Monday, April 20, 2015

Summer Quinoa Salad

I'll get to this oh-so-amazing salad in a minute but first you have to indulge me some Fletcher pics of his first 5K this past weekend.  My niece volunteers for a local animal charity Hand-in-Paw and they held their annual Mutt Strut 5K on Saturday.  


I was a little worried he'd be all over the place during the race with all of the other dogs, but he did great.  I conned my niece's husband, Ben, into walking with me because every time I try to jog with Fletch, he totally spazzes out.  We're working on it.  So we hung near the back and let all the serious runners have their space.

The good news is that we weren't last!!!  Although there was a prize for that, so I'm not sure why I'm bragging about being like third from last, because NO PRIZE FOR THAT!!

We even went to a couple of the local brewery's after the race to hang out because they're the few places in town that allow you to bring dogs.  Fun.  And Toby and Fletch bonded.  Or maybe Toby tolerated Fletch.

Anyway......great experience, great charity, great event.

So, this salad is from the new book, The Sprouted Kitchen, bowl & spoon, by Sara and Hugh Forte.  They are also the author and photographer, respectively, of the wildly successful blog, also called The Sprouted Kitchen.  I am in love with this book.  I've already made her Seedy Olive-Oil Granola no less than three times and a salmon recipe that is part of a larger recipe twice.  The husband proclaimed it the best salmon he's ever had, so because I'm your friend and the recipe is so beautifully simple, I'll give you the deets on that at the end.

I know this is titled "summer" salad, but I guarantee you're going to start making it this Spring and continue making it until the last of the corn in the Fall.  I get that this will be much better when all of the ingredients are fresh from your garden, but it's was still delicious with frozen corn and packaged grape tomatoes.  Work with what you've got, I say.

This hits all the taste buds.....bitter kale, salty feta, sweet tomatoes and corn, and the tart dressing.  It's just perfect.

We've eaten this with the salmon, for lunch with a fried egg on top, and I even mixed in some grilled chicken thighs for a leftover dinner the last night.  This would also be a huge hit at a potluck for a meatless option.

sorry for the horrible pic!

Here's the recipe:

Summer Quinoa Salad
The Sprouted Kitchen, bowl & spoon

1/2 cup quinoa  (or 1 cup cooked and cooled quinoa)
1/4 cup water or broth
3/4 pound cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 1/4 cups corn kernels, from 2 small ears of corn
2 1/2 cups stemmed, finely chopped kale
3/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup crumbled ricotta salata or get cheese

2 cloves garlic
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup buttermilk
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Rinse and drain the quinoa.  Put it in a pot with the water.  Bring it to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15 minutes.  Fluff it with a fork, turn off the heat, set the cover ajar and set aside to cool completely.

Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 325 deg. F.  Halve the tomatoes and spread them on a parchment lined, rimmed baking sheet.  Drizzle on 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil, a pinch of salt and pepper, and toss everything to coat.  Spread the tomatoes in an even layer and roast for 30 to 35 minutes until slightly dried at the edges.  Remove to cool.

Heat the remaining olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.  Add the corn kernels and sauté, only stirring once or twice, for 2 minutes to just char the outside.  Set aside to cool.  Both of these steps may be done 1 day in advance.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooled quinoa, kale, and cilantro.  When the tomatoes and corn are completely cool, add the along with the pine nuts and cheese to the bowl.  

For the dressing, in a food processor or with a mortar and pestle, pulse or smash the garlic cloves.  Add the mustard, vinegar, olive oil, buttermilk and a hearty pinch of salt and pepper and mix everything to combine.

Toss the salad with the desired amount of dressing  This salad will keep, covered, in the fridge for 3 days.

For the salmon:  Preheat the oven to 325 deg. F and brush a large baking dish with olive oil.  In a small bowl, combine the zest of one lemon and 2 tbsp of lemon juice, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 tbsp minced shallot and 2 tsp herbs de Provence and mix to combine.  Lay two salmon filets in the baking dish skin side down and season the fish well with sea salt.  Spread the seasoning mixture on the flesh. Pour 1/2 cup white wine (I use a sauvignon blanc) into the bottom of the dish; it's fine if it comes up the sides of the fish a bit.  Bake on the middle rack for about 20 minutes until just opaque in the center.  Cooking time may vary,  5 to 10 minutes depending on the size of the fish.  Sprinkle the fish with the parsley when it's out of the oven.

