It might not look like I’ve cooked much, but I have


I just, as always, haven’t taken many photos. The other night we had some pan-sauteed chicken with a marsala sauce (not as heavy as chicken marsala, more like a regular pan sauce) with baked brown rice, and last night I made spaghetti with homemade pesto and sauteed zucchini. The first night, we were starving by the time dinner was ready and the food was whisked into the dining room before I could even dig out our camera. Yesterday I plum forgot. I spent the evening weeding ten-year-old bank statements and paystubs out of our busted file cabinet that is soon to be replaced, made dinner, ate it, and then cursed myself for not taking a picture! I should have at least taken a picture of the mess I made of the kitchen. Food processor, multiple pans, I make a heck of a disaster.

Pesto’s easy–for a half-pound of pasta (which the box says should feed four but I say feeds 3, max)–toss in your processor/blender/what have you a cup of fresh basil leaves, packed, a quarter cup of pine nuts, 2 1/2 T of parmesan cheese, a clove of garlic that’s been chopped into a few pieces, and let ‘er go. After you’ve chopped this stuff up quite finely, add somewhere over 1/4 c and a 1/3 c of good olive oil, depending on how thick you like it. Toss with hot pasta. Yum.

Anyway, what was this post about? Oh, right, I’ve also been baking. Up until today it’s been only in the 60s and low 70s here, which is rare and fantastic, so I’ve been using the oven. I baked a couple loaves of wheat bread earlier this week. Then on Wednesday night Mr. Pea was looking for a sweet and was all ready to bake cookies. He was going to go to 7/11 for butter, which we were out of, and came back empty-handed because all they had was salted butter, and he’d be damned if he was going to overpay for butter he didn’t really want, anyway. I was so impressed. Then it turned out we didn’t have any sugar, either. Poor Mr. Pea. He ate a granola bar and was sorely displeased.

Yesterday I decided to remedy this problem and went to the superfun Harvest Co-op the next neighborhood over, where I could raid their bulk bins for chocolate chips, oats, arborio rice, pine nuts, and whatever else suited my fancy. I also got proper butter and a bag of sugar, and was going to make some cookies. But to be honest, I hate making cookies. They’re ridiculously time-consuming, all that scooping and dropping. So instead I made cookie bars, based on a Nestle’s recipe.

You’ll need:
2 1/4 c all-purpose flour
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 c (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 c granulated sugar
3/4 c packed brown sugar
1 t vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 c chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F.

First, grease up a 9 x 13 pan. I floured it, too, to prevent any sticking. In a mixer, cream sugars and butter. Add vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time. Add salt and baking soda, and whir away. Add flour, whir. Hand-mix in your chocolate chips, and spread the mix into your pan. Bake for a half-hour for just underdone and nicely squishy cookie bars, or add a few more minutes for a dryer bar. Cool and cut! We got something like 28 bars out of this–some are cut larger and some are just bite-sized nibbles.


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