lemon

MeOhMy Cookies: The Best Chocolate Chip Cookie?

by Anne Maxfield on March 5, 2018

For a while, I’d given up my quest for the best chocolate chip cookie. All the ones I’d made were acceptable, and we ate them, but nothing had come up to the gold standard set a few years ago at a lunch for Blue Star Ranges.

However, that was about to change and right in my backyard, so to speak.

In the back of Jeanie Beans, our favorite lunch spot, there’s a whole cookie making operation going on.

Little did I know that Deb, the founder and creator of MeOhMy cookies, was turning out her delicious treats 10’ away from Jeanie’s delicious fish and chips.

I’d seen the bags of cookies there and almost grabbed one the other day in my search for chocolate chip nirvana (because, trust me, it’s not coming from my kitchen).

Hers are thin and crispy which, after much consideration, is how I like them. If you’re the thick and chunky tifosi, you can probably skip the rest of this piece (or just comment about how wrong I am).

She makes them in small batches, with local ingredients whenever possible. Besides the chocolate chip, there’s an oatmeal raisin crunch, a lemon sugar snap and a toffee almond with coconut.

Accidental Locavore MeOhMy Cookie The chocolate chip are my favorite and a Hudson Valley Best of winner. They’re thin with crunchy buttery edges, a perfect ratio of (good—Callibut) chocolate chips and a buttery goodness.

Supposedly, there is a hack on the Internet for warming up chocolate chip cookies in the microwave. Deb tried it at Jeanie Beans in her old and weak microwave for a minute and it was great (hey, what’s better than a warm chocolate chip cookie?). I tried it at home and in 33 seconds had a roaring fire burning in my microwave (and one less cookie). When Deb said she had tried it at home with the same results, I decided that they were fine just out of the bag!

Oatmeal raisin cookies are one of those cookies that have to prove themselves to me. Normally, I don’t like raisins sneaking around in things, but they’re called oatmeal raisin for a reason, so they get a pass. These might also vault up to the top of my list for oatmeal raisin. There’s something in them that does give you nice crunchy bits, along with the softer centers, a crispy edge and just enough raisins. That is of the two I managed to sneak away from my husband who after the first cookie, commandeered the rest of the bag.

The last of the ones I’ve tried are the lemon sugar snap. It’s the thickest of the three, with a nice buttery shortbread quality and a hint of lemon that enhances but doesn’t overwhelm the cookie. Deb says on her website that they’re “a perfect treat at the end of the day with a cup of tea” but why wait for the end of the day?

While the toffee almond with coconut sounds like it would be a true contender with the chocolate chip, sadly I’ve not tasted them because of an old nut allergy. Better safe than sorry, but they do look delicious!

You can order MeOhMy cookies on her website. If you go for the 4-bag assortment, you can mix and match to your heart’s content. There are also a number of stores in and around the Hudson Valley that carry them. Click here for a list of retailers.

Let me know what you think in the comments.

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What’s a Lemon LuLu Cake?

by Anne Maxfield on June 19, 2017

Accidental Locavore Lemon LuLu CakeI’d never heard of a Lemon LuLu Cake, but happily, that changed recently.

To me, there’s nothing better than a surprise package arriving on my doorstep with something delicious inside!

Sweet or savory, packages bearing food are always welcome!

Also great is finding out about something yummy that you didn’t even know existed.

Mother Myrick’s, of Manchester, Vermont, happily filled both those roles recently.

HudsonValleyEATS was contacted by Taylor, their PR person, who countered our (slight) objections that it wasn’t actually something from the Hudson Valley by saying, “but we ship to the Hudson Valley all the time.”

Keep him!

The goodies arrived the next day, perfectly packaged and in pristine shape—not a crumb out of place.

Accidental Locavore Lemon LuLu Cake PackagedThere was their signature Lemon LuLu Cake and a box of Buttercrunch.

It came with a lovely, hand-written card that turned out to be from a place I know up in Maine, so I was already inclined to like it.

The Lulu cake is a lemon pound cake. It’s a lovely, light, moist cake, with a lemon glaze and a sprinkling of confectioner’s sugar. I’m sure it would be great with some fresh berries and/or ice cream, but ours disappeared before it could be paired with anything except a fork.

If you were ever in need of an “emergency cake,” Lemon Lulu cake can be frozen, or you can just order one for next-day delivery. No need to turn on the oven all summer!

The Buttercrunch, another signature item, looked and smelled amazing.

Accidental Locavore ButtercrunchI say that because, sadly, I couldn’t taste them, so we have to take Janet’s word that they were really buttery and she liked it a lot!

There are lots of other goodies in their catalog or online, so if you have a hankering for something sweet and don’t feel like heating up the kitchen, just relax, shop and enjoy!

 

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Roasted Artichokes

by Anne Maxfield on April 27, 2017

Accidental Locavore Prepped ArtichokesArtichokes are one of my favorite vegetables!

I could eat them all the time and in any preparation.

When I saw this recipe in Saveur for roasted artichokes, it seemed like an easy way to fix them—just roast them for a while and enjoy.

