Homesick Cookies and Eggplant Bruschetta

September 15, 2011 § Leave a comment

I don’t like traveling without my husband.  Like, ever.  Especially not to a foreign country where English is barely spoken and I am meeting a massive amount of relatives that don’t speak English either.  But last week, I traveled to India–without Rakesh–for his cousin’s wedding.  Despite the language barrier and some room confusion (yes, I stayed in a one-bedroom hotel room with my in-laws for two awfully long nights), I actually had a lot of fun.

Although it was my third time being in India, and my fifth Indian wedding, I still appreciate being pawed at like a shiny new toy.  I actually enjoy being asked to have my picture taken with a mother and her baby, or being pulled into a large circle of dancing  to expose what little rhythm I posses. I met my mother-in-law’s six sisters and one brother, all of their children, and some of their children’s children.  I wore shimmering saris and glittering bangles.  I got to learn a little Hindi and try it out on Rakesh when I got home.  I say it was a big step for me.

Four days may not seem like a long time, but I missed home.  Rakesh seemed to miss my cooking more than anything else, because the same night, I was in the kitchen whipping up some tasty treats.  (Although I’m sure he enjoyed the freedom of watching college football all night without me screaming at him to, “Come to bed already! You have to work tomorrow!”)

Homesick Cookies Adapted (barely) from Barefoot Contessa

This recipe is derived from Ina’s Raisin Pecan Oatmeal Cookies, but with a lot of changes.  First of all, there’s no raisins or pecans.  Secondly, I omitted half the sugar.  But I like the base of this recipe because the cookies come out just soooooo chewy!

  • 1 cup hazelnuts
  • 2 sticks unsalted, room temperature butter
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 cups oatmeal
  • 1 cup dried cherries, chopped
  • 1 cup white chocolate, chopped

Preheat the oven to 180C (350F).  Place the hazelnuts on a sheet pan and bake for 5 minutes.  Allow to cool, then remove the thin shell.  The oils should cause the shell to release easily.  Chop nuts coarsely.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time, and then the vanilla.

Separately, sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.  With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet.  Add the oats, cherries, white chocolate, and hazelnuts.

Using a small ice-cream scoop, drop 2-inch mounds of dough onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.  Flatten slightly.  Bake for 12 minutes, until lightly browned.  Transfer the cookies to a baking rack to cool completely.  These make about 3 dozen, so be prepared to share!

Eggplant Bruschetta  Adapted (of course) from Smitten Kitchen

This is actually called “Roasted Eggplant with Tomatoes and Mint” on the site, but it is basically bruschetta without the bread.  Which I love love (yes, love love)  so much that I ate the whole eggplant.  By myself.  Really, really fast.  So this is how I made it with just me eating it for lunch.  Although, if a person only eats two rounds, it would be 4 appetizer size servings. (Blush.)

  • 1 medium eggplant cut into 3/4 inch slices
  • 2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained
  • 2 tablespoons red onion, finely diced
  • 1 medium tomato seeded and diced
  • 3 yellow cherry tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, minced
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • Olive oil

Preheat oven to 220C (450F).  Coat a large baking sheet with olive oil and arrange eggplant slices in a single layer.  Sprinkle the tops with salt and pepper.  Roast, without disturbing, 15-20 minutes.  Flip each round–the undersides should be blistered and dark–then sprinkle with additional salt and pepper.  Return to the oven for an additional 10-15 minutes.

In a medium bowl, mix together feta, capers, onion, tomatoes, basil, vinegar, and 2 teaspoons of olive oil.  And salt and pepper to taste.

Arrange eggplant on a serving dish and scoop and spoonful of the tomato mixture on each slice.  It might be best to eat immediately, but they taste great at room temperature too.


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