Monday, June 29, 2009

The Cookies of Champions

Just a quick post. I know I haven't been consistent with my blogging, at least not as much as I had been over the last couple of months. I really enjoyed writing and sharing recipes on a regular basis. However, with the mix of my tooth debacle, the end of Spring quarter that included a gaggle of graduations (and family that followed), not to mention a lovely visit last week from two amazing Norwegian relatives, all made it difficult for me to focus on my biggest passion, creating in the kitchen and sharing that here on my little site.

As of this morning life has begun to slow down a bit. I'm back in school and as the hot summer heat rolls in, the pace of everyday life seems to relax, allowing me to refocus on blogging, baking, and cooking.

Is it just me or have the last couple of months been inundated with post upon upon post on many a food blog claiming to have the ultimate chocolate chip cookie? I'm not going to claim that the recipe I'm about to share with you are the ultimate chocolate chip cookies, I won't even hint at it. I will, however, attempt to share with you how ambrosial and worth your time they are. Completely worth the 15 minutes it takes to whip them together. They have an incredible golden crust with deep crevices and cracks of gooey goodness running along the exterior. The chips and cereal pieces pop through as if to say 'hello, please eat me'. Every time I bake these cookies up they come out of the oven an appealing golden brown color with a texture that almost can't be beat. Soft on the inside with an amazing light crisp-ness on the outside. It's all about balance when it comes to chocolate chip cookies for me. I don't like them too soft (some people enjoy them almost uncooked soft) and I don't want them to be totally crunchy throughout. It's about gradual balance, a crisp exterior that as you work your way in remains so, yet caves into the soft interior. I like to add a little something extra to my cookie dough on occasion that may sound a bit odd to you at first, but is oh-so amazing, Wheaties. Like I said, I love the balance of soft and chewy with crisp and crunchy. When you add Wheaties you will find that you get an unexpected mysterious crunch in almost every bite. When the edges of crisp cereal bits that stick out of the dough roast up they almost resemble the flavor of toasted marshmallow. I can't explain it. All I can do is urge you to give it a shot.

Recipe: Chocolate Chip Cookies of Champions


2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 cups Ghiradelli milk chocolate/white chocolate chips mixed (or whatever kind of chocolate you prefer)
1 cup Wheaties cereal lightly crushed


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.

Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.

In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. I like to use an ice cream scoop to portion out drops of cookie dough. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.

Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Don't forget to enjoy warm, with a tall glass of cold milk.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Let's Roll : Dinner Club : June

, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

Perhaps I mentioned this already, but it's official. It took a while to get to this point, but 'Around the Table' (what we've dubbed our dinner/cooking group) has officially made it! Although I wouldn't mind one or two more girls in the group, to make up for those who can't make it once and a while, the food, conversation, and experience has far exceeded my wildest dreams! It truly is such a treat to get together once a month and enjoy a huge, delicious meal.

