World Peace Chocolate Chip Cookies

World Peace Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ever had the strongest urge to eat something sweet and chocolatey, and absolutely nothing in the pantry or refrigerator fit the bill?

It would have been a LOT worse had there not been a bag of chocolate chips leftover from the holidays.  And a vacuum sealed bag of cocoa powder that hasn’t seen the light of day in over a year.

That also speaks of the cobwebs and dust piling up around here…

It’s not like the days magically grew an extra hour or two to accommodate the growing demands of the day job, running practice, the house and all the other curveballs life throws.

But you know, those cravings… they cover all the things we love and want to do, not just eat.  Sometimes you just have to plug in the stand mixer and start measuring. And sit down in front of the laptop, and let it flow out. Whatever it is.

World Peace Chocolate Chip Cookies

World Peace Cookies – a Dorie Greenspan classic – is a dark chocolate shortbread cookie laced with semisweet chocolate chips and sea salt.  As a group, we baked a version included in Around My French Table – the cocoa sablés.  After quickly flipping through my friend Liz’s blog – which hosts many incredible chocolate recipes – I realized this was not time to try a full new recipe.  My favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe got a quick makeover with cocoa powder and a smidge extra salt. Voilá: World Peace chocolate chip cookies!

World Peace Chocolate Chip Cookies

The original cookie recipe uses 1 1/4 cup of all purpose flour.  I swapped 1/4 cup for the cocoa powder and added an extra tablespoon of flour to the dry ingredients. On a whim, a teaspoon of powdered peanut butter made its way to the dough. It probably brought out the saltier notes in the cookie.  If you don’t have any powdered peanut butter, it’s not a big deal.  The cookies turn out crunchy after resting for an hour on a cooling rack.

World Peace Chocolate Chip Cookies

Curried Grass-Fed Beef Shanks #CaboRojoSteaks

curried grass-fed beef shanks

It’s hard avoiding all the negative – and sadly true – news coming out of Puerto Rico this summer.  Countless articles explain how the government borrowed beyond its means during the last four decades and the reasoning behind many families leaving the island in record numbers since the 1950s.  Not as many articles have been written about the creative ways some Puerto Ricans are trying to solve some of our more pressing issues, like economic growth and sustainability.  And there are many people who are leading the way down that road through entrepreneurship and collaboration.  We – as a society – need to get through our thick skulls (and sluggish butts) that supporting these local products (and the businesses that consume them) is crucial for our economic recovery.

Let’s go to the mall Plaza del Mercado today

We found out about Cabo Rojo Steaks, a local grass-fed cattle ranch operation, through a friend.  Their Providencia Ranch is located in Cabo Rojo, a town in the Southwestern corner of the island, but they have a retail operation at the Santurce Plaza del Mercado.  Their cattle is fully grass-fed, free range, and humanely raised for eighteen months.  The Cabo Rojo Steaks product line includes everything – from the traditional steaks cuts, beef stew chunks, and churrascos to bones for stock, heart, tongue, liver… it’s all available at the Placita or by special order.  All of their cuts are portioned and vacuum sealed for easy selection and storage.

Cabo Rojo Steaks Ribeye Steaks

Cabo Rojo Steaks Grass Fed Ribeye Steak

Prior to cooking these steaks, I did not have experience working with grass-fed beef.  Beef from grass-fed, free range cattle is leaner than the varieties more commonly available in retail.  There is much less marbling, as you can see on the picture of the ribeye steak above.  To ensure the meat remains tender, it is best to cook it to medium temperature at most.  We coated these steaks in oil, salt and pepper just before tossing them over the hot coals.

Curry can’t be hurried

Grass-fed beef has a gamier flavor than corn fed varieties.  If you like lamb or goat, you would definitely enjoy the taste of grass-fed beef.  When we were looking at the different cuts at their counter at la Placita, I knew I wanted to marry the flavor of the beef with curry.  Curried goat stews are very popular all through the Caribbean.  Somewhere along curry’s journey from India (through Britain) to the West Indies its flavor mellowed out, it met a tomato or two, and obtained its own culinary identity.

curried grass-fed beef shanks

Browned beef shanks ready for braising in the coconut, curry and tomato sauce.

local organic cayenne peppers

Local organic cayenne peppers from Desde Mi Huerto. For a milder taste, scrape out the seeds and membranes. For full on heat add the whole chopped pepper to the pot while sweating the onions.

This curry recipe would work well with short ribs, beef stew chunks, boneless skinless chicken thighs, and of course the shanks (osso buco).   The smells that will come out of the oven while the beef braises… YUM!  Plan to make this recipe with plenty of time.  Prepping for the recipe and searing the beef takes approximately twenty minutes, and it the braising process requires two and a half hours.  It will be worth the time: the meat from the shanks will fall of the bone, and explode with flavor.  There will be plenty of sauce to soak up with white long grain rice, apio root puree, or mashed cauliflower.

curried grass fed beef shanks

Cabo Rojo Steaks has a retail outpost at the Placita de Santurce, operating at regular market hours from Monday through Saturdays.  All of the products featured in this article were purchased with our own funds.  We did not receive any compensation for writing this article or developing the curried grass-fed beef shanks recipe.

Thank you. And THE cookie recipe.

 

Some people leave their workplace quietly, without making much fuss.  Others are not granted the luxury to say goodbye to dear friends and colleagues when separated from their employment.  And many write a note, wishing everyone the best for their personal and professional lives.  Piecing together a letter in my head was easy.  I have nine years of lessons and friendships – sisterhood – under my belt and respect for the people I interacted with in a professional capacity. Read More…

Blueberry-Orange Coffee Cake

Blueberry-Orange Coffee Cake

To celebrate the end of the month, and just because it’s just so darned fun, we’re having a potluck breakfast at work.  Up until the last one we had in October, I would stop by the supermarket and buy fruit or other ready-made treat to add to the conference table.  For our second quarter’s gathering, I baked a pumpkin bundt cake that was well received by everyone.   When Nidal, our fearless organizer, rounded up everyone on Wednesday to organize today’s breakfast, he was quick to remind me about last time’s cake.  Darned flattery… Read More…

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