Slice-n-Bake Cookies, A Big Wheat Berry Bowl, A Normal Day

Good morning. Today marks five weeks of our family’s quarantine — always feels good to hit that milestone. To celebrate, we plan on kicking things off with a classic Tom Collins cocktail, which I was reminded about on this week’s episode of the Bon Appetit foodcast. Two things I’m pumped about watching this weekend: Season 3 of Fauda (please please please watch seasons 1 and 2 if you haven’t already; best series of the decade) and, on the lighter side, Ludo Lefebvre’s live omelet tutorial tomorrow. I remember reading that you can tell how legit a cook is by how he or she a) roasts a chicken and b) makes an omelet. If I can remember, I’m tuning in to see how il-legit I am exactly. Have a safe weekend everybody, here’s Friday’s PPP…

Project: Slice-n-Bake Cookies

Everyone in the house seems to be competing for oven real estate these days. That’s a good thing, of course. It means the house smells of freshly baked bread or caramelizing onions and that the kitchen is abuzz with good energy, i.e my favorite kind of kitchen. But the other night it was a take-a-number situation, so I could only slide in a single batch of these oatmeal-cranberry cookies before the No-Knead bread bullied its way onto a rack. I wrapped what was left of my cookie batter and now we have ourselves a slice-and-bake dessert option, with warm cookies only ever 12 to 14 minutes away.

Oatmeal Cranberry Cookies
This only very slightly modified from a Food52 recipe. Strangely, I only had dried cranberries but no raisins. I would say this was the opposite of a tragedy.

1/2 cup plus 6 tablespoons butter, softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 cups rolled oats
1 cup dried cranberries

If you are baking a batch right away, preheat the oven to 350° F. Cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well with each one. Add the vanilla and mix well.

Whisk together the flour, baking soda, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt. Add to the wet ingredients a little bit at a time and beat until it just comes together.
Add the oats and cranberries and stir until just combined and thoroughly distributed.

If you are not freezing the dough for later, scoop dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet in large heaping tablespoons. Leave a few inches between each as they will spread. [If you are freezing, drop the dough in the center of a piece of parchment paper, and, using the parchment paper, roll and shape into a log. Wrap the dough in the parchment paper, place in a freezer bag, and freeze for up to 3 months. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°F, let dough thaw for about 10 minutes, then slice as shown and proceed.]

Bake for 12 to 14 minutes, or until golden brown on the edges and soft in the center. Let cool on a wire rack.

Pantry: The Big Wheat Berry Salad

A quick survey of our pantry and fridge situation the other night revealed a little left of everything — the heel of a yellow pepper, half a regular package of tofu, a few grape tomatoes that were in a questionable, use-it-or-lose-it state. To stretch it out, we tossed everything with wheat berries, added some crispy chickpeas for a protein hit (and to make the girls happy), and called it a day. Here are some rough instructions for the basics:

Prepare Wheat Berries
Simmer 1 cup wheat berries (yield: 2 cups cooked) in a large saucepan of salted water (like you’re cooking pasta) until grains are tender and hulls have just started to split open. (Cook time will vary and can take up to 1 hour but start checking after 45 minutes.) Drain and rinse under cold water, then drain again.

Prepare Crispy Chickpeas
Add 1/4 cup olive oil to a large skillet or Dutch Oven set over medium-high heat. When pan is hot but not smoking, add 2 cans chickpeas (in batches, if necessary, or two pans — you want a single layer of beans on the pan’s surface). Fry about 15 minutes, tossing every 5 minutes or so. Remove with a slotted spoon onto a paper-towel-lined bowl. Once cool, slip out paper towel and season with salt and pepper.

Prepare Garlicky-Lemon Dressing
In a small bowl, whisk together juice from a large lemon (hopefully about 1/4 cup, if not add a little white wine vinegar), 1 teaspoon honey, 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1 clove garlic (pressed or minced super finely), salt, pepper, and 1/2 cup olive oil.

What We Added to the Above
Crumbled feta, cucumber slices, yellow pepper slices, a few straggler spinach leaves (shredded), baked tofu, halved grape tomatoes.

Purpose: A Poem for You

Today’s required reading: Normal Day, by Mary Jean Iron.

Stay safe, stay home.

The goal of the Project, Pantry, Purpose series to keep us sane, distracted, and connected. Please continue to comment below with suggestions for recipes, projects (for kids and adults), good deeds, donation ideas, stories, movies, games, puzzles. Or just tell me how you’re doing, what your daily routine is, and especially how DALS can help you or people in your community. You can also email me directly at jenny@dinneralovestory.com.

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8 Comments

Suzanne

The Normal Day poem made me think how much I appreciate and look forward to your PPP posts and how one day we will miss them (but will be sooo glad to be back to some semblance of “normal”). Thank you for taking the time and effort to post daily.

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Ann

You’re the one who originally turned me on to Fauda and I CAN’T WAIT to watch Season 3!

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KimS

My favorite cookies are a chocolate chip cookie dough with craisins, white chocolate chips and chopped pecans…I might have to try this in your oatmeal cookies.
Thanks for doing this blog every day! It’s a treat to read.

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Marcia W

Thank you for this daily column….reading it has become part of my daily routine during these crazy times of staying home. Will be sharing this poem with my family in our group group texts. Take care & stay healthy.

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Kristina

Really love your books and blog. As a reader from Europe, it just really kills me that all your measurements are in cups and such. I understand thats how you function in the States, but there are so many varying degrees of what a cup of flour, sugar etc is, making it a gamble when picking one and translating your recipes into it. Would you maybe consider adding grams or some other metric units to your recipes? It would be much appreciated.

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