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Compost Cookies® Recipe Posted by Leah

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A few years ago Momofuku’s Milk Bar Compost Cookies® were taking the world by storm.  Pastry chef, Christina Tosi, took everyone’s favorite snacks and packaged them up in a simple, compact, magical treat.  EVERYONE was talking about them!  I, of course, printed out her recipe and then somehow I just never got them made.  I finally baked some up and my oh my are they worth the hype.  You scoop out 1/3 cup of dough per cookie so these things are HUGE.  They can be made smaller, and I might do that next time, but there’s something so exciting about holding a giant cookie in your hand.  Believe me when I say you want to try these.  As the LA Times® says, “You’ll never look at cookies the same way again.”©





Compost Cookies®

yield: 15 to 20 cookies




Graham mixture

1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs (3 full sheets)

1 Tbsp milk powder

1 1/2 tsp granulated sugar

1/8 tsp kosher salt

1 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted

1 Tbsp heavy cream


1 1/3 cups bread flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 tsp kosher salt

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup granulated sugar

2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed

1 Tbsp light corn syrup

1 egg

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

1/2 cup butterscotch chips

prepared graham mixture

1/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

2 1/2 tsp ground coffee

2 cups potato chips (thick ones that won’t break too much when mixing)

1 cup mini pretzels


Graham mixture

  1. Toss the graham crumbs, milk powder, sugar, and salt with your hands in a medium bowl to evenly distribute your dry ingredients.
  2. Whisk the butter and heavy cream together. add to the dry ingredients and toss again to evenly distribute. The butter will act as glue, adhering to the dry ingredients and turning the mixture into a bunch of small clusters.


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  2. Combine the butter, both sugars and corn syrup in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high speed for 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg and vanilla, and continue to beat for 7 to 8 minutes.
  3. Reduce mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture. Mix just until the dough comes together, no longer than 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula.

Still on low speed, add the chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, graham mixture, oats and coffee, and mix until just incorporated, about 30 seconds. Add the potato chips and pretzels and again, mix only until barely incorporated, 15 to 20 seconds.

  1. Using a ⅓-cup measuring cup portion out the dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Pat the tops of the cookie dough domes flat. Wrap the sheet pan tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or up to 1 week.
  2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Arrange the chilled dough a minimum of 4 inches apart on parchment- or Silpat-lined sheet pans (should be about 6 cookies per sheet).
  3. Bake for 18 minutes. The cookies will puff, crackle, and spread. After 18 minutes, they should be very faintly browned on the edges yet still bright yellow in the center. Give them an extra minute or so if that’s not the case.
  4. Cool the cookies completely on the sheet pans before serving or storing. The cookies can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 1 month.



Do not use instant coffee or espresso powder in place of the ground coffee, as it will dissolve into the cookies, which it is not intended to do.

Pretzel recommendation: Snyders® mini pretzels.

Potato chips recommendation: Cape Cod® potato chips.

This is what Christina Tosi says about her Compost Cookies®:

When I was a baker at a conference center on Star Island, twelve miles off the coast of New Hampshire, I learned to make this kind of cookie from one of the best bakers I know, Mandy Lamb. She would put different ingredients in the cookie each day or each week and have people try and guess what the random secret ingredients were. Because we were on an island in New England, when storms blew in, we were trapped. No one traveled to the island, and, more important, no boats with food on them came our way, either. We had to get creative and use what we had on hand. We might not have had enough chocolate chips to make chocolate chip cookies, but if we threw in other mix-ins as well, the seven hundred some guests would never notice the shortage of one ingredient—and the cookies would always feel brand new, because they were different every time. I found after many batches that my favorite compost cookies® had my favorite snacks in them: chocolate and butterscotch chips, potato chips, pretzels, graham crackers, and ground coffee.  Compost Cookies® always turn out great in my mother’s kitchen because she infamously has a hodgepodge of mix-ins, none in great enough quantity to make an actual single-flavored cookie on its own. My brother-in-law calls them “garbage cookies”; others call them “kitchen sink cookies.” Call them what you want, and make them as we make them at milk bar, or add your own favorite snacks to the cookie base in place of ours.

Guacamole Recipe by Leah

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I can’t remember the first time I ate guacamole.  I’ve loved it longer than I can remember.  If I’m eating at a Mexican restaurant you can bet I’ll be ordering it.  But it’s so much more than a dip for tortilla chips!

It’s delicious in wraps, on a baked potato, with fresh veggies, as a spread in sandwiches, as a dressing in a salad, on a crispy corn tortilla and topped with an egg.  The list goes on and on.  I love guacamole and this is my preferred way to make it.









