Carrot & Raisin Salad

I have never made this for Thanksgiving, ever. I made it this because I love it even though I know neither the Boy nor the MotH likes it at all – their loss, more for me. So I made it because there would be other family members at Thanksgiving in case someone other than me might like it too. I do think that worked.

D&D_2329These are random thoughts:

I eat carrot/raisin salad for breakfast – just a couple of days in the fridge and this really is excellent. It keeps so much better than cole slaw. Cole slaw need to be made the day you are eating it and then just toss it out. That is not to say you cannot use the cole slaw mix for days and days, you just have to dress it the day you are going to eat it. This works really well, especially when serving bbq pork or sloppy joes.

Oh, and yes, breakfast because apparently I have to eat meals now. Ugh.

I have no recipe for carrot & raisin salad* – same as with cole slaw.  Let me try to explain. I peel and grate a 1 pound bag of carrots on the large holes of a box grater. Put that in a bowl. Add golden raisins – sultanas, and decided if I need more raisins. Then get out the Duke’s mayonnaise. This is where you must be careful. Too much mayo will make just a hot mess. So add the Duke’s judiciously. A little at a time – a little kosher salt now would be a good thing. Then let the whole damn mess sit refrigerated overnight and decide if you need to add something more. In my case, a couple of days later the salad needed a little more (very little) mayonnaise. Made the difference in my breakfast this week. Indeed.

Carrot Raisin Salad is always for my brother’s birthday. That’s saying a lot. I’ve said this before, probably lots, but for our birthdays growing up you got your favorite meal for your birthday. My brother’s favorite was roast beef with rice and gravy and carrot & raisin salad. Maybe it was the roast beef I made the week before Thanksgiving that made this happen, but no matter what this was a really good treat for me and the others that recognized this** on the Thanksgiving buffet.

Who writes about carrot & raisin salad? No body but me.

*Why is it called a salad – it’s like a carrot slaw with sultanas. Oh, and pineapple-ly things will never, ever, be involved in carrot/raisin salad. Ugh – just so wrong. Yes, I have very strong opinions about food. I think we all do. Well, even if we all don’t, I still do.

**Yes, it was all of us old-ish people, but they enjoyed it. Me, my mother-in-law, my sister-in-law’s mother, and I think my brother-in-law too. Yes, I was looking at plates. Based on what I saw, I think they liked it.

Either way, a great breakfast for a few days at the office.

Quaker Oatmeal Raisin (Walnut) Cookies

I am a total sucker for oatmeal/raisin/walnut cookies in just about any form imaginable. I am not sure why that is, because I do not remember eating loads of these as a kid and don’t remember my mom making them either. I guess it’s one of the strangely good combinations that as an adult I prefer over, say, chocolate chip or something.D&D_2006

It also does not hurt that somehow I think these cookies must be good for you. You know, oats are good for your heart, nuts are good for you, and raisins and just plain tasty. I eat these for breakfast and can feel really good about it. That might just be the best part of all. And it’s all total bullshit, but I can just about convince myself that it works. Yep, I can.

14 Tbs unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups Quaker Oats (quick or old-fashioned)
1 cup raisins + a little more
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts + a little more

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

Over a piece of waxed paper, sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add in eggs, one at a time, and mix, then add vanilla. Add dry ingredients and then oats and mix well to combine. Stir in raisins and walnuts.

Using a cookie scoop (#30), scoop dough onto baking sheet and flatten them a bit. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Cool 1 minute on the baking sheet then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

source: Quaker Oats Company

Oatmeal Raisin Pecan Cookies

Oatmeal cookies are some of my favorite cookies pretty much ever. In my opinion, they combine a lot of things I like – oatmeal, dried fruit, and nuts. Add a little sugar and bake and they are great “breakfast” cookies, right?  That is just how I justify eating lots of them for breakfast –  no guilt involved.dd_1588

This is a new recipe for me, but certainly not my only oatmeal cookie recipe. I feel like a bit of an expert in this area, but maybe that is just because I’m the odd one that likes oatmeal cookies when everyone else is picking up the chocolate chip cookies. Fine – more oatmeal cookies for me. But I do think raisins and nuts – walnuts or pecans – need to be involved.

This recipe was a request, but you really never have to ask me to make an oatmeal cookie twice. Huge fan — as long as no chocolate is involved. That is just the worst thing – um, pretty much ever. You see an    oatmeal cookie and have expectations of raisins, and then damn – ugh – it is chocolate chips – so. very. gross. It gives me the heebie-jeebies just thinking about it.

