Saturday, August 17, 2019

Cowboy Cookies

Way back when the world was a simpler place,  and when Presidential elections weren't as dramatic as they are today, the potential First Ladies engaged in a cookie recipe contest.   In 2000, Laura Bush vied for cookie fame with her Cowboy Cookie recipe vs. Tipper Gore's Gingersnap Cookie.   Of course, the chocolate chip cookie won by a landslide.   It takes a pretty refined palate to appreciate a gingersnap, which most people don't have.   I do love a ginger cookie a lot of the time, but when cowboy cookie recipes started populating my corner of the internet, I had to try my hand at some.   I found a NYT recipe for Laura' Bush's cookie, and I thought I would give it a try.  I modified it a bit because it made a TON of cookies and I like bittersweet chocolate.    The end result is quite possibly the best chocolate chip cookie I have ever made in my life.   This recipe is definitely a keeper.

Cowboy Cookies

1 1/2  cups all-purpose flour
1/2  tablespoon baking powder
1/2  tablespoon baking soda
1/2  tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2  teaspoon salt
1 1/2  sticks butter, at room temperature
3/4  cups granulated sugar
3/4  cups packed light-brown sugar
2  eggs
1/2  tablespoon vanilla
1 10 oz pkg  Ghirardelli  bittersweet chocolate chips
1 1/2  cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1  cups unsweetened flake coconut
1  cups chopped pecans (8 ounces)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in bowl.
In a large bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer at medium speed until smooth and creamy. Gradually beat in sugars, and combine thoroughly.  Add eggs one at a time, beating after each. Beat in vanilla. By hand, stir in flour mixture until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips, oats, coconut and pecans. For each cookie, drop 1/4 cup dough onto ungreased baking sheets, spacing 3 inches apart. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, until edges are lightly browned; rotate sheets halfway through. Remove cookies from rack to cool.

Thimbleberry Jam 2019

It was a cold wet spring in the Keweenaw, so the thimbleberries were a bit late this year, which was lucky for me because it aligned with our August vacation.   I had a little over 2 lbs of frozen berries from a couple summers ago, and we picked about 4.5 lbs of berries this year. 

How I make jam is equal parts, by weight, with sugar.  That's it - no pectin needed.   We were short on jelly jars here at the lakehouse....they must all be downstate.   I went to Swifts to buy lids, not realizing I had way too many up here already.   I am short lids at home, my canning kitchens have become unbalanced.  

One of the best purchases I have ever made for canning is the outdoor canning rig I got several years ago.  I love canning outside!  Our total yield for this year was 112 oz. for about 9 hours of work total, including picking.    

Tuesday, July 02, 2019

Lakehouse Cooking: Cheater Pulled Pork

I have been making pulled pork by this method for years now. which I originally heard about on Splendid Table back in the Lynn Rosetto Kasper days.   The original method was described in this cookbook by Mindy Merrell and R.B. Quinn, who are Nashville based food writers.  I'm a huge fan of Nashville food....

This cookbook is all about using liquid smoke to create BBQ flavor indoors.  For my pulled pork, I use a half bottle of liquid smoke and whatever rub I feel like making.    I buy my pork straight from the farmer so I have the butcher cut up my roasts into steaks for easier cubing.  This recipe is great for when we have guests at our lake house, because we can put it in the crock pot and forget about it all day and go up to Copper Harbor or hiking or whatever, and dinner will be ready when we get back to the house.   I buy some crusty rolls and the best bottled BBQ sauce I can find.   Super easy!

For the pork:

One 5- to 6-pound boneless Boston butt pork roast or same weight of boneless country-style pork ribs
1/4 cup of your favorite rub  (I like Alton Brown's Rub #9)
1/2 cup bottled smoke (I like hickory)
Barbecue sauce of your choice

Since I don't often have Rub #9 mixed up at the lakehouse, I will make a simple rub with what I often have on hand here:

2 T paprika
2 T kosher salt
2 T coarsely ground black pepper
1 T garlic powder
2 T dry mustard

Cut the pork butt into medium (2- to 3-inch) chunks (the ribs don't need to be cut up).  Put the pieces in a large slow cooker. Sprinkle the meat with the rub, turning the pieces to coat evenly. Add the bottled smoke. Cover and cook on high for 5 to 6 hours or on low for 10 to 12 hours, until the meat is pull-apart tender.   Using tongs and a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a rimmed platter or baking sheet. Let rest until cool enough to handle. Pull the meat into strands. It should shred very easily. Serve the barbecue piled on buns with your favorite barbecue sauce.