A very long time ago in a conversation with someone I haven’t seen in years, I mentioned the thought that relationships should be 50/50. She, an older, wiser, and very sensible woman replied that it was almost never 50/50 in some of the best relationships she had seen. Sometimes one person can only give 30 while the other steps it up and gives 70 and vice versa. Lately, we have definitely noticed this, at the end of my job, I didn’t have the energy to do much of anything, and my husband, even working 12+ hour days daily, stepped up everything he did to help lift me up.
Right now he is working more than ever, and I have the most fortunate opportunity to take a break from the rat race, and since he has been flat out exhausted, I whipped up a pick-him-up meal, complete with homemade cookies. Yes, I baked!
I didn’t make up my own recipe for this one. After much searching, I found the blog Words to Eat By and this recipe, originally from Cooking Light, for Chewy Cocoa Fudge Cookies.
Chewy Cocoa Fudge Cookies (source)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 t. baking soda
1/8 t. salt
5 T. butter
7 T. unsweetened cocoa
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup plain nonfat yogurt
1-1/2 t. vanilla
1/2 to 3/4 cup of any of the following (mix and match!): chopped dried cherries, chocolate chips, chopped toasted pecans or walnuts
Preheat oven to 350.
Combine flour, soda, and salt; set aside. Melt butter (I do it in the microwave, but you can use a saucepan over low heat). Remove from heat and stir in cocoa powder and sugars (mixture will resemble coarse sand). Add yogurt and vanilla, stirring to combine. Add flour mixture, stirring until moist. If you’re using any of the add-ins, mix them in now. Drop by level tablespoons 2 inches apart onto baking sheets coated with cooking spray.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until almost set. Cool on pans 2-3 minutes or until firm. Remove from pans; cool on wire racks.
The original recipe said that this should produce 28-32 cookies. Somehow I only got 12. My baking skills are still in their infant stage, but despite the low yield, the cookies did taste very good and were soft and gooey. Next time I will add more cocoa powder and some chocolate chunks for a little extra chocolate-y kick.
For dinner, I took advantage of our freezer full of fish and shellfish that my mother sent back with me after Thanksgiving and made a simple fish chowder.
I started by boiling the lobster tails, haddock, and shrimp until cooked through. I then removed them all from the boiling water, shelled the lobster and shrimp, and tossed the shells back into the boiling water, along with some cracked peppercorn.
I chopped the shrimp, lobster, and haddock and sprinkled them with chopped fennel and tarragon.
While the lobster and shrimp shells boiled in the water, I chopped up a bunch of purple potatoes and microwaved them for a minute, then set them aside.
I made a roux for the chowder using lots of butter and flour, making sure the flour was cooked to a golden brown, then poured the water that the fish cooked in through a strainer and over the roux. I added the potatoes and a cup of Chardonnay, brought it all to a boil, then lowered the heat to a simmer.
Toward the end of cooking, I added the fish and a few cups of frozen peas and waited until everything was nice and hot. After serving up the chowder in bowls, I streamed in light cream until the soup had a nice creaminess to it.
Sadly, purple potatoes were not the best choice from an aesthetic point of view. They lent a gray tinge to the soup which was mostly fixed after I added the cream. Luckily the color didn’t affect the taste at all. The soup was light with bursts of shrimp, lobster, and haddock flavors, not fishy, just mild and sweet. The fennel gave it a slight anise flavor and reminded me of Bouillabaisse, one of my favorite meals.
My husband definitely appreciated the pick-me-up, and the mood in our house was a little more cheerful and relaxed. There are countless things I love about food, and one of those things is most definitely how it can be used to take care of other people.
What do you love about food? What is your favorite pick-me-up when you are down?
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