Friday, April 17, 2015

S'mores Bars with Marshmallow Meringue and Friday Faves

Fave Sweets:

I think I've admitted this before, but I'm pretty selfish about my cooking.  Meaning that I don't very often make things that I don't particularly like.  Meringue would fall into that category.  Take meringue pies, for instance.  I'll replace that shit with whipped cream every.  time.  It's not a taste thing because what can taste bad about egg whites and sugar?  It's totally the texture.  Oh my gross, it's squishy.  Like those Easter peeps.  Ugh.  Hate them.

But I saw this recipe in last month's Food and Wine and I really wanted to make it but I couldn't reconcile replacing the meringue with whipped cream.  I mean who has heard of a S'more with whipped cream?  I considered making a marshmallow topping or even using some large marshmallows and browning them with a kitchen torch, but then in some random conversation with the husband, he mentioned how much he loves meringue and I mentioned how much I hate it so that's why he never gets it and he got all pouty-faced so......

I made the fucking meringue.  And I still don't like it.  But he did and I earned a brownie point of which I don't have many.  Speaking of brownie.....if I made these again (and I probably will but I'm going to try the marshmallows) I'd make the graham cracker crust thinner and the brownie portion thicker.  So you might take that into consideration.  Or not.

But you should make them because they're really tasty (if you take the meringue part off), really easy and they make for a great presentation.  And they don't require you to chop any logs and build a fire in order to get a S'more!!  Bonus.

Here's the recipe:

S'mores Bars with Marshmallow Meringue
Food and Wine
April, 2015


3 cups graham cracker crumbs (12oz)
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
2 tbsp packed light brown sugar
1/4 tsp fine sea salt

Brownie filling:
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cubed
4 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1.4 tsp fine sea salt
2 late eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

3 large egg whites
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cream of tarter

Make the crust:  Preheat the oven to 350 deg. F.  Line a 9-inch square baking pan with foil, allowing 2 inches of overhang on two sides.  In a medium bowl, using a fork, mix all of the ingredients until evenly moistened.  Press the crumbs evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan.  Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, just until lightly browned.  Let cool completely.  Leave the oven on.

Make the filling:  In a heat-proof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the butter with the chocolate over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until smooth, about 5 minutes.  Remove from the heat and whisk in the sugar, vanilla and salt.  Whisk in the eggs until smooth, then stir in the flour until just incorporated.  Spread the batter evenly over the cooled crust.  Bake for about 25 minutes, until the edge is set but the center is still slightly jiggly.  Transfer to a rack and let cool completely.

Make the meringue:  Preheat the broiler.  In a heat-proof medium bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, whisk the egg whites with the sugar until the whites are warm and the sugar is dissolved, about 3 minutes.  Transfer the egg whites to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk.  Add the vanilla and cream of tartar and beat at medium speed until firm.  Increase the speed to high and beat the meringue until stiff and glossy, 5 to 7 minutes.

Mound the meringue on top of the filling, swirling it decoratively.  Broil the meringue 8 inches from the heat until lightly browned at the tips, about 1 minute  Cut into bars and serve.

The bars can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.

Fave Listening:

I like to listen to music on my walks with Fletcher but lately I've been into a few different podcasts.  They're anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour long and they really make the walk pass quickly.  Here are a few of my favorites:

This is an extension of the Cherry Bombe magazine which features women in the food industry.  The podcast is hosted by food-writer, Julia Turshen, and she talks to some of the most influential women in food today.  My favorites have been her interviews with Mimi Sheraton, Ina Garten, Sara Moulton and Dorie Greenspan and Christine Muhlke.  If you need a fun drinking game, drink every time Julia says "that's so"....anything.  You'll be wasted!  If you're just going for a good buzz limit the drinks to anytime she says "that's so funny".

This is hosted by Food52 founders Merrill Stubbs and Amanda Hesser.  There have only been three of these so far but I really enjoyed the one on cookbooks.

The Mad Men Pre-Game Show
All things relating to the final seven episodes of Man Men.  I'm really gonna miss this show.

Mad Men AfterBuzz TV AfterShow
Yes....more Mad Men discussion

I've only listened to one of these but I really liked the host, Dan Pashman, and I can't wait to listen to more of them.

Because I've read both of her books and love her "voice",  I can't wait to get started on back episodes of this one with Molly Wizenberg.

All of these can be downloaded on iTunes.  What are your favorites?

Fave Food Links:

Local strawberries are starting to show up and the farmer's stands around town so.....

