Take a good look at the size of that cookie! They are huge and so delicious! They are buttery and chewy and one cookie is enough for about four people. I made these cookies last week before heading out for a girls weekend at the beach. (Can you officially call it a “girls” weekend when you are all around 50ish, give or take a few years?) Anyway, we headed out with intentions of staying on the beach all day, eating in every meal, and not answering to anyone but ourselves. With the exception of eating out our last night there we held true to our plans. It was very relaxing and stress free, with the exception of getting sick. Yes, I started to get sick the day before we left. I thought it was allergies, but I continued to feel worse on the trip and ended up at the doctor last Tuesday. I HATE going to the doctor so you know I felt bad. Ended up with bronchitis and I still can’t shake a cough. If you are wondering why I was MIA last week that pretty much sums it up. Hoping to have a better week this week.
Back to the beach though. We saw a manatee our first day there. It was at the shore and amazing! I had never seen anything like that. Yes, I’ve seen some stingrays, sharks and dolphins, but never a manatee…so cool! The next day there was a shark at the shore and then a little later a dolphin (but I missed it). I think I could be really happy with a condo on the beach.
I feel like I’m rambling, maybe it’s the cough syrup meds! This cookie recipe came from a cookbook I’ve mentioned many times. A Passion for Baking by Marcy Goldman. I have used this cookbook more than any other cookbook I’ve ever owned. It’s truly my favorite! I made these cookies exactly as directed. However, I think I will cut back on the chocolate just a little the next time. I’m giving you the recipe just as it comes from the book so you be the judge on your chocolate. I would recommend that you make the cookies large and weigh the dough. I think that may be the key to keeping them chewy.
Legendary Chocolate Chip Cookies
- (Makes 7 to 10 jumbo cookies)
- 1 c. unsalted butter, softened
- 1½ c. firmly packed brown sugar
- ¼ c. granulated sugar
- 1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
- 2 lg. eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 2½ c. all-purpose flour
- ¾ tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp. salt
- 2 c. semisweet chocolate chips
- 1½ c. chopped semisweet chocolate (preferable Lindt)
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Stack two baking sheets together and line top sheet with parchment paper. Arrange oven rack to upper third position.
- In a mixer bowl, cream butter with both sugars until well blended. Add vanilla, eggs, and egg yolk. Fold in flour, baking soda, salt, chocolate chips, and chopped chocolate and blend well to make a thick batter. If batter seems soft and greasy, add 2 to 4 tablespoons more flour. Dough should be soft but not too greasy or slack. You can also chill it 10 minutes if you think it has enough flour or let it stand 20 minutes. Either approach will help cookie dough "set up".
- Scoop or form balls of 7 to 8 ounces of dough (yes, weigh it!) and place on prepared baking sheets about 1 to 3 inches apart. If you don't have a scale, use 1 cup of dough per cookie; each will measure 3 inches in diameter once placed on baking sheet. You can only bake a few at a time.
- Bake 20 to 24 minutes or until cookies are nicely browned on top and just set-up looking. Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheets for 15 to 20 minutes before removing.
I could not find Lindt semisweet chocolate. I used Lindt Excellence Caramel with a touch of Sea Salt instead.
Recently, while at orientation with my daughter, I thought about my goals at Savannah’s age. As a young girl I wanted to be a surgical nurse or go into dentistry. In the long run I didn’t pursue either. I would never have envisioned, at the age of 18, that I would enjoy cooking and baking as I do today. Looking back, maybe I should have become a chef, but the thought never entered my mind. That was long before Food Network and the only chef I had heard of was Julia Child. I certainly never imagined myself writing a food column and “blog” wasn’t even a word in the dictionary at that point. However, through the years, I think I found my fit. Other than attending the Le Cordon Bleu, I can’t think of anything I would rather to be doing with my life. I appreciated being a stay at home mom. I loved being a design consultant and owning my own business. I adore writing my column and running my blog. We all eat and I enjoy sharing recipes that have been passed to me from friends and family and searching for new and delicious recipes. Thank you, readers, for allowing me this opportunity.
