Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies: A Video Recipe

Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • Servings: about 2 dozen
  • Difficulty: easy
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Use the best quality ingredients you can for amazing cookies.

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces room temperature butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Add the butter and sugars, stir to combine. Add eggs and vanilla, mix until smooth.

In a separate bowl combine:

  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Add to sugar and butter mixture; stir to combine. Do not over mix.

Mix in:

  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Use a small scoop to make even size cookies. Space 2 inches apart. Sprinkle the tops of each cookie with Maldon Flaked Salt, if desired.

Bake 350°F for 15 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Let cookies sit on the pan for a few minutes to “set up” before moving the cookies to  cooling rack.

Make sure you hide some for yourself because they go fast!

Hoppin’ John and Skippin’ Jenny

Tradition in the American south has wide influences. In this traditional New Years dish, you can see cultural influences from Europe and Africa.

Hoppin’ John is a dish that combines rice and black-eyed peas. Typically it is flavored with a ham hock or bacon. But if you don’t eat pork, you can make a vegetarian version that is just as flavorful. This year we used spicy turkey sausage and it was great!

Stories go according to how many black-eyed peas you get on your fork, is how much luck you will have in the new year.Three peas should be left on your plate to represent health, wealth, and love or faith, hope, and charity or even luck, romance and money.

The meal is accompanied with food items that represent wealth: greens like collards, turnip greens, swiss chard, cabbage or kale represent “folding money” so be sure to serve plenty of greens on new years.

Carrots are cut into rounds to represent gold coins, corn bread is often served because it is the color of gold as well.

Tradition states to eat like a pauper on New Years day and eat like a king the rest of the year.

In some parts of the south, left-over “Hoppin’ John” is called “Skippin’ Jenny” after New Years day. After that, we just call it beans and rice, served up with a “mess of collards” and cornbread.

Don’t forget the pot liquor.

Hoppin’ John and Skippin’ Jenny

  • 1/2# Spicy Italian turkey sausage
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup minced onion
  • 2 cloves garlic sliced thin or minced
  • 1-1/2 cups white rice, raw (I prefer basmati or texmati)
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 2 – 15 oz. cans black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh black pepper

Method:

Slice the sausage into 1″ slices. Saute in olive oil for 3 minutes.

Add onion. Sweat the onions (cook without browning) until they become translucent.

Add the garlic, rice and thyme. Stir to coat the rice.

Add the chicken stock, black-eyed peas, oregano, salt, and pepper.

Bring to a boil, cover, lower heat and simmer 20 minutes or until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender.

Slice the sausage

Saute the onions and sausage

Add rice and stir

Add black-eye peas and stock

Bring to boil, lower heat, cover, simmer 20 minutes

Hoppin’ John

Candied Spiced Pecans

These spiced pecans are from China Grove, NC. A friend of our has a grove of pecans that produced a bumper crop this year. The three boys use the pecans to raise money for music instruments. So it is a great cause to support.

Pecans are common throughout Kirby

I look forward to the Helms Farm Pecans every year.

There are so many spiced and candied nut recipes out there, you can modify any one of them to fit your tastes. Personally, I love the sweet, salty, slightly hot flavor of these nuts. The warm spices enhance the amazing flavor of the roasted nut, the chili powder gives a slight amount of entertaining heat and the sugars make them indulgent.

Imagine these with fresh pears and bleu cheese! Now, that is an amazing platter to put out with pre-dinner wine and champagne.

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Candied Spiced Pecans

Pre-heat the oven to 300°F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment or use a silpat.

  • 1 ounce egg white (1 white from 1 large egg)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (light or dark)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 pound raw pecan halves

Beat the egg white to soft peaks. If it is properly beaten, there will be no liquid in the bottom of the bowl.

Tip: Wipe the bowl and beaters with vinegar to remove any possible oils that may be on the surface. This will ensure a successfully beaten egg white.

While the egg white is beating, mix the sugar and spices in a small bowl.

Beaten egg whites mixed with seasonings.

Beaten egg whites mixed with seasonings.

When the egg is properly beaten, add the seasonings.

Fold in the pecans and toss to evenly coat all of the nuts. Separate any nuts that stick together.

Spread onto a lined baking sheet and roast in the oven for 30 minutes. Stir them occasionally for even roasting.IMG_4831

Cool, separating any nuts that stick together again after roasting.

Package and present as a wonderful gift for anyone!

Please be aware that if you put these out for a party, they will disappear fast! I suggest you save them for a small group.

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Eat Fresh! What’s in Season NOW: October 2014

Fall is in the air!

Fresh Crisp Fall Apples

Fresh Crisp Fall Apples

A nip in the morning, time to grab a light jacket.

Here is a quick listing of what’s in season now.

These are the things you should be seeing in the markets, things that are growing locally.

Click on the links for recipes and other great information while you read the list!

Apples – Quite abundant for apple dumplings  and apple sauce now through February. Find an orchard and go apple picking!

