Stella’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pure cookie heaven.

Stella wanted a pure chocolate chip cookie bake up, and these fit the bill perfectly. Usually I can’t stop myself from adding nuts, oranberries, or oats …. you know what I mean! However, her request was clear …….. slightly crunchy edges, soft but chewy PURE chocolate chip cookies. These only take a few minutes to whip up, and the reward is huge. Win/Win.

INGREDIENTS
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, melted but not hot
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
INSTRUCTIONS
  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Line a cookie sheetwith parchment paper or leave ungreased.
  • In a large bowl or the bowl of you mixer add the sugars and melted butter and mix well until creamy. 
  • Add the eggs, vanilla, baking soda and salt to the bowl and beat on low speed until well incorporated, for about 30 seconds.
  • Add the flour to the bowl and mix until crumbles form. Note that you could mix your flour with the salt and baking soda, but I don’t find that it makes a difference at all. 
  • Add the chocolate chips to the bowl and use a spatula to mix them in to the dough. 
  • You can use a small ice cream scoop to scoop out cookie balls or use your hands to roll out the dough into balls, up to you how big you want your cookies. Place them onto the prepared baking sheet. This recipe yields around 50 cookies, so if you can only bake one tray at a time, place the remaining cookie dough in the fridge until ready for the next batch. Repeat with remaining cookie dough.
  • Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until just barely golden around the edges of the cookies. DO NOT OVER BAKE. 
  • Let them cool on the baking sheet for about 15 minutes, then transfer them to  wire rack to finish cooling or enjoy eating them.
For perfect little balls use a mini scoop and then give them a little roll.
Figuring out how to take the perfect photo for the cookies of her dreams.
Yes, the kids are helping Nana style her food photos. Looks like I can turn that job over to someone more qualified! I will just keep cooking and baking.
The cookies in the foreground are baked for 10 minutes and resulted in a very soft cookie. If you want crispier bits around the edges bake for just 2 more minutes.

This recipe came from one of my favorite websites, Jo Cooks, out of Calgary. Her recipes are almost always a winner, and so easy to complete. Stella and I found that we preferred the cookies cooked a little longer just to get the crispy edges, but if you love your cookies softer stick to the cooking times listed above.

Snickerdoodle Cake

Crunchy sugar cinnamon coating, tender and delicate crumb inside, what’s not to love?

WHAT???? Snickerdoodle cookies in cake form? A dream come true. This cake encompasses all the bits of the cookie we love, but in cake form – perfect for a dessert or just snacking.

PREPARE THE PAN

  •  1 cup granulated sugar
  •  2 teaspoons cinnamon

CAKE

  •  2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  •  2 teaspoons cinnamon
  •  1 teaspoon baking powder
  •  1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  •  1/2 teaspoon salt
  •  1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  •  1 cup granulated sugar
  •  1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  •  3 large eggs, at room temperature
  •  2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  •  1 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream

PREP THE PAN

  1. To a small bowl, add 1 cup granulated sugar, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, and whisk to combine; set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 325F.
  3. Generously spray a 9-inch (12-cup) Bundt pan with floured cooking spray (or grease the pan with shortening), being careful to cover all the nooks and crannies, as well as the center tube. Gently dust the entire inside of the pan with the cinnamon-sugar mixture. You will only need about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of cinnamon-sugar, but try to evenly coat the inside surface of the pan, including the tube.
  4. Save the remaining cinnamon-sugar mixture for layering in as the filling; set everything aside. (I used less than half the remaining sugar mixture but just couldn’t bring myself to put that much of a sugar layer in a cake that already has 2 cups of sugar in it!)