This Strawberry Summer Cake from Smitten Kitchen is one of my all-time favorites.

My next Friday night will include a big, ole pitcher of these Strawberry Basil Margaritas

This Strawberry Pistachio Tart sounds so easy and so yummy!

And it's rhubarb season.....glorious rhubarb!!

I made this pie today and OMG.....Straight Up Rhubarb Pie

Have y'all ever had a drink made with a shrub?  And no, not the kind from your yard.  It's a vinegar based syrup, and apparently its a thing.  This Shrubarb Cocktail (see what they did there?) made with a rhubarb-ginger shrub is happening.  

These Rhubarb and Rose Hand Pies are adorable!!

Fave Internet Reads:

What the beautiful writer, Anne Lamott, knows on the eve of her 61st birthday.  Good.  Stuff.

Oh! Oh! Oh!  Carrie Bradshaw is coming back to HBO!!!  No one is killing it like HBO right now.  Great programming.

This workout made me cry.  

When does your food really expire.  I'll be cleaning my cupboards now.

How to make the perfect bed.  When you get this mastered, will you come make mine?

Gisele Bundchen's body asked her to retire from runway work.  Bless her heart.

Have a great weekend everyone.  Wish Fletcher and I luck on our 5K tomorrow.  I'll need it.  He won't.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Pecorino and Walnuts

Yes, I know.  It's been another long break between posts.  But I have excuses.  Legitimate excuses!  Let's see.....first, there's Fletcher.....

I think we've finally worked ourselves into a routine.  And he's much better at at all of his commands....the most important being "settle down".  Like right this minute!  He's curled up beside me in this chair asleep!  WINNING!  I can sit and write this blog post in peace.

Second.....we bought a house!  It's under construction but it's almost finished and YES, that means only three more months in the rental!  I promise to post some pictures of it (hopefully) this week.  It was far enough along that I got to pick out a few things, but didn't have to stress over all of the minute details of starting from scratch.  Plus it has 90% of everything we both wanted.

Third....this is the heartbreaking hard drive on my computer crashed.  The second one in two years.  Which also means that it's the second time in two years that I've lost all of my pictures.  Why didn't I have them backed up onto an external hard drive, you ask?  The hell if I know.  An intelligent person would have been doing that after it happened the first time.....a really intelligent person would have done it before it ever happened.  Then there's ME.  Guess what I bought before I left the Apple store?  AN EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE.  And here are words that I never thought I'd utter....."Thank goodness for Facebook!"  Because I post a ton of vacation pictures on there at least I still have those.  So, thanks Zuckerberg.  What I didn't post on FB were tons of food pics I had taken of things to blog about.  Grrrr.  This little post here had actually been started a few weeks ago and saved so I got a tad lucky!

I made this salad a few weeks ago (before the tragedy) and we both loved it.  It's crunchy and light but very filling and satisfying.  I suppose you could substitute parmesan for the pecorino but I wouldn't if you can find some good pecorino.  It's a bit creamier and richer tasting than parm, but it's also saltier in my experience so make sure you taste before adding additional salt.  

Avoid grating the cheese and instead break it into small chunks with the tines of a fork.  Those creamy little chunks are so satisfying with the bitterness of the sprouts.  

Here's the recipe:

Shaved Brussels Sprouts with Pecorino and Walnuts
Buvette  /  The Pleasure of Good Food

2 dozen Brussels sprouts
1/2 cup raw walnut halves
1/4 cup finely fork-crumbled pecorino Romano cheese
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
pinch of sea salt (to taste)

Trim off and discard the bottom ends of the sprouts and discard any loose or discolored outer leaves.  Using a mandoline, the slicing attachment on a food processor, or a simply a sharp knife, carefully shave the sprouts.  Combine them in a large bowl with the remaining ingredients, scrunching the sprouts with your hands as you mix so that they wilt a little.  Season to taste with more salt, if necessary, and a bit more olive oil if you think it needs it; the exact amount will depend not only on your preference, but also the size of the Brussels sprouts

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Cinnamon Chai Sables (Gluten Free)

Are y'all as much of a fan of as I am? It's such a great community of professional chefs and home cooks and my go-to source when I need a little inspiration.  They also conduct a little cookbook tournament at the beginning of each year called The Piglet pitting all of the previous year's best against one another.  Winner take all.   Or maybe the winner takes nothing.  I'm not sure.

