Peanut Butter Miso Cookie

From The NY Times. An interesting combination! I made the dough and let it sit for a few days in my refrigerator. I made the cookies and rolled them in the sugar and they went straight into the oven. The technique of hitting the pan on the counter is interesting to me and my niece Joanie told me that she learned that in a kitchen! I had never heard of it!

1 ¾ cups/225 grams all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ cup/115 grams unsalted butter (1 stick), at room temperature
1 cup/220 grams light brown sugar
½ cup/100 grams granulated sugar
⅓ cup/80 milliliters white miso paste
¼ cup/60 milliliters chunky peanut butter
1 large egg
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup/105 grams Demerara sugar, plus more as needed

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda and baking powder, and whisk until incorporated. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix butter, light brown sugar and granulated sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
Add miso and peanut butter to the mixing bowl, and continue to mix at medium speed, about 1 minute. Scrape down sides of the bowl to make sure all of the ingredients are evenly incorporated, and mix a bit more if needed. Add egg and vanilla extract, and mix until just combined.
Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the mixing bowl, and mix on low speed until flour mixture is incorporated. Repeat with remaining flour mixture in two batches until all of it is incorporated.
Place 1/2 cup Demerara sugar into a small bowl. Working with one piece at a time, scoop out about 2 heaping tablespoons of dough (about 50 grams per cookie), and roll each portion between your hands until it is nice and round. (If the dough is too soft to roll, you can pop the mixing bowl in the refrigerator for 5 to 10 minutes to firm the dough up slightly.) Drop the piece of dough into the bowl of Demerara sugar and turn to coat. Transfer each ball to a parchment-lined baking sheet, arranging them about 3 inches apart. Repeat with all of the dough.
Refrigerate for 2 hours and up to overnight. (Even 15 minutes of refrigerator time will help the dough firm up, and the flavors meld. The longer the dough is refrigerated, the more mellow the flavors will be.)
When ready to bake, heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake cookies for about 15 minutes, until crisp at the edges and slightly puffed in the middle. They should still be a bit underdone in the center. Pull out the baking sheet and hit it against a counter. Place back into the oven to finish for about 3 to 4 minutes. When cookies are firm at the edges and slightly puffed in the center, pull them out and again hit the baking sheet against the counter. The cookies should appear flat and crinkly at the center.
Let the cookies cool on a baking sheet for a few minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. Store fully cooled cookies in an airtight container; they should retain their chewy texture for a few days.

Posole or Pozole

A wonderful winter soup/stew. I get my white corn posole (hominy) from Rancho Gordo, my favorite resource for beans and grains. I prefer to use my leftover pork shoulder which I always seem to have in my freezer. There are so many fun garnishes for this soup-shaved cabbage, cilantro, avocado, radish slices, tortilla chips, sour cream or grated cheese. I have a ristra of New Mexican dried red chiles and I made a paste of 4 chiles by toasting them in a cast iron pan, covering with boiling water for 30 minutes and then puréeing and straining the paste. It adds a lot of flavor to the soup. We like to eat the soup with fresh tortillas, warmed, either corn or flour.

1 1/2 c. dried posole (or substitute canned)
1/2 onion, sliced
2 T. olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
4 small multi colored peppers, diced
5 serranos, sliced (or jalapeños-seeded or not, depending on your taste)
1 can of green chiles, dice
Mexican oregano
Cumin, ground
6 c. chicken stock
Leftover cooked pork shoulder or butt, diced

Soak 1 1/2 c. dried posole overnight in water. Drain and add fresh water. Bring to a boil with 1/2 onion, sliced for one hour. Drain.
Saute onion for 5-10 minutes until soft. Add minced garlic and diced fresh peppers. Add green chiles, spices and stock. Bring to a simmer. Add pork and cooked posole. Simmer 30 minutes. Serve with your choice of garnishes.

Hazelnut Shortbread Bars

After discovering toasted and skinned hazelnuts at Trader Joe’s, I have a new fondness for the nuts! This recipe came from Sunset magazine. The shortbread is thicker than my usual shortbread but it is the perfect base for the hazelnut topping. A rich dessert!

