Monthly Archives: April 2012

Oatmeal Chocolate Peanut Butter No Bake Cookies

Chocolate Peanut Butter No Bake Cookies

Chocolate Peanut Butter No Bake Cookies

Today is National Oatmeal Cookie Day, so I thought it would be perfect to celebrate with these fudgy, chocolate, peanut butter oatmeal cookies that can be made with ingredients typically found in your pantry and cooked (from start to finish) in about 10 minutes. This video below, from the Food Network doesn’t demonstrate the proper technique for making these cookies at all. It’s funny to watch if you know how they’re really made. Read on for the proper technique!

I first learned this recipe in my 7th grade home economics class at Wicomico Junior High School in Maryland in 1983. I remember distinctly our teacher stressing two important factors in the preparation of these cookies. First, you must boil the mixture for exactly one minute. If you boil it for under a minute, the cookies won’t harden. If you boil it for longer than a minute, they will come out dry.

Well, to boil something for exactly one minute requires that you know exactly when to start counting. You need to know what “boiling” looks like. Is it when the bubbles to start to appear around the edge the pan? No. In this case, boiling means that there are bubbles all the way across the surface. Start your stopwatch then.

Once it’s boiled for one minute, then you add the oats, peanut butter and vanilla. It’s important to work quickly, because as it cools, it starts to harden into fudge and you want to have all of your spoonfuls onto the wax paper before it gets too hard.

4.5 from 17 reviews
Oatmeal Chocolate Peanut Butter No Bake Cookies
 
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No bake cookies!
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 2 cups granulated white sugar
  • 5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 stick butter
  • ½ cup milk (you can use evaporated milk)
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 cups Old Fashioned Quaker Oats
Instructions
  1. In a medium saucepan stir add the sugar, cocoa, butter and milk. Over medium-high heat, bring it to a boil, stirring to help the butter melt. Boiling means that there are bubbles all the way across the top of the liquid. Start your stopwatch now and boil it for exactly 1 minute. Remove from heat and quickly add the peanut butter, vanilla and oatmeal and stir to combine.
  2. Working quickly, drop spoonfuls of the mixture onto a sheet of waxed paper. They will cool and harden within a few minutes. Voila. You're done!
Notes
You need wax paper!

 

My Favorite Broccoli White Pizza With Whole Wheat Crust

Broccoli White Pizza

I must admit. I am a total broccoli addict. I eat broccoli every day. Roasted. Steamed. With cheese melted over it on a potato and this way: on a white pizza. This is pretty guilt free. As long as you don’t eat half the pizza, like I sometimes do. But because low-fat ricotta stands in for most of the cheese, the calorie count on this dish is not terrible.

I was first introduced to white pizza in college outside of Philadelphia. Renato’s in Swarthmore used to make an awesome pizza with ricotta, Mozzarella, and lots of garlic. I’m pretty sure there was broccoli on that one too. So basically, I wanted to recreate that pizza here.

I’ve been eating this broccoli pizza almost once a week for about a month now, so I figured it was time to do a post.

I use freeze-dried garlic in this recipe, because it’s so much faster to just sprinkle it over the pizza, than it is to chop fresh garlic. The flavor is great. I don’t miss the fresh garlic at all. I use Litehouse brand, but you can find this other brand at Amazon:

You can make the crust yourself, as I used to do a lot (I just realized I’ve never posted by pizza dough recipe, which is weird), but lately, I’ve just been buying whole wheat pizza dough at the grocery store. Mollie Stone’s now carries Il Fornaio pizza dough in the frozen section. It tastes just like my homemade version, so I’ve been hard pressed to go to all the trouble of making it from scratch. Just make sure that you let the dough sit out long enough to come to room temperature, because if you’re not careful, you can run into the problem of having the toppings cook before the dough is ready, and then it just sticks to the pizza pan like crazy.

To help with making sure the pizza doesn’t stick, I use a nonstick, perforated pizza pan like this one available at Amazon.com (just click on it). I also spray it with a little nonstick spray:

Broccoli Pizza Slice

 

Broccoli White Pizza With Whole Wheat Crust
 
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White pizza with lots of broccoli and garlic
Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 package of pizza dough (I use whole wheat)
  • Semolina or whole wheat flour to handle the dough
  • 2 heads of broccoli, chopped into florets (about 3 cups)
  • 1 Tablespoon freeze-dried garlic
  • ¾ cup reduced fat ricotta cheese
  • ½ cup shredded part-skim Mozzarella cheese
  • Salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 500˚F
  2. If you have purchased frozen pizza dough, make sure it thaws overnight. Then let it rest on the counter for at least 20 minutes before shaping it into a pizza.
  3. While the pizza dough is resting on the counter, you can steam the broccoli. Put the florets in a medium saucepan with 2 cups of rapidly boiling water. Steam for 3-4 minutes. Watch carefully. When the broccoli is ready, it will be bright green still, and tendercrisp. It is better for it to be undercooked than overcooked. Remove from the heat and drain completely. Then rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process and drain again. Pour the broccoli out onto some paper towels. You don't want to transfer any water to the surface of the pizza.
  4. When you are ready to shape the dough, put a couple of tablespoons of flour (semolina or wheat) onto a large cutting board. Coat the dough ball with the flour. Flatten the ball into a disc. Then with your fingertips, work your way around the edges, stretching it all out as you go. Put your fist in the middle of the growing circle and let the sides stretch down. Move your arm up and down to help it stretch out. Then work your fingers around the edge of the circle one more time.
  5. Spray the pizza pan with a little nonstick cooking spray and spread the circle of dough onto the pan. With the back of a spoon, spread the ricotta evenly over the pizza. Then sprinkle with the dried garlic. Arrange the broccoli pieces over the surface evenly. Sprinkle with the Mozzarella. Season with salt.
  6. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Watch carefully. If the cheese starts to brown too quickly (before the crust has had a chance to brown), back off the heat a little bit. When the cheese and the crust are just starting to brown, remove from the oven and let cool for 2 minutes. Then slice and serve immediately.