Beets –  get some baby ones and roast them. So delicious! Pickle some for later. Ummm

Pickled beets

Pickled beets

Apples on display

Apples on display

Bok Choy – debuts mid month! Make a refreshing salad of crisp stir-fry

Cabbage – plenty on hand until mid December. Try your hand at making Sauerkraut or Kimchee

Cherry Tomatoes – these juicy gems will be gone by November. I’ve witnessed my plants slowing way down in production. Enjoy them now!

Collards – A year round favorite green. Make some cornbread, cook up some pinto beans, add simmered collards and YUM! You’ve got quite a meal.

Cucumbers – are saying good bye. As in days of yore, if you haven’t put up your pickles yet, you’re almost out of time!Chow Chow Pic

Greens – Like cooler weather so there should be a good selection through mid December. Time to fortify.

Herbs – There are many you will find in the markets. They are quite easy to grow so you should consider a small container of herbs for your kitchen.

Indian Corn – for decoration

Stuffed Mini Pumpkins

Stuffed Mini Pumpkins

Kale – Hearty and healthy; abundantly available. Make salads, stews, soup,  smoothies, chips, saute it, wraps. . .

Lettuce – makes another quick season before it gets too cold.

Muscadine Grapes – nearly gone. Freeze some for holiday punch bowls and drinks. Crush, simmer and extract the juice. Make sorbet to die for. Definitely worth doing

Muscadine grapes

Muscadine grapes

Mushrooms – you should be seeing a nice supply through the end of November

Napa Cabbage – shows us a quick cool season until mid December when the deep cold sets in with shorter sunlight hours

Peanuts – Seems these are always available

Pears – Nice juicy pears are around until the end of October. Poach a few, can a few more for winter treats.

Persimmons – The perennial Fall Favorite to those who like them. Honestly, I don’t get it.

Pumpkins – Yay! I get them for carving, roasting, eating, I plant succulents on them, decorate with them. After Thanksgiving, I paint them Christmas colors.

Painted Pumpkins Lined up to dry

Painted Pumpkins Lined up to dry

Radishes – There should be a bunch of radishes this month. I love the French Breakfast Radish. Yeah.

Raspberries – Fresh and short lasting. Enjoy them, freeze them but that’s just not the same as fresh. Gotta love those little seeds!

Romaine – Another lettuce for the Fall season. Practice your Caesar Salad skills.

Caesar Salad

Caesar Salad

Snow Peas  – Toss some into your Stir-fry, I like to snack on them like chips. So crisp and delicious!

Spinach – Add just a pinch of fresh grated nutmeg to your spinach for an awesome flavor compliment. Just a small pinch is all you need.

Sweet Potatoes – Available all year.

Tomatoes – If you grow them, watch for the first freeze and pick whats left. Make Green Tomato Chow-chow or Green Tomato Pie (tastes just like apple!)

A delicious Green Tomato Pie

A delicious Green Tomato Pie

Turnips – add some to soup, mash some with your mashed potatoes. Toss some into your greens as they cook. My favorite, Pickled Turnips!

Pickled Turnips

Pickled Turnips

This, is the list for the Piedmont area of North Carolina.

What’s growing where you live?

#localfood #eatfresh #healthyeating #freshfood #seasonalfood #localfarmers #farmersmarkets #freshfruit #freshvegetables #whatsinseasonnow

 

 

 

 

 

Garden Fresh Vegetables

I was out and about yesterday and when I came home, I found this on my doorstep!

Garden Fresh Vegetables on the doorstep!

Amazing garden fresh vegetables just picked from the garden a couple of hours earlier.

These vegetables were grown from the seed, mulched and grown totally organically by Robert’s sister, Shelton, who lives in Boone, NC, up in the mountains.

This explains why she still had broccoli! I was overjoyed at the bounty:

Russet potatoes, garlic onions, red onions, broccoli, green and purple peppers, tomatoes and what looks like a purple tomato, green beans, red cabbage and green cabbage; it is an amazing gift.

Bountiful Garden Goodness

Bountiful Garden Goodness

We had just bought corn, kale, collards, arugula and spinach at the farmers market so we will be eating quite good this week.

Thank you Shelton!

These were just in time for  a cold day in July, needless to say, I made some amazing vegetable soup.

Garden Bounty Vegetable Soup

  • Servings: about 1 gallon
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

TIP: Cut all the vegetables about the same size. Use different shapes for visual interest. Remember everything needs to fit on the spoon, not hang over.

Soup Ingredients

Soup Ingredients

  • 1/4 green cabbage, chopped fine
  • 1 large onion, cut into small dice
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 3 red potatoes, diced
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 10 green beans, sliced
  • 2 broccoli crowns, separated into florets
  • 2 large cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 1 can organic diced tomatoes
  • 1 can dark red kidney beans
  • 1 cup lima beans
  • 1 ear of corn, cut it off
  • Enough water to cover the vegetables
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 1-2 Tablespoons salt, to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 splash Texas Pete Hot Sauce

Chop it all up, sweat (cook without browning) the onions, carrots and cabbage, once these vegetables are tender, add the rest of the ingredients.

Bring to a boil and then turn down the heat and simmer until the vegetables are done. Adjust the seasonings and serve.

Garden Fresh Vegetable Soup for a chilly day in July

Garden Fresh Vegetable Soup for a chilly day in July