To die for cookies!

I haven’t baked cookies since Christmas.  Now, I love cookies and my husband loves cookies, but he will eat at least one dozen in a sitting.  He can’t keep his hands out of the “cookie jar” so to speak.  Anyway, a “real” food blogger, Ali Ebright, whose family I have known for a very long time and know her by association, posted this recipe yesterday.  Run on your computer to her blog:  Gimme Some Oven and make these cookies.

They are called peanut butter banana cookies, I mean what could be better?  Peanut butter and bananas rock!  The only reason I made them is I had two overly ripe bananas.  I used one of them.  I may make another batch with the other.  Personally I can only eat so much banana bread, this was a perfect way to use a ripe banana!

I don’t know why I can’t upload a picture….but go to Ali’s blog and you will see it!

Quick Weekday Meal

It’s Holy Week in the life of the church.  In my “other life” in my job as a pastor, this is one of the busiest times of the year.  Cooking is my outlet, but during the time I need it the most, I often am not able to cook.  Usually, I am not home on a Wednesday evening and certainly not during Holy Week.  It has already been a long week and I had a funeral service today with a graveside an hour out of town.  With a great deal of encouragement, I took the evening off.  There was nothing I had to be doing, I have service tomorrow with some rehearsal afterward, Friday service and Saturday rehearsal for Easter.  My husband, of course, had to be at church.  So I cooked a quick spring dinner.

I had been to the farmer’s market on Saturday.  I had a bag of baby spinach and spring lettuce.

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Add a english cucumber and hydroponic tomato from the market and I had a salad.

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I then made what is often called “spring pasta.”  It is light, easy and uses spring vegetables.  I had a few spears of asparagus from the garden, some frozen peas and some other pantry ingredients and I put them together.

Most recipes if they use a “meat” they use pancetta.  Really?  In Kansas?  I actually have some frozen, but I did a real Midwest switch and diced up 2 slices or regular back and fried them until they are crisp.

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Pulled them out of the skillet added one diced shallot, 5 diced shallots and when they were done, I added I diced clove of garlic.  I used oiive oil as well as a little of the bacon grease.  When the onions and garlic were soft, I added about 1/2 cup white wine and reduced it.

While the bacon was working I had boiling water and added penne pasta.  After nine minutes I added a cup of frozen peas and the asparagus I had cut up.  After two minutes I drained it and added it to the onions, garlic and bacon, added maybe 2 tablespoons of the pasta water, chopped parsley and 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese.

With the tossed salad with a red wine vinaigrette and it was dinner.  Simple, fresh and tasty and fed my soul and my body.

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Fresh Tomato Day

I don’t know who exactly creates these “national” food holidays, but according to but according to www.food.com today is National Fresh Tomato Day.  I mean really, April 6?  Today is Fresh Tomato Day?  At least in Kansas and I suspect in many other places, there are no real vine ripened tomatoes on the horizon for  two or three months.  Most tomatoes in the grocery store taste like cardboard.  

Having said that , last year I discovered some tomatoes that at least make the wait for the vine ripened ones tolerable.  They are grown locally and hydroponically.  It is grown by Cheney Lake Tomatoes and they grow large slicing tomatoes, red and yellow, small cluster tomatoes and cherry tomatoes.  The reason why I love them is not just that they are local, they look like this:

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Is that not beautiful?  Sliced it makes a beautiful BLT, bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich.  However, yesterday, I had a hankering for something that always tastes like spring to me: pan con tomatoe.  It is a spanish dish, that is basically tomatoes on bread.  I purchased the tomatoes in the Kansas Grown Market (first day they were open for the season.)  I also bought bread from one of my favorite bakers, they use local wheat and their bread reminds me of the bread I used to eat in Europe.  Crust and Crumb was the perfect bread for the pan con tomatoe.

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So the first thing to do, is slice some baguette and slice the tomato in half.  That baguette slices will be either toasted or grilled.  I grilled mine at the same time I was grilling chicken for our spinach salad.  Then you grate…yes, grate the tomato with the biggest “holed” grater you have.  If you have an old fashioned box grater, perfect.  The largest tomato you can find, like this slicer is easier to use.  You grate the meat of the tomato the skin stays behind.

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Once the tomato is grated, then grill the bread and use a halved garlic clove to rub over the hot bread.  You will then drizzle with good olive oil.

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Top with the tomato pulp and a sprinkle with salt.  Eat and enjoy!  This is one of the BEST ways to enjoy a really good, really ripe tomato.  

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In Spain it’s served as a light side dish, but whenever it is served, it is delicious.  As I said earlier, these tomatoes are not vine ripened, but oh, they work until late June and early July when you can pick your own or the market is filled with them.

For dinner, I served this with a spinach/lettuce/herb salad topped with grilled chicken.  The lettuce and herbs were from the “garden” on my glassed front porch.  Topped with granny smith apples, some cranraisins and a shaving of aged gouda, this salad with the grilled chicken and the pan can tomatoe was a perfect way to begin to feel like spring had sprung.

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So, for a food “holiday” that seems a bit early in the season, if you can find some ripe, wonderful tomatoes, this is a great way to celebrate!  Happy Fresh Tomato Day!