Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

When I was a child, my grandmother always made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for me. Much as I love(d) chocolate, the oatmeal part of the cookie was always my favorite. I asked her about the recipe once and she said it was on the oatmeal box. Unfortunately, she passed away not long after that while I was still too young to be baking myself.

I tried to replicate those cookies for years. The recipe on the oatmeal box didn't taste anything like them. The recipes in the standard cookbooks didn't taste anything like them. I finally gave up. Those cookies will have to remain a fond memory.

I still enjoy oatmeal cookies, though. I especially like the oatmeal cookies part of Oatmeal Scotchies but when I tried them without the butterscotch chips, they weren't particularly outstanding. When I made oatmeal scotchies recently, I noticed a recipe for oatmeal cookies on the cover of the oatmeal box that was similar but with small differences. I had another meeting to go to for the Rutgers Gardens Volunteers and these seemed like a good choice to bring. Just one problem. I had to make them ahead of time and I wasn't sure if raisins could be frozen and then thawed successfully.

I consulted with another avid baker. She had never tried it with raisins specifically but had been successful with other dried fruits. I decided to go ahead with the experiment. Boy, am I glad I did! These cookies, while nothing like my grandmother's, are outstanding. Even frozen and then thawed, they were moist and delicious. And a big hit at the meeting.

Verdict: Yum! This one's a keeper!

Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
(Source: Top of the Quaker Old-Fashioned Oatmeal box)

1 cup (2 sticks) margarine or butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
3 cups Quaker Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
1 cup raisins

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees
2. Beat together margarine and sugars until creamy.
3. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well.
4. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; mix well.
5. Stir in oats and raisins; mix well.
6. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet.
7. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.
8. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet; remove to wire rack.

About 4 dozen

Bar Cookies: Bake 30 to 35 minutes in ungreased 13 x 9-inch metal baking pan.

Recycle: vanilla extract bottle

Compost: eggshells

Friday, September 15, 2006

Oatmeal Scotchies

Next Sunday is the Annual Master Gardeners' Picnic. It's Pot Luck everything. Bring a dish. Bring a drink. Bring a plant. Just one problem. I have a gazillion things to do this week and the day before, I will be at Cook College all day attending Home Gardener's School. Then I remembered I had a bag of butterscotch morsels in the freezer. I could make Oatmeal Scotchies cookies any time during the week and then freeze them until Sunday. Problem solved!

Oatmeal Scotchies are very easy. The recipe is straight off the back of the morsels package. They are simply oatmeal cookies with butterscotch morsels in them. The only change I make in this recipe is the same one I make in all my recipes using brown sugar. I prefer the granulated brown sugar because it is easier to use.

Verdict: Yum! This one's a keeper!

Oatmeal Scotchies
(Source: back of the chips bag)

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup (2 stocks) margarine or butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups quick or old fashioned oats, uncooked
1 12 ounce package (2 cups) butterscotch flavored morsels

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon; set aside. In a large mixer bowl, beat margarine, granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla extract until creamy. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in oats and butterscotch morsels. Drop by measuring tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Bake 7 to 8 minutes for chewy cookies or 9 to 10 minutes for crisp cookies. Let stand on cookie sheets 2 minutes. Remove from cookie sheets; cool completely on wire racks. Store tightly covered.

Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Recycle: vanilla extract bottle

Compost: eggshells

Monday, September 11, 2006

Rurality Shrimp

The cool breezes of autumn are finally blowing and it's safe to go back into the kitchen. I've been wanting to try this recipe all summer. I found it on a blog called Rurality. It has wonderful nature photos. I'm a sucker for great photography. Someday I hope to able to own a nice camera and take a course or two on photography.

I only made two small changes to this recipe. I didn't have any linguine so I substituted thin spaghetti. I also used 15 oz diced tomatoes with Italian seasonings. I had slightly less than 1 lb of shrimp in my freezer. My biggest concern was the lack of any sweetener like sugar or carrots in the sauce. Pure tomato sauces are usually too acidic for me. This one most definitely was not. Perhaps it was the shrimp. Whatever it was, this dish was absolutely delicious. I'll definitely be making it again.

Verdict: Yum! This one's a keeper!

Rurality Shrimp
(Source: Rurality , April 7, 2006)

1 1/2 tsp garlic, chopped
1 medium onion
2 tbsp olive oil
8 oz can Italian whole plum tomatoes
1 lb cooked shelled shrimp
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
8 oz crumble feta cheese
8 oz uncooked linguini
salt & pepper to taste

Cook linguini in salted water.

Saute garlic & onion on olive oil 3 - 5 minutes on Medium High heat (until tender). Add cooked shrimp, saute for 2 minutes, remove from pan but leave garlic & onion. Add tomatoes & liquid & stir.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat. Add shrimp, oregano & basil, salt & pepper. simmer 3 - 5 minutes. Pour over drained linguini & toss.

Add crumbled feta cheese at the table.

Recycle: diced tomatoes can

Compost: garlic skins, onion skins