Well, Happy New Year, everybody! Sure, it's only a month and a half late, and three and a half months since my last blog post, but who's counting?
Where have I been? I started a new job about six months ago (has it been that long? Holy crap.) in which I am mistress of all things web ("strategic messaging and brand conformity" to be specific). The initial focus of my job was make sure a new website was launched and ensure over 30,000 web pages were converted to the new look. If not readily apparent, this is a HUGE task but, fortunately, I am not alone - there is a special-ops CIT team bringing their time, talent and patience in dealing with me to get the mission accomplished.
I have promised two members of the team (coincidentally named "Laura" and "Laurie") that if their portion of the job is finished by April, they receive a cake of their choosing. (I think I floated the opera cake at one point, which illustrates just how desperate I was/am to finish this project.) "The Lauras," as we are sometimes collectively referred, accepted and now we are eyeing one another carefully, hungry for what the other has promised. (I'm not sure if the other members of the CIT team are aware of this deal but if they find out, I will happily enter a similar bargain with them.)
In any event, all of this web work -- staring at web pages, reorganizing architecture, planning URLs, discovering bugs, tweeting, facebooking, etc. etc. -- has driven me from updating this blog. Because at the end of the day, the last thing I want to do use a rich text editor to upload another g.d. picture to the Internet.
Cooking has fallen to the wayside too. We have eaten many quick-fix meals over the past several months, things that take 20 minutes, max, to make.
But, I love cooking. And blogging has always been pretty great, too -- particularly the interaction between readers and other bloggers.
So, I think I'm back. It won't be exactly like before: though I've always had an emphasis on simple recipes with delicious results, I'll likely be looking for recipes that are that much simpler -- but I'm not wandering into Sandra Lee territory, either.
The other shift will be a greater emphasis on vegetarian cooking. Shane has decided to become a fish-etarian, meaning he's avoiding all meat except seafood. That's been another challenge for me, as I've always viewed a good Sunday dinner being centered around a roast chicken, meat lasagna, or pork tenderloin. So, we'll see what happens there.
As always, if you have recipe ideas, suggestions or questions, send them my way via LauraRebeccasKitchen@gmail.com . And if you've read this far, you deserve a cookie; here's a recipe. :)
Chewy Chocolate Drop Cookies
(adapted from Laura's Best Recipes)
2 cups + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks of unsalted, melted butter -- cooled
1 1/2 cups packed golden brown sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate drops (like M&Ms)
Place oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat oven to 325.
In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter in the microwave, then set aside and allow to cool.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a bowl.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the melted (and cooled) butter and sugars together with a mixer on medium speed for about 2 minutes. Beat in the egg, yolk and vanilla and beat until the blend starts to lighten in color and looks like it's beginning to whip; scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Place mixer on the lowest speed and very slowly add the flour mixture a little bit at a time. Don't over mix; mix until the flour is just blended into the wet ingredients. Add the chocolate drops and stir with a spoon until well-incorporated. (Beating the chocolate into the dough with the mixer will break the chocolate drops.)
Chill the dough in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
Take approximately 2 tablespoons of dough at a time and roll the dough into well-formed balls. For flatter cookies, flatten the dough gently; for puffier cookies, leave the dough in balls. Place the dough on the baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Bake the cookies for 6 minutes, rotate the cookie sheet, and bake another 7- 10 minutes. The cookies' edges should just barely begin to brown. The center will look puffy and/or slightly set.
Remove the baking sheet and let the cookies cool for 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to allow the cookies to completely cool. Store in an air-tight container.