Saturday, May 26, 2012

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

As I'm looking outside my window, I see that the sun has finally come out on this late afternoon.  It does lift my mood seriously since this morning started with gloom and grey; sigh, that's the beauty of living in Oregon.  In a few days there'll be a lot going on in my schedule, I'm picturing a cake (with candles!), a project that's due (not mine, but still I'm a helper), a dinner (perhaps), and a homecoming (not of the young but the young at heart).  I'm thinking of tackling the cake tomorrow and I hope it'll be finished before the start of next week.  I've not baking a layered-cake for a long time, I don't know if I still have the mojo.  Fingers crossed!

For now, I want to share this oatmeal cookie recipe that I've made several attempts before.  This is one of the best oatmeal cookie recipe that I've tried and several people have tried it and commented on how delicious this was.  The texture is the perfect, chewy and crispy--especially when just comes out of the oven--and the recipe works with any add-ins you want.  I've tried it with M&M chips for kids, butterscotch chocolate chips, as well as Heath chocolate pieces.  My personal favorite is butterscotch chocolate chips with slivered almonds.  The size of the cookies is pretty flexible as well, you can make it jumbo or regular size.  The jumbo-sized cookie is a little fragile, so it's best to wait until it cools down on baking sheet considerably before moving it to a cooling rack.  Usually I can't wait until it cools down and I'll start nibbling at it.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

When I ate this the weather was still cold, hence the warm cocoa in the photo :)  But of course with any good cookie, this can be enjoyed anytime of the year!

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

Yields about 26 large or 60 small cookies

1 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

4 cups regular rolled oats

3/4 cups chopped peanuts, walnuts, pecans, or almonds

1 1/2 cups M&M chocolate chips, semisweet chocolate chips, bittersweet chocolate chips, butterscotch chocolate chips, or Heath chips

Preheat oven to 350°.  Beat the peanut butter and butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds.  Add the sugar, baking powder, and baking soda; beat until combined.  Beat in the eggs and vanilla until combined.  Stir in the rolled oats, the nuts, and chocolate pieces.

Use a 1/4-cup measure or scoop to drop dough 4 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake in preheated oven about 15 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.  (For smaller cookies, use a teaspoon to drop dough about 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake in preheated oven about 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.)  Cool on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes.  Transfer cookies to wire racks; cool.

To store:  Place in layers separated by waxed paper in an airtight container; cover.  Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Source:  adapted from 100 Best Cookies by Better Homes and Gardens, 2006.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Black-Eyed Peas and Corn Salad

I can't believe I sailed through two months without any writing here!  Honestly, I had all the intentions but time ran faster than I could catch. I have been back in the kitchen cooking since the end of March, but I haven't cared too much for baking surprisingly.  My work assignment was endless; it seemed like forever to finish it up.  By the time that ended, I had an out-of-town guests coming to visit the Portland area.  They're staying in Portland, but almost every weekend I've spent time with them going around town.  We have a lot of fun eating out and sightseeing, but it did take a lot of my free time.  From work to play, it's a full two-month schedule.

So here is May.  Maybe it's time to write again.

Food trends come and go so fast, riding them will feel like a roller coaster.  One day bacon is in, the next day bacon is out.  I don't feel the need to follow all the food trends/news in my blog because I know I won't be able to write religiously about all the stuff, therefore I only read them for leisure (and for keeping up with the work).  What I'm about to share with you maybe has been gone out of fashion (or foodshion?), but I enjoy eating it so I still want to do it.  A lot of you may have found the recipe somewhere else, but again this blog is my food diary.  It's the black-eyed peas and corn salad, or Texas caviar, or cowboy caviar; whatever name you may call it, it's so good and simple.  I don't know how to describe it other than to have it frequently and serve with lots of tortilla chips, and drink of your choice.  Maybe you'll serve it for Cinco de Mayo?

texas caviar-1-2

Black-Eyed Peas and Corn Salad

Serves 8

1 clove garlic, minced

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon cumin

2 11-oz. can white shoepeg corn, drained

1 15-oz. can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed

1/2 green bell pepper, diced

1/2 small red onion, diced

2 medium tomatoes, seeds removed, diced

A handful of fresh cilantro, chopped

1 medium ripe avocado, diced

In  a large bowl, whisk together garlic, olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and cumin.  Add corn, black-eyed peas, bell pepper, red onion, and tomatoes.  Toss salad until the ingredients are coated with the dressing.  This can be done ahead of time and store salad in the refrigerator.  Add cilantro and avocado just before serving.  Adjust seasoning as well.

Note:  if you like a little heat in the salad, feel free to add 1-2 seeded, diced, jalapenos.