Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies

Picnic Week: Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies

Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

The long weekend is so close, I can almost taste it. School is ending. It seems the sun is finally shining on the mainland. Summer is about to arrive. It’s calling to you to get out and enjoy a feast on a blanket.

Here are a few quick do’s and don’t’s for your picnic.

  • Do invite all your friends. Especially if their parents own the best Chinese restaurant in town.
Hee Hing Snack Box of Awesomeness
Hee Hing has my favorite maunapua!
  • Don’t put your grill on a plastic picnic table. That’s just ruins it for everyone else.
  • Do put your wine or cocktail in your Starbucks reusable cup. It’s more stylish, more discreet, and it doesn’t waste plastic. And it has a lid, in case you get carried away.
  • Don’t leave a mess. You’re not Don and Betty Draper. Also, if you live in a city, there’s probably someone hanging around who would be happy to have your recyclables and any leftover food. They need it more than you.
  • Do pick a spot with a view of the epic South Shore swell. (Actually, anywhere beautiful will do.)

South Shore Swell

And most definitely DO bring giant chocolate chip cookies. There’s nothing like watching people’s eyes light up when you show them the size of these babies. It doesn’t matter what age they are; they’re excited. This is my go to chocolate chip cookie. It’s soft and dense in the center and loaded with chocolate.

I love this recipe by who else, Nigella Lawson. My favorite thing is that it’s made with melted butter, so you don’t have to plan ahead. The only thing her recipe was missing is a nice fat pinch of salt. Trust me. It’s essential to making these cookies taste like heaven.

Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies

 

I hope your long weekend is filled with laughter and sunshine, and I hope it tastes like cookies.

Giant Chocolate Chip Cookies
Yields 15
A dense and chocolaty cookie nearly the size of your face
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 150 grams (2/3 cup) butter
  2. 125 grams (5/8 cup) brown sugar
  3. 100 grams (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
  4. 2 tsp vanilla extract
  5. 1 egg
  6. 1 egg yolk
  7. 300 grams (2-1/2 cups) flour
  8. 1/2 tsp baking soda
  9. 1-1/2 tsp salt
  10. 326 grams (12 ounces) chocolate chips (I like to mix it up with milk, semi-sweet, and dark chocolate. Whatever you have on hand.)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 340 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Melt the butter and let it cool for a bit. I use the microwave in 30 second intervals. Get it all melted, then go check Facebook for 10 minutes.
  3. Put the brown and white sugar in a mixing bowl, then pour the melted butter over them and beat them together with your mixer or a strong arm.
  4. Add the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk and beat until creamy and smooth.
  5. Slowly mix in the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  6. Finally, fold in the chocolate.
  7. Using your 1/4 cup measure, scoop out the cookie dough onto your parchment-lined baking sheet. Give them plenty of space to spread out. I make mine six at a time. You may need to stash your dough in the fridge between batches.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes. Let cool on the pan for five minutes, then remove to a wire rack to cool.
  9. Pack them up to share with friends. They’ll be so impressed.
Adapted from Kitchen by Nigella Lawson
http://awesomeon20.com/
 

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Southwest Pasta Salad

Picnic Week: Southwest Pasta Salad

Southwest Pasta Salad

There are a few things you need in order to have a totally awesome picnic. Plenty of food is a no-brainer. Also, don’t forget the wine, and/or beer, and/or cider. And bring all of your awesome friends because that makes everything perfect. Here are a few more things to check off your list.

  1. A big tablecloth for covering the possibly gross picnic table in the park, or to use as a big picnic blanket if you can’t get a table.
  2. Cups for discreet sipping of adult beverages.
  3. Matches to light the grill.
  4. A corkscrew (unless you brought screw top wine which I do all the time)
  5. Plates, napkins, and utensils. (I’ve forgotten forks before.)
  6. Condiments because that’s what makes stuff extra awesome.

Southwest Pasta Salad

You should also probably bring along this Southwest Pasta Salad. It totally rocks. It’s simple, bright, delicious, and a bit spicy. That’s where it’s at!

I love this recipe because it’s unexpected. It’s also brilliant for a picnic because it can be made ahead of time. In fact, it’s even better after it’s had a chance to sit in the fridge for a day. Black beans, corn, green onions, and bell peppers, combined with a spicy lime dressing, take this recipe above and beyond your normal every day pasta salad.

It also never hurts to have a vegetarian dish at your picnic. You never know who might stop by.

