cleverchickadee


Black Chocolate Ginger Cookies, a Recipe by quornflour

#recipe #nomnom #food #cookie #backing #quornflour

I am sure I have mentioned it before, I am a big fan of ginger and chocolate. Especially since I discovered that Hershey’s chocolate baking powder also comes in “Special Dark”. It’s almost black, it is amazing.

I figured since the Dark Chocolate Ginger Cake I made a while back was such a hit, I would try making some chocolate ginger cookies.

I also happened to have my kitchenaid mixer out after having made Strawberry Rhubarb sorbet, so I swapped out the bowl and the mixer thing and went to work.

Heat your over to 375◦.

Toss these into the mixer in the order below, give the mixer time to mix thoroughly before adding the next.

  • 1 ¼ cup shortening
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon ginger powder
  • ¾ cup hershey’s special dark baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped candied ginger (chop it into pieces about the size of chocolate chips)

Place ping pong ball size balls of dough on parchment paper covered cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.

Bake for 8 minutes and let cool on a rack.

Enjoy.

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Half Crazy Daisy by quornflour

Recently I was staying with friends who have a Great Dane called Daisy. I was surprised to learn that they had never heard the song about Daisy.

So I did a quick YouTube search and came across this version.

After listening to it, Mia (6) says, “Daisy’s not half crazy.” Her tone somewhat offended. “Daisy is WHOLE crazy!”



Clever Kids by quornflour

Recently, while staying with friends in Seattle, I was making dinner. My friend’s youngest daughter was home and needed something to do.

We were throwing a party and there were to be a load of people at the house. Yes I go visit friends, cook food, invite people over and leave the dishes for someone else. Ok, sometimes I help with clean-up, but as my friend once said, “it’s a cook thing you are an excellent chef, because you make a mess in the kitchen!”

Anyway, I was at my friend’s house and her younger daughter who is in first grade who is super smart and helpful needed a project.

So first up I had her make some Caprese skewers, I had picked up a pint of colorful cherry tomatoes and some tiny balls of mozzarella, pretty much everyone who has ever been on Pinterest has seen the various versions of this. Yes that is what I was making, but with a little more basil.

Simple instructions:

Cherry tomatoes, small mozzarella balls wrapped with basil leaves: stab on skewer.

After skewered: drizzle olive oil (garlic olive oil if you are fancy like me) and balsamic vinegar.

So first I had her (with a little help from her Uncle Peter who wrapped the mozzarella – not because she couldn’t but because he was there) make those.

Simple and delicious and saved me about 30 minutes.

I was preparing mussels, for which I wanted to use basil grass. Basil grass is finely sliced basil leaves, it is pretty and adds a nice burst of flavor since it crushes the leaves a bit.

So her second job was to make basil joint, cigars, rolls… they have many names, I suppose with a lot of people with kids, maybe rolls is a better word choice.

Anyway, to do this, you lay basil leaves on top of one another about 10 deep. You can use this for practice counting as well.



Then you roll them up starting at one long side.

Once you have done this, cut the basil in small strips and ta-dah! Now you are fancy with your basil grass.

Don’t you feel fancy?



Wicked Good Lobstah Suppah, paht 3 –mussel madness by quornflour

As I stated before: mussels are my favorite mollusk. Not only are they delicious but they are also a pretty versatile protein source.

Did you know that a 3 oz (6oz with shell on, about 10 mussels) serving of mussels provides 340% of your recommended daily allowance of vitamin B-12? Those 3 oz are about 145 calories and loads of other minerals your body loves. Wanna talk about protein for a second? 10 mussels provide about as much protein as 4oz steak with only a fraction of the fat and most of that fat is the good stuff.

They live above the mud hanging on to rocks with their beards and do not end up with the gritty sandiness that is often associated with their sweeter cousin the clam.

Sea birds also like mussels, however their hard shell can be a deterrent, a mussel will open to move and to eat, but when it senses danger it snaps closed. Birds, such as seagulls will take a mussel, fly high above a rock and drop the shell to the rock below to crack it open, then swoop back down to collect and enjoy the meat.

As humans we have tools and fire, which make enjoying mussels a little less taxing, when cooked a mussel will relax and open making the meat easily accessible. If a mussel does not pop open when cooked, I just assume let it be as I would a shrimp with a flat tail.

In childhood I remember mostly just eating them steamed in water and dipped in butter.

One of my favorite methods (probably because I love tomatoes so much) is to cook them in a creamy tomato basil style steam.

Here is what you will need:

  • 3 pounds of mussels
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 5 large tomatoes (heirloom tomatoes add a nice mixture of color) cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 cups of ½ & ½
  • ½ Cup grated parmesan cheese (or other similar hard cheese)
  • ¼ cup basil “grass”
  • 3 green onions cut into “grass”

If you want to make this more of a creamy sauce, you could start by making a roux, but to keep this gluten free and because I like the separation of the cheese for this particular recipe I did not.

