Soft Sugar Cookies

IMG_5388Sometimes a cookie just needs to be a cookie.  It should immediately satisfy, and make you want at least one more.  These are not the chock-a-block full of nutrition ones that make sure you’re getting all your daily fibre & other requirements, because really, all you asked for was a cookie.  These are the big, soft sugar cookies of yesteryear.  No rolling pins, no hand painted delicacies.  Capped off with a swirl of velvety icing, these are simply a perfect blend of the basics, butter, sugar, eggs, and flour. They do well as a normal size cookie, and amaze as dessert size cookies.

IMG_5214 Experiment decorating with sparkly sugars, shimmery dusts, or weird little candy things.  Every theme has some sort of cooky sprinkles available.  I’ve used black & white cows, dolphins, and shoes, and all of them came in shaker bottles.  Strange, but true.

Have fun with these, let little hands roll the dough, these aren’t proud cookies, they’ll turn out well just because you want them to.  Continue reading

Basic Freezer Cookies (Blueberry & Pumpkin Seed Version)

IMG_5367These are excellent cookies to have on hand in your freezer.  They are easy to make, and quick to bake.  We used to make them every Christmas with nuts and cherries, and there is something so wonderful about their simplicity.  So often during the holidays we work to create little masterpieces, so it is lovely to be able to whip up something so good, so easily!  Actually, you could make them today, and bake them Christmas Eve! No muss, no fuss.

For this version, I’ve used dried blueberries, raw pumpkin seeds, and ground flax.  Five other versions follow the recipe.  But this is the type of cookie that does well with experitmentation, so let your creative juices flow! Continue reading

Cod Cakes with Zesty Mayo

IMG_5277It used to be that if we wanted fish for dinner, we’d simply go out in our dory and catch some.  We used to be happy with a couple of nice sized rockfish, thrilled if we got a snapper, and felt like we’d won the lottery if we brought in a good sized Lingcod.  We would cast a herring jig and slowly bring it back up to the boat.  If we didn’t get anything in half a dozen casts, we’d move to another place.  We only kept decent sized fish, because there was no point in keeping the littler ones. Those days are long gone.  For several years in a row in the mid-eighties, there was a fishboat that used to go up and down Stuart Channel, scraping up anything that was a bottom fish.  Unfortunately, it scraped up anything and everything.  Rockfish, Ling Cod, Snapper, and every other type of sea life.  This was before we knew about the late reproductive age of rock fish and lingcod.  Stocks are slowly returning, but most of our area is prime habitat for these fish, so it is usually closed to fishing, commercial or pleasure.

Stuart Channel - heading home.

Stuart Channel – heading home.

Now we buy our fish.  Sometimes we are lucky and are told of some  fresh caught halibut or salmon for sale, but more often than not, we buy our fish at a store.  I try to keep some in the freezer, as I only go to town once a week or so, and if that isn’t the day for fresh fish, I’m better off with frozen.

Our usual is wild caught Pacific Cod.  It is sustainable, and until we have North American farm-raised tilapia more readily available, I feel better with the cod.

We’re pretty happy eating fish grilled, baked, or pan-fried, but I’m a sucker for a good fish cake.  When I saw this recipe in Canadian Living it sounded so fresh and flavourful, I had to try it.  As usual, I couldn’t help but change a few things. Continue reading

French Apple Pie

IMG_4838We have six apple trees.  Some are more suited to this climate than others.  We usually get a good crops of Jonathans, Bramleys (my favourite) and Transparents.  There’s a young standard McIntosh that gives us a few apples to eat right off the tree, and a Cox’s Orange Pippin that graces us with a few beautiful apples each fall.  We also have an incredibly prolific Gala tree, that really doesn’t like our wet springs.  Some grow into perfect specimens, but mostly they go to the livestock.

There are years that we have hundreds of pounds of apples.  We store them covered with feed sacks, and usually they are still good for using in the early spring.  I try to get the transparents into sauce and pies quickly as they are ready at the start of August and only last a few days before getting mushy.  The rest keep beautifully.  Consequently, I don’t need to cook them up right away.  We still can have our own fresh apple pies in mid-winter.  Always a treat!

This topping is so quick, and gives you the best of both worlds, something like an apple crumble made into a pie. Continue reading

Sheila’s Lemon Bars

IMG_5209Everyone has a go-to dish for different events.  Our daughter has been making these lemon bars for as long as I can remember.  She’s shown how to make them to non-cooks, and delivers them happily to new moms, birthday folks, and as hostess gifts.  She’s figured out that they taste OK when done gluten free, to please her aunt.

This recipe is written in pencil on a small yellow index card from my first go at organizing my recipes (and those that were given to me by friends).  I share it with you as a fail-proof, yet always yummy treat, regardless of the time of year.  Although best when made with freshly squeezed lemon juice, they have been made many times with lemon juice from a bottle (no point in pretending we’re perfect, that jig was up long ago!) Continue reading