3 cups raw, skin-on hazelnuts, divided
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon, divided
2 cups flour
1 cup plus 3 tbsp. cold butter, cubed
3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
7 tablespoons maple syrup
3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350°. Roast hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet until light golden, about 18 minutes. Rub the warm nuts in a kitchen towel to remove half of skins. Finely chop 1/2 cup nuts in a food processor. Reduce oven temperature to 325°.
Put chopped nuts, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, the flour, 1 cup butter, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, and 1/4 tsp. salt in a large bowl. Blend on low speed with a mixer until well blended.
Grease a 9-in. square baking pan, line with foil (let it hang over edges), then grease foil. Press dough evenly into bottom of pan. Bake until golden and firm, about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, very roughly chop half of remaining nuts to make 1 cup.
Bring remaining 1/4 tsp. cinnamon, 3 tbsp. butter, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 tsp. salt, the maple syrup, and the brown sugar to a boil in a small saucepan, whisking frequently. Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup whole hazelnuts and the chopped nuts (2 cups total; you may have leftover nuts). Pour over crust and spread evenly. Bake until set when pan is tilted, about 18 minutes.
Let cool on a rack. Lift foil with cookie to a board. Cut cookie into 16 squares, then cut each square in half diagonally.
Extra-Toasty Hazelnut Shortbread Bars: Follow directions for Hazelnut Shortbread Bars. Keep temperature at 350° throughout recipe. In step 3, bake crust until very deep golden, 45 minutes to 1 hour. In step 4, reduce the baking time to about 15 minutes.
Chocolaty Hazelnut Shortbread Bars: Follow directions for Hazelnut Shortbread Bars. After spreading nut topping on the crust in step 4, scatter 1 cup (5½ oz.) roughly chopped bittersweet chocolate on top, then bake.
Fruity Hazelnut Shortbread Bars: Follow directions for Hazelnut Shortbread Bars. In step 4, stir 1 cup tart or sweet dried cherries or cranberries into nut topping.

Fresh Clam Chowder

From my niece Joanie who went to a 9 month culinary program in Pasadena which she loved. This is a simple and delicious soup!
The key to the recipe is to flavor up the fish fumet/clam juice wine stock with herbs and vegetables. I used the top of fennel, bay leaf, peppercorns and parsley. You could use fresh thyme or any favorites. I bought Pasterneck clams from Whole Foods which are small and sweet-I buy them by the each and I used 20 for this recipe.

2 c. fish fumet or clam juice
1 c. white wine or blond ale
Bouquet Garni of bay leaf, thyme or any herbs of choice or vegetable tops/scraps
1 # fresh clams or 20 or so of your favorite
1/4 c. thick cut bacon, diced (2 slices)
1/2 onion, diced
1-2 celery stalks, diced
1/2 fennel, diced
2 Yukon Gold potatoes, diced (I like these diced on the small size)
1 c. Heavy Cream
fresh chopped parsley
salt and pepper
hot sauce of your choice

Cook bacon, rendering fat and cook until golden. Remove bacon and saute onion, celery and fennel until soft.
In another pan, bring stock and wine to a boil, add the bouquet Garni or herbs and peppercorns. Add clams and cook covered until open about 10 minutes. Strain stock through a cheesecloth, reserving. Remove clams from shells and set aside. If you are using large clams, you may want to chop them.
Add clam stock to the vegetables and add the potatoes. Simmer 20 minutes.
Add clams, bacon and cream. Season with salt and pepper and hot sauce! Garnish with fresh parsley!

Roasted Tomato Salsa and Tomato Sauce from fresh Tomatoes

Winter came early this year to Denver and I was forced to harvest my 7 tomato plants at once due to a freeze. I had Early Girl, Brandywine, Big Boy, Sungold and Sweet 100 tomatoes. The cherry tomatoes disappeared but I had enough of the larger tomatoes to make salsa and tomato sauce for pasta-after slicing them daily to eat as is or on BLT’s.
I love the method of making the salsa and of course you can vary it to your own taste.
Roasted Tomato Salsa
Cut up 6-8 tomatoes and place them on a baking sheet, skin side up
Slice 1/2 onion
1-2 jalapeños or serrano peppers, cut in half (seeded if you don’t want spicy)
3 cloves of garlic
any other pepper (Poblano or Anaheim)
Broil until charred. Let sit 5 minutes. Purée in blender or food processor with
Juice of 1/2 lime or more to taste
handful of cilantro
salt and pepper to taste
Store in glass jar in the refrigerator.

