Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

cookiebaker

Nora is learning to make cookies but she has a distinct preference for chocolate! A recipe found in a cookbook written by my cousin Jane Purtle was just what Nora ordered!  In Food from the Hills, the author recorded family recipes from her family, which happens to be our family, too.  My grandmother, Clyde Curley Terrell, and Jane Purtlle’s father, Russell Hill, were half-siblings.  My great-grandmother Ernestine Augier Hill Curley was married to Jane’s grandfather, James Hill.  After he died, she married my Great Grandfather Curley. These chocolate oatmeal cookies were a favorite in the Hill family.

But there is more to this cookie story.  The original oatmeal cookie (without chocolate) recipe was one found in the Home Economics class cookbook from Bullard High School in Bullard, Texas where Jane Purtle’s mother Ruby and my mother, Opal attended.  So I am certain Nora’s great-grandmother Opal also made these cookies. Nora’s middle name is Opal.  I had fun thinking about all these connections while we made these cookies.

cookbook

Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

1 egg

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 tablespoons buttermilk

1 cup oatmeal  ( recipe says Quick, but regular works great and makes a chewier cookie)

1 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 squares unsweetened chocolate, melted (Please note:  I substituted 6 Tablespoons Dutch cocoa powder  plus 2 Tablespoons oil for the melted baking chocolate)

Break egg in mixing bowl and beat in sugar.  Add oil to sugar and eggs. Add milk and oatmeal. Sift flour with salt, baking powder and soda into the first mixture.  Add chocolate and beat well.  Drop by teaspoonfuls on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 375 degrees until firm around edges but soft in center.

If desired, omit chocolate and add 1 teaspoon vanilla.

Remove from baking sheet and cool on rack.

 

 

 

cookies

 

chocolateoatmealcookies

Blueberry Breakfast Cake

blueberrybreakfastcakeThis recipe is available several places online.  I made it for the first time last week, but it won’t be the last time!  When blueberries are in season and available for good prices, I buy enough to freeze, so I used frozen blueberries which worked great.  Whether using fresh or frozen, be sure to put the berries in a ziploc bag with 1/4 cup flour and toss.  This keeps the berries from sinking to the bottom in a soggy clump. Then, fold the flour-coated fruit into the batter as the very last step before baking. This coating absorbs some of the liquid released by the fruit as it bakes and keeps the fruit in place until the crumb has set. This works for any fruit called for in a recipe as well as any other ingredients, like nuts, dried fruit, and chocolate chips. You can use this trick when baking muffins, cupcakes, scones, or any quick bread.

Blueberry Breakfast Cake

½ cup butter, room temperature

1 cup sugar, diviided (Save out 1 Tablespoon sugar for topping)

2 tsp. lemon zest or more — zest from 1 large lemon

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. kosher salt

2 cups fresh blueberries

½ cup buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Cream butter with lemon zest and  sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined.

In a ziploc bag,  toss the blueberries with ¼ cup of flour and set aside.

Combine the remaining flour, baking powder and salt and add to batter  a little at a time, alternating with the buttermilk.  Fold in the blueberries gently.

Grease a 9-inch square baking pan with butter or coat with non-stick spray. Spread batter into pan. Sprinkle with another tablespoon of sugar. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes. Check with a toothpick for doneness and if necessary, return to oven until toothpick comes out clean..

Pulled Pork with Balsamic Honey Sauce

BalsamicHoneyPulledPork

Pulled pork has become a standby dish for our kitchen.  I like to use the slow cooker for easy preparation, and this is one of the easiest recipes since you only need the pork, some seasoning, and water in the crockpot to begin.  The sauce can be made ahead and preheated before serving, but I like to make it just before table time.  There is alot of balsamic vinegar in the sauce, and as it cooks down and begins to thicken, the fragrant aroma makes your mouth water!  This is my version of a recipe I saw featured on FaceBook. This makes a large batch and freezes well.

Pulled Pork with Balsamic Honey Sauce

2 Pork Tenderloins, 2.5 – 3 lbs. total

1 1/4 cups water

1 teaspoon Tony Cachere’s seasoned salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

(For Balsamic Honey Sauce)

1 cup Balsamic Vinegar

3 cloves garlic, minced

3/4 cup catsup

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup honey

1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

 

BalsamicHoneySauce

 

Place pork in the bottom of  slow cooker which has been coated with cooking spray. In a bowl, whisk together water, seasoned salt and pepper. Pour mixture over pork.
Cover slow cooker and cook on low for 8-10 hours (or on high for 4-5).

In the last 30 minutes of cooking the pork, combine minced garlic, balsamic vinegar, ketchup, brown sugar, honey, and Worcestershire sauce in saucepan over medium heat. Stir to blend, then bring to a simmer. Cook for 10-15 minutes, or until thickened.
Remove pork from slow cooker to large platter and shred with 2 forks. Pour about 1/2 cup of balsamic sauce over pulled pork and toss to combine.

Serve on regular size or slider buns. Pass extra sauce!

BalsamicHoneyPulledPorkSandwich

Thai Chicken Salad with Lime and Ginger Vinaigrette

VietnameseChickenSalad

In the heat and humidity of August days, salad suppers are a simple, nutritious and delicious welcome.  The added benefit is no cooking to heat up the kitchen if you use a rotisserie chicken to top this family favorite.  Every time I make this salad I wonder why I don’t do it more often. Most of the ingredients are ones we keep as pantry and frig staples.

There are dozens of similar recipes in cookbooks and online. Some are called Vietnamese, some are called Thai. Most list fish sauce as an ingredient and since we lived in Southeast Asia, I know this is a traditional seasoning.  But we prefer to omit it in most dishes.  The greens can be a combination of almost anything you wish. If you are cooking for several people, increase the amounts and it is beautiful served on a large platter with ingredients layered separately to toss before serving. When I make it for two, I create the salads right on the serving plates.

Thai Chicken Salad with Lime and Ginger Vinaigrette

2  cups shredded or chopped chicken (I use rotisserie chicken!)

4 cups coarsely chopped Romaine lettuce or Napa Cabbage

1 sweet red pepper, chopped

1 small red onion

1 small cucumber, sliced thin

3 carrots, grated

!/2 cup roasted peanuts (more if you like)

 

For Lime and Ginger Vinaigrette

Juice of 2 large limes

3 Tablespoons olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 Tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger (I use Penzey’s)

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

honey to taste

whisk together and drizzle over salad before serving

Layer greens, chopped vegetables, and chicken.  Sprinkle peanuts and dressing on top before serving.

 

 

 

 

 
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