In the Kitchen at Eidolon: Oatmeal Cookies!

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While thumbing through old cookbooks that once belonged to my mother, tucked in one of the pages I found a recipe she penned for oatmeal cookies.

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When I was young I didn’t think of myself as a sentimental person or see the importance of keeping my mom’s old cookbooks. Now that my day job involves saving old books, but more importantly saving inscriptions, handwritten letters found in old books, and random pieces of provenance, I realize how lucky I am to have mindlessly grabbed these old cookbooks several years ago, because finding this recipe in my mother’s handwriting today made for a special moment.

I think I’ll bake a batch of cookies this evening.  Love ya Margie!

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Ingredients:  3/4 cup shortening, 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 1 egg, 1/4 cup water, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 cup sifted flour, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp baking soda, 3 cups oats. 

The Process:   Beat shortening, sugars, egg, water, and vanilla together until creamy.  Sift together flour, salt, and baking soda; add to creamed mixture. Blend well. Stir in oats. 

Drop by teaspoonful onto greased cookie sheet. Bake in 350 degree oven 12 to 15 minutes. For variety add chopped nuts, or raisins, or chocolate chips, or shredded coconut. Recipe makes 5 dozen. 

In the Kitchen at Eidolon: Creamy Cheesy Squash Soup

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Soup season is basically over here in Texas, but I’m not from Texas, I’m from Utah, and it’s still cold and wintery there so I’m still wired for cold weather through April or May.

This year Joe and I made a goal to cook healthier meals at home. This is going to be a difficult goal simply because we’re already super busy with projects and deadlines and cooking feels like another project. I see many salads in our future.  Wish us luck!   

From time to time I’ll share a successful recipe that we came up with because it’s fun to share something delicious.  This evening I wanted to use up some squash I’ve had in the freezer, and I knew it would really only be good for a soup of some sort. What I came up with looks like baby food, or something one would find in a baby’s diaper, but I promise the soup is delicious! 

This recipe will serve 4 to 6 people. It would be a great option for freezing the leftovers, or keep half for you and take the other half to your neighbor. 

Ingredients: 2 pounds sliced squash (zucchini and yellow), 2 cups water, 3 chicken bouillon cubes, 1 can Campbell’s Cheddar Cheese soup (optional), 1 cup milk or cream, 1 1/2 cup grated Cheddar cheese (if you opt out of the Campbell’s Cheddar cheese soup add another 1/2 cup grated cheese), 1 cup water (if needed), 1 bay leaf, 1 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, salt & pepper to taste, 1 pinch of nutmeg.

The Process:  Boil squash covered in 2 cups water with chicken bouillon on med/high heat until the squash is quite mushy; 15-20 minutes.  At this point purée the squash mixture. You can start by cooking the squash in butter or olive oil before adding the water and bouillon; this would add more yummy flavor, but we’re trying for more healthy options so I decided to just boil the squash.

Next turn heat down to medium, add can of Cheddar cheese soup and 1 cup of milk or cream. If the soup is too thick for your liking, add another cup of water or milk if you prefer.  Mix everything together well.  

Next add the seasonings:  1 bay leaf, 1 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, salt & pepper to taste, 1 pinch of nutmeg. Mix together well.  Put the lid back on the pot and let the soup cook for another 15-20 minutes on med/low.  

Lastly, taste the soup, add more salt & pepper if needed, turn down the heat to low, then add the grated Cheddar cheese, stir well and let the soup cook for another five minutes or until the cheese is melted in well. Before serving fish out the bay leaf.  

Serve with a sprinkling of grated cheese on top, and croutons (store bought or homemade).  

 

In the Kitchen at Eidolon: Soft Caramels

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Growing up, every year around Christmas my mom and Aunt June baked and made all sorts of delicious cookies and candies. They would make up pretty festive plates with a variety of their treats and take them around to their neighbors and friends. Now that I’ve moved away I still continue to do this tradition, as do they. 

A few of my Facebook friends asked for our caramel candy recipe after I posted a photo of my recent batch, and it’s so much easier to write a blog when it comes to recipes, so here you are. Enjoy! 

First prep your 9X13 pan for cooling by brushing melted butter all over. It’s best to have as much as possible prepared beforehand when making candy. 

Ingredients: One 14oz can of sweetened condensed milk, one cup of butter, one and a half cup of corn syrup, and two cups of white granulated sugar.  

Directions:  Combine all ingredients in a large heavy sauce pan over medium heat. Stir constantly until boiling. Next add a candy thermometer and stir until mixture reaches soft ball stage 235°-240°. Pour into a buttered 9X13 pan. Let cool and then cut into squares, and wrap each piece into pre-cut wax paper squares.  

Note: Patience is key when making candy; sugar continues to get hot, so grab a stool and keep stiring until your candy reaches the proper temperature; do not turn up the heat in an effort to speed up the process; you’ll end up burning the candy.  

I like my caramel a bit harder than soft ball consistency, so I cook my caramel closer to hard ball temps  (250° - 265°). 

 

In the Kitchen at Eidolon: Red Salsa.

 

Spring is in the air and that puts us in the mood for fresh and delicious snacks!  Those who know us best, know we're snack people.  We've been know to have chips and salsa for dinner on many occasions, and lunch and breakfast too.  This salsa is super easy to whip up, and it is delicious!

Red Salsa:

  • 1 can (28oz) whole tomatoes in juice.
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro.
  • 1/2 can Jalapenos. (half of the small cans.  If you like especially spicing salsa throw in the whole can.)
  • 2 cloves garlic. (I usually just put in one clove.)
  • 1/2 C. chopped red onion.
  • garlic salt or just kosher salt (to taste).
  • Fresh lime juice (to taste).

Pour juice from tomatoes into a food processor or blender.  Add chopped cilantro, onion, garlic, jalapeno and process to chopped/minced.  Add tomatoes, garlic salt or salt, and fresh lime juice.  Puree to desired thickness. 

Enjoy!

In the Kitchen at Eidolon: Ciabatta Bread

Freshly baked Ciabatta is one of the most delicious of the artisan breads in my opinion!  Joseph worked as a bread maker for a small organic kitchen when he lived in West Texas many moons ago, and learned how to bake the most scrumptious breads I've ever tasted.  Here is his recipe!

  • 1-3/4 Cup Warm Water.
  • 2-1/4 tsp. Yeast.
  • 2 tsp. Salt.
  • Approx. 3 Cups Flour.

In a large bowl mix together:  Warm water and yeast.  Let this sit for several minutes to allow for the yeast to start doing it's thing, then add salt.  Gradually stir in flour until it makes a heavy batter; it will be very wet and sticky, but the surface shouldn't be shiny.  Next, stir strongly (your hands are the best for this process, but using a mixer is fine too.) for about 15 minutes, after which the dough should be stringy and elastic.  Cover and let rise for an hour.  Next, turn dough out on a heavily floured baking sheet, shape the loaf into a rectangle, tucking the edges under.  Dust and pat the entire surface with flour.  Let the loaf rest and rise again for about 10 minutes.   Bake at 425 for 25 minutes.  Enjoy!