Oatmeal Walnut Cherry Cookies

This fabulous Oatmeal Walnut Cherry cookies recipe is via a friend on Facebook.

Ingredients:

1.5 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1.75 cups oatmeal
1/2 cup walnut pieces
1 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup melted butter
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ginger
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp cloves
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tbsp molasses

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 325
  • Mix dry ingredients
  • Mix wet ingredients (including sugar)
  • Add together
  • Use nonstick cookie pans or spray/grease pans
  • 10-14 minutes per batch, depending on size
  • The cookies will be very soft cookies, don’t overcook…

These cookies are perfect for the holidays! Enjoy!

Torta Ricotta – Ricotta Cake

It is Christmas week and for many, this signals a time to cook and bake. I love to cook, but don’t spend as much time cooking as I used to.

I found this recipe for Ricotta Cake on Facebook some time ago. I am contemplating giving it a whirl after I finish making my two different batches of fudge — White Chocolate Cherry and Dark Dark Chocolate Coconut.

This looks so yummy…

If you are looking for an easy dessert to finish off an Italian dinner, this recipe below looks easy and could be just the perfect finish.  Continue reading

Pamela’s Asparagus, Feta Cheese and Ham Quiche

I made my first quiche the other day. I don’t cook as often as I used to and I for some reason have never made a quiche. But I had an urge for a Asparagus, Ham and Cheese Quiche, so I decided to give it a try. Luckily the market had some lovely slender young asparagus to choose from and I decided to go with feta cheese rather than a cheddar, which is always a favorite. I had some left over baked ham in my freezer that I knew would be perfect with the feta cheese and asparagus.

When I do cook, I enjoy coming up with my own recipes or tweaking recipes I find online or in cookbooks to my own creative bent. I have to say I was pleased with the results for my first try at a quiche:

asparagus and ham quiche 1

Continue reading

Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins

Cooler weather is upon us now in many areas of the country, including New England, where I live. I find myself looking for things to cook that require turning the oven on so that I can heat up my apartment without turning on the heat yet.

I have no idea where I found this recipe (possibly my food writing class over the summer), but it sure does look good and looks easy… I think I will be trying it sometime soon and when I do, I will post more about it.

Cranberry-Pumpkin Muffins Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
½ cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 cup sweetened dried cranberries
½ cup chopped walnuts

Directions:
Heat oven to 400°F. Grease 12 regular-size muffin cups or line with paper baking cups.

In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Stir in pumpkin, oil, eggs, cranberries and walnuts until just moist. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove muffins from pan to cooling rack. Serve warm.

Enjoy!

Matchmaker, Matchmaker Make Me A Batch

Years ago, I played matchmaker to two couples who are longtime friends. The two women in the couples are two of the closest friends that I have. I was instrumental in fixing up each of them with their husbands, earning myself the title of matchmaker. Back in the day, neither of my girlfriends liked to cook so when it came time to invite their new beau’s for dinner, neither of them felt confident enough in the kitchen to cook for their dates. They each called on me to come over and cook for them. My love of cooking spoke for itself in those days as I had three shelves of cookbooks and a library of Bon Appetite, Cuisine and Gourmet magazines on prominent display in my eat-in kitchen.

Mediterranean Chicken1Some thought should always go into what one might could for a potential suitor for the first time. I usually determine that a dish in the Italian or Mediterranean is typically a good bet for a first home-cooked dinner, after all everyone loves Italian food. As I look back now on this time so many years ago, I cannot recall exactly where my Mediterranean Chicken came from, I just know that it has evolved over at least two and half decades if not more, and it is perhaps one of my favorite meals to cook for family and friends.

There have been so many incarnations of this savory chicken dish in tomato sauce, which could have had its origins in a Provencal French bistro served with a warm baguette and a hearty glass of Cabernet. Cabernet pairs better with this meal in my opinion. Yes, custom would call for a glass Chardonnay with chicken but I prefer red wine and am oft loathe to follow custom. Customs I believe are like rules, they are meant to be broken. Not broken is some blatant way but simply broken in such a way that invokes one’s own style. We are after all, all individuals, and our preferences come to the surface of the pot when we cook. Continue reading

Farm Fresh and Local In the Newburyport Area

berries2As a child growing up in the rural area of Massachusetts’ Northshore, my family grew our own vegetables as so many rural families did in the 1950’s and 1960’s. There were also many small farm stands around the area, and by the time I was in high school in the early 1970’s a few of the local farms were starting to go by the wayside.

The farm policy had changed drastically during the Nixon administration thanks to Earl Butz, who was Nixon’s Secretary of the USDA. Many small farmers found it difficult to stay afloat without the subsidies they were accustomed to receiving from the federal government. The documentary King Corn, is a very informative film about how Butz’s policies shaped factory farming and growing corn as a the number one staple in processed food.

Very few working family farms remain in the Newburyport area that were working farms when I was a child. Most of the smaller farms of my childhood days are gone with the land being sold off for housing and commercial development. A few small farms continue to grow their own and sell their produce and meats at their farm-stand businesses. However, two newer, more enterprising larger farms in the area also carry other local and non-local produce and products as well as their own locally grown vegetables and fruits.

On a late spring afternoon in mid-June, I decided to take a drive along the backroads of the Newburyport area to take stock of the local farm stands and what they have to offer. Newburyport also has a vibrant Farmer’s Market on Sunday mornings at the Tannery on Water Street, but locavores in the area also rely on local farm stands for fresh vegetables and fruits in season as well as grass fed meats and free-range poultry. Continue reading