I have to preface my post by apologizing. I have had these pictures up for almost, if not over, a week. I have to explain (quickly though, I promise). Let's start with the beginning of last week; finals. Business 101 was easy peasy, but my entire business class was a walk in the park regardless of the final, so I had no worries there. A+++. American Literature was another story. I will spare my dear reader the details, and rant. Let's just say the teacher was incredibly disorganized, and armed with impossibly high expectations. Trust me, I know. We're talking about a girl who has, until this class, only received one B outside of an average 4.0 GPA in the last two years she's been in college. I know hard work, I know hard teachers, I understand high expectation. I did nothing different, worked just as hard, did just as well and got a lot of flack from the teacher. On top of that she rarely responded to questions and concerns, never participated in discussions with the class, and lacked any kind of guidance a teacher should exude. B-a-d. Worst teacher thus far. Thursday has been my only day off in, oh, about a week. I took the opportunity to drive me, and my broken car (fingers crossed it would make the trek) up to Lynden o visit one, no make that two, of my favorite girls in the whole wide world, Ashley and her new gorgeous little girl Aurora. It was the light of a hectic week. We had lunch, walked to town for treats, ate ice cream in the backyard, and I did a sufficient amount of baby hogging. I'm happy to say, Aurora and I have found our little niche, or, I have found a way to hold her, at least for now, that she really seems to groove. It was nearly impossible to tear myself away from the two of them late that evening, but I managed to do so, and my green beetle managed to get me home with no problem. Friday, was Rayne's graduation (the boyfriends little sister). A ton of his family from around the country attended the graduation, which was held down at the marina in a gorgeous little building. Rayne attended an alternative high school, and compared to mine, I preferred her graduation. The 60+ people in attendance brought a gaggle of mexican food, and we all pigged out while listening to each child make speeches about what they had learned. Besides the 'how's the weather' chit-chat with their fam and the 6 hours in total the graduation took, it was great. I'd spent all day that day cleaning, and cooking 100+ mini hot chocolate mexican cupcakes, so needless to say by the time we all got home I was tired. But we weren't just going to head off to bed, it was her only high school graduation! So, we picked up a bottle of champagne, threw a bunch of dead eucalyptus wood on the fire, toasted and relaxed the night away in front of the fire until almost 4am. Which was a bit of a disaster because the next day I was up at 8am for another round of graduation party madness. A cousin of mine had worked very long and hard on her teaching degree and was up with my family for the graduation at Western. I offered to host a little party for her. So I spent my entire morning cleaning, cooking, assembling, and getting ready. The rest of that day entailed feeding and entertaining another sect of my family. Whew. Talk about a LOT of work in two days. Sunday I had off. Except not really, because I was mentally preparing myself for the oral surgery I had yesterday. So, here I sit, in a bit of pain, tired, a little drugged up, and with a swollen face to boot! Yet, I wanted to get this post finished.

June's theme for the cooking group was 'Sushi'. One of my favorite things in the world. Everyone brought a bunch of filling, whatever they felt sounded good to them. I provided snow crab, avocado, cucumber, and prawns (which were skewered, battered in tempura and fried). I also made the sushi rice, which I thought turned out perfectly. I got the recipe from Sushi Day, which is a site full of incredible information, technique, and recipes for any sushi aficionado. I also made a cocktail, a mango lemonade martini which was killer good. I will say, each of us probably had our fair share of cocktails, after the mango lemonade got dusted off we moved onto the raspberry lemonade, then much later in the evening, a concoction created by Rachelle which featured (and stay with me here) Malibu Rum, Sparkling Water, Strawberry Daiquiri frozen juice, and lots of fresh lime. Might sound odd, I haven't had Malibu since high school, and feel a tad skeptical about it's coconut-y sweetness, but was pleasantly surprised by how refreshing the cocktail was.

, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

We started our meal off with Rachelle's homemade pork dumplings or Gyoza. As well as a slew of freshly fried tempura. For the tempura we had carrots, zucchini, broccoli, asparagus, and mushroom caps. The favorite consensus on the veggies was hands down mushroom, broccoli, and zucchini, my personal favorite being he zucchini. Rachelle's Gyoza were heavenly, in fact, I think I could've eaten simply that and tempura for dinner. So good! The wrappers were perfectly chewy, the filling incredibly tender and salty, the dipping sauce was indescribably good. I could go on for days about how perfect her two dishes were.

, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

After that, Laura served us a brine-y dish full of cucumber and seaweed. She prefaced it and I must repeat this, it's not the most appetizing looking of dishes. However, it tasted much better than it looks. The sauce was simple, if I remember correctly is was a pairing of Mirin, Tamari and a bit of sugar drizzled over fresh cucumber and seaweed. Laura used nori for the seaweed. After some discussion it seemed clear that using a different, heartier seaweed leaf like Wakame would've held up better to the moisture and dressing. Because while the flavor was there completely, the texture was a wee bit mushy.

, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

Dear Alexis couldn't be there with our miso soup course, so after our salad we headed into the kitchen and began rolling. To simplify I will give you a list of what we stuffed our sushi rolls with. This is a slight list compared to the millions of things one could roll up in rice, but we were all quite pleased, and stuffed, with the final results!

We used:

- Snow crab mixed with a little mayo
- Smoked Salmon
- Tempura Fried Prawns split in half
- Cucumber
- Unagi
- Avocado
- wasabi
- Mayo mixed with a bit of 'cock sauce' (ie super spicy red chili paste I can hardly say or spell)
- low sodium soy sauce
- and of course Nori

We each took turns placing a wad of rice (with wet hands) over sheets of Nori placed upon bamboo rolling sheets. Each roll had a different combination. We found that we each gravitated towards the rolls that were packed to the gills with a variety of fillings and flavor. All I know is that I've never eaten such terribly delicious homemade sushi. It was complete success.

, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

After rolling, eating and drinking copious amounts. We plopped down upon the adorondaks around the giant fire-pit and enjoyed a good hour or two of smoky relaxation. Our bellies each needed a break for an hour or two before even thinking about dessert

, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

After a bit of lounging we were itching to try Laurels incredible dessert. She had created a dessert ice cream cake tower of sorts. Layers of homemade lemon ginger pound cake rounds were smothered with vanilla bean stewed ruby red plums and stacked with one very large, creamy scoop of homemade ginger ice cream. Swoon. The ice cream was smooth, rich and creamy. The plums were tart, but the vanilla bean syrup imparted just the right amount of sweetness to them. The cake itself was moist and light, the ginger and lemon flavors came through almost ghostly, which was perfect, as to not compete with the other flavorfully intense components of the dish.

, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

What can I say? All in all, another triumphant success for our cooking group. Stay tuned, June 27 we partake in our group "Picnic" dinner. I feel we may see some incredible food and recipes that may aid you all summer in packing perfect picnic dishes!

Friday, June 05, 2009

Happy National Doughnut Day

, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

That's correct. Yes ladies and gents, the first friday of every June has been dubbed 'National Donut Day' since 1938. It was started by the Chicago Salvation Army, created in honor of World War I Salvation Army volunteers who prepared doughnuts and other baked goods for thousands of soldiers in France during World War I, as well as to raise funds during the great depression.

So, if you did not enjoy a doughnut this morning, be sure to pick one up on your way home. What a wonderful excuse to eat one of my favorite, but not often indulged upon treats.

* Doughnuts pictured are from Rocket Doughnuts here in Bellingham. Super Yum! If you catch them before they close on National Doughnut Day they'll give you some cool free loot (rocket ship key chain anyone?)

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Barbecue Sauce of A Different Kind

Emerald 'Barbecue' Sauce, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

Okay. Dubbing this sauce 'barbecue' is a bit misleading. It's certainly not your mamma's traditional tomato, brown sugar, mustard, vinegar barbecue sauce. However, it is incredible on barbecued meats and veggies alike. So I ask you, why not call it barbecue sauce? When I placed the little white bowl full of this emerald green sauce on the table it was gone in mere seconds. Everyone was slathering it all over, quite literally, everything. . . their potato salad, green salad, and of course grilled meat. It was the raving of harmonious 'mmmmm's' heard round the backyard. This simple sauce is comprised of a few easy to acquire ingredients; italian parsley, garlic, olive oil, vinegar and a pinch of red pepper flakes. So incredibly easy, ridiculously addicting. Of all the delecacies on the table last Sunday, I would say this was by far the unanimous favorite.

If you're looking for something a bit different to serve your guests this summer then I would highly suggest giving this recipe a try. Not only is it tasty it's quite beautiful too, once blended it becomes a gorgeous shade of green. Essentially it's a simpler version of chimichurri sauce, which is a popular dressing for meats in Argentina. However, many chimichurri's rely on heavier spices for flavor like cumin and herbs like cilantro. This sauce is just a bit 'cleaner' in flavor and complexity. It's incredibly fresh, healthy, easy and delicious, what's not to love?

Recipe: Emerald 'Barbecue' Sauce
* Recipe adapted from Giada at Home


3 cups italian (flat leaf) parsley stems removed roughly chopped
1-3 cloves of fresh garlic peeled (each clove will add more 'spice'. I used two)
2 tablespoons of merlot vinegar (any wine vinegar will do, I had merlot on hand, champagne might be really nice too)
pinch of red chilli pepper flakes
two pinches of sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil


1. In a food processor (I have a large kitchenaid, so I used the smaller bowl/blade attachment for this one, if you have the same setup I suggest using the smaller bowl as well) place first six ingredients and blend together.
2. While the mixture blends, slowly drizzle the olive oil into the processor (as you would to make a dressing) until everything has incorporated and the sauce takes on a saucy/creamy appearance.
3. Place in a small bowl and refrigerate or serve immediately at room temp.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Grilling of the Potato Variety

