January 19, 2010

A Fresh Beginning

I suppose for my first posting I should explain why I have decided to blog.

I guess it's fairly prosaic to say I have a love affair with food. We all do, right? Mine started at grandma's house with classic bolognese. Simmered all day--the smell was so enticing you could hardly play in the house without being lured to the kitchen on tiptoe to stick your finger into the pot. Trust me, the lick was worth the scold!

My next memories of food-love go to the grand cookie extravaganza that my mother pulled off every December. I recall making dozens and dozens of pecan crescents, chocolate swirls, butter cookies, gingerbread men, and something truly delectable called potato chip cookies! Yes, it sound's strange, but the culmination of simple, sweet shortbread with salty, crunchy potato chips in each bite is divine! Even now, the only thing I can think of that might improve upon potato chip cookies is...potato chip cookies drizzled with chocolate!

As a teenager I had the opportunity to travel and help with mission work every summer. Ages 14-22 I traveled to China, Thailand, India 3 times, Liberia, and Cameroon. As you can imagine my eyes were truly opened to a world of culinary possibilities--among other things. The endless smells of wildly exciting open air markets. Loud chattering over the price of meat hanging from a clothesline. Baskets and baskets full of spices I had never seen or heard of. Dried fish leather, street meat on a stick, naan. Ah, naan! There's just nothing like freshly baked naan, slathered in garlic butter at an open air market! It's an experience we all should be so lucky to have.

Every summer I would keep a journal of my daily work, my interludes with new friends, and the life lessons a young girl can only learn by taking her eyes off herself and focusing them on the much greater needs of others. I also took notes on the flavorful dishes I had experienced. I didn't know it at the time, but that was my introduction to recipe writing. I would come home at the end of each summer and try to replicate some of the foods I had experienced; now-and-again with success.

Over the years cooking has become a frequent method of self-expression, my way to communicate love, and possibly my calling? One husband, two children, 2 careers, and a bundle of little revelations later; I have decided to document the lessons I've learned and the recipes that followed. I hope you enjoy them!

Sommer



MOM'S POTATO CHIP COOKIES

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature + 1 Tb. for drizzle
3/4 cup sugar, separated
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup crushed potato chips
2 cups all-purpose flour
3 oz. chopped chocolate

Preheat the oven to 350*.

In a large bowl, cream together the 2 sticks butter, 1/2 cup of the sugar, and the vanilla. Add the potato chips and the flour and stir to combine.

Place the remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a small bowl.

Form the mixture into small balls, about 1 tablespoon each, and roll in the remaining sugar. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Place the cookies 2 inches apart and press with a fork (like peanut butter cookies.)

Bake the cookies until they are light golden brown, 14-16 minutes.

Remove the parchment paper with the cookies from the sheet and cool on the counter. When cookies have cooled, melt the chocolate with 1 Tb. butter in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir and repeat until smooth. Drizzle it over the cookies. Let the chocolate harden before serving. Makes 2 dozen.

*Note- On occasion chocolate will seize (harden up) when you try to melt it. This happens because dealing with chocolate requires tempering (raising and lowering the temperature of the chocolate) with accuracy. However, we are not worried about perfection here--we're just drizzling cookies! If your chocolate seizes, add a little more butter or even some milk. This will cause the chocolate to loosen so you can drizzle it. Later it will firm up again--not quite as hard as pure chocolate--but it will still look and taste great!

6 comments:

  1. Your blog is beautiful. I am so proud of you. I must go make those Potato Chip cookies again and add your flair of chocolate. Love MOM

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  2. This is awesome, Sommer!! Can't wait for more!! Never heard of potato chip cookies....how much fun is that!?!? See you this weekend!

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  3. You should post your blog on www.tastespotting.com! It is my fave site for all things FOOD!

    Terese

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  4. Reading your paragraph on your moms cookies brought a tear to my eye bc I have tons of fun memories from your mothers kitchen! But most importantly, I do remember those potato chip cookies!! Can't wait to make them now for my family!! :) Thanks for sharing all of this with us!

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  5. Sommer, this is wonderful! I look forward to reading more. You ROCK!

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I love to hear your thoughts! Thanks for taking the time. If you have a question, I'll get back to you ASAP!