Alright, a few more random baking notes and photos…
Chocolate Oatmeal Sour Cream Cookies: These were the sleeper hit of the Christmas cookie bonanza. I made them at the last minute to use up some sour cream and will definitely make them again. They are big and cakey, with vanilla buttercream frosting, and feel much more homey than fancy like some of the others are. Don’t skip the frosting, which really brings out the flavor in the cookies.
Chocolate Oatmeal Sour Cream Cookies
1/2 C butter, softened
1/2 C granulated sugar
1/2 C firmly packed brown sugar
3 squares (3oz) unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
2 C sifted all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp soda
1/2 C sour cream
1/2 C milk
1 C rolled oats, uncooked (quick or old fashioned)
Beat butter and sugar together until creamy. Blend in egg and melted chocolate. Sift together flour, salt and soda. Add to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream and milk. Stir in oats. Drop by teaspoonsful onto lightly greased cookie sheets. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Cool.
2 T butter, softened
3 C sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 T milk
Combine all ingredients, beat until smooth and of spreading consistency. Frost cooled cookies and decorate with nut half.
Almond Cake: This is truly a wonderful cake; it’s not complicated, just pure moist almond flavor. I made it in my new glass-bottomed springform pan, which worked like a charm. I tried to make the cake again when Jeremy was home, but all I could find at the store was almond cake filling—let me tell you, it’s nothing like almond paste. Nothing. Use almond paste, or even marzipan if you’re in a bind.
That’s it for my backlog of food notes. However, I felt so guilty about neglecting the blog for so long that I went right back upstairs and took pics of what I made for dinner tonight, fresh from the oven…
Braised Cabbage: This came out great, even though the grocery delivery guy picked out possibly the world’s smallest cabbage for me. Because it was so small, I left it in the oven for a shorter amount of time than called for, about 1.5 hours. And since I was out of eggs for poaching, I ate my cabbage with a cup of soup and a few pieces of buttered toast.
Julie’s Tomato Cream Soup: Alright, I admit it—this is an older photo. But I do have a pot of this soup in the fridge right now, so it’s not really cheating. This recipe was improvised from a bunch of others, because I am darn picky about tomato soup. What I came up with is a soup that is flavorful, smooth and creamy, and not too acidic; it stands up well to variation, so experiment away.
Julie’s Tomato Cream Soup
1/2 C. onion, chopped
3 T. butter
1 32-oz. box low-sodium organic chicken broth (or homemade stock if you have it)
about 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning, or to taste
about 1/2 tsp. dried basil, or to taste
2 14.5-oz. cans petite diced tomatoes in juice (plain or flavored)
1-2 C. tomato juice
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2-3/4 C. half-and-half or heavy cream, as desired
Melt the butter over medium heat in a large soup pot, and saute onions until translucent. I sometimes add minced shallot here if I have some on hand. Add chicken broth and herbs, and turn up heat to high; boil until broth is reduced by half. Add tomatoes and juice, and simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes. Remove pot from the heat and use an immersion blender to puree to desired smoothness. Place back on the heat, and add baking soda; stir until the fizzing stops. (This cuts some of the acidity of the tomatoes, and is kinda fun to watch besides.) Stir in cream or half-and-half, and heat gently until warmed through. Adjust seasonings to taste, and eat with braised cabbage and buttered toast. Mmmmm.