Follow me on a journey through the Duxbury Free Library's cookbooks. Together we will explore new recipes, new cookbooks, and life's adventures through food.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

First Day of School, WOOHOO!?!

First day of school, or is it the last day of summer?  I kind of have mixed feelings.  It will be nice to get back into the routines that are necessary to survive the school year, but I will really miss sleeping as late as we want and not worrying if dinner doesn't make it to the table before 6:30.  Oh and homework, I am sure that most parents love it just as much as the kids do (not!).  But anyway, back to baking.  I figured it would be a nice surprise to have homemade cookies available for an after school treat.  So I took some time and made the recipe for Chocolate-Caramel Surprise Cookies, from "The Flying Brownie" by Shirley Fan.

First combined the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.

Cream the butter and sugars until fluffy and then add the eggs and vanilla.

Mix in the dry ingredients and then place in the refrigerator for an hour to chill. I always put my dough into a flatter bowl, so that it will chill more quickly, and if I am in a real rush, I will even put it into the freezer for a little while.

Scoop about 2 teaspoons of dough (I used a 2 teaspoon ice cream scoop) and then press a Rolo into the middle and form into a ball.  Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet, (I was out of parchment paper so I used non-stick aluminum foil) for about 9 to 10 minutes (mine took 11 minutes).

These cookies were fairly easy to make and tasted delicious, the cookie is nice and soft and chocolaty and the caramel stays soft and chewy in the center.
Chocolate-Caramel Surprise Cookies

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 (12 ounce) package chocolate-covered caramel candies (such as Rolos)

1.  In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.

2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and both sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs and vanilla, and mix until combined.  Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until incorporated.  Refrigerate the dough for at leas 1 hour.

3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking liners. Unwrap the candies.

4.  Taking a small amount of cookie dough (about 2 teaspoons), stuff the caramel candy into the dough and roll the dough around it, making a ball.  Make sure that the candy is not exposed or else it will not stay inside the cookie.  Place the balls on the prepared baking sheets, about 2 inches apart.  Bake until the cookies have firm edges but soft centers, 9 to 10 minutes.

5.  Cool the cookies completely on the baking sheets.  Repeat with the remaining dough.  Pack in zipper-top plastic bags, pressing out any air, or in airtight containers, separating the layers with waxed or parchment paper.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Black beans last week, cookies this week!

So after being asked to eat black beans last week, DD (Jillian) asked for a dessert this week.  It just so happens that a new cookbook to come across my desk today was "The Flying Brownie", by Shirley Fan.  The sub-title is 100 Recipes for homemade treats that pack easily, ship fresh, and taste great.  It sounds like it could be the ticket. Especially with both my DSs (CJ and Eric) going off to school next week, maybe and idea for a care package??? 

The cook book has many classic recipes, including; Chewy Gooey Blondies, Classic Snickerdoodles, Chewy Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies, Double-Ginger Molasses Cookies and Autumn Spiced Pumpkin Loaf.  It also has some very different recipes, including; ANZAC Biscuits, Chinese Almond Cookies, Cornmeal-Blueberry Biscotti, Almond, Fig, and Apricot Squares, and Earl Grey-Meyer Lemon Tea Bread. This book even has a chapter called Shippable Savories and includes recipes for; Sriracha Party Nuts, Golden Cheddar Coins, and Old Bay Nut Mix, among others.

I am leaning towards trying the recipe for either Box Office Brownies, Chewy Oatmeal-Raisin Cookies, or Chocolate-Caramel Suprise Cookies.  What do you think?

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Cooking Light: Good Mood Food

So this is my very first recipe post and I realized I am going to have a problem.  I am a chronic recipe adapter.  What this means, is that I love to read cookbooks and find great recipe ideas and then just use the recipe as a springboard for how I think the recipe should really be done.  This works out fine in my real life,
 and I would whole heartedly encourage you to take that approach if you are comfortable with it. However, for this blog,  I want to share the actual cookbook recipe with you as it is written.  So I will try to adhere to the recipe (at least mostly) as written. I will occasionally substitute an ingredient (because I already have a similar ingredient on hand) or add more or less of an ingredient (because I do have to convince my family to eat these recipes), but I will always be sure to tell you exactly what the recipe called for.
So as promised, here is a recipe from “Cooking Light Good Mood Food; Cook up some feel-good vibes!”.

