Archive for September, 2003

Oatmeal Cookies

The Soup Lady believes that while some things just cry out to be enhanced, oatmeal cookies are not among them. Here are oatmeal cookies as they were always meant to be: moist, chewy and unadulteread by fruit or those gawd-awful chocolate chips. This recipe was created by Karan of Flummel, Flummer, Flummo whom the Soup Lady had the great pleasure of meeting this year.

Karan’s Oatmeal Cookies
First mix these dry ingredients into a lovely off white color:
1 3/4 cups of flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
~2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
~1 tsp ground nutmeg

Add these ingredients:
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups of packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 cups raw oatmeal

Mix it all up.
Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet.
Bake and eat.

Oven: 375°F / 190°C Bake: 11-14 minutes

Karan’s Oatmeal Cookies
on Stangl’s Thistle dinnerware

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This is the very first piece of Stangl that was purchased by the Soup Lady. Thistle was extremely popular at the time of its release in 1964 and may be even more so now. It is the only dinnerware pattern produced in America that features thistles. It is eagerly sought after for its simplicity and attractiveness and by people of Scottish decent, making the common pieces pricy and the harder to find objects like cruet sets almost untouchable. Click here for a close-up of a pattern that seems very colorful but only uses four colors. The stamped pattern of the flower bud here serves as only a target for where the colors were brushed on.

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Our little soup interlude is over, my friends, for the cookies keep rolling in. The Soup Lady was the recipient of the most fetching little package that held a delightful concoction called Gingerbread Cream Cheese Spirals. The cookies came courtesy of Solonor who graciously inform all that they were produced by the steady and talented hand of Mrs. Solonor. They were so perfectly formed and neatly done that it was obvious that The Soup Lady was staring into the face of great experience. I am assured that it takes only a little practice to produce a uniform roll, so here is the recipe and have at it.

Gingerbread Cream Cheese Spirals

Gingerbread Dough:
½ cup butter
½ cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup molasses
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
Beat butter in large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add brown sugar, molasses, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, and cloves; beat until combined. Beat in egg until thoroughly combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour with wooden spoon. Divide dough in half. Cover and chill dough at least one hour or until easy to handle.

Cream Cheese Dough
1/3 cup butter
1 3-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon finely shredded orange peel
Beat butter and cream cheese in large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar and baking powder and beat until combined. Beat in egg and vanilla until thoroughly combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in orange peel and any remaining flour with wooden spoon. Divide dough in half. Cover and chill at least one hour or until easy to handle.

Roll each half of the cream cheese dough between two sheets of waxed paper into a 10”x 8” rectangle. Place these on baking sheets. Chill in freezer for 15- 20 minutes or until firm. Roll each half of the gingerbread dough in the same manner. Remove cream cheese rectangles from freezer. Peel top sheets of waxed paper from all rectangles. Carefully invert one cream cheese rectangle over a gingerbread rectangle. Remove the waxed paper from tops. Let stand about five minutes or until dough is easy to roll.

Roll up, jelly-roll style, starting from one of the long sides, removing bottom sheet of waxed paper as you roll. Pinch to seal. Cut roll in half crosswise. Wrap each roll in waxed paper or clear plastic wrap. Repeat with remaining two rectangles. Chill about four hours or until firm.

Remove one roll from the refrigerator. Unwrap and reshape slightly if necessary. Cut dough into ¼ inch thick slices and place on greased cookie sheet. Bake in a 375 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are firm. Cool cookies on baking sheet for one minute before removing to wire racks to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough.

Solonor’s Cream Cheese Spiral Cookies
displayed on Stangl’s First Love pattern

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For this display, the Soup Lady has chosen to co-ordinate the cookies with Stangl’s First Love pattern of dinnerware. It was produced in 1968 for only one year – you can see that it has that orange/gold/brown color scheme of the burgeoning return-to-nature movement that was unfolding at about that time. It wasn’t all that popular, which makes it less plentiful that some of the more beloved patterns. I’m not all that crazy about it myself. In fact, this is the only piece that I have.

Nevertheless, you should click here to have a detailed close-up of the dinnerplate. The brush strokes of the handpainting are clearly visible in the green leaves and you can see  brown stains in the center of the plate which are a result of water seeping under an imperfect glaze. This is a not unusual occurance with Stangl pieces. Refiring can cure it, but it’s only First Love, after all and then it wouldn’t be original. If it was Lyric or Fruit it might be a different story.