This year's tourney was full of my top books from last year, including Baking Chez Moi,  A Kitchen in France, My Paris Kitchen, Heritage, Huckleberry and Flavor Flours.   The first round actually provided a little "controversy" so to speak between one book Fancy Desserts,  that I own and will probably not bake from all that often simply because it's not, well, all that simple vs. one of my favorites from last year, A Kitchen in France. (I talked about it here).  The first round reviewer, Adam Roberts, seemed offended by Ms. Thorisson's "lifestyle" and consequently penalized her. Actually he pretty much "shamed" her for being attractive in the form of a childish cartoon.  Jealous much?  Needless to say, Mimi took umbrage.  I agreed.  Look, I get that the stories and the writing in cookbooks is important but ultimately, I'm there for the food.  And I think the average home cook will find the recipes in A Kitchen in France much more approachable than the ones in Fancy Desserts.  Just saying.

Another of the first round match-up's pitted two baking legends against one another....Dorie Greenspan vs. Alice Medrich with Alice's Flavor Flours narrowly pulling out the win.  Both of these books are fabulous but I'm going to agree with the reviewer on this one, if only for the fact that Flavor Flours (or is it Flour Flavors?  I keep getting it confused!) offers up a totally gluten free baking book that doesn't keep screaming GLUTEN FREE every other word.  Instead it introduces you to non-wheat flours such as Teff, Buckwheat, Sorghum, etc and their flavor profiles and what other ingredients work best with those profiles.  The most humble and educational "gluten-free" book I've come across.  

I've read several reviews of this book which have proclaimed the Carrot Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Icing and the Chestnut Jam Tart to be "unlike anything you've ever eaten.  These Sables fall into the same category.  

Alice says....."These are splendid plain cookies  -  even more buttery and flavorful than traditional butter cookies made with all-purpose wheat flour.  They have a perfect melt-in-your-mouth sandy texture and a gentle nuance of oat flavor."  I opted for her chai sable variation which added two teaspoons of pulverized chai from either loose chai or from the contents of tea bags.  I used the tea from two of my favorite cinnamon chai tea bags and crushed it up into a finer powder using my mortar and pestle.  I love, love, love the bold flavor of these cookies.  Like a buttery cup of chai tea in cookie form.

There are so many suggested variations of these in the book and they all sound delicious.....from the addition of cacao nibs to lime and mint to grapefruit and basil.  And because these are a slice and bake, they're perfect to make ahead and freeze so you can pull them out for a last minute treat.

I highly recommend this book, even if you're not gluten intolerant.  You'll love the subtle difference non-wheat flours can make in your baking. I was writing this I discovered that Flavor Flours was just defeated in The Piglet by Fancy Desserts, so that just goes to show what I know!!  I'm going to have to dig that damn book out from the back of the shelves and take another look!

Here's the recipe:

Cinnamon Chai Sables
Flavor Flours by Alice Medrich

Makes about 36 2 1/2" cookies

1 1/4 plus 2 tablespoons oat flour
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons white rice flour 
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup sugar (I used organic and non-GMO coconut sugar but regular is fine)
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup cream cheese, cut into chunks
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and cut into chunks
2 tsp pulverized chai (from a package of loose chai or from the contents of 2 to 3 chai tea bags)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

To make the dough in a food processor, put the oat flour, rice flour, salt and baking soda in the food processor.  Pulse to blend.  Add the sugar, cream cheese, butter, chai, and vanilla.  Pulse until the mixture forms a smooth, soft dough.  Scrape the bowl and blend in any stray flour at the bottom with your fingers.

Divide the dough between two sheets of wax paper and form two 8-inch logs about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.  Wrap them tightly in the wax paper and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, but preferably longer or overnight.  The dough may be frozen for up to 3 months.

Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 deg. F.

Use a sharp knife to cut the cold dough long into 1/4-inch-thick slices.  Place the cookies at least 1 1/2 inches apart on the lined baking sheets.  Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the cookies are golden brown at the edges and well browned on the bottom.  The tops will remain fairly pale.  Rotate the pans from top to bottom and front to back halfway through the baking time to ensure even baking.

Set the pans or just the liners on racks to cool.  Cool the cookies completely before stacking or storing,  They may be kept in an airtight container for at least 2 weeks.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Frittata Muffins

Are you as sick of winter as I am?  Not only am I sick of winter.....I'm sick of talking about winter!  Because we only talk this much about winter if it's BAD.  So I'm hoping yesterday was the beginning of the end here in Alabama.  We got invited to go down to Regions Field to watch my Buckeyes play UAB and we sat outside in the warm sun and it was glorious!!  Until the Buckeyes lost and then it was a tad less glorious, but still pretty damn glorious.  

