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Serendipity Cookies

ser·en·dip·i·ty

http://sp.dictionary.com/dictstatic/d/g/speaker.swf [ser-uhn-dip-i-tee]  Show IPA

–noun 

1. 

an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident.
2. 

good fortune; luck: the serendipity of getting the first jobshe applied for.
(Source: dictionary.com)
Today, I wanted to make these Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies. Apparently, I was feeling rebellious and decided to change the amount of flour from 1/2 cup to 2 cups. Oops. So, I knew that wasn’t going to work. I scrambled to fix the cookies, since I didn’t want to start over and I really wanted cookies! My first fix was not so good, but then I got it. And they are delicious, beautiful cookies. I quickly wrote down what I did and  wanted to share. If you make them, please let me know how you like them! I think I will be making these again.
The Accidental Cookie

Serendipity Cookies

  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 – 1 cup semi-sweet or milk chocolate chips
  • 1/4 lb butter, melted (1 stick)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1  tsp vanilla

Cream butter, peanut butter and sugar

Add eggs, salt, vanilla and baking powder

Add oats and flour, mix until just combined

Add chocolate chips, drop by spoon onto ungreased cookie sheet

Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. 8 minutes results in chewy cookies, 10 in crispy. I prefer 9: right in between.

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Butter!

As a kid, I remember Thanksgiving being boring. I didn’t like football, the grownups always booted me out and I wasn’t that into sitting and eating for hours (I learned the error of my ways on that one, eventually).
Now that I’m a grown up who loves cooking and eating all day long, I try to remember what it was like for me as a child and think of some ways to keep interesting for my children, as well as my niece and nephew. I remember being in kindergarten and shaking a jar of heavy cream until it was butter. Every student in the class has to shake for one minute until we had butter. And then we all got to taste it on some bread my teacher had brought in. Since it stuck with me, I figured I must have thought it was pretty fun/cool.
I told my niece and nephew the day before that we would be doing a food science experiment on Thanksgiving, without telling them what it was exactly, and they were pretty excited. So excited, in fact, I thought the “truth” would disappoint them, but thankfully it didn’t. We all took turns shaking the jar and after about 20 minutes, we had butter! We had postulated that it would take 30 minutes and it was very exciting to test the theory that cream would make butter when shaken, and the time it would take.
Then, not only did we taste the butter, but John and my nephew tasted the buttermilk!
Here’s a little photo essay of the experience:

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Ravioli Night

John likes to experiment, and I like to be corny. So, for our first “finer dining” experience, John knew what he wanted to do for dessert and it involved ravioli-like items. Naturally, I wanted to make ravioli for dinner, too. Since this is finer dining, I planned to make the pasta, and I did. I used the recipe that came with our machine, as I have used it before and never been disappointed. I halved the recipe, though. Are you ready for the recipe? It’s really complicated:

Pasta Dough:

1 egg

1 cup of flour

Procedure:

Make a well in the flour

Beat the egg in the middle of the well until a ball begins to form

Knead until the texture is consistent, adding water if the dough is too dry

Follow pasta machine’s directions

For the filling, I just mixed ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese.

I also made a short rib ragout. That was even easier (for a vegetarian option, just omit the meat):

Ragout:

Brown 1 – 1 1/2 lbs  meat (can be any sort of meat, ground or cubed)

Saute 1-2 onions in oil until translucent

Add onions and meat to a slow cooker, top with 2 large cans of crushed tomatoes

Add a whole clove of garlic, a bay leaf, salt, pepper and sugar to taste

Cook on low 8-10 hours

Add a dash of red pepper flakes, and your favorite sauce seasoning

That’s it!

And now for dessert. John made flourless chocolate, a cocoa nib tuile, and banana-passionfruit ravioli via a process called reverse spherification. He’ll post the recipe for it soon, as I barely have an idea how he did it. What I can tell you is what they are like. Think of a rich sauce with banana and passionfruit, perfectly balanced. Then, take away the runny nature of the sauce; see the photos below for a better idea. The crisp bitterness of the tuile with the rich creaminess of cake and bright citrus sauce.

I (John) recently had the privilege of spending the day in the kitchen at Le Bernardin in NYC. Working with pastry chef Michael Laiskonis and his staff was an eye opening experience. The desserts were fantastic, and I was able to sample just about every one!

The following recipe was one bestowed upon me by Chef Michael.

At the restaurant, it was the pear dessert that inspired me to do this.

All of you adventurous cooks out there who want to take a crack at this, here it is!

Procedure for Reverse Spherification

Passion Banana Base:

  • Banana puree    100 g
  • Passion puree    100 g
  • Simple syrup        50 g
  • Calcium lactate      5 g
  • Xanthan gum          1/2 tsp

Blend together with an immersion blender for about 2 minutes.

Using a piping bag, pipe into small portion silicone molds, and freeze.

(I used Wilton ‘Brownie Bites’ silicone molds. They are about the only thing close I could find.)

Procedure for Setting Bath:

  • Water                      1000 g
  • Sodium alginate  5 g
  • Sodium citrate     2 g

Combine all ingredients and shear with immersion blender for about 2 minutes. Reserve cold overnight.

Before making the ravioli:

Pull sodium alginate bath and let come to room temp.

Remove frozen fruit puree ‘bites’ from silicone mold.

Using a slotted spoon, drop bites into alginate bath.

Let set 2 minutes.

Pull from bath with slotted spoon into cold water to stop the process.

Reserve finished ravioli in cold water or simple syrup until ready to use.

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