Friday, January 1, 2016

| the best chocolate chip cookies I've ever made |

For Christmas, one of my co-workers gave me a jar of cookie mix. You know the stuff. I was amazed, when I made them, to discover they were the BEST chocolate chip cookies I've ever made. Ever. They were crispy on the outside and gooey-chewy on the inside. Perfection.

The ingredients are nothing special, so I think it must have been the odd technique I used to make them. Read on for details....

Layer in a wide-mouth pint jar, pressing each layer firmly before adding next ingredient.
1/4 c white sugar
1/2 c chocolate chips
1/2 c firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/4 c flour, mixed with 1/2 t. baking soda, 1/8 t. salt

Instructions on the gift:
1) Empty cookie mix into a large mixing bowl. Use your hands to thoroughly mix it all together.
2) Add: 6 T butter VERY soft, 1 small egg, 1/2 t. vanilla.
3) Mix until completely blended. You can use a pastry cutter or fork to help you mix in the butter. You will need to finish mixing with your hands. Squish, squish.
4) Shape into balls the size of walnuts and place 2'' apart on a baking sheet with parchment paper.
5) Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes. Cool 10 minutes on baking sheet, then move to rack.
Makes about 18 cookies

That's it. It's almost like making biscuits, the way I cut the butter in. I'm never getting out the stand mixer again.

| seitan breakfast hash |

I recently tried making my own seitan. Turns out, it's incredibly easy and way cheaper than buying seitan. One batch of this recipe makes about 8 times as much as what you would find in a package of seitan at the grocery store. I freeze them in plastic baggies in their broth and that seems to work really well. Side note on that recipe: I've made it without nutritional yeast and it was fine. I've also made it without chickpea flour and, again, fine.

I love this stuff. Especially at breakfast. I often dice it and mix it with whatever veggies I have in the fridge and then just eat a pile of it. Yum. I've also made some excellent biscuits and gravy with it. SUPER YUM.

Here's a recipe for some quick and delicious vegetarian hash that I made up.

1) Saute some diced onion in olive oil. As they're cooking, dice up some new potatoes - very small. Add to the mix and let them cook until the onions are soft and the potatoes are starting to get crispy in some spots.
2) Salt generously and add a dash of smoked paprika. I like to add some minced garlic, too.
3) Add some liquid so the mix can simmer (this helps the potatoes cook). If you have seitan broth, use that. Meanwhile, dice up your seitan into little chunks and a bell pepper, too, if you've got one.
4) Cook the potato and onion mix in the broth until the broth is basically gone and the potatoes are starting to get soft. Add more broth as necessary and stir occasionally.
5) Add the peppers and seitan to the mix. Cook until the peppers are starting to soften. I like to add some butter along the way to help keep things from sticking and max out the flavor.
You're done. Enjoy! I like to put some sliced avocado on top.