peanuts

spicy peanut carrot and cabbage salad

I’m sure that I’ve said this before, but one of my favorite little kitchen gadgets is a simple julienne peeler.

carrot and cabbage salad with spicy peanut dressing | Brooklyn Homemaker

The one I have is a sturdy dishwasher-safe stainless model by Kuhn Rikon that I found at Whisk for about $20, but there are a lot of other options out there on the market. The basic idea is sort of similar to a regular vegetable peeler, but with teeth running along the blade so that in one motion you end up with perfectly julienned strips of whatever you’re using it on.

carrot and cabbage salad with spicy peanut dressing | Brooklyn Homemaker

I’ve also used vegetable spiralizers that produce similar results, and while spiral slicers offer more options and variation, my julienne peeler is sturdier, smaller, and cheaper than even the smallest handheld spiral slicer.

Although it has tons of uses, my favorite use for this nifty little guy is to peel strips of carrot for salads, slaws, asian dishes, and garnishes.

carrot and cabbage salad with spicy peanut dressing | Brooklyn Homemaker

Now that the weather is warming up I’ve been looking for light summery (I know we’re not quite there yet, but a man can dream) salads and cold dishes to eat on hot days. One of my favorite warm weather meals is a soba noodle salad with lots of veggies and a spicy peanut dressing.

carrot and cabbage salad with spicy peanut dressing | Brooklyn Homemaker

I was thinking about making that very dish, it’s one that I make a variation on at least once or twice every summer, but I thought it might be fun to try it without the noodles this time. Instead of the cold soba noodles I opted for long thin julienned strips of fresh carrot, and thinly shredded savoy cabbage.

carrot and cabbage salad with spicy peanut dressing | Brooklyn Homemaker

If you’re looking to add a little extra protein to this salad I think that laying some thinly sliced grilled chicken breast or lean steak over the top makes for a gorgeous presentation. To make things even simpler, you could just pull the meat off of a store bought rotisserie chicken and toss it all together with the other ingredients. My local grocery store recently started doing air-chilled organic chickens on their rotisserie too, which I think is a really nice option to have. Easy, delicious, and good quality!

If you wanted to keep the salad vegetarian, I think some roasted chickpeas would also be a really nice option!

carrot and cabbage salad with spicy peanut dressing | Brooklyn Homemaker

Added protein or not, this salad is pretty stellar.

The cabbage and carrot softens ever so slightly but still offers a pleasant crunch in every bite. The peanut dressing is thick and creamy and ever so slightly spicy and tangy from the vinegar and lime juice. The green onions and basil add even more green earthiness and flavor, and the toasted peanuts add great texture and flavor. It’s the perfect meal for the warm weather to come, and keeps well for a day in the refrigerator if you want to pack it for lunch. It would also be the perfect make-ahead meal for a picnic!
If you do decide to make it ahead, just be sure to wait to add the toasted peanuts until serving or they can absorb the oils in the dressing and lose their crunch.

carrot and cabbage salad with spicy peanut dressing | Brooklyn Homemaker

Carrot and Cabbage Salad with Spicy Peanut Dressing

Dressing:
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter (reduced sugar or sugar free is best)
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon honey (optional)
2 teaspoons sriracha sauce
1 garlic clove, finely minced or crushed
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, finely grated
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus wedges of an additional lime for serving

Salad:
4 cups thinly shredded savoy cabbage, loosely packed (about half a head)
3 cups julienned or shredded carrots, loosely packed (about 4-6 large carrots)
1/2 cup scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, sliced or torn
1/4 cup unsalted peanuts, toasted or pre-roasted

Combine all dressing ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk until smooth and lump free. If using sweetened peanut butter, taste before adding the honey.

Combine the salad ingredients in a large bowl. If making ahead, reserve the peanuts and wait to add until just before serving. Pour the dressing over the top of the salad and toss like mad until well combined. It may seem like there isn’t enough dressing but the cabbage will begin to wilt once tossed and the dressing will stretch. Of course, if you like a heavily dressed salad you can increase the dressing recipe. Serve with lime wedges if desired

Salad will keep, refrigerated and well covered, for at least a day.

If desired, top with thinly sliced lean steak or chicken breast, or toss with pulled rotisserie chicken meat or roasted chickpeas.

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cowboy cookies

You probably don’t know this, but there’s a big sports thing happening tomorrow. It’s called the Super Bowl.

cowboy cookies | Brooklyn Homemaker

I’m not at all a sports fan, especially when it comes to football, but I sure as hell am a food fan. The Super Bowl is an event that manages to combine food and sports in a big way. Actually, it’s the only sporting event I can think of that inspires people to go completely crazy when it comes to food. Some people put more effort into their Super Bowl spread than they do Thanksgiving dinner, and for the past week or more there have been recipes for chicken wings and dips and sandwiches and all kinds of indulgences coming at me from all angles. The 7 layer dip has turned into a 40 layer dip, and the cold cut tray has been replaced by the “snackadium.” If you’re not already in the know, a snackadium is a football-stadium-shaped buffet with sandwiches, chips, pretzels, chicken wings, et al as the stands, guacamole as the playing field, and other dips as the end zones. I mean, I love buffalo wings as much as the next guy, but the idea of spending that much time, money and effort on a sandwich platter is ludicrous to me. Especially since I don’t even care about watching the game. I’ll save that effort for Thanksgiving, thankyouverymuch.

