Monday, June 22, 2009

Peanut Butter Lover and A Sense of Deja Vu (Have I Said Something Like That Before?)

Even though I feel absolutely confident in the normalcy of my obsession with peanut-butter, it is always a little bit nice to receive the occasional reminder that other people share in my sentiments. I am not alone. Who doesn't like to hear that once in awhile? Today's reminder of not-aloneness comes to us care of NPR's Kitchen Window.

Let it be known that before I saw this recipe, I was innocently lying in bed on a Sunday morning with my feet tucked up underneath me. I think there was a cup of coffee on my bedside table. The fan I remember. That was definitely on, pointed directly at my face. It was enjoyable, but not so enjoyable that I didn't get up and make these cookies immediately upon reading this article. Motivation!

Basic Peanut Butter Cookies:

You Will Need:

1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
3/4 cup crunchy peanut butter (more is always better)
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
A little cinnamon and sugar (to taste)

To Make:
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Sift together the flour, salt and baking powder in one bowl. Cold cut the butter into 1/2 inch cubes, then cream it with the peanut butter and sugar. Beat the vanilla and the egg into this mixture. Resist the urge to eat ALL of the batter in this stage. Now stir in the flour bit by bit, making sure it is well-blended as you go. The dough should be very pliable now. Tear out chunks and roll them between your palms to form small balls.

For the next part, I combined equal parts cinnamon and sugar with a dash of sea salt in a small dish. I then rolled each of the dough balls through this mixture until thoroughly coated. This lends a dash of snickerdoodle to your peanut butter cookie, which (if it's your thing) I highly recommend.

Place the balls on a greased cookie sheet, and lightly smash them with the tines of the fork. This will give them that distinctive peanut butter cookie aesthetic. Bake for approximately ten minutes (a little less to leave them chewy...which I like. A lot.)

Suggestions for consumption:
*With lots of dairy product on hand to wash down with.
*Crumbled over freshly whipped cream.
*On either side of a huge, cold scoop of ice cream (ice-cream sandwich)!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

I Want Some-More-Sa (Samosa)

I'm not lying when I say that I first picked up these pea's because I loved the way the cans looked. All clean lines and so absolutely classic! Just look at them! And on sale...? Done. I bought five cans, took them home, and proudly displayed them on my pantry shelves - a mother hen preening over her culinary brood. It took me three or four days to even begin pondering appropriate recipes, as fully satisfied merely to gaze upon them as I was.

But what to make with peas that did not include carrots (visions of my youth and "healthy dinners," microwaved, eaten in front of fuzzily rendered cartoons on public television)? The answer: samosas. Thank you, Even with factors like "excellent taste" set aside , this is a totally satisfying recipe to make. It just involves a very gratifying amount of handling: folding, prodding, stirring, tucking, rolling, etc. Afterward you'll feel universally might even be faintly perspiring. And when it comes time to actually eat, you'll known that you've truly earned it. You went for it; you rolled up your sleeves and really dug into it! Congratulations, you!

It must go without saying that these are my favorite kinds of recipes (see also: pizza dough pounding, ice-cream making, whip-cream whipping, anything involving bread dough). Perfect for unwinding after a long, long (long, long) day.

Phyllo-Wrapped Potato Samosas, courtesy of Gourmet.

You Will Need:

1 1/2 lb Yukon Gold or boiling potatoes
1 large onion, chopped (2 3/4 cups)
1 teaspoon garam masala (Indian spice blend)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed
12 (17- by 12-inch) phyllo sheets, thawed if frozen
3/4 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled

To Make:

Peel potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Put in a medium saucepan with 1 tsp salt and enough water to cover by 1 inch. Simmer until tender, about 15 minutes, then drain in a colander.
Cook onion, spices, and 3/4 tsp salt in oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add potatoes and peas and cook, stirring, 3 minutes, then remove from heat and cool slightly.
Preheat oven to 375°F with racks in upper and lower thirds.
Cover stack of phyllo sheets with plastic wrap and a damp kitchen towel. Keeping remaining phyllo covered and working quickly, place 1 sheet on work surface. Gently brush with some butter, then lay a second sheet on top and brush with butter. Cut crosswise into 4 strips. Put 2 tablespoons filling near one corner of 1 strip and fold corner of phyllo over to enclose filling and form a triangle. Continue folding strip, maintaining triangle shape. Put samosa, seam side down, on baking sheet. Make 3 more triangles in same manner. Repeat with remaining phyllo and filling. Generously brush both sides of each samosa with butter and bake, turning samosas over halfway through and switching position of sheets, until golden and crisp all over, about 25 minutes total. Cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.