weekend cooking exploits
On Thursday last week, the fruit and cake vendors were selling their wares downstairs. As I do most weeks, I got something from the fruit guy – some very sweet and delicious grapes, a big punnet for 15 shekels. The cake lady has some fabulous white and milk chocolate chip cookies but they’re 20 shekels for an only-moderately-generous container, and it just seems like an exorbitant price … so on Friday morning I dropped in at the supermarket and picked up some white and milk chocolate chips to soothe my craving by making my own.
I used Martha Stewart’s Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe, with the following variations:
- Used regular white instead of granulated sugar – it’s not sold here
- Used one small egg and two extra egg whites because that was what I had
- Used 7 ounces of chocolate chip cookies (3.5 of each colour) instead of 12 because 12 sounded unnecessarily indulgent
- I made some of the cookies much smaller than her directions indicate
- I don’t have a proper mixer with a paddle attachment but I have a hand-held thing for whisking eggs and that worked fine
This was a fantastic recipe, and very very easy, especially because in summer the butter softens so wonderfully and so quickly, and is a dream to mix with the sugar.
After cooling a couple of trays of cookies I was concerned that some of the larger cookies were too soft – I wanted crisp ones – so I put those back in the oven for about five minutes … and it worked. They didn’t burn, they just dried out a bit more. I’m impressed by that.
After my cookie success I decided to prepare something for dinner. I’d taken two big chicken breasts (18.91 shekels’ worth) out of the freezer the day before (in an unusually forward-thinking moment). I poached the chicken in unseasoned water and after poaching, saved the chicken-flavoured water in a container to freeze for a later risotto or something. I made a variation on an epicurious.com recipe for a Chicken, Walnut, and Grape salad. My changes were as follows:
- Used green grapes instead of red
- Didn’t use yohurt in the curry dressing – added a bit of water for the liquid consistency that it lacked
- Didn’t use ginger – couldn’t find it in the freezer
- Didn’t use orange peel – couldn’t be bothered
- Used a combination of walnuts and hazelnuts
- Used more lettuce than recommended
On Saturday I made Lemon Pasta with Chicken and Pine Nuts with the left-over chicken – I’d only used half in the first salad. It’s not a recipe that requires much variation because it’s so simple. I use a MUCH smaller quantity of oil, though – I used about 2 tablespoons instead of their recommend 3/4 cup, poached the chicken instead of sauteing, and cut out the snow peas.
All in all, it was an incredibly satisfying and delicious weekend and I highly recommend all three of the above recipes.