Years ago I veered away from the classic Nestle Toll House cookie recipe and started trying to find a better chocolate chip cookie recipe. Although I love a good Toll House cookie, I just kept finding they were a little too crispy for my personal liking. This recipe is quite different but they are soft, delicious and have become my new favorite!
When I realized I was out of the regular size chocolate chips and only had minis, I was initially very disappointed. Well, that turned into such a good thing because I loved them even more with the small chips! Give it a try if you never have and see what you think.
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. hot water
1/2 tsp. salt
3 cups flour
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Cream together the butter and sugars until smooth.
Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla.
Dissolve the baking soda in the hot water. This is the only recipe I have ever had to do this with.
Add baking soda water to the batter with the salt and combine well.
Stir in the flour and chocolate chips ( I used mini chips).
Drop onto ungreased pans. I decided to use the large cookie scoop this time, go big or go home!
Then bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until edges start to brown.
I had the BEST day today, and not just because I got to try a new restaurant, but I got to try it with my daughter. I am one of the luckiest mothers alive with a daughter in college only 3.7 miles away from our house. If that wasn’t good enough, she has Mondays almost free of classes and wants to spend them trying new lunch spots with me!
My daughter’s school and our home is just North of Boston. You really can’t ask for a better location to try new restaurants, there are thousands. I’m guessing at thousands, but it’s really big however many it actually is. Since I am the type of person that goes to the same favorite places over and over, the idea of trying something new every week is so exciting.
We decided our first restaurant to try would be Flour Bakery in Harvard Square. They have three locations in Cambridge, but we headed towards Harvard Square not just because it was the closest to her school, but because it’s Harvard Square. If you have never been to Harvard Square, make sure to put it on your bucket list. It is such a fantastic spot filled with restaurants, shops, and of course that University you may have heard of, Harvard?
Parking in Harvard Square isn’t always the easiest to find, but we were quite lucky to find a parking spot pretty close to the restaurant. I was also able to have a very interesting discussion with an eccentric gentlemen sitting on the sidewalk near where we parked about the crazy bike lanes recently installed. My daughter didn’t seem as enthralled with the conversation as I did, but our eccentricity is what makes life interesting, right?
Flour Bakery was quaint and bustling. We arrived just before the peak lunch rush and were able to find a little two person table where we sat, ate, and chatted for hours. We each got a sandwich which we really enjoyed. My daughter rated hers an 8.5, and I rated mine a 6.5 only because of the bread. I just do not like bread with tough crust, and their multigrain bread was that kind of bread. The soft part of the bread was very good, but the crust just kind of ruins it for me. Next time I go there I will request a different bread and then I am pretty sure my rating would also be around an 8.5.
My daughter ordered the Applewood Smoked Bacon sandwich which consisted of bacon, arugula, tomato, and mayo on focaccia toast. I ordered the Smoked Turkey Sandwich which consisted of turkey, cheddar, cranberry chutney, and apple dill slaw. The contents were delicious! It was just my own personal dislike of tough crust that made me dislike it somewhat. I am actually really looking forward to going back and either trying something else like the Chicken and Broccoli Rabe Panini, or Roast Chicken with mashed avocado and jicama (if you have read my fish taco blog you know I love jicama), or the Smoked Turkey again but on different bread. Maybe focaccia, that sounds so good!
As you can see from my photos they include a strange little vegetable “salad” of sorts on the dish. Well, my daughter’s had more of a salad than mine did, mine was actually pretty sad. Some people like my husband would probably think that was lovely and delicious, but my daughter and I looked at it like it was an absolute waste of food because why would anyone want to eat that with their sandwich. I know, we aren’t proud of that but it’s the truth. Where are the chips?
They also had some wonderful looking salads on their menu, as well as baked goods.
Overall the Flour Bakery was a thumbs up for us and we would definitely recommend it to others!
It has all been about comfort food with me lately, and what better comfort food than fish cakes. Fish cakes are one of my family’s favorite meals and this no frills recipe is simple and delicious. While my husband would eat just about anything that comes from the sea, I am very finicky about fish. I will only eat mild white fish such as haddock or cod, and these fish cakes are haddock cakes.
When I was looking for a fish cake recipe years ago, most had potatoes as an ingredient. Since my son doesn’t like potatoes, I decided to start playing around and create my own version. I have had fish cakes containing potatoes in restaurants, and I must say I prefer these because you taste the fish and not just potatoes. There have been times I have added some other ingredients to “spice it up” a little, but I really like the simplicity of this recipe.
1 1/2 lbs. white fish
2 eggs slightly beaten
1 cup plain bread crumbs
1 tbsp. dried parsley
2 tbsp. grated cheese
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
Cook fish in a glass baking dish at 375 degrees for 22 minutes. Let cool long enough that you can touch it with your hands. I use my hands to break up the fish as a second way to make sure I have not overlooked any bones. You can also cook the fish ahead and store in refrigerator until you are ready.
In a large mixing bowl combine all the other ingredients, then add the cooked fish and mix well.
Once well mixed, use your hands to firmly form the mixture into fish cakes.
Heat canola or vegetable oil in a heavy frying pan on medium heat until oil sizzles when a drop of water is added. The amount of oil you use depends on the size of your pan, I use enough so that it is about 1/4 inch deep.
Add the fish cakes and cook until they are brown on each side. Pat them down with a spatula while cooking to flatten them slightly.
Drain the fish cakes on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb the excess oil.
If you feel like really being gourmet you can make your own tartar sauce. All you need to do is mix equal parts mayonaise with relish, and add a squeeze of lemon juice. Ta da, homemade “gourmet” tartar sauce!
I usually like to serve my fish cakes with mashed potatoes, but since my son doesn’t like them we went with mac and cheese tonight. No complaints here!
Despite Ancestry.com stating that I am 8% Italian, I really don’t get as excited over red sauce as some other people. While my mother’s red sauce recipe that I use makes a really good “gravy” that is better than I have had elsewhere, I can usually take it or leave it. Even though I make sauce fairly often, and only ever make my own, I am usually more into the meatballs, lasagne or chicken cutlet parmesan that accompanies the sauce. I tend to be more of a cream or cheese sauce kind of girl.
Even if you eliminated the 1/4 cup of heavy cream called for in this recipe, I’m sure it would still be amazing. For me, however, I add more than the required amount, probably about 1/2 cup. I have never measured how much I add, and I tend to be heavy handed with cream so gauge it on your own personal taste. You will probably notice Ina Garten’s picture looks a little more red than mine. I also have only ever made this with ground turkey, and to me you really don’t notice the difference.
As with making my own red sauce, if a recipe calls for red wine then it automatically means you have to pour a glass for yourself. Last night while making the Bolognese my husband only saw the measuring cup of wine and asked “have you started drinking out of measuring cups now?” Of course not! Unless there weren’t any glasses, silly! Thankfully I have plenty of wine glasses and haven’t had to resort to Pyrex yet.
While I never cut the amount of red wine I pour in my glass, I do cut the amount the recipe calls for. The first time I made this Bolognese I followed the recipe word for word, but my family didn’t like the overpowering wine taste. Instead of the 1 1/4 cups the recipe calls for, I use 3/4 cup total. While I would love to be able to say I have fresh herbs in my kitchen at all times, I don’t. For those of you that are like me, I usually just reach into my spice cabinet when a recipe calls for basil. I just use about 1 tbsp. of dried basil, maybe not even, instead of the fresh basil noted.
It is an absolutely delicious recipe! While the Weeknight Bolognese isn’t a very difficult recipe, there are a number of steps. Make sure you are only heavy handed pouring the cream and not the wine or you might find this recipe hard to follow 😉