Tonight the latest Beauregard Parish Master Gardeners "graduated" and received their badges and certificates.
This year a family style potluck dinner was planned, and that was a great idea. Not one person was responsible for the refreshments, and we had everything from store bought fruit trays to whipped cream jello salad (regional tradition) to delicious brisket to "dirty rice" to eggplant dishes.
The dessert table was not terribly interesting or full, but that is not really so bad. We all eat too many sweets, anyway.
My raised bed veggie garden is producing lovely eggplants, so I came up with my version of Eggplant Ziti. I did not have ground meat for a ragu sauce, so I "skinned" a package of Italian sausages and fried that meat mixture up to add to my tomato sauce. The eggplants got the sliced and oven broiled treatment along with garlic, onion, and green peppers. With the shredded cheese and rigatoni noodles I bought at Dollar General this morning, I prepared each layer of my eggplant noodle casserole and baked it right before we had to leave for the graduation.
My hub rigged up a special styrofoam bed to transport the "fresh hot out of the oven" dish on the back seat of our pickup truck. I am not a willing cook, but my casserole was not bad. We even had a second helping before I put the leftovers into the fridge. Yummy leftovers for tomorrow night! Yes!
Since our Master Gardeners are often busy with composting, I ran across a recipe for Compost Cookies that I could not resist. My dozen cookies were a hit at the potluck. Here is my recipe:
Easy Compost Cookies
1 package mix for Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 stick of unsalted butter (soft, but not melted)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon dry fresh coffee grounds
1/2 cup pretzels
1/2 cup potato chips
1/2 cup broken walnuts
Mix all ingredients together with a spoon. ( I finally used my hands!)
Use an ice cream scoop to form balls and place in freezer for an hour.
Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Place cookie balls at least 2 inches apart on a non-greased cookie sheet or silicone liner.
Bake for about 13 minutes. Do not over-bake. Keep an eye on the cookies.
Let cookies cool and then enjoy.
(If you want the "real" Compost Cookies NYC recipe, just Google it. And next time I plan to add dried cranberries, my favorite dried fruit!)
Or try this recipe:
Makes: About 15-20 Cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, at Room Temperature
1 cup Sugar
2/3 cup Light Brown Sugar
2 tablespoons Glucose (Can be omitted if you are unable to find/purchase it)
½ teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
1 1/3 cups All Purpose Flour
½ teaspoon Baking Powder
¼ teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Salt
¾ cup Mini Chocolate Chips
½ cup Butterscotch Chips (The recipe calls for mini, but I only could find normal-sized)
¼ recipe (1/2 cup) Graham Cracker Crust, Recipe Below
1/3 cup Old Fashioned Oats
2 ½ teaspoons Ground Coffee
2 cups Potato Chips (I used Salt and Vinegar Flavored Kettle Chips)
1 cup Mini Pretzels
Graham Cracker Crust (Full Recipe, 2 cups)
1 ½ cups Graham Cracker Crumbs
¼ cup Milk Powder
2 tablespoons Sugar
¾ teaspoon Salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) Unsalted Butter, Melted and Cooled
¼ cup Heavy Cream
To make the graham cracker crust, stir together the graham cracker crumbs, milk powder, sugar, and salt. Whisk together the melted butter and heavy cream, and add it to the graham cracker mixture. Stir the mixture until the wet ingredients are fully incorporated and the mixture is moist enough to hold its shape. If it is still too dry, add 1 more tablespoon of melted butter. Be sure not to add too much butter, as you don’t want it super wet, just moist enough to form small clusters. Set aside until needed to make the cookies.
To make the compost cookies, beat together the butter, sugar, brown sugar, and glucose in the bowl of a stand mixer until light and creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and vanilla and beat on medium-high speed for 7 minutes.
Reduce the speed to low, and with the mixer running, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Beat until the ingredients are fully incorporated and the dough comes together; be careful not to over-mix the dough.
Scrape down the sides of the bowl, and then add the chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, graham cracker crust, oats, and coffee. Mix on low, just until the ingredients are incorporated. Add the pretzels and potato chips and quickly mix on low speed until they have scattered throughout the dough. Be sure not to mix too long because you don’t want to break up the pretzels and potato chips too much.
Using an ice cream scoop, or a 1/3 cup measuring cup, scoop rounds of dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Pat down the dough until the round tops becomes flat. Don’t worry about placing the cookies to close together, you will move them and space them apart after they chill. Cover the baking sheet in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to chill for 1 hour. If you in a rush (like I normally am), you can place the baking sheet in the freezer for 30 minutes. Don’t skip this step of chilling the dough because the cookies will not bake properly.
When the cookies have chilled, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line 2-3 more baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. Remove the cookies from the refrigerator, or freezer, and transfer them to the prepared baking sheets, being sure to space them at least 4-inches apart.
Bake the cookies until they have spread and turned a light-golden brown, about 17-20 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool completely on the baking sheets. Enjoy immediately, or transfer to a sealed container to enjoy later. These last up to 5 days in a sealed container.