Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Cookie Favorite

If you like peanut butter cookies and Fritos....

I've been saving the Momofuko Milk Bar Cookie recipe for a couple of years.  I saw it demonstrated on TV (can't remember which cooking show) and there was so much hype about it, I really wanted to try it.  So far, I haven't.  It requires the baking of a cookie-like cake to crumble into the cookie batter, and that seems like quite a stretch for me and a cookie.  The part of the recipe that is so intriguing to me is the crumbling of your favorite snack foods into the cookie--ie, cereal, peanuts, pretzels, cheezits, chocolate bars, potato chips--whatever your pleasure.  I'm still going to try it one day.

Meanwhile, I saw a very simple recipe for a peanut butter cookie that incorporated the same idea.  The recipe was in Real Simple, and used pretzels and chocolate chips.  The cookies were so good, and so easy.  Maybe too easy, because when they were gone I thought I should try it again, this time using Heath Bars, crumbled, and Fritos.  

For the cookie to be your FAV, I think you have to use YOUR addictive treats--one salty and one sweet, or even more if you're really willing to walk on the wild side.  Final declaration:  don't make these things if you're not prepared to gain a few pounds.  Maybe that's if you're over sixty.  I couldn't stop eating them.  However, I gave some to my children, and when I was at their house last week I saw the package still on the counter with the cookies only half eaten.  Maybe it didn't include their favorite snacks, or maybe I just have the will power of a slug.

Toffee-Pretzel Peanut Butter Cookies

(adapted from Real Simple Daily Email Recipes)
2 cups creamy peanut butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup broken salted pretzels
1 cup chopped chocolate toffee bars (about 4 bars)

Heat oven to 350° F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. In a large bowl, mix together the peanut butter, sugars, eggs, baking soda, and salt until smooth. Fold in the pretzels and chopped toffee bar.
Shape the dough into balls (about 1 heaping tablespoon each) and place 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Using the tines of a fork, flatten each ball, creating a crisscross pattern.
Bake, rotating the baking sheets halfway through, until puffed and golden, 10 to 12 minutes (the cookies will deflate as they cool). Let cool slightly on the baking sheets, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

New Favorites

Favorite Recipes That Make It Back To The Table Again and Again

I've saved more recipes than I'll ever be able to cook.  They keep calling my name, and finally a few make it to the table.  Then we either give it a thumbs up, or a thumbs down.

I probably save five or six recipes a week. That means I have hundreds in my files.  When Martha Stewart's daily TV show goes off the air later this year, that number will decrease.  She frequently has guest chefs from the best restaurants in the world.  It's hard to pass up trying something they're giving you straight from their menu.  You can count on these recipes, because no chef would dare mess with Martha.  I've heard her call people out more than once on ingredients or technique.  If it's extremely involved, I just watch and enjoy the talent.  Some things are best enjoyed when someone else is preparing it--or maybe several other people.  But many of the recipes are remarkably simple and rely on good technique and quality ingredients.  They're the ones I like.  Upcoming new favorite from Martha:  Passionfruit Cheesecake Tart--it's a thumbs up for sure!
But everything I do isn't inspired by Martha.  My latest 'favorite' was inspired by a pork roast at the grocery story.  It was gorgeous and it led to a wonderful meal.

Stuffed Pork Loin Rib Roast with Port Sauce

(This recipe was adapted from Epicurious and was originally featured in Gourmet Magazine in 2008.)


8 oz. mixed dried fruit, roughly chopped
2/3 cup ruby Port (you can buy it at the grocery store in the wine section)
1 tart apple, peeled, cored and cubed
1 medium sweet onion, diced
2 shallots, diced
three-fourths stick butter
One-half tsp. Salt and pepper

Mix dried fruit and port in small saucepan. Simmer, covered for five minutes. Then remove from heat and let it stand for another 10 minutes.
Meanwhile add butter to skillet with onion and shallots, apple, salt and pepper over medium heat. Cook about five minutes, until onions and apple are softened. Add dried fruit and port. Stir to combine. Then remove from heat and cool.


One 5-6 lb. Rib-in pork loin roast
8-10 slices of bacon
1 ½ tsp. Salt
½ tsp. Pepper
Preheat oven to 500°.
With a long, narrow-bladed knife, make a cut all the way through the center of the roast. Turn the knife 90° and make another cut forming a pocket through the center of the roast. Use the handle of a wooden spoon and push 1 cup of cooled stuffing into the pocket in the roast. Reserve the remaining stuffing to make a sauce.
Rub the roast with the salt and pepper, then wrap the bacon slices around the roast, between each rib, ribs pointing up, and secure bacon ends under the bottom. If roast won't stand like this, use some heavy foil crunched up to hold it in place.
Place roast in oven for twenty minutes, then reduce temperature to 325° and cook until thermometer inserted into center of meat (not touching bone or stuffing) registers 155°. This should take about l ¼ to 1 ½ hours. Remove roast from pan to cutting board and let it rest tented with foil while you make the sauce.


½ cup ruby Port
1 ½ cups water
1 T cornstarch
Discard all but about 1 ½ tablespoons drippings from roasting pan. Add port to pan and place over medium heat. When heated, stir vigorously to get browned bits from bottom of pan. Add cornstarch to the water, and stir to mix, then add mixture slowly to heated port. Finally, add fruit mixture that was set aside. Cook, stirring, until heated through and thickened. Serve as sauce.