Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Oatmeal raisin cookies

This cookie is a much-loved classic. Now there’s some debate about the type of rolled oats that should be used. Many recipes stipulate not to use the quick cooking variety. I use whatever type of rolled oat I have in the pantry when a craving for these old fashioned cookies hits and have found that it doesn’t really matter … both seem to work well. I used quick oats for the cookies pictured above.

You can also add some chocolate chips if this tickles your fancy. I cut back to ¾ C of raisins and add ¾ C of chocolate chips when going down this road.

Ingredients

  • 2 C unbleached white flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 C butter (softened)
  • 1 ½ C brown sugar
  • ½ C white sugar
  • 1T vanilla
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 ½ C rolled oats
  • 1 C raisins

Directions

Preheat oven to 350

  1. Mix flour, salt, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl, large enough for all the ingredients cream together the softened butter, brown sugar and white sugar using a mixer.
  3. Add the vanilla and eggs and continue to mix until the mixture is light and creamy.
  4. Do the last steps by hand. Slowly add the rolled oats to the creamed mixture, a bit at a time, until the oats are completely incorporated.
  5. Now add the raisins and mix until they are evenly distributed. The dough will be very stiff.
  6. Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper and form small mounds of the dough on the sheet using a tablespoon, leaving about 2 “ between the mounds of dough.
  7. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 12 – 15 minutes. If you like a crispier cookie bake for the full 15 minutes and only 12 minutes for a softer, more chewy version. Oven temperatures vary so keep an eye on the cookies after 10 minutes … you don’t want them to burn!

Yield: 36 cookies

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Tomato & Ginger Jam

Tomato and Ginger Jam

This tomato & ginger jam is the perfect accompaniment for roasted pork. Glenn and I often roast pork tenderloin so I like to keep a jar of this condiment in the fridge at all times. When it’s time to use up the roasted pork left-overs the jam also works well in a sliced pork sandwich along with some mayo.

Yield: 1 pint jar

Ingredients

  • 6 or 7 medium sized ripened plum tomatoes (4 cups prepared)
  • ¾ C white sugar
  • ¾ C cider vinegar
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves minced finely (or use a garlic press)
  • 3T fresh ginger (peeled and minced)
  • 1/4 tsp. of hot paprika
  • ¼ C raisins

Directions

  1. First, place whole tomatoes into a large bowl and cover them with boiling hot water and let them sit for a few minutes. The skin will split and peel off easily once the tomatoes have cooled down a bit. Seed first, then chop the tomatoes into a small dice and set aside.
  2.  Combine the sugar, vinegar and salt in a stainless steel pot and bring this mixture to a boil over high heat. Turn the burner down to medium and let the mixture continue to simmer until it is reduced by half. This will take between 10 – 15 minutes.
  3.  Add the diced plum tomatoes, onions, garlic, ginger and hot paprika to the vinegar mixture and simmer for 30 minutes. The mixture will thicken slowly. Make sure to stir often during this process, especially towards the end, as the jam may scorch and could make a mess on the bottom of your steel pot!
  4.  Remove from burner and add the raisins. Once cooled store tightly covered in the fridge.

Tomato & Ginger Jam

Italian Wedding Soup

Italian Wedding Soup

We’ve had several snow storms hit one after the other, over the past three weeks. When a nasty nor’easter blows cold wind down from Northern Canada I need warm soup in my belly to see me through. This Italian wedding soup goes together quickly and hits the spot on a cold winter afternoon after shovelling the driveway and bringing in the wood. I am not quite sure why this warm concoction is called wedding soup. Maybe it’s because when the soup is finished, the tiny white pasta balls (acini di pepe) look a bit like confetti floating around in the soup bowl.

Ingredients

  • 1 cooking onion – medium dice
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 litres beef bone broth (or two, 1 litre tetra packs)
  • ½ C acini di pepe
  • 1 lb. Italian sausage (hot or mild)
  • 1 package of baby spinach leaves

Directions

  1. Heat olive oil in soup pot, add the chopped onion and sauté until the onion is translucent
  2. Add the beef broth and heat until the broth begins to simmer
  3. Add the acini di pepe and continue to simmer the soup for another 15 minutes
  4. While the soup is simmering make tiny little sausage meatballs by rolling about 1 tsp of the meat between the palms of your hands
  5. Add the little meatballs to the soup and continue to simmer the soup for another twenty minutes or so
  6. Add the spinach and stir until it has all wilted

Your soup is ready to serve. However, as with most soups, the flavour will continue to develop if the soup is brought to room temperature and then gets to rest in the fridge overnight.

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Cilantro & Sweet Thai Chili Dipping Sauce

cilantro and thai chili dipping sauce

Couldn’t be easier; simply combine all the ingredients listed below and you’re good to go! For a simple and quick lunch or supper pair this dipping sauce with Chicken and Cheese Quesadillas.

Ingredients

  • 1 C sour cream
  • 1/4 C Sweet Thai Chili Sauce
  • 2 T cilantro paste (see photo below)

While I usually prefer to use fresh herbs when available, I make an exception for this cilantro paste from Gourmet Garden. This is a product I use often when making curries or sauces like this cilantro & Thai Chili Dipping Dauce. Give it a try – you’ll see what I mean!

Cilantro paste

Chicken & Cheese Quesadillas

Chicken and Cheese Quesadilla

Roast chicken makes a regular appearance on our weekly menu plan leaving us with leftover chicken to use up the next day. Glenn and I find these quesadillas make a quick and easy lunch or dinner when busy schedules have us eating on the run. To add a little something on the side you can whip up some Cilantro & Thai Chili Dipping Sauce in a matter of minutes!

Ingredients

  • 2 T oil
  • 1 large onion – cut into thin wedge slices
  • 1 small Jalapeño pepper – small dice
  • 4 tortillas – 10” diameter
  • 4 T Sweet Thai Chili Sauce
  • 2 C cooked chicken – small chunks
  • 1C shredded marble cheese (or other mild cheese)
  • chopped cilantro leaves

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 F

  1. Heat 2 T of oil on high heat in a heavy frying pan
  2. Add the thinly sliced onion wedges and immediately lower the heat to medium
  3. Sauté the onions slowly until they turn a golden brown and are caramelized
  4. Add the diced jalapeño to the caramelized onions and sauté until the jalapeños are soft – remove from heat
  5. Place the tortillas, laying out flat, on two separate cookie sheets sprayed lightly with cooking oil
  6. Spread each tortilla with 1 T of the Sweet Thai chili sauce
  7. Divide the caramelized onion and jalapeño mixture, chicken chunks, grated cheese and chopped cilantro evenly amongst the four tortillas (place these ingredients on only one half of each tortilla)
  8. Fold the tortillas in half
  9. Place both of the cookie sheets on the middle rack of the oven
  10. Bake 10 min.
  11. Cut the quesadillas into wedges and serve with Cilantro and Thai Chili Dipping Sauce