Saturday, January 19, 2008

wonderful girl and boy land

We volunteered to host a little going-away party for a family in our ward (who, sadly, are returning to their home in Argentina after unsuccessfully trying to achieve the "American Dream" for five years) and so I was allowed to make desserts on a non-Sunday. It was better then Christmas. I went with a favorite cookie, and after trying it, you shall declare it one of your favorites, too. Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup raisins
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
1 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups rolled oats (grind at least half in a food processor)

Combine eggs, vanilla & almond extract, and raisins in a small bowl; cover and let stand for 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
In a large bowl, cream the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar together. Sift together the flour, cinnamon, and baking soda; stir into the creamed mixture. Then stir in the raisin mixture, rolled oats, and nuts.
Drop by teaspoonfuls onto an unprepared cookie sheet. Bake for 9 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Makes about 6 dozen

A word of warning. I love these cookies the day they are made. I enjoy them the next day. I can't bring myself to eat them past day three. I'm not sure what it is, but for me they go all dry and crumbly and inedible. But, I'm a cookie snob. My point: I wouldn't recommend making them in advance of an event--they are definitely "day of" baking.

In related cooking news, I was finally able to make some Cincinnati* Chili, which I have been wanted to make for dinner for about a month, but the whole "simmer for three hours" thing makes it pretty impossible to achieve on a work night. I swapped dinner nights with Somebody and took advantage of the Saturday to cook. Anything that produces a sauce the same bright orange color as my favorite spoon is bound to be delicious.

Cincinnati Chili
4 cups water
2 lbs hamburger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
2 lg. chopped onions
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
3 garlic cloves (spear with toothpick)
2 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp black pepper
½ tsp red chili pepper (optional)
1 Tbsp salt
1 ½ tsp ground allspice
1 can kidney beans
6 oz can tomato paste
1 ½ Tbsp cider vinegar
3 lg whole bay leaves

Crumble raw hamburger into water, add all ingredients. Bring to boil, simmer 3 hrs. Remove garlic cloves and bay leaves.
Pile on plate: angel hair pasta noodles, grated cheese, chili, oyster crackers

Notes: I think next time I will just mince the garlic instead of trying to fish it out. I enjoy the garlic flavor and it pretty much melts away anyway. This time I also cooked the ground beef for a little while before adding the water, just to get more of the "browned beef" texture. I think that I would do that again, but add less water because for some reason it ended up very liquidy. Also, don't think that the three hours of simmering is a joke. We tried to get away with 20 minutes of simmering one time and it was just yucky. It really needs that whole time for the flavors to blend. We have found that the flavor is even better the next day and the next day, and this has really become a good recipe to use when you are planning ahead for leftover night.

*For me, one of the side effects of making Cincinnati Chili is that all day I'm singing the Cincinnati song in my head. You know, from the old Babes in Toyland movie with Drew Barrymore and Keanu Reeves? You know that one, right? Where they live in Cincinnati? And they sing, "C-I-N-C-I-N-N-A-T-I Cincinnati. The best town in O-H-I-O, Ohio USA. At first they called it Cinci, but since Cinci is so nati, they named it Cincinnati, so they say?" Everybody sing along with me now! Sadly, IMDB has no photo for this movie. Because it had some great lines, like "He's got trolls! Hundreds of trolls, who ate all the cookies!" Luckily, I own this gem, so if you come to visit we can watch together and sing about Cincinnati.

Oh, I found a picture! The Internet never lets me down.

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