Posts made in June, 2016

Fast Forward

Posted by on Jun 30, 2016 in Cookies, Pasta | 0 comments

Looking back—that’s what I mentioned; then it happened--

m and L grad

in two short years since my sweet sixteen post, Madelynne has graduated from high school with honors and awarded a Nursing scholarship; participating in the Next Generation Service Corps at ASU.  She’s buying dorm room linens, packing her bags, and the rest of us are holding back the years.

Maddy and Luke baloons

Rather than busting out the tears, I’ll show you one of the major cookie sensations I baked up for her graduation party with minor thoughts of Fourth of July sweets on the horizon as well.

Sally’s Baking Addiction probably blew up the internet when she posted a recipe for Toasted S'mores Chocolate Chip Cookies. The cookie is not a last minute treat; it requires a detailed process and patience, so plan ahead.  You are going to love this one…

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The cookie dough is prepared first with melted butter and a secret ingredient, cornstarch, and MUST chill for a couple of hours up to 3 days.

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Proceed by shaping the cookies into balls and baking for 10 minutes (I’m still getting accustomed to convection cooking times and temperatures).

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Check the cookies at eight minutes.  Meanwhile, round up the s’mores toppings to be placed on top of the nearly baked cookies.  Little collections of 3 worked for me.

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Quickly poke them on top of each cookie and bake for 2 more minutes.

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I wasn’t brave enough to broil them for 30 seconds to replicate the toasted s’more ethos; instead I got out MP’s giant blow torch and made quick work of those babies!

 

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Summer Deliciousness

Posted by on Jun 28, 2016 in Salad | 3 comments

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Just like The Pioneer Woman, I have many recipes in the archives of this website, and sometimes I find myself googling-- myself (retracing my steps so to speak)!

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This summer I’ll add fresh ideas like this Tomato and Cucumber Salad; and take a look back, bringing selected favorites to life with better photos and maybe even a few tips and techniques to boot; always keeping it garden-fresh and as close to the source as I can.

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Weird weather patterns have struck the tomatoes, leaving some in random states of ripening; which means spontaneous platters of mixed tomatoes become supreme potluck offerings or patio dinner salads. Then, imagine amplifying the seasonal flavors with a slightly sweet peach dressing.

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The salad pulls together a mix of multicolored tomatoes; tiny cherry, heirloom varieties, and bright common types sliced into thick slices surrounded by cucumber moons, thinly sliced purple onions and aromatic basil.

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If you don’t know me by now; acrid raw onions are not likely to appear in my repertoire. Slicing a fresh purple onion on a mandoline into thin rings, adding ice water and a spoonful of red wine vinegar tames the onion in about the time it takes to prepare the salad.

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For the sweet peach dressing, combine red wine vinegar, a touch of sugar, fresh thyme and a chopped ripe peach together.

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Emulsify the dressing by whisking fruity olive oil into the mix; one tablespoon at a time (I used 4 tablespoons) until blended.

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 Season with salt and pepper.

Line a platter with tomatoes;then toss the cucumbers with some of the dressing. Finish by placing the cucumber, drained purple onion, and basil in and around the tomato bits. Drizzle the peach dressing over the salad to your liking—on this occasion the salad made an appearance with shrimp marinated in lemony mustard vinaigrette along with Zucchini Pancakes and Tomato Jam.

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Ready, set…

Photographs and text used on cococooks belong to me, Peggy Lunde unless linked otherwise.

 

 

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Oh, Those Figs

Posted by on Jun 23, 2016 in Chicken and Turkey | 0 comments

figs

Theoretically, this episode was to feature figs; an ancient purplish brown and green fruit which I long for in early summer and then again in autumn.

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The sweet, sumptuous fruit seems like a grown-up indulgence piled onto a slice of toasted artisan bread for breakfast or

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 dolled up with fruity olive oil on a quiet staycation afternoon.

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photo:www recipeshubs.com

  A collection could land on a pizza titillated by goat cheese and a balsamic reduction.

On this occasion, I was inspired to create an Asian salad where grilled figs had a starring role alongside a potent gingered sesame dressing.

