Damp, chilly days require stick-to-your-ribs, tasty comfort food. Sheila and I like to combine weekend shopping trips with lunch at the local all-comfort-food diner, but sometimes the winter weather keeps us home. During a couple of rough weeks with sleet, snow, and ice pounding the area, we needed a LOT of comfort food, but the roads were dicey and we elected to stay indoors. What did we do? We came up with our own version of the meatloaf we had enjoyed so often downtown. The owner wouldn’t share his secret recipe and laughed when we asked, but we did a bunch of taste-testing and we think we came pretty close. There were no bodies lying on the floor after we ate, so we must have gotten it right. Try it and see for yourself. 🙂
The ‘Season for Everything Pumpkin’ should include a great pumpkin cookie. 🙂
At the Kerrian household, the time between Halloween and New Year’s Day is when we add pumpkin to lots of dishes. Some turn out to be scrumptious, some we never talk about again, but we had never found the right combo for a pumpkin cookie. Until now. By simply adding pumpkin to one of our favorite chocolate chip cookie recipes, and tweaking it a bit, this has become a tasty regular snack treat for Autumn.
We (me, any neighbors we could snag, and the mail gal) taste-tested this one until we were satisfied. We might have taken longer than we needed to. Taste-testing is a challenge we take seriously, no matter how many cookies must be eaten.
1 cup spreadable butter or margarine (Land O Lakes butter with canola oil works well for this)
1.5 cups firmly packed Domino’s light brown sugar
1/4 cup cane sugar
2 jumbo eggs
1.5 cups pureed (or canned) pumpkin
1 teaspoon pure extract vanilla
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups all purpose, unbleached King Arthur flour
1 cup semi-sweet Ghirardelli chocolate chips
Pre-heat oven to 375
In large bowl, beat together butter and sugar until creamy.
Add eggs, pumpkin, vanilla, sea salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg, stirring until thoroughly blended.
Add flour 1 cup at a time and beat until well-mixed.
Mix chocolate chips evenly throughout the dough.
Drop 1/4 cup dough for each cookie onto aluminum cookie sheets, about six per sheet.
Bake for 15-16 minutes until light golden brown.
Yield: 20-24 three inch cookies
Eat warm, five minutes out of the oven or let cool completely and serve with ice cream. Sheila had a bowl of ice cream with a cookie and I made an ice cream sandwich with two cookies. Both of us had pecan praline ice cream with the cookies.
Some of our pals grill all year round. We know a guy that keeps a snow shovel inside the house near the deck door – just in case it snows – in order to clear a path on the deck to his five-foot-wide grill. 🙂 But, we’re a little more conservative, and stick to mid-May until first frost in mid to late October.
Whenever your grilling months, you probably serve fresh vegetable salads of some kind along with the great meats and veggies you can sear on the grill top. We like this cucumber and tomato mix, tossed together with an easy salad dressing and feta cheese, for a light salad that goes well with a variety of BBQ food. Hamburgers and hot dogs or steaks and potatoes? It works with everything we’ve tried on the grill and nobody has died yet from eating the fig balsamic or the herbes de Provence. Promise.