Archive for October, 2013

My favorite oatmeal cookies (pudding-based), with crunchy edges and chewy interiors, punched up “healthful” additions, if you will!

Dark Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Pudding Cookies



  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 (3.4 oz) package instant pudding mix (vanilla)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (optional — I like lots of vanilla)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups (5.7 oz) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 1/2 cups oats, quick or old fashioned (I used old fashioned)
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup dried cherries
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a couple of baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Add both sugars and beat until creamy. Beat in the pudding and vanilla (if using), then add the eggs and beat just until blended.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, soda and salt. Stir flour mixture into the butter mixture until blended. Stir in the oats.
  4. Using a tablespoon, scoop up dough and roll into balls. Arrange the balls about 2 1/2 inches apart on baking sheets. Press tops down slightly.
  5. Bake one sheet at a time on center rack for 10 to 12 minutes or until cookies are nicely browned. Remove from baking sheet and let cool completely.

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This is one of those recipes that’s pretty hit or miss.  Don’t get me wrong. It is savory, sweet, tangy, crunchy, meaty, and hits all the right notes.  When you’re in the mood for an Americanized take-out Chinese imitation.  And only then.

A hit with Rice Kernel, my little girl would have nothing to do with it!  Guess I haven’t properly exposed her to Food Court Chinese food yet!

Note: The marinade would fare equally well on extra firm tofu, for a vegetarian option.

Honey-Sesame Baked Chicken



  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 3 eggs
  • salt and pepper
  • ¼ cup canola oil
  • Sauce:
  • ¾ cup honey
  • ¾ cup soy sauce
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 t sesame oil
  • 1 t minced garlic


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cut chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces and season with salt and pepper.
  2. In separate bowls, place cornstarch and slightly beaten eggs. Dip chicken into cornstarch then coat in egg mixture. I have also found that you can put the chicken pieces in a gallon size bag and shake to coat.
  3. Heat canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook chicken until browned. Place the chicken in a 9 x 13 greased baking dish.
  4. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine honey, soy sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil and minced garlic. Pour over chicken and bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes to coat sauce evenly.
  5. Optional: garnish with green onions and/or sesame seeds.

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Pork and Tomatillo Stew

Over the last year or so, I’ve discovered Rice Kernel loves pork.  Shredded, fried, grilled, pounded-thin chops and, of course, cured pork products… you name it, my son will eat pork any which way and prefer it to other varieties of meat.  Having successfully started off stew season with a rich, earthy beef stew, I laid eyes on this Mexican-inspired, peppery, warm stew.  With a mild amount of heat, we added a cup of fresh corn kernels and half a head of roughly chopped cabbage for some vegetables and sweetness.  I also added a cup of dark beef to the broth, which fortifies the flavor of the stew.

We served the stew with rice, but I think some cornbread would be even better.

Pork and Tomatillo Stew, recipe from Food & Wine

(Picture courtesy of Rice Kernel himself, minus cabbage, as he requested.)



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The title may be a mouthful to handle, but these cookies go down easily!  With a splash of cranberry and hearty oats for fall, these are a new way to use up those counter-ripened bananas!

 Banana Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chip Cookies



1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 egg
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2)
1-3/4 cups quick-cooking oats
3/4 cup (6 ounces) white chocolate chips
3/4 cup chopped cranberries
In a bowl, combine the first six ingredients; beat in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add egg, bananas and oats; mix well. Stir in chips and cranberries.
Drop by tablespoonfuls onto greased baking sheets. Bake at 375° for 13-15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire racks. Yield: 4 dozen

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Rice kernel, my formerly vegetarian child, has been going through a “meat” phase in the last year.  As we sit down to dinner, I frequently hear “Mmm. I want meat. I want more meat.” Minutes later, “more meat please.” I have to remind him that vegetables and starches are accompanying his meal.  To white he responds, “I know, I know. So I can have more meat?”
While I rarely delight in beef, the boys really enjoy stew. The weather is just barely turning cool in our area, so after scratching my head for recipe inspiration, I figured it is that time of year for stew.  For the less-beef-minded in our family (Claire and me), I threw in a healthy amount of shiitake and cremini mushrooms for a similar “meatiness” and a half a head of sweet cabbage, cooked al dente.  Serve alongside some bread for dipping, it is something the entire family can warm up around.
Mushroom and Cabbage Beef Stew
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  • 2 pounds Beef Stew Meat (sirloin Cut Into Cubes)
  • 2 Tablespoons Flour
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 4Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 10 ounces, weight Cremini, Shiitake, White Button Mushrooms (or any you like)
  • 2 tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 1/2 cup Red Wine
  • 1/2 can Beef Stock
  •  Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 2 sprigs Fresh Thyme
  • 2 Tablespoons Flour
  • 1/2 head of Cabbage, roughly chopped in large chunks
  • Bread, pasta or rice to serve


  1. Sprinkle flour over meat. Season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat.
  2. Drizzle olive oil in heavy pot. Sear meat over high heat in batches; remove to a plate when brown.
  3. Add onions and garlic to pan (without cleaning); saute for 2 minutes over medium-low heat. Add mushrooms and carrots and cook for 2 minutes. Pour in wine and stock.  Add salt and pepper to taste, and stir. Bring to a boil, then add back into the mix the browned meat. Reduce heat to low. Add thyme sprigs to pot.
  4. Cook and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes. After that time, mix 2 tablespoons flour with a little water and pour into the stew. Allow to cook and thicken for ten more minutes. In the last few minutes, add cabbage.

Serve with bread, pasta or rice.

Note: You can easily cook this is a slow-cooked.  Sear the meat and vegetables, then place in slow cooker.  Cover with wine and stock (maybe some water so that the meat is submerged).  Cook for 4-6 hours.  In the last 5-10 minutes add cabbage.

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I recall very few dessert recipes from my Mother’s arsenal.  She wasn’t much of a baker (Betty Crocker made frequent appearances) nor did she have a sweet tooth.  But this is one she prepared – and one that I am very fond of.  As a child, summers on Long Island were hot and humid.  I delighted in this soupy, slurpy, chilled dessert often.  And why not? The tapioca pearls glimmer in a rich coconut milk broth, studded with small pieces of sweet fruit.  It is satisfying and wholesome, yet surprisingly light.
Since we are headed into Fall, I should note that this dessert is just as a delicious hot or warm.  And if honeydew isn’t available, mango and pears are a fragrant substitute.
Tapioca Pearls with Honeydew and Coconut Milk Broth

  • 1/2 cup (75 g) small dried tapioca pearls
  • 4 cup (1000 ml) water


  • 1 3/4 cup (400 ml) unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) water or nondairy milk ( I used almond milk)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (100 g) regular sugar (more or less to taste)
  • 2 cups honeydew melon, peeled, deseeded and diced


  1. Bring water to a boil.  Carefully place tapioca in boiling water and stir for 1 minute.  Let cook for 6 minutes, covered, at full boil.  After 6 minutes, turn off the heat and leave the tapioca covered on the stove for 20 minutes.
  2. Drain tapioca in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse under cold water.
  3. To make the “soup”, combine the coconut milk with 1/2 cup (125 ml) of water or nondairy milk in a large saucepan. Stir in the salt and the sugar and bring the mixture to a boil over high heat.
  4. As soon as the liquid boils, turn off the heat and stir in the drained tapioca pearls.  Remove from heat.
  5. You may serve the dessert warm or chilled.  If chilled, refrigerate the soup base and fold in fruit when ready to serve.

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