Saturday, May 15, 2010

Today is National Chocolate Chip Day!!

" Did you know today is National Chocolate Chip Day?!......" my daughter exclaimed as I entered the kitchen after running some errands this morning. "......So I made some chocolate chip cookies........" she was just taking the last of this batch of cookies out of the oven.

MMMmmm...........golden on the outside...........

and warm and delicious on the inside...........

Here's a little trivia I thought you may enjoy.
From WIKIPEDIA, the free encyclopedia:
Chocolate chips are a required ingredient in chocolate chip cookies, which were invented in 1933 when Ruth Graves Wakefield of the Toll House Inn in the town of Whitman, Massachusetts added cut-up chunks of a semi-sweet Nestlé chocolate bar to a cookie recipe. The cookies were a huge success, and Wakefield reached an agreement with Nestlé to add her recipe to the chocolate bar's packaging in exchange for a lifetime supply of chocolate. Initially, Nestlé included a small chopping tool with the chocolate bars, but in 1939 they started selling the chocolate in chip (or "morsel") form. The Nestlé brand Toll House cookies is named for the inn.

Ruth Graves Wakefield (June 17, 1903 – January 10, 1977) was the inventor of the Toll House Cookie, the first chocolate chip cookie.

Ruth Wakefield educated at Framingham State Normal School Department of Household Arts in 1924. She worked as a dietitian and lectured about foods. In 1930, she and her husband bought a tourist lodge (toll house) in the town of Whitman, Massachusetts in Plymouth County. Located about halfway between Boston and New Bedford, it was a place where passengers had historically paid a toll, changed horses and eaten much-welcomed home-cooked meals. When the Wakefields opened their business, they named the establishment the Toll House Inn. They took it upon themselves to uphold the lodge's tradition. Ruth cooked and served all the food and soon gained local fame for her desserts. The restaurant had many visitors including Massachusetts' Senator John F. Kennedy. Ruth was very intelligent and creative. Andrew Nestle also worked with Ruth and became business partners.
Original NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Chocolate Chip Cookies
This famous classic American cookie is a treat no matter what the age or occasion. Enjoy it with a glass of cold milk.
Prep: 15 min Cooking: 9 min Cooling time: 15 min cooling Yields: 60
• 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
• 3/4 cup granulated sugar
• 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 2 large eggs
• 2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
• 1 cup chopped nuts
DirectionsPREHEAT oven to 375° F.
COMBINE flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
BAKE for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.
PAN COOKIE VARIATION: Grease 15 x 10-inch jelly-roll pan. Prepare dough as above. Spread into prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in pan on wire rack. Makes 4 dozen bars.
Slice and Bake Cookie Variation: PREPARE dough as above. Divide in half; wrap in waxed paper. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm. Shape each half into 15-inch log; wrap in wax paper. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.* Preheat oven to 375° F. Cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices; place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Makes about 5 dozen cookies.
* May be stored in refrigerator for up to 1 week or in freezer for up to 8 weeks.
For High Altitude Baking (5,200 feet): Increase flour to 2 1/2 cups. Add 2 teaspoons water with flour and reduce both granulated sugar and brown sugar to 2/3 cup each. Bake drop cookies for 8 to 10 minutes and pan cookie for 17 to 19 minutes.
Remember to follow baking instructions before consuming.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Flatbread Pizza with Fresh Basil

I was over at Olga's Home & Garden Blog earlier today where she was showing a beautiful basil plant she had purchased and mentioned how it was so fragrant, giving her a pizza craving. It sounded soooo good, and ironically when my husband came home from work tonight he suggested that we make up a quick flatbread pizza for dinner before he had to leave again for a meeting.

There are several flatbreads that we like.....tonight we are going with Joseph's (our favorite) made with whole wheat.

We usually already have ingredients on hand.......

Contadina squeeze sauce makes it quick and easy. Just use what you need and refrigerate the rest. No half used big jar of leftover sauce that may get tossed later.

There's always the question about the cheese.....does it go on under the toppings or over top? So I scatter a little shredded mozzarella over the sauce and then add provolone later, or a blend.
Tonight we're adding some torn deli chicken (sorry Olga I think you're vegetarian).

Sliced fresh tomato and mushrooms....the thinner the better so as not to make the crust goal is for paper thin slices.

Then fresh basil leaves give it such a great flavor!

Slices of provolone and a sprinkling of parmesan from the shaker. A dash of dried oregano, I don't have any fresh oregano tonight.
Dab on a little good olive oil with a pastry brush (oops I forgot to snap a pic of the oil, but it really is an important ingredient, a little goes a long way in the way of flavor and remember you don't want to make the crust soggy.)

And it's ready to pop into the oven. Just a few minutes at 400 degrees to heat through and melt the cheese really is all it takes as long as there is no raw meat.
And really the key is to keep the toppings to a minimum since this is a flatbread, you want to keep the toppings in balance with the bread/crust. You don't want it to be all toppings (it's easy to go overboard and pile on the toppings--I may have gotten a little carried away with this one). You want to taste the crust too.
To have it bake up as crispy as possible, lay it right on the oven rack and place a foil underneath to catch any drips. Many times upon removing from the oven I crisp up the bottom by transferring the whole thing right onto a hot pancake griddle and cook on a high or med/high heat on the stovetop.
Here's the before.......

Here's the After.......
MMMmmmm.........HOT from the oven, fresh ingredients, goey melted cheese, bubbly, just begining to brown, crust crispy and crunchy around the edge.........

Is your mouth watering yet? Take a closer look..........

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Lions Rose Day

I am so blessed to have the sweetest husband. An all around nice guy, and, a real gentleman; perhaps even a bit of a hopeless romantic. He never misses an oppportunity to hold a door for me, and always remembers special occasions such as my birthday, our wedding anniversary or Valentines Day with a card and/or a gift and occasionally sends me flowers.

And when the doorbell rings and I find myself on the receiving end of a RANDOM delivery of one dozen roses, I remember, "Oh, it must be Lions Annual Rose Day".

They were Red this year and especially beautiful!

Take a peek.....

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I am currently using this photo as my desktop background, it's gorgeous!

Thanks Dear. Love You!