August 26, 2009

Still Warm

There are a few things that must be noted about Seattle: 75% of the men look like Jesus, every neighborhood feels only they are the 'true' Seattle, and the locals aren't all that adventurous. I recently met one young, seemingly involved man who has never been to the library. They like to stick to their block. Bikers wear spandex and some tuck their socks into their pants. Some bikers put milk crates on the back in an effort to notch up their 'hardcore' meter. Mountain men and crazed bicyclists aside, it's not all grit and Gortex around here.

There are many great, great things Seattle has shown me. You'll never find a more detail-orientated ice cream shop than Molly Moon's where the menu offers things such as honey lavender and balsamic strawberry. You can easily see the Space Needle from a peaceful stroll around Greenlake. You can lay on a blanket with a sandwich, an iPod, 4 magazines, for hours in a park without anybody batting an eye, and you only need to travel 2 blocks to find things like wasabi powder and anchovy paste. And chocolate chip cookies are just as ubiquitous as in the Midwest. Maybe even more so.

It's a shame, really, that I've gone this long without sharing any recipe. I've eaten so well here. SO well. Prawns with chili aoili, seared duck breasts, rhubarb soup, salted caramel ice cream, caprese salads to no end, coffee cake at Ladro, nicoise salads at Presse, meat-filled buns at the market, endless bites of French food at the Boat Street Cafe, and tomato soup at Dahlia - to name a few. My own efforts have churned out some tasty results also - dried tomato and leek tart, goujeres, granola, peroshkis, Julia Child's tomato soup, roasted vegetables, baked salmon, mayonnaise, and cookies - can't forget the cookies. You'd think I'd be 200 lbs out here.

As a nod back to the Midwest I decided to bake a recent batch. Being true to my new city, I couldn't resist throwing some oatmeal into the mix. The hearty wholeness this ingredient adds is an essential part in this cookie's 'everyday-ness', I've come to believe. Without it, the cookie is a shameful indulgence. Oatmeal blankets the other ingredients and offers warmth that would be lacking without it. These cookies were made as 'Back to School' cookies for some nieces and nephews in Iowa. I gave some to a friend who claimed it was 'the best cookie he's ever tasted.' Although this was a flattering stretch, these cookies do have a balance thing going for it - a trace of elegance from fine shreds of coconut, an appropriate amount of chocolate, and the warm depth of the oatmeal.

Here's the recipe, and Seattle - I'm still warm to you.

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Coconut Cookies


1 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
3 cups rolled oats
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1 cup shredded coconut


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar and white sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the milk and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; stir into the sugar mixture until well blended. Stir in the oats, chocolate chips. walnuts and coconut until evenly distributed. Drop by rounded tablespoons onto ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven for a chewy cookie or 14 minutes for a firmer cookie.

Cool for 1 minute on the cookie sheet and then remove to wire rack. Cool completely and then store in tightly sealed container.

And I've got one MAJOR kitchen update ... I'm now in possession of my very own KitchenAid stand mixer! More stories to come ....

August 17, 2009

A Mixed Bag

Seattle, I'm back. And is it ever good to be here. My last day in Minnesota couldn't have been better, a full day of gossip, french fries, ice cream, and gin and tonics with the old college crew. But Seattle's thick coffee, walkers drunk on sunshine, crunchy granola, and fearless bikers were very easy to settle back in with.

A mixed bag of experiences have met me upon my return to Seattle. It was odd timing, taking a trip back home only after a month of having moved. I wasn't quite homesick enough to relish in my time there like I would have, had it been November. But re-settling into Seattle has involved numerous things:

-a broken bike that left me stranded downtown
-attaining my own insurance plan
-seeing the US's largest statue of Lenin
-the purchase of a new bike
-registering to vote
-attempting to get a WA drivers' license
-trying to convince myself that I like the Eastside
-perfecting a chicken salad recipe
-being reminded how funny the Coen Brothers are
-surviving crazed sale shoppers in a retail store
-feasting on GQ, Esquire, Vogue, Cosmo
-a last minute picnic with a friend
-falling asleep with open windows and the sound of rain
-finally finishing this book

The experiences abound, but the photos do not - I'm afraid. So I'll leave you with a snippet of what I'm listening to and I'll have a recipe for you in the next post. By then, hopefully, I'll have my act together and have wiped the dust off my camera.