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Soup To Lose Weight By

Despite all the cookie activity around here lately, the Soup Lady is on a diet. Nay – a food plan! The Soup Lady has come to the regrettable conclusion that carbohydrates are her enemy, and to that end, she is now Somersizing.

Oh yes – it is the food plan touted by Suzanne Somers. It is a low carb, high-protein diet similar to the Atkins plan but just a little more girlyfied, which is so much more sutiable for a high-class Soup Lady like your gracious hostess.

And what could be better to fill the empty places where carbohydrates used to be but soup? The following recipes are delightful concoctions that are completely within the plan. If I didn’t tell you that, you’d never know that this was weight-loss food. Do not be alarmed at the cheese, sour cream, butter and heavy cream in these recipes – they are perfectly fine and signal your body with early satiety. It’s the carbohydrates that one must limit.
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Creamy Tomato Soup
Melt 3 tablespooons of unsalted butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Ad 1/2 cup of chopped onion and saute for two minutes. Add 1 28-oz. can of diced tomatoes, 1 cup of chicken stock, and 1 cup of heavy cream to the onions. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Puree with a blender or hand-held mixer until smooth. Pour into soup bowls and garnish with a dollop of sour cream if desired.
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Cauliflower and Red Bell Pepper Soup
Place 1 pound of frozen caulifower florets in a microwave-safe bowl with 1/2 cup of water and a pinch of salt. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 9 minutes. Drain. Place cauliflower on work bowl of a food procesor with 1/2 cup of shredded swiss cheese, 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 cups of chicken stock. Proces until smooth. Add 1/3 cup of heavy cream and pulse until it is incorporated. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into microwave-safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside.

Place 12 oz. of roasted red peppers from a jar in a micro-wave safe bowl with 2 cups of chicken broth and 1/2 cup of chopped onions. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Place peppers, onions and stock in bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Add 1/2 cup of heavy cream and 2 tablespoons of butter. Pulse to blend. Pour into microwave-safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap.

To serve, heat the soups in a microwave until hot, about 2 minutes each. Using two 1-cup measuring cups, each filled 3/4 with soups, pour both soups into soup bolw simultaneously. Swirl soups together with a toothpick. Serve hot.
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Sausage and Spinch Soup
Remove 1 pound of sweet sausage meat from casing and form into 1 inch balls. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of butter and 1 1/2 tablespoons of oil in a large heavy pot over medium high heat. Brown sausage in butter and oil, about 7 minutes. Add 6 cups of chicken stock to the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until sausage is cooked through, about 12 minutes. Add 1 10-oz. package of frozen spinach and simmer for one minute. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with parmesean cheese for garnish.

recipes from Suzanne Somers’ Fast & Easy
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Darlings, this is a food plan that the Soup Lady can live with!

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Another entry in the Cookie Parade! These delightful confections arrived at the Soup Lady’s door as part of a cookie exchange project and really brightened up a dull Saturday.

The Soup Lady is happy to report that these cookies are everything that a chocolate lover could imagine: rich, moist, and a depth of chocolatey flavor due to the layering of the cocoa, the baking chocolate and the chips. They look like a simple cookie but are a quite complex eating experience. This recipe comes courtesy of Christine the Passionate Ailurophile. I had to look it up – she’s a cat lady.

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Thick & Chewy Triple-Chocolate Cookies

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocaoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
16 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons instant coffee or espresso powder
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt into medium bowl, set aside

2. Melt chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl set over pan of almost simmer water, stirring once or twice, until smooth. Remove from heat. Or melt in microwave: heat at 50% power for 2 minutes, stir, then heat another minute at 50% power. If it is not completely melted, continue heating, for 30 second incrememts at 50%, stirring after each time, until smooth. Be very careful
not to burn it! Beat eggs and vanilla lightly in a small bowl with a fork, sprinkle coffee powder over, and stir to dissolve

3. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter at medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 5 seconds. Beat in sugars to combine, about 45 seconds, mixture will look granular. Reduce speed to low and gradually beat in egg mixture until incorporated, about 45 seconds. Add chocolate in steady stream and beat until combined, about
40 seconds. Scrape bottom and sides of bowl with a rubber spatula. With mixer at low speed, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Then mix in chocolate chips…do not overbeat! Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until consistency is scoopable and fudge-like, about 30 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions, and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat. Leaving about 1 1/2 inches between balls, scoop dough onto cookie sheets using an ice-cream scoop. The balls should be about the size of golf balls.

