Plink! Plink!

I love the sound of canning-jar lids sealing themselves. :)

I finally got to put up salsa today. I’ve been waiting all summer for my tomatoes to produce enough fruit to do the job, and with monsoon season apparently behind us, the vines have perked up a little and the fruit is starting to ripen instead of just rotting on the vine. If I could keep the birds from taking bites out of my pretty Creoles, I think I’d get a fairly decent crop. I can’t really blame the birds, though. A ripe homegrown tomato is pretty hard to resist.

I put up a gallon of salsa in pint jars. One of the jars refused to seal, which means I need to pick up chips tomorrow. :) My salsa recipe is here. I followed basically the same recipe tonight, except I left off the cucumbers because I didn’t need them.

While I was cleaning out the stove drawer yesterday, I discovered a plate that belongs to my friend Linda, who left it here after a Ya-Ya party two years ago. I kept meaning to return it to her, but I had an idea I might fill it up with something lovely, and I never got around to it. Then I misplaced the plate and forgot about it until yesterday. I made a batch of Gilded Lilies to put on her plate before I return it to her this week. (Recipe below.)

I had a really productive day. In addition to canning and baking, I bought lumber, built two sets of shelves, finished reorganizing three closets, took a carload of stuff to Goodwill, bought some new clothes, ran the dishwasher, did a load of laundry, and now I’m getting ready to fold the laundry that’s scattered all over my bed so I can put my feet up and read a magazine. I have to run five miles and change Gretchen’s oil tomorrow.

Here’s the recipe for Gilded Lilies. I call them that because I started out with a basic chocolate-chip cookie recipe and then realized we were low on butter, so I substituted peanut butter for some of the butter in the recipe. Then I remembered I had some black walnuts in the freezer and some dried cranberries in the cabinet. Putting peanut butter in a chocolate-chip cookie recipe is already gilding the lily a little bit, but adding cranberries and black walnuts is just over the top. They turned out pretty great, though. Make a batch and see for yourself:

Gilded Lilies

1 tsp. baking soda
1 stick of butter, softened
3/4 c. peanut butter (I used creamy, but crunchy would probably work just as well)
2 large eggs (I substituted three small ones ‘cos our girls are still too young to produce big eggs)
1 c. firmly packed brown sugar
3/4 c. granulated sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1 bag Nestle semisweet mini-morsels
3/4 c. half-pulverized black walnuts
1 c. dried cranberries
2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 375. Soften the butter in the microwave. Stir in the peanut butter. Add the soda, sugars, and vanilla, stirring after each addition. Add the chocolate chips, walnuts, and cranberries. Mix well. Stir in the flour, a little at a time. (I use either a pastry cutter or my hands to mix in the flour.)

Roll into 1 1/4-inch balls. At this point, if you’re not afraid of salmonella — which I obviously am not, because A.) germs and cooties are against my religion, and B.) I cook with ridiculously fresh eggs that come from feisty, beautiful, well-cared-for hens who have never been sick a day in their lives — you could declare these “no-bakes,” roll them in powdered sugar, and store them in Tupperware in the refrigerator.

If you feel the need to bake them, place the balls on greased cookie sheets, flatten gently with a fork, and bake for about 10 minutes. Makes about 50 cookies.

Fresh salsa from homegrown tomatoes and cayenne peppers and cookies made with black walnuts from my mom’s tree and eggs we brought in from the chicken tractor this morning. We are so spoiled around here. If I’d been thinking on my feet, I’d have used some of our girls’ honey in the cookies, too. Maybe next time….

Emily

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5 Responses to Plink! Plink!

  1. jolynna says:

    It sounds as if you are getting a lot done. Your cookies sound good…I would never have thought of adding them, but I can tell from reading your blog that if you say something tastes good, it does.

    My husband has had walnut trees for years but he didn’t know how to harvest them until he met me. My mother always did it when I was growing up and I prefer the taste of black walnuts to English.

  2. I love black walnuts. We had a walnut tree in our backyard when I was little, and I grew up eating black walnuts in brownies, fruitcake, and cookies.

    I like to use them in salads. I make a really good winter salad out of baby spinach, sliced mushrooms, black olives, bleu cheese, and chopped black walnuts, with a very simple balsamic vinaigrette.

    It just occurred to me that you could probably make a killer pecan pie if you skipped the pecans and used black walnuts instead. Maybe I’ll try that. I think I still have another bag of walnuts in the freezer….

  3. M.T. Nester says:

    Black walnuts have a tendency to be over-powering. I tried a black walnut pie many years ago and decided I really didn’t want to do that again. I think it would make a very respectable pie-contest entry, though, if you substituted black walnuts for a third to half of the pecans in a conventional pecan pie recipe. I bet they would work well with sunflower kernels too, or English walnuts. They are just a mite too rambunctious to use all by themselves–sort of like what would happen if you let Scout call the shots at your house…

  4. [...] night, I canned a gallon of homemade salsa made from my heirloom tomatoes and peppers, and this evening, I’ll bake a blackberry cobbler [...]

  5. I bet a combination of English walnuts, black walnuts, and pecans would be terrific. You could add them to oatmeal pie and call it granola pie. :)

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