CAKE

  1. To a large bowl, add the flour, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and whisk to combine; set aside.
  2. To the mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or large mixing bowl and electric mixer), add the butter and beat on medium-high speed for 1 minute.
  3. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, add 1 cup granulated sugar and mix on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  4. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the brown sugar and mix on medium-high speed until the mixture looks light brown and uniform in color, about 2 minutes.
  5. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the eggs one at a time, mixing on medium speed for 1 minute after each egg.
  6. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the vanilla and mix on medium speed to incorporate, about 30 seconds.
  7. Add half the flour mixture, half the Greek yogurt or sour cream, and mix on medium-low speed until incorporated, about 1 minute.
  8. Add the remaining flour mixture, remaining Greek yogurt or sour cream, and mix on medium-low speed until incorporated, about 1 minute.
  9. Turn half the batter out into the prepared pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula. The batter is quite thick and that’s okay.
  10. Evenly sprinkle the reserved cinnamon-sugar mixture over the top of the batter, which creates the filling as the cake bakes. (As I mentioned earlier, use as much of the sugar mixture as you are comfortable with – I had lots left)
  11. Turn the remaining batter out into the pan, smoothing the top lightly with a spatula. Bake for 55 to 62 minutes (I baked for 59 minutes), or until top is lightly golden brown and set, and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter. Don’t overbake because the cinnamon-sugar crust will become overly crunchy.
  12. Allow cake to cool in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.

I found this recipe on a new site for me, Averie Cooks. This turned out so well that I might be hopping over to her site again to see what else she has going on.

Served for dessert with a dollop of whipping cream, this cake is also so moist and delicious on its own, it is perfect for snacking
The girls are in training to “stylize” my food photos – this is Stella’s version.
Here is Sloan’s interpretation – either one makes me want to take a bite.

Stela was quick to to make sure I saved the recipe so it could get it on the blog. Well, she asked if I screenshot the recipe and when I said I printed it out, her dad told her that was the old fashioned way of taking a screen shot.

Aloo Garlic Stuffed Naan

The best naan I’ve made …. to date anyway!

I can’t pretend to be humble when it comes to my cooking, but these naan impressed me more than I usually impress myself! The dough is very pillowy soft and tender, they were so delicious I pulled six out of the oven and they were inhaled.

This is the kind of thing you do when you have a little time on your hands, not necessarily because they are so much work, but it is important to give the dough time to rise and develop that light texture you want in a naan.

NAAN

  • 1 tsp dry active yeast
  • 2 tsp sugar (separated)
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm water (around 100* )
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dry herbs
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp plain yogurt

In a large glass, dissolve 1 tsp sugar in the warm water and sprinkle in the yeast. Let sit for 10 minutes until it is foamy.

In a large bowl stir together the flour, salt, remaining 1 tsp sugar, baking powder, garlic powder and herbs.

Once yeast is nice and foamy stir in the olive oil and yogurt. Mix well and then stir into flour mixture with a fork. Using your hand, mix and knead in the bowl just until everything is incorporated. As soon as it is together, soft, and slightly sticky, cover it all and let it rest until doubled in size. This could be anywhere from 2-4 hours depending on how warm your kitchen is.

FILLING

  • 1 cup cooked & chopped up potato (could be leftover mashed potatoes too!)
  • Saute 1/2 -1 cup of minced onions in ghee, until nice and soft (amount of onion depends on your love of onions!)
  • Remove from heat and stir in one crushed garlic clove and 1/2 tsp dried coriander.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Set aside until cooled down.

(Ghee is clarified butter and most grocery stores carry it now, but you could easily substitute olive oil or butter)

Once the dough has doubled, gently punch it down and divide into 6, rolling those into balls.

Flatten each ball with your hands until they are 6-7 inches across. Divide the potato stuffing amongst the flattened dough pieces, and then gather the outer edges like you are forming a little pocket or purse.. Once you have completely encased the potato mixture press down gently until flattened and once again about 6-7 inches across.

Brush the tops with beaten egg, sprinkle with a little salt & pepper, chili flakes and sesame seeds.

Bake at 400 until golden brown – about 20 minutes.

Remove from oven and rub with a little melted butter and sprinkle with minced cilantro.

Ready to flatten, you can see the bits of herb and they already smell great.
This dough was the easiest naan dough I have ever worked with – so tender and easy to flatten.
Once you have them all stuffed and flattened back out, sprinkle with beaten egg and toppings. Confession time? Somehow I got on a roll and before I knew it I had brushed the tops with melted ghee, not the egg wash I had planned on. Hmm. Still turned out so do whatever floats your boat.
Using your finger tips, flatten around the outer edge to create a bit of a border. Some of them puffed right up like a pita, and others didn’t, and either way they were delicious!
Ready for the oven
Soft potato and onion filling made these the best ever!
Next time I’m going to leave out the garlic, and try using a different stuffing …. ham and cheese maybe? They’d be great for lunches.

