Come along with me as I journal about my latest cooking and gardening adventures. Discover what grows in my zone five garden, and see what new recipes I try from my cookbook collection each week.

As I share recipes and information from my kitchen, I invite readers to comment and share ideas along with me in this blog. I am looking to increase followers to my blog, so that I may learn more about cooking and gardening.

Since moving to Midland, Michigan, I have been reading and researching many cooking journals, cookbooks and collected recipes from the past thirty years. Organizing pictures of gardens I enjoy has also been a joy for me, as I continue to learn about garden design and horticulture.

angel food cakes

angel food cakes
this kitchen is seasoned with love

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

sweet and salty chocolate chip cookies

for a change from the old standard chocolate chip cookie recipe, here is one that offers something different.  the salty taste and the option of adding peanuts or another nut, adds a very different flavor to the cookie.

preheat oven to 350 degrees.  mix dry ingredients.  1 cup flour, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon baking soda.  next, mix wet ingredients into the mixer bowl.  mix 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1 large egg.  mix well and add dry ingredients.

for the last addition, measure and chop 1/3 cup peanuts or other nut, and 1/3 cup chocolate chips.  i used peanuts for this batch and milk chocolate chips.  and finally, add 1/2 teaspoon of course sea salt.  this is what gives the cookie the salty taste.

i used a cookie scoop and placed them on baking sheets coated with canola cooking spray.  this recipe makes 32 to 36 cookies.  bake for about 10 minutes and allow to cool. 

these cookies are just delicious.

shrimp chinese

here is another alternative for a shrimp main dish or stir fry presentation.  i use jumbo shrimp, clean them and remove the tails.  grill shrimp in a skillet and season with salt, pepper or your favorite shrimp seasoning. 

next, add a selection of vegetables to taste.  i have added fresh broccoli, shredded carrots, canned or fresh mushrooms, water chestnuts or even bamboo shoots.  heat these before preparing the sauce.

i use 1/2 cup of orange marmalade and mix in 1/2 cup of hoisin sauce, heating in a saucepan prior to adding to the dish.  once the sauce is heated through, the dish is done and ready to serve.

this dish can be served with white or brown rice, and even with crispy rice noodles.  this is a great addition to an Asian buffet dinner or for an Asian themed meal. other meal options could include substituting out the shrimp and prepare with pork or chicken.  the sauce is very tasty and versatile.


recently, i have been experimenting with a variety of onion products.  these shallots are very mild and i have been cutting them quite fine, almost to a mincing texture, and substituting them for several standard recipes.  for lunch salads, such as tuna fish or chicken salad, shallots substitute nicely and give a much milder flavor and are easily chopped finely to incorporate into the salad.

i have also used them in stir fry's, and with a green bean side dish in the past week. for each of these recipes, the shallots have provided a wonderful flavor and less powerful onion taste for my guests. i am certainly going to continue to use them instead of a yellow or white onion in certain recipes.

easy chocolate cake

for an easy weekday dessert, here is a superb chocolate cake that is rich and dark, very similar to a brownie texture.  it is baked in a loaf pan and cut into slices, and is easily served with whipped cream, a drizzle of chocolate sauce, topped with nuts or even just plain.

preheat the oven to 325.  grease and lightly flour a 9 by 5 by 3 inch loaf pan.  mix dry ingredients in a small bowl to add later to the wet ingredients. mix 1 1/2 cup flour, 3/4 cup Dutch process cocoa ( i used trader joe's), 1 tsp baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. 

in a mixer bowl, cream 1 stick softened unsalted butter, 1 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1 large egg, 1 cup buttermilk, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (i used almond today).  Then, add the dry ingredients to the mixing bowl and combine.

pour the batter into the loaf pan.  place on a sheet pan and bake for 60 to 70 minutes until done.  allow to cool before serving.