So instead of talking about shitty weather, lets talk about these Frittata Muffins.  I thought these would come in handy this week while I work myself into the new Fletcher routine.  He comes home from bootcamp tomorrow and my mornings will change from leisurely enjoying my coffee and breakfast before heading to the gym to a quick cup and eating on the go in order to get in Fletch's morning walk.

Not only are these easy to pop into the microwave and then go, but thery're a great way to use up any leftover meat or veggies.  I had some chicken sausage leftover from a pot of taco soup earlier in the week and some mushrooms from something else.  Add in whatever else you've got in the veg drawer, some herbs and spices and voila!  

Here's the recipe:

Frittata Muffins
Adapted from The Art of Eating Well
Hemsley & Hemsley
Makes 12

10 eggs
large pinch of kosher salt
pinch of freshly ground black pepper

2 cups hot Italian chicken sausage, casings removed, crumbled and cooked until done
(feel free to leave the meat out and stick to strictly vegetables)

1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
1 large carrot, coarsely grated
1 cup chopped mushrooms
(or replace those with whatever you peppers, peas, fennel, etc.)

1 tsp fresh thyme, leaves removed from stems and minced
(or fresh parsley, or dried oregano)
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dijon mustard

1 tbsp chopped chives
(or diced leaks or a small diced onion)

1 cup of grated hard cheese, such as cheddar, gruyere or parmesan  


Preheat the oven to 375 deg F.  Grease a muffin tray well with a little butter/ghee or use paper muffin cups.  (I recommend giving the paper cups a bit of cooking spray too as the egg tends to stick to them.)

Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Add the salt and pepper, mustard, garlic and herbs and whisk thoroughly.  Add in all of the grated and chopped meat and vegetables.  Stir to combine thoroughly.

Pour the mixture into the prepared muffin tray.

Bake for 12 minutes, then crumble the cheese on the top and return to the oven for about 5 more minutes until the tops are golden brown.  You may need to turn on the broiler for a few minutes but watch them closely!

To check if them are done, give the muffin tray a wobble  -  the frittatas should be just set in the middle.  You can always put them back in the oven for another couple of minutes if you think they need to cook longer.

Remove the frittatas from the tray and leave to cool on a wire rack.  Store in a plastic bag in the fridge until ready to use.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Friday Faves with a Banana Banshee!

Fave Drink

I apologize for the less than stellar picture but don't hold it against the drink!  I'm sure I was being rushed when I took this by our pool in Puerto Vallarta.  You can bet, whomever it was meant for was giving me the stink eye to hurry the eff up.  I would have made another one today to get a better shot, but it's kind of an unwritten rule that these are a treat only for tropical locations!   It's a loosely followed rule and you should totally discount it.

Hubs and I had these on my first trip to Ft. Meyers just after we started dating.  It was over Christmas break and I was meeting his parents!  We snuck away for lunch one day to some chain restaurant.....not an Applebee's but in the same vein as an Applebee's.  It was steamy hot outside so what could be better than an ice cream drink.  I think we both had two.   It was 1988 and I was 25 so ice cream drink calories burned off a lot quicker than they do today.  Now when I make these, I only allow myself one drink of Mr. B's before I hand it over!  You'll see why!!

This is a very forgiving recipe and it changes based on what's in the fridge and liquor cabinet, but here's how I made them in Puerto Vallarta.

Banana Banshee
Makes 2-6 drinks depending on your glass size!

1 quart vanilla ice cream
1 banana
1/2 cup Captain Morgan Rum
1/2 cup Malibu Rum
a hefty splash of Creme de Banana liquor
a hefty splash of Creme de Cocoa liquor
handful of ice

Put everything in a blender and blend!

When we were in Hawaii, I threw in fresh pineapple and coconut and one time in Cabo I added chocolate syrup and oreos.  Do whatever makes your skirt fly up.  

Fave Drugstore Find:

In the "you're never too old to break a bad habit" category, I've been trying to quit picking my cuticles.  Yeah.  Nasty and often really fucking painful habit.  I've found that if I don't let them get dry, I don't pick at them.  Genius.  This stuff really helps.  My manicurist is so proud!

Fave New Multi-Purpose Clothing Item

I've worn the first one I bought so frequently that I bought it in a different color last week.  I took it to Puerto Vallarta to use as a swimsuit cover and it was perfect with leggings for morning walks at Sea Island in December.  And it's only $69.