This naan dough originally came from an Indian Cookbook I have – Aarti Sequeira “Aarti Paarti”. I’ve loved watching her on Food Network. She added fennel and nigella seeds, and didn’t stuff them. I had something different in mind so I used this dough, and then watched endless YouTube videos on stuffing naan to come up with my own version. Have fun, play around and let me know if you come up with any other stuffings.

In making naan, I often stand over my cast iron pan, frustrated by trying to get nice char marks and yet still allowing the bread dough to be fully cooked inside without burning the outside. This often leaves me less than satisfied! This totally hands off approach yielded the softest naan and the breads were fully cooked while still having wee bits of crunchy dough around the edges and on the tops of the ones that puffed up like a pita.

Steak & Rice bowl, Mexican style

Sliced steak, grilled vegetables, Mexican seasoned rice and a refreshing tomato cilantro garnish – top it all off with this Chipotle Honey Vinaigrette and you’ve got a winning dinner.

 

We love a good dinner bowl that packs a lot of flavour.  This dressing kicks everything up a notch with the combination of sweet, smoky and spicy.  I use it on everything, and tonight it did triple duty as a dressing to brush on vegetables before grilling, a marinade for the steak and then a drizzle over the completed dish.

  • 1/2 cup avocado oil
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a blender and simply whizz it up until smooth and creamy.

RICE

In the same blender you used for the dressing, whiz up 1 tomato, 1 garlic clove, 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp chicken stock and some minced cilantro stems.  Supplement that with water to give you enough for your usual ratio of water/rice.

VEGETABLES

Season the vegetables with the dressing above and grill until just cooked and still slightly crisp.

STEAK

Brush the steaks with a little of the dressing above and allow to sit at room temperature for 1 hour – Grill to desired temperature.  We like ours medium rare.

GARNISH

Quarter mini tomatoes and mince up cilantro.  Season to taste with salt and pepper, and give it all a squeeze of lime.

 

Pile it all on top of the rice and drizzle the dressing over – I guarantee you will be making this on repeat. Go ahead and buy the good steak – you don’t need much to complete your dinner.

I think this would work equally well with any protein you chose to make – and at this time of year when the vegetables are coming in strong locally it would make an amazing vegetarian meal if you just added more of a variety of vegetables. I missed grilling onions tonight and I think that would have added a great punch of flavour.

The vinaigrette came from Love and Lemons, a great website with so many amazing recipes.

Chipotle Vinaigrette

Is there anything better than a vinaigrette that you want to use on everything? I doubt it. We’ve used it to dress up grilled vegetables, served it drizzled over a Mexican steak bowl, and of course just as dressing for a simple salad. The added bonus is that this is the easiest dressing to make.

Use it in a variety of ways – today it was drizzled over a Mexican Steak Bowl, and it was perfect with the combination of sweet, smoky and spicy.
  • 1/2 cup avocado oil
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 chipotle pepper from a can of chipotle in adobo sauce
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

The directions are embarrassingly easy ….. simply toss it all in a blender and let it whizz until everything is creamy and smooth. The combination of chipotle, honey and lime is brilliant.

Grilled steak and vegetables, served over a bed of Mexi style rice and garnished with a juicy fresh tomato and cilantro salad. This dressing is amazing.

This recipe came from the the Love and Lemons website, and you can be sure anything from Jeanine Donofrio is going to be delicious.

Thai Inspired Steak Salad

It’s hard to spot the salad underneath, but it’s there! A tangle of wheat noodles and crunchy salad greens is the base of this – go ahead and use rice noodles or just omit the noodles entirely.

I love a full meal deal salad! This tangle of vegetables, both fresh and grilled, served mixed with noodles and garnished with steak and nuts is just the best. It’s on repeat around here. Go ahead and splurge for the best steak – you don’t need much to make it a complete meal.

This dressing is the star of the show – it is light and bright with just the perfect amount of zing.

  • 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp fresh lime juice
  • 2-3 tbsp chili garlic sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce (reduced sodium)
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp raw sugar (or honey)
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp fresh Thai basil, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh mint, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame seeds **
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1/3 cup peanut oil
  • kosher salt to taste

** I’m a big fan of toasting nuts or seeds as it adds so much flavour. Watch closely because they go from deeply toasted (my personal favourite) to black …. beware. (yes, I speak from experience)

Whisk all the ingredients, except the oils, together in a bowl. Once combined, slowly drizzle in the oils and continue to whisk until well blended. This is the part where you taste, and adjust if needed – sometimes you need a bit more lime juice, salt or sweetener. If you prefer your dressing on the spicy side, add in a bit of Thai chili or chili flakes.

