Monday, April 29, 2013

Ninja Cookies & Other Experiments in the Kitchen

Cooking is one of the things that I missed while I was traveling. I did get to do some in Europe, and hostels usually have kitchens, but I didn't want to spend too much time there and in places like Nepal there simply was no cooking for myself. I've enjoyed being able to just make what I want to eat on my own terms again lately. 

A few days ago one of my friends in Anchorage decided to make cookies for the first time. Part way  in he sent out a text asking if he should use the blender to blend the butter and sugar together. While the general consensus in the car was "no, he should use the mixer", it got me thinking about how the Ninja blender would work for making cookies and I decided to make some when I got home. 

Recipe/starting point. I often add a shot of espresso to them. Additional steps below

  • Make coffee!
  • Soften 2 sticks of butter in microwave.
  • Discover my sister doesn't keep brown sugar in the house.
  • Decide to substitute with 2 parts granulated sugar and 1 part molasses. 
  • Discover that was a 1/3 cup measure not a 1/4.
  • Decide to just round the butter up to 2 sticks and adjust everything else accordingly.

The Ninja loaded with butter, sugar, and molasses.

  •  Engage Ninja and observe growing screeching sound. 
  • Disassemble and realize the design assumes the blades will force liquid under the spindal. 
  • Lubricate spindal with butter and try again.

Perfectly creamy/fluffy butter sugar mixture.

  • Add all the other ingredients except the flour, oatmeal, rasins and coffee.
  • Throw in extra Cinnamon and a dash of Nutmeg for good measure
  • Mix well
  • Realize my sister's best friend is Mormon and can't eat cookies with coffee in them.
  • Drink the coffee.
  • Share some partially mixed dough. 
  • Mix in other ingredients by hand. 
  • Share more of the dough.
  • Bake until just before they look done.
  • Yields about 2 dozen excellent cookies... 
  • Hmm maybe eat a little less of the dough next time.
Verdict: They vanished like ninjas; make again.

Other experiments:

Nacho Cheese?
While in France I developed a taste for Camembert and had the thought that it might make really good nachos. This was kind of a sad imitation of french Camembert (possibly because they have to pasteurize the milk for cheese in the US), but it did make for interesting nachos.

Verdict: See if another brand of Camembert in the US is better and maybe try nachos again too.

Alaskan Salmon.
  • Catch Red Salmon in Copper River or Silver Salmon in Valdez.
  • Fillet and freeze.
  • Thaw in warm water
  • Remove bones with a pair of needle nose pliers
  • Rub with salt, garlic, olive oil, pepper, and lemon in any combination
  • Bake at 350 for 20 minutes (30 if your sister really wants dry fish).

Verdict: I'll be eating a lot of salmon!

Soylent Green (is not people)
Sometimes I just want to get healthy food in my stomach in the most efficient way possible. Breakfast at home is usually one of those times. 

  • 2-3 eggs.
  • 1/2 - 1 cup of water.
  • A large handfull or two of spinach.
  • Any other leafy greens (Kale for example).
  • 1 or 2 tomatos.
  • A large handfull or two of baby carrots.
  • A handful of Brocoli and sometimes Cauliflower.
The order seems to make a difference in how smoothly it blends. Start with the leafy stuff and then add the harder vegetables.
Sometimes I skip the brocoli and add a cucumber instead.
Sometimes I just throw in random vegetables from the fridge. (Cabbage quickly over powers most other flavors)
A couple of radishes add nice flavor.
Adding a dash or salt and pepper or some Cinnamon also improves the flavor quite a bit.

Verdict: I've eaten my recommended vegetables for the day by breakfast and I don't feel hungry before lunch. I feel better and have more energy throughout the day eating this than with any other breakfast I've tried. It's quick, simple, and easy to clean up after. My sister likes it enough I've had to increase the amount I make every morning so I can share... Still, it's no where near as tasty as pancakes and bacon. Taste can't always be my first priority though, so I'll save the pancakes for company.

Additional Info:

The raw eggs have never cause me the slightest problems, but if they weird you out, you can always try this instead. Rob's created a perfectly sanitary/synthetic version. Honestly, that seems more strange to me more than the raw eggs in mine, but I'd be willing to give it a try. Maybe for those non social lunches...


    1. "Sometimes I just want to get healthy food in my stomach in the most efficient way possible."

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Do you have Trader Joe's in Alaska? They often have the best pseudo-European cheeses.