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May you perhaps surmise in the end, Spicy Honey –Brushed Chicken Thighs stole the show.  A magical mix of earthy and spicy seasonings tinged with honey and cider vinegar is the secret to tender boneless, skinless thighs.  Although Cooking Light illuminates these under a broiler, they ought to make grill appearances all summer long.

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I nixed sweet gilded cashews for raw nuts in the Food and Wine feature recipe; thick and fragrant dressing added a wallop of contrast to the o’so delicious chicken—

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but, yes the succulent fig beauties remain my besties.

 Photographs and text used on cococooks belong to me, Peggy Lunde unless linked otherwise.

Spicy Honey-Brushed Chicken Thighs

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons Ancho chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (to taste)
  • 8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • Cooking spray for grill
  • 6 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 Tablespoon cider vinegar

Instructions

  1. Preheat the grill.
  2. Combine first 6 ingredients in a bowl, stirring well. Add chicken to bowl; toss completely.
  3. Place chicken on a grill coated with cooking spray. Grill the chicken 5 – 6 minutes on each side until done.
  4. Combine honey and vinegar in a small bowl, stirring well. Brush honey mixture on both sides of chicken thighs. Let stand 1-2 minutes longer.
  5. --adapted from Cooking Light
http://cococooks.net/oh-those-figs/

 

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Flex Alert

Posted by on Jun 21, 2016 in Fish | 2 comments

Unusually cool misty temperatures created ideal hiking weather earlier in the week; at the same time, our tomato vines reacted with wet shriveled leaves and nearly collapsed with heavy fruit.

Father’s Day weekend was a scorcher; inland was hot, hot, hot, and here along the coast the weather was onerous too, so MP and I moved outdoors and measured lighter suppers for the most part.

 

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Two pounds of a fresh sweet darling cherry sort

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simmered into a dreamy bright whole wheat pasta sauce with only the addition of
garlic, basil, and a generous garnish of Parmesan.

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Later, when scarcely cooking anything seemed stifling, our neighbor, Jason shared a red-orange fillet of wild-caught Sockeye Salmon with us, to rescue dinner in a most remarkable way.

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Grilling a lengthy, thin cut of fish wouldn’t do—how do you flip it?

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Alton Brown suggested my recent appliance update-- the oven broiler which is kind of an upside down grill.

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I modified the rub by switching out the lemon zest for lime and reducing the brown sugar and salt to the fillet in hand.  In addition, I saw no need to pulse the ingredients in a mini blender when a spoon was a capable tool.

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Spread the rub on the fish and let stand at room temperature for 45 minutes (if more time elapses—merely refrigerate it).

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Then, insto-presto, a few minutes later (don't overcook it)

we reeled in a deep red, intensely full-flavored citrus glazed salmon fillet.

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Fresh Early Girl Avocado Pico de Gallo and grilled nectarines swam right up to the salmon—a lavish sunset on our plates!

 Thank you, Jason, I like that you know where we live...

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What to Say

Posted by on Jun 16, 2016 in New | 4 comments

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Grief is palpable; far away, a national shared loss, nearer to home, and down the street too-- where vacationers obliviously open Coppertone memories, as they should.

Over twenty years ago, we buried our son on his fifteenth birthday and at one precise moment our world shattered; chronicled with unsurpassed love that trickled into a bag I packed and stowed in the overhead for a lonely trip.

The truth is loss has no rules and it cannot be fixed; it’s terrible, tolerable, unpredictable, and you can’t make the person stop being dead.

Somehow, by tapping into the truth of God’s love; keeping my eyes wide open for ‘notes of grace’ my utmost is propped up when days overwhelm me once more.

Unsurprisingly, life moments have filled me; searching for ways to serve and bless others, becomes a direct link to His healing presence.

Forever changed; I am still a cracked pot—an amputee of sorts-- limping, leaning like an old barn, laughing, chasing then, catching floating bubbles of gladness; yet in my humanity I complain about my hair.

I don’t know your sadness or hurt, but we each own an edifying God-given bit to share, to give without any words.  Be there.

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