This recipe is just as versatile as whatever you have on hand. Tonight this dish included:

  • Chinese wheat noodles (cooked)
  • salad greens
  • mint leaves
  • basil leaves
  • cilantro leaves
  • cucumber
  • tomato
  • bean sprouts
  • grilled red pepper
  • grilled zucchini
  • steamed baby bok choy
  • grilled beef tenderloin
  • toasted cashews
  • toasted sesame seeds

I like to make a salad out of the cold cooked noodles and fresh vegetables, and pile that in the bottom of my bowl. Arrange the cooked vegetables around the sides along with the grilled steak. Drizzle with the dressing and sprinkle the cashews and sesame seeds over.

If you have time, and have a steak that needs marinating, just use a bit of the dressing. This works equally well with chicken, pork or tofu. If you want to use shrimp make sure to only give it a quick marinade.

When grilling the vegetables, drizzle with a little of the dressing before and after grilling.

When you start with a fresh salad as the base, everything is tastier!!

Vietnamese Salt & Pepper Squid

That dipping sauce might look a little muddy, it was doubling up but trust me, it was delicious!

One of the dishes (among many) that we loved on our travels through Vietnam and Cambodia was Salt & Pepper squid.  Naturally, that squid was ultra fresh, and so very tender it literally melted in your mouth.  Typically served with a bowl of rice, and a pile of greens it is the perfect light dinner.  I love the combination of flavours found in most Vietnamese dishes – fish sauce, lime juice and pepper.  Those show up in so many tasty dishes – makes my mouth water just thinking about it!

SALT & PEPPER SQUID

  • 400 gr squid **
  • 1 tbsp coarse salt
  • 1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup rice flour (you can substitute corn starch)

OIL – to use for frying – make sure you use a high smoke point oil such as peanut, canola or vegetable. – heat to 350 degrees.  If you don’t have a thermometer, stick a chopstick in there …. once it bubbles all around the chopstick it is ready.

SALAD OR GREENS TO SERVE

Prep whatever fresh vegetables or salad you want to serve.

DRESSING

  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ginger, minced
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh red chili, seeded and finely chopped (or chili flakes to taste)
  • 2 spring onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1-2 tbsp sugar (I usually stick with 1)
  • 4 tbsp fish sauce
  • 4 tbsp water

If you try anything – make it this dressing! I use it for salads all the time and it is so light and refreshing while adding so much flavour to a simple salad.

** Squid – if you can get it fresh then clean it and slice into rings – leaving tentacles whole.  I’ve only used frozen at this point but you know I will be sourcing some fresh squid!!

Once your squid is prepped, bash up the salt and pepper in a mortar and pestle – bash until cracked and broken but don’t turn it in to a fine grind.  Sprinkle a little directly onto the prepared squid.  Pour the rest into a bowl with the flours and stir until combined.

When oil is hot enough,  put a handful of the squid into the salt/pepper/flour mix and toss to coat lightly and cook in batches in the hot oil.  Do not overcrowd your oil or it will cool down and your squid will absorb more of the oil. 

Remove from oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.  

If you like a dipping sauce – just bash up a bit more salt and pepper, mixing it with fresh lime juice.

The dressing couldn’t be easier!  Again, the mortar and pestle comes into action so I hope you didn’t clean it after bashing salt and pepper …… Drop in garlic, ginger, spring onion and chili …give it a good bit of action until you have created a paste.  Add lime juice, sugar, fish sauce and water.  TASTE.  TASTE IT AGAIN.  Every single item can be a slightly different taste profile from what I am using and for your individual tastes.  Adjust if necessary.  It should be slightly sweet, slightly salty, slightly hot and slightly tangy.  

If you don’t have a mortar and pestle then just chop everything quite fine and add in the other ingredients … I have about 3 of them so I love using them but don’t run out and buy one if you don’t love the process!