This serves 3:

Roasted artichokes

  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • ¾ cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2–3 teaspoons crushed red chile flakes
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3 globe artichokes
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Accidental Locavore Artichokes Ready to RoastHeat oven to 500°.

In a medium bowl, whisk together oil, wine, oregano, chile flakes, garlic, and salt and pepper; set aside.

Cut 1″ off the top of each artichoke and gently pull leaves apart to open artichokes. Place them, standing up on their bases, in a small roasting pan or dish large enough to hold them in one layer.

Pour oil mixture over each artichoke, making sure it reaches in between all leaves. Cover with aluminum foil, and bake for 45 minutes.

Uncover, and bake, basting often with juices, until browned and tender, about 30 minutes more. Let cool for 10 minutes. Serve warm with pan juices and enjoy!

Accidental Locavore Roasted ArtichokesMy verdict: Sadly, not a winner.

I’m not sure if it was the artichokes or the recipe but they were tough. I used a 450° oven as I was roasting a chicken and didn’t think it would be a huge difference, but after 90 minutes, they were pretty leathery. I wrapped them and tossed them in the microwave to steam them for about 5 minutes and it made them edible.

There was too much taste from the red chile flakes and not enough from anything else so we used some stray hollandaise sauce to liven things up.

Here’s where I think things might have been improved: pre-steaming the artichokes in the microwave for 5 minutes and them roasting them as above.
Or, pre-steaming them, dousing them with the sauce (minus a few red chile flakes and maybe plus some lemon) wrapping them up in foil and tossing them directly in the fire of a charcoal grill.

Have you ever made artichokes this way? How did they turn out for you?

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Chicken Thighs With the Crispiest Skin Ever!

by Anne Maxfield on March 2, 2017

I know that saying this recipe gives you the crispiest chicken skin ever is going to be controversial.

Wait until you try it!

The Accidental Locavore cooked this recipe for Golden Chicken Thighs with Charred-Lemon Salsa Verde from Food and Wine last week for dinner. Feeds 6-8.

You need a little time for it to marinate, so plan ahead.

Chicken Thighs With the Crispiest Skin Ever!

Chicken:

  • 12 chicken thighs (bone-in, skin-on)
  • 24 sage leaves
  • 16 garlic cloves—6 cut into 4 slices each, the rest gently smashed and peeled
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 12 slices
  • Strips of zest from 2 lemons
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chopped oregano
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • 12 fresh bay leaves (optional) 

Salsa Verde: 

  • 1 lemon, cut into 1/2-inch slices and seeded
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped oregano
  • 1/4 cup chopped mint
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 anchovy fillet
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped drained capers
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Run your fingers under the skin of each chicken thigh to create a pocket. Stuff each pocket with 2 sage leaves, 2 slices of garlic and 1 slice of butter. Transfer the stuffed thighs to a large bowl.

In a small bowl, stir the lemon zest strips with the smashed garlic, olive oil, chopped herbs and crushed red pepper. Pour the mixture over the thighs and gently toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Preheat the oven to 450°. On a small baking sheet or oven proof dish, toss the lemon slices with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Spread the lemon slices in an even layer and bake for 16 to 18 minutes, until charred on the bottom. Transfer to a cutting board and let cool for 5 minutes. Chop the slices into 1/4“ pieces and set aside.

Leave the oven on.

In a mortar, or mini-chopper, mash the oregano and mint with the chopped garlic, anchovy, capers and 1 teaspoon of salt until a smooth paste forms. Slowly drizzle in the remaining 1/2 cup of olive oil. Stir in the chopped lemon a little at a time, to taste.

Heat a large ovenproof skillet, big enough to put the chicken in a single layer (or do it in batches) over medium heat. Season the thighs evenly with salt; remove the lemon zest and smashed garlic from the marinade and set aside. Arrange the chicken thighs skin-side down in the skillet. Cover it with another large pan or pot weighted down with a few heavy cans. Cook over moderate heat until the skin is golden brown and crisp, about 15 minutes.

Remove the weight and turn the chicken. Scatter the chicken with the reserved lemon zest, garlic and the bay leaves, if using. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through. Discard the bay leaves. Transfer the chicken to a platter, serve with the salsa verde and enjoy!

 

My verdict: As I said in the intro, we were shocked by how crispy the chicken skin was! I’m definitely going to try this the next time I make a roast chicken.

I used half the chicken (6 thighs), half the sage, garlic, butter and lemon zest but made the whole recipe for the marinade and salsa. Rosemary would work well under the chicken skin too.

I left out the parsley and the bay leaves and don’t think either of them was missed (not sure what would happen with dried bay leaves).  I also left out the thyme because I forgot to buy it – that would have been a nice addition. And I zested the lemon on my microplane rather than zesting it into strips.

In three months, all of these herbs will be growing in my garden, so this will definitely get made again (maybe on the grill).

Because the chicken was so good on its own, the salsa verde was a nice but unnecessary addition and might actually be better on some lamb or fish. I’d slice the lemons thinner next time and if I was doing it on the grill would definitely grill them.

 

 

 

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