2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup chopped pecans (our local pecans – Renfroe’s)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
12 Tbs unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
2 Tbs pure grade B maple syrup
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup raisins/sultanas

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spread oats on rimmed baking sheet and toast until lightly golden, about 6 minutes or so. Add pecans and toss, toast another 6 minutes until pecans are fragrant. Let cool. Turn off oven or lower to 350 degrees.

Sift over a piece of waxed paper flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir in oats and pecans.

In a bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add egg, syrup, vanilla and beat until incorporated. Add dry ingredients and beat on low until just combined. Add raisins and stir, scraping down the bowl. Let sit at room temperature for one hour to hydrate the oatmeal.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using a #20 or 2 ozs. disher, scoop dough onto parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing 3 inches apart – cookies will spread as they bake. Bake until cookie edges are golden brown and firm but centers are still soft, 15-17 minutes. Let sit on baking sheet for ten minutes (??) and then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.

Cookie dough can be made 3 days ahead and covered and refrigerated. Let dough come to room temperature before baking.

Source: Based on the original name of the recipe – I’m thinking Bon Appetit and their “Best of” series. Made a couple of changes, but the idea is still amazingly wonderful.

Cous Cous Salad

Well, I am doing it … again. Making the same recipes over and over because I like them. That said, it does not make for new and exciting things for this blog, but it is true to life and to me that is pretty important. This is how I cook. I make things that make me and mine happy – or sometimes, just me, happy. That is the case with this recipe. It is a combination of flavors that I love. You will also find it in the Asparagus, Red Onion, Orange Juice, White Wine butter sauce pasta. Red onions and orange juice are really amazing together.

It kind of bugs me (no, really bugs me) that I cannot find the source for this recipe – google –  can you not fix this?  Again, another recipe from my vegetarian decade and I so thought this was from The Greens Cook Book, but, alas, no. Still one of my favorite cook books.D&D_1556

1 cup fresh orange juice
1/3 cup sultanas (or just raisins in this case)
1 medium red onion, sliced into half circles
red wine vinegar – or apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup toasted pecans (or walnuts whatever you have)
2 scallions, sliced thin
1 cup cous cous*
1 Tbs canola oil

In a dry pan, heat nuts until they are just fragrant and slightly toasted. Remove from heat. In a small pot heat water to boil and place red onion in a heat-proof bowl. Add the hot water to the red onions for a few minutes and drain. Set aside and splash with red wine vinegar. Heat orange juice in a pot over medium heat and add sultanas. Add cous cous to the  orange juice mixture and add canola oil. Cover the pot with the lid to steam. Give it a few minutes and then fluff with a fork. Add in scallions, nuts, and red onions (w/the vinegar).  This is pretty damn amazing.

This salad, in my opinion, is great at room temperature and not bad on the cold side either. The vinegar pickles the onions and makes them crunchy and that is just lovely with the cous cous and the soft sultanas and crunchy nuts.

* I have tried this with Israeli cous cous, but prefer the Italian version – smaller, in this case, is better in my opinion.

Cous Cous Salad

Yep, I am so back to my vegetarian days with this recipe. I think that making the orange juice, white wine, butter sauce pasta makes me crave this too. So many similar ingredients and flavors. Although it is interesting that I have not sized this recipe down for just me and therefore I eat it for breakfast and/or lunch for about a week. Now, I use local pecans because the are just so sweet. I know I have written about this before but Renfroe’s pecans are … I am at a loss. They are stupidly, amazing, dumbly, good. I guess because I grew up with pecans from Georgia and did not understand how the season worked, nor how to store them in between that I have learned a lot. Since moving to Pensacola, I now know how local pecans work. It is a charmed world to have such amazing fresh pecans.  Once again – spoiled.

D&D_15561 cup orange juice
1/3 cup raisins or sultanas – I prefer sultanas, but will deal with raisins, easily.
1 red onion minced
1/2 cup toasted pecans (or walnuts), salted
3 scallions, diced
1 cup Cous Cous – (not israeli couscous – I have tried, but not my favorite)
Red wine vinegar
1 Tbs Canola oil

Heat orange juice over low heat until bubbly. Add raisins or sultanas and let simmer until raisins are soft. Heat a small saucepan with water to boil. Add red onions and boil for just a minute and a half. Remove from water into a bowl and cover with red wine vinegar to soak until you are finished with everything else.

Add Cous Cous to orange juice with Canola oil. Remove from heat and cover. Let stand until orange juice is absorbed.

Toast pecans in a skillet with some kosher salt until fragrant. Just about a minute on medium heat.  Dice scallions. Drain red onions. Fluff Cous Cous with a fork and add red onions, pecans, and scallions.

I think next time some blanched asparagus would be a great addition. Or maybe some thawed frozen artichoke hearts – just make it a bit more substantial.

