Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Swept Out the Door

That's what I'm doing with the last hours of 2013...sweeping it right out the door, like the non-stop dust that accumulates on every surface of my apartment.  I get it that Los Angeles is essentially a desert, but enough with the dust.  No amount of Swiffering rids me of it.

The proverbial 'last straw' that made me want this year to end happened this morning while I was cleaning out the cats' litter box.  I clipped the edge of the box with the container of cat litter, causing a wave of litter to fly up into the air and into my eye.  Special.  Precious.  One benefit of wearing contacts is that most of the litter stuck to my contacts.  One downside is that I had to throw them away...and they were a fresh pair that I just put in a couple of days ago.

It's been a year of just scraping by, constant worry and anxiety, and a lot of rough nights with too much tossing and turning and too little sleep.  I know I don't bring that crap into this blog and that's because this isn't the environment for it.  This is my space to not think about everything else for a few minutes.  This is the space to enjoy good food, recipes, and maybe bad jokes.  Or my version of them.

So...back to food.  Do me a favour and don't go back a year to see what I wrote about because this is pretty similar.  Well...there is ricotta involved.  Last night, I found myself turning on the oven at 10:30pm with a craving for something crunchy and thinking about the pita I had cut up for pita chips.  That's when the craving had to be filled.  Pita chips are very popular these days, from Stacey's to Waleeds.  But if you are so inclined, make your own.  They're ridiculously easy, you can make whatever variety you want, and they are inexpensive.  I can buy two bags of pita at my local grocers for 80 cents.  Yes, less than a dollar for a dozen pita.

You can go the healthy route, making them with cooking spray or tip them a little over the indulgent side and drizzle them with olive oil.  If you want to go really, REALLY indulgent, you can deep fry them.  That's what I love about Waleeds pita chips.  But since we're on the cusp of the new year, with good intentions, resolutions to be healthier, eat better, et al...let's stick with an option on the healthier end of the scale.

Whatever your evening brings...popping open the bubbly, dressing to the nines and dancing the night away, or spending the night in and watching the ball drop in Times Square...here's to a healthy, prosperous, and joy-filled 2014!

Pita Chips
Makes a lot

6 pita rounds
Non-stick cooking spray
Salt, pepper, garlic powder, cinnamon, sugar (You get the idea...whatever strikes your fancy)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and line a cookie sheet (or two) with parchment.  Set aside.  Cut up pita rounds into wedges, as large or small as you like.  Split pieces, laying them in a single layer on the cookie sheets.  Spray pita lightly with non-stick cooking spray and sprinkle with whatever strikes your tastebuds.  I love black pepper, garlic powder, Jane's Crazy Mix-Up salt, onion powder, and sumac.  Not all at the same time, but I'll typically use two or three at once.  

Bakes for 15-20 minutes or until chips start to turn golden brown.  Depending upon your oven, it could take a little less or a little longer.  Remove from oven and let cool.  

Note:  Sometimes I drizzle pita with olive oil before baking.  A little goes a long way.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas Cookie Crack

There is joy and happiness in having wonderful friends.  Friends who come to your aid when you need the help.  A friend who loans you her old laptop so you don't have to be a Luddite anymore.  Or at least a Luddite that has only been armed with her smartphone for the past two weeks.  I know...not a Luddite at all...but it charmingly felt that way for a few minutes.

So...a proper post.  A Christmas gift from me to you.  But let me preface it and tell you that the recipe is not mine.  It is an absolute find from the Food 52 website and if you make these cookies, I have no doubt you will be beyond pleased.  You will hopefully also be as addicted to these cookies as I am, because seriously...the reaction to this cookie this must be the same reaction an addict has to crack.  The first bite into one of these hooks you, makes you want more, and you find yourself reaching into the cookie tin again and again...hiding the tin in the back of the pantry.  When someone asks where the cream cheese cookies are you feign ignorance, having no idea where they could have gone.  You will quietly creep into the kitchen in the wee hours of the morning, enjoying one in the complete darkness...just so you don't have to share.  These cookies rock. 

Cream cheese cookies are so simple.  So pure...no fancy add-ins, no fancy technique.  Flour, sugar, salt, butter, and cream cheese.  Almost as simple as shortbread.  Chewy and tangy.  If you read the comments for the recipe, you'll see lots of suggestions for tweaks.  While they all sound good, I have never wavered from the original.  Maybe someday I'll add a little lemon zest or almond extract, but for now, I'll keep my crack pure and unadulterated.

Merry Christmas, kiddies...if you've been good, I hope you get everything you've wished for and if you've been naughty, you had better hide before Krampus seeks you out.

Cream Cheese Cookies from Food52


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Stockings Are Hung

Another Christmas is almost here.  Four days to get cards in the mail, plan the big Christmas dinner, wrap the presents, and bake up a batch or ten of cookies.

I haven't been hiding behind that mound of flour in the kitchen (too much), though I have been doing quite a bit of baking and think the last batch of cookies has just come out of the oven.

Truth is...my laptop died a couple of weeks ago.  I've been doing most everything that takes use of a computer on my phone.  What did we do before smartphones? What did I do before smartphones?

A proper post will be coming before you know it.  Maybe even before Christmas.  Stay tuned.  Enjoy the Christmas lights.