 

The Best Cinqo De Mayo Avocado Shrimp Tostadas

California Avocado Shrimp Tostadas

Cinqo de Mayo is just around the corner and we’re getting ready by enjoying California Avocados – back in season and perfect for bringing together your favorite Mexican flavors – lime, cilantro, and… avocado. Yum.

This shrimp tostada recipe, a light and healthy dish perfect for a weeknight or for a dinner party, was shared with us by the California Avocado Commission and was created for them by chefs Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, aka, the Too Hot Tamales of early Food Network fame. Known also for their fabulous Santa Monica restaurant Border Grill, the Too Hot Tamales have been partnering with the California Avocado Commission for some time now to bring fresh, flavorful, avocado forward dishes to all of us. Enjoy!

avocado commission

Avocado Trio

The Best Cinqo De Mayo Avocado Shrimp Tostadas
 
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Bold flavors come together in this fresh take on the shrimp tostada
Author:
Recipe type: Entrée Salad
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • ¾ cup beer
  • 3 bay leaves
  • ½ tsp. celery seeds
  • ½ tsp. cayenne
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ lb. domestic, wild-caught jumbo shrimp, peeled and cleaned
  • 2 ripe, fresh California avocados, seeded, peeled and cut into ½-inch dice
  • 1 Roma tomato, finely diced
  • ¼ cup finely diced red onion
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 jalapeño, stem and seeds removed, finely diced
  • ½ bunch cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1½ limes, juiced
  • 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • Canola oil, for frying
  • 4 (6-inch) corn tortillas
  • 4 romaine lettuce leaves, finely julienned
Instructions
  1. Combine beer, bay leaves, celery seeds, cayenne and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add shrimp and cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until just turning pink and cooked through. Remove shrimp from liquid, cool to room temperature, and cut into ½-inch dice.
  2. In a large bowl, combine cooked shrimp with avocado, tomato, onion, carrot, jalapeño, cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Stir gently, taste, and adjust seasonings as necessary. Chill thoroughly.
  3. Meanwhile, pour oil to a depth of ½-inch in a small pan for frying. Fry the tortillas on both sides until crisp and drain on paper towels.
  4. To serve, divide julienned lettuce evenly between each crispy corn tortilla. Top with avocado shrimp mixture and serve immediately.
Notes
I substitute ¼ cup shredded carrots (in the bag) for the diced carrots in this recipe and I leave out the celery seeds.

Crunchy California Avocado Fritters

Crunchy California Avocado Fritters

With Cinqo de Mayo around the corner, what better way to celebrate the flavors of Mexico than to try out new recipes featuring the avocado, now back in season, here in California.

This year, Americans will consume 81 million pounds of avocados on Cinco de Mayo alone! That’s more than 160 million avocados in one day. Get in on the fun by trying this recipe, created for the California Avocado Commission by celebrity chefs, Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger, known as the “Too Hot Tamales,” and co-chef/owners of the popular Border Grill restaurants in Santa Monica, Calif., Downtown Los Angeles and Las Vegas. This dynamic duo were Food Network pioneers when their show “Too Hot Tamales” premiered in 1995. They’ve gone on to compete on Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters,” and have now partnered with the California Avocado Commission to create innovative, fresh recipes featuring California avocados.

I love how this recipe is new and different and yet reminiscent of food I love. It reminds me of falafel of course, but there is also something very sushi maki about it too – like, if you were to take a california roll and fry it. Hey wait a minute. I think I’m onto something.

The recipe uses quinoa (pronounced “KEEN wah”), the high-protein, ancient Andean grain everyone is eating these days. It also calls for Cotija (pronounced “ko-TEE-hah”) cheese, a Mexican cheese with a grainy texture used as an accent by adding a tangy saltiness to dishes when grated on top. If your local grocer doesn’t sell Cotija cheese, order it on Amazon or substitute grated Parmesan.

Crunchy California Avocado Fritters
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • ⅔ cup white or black quinoa, rinsed and well drained
  • 1⅓ cups water
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup grated cotija cheese
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • 4 green onions, white and light green parts only, finely chopped
  • ½ bunch Italian parsley
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ¾ cup canola or grape seed oil for frying
  • 1 ripe, fresh California avocado, seeded, peeled and cut in ½-3/4 inch dice
  • Salt to taste
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup Aji Amarillo Aioli (see make-ahead recipe below)
Instructions
  1. Place a small, dry saucepan over high heat. Add quinoa and toast for about 5 minutes, shaking and stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Transfer to a large saucepan and add water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, until water is absorbed, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. In a large bowl, combine cooked quinoa, flour, cheese and salt. Add onions, parsley, egg and yolk. Stir thoroughly with a spoon until the mixture has the consistency of soft dough. Chill for 30 minutes.
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  4. In a small mixing bowl, season avocado with salt and pepper to taste and toss gently to coat.
  5. Using hands, create round fritters about the size of a walnut shell with a piece of avocado in the center of each fritter.
  6. Working in batches, gently slide fritters into the hot oil. Fry until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes, turning as necessary. Drain on paper towels and serve warm, topped with Aji Amarillo Aioli.
Notes
If cotija cheese is not available, parmesan cheese can be substituted Yields about 24 fritters

Aji Amarillo Aioli

Ingredients

1 cup mayonnaise
1 lime, juiced
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp aji amarillo chile paste
1 Tbsp finely chopped Italian parsley

Instructions

1.    Combine ingredients in small bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Not sure where to get Aji Amarillo Chile Paste? It is available on Amazon:

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