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a 4-5 quart Dutch oven, bring it to temp (spits when hit with a drop of water or thins like water)
  2. Add 2 cloves garlic and brown
  3. Once the garlic is brown turn the heat to low and add the tomatoes, stir and cover.

Meanwhile in a saucepan:

  1. Add remaining olive oil and also bring to temp
  2. Add 2 cloves of garlic and brown
  3. Turn heat to medium
  4. Add ½ & ½ and cheese and stir

And back to the Dutch oven we go…

  1. When it starts to form a light steam add to tomatoes and stir
  2. Add most of the green onions (save a few for garnish)
  3. Add mussels, cover until the mussels pop open (this won’t take long)
  4. Add basil
  5. Stir up and serve warm

Remember, like many sea creature, if you over cook them they will turn chewy and they will continue to cook for a few minutes after they are removed from the heat, so only steam them until they open.



Wicked Good Lobstah Suppah, paht 1 – Lobster Lessons by quornflour

I headed out to Seattle for work and am staying with friends while I am here. While talking, we decided it would be fun to have a little lobster dinner. Then I wanted to invite some friends and it turned into a full-fledged feast. Next thing I knew there were 24 lobsters and 6 pounds of mussels headed to Seattle: I ordered them from Maine Lobster Direct, and you can too.

We did a basic lesson on lobster, from what I could remember learning as a kid growing up in Maine. Pincher and Crusher claws…

Often when people draw lobster they show 2 crusher claws, the crusher claw is very likely what you imagine when you think of a lobster claw. It is the bigger of the two claws, the one with more meat in it. What a lot of people do not realize is that lobsters have two different claws and are both “left handed” and “right handed”. IOW the crusher claw is not always on the left or right. The Pincher claw is faster and when a lobster is young has two pincher claws, but as it gets older the claw that is used less for quickness is the one that develops into the crusher claw.

Sometimes when you see lobsters in a tank they will only have one claw banded, this is the crusher claw, it looks like it has molars on it compared to the other that has more of a small tooth look to it.

The Crusher claw is used for just that, and while small can be very strong and is capable of breaking a human finger. Once the crusher claw develops it is the final determination on if the lobster will be left handed or right handed and this will not change as the lobster ages. Lobsters can regenerate lost claws and if a crusher claw is lost it will always regenerate as a crusher.

When boiling a lobster, you want to cook it for 11 minutes for the first pound and a minute for every quarter pound after that. When cooking, you do not need to add anything to the water.

Overall lobster is pretty healthy as a protein source. They are low in fat (most of the fat calories in a lobster dinner come from dipping the meat in butter), there are only about 30 calories per ounce of meat; a 1.5 pound lobster will yield about 4.25 ounces of meat.

When serving your lobster, try using a bread tin, this will allow the water to drain out when you break the shell and reduce the mess on the table, it also works as a place to put your shell when done.



Russian Punch by quornflour

I live in what I would refer to as a “Cup of Sugar” neighborhood. You know the sort, often missing from the landscape of today, where you can knock on your neighbors’ door while in the middle of baking and after realizing you are short sugar and get a cup of sugar.

I spend a fair amount of time with my neighbors. Once a month we have Neighbor Night. We get together and play cards, have a few drinks, snacks and talk about the goings on.

Regardless of whose house it is as, we all bring something to share. One week I was asked to bring a drink, so I figured I would make some vodka lemonade since it was one of the first warm nights of the season. I quickly realized that I didn’t have much ice, so I threw in frozen fruit that I had and blended it up and called it good.

My friend Lil’ who doesn’t drink much, loved it so much that the next time we were having Neighbor Night and I asked what I should bring she said I should bring “that Russian Punch”.

“Russian Punch?”

“Yes, the punch with the vodka.”

And so “Russian Punch” was born.

I guess one could argue that it similar to a daiquiri, but whatever, it is delicious whatever you call it.

All you need is:

  • 1 Can of frozen lemonade (save the can for measuring)
  • 1 ½ -2 Can worth of vodka
  • 2 Cans of frozen berries (mixed or just your one favorite)
  • ½ to 1 Can frozen peaches
  • ½ to 1 can fresh pineapple*
  • 1 fresh cut (or frozen mango)*
  • ½ to 1 can fresh watermelon*
  • 1 can of cold water
  • 1 can of ice

Stick it all in a blender and whirr it up until everything is blended. Serve cold.

Unless you want it REALLY sweet adding additional sugar is unnecessary since there is enough to go around in the lemonade and the fruits. You could serve this in a sugar rimmed glass though if you wanted to be all fancy about it.

*I like to cut up the watermelon, pineapple and mango and any other fruit (pears and apples are great in this) I might want to add beforehand so that it is nice and cold, just be careful if you do this to freeze flat to avoid having an iceberg that your blender can easily get through and will not heat up your beverage trying to pulverize.




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