Pack your picnic basket with plenty of flavors. Trust me. It’s awesome.

Southwest Pasta Salad

Southwest Pasta Salad
Serves 6
A spicy take on pasta salad
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Total Time
30 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 pound small pasta (I used penne because it was in my pantry)
  2. zest of 2 limes
  3. 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  4. 1/2 bell pepper, diced
  5. 3 green onions, chopped (I use scissors)
  6. 1/2 cup frozen corn
  7. 1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
for the dressing
  1. 6 Tbsp lime juice (I combine the juice from the fresh limes I zested with some from the squeezy lime-shaped bottle. Nigella does it, so it’s okay.)
  2. 1/4 cup cider or rice vinegar (really whatever’s in your pantry will probably work)
  3. 4 cloves garlic, minced
  4. 1-1/2 tsp chili powder
  5. 1 tsp cumin
  6. 1/2 tsp coriander
  7. 1/2 tsp salt
  8. 2 tsp sugar
  9. 3/4 cup oil (I used olive oil)
Instructions
  1. Cook your pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, according to the time on the package. Drain
  2. Zest your lime into the bottom of a large mixing bowl.
  3. Add the black beans, bell pepper, green onion, corn, and cheese. Stir to combine.
  4. Add the pasta and stir it up.
  5. The easiest way to make the dressing is to combine all the ingredients in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Give it a good shake until the oil has mixed in.
  6. Pour the about 2/3 of the dressing over your salad and give it a stir. If you want more, add it. If not, save it for something awesome later.
  7. Allow the salad to chill in the fridge for at least an hour, but overnight is even better.
  8. Best served under puffy clouds.
Adapted from Our Best Bites
Adapted from Our Best Bites
http://awesomeon20.com/
 

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burger with pasta salad

Picnic Week: Burgers

burger with pasta salad

Do you love to entertain? Do you live in a tiny duplex without a dining room table? Yeah, me too. I have an easy and beautiful solution. Invite all your friends on a picnic and entertain outdoors in the park.

It really couldn’t be easier. We brought everything we needed on our two scooters. We have a small cheap gas grill that’s easy to transport. I’ve seen people at the park who seem to bring half their kitchen with them, and that’s awesome for them. I’m much too lazy for all that, and it’s certainly not necessary. Everything you need for an awesome picnic can be carried by two people in one trip.

Whatever you do, make sure you have the making of an excellent burger. There’s nothing like a cheeseburger hot off the grill. It’s probably my favorite food. We even served cheeseburgers at our wedding.

burger

If I persuade you to do one thing, it would be to walk away from the prefab patty. Do NOT eat those things. Making your own burgers is simple and at least eight million times better then those hockey pucks in the freezer section. You can season them anyway you like and the possibilities are endless.

Here are a few tips for outstanding burger action. First, fat is your friend. Be sure to buy ground beef that’s at least 15% fat. The good news is, the 80/20 stuff is usually the cheapest. Next, don’t go light on the seasonings. Give it a couple extra shakes. It’ll be fine. Finally, go ahead and pay the extra dollar for the good buns. It’s totally worth it.

Feeding Friends

If you haven’t gone on a picnic in a while, plan one right away. It’s a great way to spend time with your friends without having to clean up your kitchen. Plus, if you’re lucky, the view can be stunning.

Queen's Beach

Burgers
Serves 6
A basic burger to get your picnic going
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1-1/3 pounds (one package) ground beef 80/20
  2. Approx 1 tsp (several shakes) of the following
  3. salt
  4. pepper
  5. onion powder
  6. garlic powder
  7. chili powder
  8. cayenne
  9. dried oregano
  10. 1 Tbsp chili sauce
  11. 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  12. 1 egg, lightly beaten
  13. 1/4 cup bread crumbs (eyeball it, enough to soak up the liquid)
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients with your hands.
  2. Divide the mixture into 4 to 6 patties. Press them together firmly, but make sure not to pack it too tightly. Work quickly and handle the meat as little as possible to make sure it’s nice and juicy.
  3. Store your burgers in the fridge until it’s time to grill.
  4. Grill over medium high heat for about six to eight minutes a side.
  5. Top with all your favorite toppings and stuff your face.
Notes
  1. This is more of a method than a recipe. You can add your favorite seasonings and flavors, but here’s what I put in my favorite burgers.
http://awesomeon20.com/
 

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