To serve lightly dress your salad with the dressing, pile the squid on and serve with a side of rice if you like, just the way it is served in Cambodia & Vietnam ….. oh take me back! We bought our pepper from the Kampot Pepper Plantation in Cambodia. Touted as the best pepper in the world we had no choice. It really does make a difference when the pepper is that fresh.

Give that salt and pepper a good bash up, but stop before it is all pulverized, a little texture is perfect.
I wish you could smell this! (even though fish sauce tastes a lot better than it smells)
Ready to be dressed at the last moment – this is so light, partially due to the lack of oil.
At the Kampot Pepper Plantation …. yes, those ladies are hand selecting black peppercorns with tweezers!

Korean Pancakes

OMG – so good. This and a salad was perfect for dinner.

I love making scallion pancakes, really wanted something that could be a whole meal deal, and ended up with this – a bit of mash up between Korean Pajeon pancakes, Japanese Okonomiyaki and Chinese scallion pancakes. This gojuchang dipping sauce makes it slightly more Korean influenced, but if you don’t have gojuchang in your fridge then you could easily make a dipping sauce of soy sauce and rice vinegar. (or buy something!)

PANCAKE BATTER

  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup potato starch (could sub corn starch if this isn’t one of your staples)
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups ice water
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

Oil for cooking

VEGETABLE SUGGESTIONS

  • shredded cabbage
  • slivers of spinach
  • very thinly sliced cauliflower
  • minced red onion
  • very thinly sliced red pepper
  • lots of thinly sliced scallions (spring onions)

Prepare all your vegetables and set aside

If you are inclined to do so, go ahead and add shrimp or cooked shredded chicken to make it a heartier pancake. If you do – I’d add it as soon as the batter is spread out in the pan so you can distribute evenly.

DIPPING SAUCE

  • 1/4 cup light soy sauce (I use reduced sodium)
  • 1 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp gojuchang
  • 1/2 tsp finely slivered ginger
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 1 finely sliced spring onion
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds

Mix well and taste. NO REALLY, SERIOUSLY, TASTE!!! Every different product has a slightly different flavour profile, and you have your own taste preferences so make sure this dipping sauce hits all the notes you are looking for and adjust as needed. Of course, if you aren’t a cooking nut like myself, you may not have all that in your pantry so just buy a jar of dumpling/gyoza dipping sauce! ha ha

METHOD

Whisk together dry ingredients until well combined. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and stir in the ice water and minced garlic. Stir just until combined, then add in the vegetables.

I haven’t specified any amounts for the vegetables, so feel free to experiment with how you like the pancakes. This amount of batter will make 4 good size pancakes with a generous serving of vegetables in each one – feel free to pack in as many veg as you like – you literally only need enough batter to hold it all together in the fry pan.

In a non stick pan, heat about 3 tbsp oil until quite hot – stick a wooden chopstick in, and if it sizzles you are ready!

Scoop in about 1 cup of batter and quickly spread it out so it resembles a pancake. Gently swirl the pan allowing the oil to circulate so the pancake gets crispy bits and nicely browned. Like any pancake, only flip it once you start to see bubbles popping on the surface.

Flip, drizzle another tablespoon or so of oil around the edges and swirl so this second side also gets crispy around the edges.

When nicely browned on both sides, remove to paper towel lined plate and keep warm. As soon as you remove it from the heat sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds, and a fresh grate of salt.

This is what I had in the fridge today, so this is what the pancake had! Go ahead and find your own favourites, I really wanted bean sprouts but couldn’t find any decent ones at the store.
You could easily get more vegetables in there, and also create a thinner batter with just a bit more ice water. Whisk an egg into the batter if you are looking for extra protein but want to omit any seafood or meat, and keep it vegetarian.
Todays version included some raw shrimp, which I quickly placed as soon as the batter was down in the pan, and then sprinkled with sesame seeds. I wouldn’t use cooked shrimp as they might toughen up.
What a beauty!
Sprinkle with seasoning as soon as you take them off the pan and keep warm until ready to serve. I also sprinkled with a little bit of Furikake today.

If you have never tried gojuchang, then do so! I love it. My first foray into cooking with it was for KFC, Korean Fried Cauliflower and was immediately hooked. It is a Korean chili paste that has so much flavour – slightly tangy and not too spicy.

Fruit Pizza for Dessert!

