Archive for August, 2007

I-miss-Texas-already cookies

Just a few days ago, I got back from a week long trip to Texas. While there I was in a friend’s wedding in Ft. Worth, which had a wonderful reception where everyone danced. Then I went down to Austin to visit my brother and some friends from college. We had so much fun!!

Now I have to get down to preparations for the beginning of the school year, which is definitely not as exciting as Snow Beach or even Whataburger, and definitely not good brisket. But this recipe is in fact preparation for the school year. Sometimes nothing beats a freshly baked cookie in a stressful time period, but I don’t have time to whip up cookies when I’m in the middle of writing papers. So I’m making several batches of cookie dough, wrapping them in wax paper and foil, and freezing them. Then, when I have a need for a cookie, I’ll just pop the dough out of the freezer and bake a couple.

This recipe is based on one from bakingsheet. I thought a brown sugar-based cookie would be good because something about brown sugar says “South” to me. I added a few touches of my own to remind me of my home state.

“I climbed up the pecan tree…”

texas cookies

Servings: 3 dozen+ cookies (not sure yet since a bunch of dough is in the freezer)

Prep time: 1 hour Baking time: 10 minutes


  • 1/2 cup pecans, broken into pieces (for heaven’s sake, don’t turn them to powder in the food processor)
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt (I’ll admit, I often do an 1/8 tsp less or so of the salt called for in baking, but the salt is extra important in these cookies because of the pecans)
  • 5-6 dashes cayenne pepper (1/8 tsp?)
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  1. After breaking up pecan pieces, toss them on a small baking sheet (I used my toaster oven pan), and toast them until fragrant (3-4 minutes).
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, salt and pepper.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, use an electric mixer to cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla, then egg. With the mixer on low, gradually add in the flour and blend until you can’t see anymore flour.
  4. Preheat oven to 350. Stir in chocolate chips and pecans.
  5. Place evenly-sized spoonfuls of dough on a cookie sheet, spacing about 2 inches apart (these cookies puff up more than they spread). If the oven is not done preheating, chill the dough balls in the fridge until ready. (*Caution: This dough tastes super yummy, but so do the baked cookies, so try to get some of them in the oven!)
  6. Bake cookies for 9-11 minutes. Because of the brown sugar, you may not be able to see the cookies turn golden as you would expect. Be sure to watch the edges of the cookies for signs of being done.
  7. Allow cookies to cool on the pan for one or two minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool. Serve with a glass of cold milk, or a cup of Texas Coffee Traders coffee.

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Summer Squash and Lentil Burritos

Yellow squash and zucchini are flooding the farmers market right now. You can get lots of them for cheap, which is great since they’re so tasty. This is a great way to use some of them. And these burritos are very colorful, which I enjoy. They would be even more colorful and tasty if I had added green onions and/or spinach.

To save time, make the lentil mixture in advance and just reheat it. If you do that, this dinner would fall under the “quick” category.


Cooking time: 45 minutes, or if lentils are made in advance, 15-20 minutes

Servings: 8-9 burritos, or about 4 servings


  • 1 recipe taco seasoning (recipe is below)
  • 1/2 cup lentils
  • 1 cup water + 1 tbsp water
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1 medium yellow squash
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • flour tortillas
  • fresh tomatoes (I used yellow and red)
  • salsa
  • grated cheddar cheese
  • sour cream (optional)
  1. Rinse lentils. Combine lentils, 1 cup water and 2 tsp of taco seasoning in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until tender and water is absorbed (about 30-40 minutes).
  2. Wash squash. Slice squash into 1/4 inch thick pieces. Then cut slices into quarters or sixths, depending on the diameter of your squash. Try to make uniform, bite-sized pieces. Mince the garlic cloves. Chop the tomatoes into 1/2 inch pieces.
  3. When lentils only need a few more minutes to cook, begin this step. In a large, non-stick skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and saute until just golden (less than a minute). Add the squash, separating the pieces as you do so. Saute until barely tender, stirring frequently (about five minutes). Meanwhile, combine 1 tbsp water and lime juice with remaining taco seasoning. When squash is almost done, add the lime juice mix to the saute pan.
  4. Heat the tortillas either in a skillet or covered in the microwave. For each burrito, place one tortilla on a plate. Spread some of the lentil mixture in the middle. Top with squash, cheese, tomatoes, salsa and sour cream. Roll up and dive in.

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