Chili Chocolate Chip Cookies and Freezing Dough

I just made four giant batches of chocolate chip cookie dough.  I’m not having a party or eating 50 cookies tonight.  I promise.  I only baked up about 20 cookies.  The rest of the dough, I froze so that I can make up some yummy homemade cookies at a moment’s notice.  I used the recipe on the back of the package of chocolate chips but you should be able to freeze any cookie recipe like this.

I laid down a square of aluminum foil and then a square of wax paper to put the dough in.

I know, that’s not the most reusable and eco-friendly option, but I used 100% recycled aluminum foil and plan on recycling it again (aluminum can be recycled an infinite number of times).

I then put about as much dough as commercial frozen cookie dough has and rolled it up.  I taped a piece of paper with baking instructions on each roll and stuck them in the freezer.  The last batch, I baked up for us to eat now!

In a moment of inspiration, I added chopped up cayenne pepper to a little bit of the chocolate chip cookie dough and baked them as normal.  They are really good.  Just spicy enough to compliment the chocolate and sugar but not too spicy so you can’t taste anything else. I used one small dried cayenne pepper for about 8 of the cookies that I made.  I just chopped it up into small pieces and added it when you add the chocolate chips.  I will definitely keep this in mind for when I thaw out some of our frozen dough.

What other unique mix-ins do you like to put in chocolate chip cookies?

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Black King Pasta Sauce

One of the types of tomatoes we planted this year is a variety called Black King tomatoes.  They ripen to a deep purple color and have a unique and complex taste.  We decided to use a bunch of them to make some pasta sauce.  Excepting the basil leaves (which we got at the most recent food swap) everything in the sauce is from our garden.

Black King Pasta Sauce

5-6 black king tomatoes

1 green bell pepper

1/2 of one red cayenne pepper

2-3 green onion lengths

a few leaves fresh basil

Chop everything coarsely and put in a large pot.  Heat over medium heat and semi crush the tomatoes.  I used a potato masher but you could also just use the back of a spoon.  How much you crush it is the difference between chunky and thinner sauce.  Cooking it longer will make a thinner sauce too.  I made the sauce a few days in advance and stored it in a recycled store pasta sauce jar in the fridge.

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We poured it over whole wheat pasta and topped with parmesan cheese.  It was good.  It convinced the hero that he wanted to grow black king tomatoes again next year.

Do you grow any unique tomato varieties?

Spicy Pulled Pork in Slow Cooker

I decided to experiment with slow cooking a pork loin for the hero’s first father’s day.  It turned out really well.  In the morning I mixed up a bunch of stuff in the blender and used it plus some water as the liquid in the slow cooker.  I put carrots down at the bottom and put the pork loin (after I had trimmed of the surface fat) on top.  The I poured the liquid on, sprinkled some paprika on, and set it to cook on the low setting for about 8 hours.  It was really good.  Here’s the recipe for the liquid.

Spicy Pulled Pork

2 scotch bonnet peppers

1 orange bell pepper

1 clove garlic

1 green cayenne pepper (from our garden)

3 onion greens (from our garden)

3 sprigs of cilantro (also from our garden)

Splash of chicken broth to get it going in the blender

Blend all these things together.  I took off the dry stems of the peppers and then just blended them whole.  I had to put the chicken broth in to have some liquid in my blender before the produce got liquified.

Then I put carrots from the farmer’s market on the bottom of the slow cooker, trimmed the surface fat off the pork loin and put it in the slow cooker.  I poured the blended liquid on and then added water until the pork was mainly covered.  Then I realized I had forgotten to add paprika so I sprinkled some on top and closed the lid.  I left it on the low setting for 8 hours and did everything else for 8 hours but cook.  I love my slow cooker!

We had the pork and carrots for dinner and it was so good.  The meat was spicy and tender.  It just fell apart when we picked it up out of the slow cooker.  The carrots were even better, it went together so well that if I made this again I would add carrot to the pureed liquid.  It would go great with a citrus beer or maybe just lime juice.

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Salsa Verde: Completely Homegrown

I like the idea about dishes made completely from items from my garden.  I have dreams of a variety of things, but the main thing is salsa.  The hero and I love salsa and spicy food in general.  Thus the ghost pepper plant.  In fact, the main reason I wanted to start gardening was to grow my own salsa.  I wanted tomatoes, green onions, hot peppers, and cilantro.  And that’s where my garden started.  It has since grown (pun intended) to include many more types of plants.

Anyways, I made my first completely homegrown salsa today.  I couldn’t quite wait for the red tomatoes that I normally use, so I decided to try it with green tomatoes.  I’ve never done anything with green tomatoes, I don’t even think I’ve ever even eaten fried green tomatoes  So I wasn’t totally sure how it would turn out, but they are surprisingly tasty.

So I picked three green tomatoes, two sprigs of cilantro, one big onion green, and one still green cayenne pepper (I also added one I had picked a few days ago).

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To make the salsa I basically chopped everything up and mixed it together.  Easy, delicious, and healthy.

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We ate it on Melba toast and it tasted very fresh.  The minion even had some with the hot peppers removed.  She seemed to like it, but it was a little hard for her to pick up.  The green tomatoes didn’t have as much liquid as the red tomatoes that I’m used to, so the salsa was lacking that a bit.  My dad suggested pureeing a bit of the green tomato to add the liquid.  Give it a try, and let us know how your green tomato salsa turns out.