Spring is here!  This fruit may not be in season here yet, and I can’t wait to make this when it is, but berries and mango are often available and you can use whatever fruit you like to make this refreshing dessert.  

The perfect cookie crust is tender but firm and a little crunchy – top that with the best of seasonal fruit on a creamy pudding bed and you’ve got a fabulous dessert.

COOKIE CRUST

  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  •  1 tsp baking soda
  •  1/2 tsp baking powder
  •  1/4 tsp salt
  •  3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter unsalted, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


INSTRUCTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 375 F degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a bowl mix together the all purpose flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of your mixer add the sugar and butter and beat for a couple minutes until light and fluffy. Add egg and vanilla extract and continue mixing until the egg is fully incorporated. Add the flour and mix for an additional 2 minutes. Take the cookie dough and form it into a ball. Place it over the prepared baking sheet. Roll the ball into a round large cookie or any shape you prefer. You might need to add some more flour over your roll or over the cookie so that it doesn’t stick.The cookie should be at least 1/4 of an inch in thickness.
  • Bake the cookie for about 12 to 15 minutes or until edges are golden. Let it cool completely.

Make this cookie crust ahead of time – even a day ahead is fine, but be sure to let it cool down.

CREAMY CUSTARD

  • 3 tbsp corn starch
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 egg yolks, beaten
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean extract

In heavy bottom saucepan stir corn starch, sugar and salt together. Slowly add the beaten egg yolks and milk. Stir until thickened, remove from heat and add in the vanilla. Cover the top wth plastic wrap to avoid a skin forming and allow to cool completely.

(You can also do this in the microwave, but watch it! I’ve had it spill up and over more than a few times …..)

ASSEMBLY

Spread the cooled custard on the cold cookie crust. Arrange fruit of your choice to cover the custard and allow to set completely before serving.

Creamy Garlicky Shrimp Tagliatelle

I don’t know about you, but an advertised 20 minute recipe NEVER takes me 20 minutes.  This one was close tho ….. and very easy.  Not only easy, but delicious and I’m more than happy to spend a few more minutes to achieve delicious.

img_4909

  • 8 ounces dried tagliatelle pasta (or really, any pasta you like!)
  • 2 tbsp butter (separated, see below)
  • olive oil
  • 10 ounces small, peeled and cleaned shrimp
  • 3 garlic cloves (yes, really)
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine (I like sauvignon blanc but any dry white will work – stay away from sweet tho)
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced onion
  • 1 cup sliced crimini mushrooms
  • 1 cup asparagus (cut into 1″ pieces)
  • 1/2 cup minced sun dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes (or to taste)
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan (do NOT use purchased grated!)
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, minced
  • black pepper
  • more parmesan for serving
  1. Get a large pot of water on the stove and bring it to a boil.  Salt and add pasta.  Cook to one minute short of the cooking instructions …. (in order to finish in the cream sauce).
  2. Before draining, scoop out about 1/2 cup of pasta water.
  3. Get a nice flat bottom skillet (non-stick works great here) and melt 1 tbsp butter.  Drain your shrimp and pat dry (you don’t want them to steam) ….. toss the shrimp into the melted butter and sauté quickly – until ALMOST cooked.  Depending on your shrimp size this might only take a minute or two.  There is nothing worse than rubbery, overcooked shrimp.  Well, okay, lots of things are worse including this COVID nightmare we are living through….  Remove from heat and lightly season with salt and pepper.
  4. In the same skillet heat the other tbsp butter and add a splash of olive oil – once melted add the onions, sauté until soft, add mushrooms and cook until just lightly browned, then add the garlic, asparagus and sun dried tomatoes.  Add chili flakes.
  5. Stir in the white wine and allow to reduce slightly, then add the chicken broth, cream and parmesan.  Season to taste ….  I didn’t need to add any more salt but that finishing black pepper is great.
  6. Add your mostly cooked pasta to the skillet and toss to cover.  The sauce will continue to thicken and this is the time to add some of your reserved pasta water a bit at a time, only as needed.  Stir in the shrimp to heat through, toss with parsley and serve with a grating of fresh parmesan and black pepper.
  7. Dig in!
These plump & juicy little guys are barely cooked and will finish in the cream sauce
Easy to make this a vegetarian meal – just stir in as many veg as you like and omit the shrimp.