Lemon Chocolate Chip Cookies

Lemon Chocolate Chip Cookies

I think lemon and chocolate is an interesting and delicious flavor combination. These cookies showcase that combination without being overly tart. These cookies do not tend to get golden brown, but they still have a nice crunch while maintaining a soft center.

Lemon Chocolate Chip Cookies

3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
zest from one whole lemon
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325º degrees.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Blend in the eggs, lemon zest, lemon extract, and vanilla extract. Set aside. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Gradually mix the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips. Drop by spoonfuls (about 1 tablespoon) onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Cool the cookies on baking sheet for a few minutes, then remove them to a wire rack to cool completely.

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Southeast Asian Cabbage Salad

Southeast Asian Cabbage Salad

I love this salad! It’s something I make quite a bit. It’s fresh, crunchy, colorful, virtually fat-free, nutritious, and very flavorful. This salad keeps fairly well in the fridge for up to two days.

Southeast Asian Cabbage Salad

1 head green cabbage, cored and thinly sliced
1 to 2 carrots, grated
1/2 to 1 cucumber, seeded, peeled, and chopped
3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
2 (or more) fresh chiles (I usually use jalapenos or serranos), seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon fish sauce
chopped roasted peanuts

Combine cabbage, carrot, cucumber, cilantro and chiles in a large bowl. Mix vinegar, sugar, garlic, and fish sauce together in a small bowl. Pour vinegar mixture over cabbage mixture and toss well. Sprinkle with crushed peanuts right before serving.


Kimchi Fried Rice

This is a great way to use up Kimchi. The rice used in this recipe should be at least one day old, otherwise it is too wet.

Kimchi Fried Rice

4 1/2 cups day-old cooked white rice (if you can find it, get a medium grain rice like Kokuho Rose brand)

2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced tablespoon minced ginger
4 ounces baby bella mushrooms, cleaned, halved, and sliced
1 carrot, cut into matchsticks
1 small zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 cup kimchi, chopped
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste)
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 cup fresh spinach (optional)
2 scallions, thinly sliced
sesame seeds

eggs
butter

Make the rice the day before.

Heat the canola oil in a wok over high heat. Add the diced onions, and cook, stirring, until they start to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook 1 minute more. Add the mushrooms, carrots, and zucchini and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped kimchi and cook another 1 or 2 minutes to heat through.

Add the rice and cook until warmed through and well combined with the other ingredients, another 3 minutes. Season with the soy sauce, gochujang, and sesame oil, stirring to evenly coat all of the rice and veggies. Mix in the the spinach, if using. Turn the heat down to low while you fry the eggs.

In a small fry pan, melt the butter and fry the eggs to desired doneness (I like mine over-easy).

To serve, place the Kimchi Fried Rice in a dish and top with a fried egg. Sprinkle with sliced scallions and sesame seeds.


Vidalia Onion Upside Down Cornbread

Vidalia Onion Upside Down Cornbread2

Make cornbread special with the addition of sweet onions. The onions caramelize and add just the right flavor to this slightly sweet cornbread. This recipe is easy enough to make anytime and is sure to impress.

Vidalia Onion Upside Down Cornbread

2 tablespoons butter
2 medium Vidalia onions (or other sweet onions like 1015s or Walla Wallas), peeled and sliced 1/4-inch thick
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/4 cup canola oil
2 eggs

Preheat the oven to 400° F.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a cast iron skillet (I use a 10 1/4-inch cast iron skillet) on the stove top over medium heat. Arrange the onion slices, taking care to keep the slices intact, in the melted butter in the skillet. You can half and quarter the onion slices to fill in empty spaces. You may not use all of the onion slices. You can save leftover onions for another use or finely chop them and add them to the cornbread batter. Let the onions cook over medium heat while you prepare the batter. Do not turn the onions while they are cooking.

Combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. In another bowl, combine the milk, canola oil, and eggs with a fork. Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir  until just combined.

Take the skillet off the heat. Pour the cornbread batter evenly over the onions. Place in the preheated oven and cook for 25 minutes.

Carefully invert the cornbread onto a cutting board or plate.


