I didn’t feel like cooking much over the summer. Historically, it’s the season that inspires me most in the kitchen. I’m blaming this change on the adjustment to having more daylight in my summers again. We were out and about so much over the summer that, before I knew it, it would be nine o’clock and I didn’t have a clue what to do about dinner. With school upon us now and the dawn of a crazy new schedule, I decided that I needed to make a serious meal plan and stick to it.
My inspiration is slowly returning with the help from my menu. Here’s a few things I have made this week:
Pizza on the grill, of course. Have to squeeze in as many grill nights as possible while it is still warm out.
Scones, made with currants that I picked at my friend Jessy’s house. They were awfully bitter after I dried them but once baked and topped with maple syrup, they were super yum!
My favorite homemade bread from my favorite cookbook.
Can you believe I found Hatch chiles up here? SO awesome. I roasted and froze a big batch. I’m thinking I have to go back for more still.
I wonder what else I can turn around in my life if I were to make more “plans”? I’m kind of a fly by the seat of my pants person and I’m learning that this is not an easy way to live when you have lots of little people depending on you. Yes, it’s taken me nearly eight years to figure this out.
In the making of my meal plan, I decided a few desserts were in order. My lovely menu called for spicy pumpkin brownies. Hello, fall. So I add canned pumpkin to my brilliant, master grocery list. Turns out, the new and improved Fred Meyer decided that it’s a seasonal thing and they don’t stock freaking canned pumpkin. What? It’s canned pumpkin! Not wanting to run to Safeway which I know stocks it, I used my critical problem solving skills to make a new plan (this is where my “on the fly” skills come in handy). In keeping with my fall theme, I remembered one of my autumn standbys: the Ginger Crinkles cookies from my handy favorite cookbook. As much as I am still dreaming of spicy pumpkin brownies, I am so happy with my second choice. Makes me remember how wonderful fall cooking can be and it’s got me thinking of all kinds of warming recipes to add to next week’s plan.
Seriously, though–seasonal? I thought that’s why we had canned items: to enjoy them when I can’t go buy winter squash at the market. Is this an Alaska thing?
So here’s my deliciously addictive ginger cookies recipe. For reasons I haven’t been able to determine yet, they get the most beautiful crackly texture on top and they are awesomely chewy. Really the perfect combo. I’m thinking about trying them with rice flour in an effort to try to get back to eating less gluten. I’ll let you know.
adapted from the Fiddlehead Cookbook (buy this book, you won’t regret it)
1/2 pound butter, keep cold and cut into smallish chunks
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/3 cup molasses
2 3/4 cups flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 3/4 teaspoons cinnamon
1 3/4 teaspoons powdered ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar (for dipping)
Preheat oven to 350. Cream together butter and 1 3/4 cups sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs and molasses. Sift together dry ingredients and stir into butter mixture. Form dough into walnut-size balls, dip one side into sugar and place on a cookie sheet with sugar side up. Flatten ball slightly with the bottom of a glass. Bake about 12 minutes, until golden brown and puffed in the center. Let cool on racks and then eat a lot with a side of good dipping tea.
makes about 36 cookies