5. Bake, reversing position of baking sheets halfway through baking (from top to bottom and front to back) until edges of cookies have just begun to set, but centers are still very soft, about 10 minutes. The cookies will look like they are not done, but don’t bake them any longer than this…they will firm up as they cool.

6. Cool cookies on baking sheets for about 10 minutes. If using parchment, then carefully slide the parchment with cookies onto wire racks, and let cool to room temperature. I used Silpat, so I put parchment onto the wire racks and used an offset spatula to carefully transfer the cookies to it one by one. Put new parchment onto the baking sheets, scoop out remaining dough, and bake
and cool as above.

Makes about 3 1/2 dozen cookies. Recipe from “Here in America’s Test Kitchen” by the editors of “Cook’s Illustrated” magazine

Thick & Chewy Triple Chocolate Cookies
served on Stangl’s Golden Harvest dinnerware

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The Stangl pattern chosen to showcase this dark cookie is Golden Harvest, which was introduced in 1953. The patterns were often released to co-ordinate with other Stangl patterns for mix and matchability. Although this is the Soup Lady’s most complete set, I still like to set a table with a combination of this pattern and AmberGlo together. Click here to admire Golden Harvest in close-up detail and see why I fell in love with it.

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The Soup Lady is taking a break from the broth to share some exciting news with you – what could be nicer than to be part of a Cookie Exchange?

The cookies have started to roll in this week and instead of just talking about the cookies themselves, the Soup Lady will crank the excitement up a notch by displaying said baked goods on a complementary pattern of Stangl dinnerware. I’ll give you a minute to settle down – I know how excited you must be.

I know what you’re thinking – it’s been altogether too long a time since we have sighed over the delightful patterns of this vintage American pottery. During the upcoming days, we will see at least a good half-dozen patterns. What a fine treat for you all!

First up are cookies that are most appropriate for autumn: Pumpkin Butterscotch. This cookie comes from Steph of Was It the PaganRemark?who is a one-woman recipe box. In the same way that Dr. Joyce Brothers captured the hearts of a nation by displaying endless knowledge about boxing on the $64,000.00 Question, Steph is never caught off-guard when it comes to recipes. Name a catagory and you will be bombarded with at least 4 recipes instantlly and far more when she gets up a good head of steam and starts rolling through her collection. Are you on a low carb diet? Think that you can only have roasted meat, broiled meat or fried meat? The woman will knock your socks off with more recipes than Dr. Atkins and Suzanne Somers put together ever imagined. How she managed to restrain herself and produce only one cookie is a great surprise to me.

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Pumpkin Butterscotch Cookies
Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl in the order they are given:
1-1/2 cups of pumpkin pie filling
1/2 cup of butter, softened
1 cup of sugar, half white half dark brown
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 cup of chopped walnuts
1 egg
2 cups of unsifted flour
1 teaspooon of soda
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 cup of butterscotch morsels

Mix all ingredients in order given. Drop by spoonsful onto greased cookie sheet. Bake in 375 ovem for 12 – 14 minutes. Raisins, pecans or coconut may be substituted for the butterscotch chips.

Pumpkin Butterscotch Cookies
served on Stangl’s AmberGlo dinnerware

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This is just the sort of the thing that appeals to the Soup Lady. It is a moist and spicy confection that fills the nose as well as the mouth. Of particular interest is the fact that when using a quantity of unsifted flour, you get the added bonus of being able to just whomp it into the bowl. So satisfying.

The Soup Lady has chosen Stangl’s AmberGlo pattern to coordinate with this cookie. Introduced in 1954, it was originally a Scandinavian-inspired turquoise, blue and yellow gas flame motif. House and Garden Magazine’s fashion-color recommendations for 1954 were gray, gold and brown, so the colors were changed before production started. Note how well the spicy golden goodness of the cookie is showcased against this charming pattern. Click here to admire the lovely hand-painted pattern in detail.

The Soup Lady is happy because this is so much better than real life.

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