Chicken and Snow Pea Noodle Soup

I joined a new-to-me CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) recently and got my first box of fresh produce this week. The box included: collards, red Russian kale, red leaf lettuce, strawberries, spring onions, and snow peas. Off to a good start. I am so excited to see what the next 11 CSA boxes hold.

I created this soup recipe to use the snow peas and a spring onion from this week’s CSA box. Spring onions are not the same as green onions (AKA scallions), but if you can’t find spring onions I think green onions are an acceptable substitute. This article is a nice explanation of the difference between spring onions, green onions, and scallions.

I used a couple of shortcuts for this soup. I used ginger paste from a tube that I got at Trader Joe’s and pre-cut matchstick carrots I got at Publix. It’s okay to use the shortcuts. It’s okay to make your life easier when you can.

Chicken and Snow Pea Noodle Soup

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 clove garlic, made into a paste
1 tablespoon of ginger paste (or 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, made into a paste)
1 – 3 tablespoons sriracha or sambal olek, to taste
1 medium-sized spring onion, white part and some green, thinly sliced
8 cups chicken broth
2 chicken breasts, thinly sliced
1 carrot, julienned (or about 1/2 cup of matchstick carrots)
8 ounces snow peas, trimmed and halved
juice from one lime (about 2 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons of fish sauce, or to taste
rice vermicelli noodles, cooked according to package instructions and drained
cilantro (mint and Thai basil would be nice too)
fresh chile, thinly sliced

Heat the oil in a soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the garlic paste, ginger paste, and sriracha or sambal olek. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the sliced spring onions and cook another minute or two. Add the chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Let simmer for 5 minutes.

Add the chicken to the simmering soup and cook until no longer pink. Add the carrots and snow peas. Bring the soup back up to a simmer. Add the lime juice and fish sauce and take the soup off the heat.

Serve the soup over cooked rice vermicelli noodles. Top with fresh cilantro leaves and sliced chiles, if you would like.


Jalapeno Popper Deviled Eggs

These Jalapeño Popper Deviled Eggs are so good. That’s all you need to know. Make them.

Jalapeño Popper Deviled Eggs

6 eggs, hard boiled and peeled
3 slices of bacon, cooked
2 tablespoon cream cheese, softened
1 – 2 tablespoon(s) mayonnaise
1 teaspoon brown mustard (or Dijon)
2 fresh jalapeños, 1 minced (remove seeds first), 1 sliced
salt and pepper, to taste

Cut the boiled eggs in half lengthwise. Gently spoon the yolks out into a bowl and then mash them with a fork. Set the egg whites aside. Add the cream cheese, 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise, and mustard to the mashed egg yolks and mix well. If you would like a creamier consistency, add the additional tablespoon of mayonnaise. Crumble 2 slices of the bacon and fold into the yolk mixture. Add the minced jalapeño to the mixture and season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide the yolk mixture into the egg whites. Break the last piece of bacon into 12 pieces. Garnish each deviled egg with a piece of bacon and a jalapeño slice.


Steak and Guinness Stew

Each year I make this stew (or a version of it) to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. It is delicious and totally worth the time it takes to babysit it so that it does not burn.

This year I served it with mashed red potatoes and fried cabbage.

Steak and Guinness Stew

2 pounds stew beef
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
8 ounces white mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups beef broth
1 14.9 ounce can of Guinness
4 tablespoons cornstarch
salt and black pepper, to taste

Puff pastry squares (measuring about 4 inches by 4 inches), baked according to package directions.

Heat the oil in a heavy pot over medium-high heat. Brown the stew beef. Add the chopped onions and cook until softened. Add the sliced mushrooms and garlic. Next, add 1 cup of the beef broth and the Guinness. Mix the cornstarch in the remaining 1/2 cup of beef broth and add to the other ingredients. Bring the stew to a slight boil and then reduce the heat to low. Cook on low for 2 hours, stirring very often, until the beef is tender. The stew has the tendency of sticking to the bottom of the pot, so be sure to stir often. Season to taste with salt and pepper. To serve, spoon the stew onto a plate, and top with a pastry square.