This Casablanca Breakfast Casserole came from my cousin, Brandi. This is a wonderful, cheesy breakfast casserole that actually does not have a ton on eggs in it. The hash browns make it slightly different from most breakfast casseroles that call for bread. Make sure you buy a good quality sausage. Brandi makes this casserole with the shredded hash brown potatoes so that is all I’ve ever tried. Serve with sour cream and salsa for a delicious combination!
Casablanca Breakfast Casserole
- 1 (30-oz.) pkg. frozen hash browns
- oil for frying
- 1 lb. fresh sausage
- 8-oz. cream cheese, softened
- 1 c. half-and-half
- 2 lg. eggs
- 1 c. milk
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- pinch of dry thyme
- 1 lb. grated Cheddar cheese
- Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 2-quart casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray, set aside.
- Heat oil in a large skillet, carefully add hash browns to hot oil and cook until browned. Flip over and cook to brown on the second side. Remove from pan to a paper towel lined plate to drain and cool.
- Crumble sausage into skillet and cook until brown. Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain.
- In a large bowl beat cream cheese with about ½ cup half-and-half. Mix until thoroughly mixed. Add remaining half-and-half and beat to combine. Add eggs, mixing well. Add milk, salt, pepper, and thyme. Beat mixture to combine well.
- Place half of the hash browns in the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle with about ⅓ of the cheese. Press the cheese into the hash browns with a spatula. Add remaining hash browns and another ⅓ of the cheese. Sprinkle the cooked sausage over the cheese. Pour the eggs mixture evenly over the hash browns and top with remaining cheese.
- Bake at 350° for 30 minutes. Serve with salsa and sour cream if desired. Garnish with fresh parsley.
I love tuna salad, but especially during the summer months because I don’t have to heat up the kitchen to make it. Like chicken salad, I think the simpler the better so my Perfect Tuna Salad isn’t packed with ingredients. Just a handful of simple ingredients that you can throw together really quick. I have been asked before if I mix my chicken salad in a food processor and the answer is no. I like for my chicken salad to be chunkier. However, I do like to mix my tuna salad in the food processor. Pulse just a few times and you’ll end up with salad similar to the consistency of Subway’s tuna salad. One of my favorite ways to eat tuna salad is inside a wedged tomato, but if I have leftover bacon from breakfast I also like a tuna BLT sandwich.
Perfect Tuna Salad
- 2 (5-oz.) cans solid white tuna, rinsed and drained well
- ½ c. mayonnaise (or more to your taste)
- ¼ c. diced onions
- ¼ c. chopped celery
- freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ tsp. paprika
- Make sure that you have drained the tuna well then place in bowl of food processor. Add mayonnaise, onions, celery, black pepper, and paprika. Pulse a few times to mix and get tuna to desired consistency.
We are still enjoying great seafood meals with our Joe Patti’s purchases from our recent Florida trip. I hate to fry but did it anyway for Father’s Day. Wesley’s boss, Frank, sent him home with fresh squash which I fried also. It was a delicious Father’s Day treat and we cleaned the platter.
Here’s a quick and delicious recipe for fried shrimp.
Wonderful Fried Shrimp
- 3 lb. unpeeled, large raw shrimp
- 2 c. milk
- 1 lg. egg
- 1 tbsp. yellow mustard
- 12-oz. Zatarain's Fish Fri
- Vegetable oil
- Peel and devein shrimp. I take the tails off but feel free to leave the tails on and butterfly if desired. (To butterfly make a deep slip down the back of each shrimp from end to tail. Cutting to, but not through inside curve of each shrimp.)
- Whisk together the milk, egg, and yellow mustard. Pour the mixture over the shrimp and let stand for 30 minutes.
- Pour about 3-inches of oil into a Dutch oven. Heat to 325°.
- Pour the fish fri into a bowl. Remove the shrimp from the milk mixture a few at a time, allowing milk to drip back into bowl. Dredge shrimp in fish fry and shake off excess.
- Fry shrimp in batches for about 1½ on each side until golden brown. Drain on wire racks over paper towels.