Sunday, July 26, 2009

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I've started to bake more, so lately the smell of fresh cookie dough has been wafting through my house. Can't really complain though! Here's a recipe for oatmeal raisin cookies that I modified from Simply Recipes (a wonderful resource).

  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats (I used Quaker Old Fashioned Oats.)
  • 1 1/2 cups raisins
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two large cookie sheets or line with Silpat, parchment paper or waxed paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter until creamy. Add sugars; beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs. Add vanilla.
  3. Mix flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in medium bowl. Stir dry ingredients into butter-sugar mixture.
  4. Stir in raisins and nuts.
  5. Stir in oats.

  6. Spoon out dough by large tablespoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheets, leaving at least 2 inches between each cookie.
  7. Bake until cookie edges turn golden brown, 10-12 minutes. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheets. Then carefully remove them, using a metal spatula, to a wire rack. Cool completely. They will be quite soft until completely cooled. Store tightly covered.

Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Giant Cupcake!

Yes folks, it's a giant funfetti cupcake! My friend made this for her lovely housewarming party, and it was a hit! I didn't even know they made molds for cupcakes this big ... sure beats my idea of making a giant cookie. More baking fun next post!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Casa Madrid

One of my old high school friends now lives in Dublin, which is a nice excuse for me to go explore the cute shops and restaurants in downtown Pleasanton. Last week we went to Casa Madrid, a Spanish restaurant with reasonable prices and a relaxing ambiance. We sat outside to enjoy the warm weather with our yummy food.

This place had an impressive list of cold and hot tapas ... stuffed baby artichoke hearts, serrano ham, seafood stuffed crepes, chorizo sausages ...

Stuffed eggplant ($6.75)

I love eggplant prepared in any style, including this one! The eggplant was thinly sliced, slightly baked, then cooled down and filled with a blend of feta cheese. Baking the eggplant brought out its juicy flavors, providing an interesting contrast with the creamy cheese.

Potato and onion wedges ($6.75)

A "traditional recipe from the Spanish inland area," this blend of seasoned potatoes, onions, and eggs is baked, sliced into two wedges, and topped with a generous helping of sun-dried tomatoes for serving. I wasn't too fond of this appetizer. It was a bit bland overall, and I couldn't make out much onion. But the sun-dried tomatoes were a nice touch.

Paella primavera ($18.95)

I had never had paella before, so I had to ask the waiter about the orange color of the rice. He explained that the rice was flavored with saffron, and then cooked with a combination of vegetables -- peas, peppers, and zucchini. They also throw in some pine nuts and raisins, which add some nice extra flavors to this simple vegetarian dish.

So colorful...

I think I'll definitely come back to this place! After I try all the other restaurants nearby ... I know, I'm greedy.

Casa Madrid
436 Main Street
Pleasanton, CA 94566

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Sweets Galore for July 4

I think I'm going to remember this Fourth of July weekend by the amount of desserts and baked goodies I had...

BJ's Famous Pizookie - warm peanut butter cookie with vanilla bean ice cream
Quite possibly the only reason to ever go to a BJ's.

Homemade pumpkin cupcakes, courtesy of WongCo's Food
Is it autumn already? Yum!

Manju and mochi from Benkyodo
Never disappoints ... still the best I've had in Norcal!

Star-spangled cupcakes, on sale at Safeway

I guess I'll also remember the hot dog I ate, sans bun, with wooden chopsticks as I dominated a game of Scrabble while fireworks sparkled on my friend's huge high-def tv in the background. Hope y'all had a good weekend!