Fresh Tomato Sauce
From The Splendid Table
3-5 large cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
12 large fresh basil leaves, torn
1/2 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1/8 teaspoon each salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup fruity extra-virgin olive oil
3 -1/2 pounds mixed ripe delicious tomatoes (never Romas of any kind), cored and quartered (do not seed)

In a 4-quart saucepan, combine the garlic, basil, onion, salt and pepper, and oil. Heat over medium-high heat 30 seconds, no more. Add the tomatoes, breaking them up with your hands as they go into the pan. Bring to a lively bubble, uncovered, and cook 30 minutes, or until the sauce is thick and reduced by half. Stir often, watching for sticking or scorching. Remove the pan from the heat, cover, and let stand 15 minutes. Then taste for seasoning.

Pass the sauce through a food mill or chop it in a blender or food processor until in small pieces. If desired, the sauce can be cooled and refrigerated up to 4 days, or frozen up to 6 month

Miso Sweet Potato Broccoli Bowl

From Smitten Kitchen-a wonderful recipe! I used brown basmati rice but you can use whatever grain you like. I love the miso-tahini dressing and the only condiments we added were hot sauce and soy sauce.
Serves 4

For the bowl
1 cup dried rice or another cooking grain of your choice
1 to 2 sweet potatoes (about 1.5 pounds)
1 large bundle broccoli (about 1 pound)
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse or kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon white sesame seeds
1 teaspoon black sesame seeds

For the miso-sesame dressing
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 small garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons white miso (the mildest kind)
2 tablespoons tahini (other nut butters can work in a pinch)
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup rice vinegar
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons olive oil

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place rice or grain and cooking liquid in a rice cooker or on the stove. Cook according to package directions.

Peel sweet potatoes and cut into 1-inch cubes. Cut tops off broccoli and separate into bite-sized florets. If your broccoli stems feel especially woody, I like to peel them (with the same vegetable peeler), then cut them into 1/2- to 1-inch segments.

Coat one large or two smaller trays with a thin slick of olive oil. Layer sweet potatoes on tray(s) and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes, until browning underneath. Flip and toss chunks around, then add broccoli to the tray(s), season again with salt and pepper, and roast for another 10 to 20 minutes, until broccoli is lightly charred at edges and sweet potato is fully bronzed and tender. Toss chunks around one more time if it looks like they’re cooking unevenly.

In a small skillet, toast black and white sesame seeds until fragrant. (You can do this in the oven if using an oven-proof skillet.) Let cool.

While vegetables roast, prepare sesame-miso dressing: Combine everything in a blender and run until smooth, scraping down sides once. Taste and adjust ingredients if needed, but try to resist adding more honey if it tastes salty, as that extra pop of saltiness is exactly what I think sweet potato needs.

Assemble bowls: Scoop some rice/grains into each, then pile on the roasted sweet potatoes and broccoli. Coat lightly with sesame-miso dressing and finish with toasted sesame seed duo. Serve with extra dressing on the side.

Ginger Spice Cookie

From King Arthur Flour,  one of my favorite baking companies. I love their organic flour and all of their baking products. The crystallized (or candied) ginger in the dough adds a great flavor. I can find crystallized ginger at Whole Foods or my local spice shop. As with most cookie doughs, this benefits from chilling overnight. I ordered the sparkling sugar to roll the cookies in before baking from King Arthur. It’s a beautiful sugar with rectangular crystals!

