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Saturday, February 22, 2020

Recipe Round Up: Chocolate Marshmallow Cookies, Pickled Asparagus, Peanut Sauce, Potato Dressing, and Battatas Harra

Chocolate marshmallow cookies
Chocolate Marshmallow Cookies

These cookies were sold at a chain of cookie stores that were in our malls when I was growing up. They were always a delicious treat, and my mother would get a box of them when we had family visiting or when we were going to visit family. The company closed and I thought that I would never be able to replicate them. I tried so many times to make something like it, and never quite got it right. Well, a couple years ago, the daughter of a woman who had worked there for years shared the recipe on our hometown Facebook group. I made it, and it wasn't exactly as I remembered, so I tweaked it just a little and this is what resulted. These are really delicious. They would be better with homemade marshmallows, but they are just fine (and the way they were made at the store) with commercially sold ones. This is really a cakey cookie. Also, I have included more marshmallows than you will really need, so you don't have to try to find more if you manage to make more cookies than I do. As I make it, this makes about three and a half dozen cookies.

1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups brown sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups pastry flour
1 cup cocoa powder(preferably dutch process cocoa)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
24 large marshmallows, cut in half

Preheat oven to 375 F and grease baking sheets and set aside.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after adding each egg. Mix in milk and vanilla. Beat thoroughly.

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder.

Slowly add the dry ingredients to the sugar and butter mixture, mixing until incorporated well.

Drop by 2 tablespoonsful onto prepared pans. Bake 10 minutes. Remove from oven and press a marshmallow half in the center of the cookie and bake 2 - 3 more minutes. Cool and frost.

Frosting

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder (preferably dutch process cocoa)
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 - 8 tablespoons heavy cream

Beat butter with powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and salt until light and well blended. Slowly add milk and mix until it is a spreadable consistency. You may need to add more milk, but add 1 teaspoon at a time, so it doesn't become too runny.


Pickling asparagus
Pickled Asparagus

With asparagus season approaching, I wanted to share this recipe. I do this by the jar, and so you may have to make more or less depending on how many pounds of asparagus you want to pickle. We did about 20 pounds last year. You will want quart jars for this, I prefer using wide mouth jars, but standard jars are fine. Each jar will hold about two to three pounds of asparagus, all lined up in the jar.

Brine:

1 gallon white vinegar
1 gallon water
3/4 cup fine canning/pickling salt

Per Jar:
2 - 3 pounds raw, washed and trimmed asparagus
2 large cloves of garlic, peeled
1 large dill head or 1 tablespoon dill seed
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 - 2 small dried red peppers (optional - but we like ours hot)

Wash and sterilize quart canning jars, lids and rings. Keep warm.

Bring all brine ingredients to a boil and boil about 10 minutes.

In the bottom of each jar, place the garlic, dill, peppercorns and dried red peppers, if using. Pack asparagus spears, with their heads up, into hot jars, packing more tightly than you think you need to do (depending on size, you may be able to pack in up to 3 pounds).

Pour boiling brine over asparagus in jars, making sure to completely cover the asparagus. Seal with a two part lid and ring. This brine is strong enough that the lids will seal and the contents will not require a boiling water bath. However, if you are not comfortable with that, you may process for 5 - 10 minutes in a boiling water bath. Your pickles will not be crisp, however.

Allow to cure for 3 weeks before eating.


Vegetable Noodle Salad with Peanut Sauce

This recipe is really about the peanut sauce. The salad is basically a guideline, and you can mix it up with whatever you like. This makes a lot of peanut sauce, but you will want it all.

Cook up a pound of your favorite pasta/noodle (we have used everything from linguine to medium rice noodles) and toss it with a little sesame oil, then mix in about eight cups of finely shredded vegetables, a mix of red cabbage, broccoli, radishes, sweet red peppers, carrots and scallions. Pour the peanut sauce over and mix it all well. Just before serving, toss in some finely minced cilantro, a finely chopped jalapeño and top it all with chopped peanuts. You could add crisp fried tofu, or roasted/steamed/poached/sautéed shrimp, or cooked chicken, or leftover slices of steak, or whatever you like. Since we were eating meatless, and my family isn’t a huge fan of tofu, we ate it as is, with oranges on the side. You can substitute any nut butter you like, too, and serve with that nut on top.

12 thin slices of peeled, fresh ginger - about the width and size of a quarter
6 fat cloves garlic, peeled
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 cup peanut butter (we use unsweetened peanut butter)
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (roughly two oranges)
2/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (roughly eight limes)
2/3 cup toasted sesame oil
1/2 cup soy sauce
4 teaspoons Sri Racha sauce

Place garlic, ginger, salt and sugar in a blender and grind until the garlic and ginger are finely minced. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth. Taste to adjust seasoning.



Potato Dressing


This is a recipe a friend mentioned and it intrigued me. She gave a basic outline, and we interpreted as we thought it should be made. It was delicious! So, here is the way we made it.

5 pounds potatoes, peeled and boiled in heavily salted water and drained
2 large onions, peeled and grated
8 cups fresh, coarse breadcrumbs (from about 8 - 10 slices of bread, or substitute cubed bread for stuffing)
1 bunch parsley, trimmed and minced
1/2 cup sage leaves, minced
1/4 cup fresh thyme leaves, chopped
2 pounds good quality fresh sausage meat, browned
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
cayenne pepper, to taste
1 stick unsalted butter, melted

Grease a large baking pan with 2 tablespoons of the melted butter and preheat the oven to 375 F.

Mash the potatoes well, and mix in the onion, breadcrumbs, parsley, sage and thyme. Carefully mix in the sausage meat into the potato and breadcrumb mixture. Mix in the salt and peppers.

Spread into greased pan, drizzle remaining melted butter over the top and bake for about 30 - 40 minutes. Serve with gravy. It can be sliced and fried the next day, if you have any leftovers. This amount does not leave us any leftover.


Battatas Harra

This literally means hot potatoes. These are delicious potatoes, and really even though this seems like a lot, you won't mind that. They will go quickly, and if there are leftovers, they are tasty cold or reheated. This dish really does need the fresh herbs, though you can get away with substituting half a cup of dried dill weed for the fresh dill, if absolutely necessary. Dried cilantro and parsley are universally bland in my experience. We have a gigantic skillet that we make these in, but if you don't, you can divide the quantity between two pans (we've done that at other people's homes).


15 large Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced in no larger than 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup olive oil
10 cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
2 tablespoons ground turmeric
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon Aleppo pepper or red pepper flakes
juice of 3 large lemons, strained
3 bunches fresh cilantro, trimmed and minced
3 bunches fresh parsley, trimmed and minced
4 bunches fresh dill, trimmed and minced
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, until your hand feels hot when held about an inch above the bottom of the pan. Add the oil to the pan, and then the potato cubes. Cook until the potatoes are brown and soft inside. I like to season a little with salt at this stage, so the potatoes absorb some of the salt, and it isn't only on the outside of them. Add the minced garlic and stir into the potatoes for about a minute. Add turnmeric, coriander, and Aleppo pepper, and cook another minutes or so, stirring to coat the potatoes.

Stir in the lemon juice and continue to cook over medium-high heat. Stir in the cilantro, parsley, and dill, and cook until they wilt. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Serve with any dish you like.

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