We all scream for ice cream..

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Almost like gelato…

For the third year in a row, I’ve gone to the trouble of obtaining several quarts of heavy cream (whipping cream) out here in the Alaskan bush. It’s an item our Native Store doesn’t stock. The past two years, I’ve paid a tidy sum for a grocery store in Fairbanks ship out cream on a cargo plane. Another year I happened to be visiting a village where the Native Store did stock heavy cream; I hand carried several quarts of the precious liquid on the bush plane back to our village.

We love homemade ice cream, so it’s worth the trouble.

And we like variety. Last year, I experimented with eleven different flavors of ice cream and sorbet. We treated guests to rocky road, toasted almond, fireweed and honey, peanut butter chip, toffee crunch and more. This year, I stretched my ice cream making wings a bit…

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Beef Shish Kabobs

My neighbor Mary was telling me how, when they grocery shop, her hubby, John, heads for a certain area in the meat department.  The corner area where they have the meat that has been marked down for quick sale.  There isn’t anything wrong with the meat, it is usually just a couple of days away from its “sell -by” date.  If he finds anything that they would use in there, he snatches it up and freezes it when they get home for use in the near future.

Now, many folks are “confused” about “sell by” vs. “use by” dates.  “Sell by” dates means the stores need to sell the food by that date, but it is still good beyond that date.  A “Use By” date, on the other hand, is an indication of the date when an item will most likely “go bad” and should not be used after that date.

So, Sunday I did my grocery shopping, and remembering the comment from Mary, I headed over to the corner refrigeration section where the “quick sale” meats were located.  They actually had some nice selections of beef and pork.

I picked up a package of beef shish kabobs, which I normally would not do, I would make these on my own at home, but hey, they were on sale for a great price (Under $4 for 2 kabobs), they looked great, and I was in need of something for Sunday evening dinner – these would fill the bill perfectly.

Once I had all my groceries put away, I seasoned them with a bit of salt and peper and put them on the grill, turning them every 3 -4 minutes and grilling them on all 4 sides for a total of 12 minutes (with the lid open).

Dinner is served!

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I also picked up several other items from this section.  When I got home I repackaged them using my “Food Saver” (I love that thing!), and popped them in the freezer for future use.

I’ve always wanted to make bagels, just once…

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Just the way we like them – chewy on the outside and soft on the inside, these bagels are topped with Penzey’s minced onion, blue poppy seeds, and roasted sesame seeds.

I let the Zojirushi bread machine do the first steps of mixing, rising, and kneading the bagel dough while I tended to other things today. After about one and a half hours, it was my turn to finish the bagels by shaping them, boiling them and baking them. When the finished bagels came out of the oven, we knew the dinner menu would feature these beauties smeared with cream cheese and topped with Jack’s smoked salmon.


Bread Machine Bagels

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 3 quarts boiling water
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • toppings of your choice

Directions

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Infamous “Nieman Marcus Cookies”

Have you ever heard or read about the “urban legend” story regarding the $250 cookie recipe from Neiman Marcus?

According to Neiman Marcus (via my web search), they deny ever charging anyone for their cookie recipe(s); but this urban legend and cookie recipe persists in turning up on the internet, and, well, on my blog today too.  Why you ask?  Well, mostly because I have made these Urban Legend Neiman Marcus cookies, and they really are great!  Every time I make them I get compliments on how good they are, along with requests for the recipe, and an inquiry as to what is my “secret” ingredient that makes them so yummy (it’s the ground oatmeal).

If this recipe can be found all over the web, why am I reprinting it here? Well, because I recently made these cookies for my Church’s upcoming annual Founders Day Fundraiser/Celebration.

Now, to make matters even more confusing, Neiman Marcus has made “public” a chocolate cookie recipe that they claim is “the original” cookie recipe, in an attempt to put the legend to rest (you can find it on the internet by simply googling Neiman Marcus Cookie Recipe) – I find only one problem with this – The Neiman Marcus recipe they have shared was only created about 12 years ago – the “urban legend” recipe has been around for at least a couple generations, and was originally passed around via regular USPS mail, not the internet.  PLUS – Neiman Marcus has been making their chocolate chip cookies for more than 12 years…

So, which is really true?  Well, the only way we will ever know is if someone with a very old “first edition” Neiman Marcus cookbook that has the original real recipe in it comes forward.   I have looked over the “Real Neiman Marcus Cookie Recipe” and have to tell you, it doesn’t sound nearly as delish as this one.

Any hoo – regardless of the origination of this recipe – I have to admit – these are THE BEST chocolate chip cookies I have ever made.  🙂

This recipe is a basically combination of an oatmeal cookie (sans the spices, and the oatmeal is ground into a fine powder), a chunky chocolate cookie, and a chocolate chip cookie, with nuts.

I have made this with and without the nuts in the past, both are equally delicious.

Below is the original recipe, but instead of a Hershey chocolate bar, I use dark chocolate (60-65% cocoa) instead.

It is easily halved as well – which I do when I often make them.  In fact, you could make the dough, sans the nuts, divide it in half, and then add half the amount of nuts to one half of the dough, so you get “two kinds of cookies” out of one. 🙂

Neiman Marcus Cookie Recipe

(Recipe may be halved):
2 cups butter
4 cups flour
2 tsp. soda
2 cups sugar
5 cups blended oatmeal**
24 oz. chocolate chips
2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 8 oz. Hershey Bar (grated) or chopped, actually, I put the chocolate bar in a plastic freezer bag and pound it with the smooth side of my meat mallot until I get the general size of chunks that I want
4 eggs
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. vanilla
3 cups chopped nuts (your choice)

** Measure oatmeal and blend in a blender to a fine powder. Cream the butter and both sugars. Add eggs and vanilla; mix together with flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder, and soda. Add chocolate chips, Hershey Bar and nuts. Roll into balls and place two inches apart on a cookie sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees. Makes 112 cookies.

This is also a great recipe to make ahead, and freeze the cookie dough in pre-formed balls on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.  When they are frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag.  When you are in the mood for the cookies, take out 6 – 12 cookie balls and bake them.  No need to defrost, just bake them for a couple minutes longer than indicated above – but keep a close eye on the cookies, so you don’t over bake them (unless you like crunchy cookies).  🙂

Sweet Tea

Where Flours Bloom

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5 Luzianne Family size Tea Bags

Bring to a boil 1 Quart (4 Cups) of water

3 Quarts (12 cups) – Cool Water

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/4 teaspoon – Baking Soda

Directions –
1. Sprinkle baking soda into a gallon pitcher
Add Tea bags to the pitcher/baking soda,
Pour Boiling water over tea bags,
Cover and allow to steep for 15 minutes.
2. Remove and toss out Tea Bags,
Add Sugar and Stir until completely dissolved.
Add Cool Water.
Refrigerate until cold and ready to drink.

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Joe’s Crab Shack – Restaurant Review

I have to admit, it has been years since I went to a Joe’s Crab Shack.  Many years.  And back then, the majority of their food was fried.

Today I went to one in my area with a friend and was pleasantly surprised by all the options for freshly steamed crab legs and lobster. 

They have a crab nachos that is fantastic.

I brought home one of their crab bucket meals for dinner.

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And it was yummy!!!

NOTE:  the store manager advised NOT to rewarm the entree in the microwave.  Just boil up a bit of seasoned water and steam them again.

If you haven’t been to a Joe’s Crab Shack lately, you should give them a try!!

Check out their website at
http://www.joescrabshack.com