Grilling Potatoes, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

As I mentioned in the previous post I grilled for the first time this year, last weekend. A little cliche now that I reflect on it, grilling memorial day weekend that is. In my house we generally break the grill and the firepit out as soon as the first signs of nice weather arrive, generally sometime in April. This year has been kind of a busy one, so the weather needed to smack us upside the head before we realized that it was time to get outside and grill. We kept it pretty simple for the most part. For the meat we wanted steak/pineapple/onion kabobs and sweet teriyaki chicken. With a menu chock full of deliciously grilled protein you need some starch. Potato salad sounded particularly yummy, and I knew exactly which potato salad recipe I wanted to try first this year. During a particularly slow afternoon a couple of weeks ago, I needed to unwind a little so I curled up on the sofa and turned on the tele. Who else but Bobby Flay was yapping away on my screen. Now, I must admit, I've had a slight disdain for Mr. Flay ever since I laid my eyes on him years ago. I don't know what it is. . . his face, his voice, that inherent cockiness. . . something about him just put me off, enough that I didn't care to watch him really. I wouldn't put him in the 'things Mallory likes' column of life, but for some reason I've been open to watching him grill and cook over the last couple of weeks (maybe I just relished in the fact that he had propane and was able to grill, and that I as of yet had not). So, I opened my mind and my heart and watched him do his thing. Mind you this wasn't his 'regular' grilling show, nor was it his 'throwdown' program, this was some combination of the two. There he was, with some older gentlemen (a fire fighter from Florida if I remember correctly), the camera switching back and forth between the two. But it wasn't a competition. At the end, they sat down and ate together. What really caught my eye, and probably why I continued watching, was this incredibly gorgeous red/orange potato salad. Come to find out it was roasted red pepper and paprika potato salad, paprika and roasted red pepper happen to be two of my very favorite things. I was hooked. So I bided my time, and come grilling weekend I made sure I had everything to whip it up.

The reviews were mixed. I would say it didn't meet my visual expectations, but I'm also not giving up on this recipe quite yet. The one thing that shocked me, something I think might quickly take this recipe from simply okay to simply amazing, was heat. Bobby Flay missing heat? The paprika wasn't enough. It needs a roasted green chile, jalapeno pepper, or even a charred serrano thrown in the mixture. I'm almost a tad shocked bobby flay didn't have some spice in this recipe, you know, a flavor to warm the tongue and the belly, something that just slightly leaves your tastebuds curious and hungry for more. The sauce was also a tad watery, I think this was due to the water that tends to come out of bell peppers after they've been roasted, drying them out on a towel for a few minutes would've likely solved this issue. Like I said, I'm not ready to give up on this potato salad just yet, with a little tweaking I believe it could become one of my favorites. Afterall, it's nearly impossible to go wrong with potatoes, mayo, freshly fire roasted red peppers, and smoked paprika, especially when pairing with freshly grilled meats and veggies. Am I right?

Grilled Potato Salad, originally uploaded by miss.mallory.

Recipe: Bobby Flay's Roasted Pepper Paprika Potato Salad


2 pounds small Yukon gold potatoes, scrubbed
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 1/2 cup prepared mayonnaise
• 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
• 2 red bell peppers, grilled, peeled, seeded and diced
• 2 cloves garlic, chopped
• 1 tablespoon champagne or white wine vinegar
• 1 tablespoon Spanish smoked paprika
• Canola oil
• 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish


Heat the grill to high. Place the potatoes in a large saucepan and cover by 1-inch with cold water. Add 1 tablespoon of salt, bring to boil over high heat and cook until just cooked through, about 10 minutes. Drain, let cool slightly and halve.
While the potatoes are cooking, combine the mayonnaise, mustard, peppers, garlic, vinegar, paprika and salt and pepper in a blender or food processor and process until smooth.
Brush the cut sides of the potatoes with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill cut side down until lightly golden brown, about 2 minutes.Toss the potatoes with the red pepper mayonnaise while still warm, mashing slightly to break them up. Fold in the parsley and season with salt and pepper, if needed.