Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Ending on a High Note

Lately, my garden has inspired me to cook.  I always thought that I didn't enjoy cooking.  I think maybe I wasn't cooking the right things?  Or, I didn't quite have the angle I needed on cooking?  In any case, I'm inspired.  And right now, I'm inspired to try to figure out what to do with all this arugula!!  J and I made yummy faces at each other all through dinner tonight (ok, maybe me more than him because, well, I'm me, and I felt so proud of finding the recipe and making it turn out!).  And although it used a good amount of arugula, it barely made a dent in the garden : / 

After dinner, Sela moved out to the living room to read, Linus asked Daddy to read his favorite book to him on the couch, James Taylor was still playing in the kitchen, and I contentedly settled in to clean up with all these peaceful sounds surrounding me.  A new jar of chunky peanut butter sat waiting on the counter to be stirred and put in the fridge, so I dutifully obliged.  As I stirred, still savoring the memory of dinner and craving dessert, I realized I MUST have peanut butter cookies!  So what that it was 9:00.  That's what summers (and Saturdays) are for, right?  I took my time mixing them, rolling them, making each cross-hatch with the fork, lifting them off the pan with the spatula.  A simple, meditative, full heart and soul kind of end to the day.  I love when life works like this.

Peanut Butter Cookies (from Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book)
Doesn't get any easier than this...
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 1/4 cups flour

Cream butter and peanut butter together.  Add baking powder, baking soda, and both sugars and mix.  Add egg and vanilla and mix.  Add flour and mix.  Roll into 1 inch balls and roll in additional sugar.  Place on cookie sheet and use fork to flatten slightly and make that sweet little cross-hatch design.  Bake at 375 for 7-9 minutes.

Shrimp Bruschetta (adapted from Giada At Home)
I didn't get the exact measurements, so these are what I used.  Please eyeball yours as you make it, based on what you think you would like.  You have to try this.
2 shallots
1 large & 1 small clove garlic
olive oil
5 roma tomatoes
14 peeled shrimp (large)
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup mascapone
2 Tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
1 1/2 cups chopped arugula
loaf rustic bread

Slice bread, drizzle with olive oil & toast in 400 oven for 8-10 minutes.  Heat olive oil & cook chopped shallot and chopped large garlic clove for a couple minutes.  Add shrimp.  When shrimp are cooked, remove them and chop when cool.  Add chopped tomatoes, chicken stock, and wine. Simmer until liquid is reduced. Remove from heat and then mix in shrimp, mascapone, tarragon & arugula. Rub small garlic clove onto each slice.  Scoop bruschetta onto bread slices.

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