter may really freak us out).

If you have any other ideas to cure the "too much stuff" syndrome, please share.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


FAGE (pronounced fa-yeh) Greek Yogurt--I love this yogurt. Plain yogurt is usually too sour for me. This is tart and very rich tasting. It is also packed with protein. Greek yogurt is strained to remove the whey leaving a thick, rich, and creamy substance. Now just plain old regular yogurt is ruined for me!

Here is the fun thing--I won a box of this stuff by entering my name in a BlogHer contest. I never enter contests, so it was great fun to find out that the one time I enter I actually win something of decent value. It was fed exed to me in an ice-packed container filled with 12 containers of a variety of flavors.

Save this indulgence for yourselves--this is not a yogurt for kids. I say that because it is pricier than other Greek yogurt and I don't think kids taste is that sophisticated--so why bother? FAGE can be found at Sprouts, Trader Joes, and Whole Foods. Give it a try if you like Greek yogurt. My favorite is the 2% plain, but it comes in 0%, 5%, and with little separate cupfuls of toppings such as honey, strawberry, peach, and cherry.

Next contest: a Kindle --wouldn't that be a fun win?

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Very yum! I don't often make chocolate desserts but this one caught my eye. It is adapted from Bon Appetit on Joy the Baker's blog. It was the roasted marshmellows on top that clinched it for me. Add in the graham crackers and now you understand why the brownies are called S'Mores.

I also loved the bittersweet chocolate that the recipe calls for. The bittersweet chocolate is perfect with the marshmellows and the graham crackers. Sweet but not too.

Be sure to let the brownies cool completely before slicing. And do the usual of running the knife under hot water and wiping it off after every slice. These brownies are very gooey.

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
5 large eggs
1 1/4 cups dark brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup graham cracker, roughly broken with your hands
12 big marshmallows (I also diced 6 additional marshmallows and stirred them into the batter. These marshmallows dissolve when baked, so you can leave them out, or throw them in. Up to you.)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter 9×13-inch baking pan with 2-inch-high sides. Combine first 3 ingredients in small bowl. Stir butter and chocolate in a medium sized bowl over a heavy saucepan of simmering water. Stir chocolate and butter in this double boiler until melted and smooth.

Beat eggs, sugar and vanilla in large bowl to blend. Stir in warm chocolate mixture, then dry ingredients. Fold in graham crackers. Pour batter into prepared pan. Dot with 12 large marshmallows. Bake until toothpick inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 30- 40 minutes minutes.

Marshmallows will be browned and puffy but will deflate as the brownies cool. Cool for at least 20 minutes than slice with a sharp knife, cleaning the knife with hot water if it gets too messy and sticky. Serve or wrap individually in wax paper for storing.

Friday, May 15, 2009


This is a lighter version of pound cake with a faint taste of orange. Next time I make this I will add the zest of one orange to deepen the citrus flavor. A lovely bread to enjoy on a Sunday morning.

1/2 cup butter, cut into small cubes and softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons orange juice
1/2 cup plain yogurt

Mix the following:
2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Add ingredients in the order listed above and select the Quick Bread Mode on your bread machine. If you don't have a bread machine I'm sure there is a way to make this--but I'm not that confident of a baker to tell you how!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


This is a classic combination of an after-school snack for the petite l'enfant in France. Radishes, baguette, unsalted butter, and a little sprinkling of sea salt (French, of course).

Since that sounded good I picked up a bunch of French Breakfast Radishes and a baguette at the farmer's market.

This made for a light dinner one warm evening--loved the combination of the slightly spicy, cold crisp radishes, the soft unsalted butter on the crunchy baguette with a tiny bit of fleur de sel.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


I've been reading about balsamic-laced strawberries for a while now and finally made it. It was a little odd adding balsamic vinegar and pepper to gorgeous, plump strawberries! Would I be ruining a perfecting beautiful bunch of strawberries? So I had to take the word of total strangers who tell me online that I will love this combination. They were right.

The combination of flavors just make the strawberries taste more strawberry. Vanilla ice cream was a great pairing but I would love it with greek yogurt or cheesecake (although I like my cheesecake plain).

Go ahead and try it--use all the ingredients, even the pepper. You will be surprised at how the ingredients are not intrusive but enhance the strawberries. Enjoy!

2 pints (4 cups) strawberries
2 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup sugar (you could use less)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Clean strawberries and cut in half. Toss with balsamic vinegar, sugar, and pepper. Let sit for one hour. Serve over vanilla ice cream.

This is a combination of several recipes I found online.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Do you read more than one book at a time? How do you select what you will read next?

My reading seems a bit frenetic lately. I am reading Atlas Shrugged (finally), The Vigorous Mind, I am listening to The Bachelors by Muriel Spark driving to and from the office, reading Vanity Fair by William Thackeray in snipets sent by DailyLit, a free online service. And then I went to the library and checked out Richard and John: Kings at War and Cold Comfort Farm, oh, and I used my 40% Border's coupon to pickup Molly Wizenberg's A Homemade Life. What is the matter with my brain?

I want to read everything at once! But it's not as if I am going to a deserted island for one month to do nothing but read. So I don't know how to get it all in--not to mention that Atlas Shrugged is over a thousand pages, and the Richard and John book is a serious history book so not exactly a quick read.

So, tell me--how do you select your reading and when do you get it in. Is there anything you neglect in your life to read? Leave a comment if you dare bare your soul on this subject!

Saturday, May 2, 2009


Are you aware of the variety of salts out there? No? Well, recently I have become obssessed with this information.

This is what is in my salt pantry: Kosher salt, Coarse Sel de Mer, Redmond RealSalt, regular table salt, Fleur de Sel de Camargue (my latest acquisition direct from Paris,) and Maldon Sea Salt picked-up by Leslie during her travels through England. Clearly I have enough salt for the rest of my life.

So what's the deal with salt? The type you choose can either overwhelm or enhance your food. Kosher salt is great for the actual cooking or baking of food. I love the Fleur de Sel for topping the recent pizza I made with Rosemary and olive oil. And the Maldon Sea Salt was just the right texture for home cooked hamburgers I made a few weeks ago. Both the sea salts have a cleaner lighter taste.

Table salt is stronger than I thought--when I did a side by side taste comparison it was clear. My table salt is iodized and I'm wondering if that makes a taste difference. I am substituting my regular iodized table salt with the Redmond RealSalt--I like the taste a bit better. First it is prettier, natural colors of the trace minerals aren't stark white. The taste is better and it isn't as chemically processed. Of course there is personal preference for some of the varieties but if you tried a few of these you would start to appreciate which salt works best for certain dishes.

The Fleur de Sel and the Maldon are too expensive for everyday use but both are my new favorites for finishing off a dish. Plus they both remind me of lovely vacations. I recently read that a light sprinkling of Maldon sea salt on chocolate Haagen Dazs ice cream is heaven so I had to try it--yep, heaven.