cowboy cookies | Brooklyn Homemaker

The one and only time I’ve tried to get involved in the chaos was when I was really young. So young in fact, that I can’t even remember who was playing that year. I think it must have been 1994, the second year in a row that the Buffalo Bills played, and lost, against the Dallas Cowboys. Since I grew up in upstate New York, the Bills playing in the Super Bowl was a big deal. I remember though, that that that year I was rooting for the Cowboys because they had prettier cheerleaders. That’s how my gay little head worked back then (and still does). The one thing I definitely can remember about that year is that all the men in my family were really excited and I wanted to participate in any way that I could. So, instead of learning more about football and getting excited about the actual game, I decided to make a cake with my grandmother. In the spirit of the snackadium that wouldn’t even be invented for at least another decade, I wanted my cake to look like a football field. We colored the icing green, used a squeeze tube of white icing gel to make lines on the field, and used appropriately colored m&ms as the players.

cowboy cookies | Brooklyn Homemaker

I was beaming with pride when we piled into the truck, cake in hand, to go to dad’s friend’s house to watch the game. As you can probably imagine, my dad’s friends were not half as interested in my cake as they were the snoozefest happening on the TV. Try as I might, I couldn’t get into the game itself, and was bored to tears. There are too many weird rules in football for me to be able grasp what was supposed to be going on, and trying to make sense of this game made me sleepy. The evening wasn’t a total loss for me though, there was cake to eat after all.

cowboy cookies | Brooklyn Homemaker

Fast forward twenty years, and all the hype is getting to me again. Every day on TV we’re inundated with game day recipes and snackadium how-to’s. Even the food section of Pinterest is getting in on the action. So, even though I have no intention of watching the game (There are SVU and Sex in the City marathons on), I decided to give in and make something salty, indulgent, and decidedly unhealthy. Russell is out of his mind and doesn’t like chicken wings, so I figured I’d go for something sweet. I found exactly what I was looking for in one of my favorite cookbooks, Baked Explorations, written by the owners of Baked in Red Hook.

Cowboy cookies!

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These cookies have it all! Chocolate, sweet, salty, crunchy, chewy. They’re pretty darned amazing. These are basically gussied up oatmeal cookies, but they’re crazy good and chock full of all kinds of fun stuff. I understand that there are a lot of different versions of this cookie, some with peanut butter, some with coconut, some with pecans or walnuts. To be honest though, I’ve never had any of those versions. This is my first crack at a cowboy cookie, but I think this recipe is perfect without being over the top. These cookies have chocolate chunks, salty pretzels, crunchy roasted peanuts, and even coffee!!!  I added the peanuts to the recipe myself because I recently had some “cowboy bark” that encased chocolate cookies, peanuts and pretzels together in chocolate. Wowzah. So I thought they’d be welcome addition to this crazy mix.

cowboy cookies | Brooklyn Homemaker

I was kind of wondering exactly why they were called “cowboy cookies” and I tried to find the origins of this cookie, but wasn’t really able to find any history. The one thing I was able to turn up is the idea that they’re basically a cookie version of trail mix. Whatever the origins are, I’m glad that someone thought this cookie up.

If you’re making these cookies for a crowd, you can make them ahead, but be careful. You’re going to want to eat them all before anyone shows up. I’ve said this before, but using a cookie scoops makes baking cookies so much easier. It makes your cookies look more professional because they’ll be perfectly round and will all be the same size, and they’ll also bake more evenly. I used a #24 scoop for this recipe, which works out to be about 3 tablespoons of dough per cookie.

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Cowboy Cookies

  • Servings: makes about 32 cookies
  • Print
Adapted from Baked Explorations

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups rolled oats
14 tbsp (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp instant Espresso powder
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup roasted peanuts
1 cup salted pretzel sticks, broken into tiny pieces but not crushed into dust.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the oats and stir to combine.
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment , beat the butter and sugars together until smooth and creamy. Add the egg and egg yolk, beating until the mixture looks light and fluffy. Scrape down the sides and the bottom of the bowl, add the vanilla, and beat for 5 seconds. Dissolve the espresso powder  in 1/4 cup hot water and add it to the bowl, mixing until combined.
Add half of the dry ingredients and mix for 15 seconds. Add the remaining dry ingredients and beat until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and fold in the chocolate chips, peanuts and pretzel pieces. Cover the bowl tightly and refrigerate the dough for at least 4 hours.

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Use a cookie scoop to get 3 tablespoon-size balls (I used a #24 portion scoop) and place the dough balls onto the prepared baking sheet about 1 inch apart. Use the palm of your hand to press the dough down lightly; don’t smash the cookie-you just want to slightly flatten the ball.
Bake for 11 to 13 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time, until the edges of the cookies are golden brown or just start to darken.
Set the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes to cool. Use a spatula to transfer the cookies on the rack to cool completely. They can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days.