Food Memories – Snickerdoodles

I met Colleen last year at the Big Summer Potluck.  I have to tell you, that one day brought so many talented people into my world.  Colleen not only runs Souffle Bombay, she also has a second site, Picture Me Cooking, geared towards cooking with kids.  And it all started with a Food Memory.  Here’s how she describes it:

My friends and family often joke that no one turns down an invitation to our house because they want to come and eat the food, lol!! Cooking is amazing to me, combine a bit of this with a bit of that and look what you get…a party in your mouth! I enjoy cooking for my family, cooking for others, planning party menu’s and I LOVE cooking with my children. From an early age, the kitchen became my happy place.

One day, I had a flash of a memory…it was about first time I remember cooking as a kid, I could see myself walking toward my family, who were all sitting at the table looking at what I had made with anticipation and excitement. I can remember exactly how I felt carrying that cake as I walked toward them.

I though well…THAT one moment was certainly a defining moment for me…and you know what I don’t even have a picture of it…WHY I thought don’t kids cookbooks have a way to capture some photos of what they cook up in the kitchen, who the cook with…after all to many of us some of our most precious memories happened in a kitchen at the knee of someone we love/loved.

So, I sat down and outlined the book and began to write it, then formed a group about a year later with 3 other mom’s and produced the book. I have even been on QVC with it – all that from a memory.

See what I mean about the talented people I had the fortune to meet that day?  Colleen took a memory and turned it into a book.  She’s been on QVC y’all.  I knew about the book but not the QVC…she must have nerves of steel.  I’m going to have to ask her all about that experience when I see her this summer at Big Summer Potluck II.  Until then, we can all enjoy her Snickerdoodles Food Memory.

Snickerdoodles

For me, eating certain foods and hearing certain songs are the most powerful drivers of my memories.

The food memories, for whatever reason are all warm and happy…the music ones take me back to so many different events, some crazy happy some achingly painful and some “what was I thinking”! Anyone with me on this?

Case in point…Snickerdoodles.
I can see in my minds eye my Grammy often making Snickerdoodles, I can see me helping her, sometimes alone, sometimes surrounded by my cousins and siblings.

I can’t recall a Christmas at her house without having eaten as many of them as I possibly could without any adults saying a word! Man, holidays are best!!

But do I have HER recipe…nope. I do make Snicherdoodles often as my children love both baking them up and of course eating them up.

I was intrigued when I saw this recipe for Snickerdoodles from Miss in the Kitchen (a really nice gal who cooks up quick family style dishes). One of the ingredients in her recipe is cream cheese….yes…cream cheese. Never heard of such a thing in a Snickerdoodle, so I wanted to find out how that would change things.

These were good…they were softer than what I am accustomed to and did not last long in my house lol! We even made 1 HUGE cookie that could have fed 4 kids easily, however my two knuckleheads decided to split it to see if they could eat it! My 9 year old son polished off his half…while my 6 year old daughter made a valiant effort!

Cream Cheese Snickerdoodles
Souffle Bombay’s adaptation from Miss in the Kitchen (Blog)

BAH Note:  The only thing I will add is that the cookie dough is very soft.  I refrigerated mine for about 30 minutes before I tried to scoop it.  And then I returned the bowl of dough to the fridge after I had scooped enough for a sheet pan.

  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In your mixing bowl, add cream cheese and butter. Beat with an electric mixer until well combined. Beat in sugar, eggs and vanilla . Add flour and baking soda mixing until all combined. Scoop into 1 1/2 inch balls and roll in sugar and cinnamon mixture. Place 2 inches apart on a greased or lined baking sheet and press gently with tines of a fork in a crisscross pattern. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove to a wire rack to cool.

 {printable recipe}

Flashback Friday – Fast Food @ Home

Flashback Friday

The following originally appeared on 11/5/08 at Exit 51

Fast Food @ Home

This week has not been my best in the kitchen.  All the hubbub and activity of late has me off my game.  My pantry and fridge are not adequately stocked for the meals I had planned.  Somehow I overlooked a fundamental part of meal planning – making sure I have the ingredients for what I intend to make.  I don’t mean things that I can fudge like an onion or spices.  That would be too easy.  I mean that if I figure on making hamburgers, it would be helpful to actually have ground beef. Continue reading “Flashback Friday – Fast Food @ Home”

Tagine de Poulet

I remember the first time I ever tried couscous.  I was a freshman in college (Go Blue Hens!) and I had taken the train to Philadelphia to visit my friend Yasmine at the University of Pennsylvania. Most of my memories of that trip are pretty fuzzy some 20 years later.  But I remember being envious of the old buildings on the campus, especially Yasmine’s dorm.  She had this cool room with tons of character while I had a cinder block throw back to the cold war.  I also vaguely remember trying to catch the eye of the cute, presumably smart, boys at a party.  And there may have been an outfit completely inappropriate for walking back to her room late at night in the snow.

So how does couscous fit into this story?  Before going to the Penn party, Yasmine and I headed out for dinner.  Now I know I have a somewhat faulty memory but I swear that what I’m going to say next is true.  We ate dinner at Urban Outfitters.  How can I be so sure of that?  A) Because I thought it was completely bizarre that we were having dinner in a store.  B) Because I decided to try something new and ordered couscous for the first time in my young life.  C) And I didn’t like it.  I don’t remember why, but I distinctly remember that it was not an enjoyable experience.  But to this day, when I think of couscous, I think of Urban Outfitters.