Ginger cookies in sugar
2 1/4 c. King Arthur all purpose flour
2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 cup (12 tablespoons, 170g) unsalted butter
1 cup (213g) light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1/2 cup (92g) crystallized ginger, chopped
1/4 cup (85g) molasses
sparkling white sugar, for coating

Ginger spice cookies
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Set aside.

In a separate large bowl, beat together the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.

Beat in the egg, crystallized ginger, and molasses.

Add the dry ingredients, beating gently until evenly blended.

Cover the bowl and chill the dough for a minimum of 10 to 15 minutes; overnight refrigeration is preferable, if you have the time.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease two baking sheets, or line with parchment paper.

Shape the dough into 1″ balls, and roll each ball in sparkling sugar.

Place the balls of dough 2″ to 3″ apart on the prepared pans.

Bake the cookies in the center of the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until they’re golden and set.

Remove the cookies from oven and cool on pan.

Chewy Oatmeal Walnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies

From the LA Times, another great chocolate chip cookie recipe! I cut the chocolate smaller than 1/2″ chunks. I like adding some coarse salt on top of the cookie before baking.

Makes about 5 dozen cookies.
14 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 ½ cups unsalted butter, room temperature
1 ½ cups packed dark brown sugar
¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup heavy cream
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
4 cups old-fashioned (rolled) oats
2 cups walnut halves and pieces, chopped

1 Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line 3 large cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2 Coarsely chop the chocolate into ½-inch chunks, leaving all the flaky bits on the cutting board. Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl or on a large sheet of parchment or wax paper.

3 Beat the butter and both sugars with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on medium speed, scraping the bowl occasionally, until smooth and creamy but not fluffy, about 3 minutes. With the machine running on medium speed, pour in the cream in a steady stream and beat until smooth. Scrape the bowl, turn the machine to medium-low speed, and add the eggs one at a time then the vanilla. Beat just until smooth and scrape the bowl.

4 Turn the machine to low speed and gradually add the flour mixture then the oats. Scrape the bowl, add the walnuts, and mix on low speed until evenly incorporated. You should hear the nuts cracking into smaller pieces as the paddle turns. Scrape in all the chocolate chunks and bits and beat on low speed until well mixed.

5 Use a large (3-tablespoon) cookie scoop to drop balls of dough onto a prepared sheet, spacing them 2 inches apart. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Scoop the remaining dough while the first batch bakes, then bake the remaining sheets, one at a time.

6 Cool on the pan on a wire rack. You can wait for them to completely cool or eat them warm. No judgment.

Salted Chocolate Chunk Walnut Oatmeal Cookies
Sprinkle the tops of the dough balls lightly with flaky sea salt, fleur de sel or kosher salt before baking.

Soft and Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Substitute ¼ cup vegetable oil for 4 tablespoons butter. Beat with the butter and sugar and proceed as above.

Rosemary Shortbread

A crumbly and delicate cookie from Flour: A Baker’s Collection of Spectacular Recipes. Very easy to make and benefits from resting the dough for at least 20 minutes, or until it is firm enough to roll out. The rosemary flavor is subtle and different, do not be tempted to add anymore than is called for in the recipe.
The recipe 26 of my usual size cookie.

1 c. (2 sticks/228 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 c. (110 grams) packed light brown sugar
1 egg yolk
1 t. finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 1/2 c. (210 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 c. (65 grams) cornstarch
3/4 t. kosher salt
1/2 t. baking powder
Using a stand mixer with the paddle, cream the butter on medium speed for 2 minutes, until light and pale. Add the sugar and beat on medium speed for 3-4 minutes or until light and fluffy. Occasionally scrape the sides of mixer to release any clinging butter or sugar. On low speed add the egg yolk and rosemary and beat 1 minutes. Mix together flour, cornstarch, salt and baking powder. On low speed, add flour mixture to the butter sugar mixture and mix until incorporated. Stir well and remove and wrap with plastic, pressing into a disc about 8″ in diameter and 1″ thick. Refrigerate until firm.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Position the rack in the oven to the center.
On a floured surface roll the dough out to 1/4″ thick and cut into any shapes you desire. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until cookies are medium golden brown all the way through. Cool for 15-20 minutes on a race.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to four days.