I spent most of last week stuck inside. Temperatures were in the single digits (with windchills below zero) and a snowstorm struck us on Thursday, which meant my time outside was limited to short walks around the block with Maki. I used the opportunity to get lots of cooking done, and I did something I do maybe a couple of times a year: I baked cookies. I've meant to share a recipe for oatmeal cookies for a while now, but I kept putting it aside. These are perfectly crisp on the outside, with nice chew on the inside (the key is not over-baking them). Of course, once you bake cookies, you have to find something to do with them. They couldn't all stay in the house. The great thing about living in the 'burbs is having neighbors to distribute treats to. So, that's where the majority of them went, and Eric and I enjoyed the rest with our nightly carafe of tea.
White Chocolate, Cranberry and Macadamia Nut Oatmeal Cookies
Yield: Approx. 24 cookies
Special Tools: Stand mixer (or hand mixer), cookie sheet
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 heaping cups rolled oats
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 sticks butter (room temperature)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, sugar, brown sugar, salt, baking soda, and baking powder in a bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the butter and beat until smooth. With the mixer on its lowest setting, slowly add dry ingredients to the bowl. Mixture should be crumbly but start to come together. Beat in eggs and vanilla and mix until fully incorporated. Stir in white chocolate chips, dried cranberries, and macadamia nuts.
Transfer the dough to the fridge and chill for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F. Drop the dough onto baking sheets in 1.5 to 2 tablespoon scoops, leaving 2 inches of room between them. Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the edges are golden and the cookies have set. Remove from oven and let cookies cool on the sheets for another 5 minutes. Transfer cookies to wire racks to finish cooling.
A bowl of hot soup soothes the soul in ways few foods can. Even the process has a calming effect. The peeling and chopping of vegetables, the smell of them sautéing, the steam that escapes as it simmers on the stove. I find the whole experience comforting. I've made many batches over these last couple of months to serve to dinner guests (anyone else exhausted from all the holiday gatherings?). This carrot soup was for our friends who just had a baby a few weeks ago. We spent the afternoon at their home, cuddling with the little one, who slept soundly in my arms until she was ready for more food or wanted to be changed, all things I could pass her off for her mommies to do. It made my heart soar to see how happy the two of them are with their new addition.
I'm looking forward to this coming year and all the dishes I have rattling around in my head. To be honest, things felt a bit disjointed over these last twelve months. There was a lot to juggle... the Cape house, work, travels... and I found it challenging to focus. But I'm feeling like this soup is the right direction. Cooking the things I love to eat and just sharing that with all of you. Here's to a great 2018! Cheers!
Carrot Ginger Soup
2 lbs carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped peeled fresh ginger
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons yellow miso paste (use gluten-free miso to make this fully gf)
Sesame oil (optional)
Chopped cilantro, for garnish (optional)
Heat olive oil in a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Cook onion for 3 minutes, stirring often, until. Add garlic and ginger and cook for 2 minutes. Add chopped carrot, cover with 4 cups vegetable broth, and bring to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, cover with a lid and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 25 minutes, or until the carrots are tender.
Transfer the soup contents to a blender (or use an immersion blender) and blend until smooth. Add miso and maple syrup and blend to incorporate. Taste for seasoning and, if necessary, add salt. Transfer the mixture back to the pot. The soup will be on the thicker side, but you can thin it out with another cup of vegetable broth.
Serve in bowls with a light drizzle of sesame oil and chopped cilantro on top.