Fave Jars

How flipping cute are these Weck jars?  Technically they're juice jars (1/4L.) but don't they make the perfect little spice jars?

Fave Tunes:

The whole album isn't released until Tuesday but if the remaining tracks are as good as the three that were pre-released, this is going to be great.  Check out In the Heat of the Moment,  Ballad of the Mighty I, and Do the Damage

Fave TV

Thank God this season of the Bachelor is almost over.  He's down to the virgin and the one with the voice of a three year old.  Personally I think that the virgin is too smart to ever go live in bumfuck Arlington, Iowa so I'm going with the three year old.  For two of the funniest episode recaps, check out I Hate Green Beans and Dr. Psych Mom.

And if you're not currently watching Empire you're missing out.  Taraji P. Hensen kills it.  Every.  Time.

Hubs is excited to binge on the new Amazon series, Bosch, which is based on Michael Connelly's best selling novels.  He's read them ALL.

Fave Food Links

Cotton Candy Oreos?

Bailey's Irish Cream brownies for St. Patty's day.  Yes, please.

I've never attempted to make flatbread before because YEAST but this looks like a good place to start.

This had me at Bacon Bourbon Frosting.  Boom.

Now this is my kind of party.

That's all I've got, people!  Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Browned Butter and Coffee Chocolate Chunk Cookies

For the last three days, the Alabama weather service has been warning us that Snowmageddon 2015 would be happening today.  They've been warning us for three days so as not to have a repeat of Snowmageddon 2104.  Which, by the way, the experts got completely wrong....they predicted any hazardous precipitation would occur well south of Birmingham and, in turn, sent our ONE salt truck in that direction so when it hit Bham the city was caught with their pants down and the entire population of the city was caught on ice covered roads.  It seems they're going to get it wrong this time, too.....however, in the "good" way.   But, I get it.  The lack of proper snow removal equipment coupled with the massive amount of sheer panic that inflicts every native southerner at the mere suggestion of a dusting of snow is a great reason to advise people stay off the roads.  Especially for the safety of myself and my fellow Yankees who grew up in this shit and know better to slam on our brakes every three seconds.  

So yesterday, the Governor pre-declared a "state of emergency".  All the schools are shut down, businesses closed, revenue and income lost.....all for a little rain.  Safety first!!  I'm just going to say thank you, Gov. B, because my trip to the gym this morning was traffic free!  

And since everything is closed today, I made cookies!  Smack-your-grandma-damn-delicious cookies.  These were inspired by the Coffee Energy Bites I posted a few weeks ago and some other recipe I was drooling over the other day that started with browned butter.  Yeah.  Memory isn't what it used to be.  Whatever.

I fell in love with the crunch the ground coffee added to those bites and everyone knows that browned butter makes everything better, so I decided to incorporate those two things into my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe.  Yup it's the one on the back of the Nestle's package.  Don't hate.  I get major requests for my chocolate chip cookies!

These are devine.....the coffee and chocolate are the Taylor Swift and Karlie Kloss of cookies, BFF's, and the browned butter gives them such a deeply satisfying nutty flavor, it's impossible to stop eating them.  So I took the rest of them to my trainer this morning.  He loves me.

So, if you're one of the lucky ones with the day off work because of little rain, stay home and make these!  

Here's the recipe:

Browned Butter and Coffee Chocolate Chunk Cookies
adapted from Nestle's Toll House 

(I always double this recipe)

2 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
1 cup (2 sticks butter), browned
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/4 cup uncooked coarsely ground coffee beans
12 oz pkg chocolate chunks

In a medium bowl, whisk together four, baking soda and salt until combined.  Set aside.

Pour browned butter into large bowl (or bowl of stand mixer) and let cool for about 15 minutes (you don't want to cook the eggs!).  Add both sugars and mix thoroughly, about 3 minutes.  Add eggs, one at a time, mixing for about 1 minute after each.  Mix in vanilla.

Slowly add in flour mixture until all combined.  Add in ground coffee beans and chocolate chunks.

Refrigerate the dough at least 4-6 hours.  It needs time to "set-up" because of the melted butter.  If you try to bake the cookies immediately they'll spread into one giant blog.  Trust me on this!

Preheat oven to 350 deg. F.Line a sheet pan with silpat or parchment paper and scoop cookies onto pan.  I use a medium ice cream scoop.  Bake for 12-15 minutes depending on size of cookies and your oven!  

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