I think this is my goal – to take the things I make over and over again and develop them further, to add another dimension to them. I already have a few ideas for this – may be great – may be an random failure, but it is worth a shot. At least to me.

Maybe some salty cheese. Will have to think about that.

Raisin Walnut Oatmeal Cookies

Or should the title be Oatmeal, Raisin, Walnut Cookies? – not sure. This is an Ina Garten recipe – but I did modify it a bit. I do kind of love her, but I have never tried this recipe.  It has been one of those recipes that has been my cookie binder for donkey’s years and I figured, what the hell – I am a huge fan of oatmeal cookies (read: cookies you can eat for breakfast and not feel the least bit guilty about it). I really do not think I ever feel guilty about eating cookies for breakfast, but that’s just me. Yes, everyone should be so progressive or something. Whatever. These are really good.

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp kosher salt
16 Tbs unsalted butter, room temperature (2 sticks)
1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed (light or dark – whatever – theme perhaps?)
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 raisins
1 1/2 walnuts, chopped (roughly or not – personal preference)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Over a piece of waxed paper, sift together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and both sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, and then add the vanilla.

Slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter/egg mixture, and mix to combine. Add the oats, raisins, and walnuts until just combined.

Using my cookie scoop*, I parsed these out about 2 inches apart and baked about 14 – 15 minutes. Although I did kind of smash them a bit after the first batch. That might be an issue if you leave the dough in the fridge over night which I tend to do but I did let it sit out at room temperature for a while (a couple of hours). Make dough one night, cookies the next night -it is a thing for me. But baking 15 minutes seemed to work pretty well.

Notes: I was a little disappointed that the tops of these cookies didn’t get kinda sorta brown on top, but in the taste department it so made up for that. They were crunchy even if the top wasn’t more than beige. Again, though, I like style points. I think cookies should look good (but that does not keep me from eating them again for a midnight snack).

*How does one determine the size of a cookie scoop? Please someone enlighten me. This one works, but I just kind of guess with it.

Made 43 cookies with the cookie scoop that has no determined size. Honestly. Do  have to figure this out. D&D_1254

 

 

Carrot Cake Cookies

D&D_0971

Carrot Cake Cookies

I think, based on the photocopy, that this is a Mrs. Fields cookie recipe – which is funny since my mom was a real Mrs. Fields. She (the cookies person) also happens to be the person that makes my favorite carrot cake, so this recipe makes some degree of sense. The original makes only 20 or so sandwich cookies, and that seems a lot of work for not much reward, so I’ve been doubling this recipe since almost the beginning and it works really well. Below is the doubled version.

Let me say, though, that these cookies do not have to be sandwich cookies.They can just be cookies, and they are pretty much excellent that way especially with my additions which I think are, kind of, required for carrot cake anything – raisins and walnuts. I do think the addition of oats in this recipe is a totally good call. Yes, you can call this a breakfast cookie and feel morally superior about it. That’s always a good thing. Although when you add the cream cheese filling, you probably can’t get away with the morally superior part.

1 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup sugar
2 large egg yolks
splash of vanilla
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
2 cups old fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups grated carrots (about 3 carrots)
3/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Filling:
4 ozs cream cheese, room temperature (1/2 block)
4 ozs unsalted butter, room temperature (1 stick)
1/2 cup powdered sugar, or more as necessary
1 Tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
pinch of salt

Make the cream cheese filling/frosting. Cream together butter and cream cheese, add lemon juice and salt and then add powered sugar until the right consistency. Keep in mind that the filling/frosting will thicken in the fridge by the time you need it.

Sift together over a sheet of waxed paper the flour, ginger, cinnamon and salt. In a small bowl, mix together oats, carrot, raisins and walnuts. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugars, then add egg yolks and that splash of vanilla.

Add the flour mixture and mix until just incorporated, then add the oats, carrots, raisins and walnuts. Mix until just incorporated.

Drop onto parchment-lined baking sheet in tablespoon size and flatten a bit – about 2 inches apart. These don’t really spread, so that’s not a problem, but you do need to flatten them especially if you want to make sandwich cookies out of them. Bake for 15 – 18 minutes, turning the pan half way through. Cool for a minute then transfer to a wire rack.

If making sandwich cookies, put a little of the cream cheese mixture on the bottom of a cookie and then match it to another one. Or frost the cookies, or leave them alone and be morally superior and have breakfast cookies.

November 2004 – Thanksgiving
14 November 2015 – went over well at the office, and Tim (Shaggy’s) said these were his favorites. Not everyone likes carrot cake or carrot cake cookies, but I do think the oats make a differernce.