It took me years but I gave couscous another shot and learned that it wasn’t as bad as I remembered.  As a matter of fact, it is lovely when you serve it topped with  Chicken Tagine.  Or, as it was titled in David Lebovitz’s book, Tagine de Poulet.

Despite furious Googling, I can not find anything on the web that corroborates my story that there was ever a restaurant inside of Urban Outfitters in Philly.  So you’ll have to take my word for it.  I do know for a fact that there was a visit to Urban Outfitters and there was couscous for dinner.  Were they two completely separate parts of the trip?  It was a long time ago and there were adult beverages consumed that night.  Perhaps all of that has made for one big memory mash-up.

I’d ask Yasmine but I lost touch with her after she moved to Australia.  Even in this day of Facebook and Classmates.com, some people are just off the grid.  Yasmine, if by some chance the Universe guides your browser to this post, click on that Contact BAH button at the top of the page…I’d love to hear from you.

Chicken Tagine with Apricots

Adapted from David Lebovitz, The Sweet Life In Paris

BAH Note: You may wish to wear food safe gloves when you toss the chicken with the spice mixture.  Tumeric is BRIGHT YELLOW and can stain your fingers and nails for a day or two even with vigorous hand washing.  Alternately, you could put the spices into a plastic bag, add the chicken pieces, and shake to coat them in the spices.  If using boneless chicken thighs, start checking for doneness after about 45 minutes of cooking.

  • 4 ounces dried apricots
  • 8 bone in chicken thighs, skins removed
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground tumeric
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cans chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • juice of one lemon

Heat the oven to 375 degrees.  Put the apricots in a bowl, cover completely with boiling water, and set them aside.

Combine your spices and salt in a large bowl.  Add the chicken pieces and coat them completely in the spices.

Melt your butter in a dutch oven or large pot set over medium heat.  Working in batches, cook the chicken for about 3 minutes on each side then transfer it to a plate.  Add the onion to the pot and cook until translucent.  Add the chicken broth to the pot, return the chicken pieces, and bring to a boil.  Transfer to the oven and bake for 60 to 90 minutes or until the chicken is completely cooked.

Remove the pot from the oven, skim any accumulated fat from the top, and carefully transfer the chicken to a platter.  Cover the platter with foil and set aside.

Place the pot on the stove, add the honey and lemon juice.  Drain the liquid from the apricots and add them to the pot.  Cook over medium high heat until the sauce is reduced by a third.  Taste for seasoning and serve the chicken and sauce accompanied with rice or couscous.

{printable recipe}

Super Quick Curry

Without meaning to, I find myself coming back to this recipe time and again for quick, satisfying weeknight dinners.  Every few weeks it ends up on the menu but  I can’t say that I’m especially sad about that.  The Mistah and I both like it.  It’s ridiculously easy.  And it’s quite adaptable to whatever protein you happen to pick up at the store or have stashed in your freezer.

There’s only one word of caution that I will offer.  If you are using bagged frozen seafood, be sure to put the bag in a bowl while it defrosts in the refrigerator.  I don’t know why, but the last few times I’ve made this, my bag of frozen seafood has leaked.  And there is nothing I like less than cleaning up shrimp or scallop juices from the glass shelf of the Fridigaire.

Super Quick Curry

Adapted from Jaden Hair’s 10 Minute Shrimp Curry

BAH Note:  I most often use shrimp or bay scallops when I make this but don’t think that’s all you can use.  Chicken, pork, or tofu would work well in this dish.  I have also been known to throw a tablespoon or so of smooth peanut butter into the pot to give the sauce a little something unexpected.

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons mild curry paste
  • 1/8 teaspoon red chili paste
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/2 – 1 tablespoon fish sauce (optional)
  • 1 to 2 red bell peppers, diced
  • 1 pound shrimp (peeled) or bay scallops
  • juice of 1 lime (optional)

Heat the oil in a large saucepan or dutch oven over medium high heat.  Add the curry paste and chili sauce, stir, and cook for about 30 seconds until the spices become fragrant.  Add the shrimp or scallops and cook until they are mostly cooked through.  Add the coconut milk and stir to combine.  Cook for another 5 minutes until your shrimp or scallops are just cooked through.  Taste for seasoning and add fish sauce and lime juice if using.  Ladle into bowls and enjoy.

{printable recipe}

Flashback Friday – Home Again, Home Again

Flashback Friday

The following originally appeared on 10/29/08 at Exit 51.

Home Again, Home Again

Jiggity jig.  New York was a whirlwind.  I managed to find all my destinations without getting lost.  It helped that I really didn’t venture too far from Times Square.  Like a homing pigeon, I could always find my way back to the red tkts steps.  So I gave myself a gold star for that. Continue reading “Flashback Friday – Home Again, Home Again”

Mushroom Barley Soup

I’ve got mixed feelings about this soup.  I want to like it more than I did.  But the recipe I used called for way too much barley.  It was fine the first day, straight from the pot.  But as it sat in my refrigerator, the barley absorbed nearly all the liquid.  I also didn’t like the texture of the dried mushrooms I used.  And I swear they had an almost tobacco like flavor. Wow, when I think about it that way, I didn’t really like much about this soup at all.

The thing is that I have a Hearty Mushroom Soup that I know I like way better.  So why am I even bothering to tell you about this one?  Honestly, the only reason for this post is the fact that I really like the photo.

Note to self:  The next time you have a hankering for mushroom barley soup, take the recipe you know you like, cook up 1/4 cup of barley separately, and add it after the soup has cooked and been blitzed.  You’ll be much happier.