One of the things that I first loved about this cookbook was the color photos.  There is a photograph for each recipe and the overall feeling of the cookbook is happy, light and fun.

 With chapters that include; Sweet Rapture: Eat Dessert First!, Nibble & Sip: Starters & Snacks, Eat With Your Fingers! Sandwiches, and Totally Perfect Mornings: Breakfast, I knew I was in for a feel-good time.  After considerable mouthwatering thoughts I decided to try Southwestern-Style Shrimp Taco Salad.
The marinade for the shrimp and the dressing are one in the same including lime juice, olive oil, cumin, garlic, maple syrup, and chipotle hot sauce.

One tablespoon of this is drizzled on the shrimp (I used 1 pound) and the rest is saved for the dressing. The shrimp is then cooked on the grill along with 2 ears of corn.

After cutting the corn from the cob, it is combined with the shrimp, chopped lettuce (I used 2 cups), green onions, cilantro, plum tomatoes, black beans and lime dressing and tossed.

Place on top of the tortilla chips and serve with about 1 tablespoon of the sour cream/avocado mixture (I added 2 teaspoons of the chipotle hot sauce to the mixture) and an additional lime wedge.
So the final verdict for this recipe is that I thought it was delicious.  However, my DD would only eat the shrimp and the tomatoes, and DH informed me that it is official he doesn't like cilantro at all.  Would I make it again? I definitely would for a party, or an occasion where more than just I would be eating it.

Southwestern-Style Shrimp Taco Salad
¼ cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons chipotle hot sauce
¾ pound medium shrimp
   Peeled and de-veined
2 ears shucked corn
Cooking spray
1 cup chopped romaine lettuce
½ cup chopped green onions
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 (15-ounce) can black beans,
     Rinsed and drained
2 ounces baked blue corn tortilla chips
     (about 1 ½ cups)
Lime wedges (optional)

1.        Preheat grill to medium-high heat
2.      Combine lime juice through hot sauce siring with a whisk.  Place shrimp in a shallow bowl.  Drizzle 1 tablespoon lime juice mixture over shrimp, tossing gently to coat.  Reserve remaining lime juice mixture; set aside.  Thread shrimp onto metal skewers.  Lightly coat corn with cooking spray.  Place shrimp kebabs and corn on grill rack coated with cooking spray.  Grill 8 minutes, turning kebabs once and turning corn frequently until browned.  Remove from grill; cool slightly.
3.        Remove shrimp from skewers, and place on a large bowl.  Cut kernels from ears of corn.  Add corn, chopped lettuce, green onions, cilantro, plum tomatoes, and black beans to shrimp.  Drizzle reserved lime juice mixture over shrimp mixture, and toss gently to combine.
4.        Divide tortilla chips evenly among 6 bowls; top each serving with 1 cup shrimp mixture.  Combine sour cream and diced avocado in a small bowl; mach with a fork until well blended.  Top each serving with about 1 tablespoon mixture.  Serve with a lime wedge, if desired.

Saturday, August 17, 2013


Hi, my name is Lisa and I have been working at the Duxbury Free Library for about 3 years. I am the mother of 3. Two sons, 21 and 19 and a daughter, 10 (I know, what was I thinking). I am also the grandmother of a 2 year old girl (it wasn’t me that wasn’t thinking this time). I love to cook and have been doing so since I was able to climb up on a stool and help my grandmothers spread the pizza dough. I give them all the credit for inspiring my love of food and feeding people.

I have three passions in life; family, books, and cooking. In this blog I hope to share some of my insight into how I use each of these to enhance the others. Each week I will be trying a recipe from one of the cookbooks that we have here at the Duxbury Free Library and sharing the results with you. I will also be throwing in some hints, tips and ideas that I have accumulated for cooking and celebrating food.

Look for my first entry from a cookbook whose title made me smile, Cooking Light good mood food : cook up some feel-good vibes!. Coming soon.