1/4 cup finely chopped white onion, rinsed under cold water

1 medium tomato, diced

2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro**

2 tsp finely chopped jalapeno chile with seeds

1/2 tsp salt

2 ripe Haas avocados, pitted and peeled

1 Tbsp fresh lime juice


  1. Combine onion, tomato, cilantro, jalapeno and salt in a small bowl.
  2. In a large bowl, coarsely mash the avocados with a fork or potato masher.
  3. Add the onion mixture and lime juice, stir until well mixed.

*Can be made ahead.  Cover and refrigerate up to 4 hours.

**Georgia’s Nerdy Note: As noted in previous recipes, if you are unable to eat cilantro, you can swap parsley for it.  Some people have the same special genes, OR6A2, which cause the person to pick up other scents that others do not detect, causing cilantro to taste like soap.  Parsley is an easy swap, so you don’t miss out!

Blueberry and Feta Salad Recipe by Leah

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My friend, Stephanie, is a caterer and serves this salad frequently.  I only recently had the opportunity to try it and I immediately fell in love.  It’s light, simple, and tasty.






Blueberry and Feta Salad




2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 Tbsp honey

dash of ground thyme

1/3 cup olive oil

salt and pepper, to taste



olive oil

kosher salt

butter lettuce, chopped


crumbled feta


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Chop almonds, toss in olive oil and kosher salt, and roast for 7-8 minutes.  Set aside.
  2. Blend dressing ingredients together.
  3. Toss the butter lettuce in the dressing.  Top with almonds, blueberries, and crumbled feta.

Dungeness Crab Mac and Cheese Recipe by Leah

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Dungeness Crab Mac and Cheese is decadent and delicious.  It’s one of those dishes that when people take their first bite they pause to savor it, leaving the dining room quiet with contemplation.  I know you think I’m exaggerating but I promise I’m not.  It has happened on more than one occasion!  Try this one.  You won’t regret it.




Dungeness Crab Mac and Cheese



1 pound dried elbow pasta

3 cups whole milk, warmed

1/2 cup + 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, separated

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

4 tsp kosher salt, separated

2 yellow onions, coarsely chopped

2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and coarsely chopped

1 lb cooked crabmeat, picked over for shells

6 tsp Old Bay Seasoning

4 cups grated Havarti cheese

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1 cup panko bread crumbs

2 lemons, cut into wedges



  1. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until a little less than al dente.  Drain, rinse with cold water, and drain the pasta again.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400F degrees.
  1. Melt 6 Tbsp butter in a large saute pan over medium heat.  Add the onion and bell pepper to the pan and cook until softened, about 10 minutes.  Add the crabmeat, 4 tsp of the Old Bay Seasoning, and 2 tsp salt to the pan and cook for another 2 minutes.  Turn off the heat and set aside.
  1. Heat 1/2 cup butter over medium heat in a large, heavy-bottomed pot.  When the butter has just melted, add the flour and whisk constantly until the mixture turns light brown, about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat.
  1. Slowly pour the warm milk, about 1 cup at a time, into the butter-flour mixture, whisking constantly.  It will get very thick when you first add the milk, and thinner as you slowly pour the entire 3 cups.
  2. Once all the milk has been added, set the pot back over medium-high heat, and continue to whisk constantly.  In the next 2 to 3 minutes the sauce should come together and become silky and thick.  Lower the heat to medium and add 2 tsp salt, stir.
  1. Add the Havarti cheese, cooking over medium heat.  Stir until the cheese is barely melted, about 3 minutes.  Add the crabmeat mixture and the cooked pasta, stir, and continue cooking while stirring continuously for another 5 minutes.
  1. Spoon the mixture into a large casserole dish (mine is 4.8 quarts).  Sprinkle the Parmesan on top and then the panko.  Lastly, sprinkle on the remaining 2 tsp of Old Bay Seasoning.  Bake until golden and bubbly, about 15 minutes.
  1. Spoon into serving bowls and serve with lemon wedges.

*adapted from Homeroom Restaurant in Oakland, CA

Slow Cooker Tomato Soup with Cheater Grilled Cheese Recipe by Leah

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This recipe uses fresh vine-ripened tomatoes and is a great way to utilize your bountiful tomato harvest.  The tomatoes are slow roasted all day in your slow-cooker, making a sweet and tangy soup with a velvety flavor.  Serve it with some Cheater Grilled Cheese for dipping.






Slow Cooker Tomato Soup

yield: a little more than 3 quarts




3 lbs vine-ripened tomatoes

1 medium onion, chopped

2 cups tomato juice

1 cup cooking sherry*

3 Tbsp granulated white sugar

1 chicken bouillon cube

2 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped

2 cups heavy cream

optional: Parmesan cheese


  1. Wash your tomatoes and cut them in quarters.  Place them in a 5-6 quart slow cooker.
  2. Add the onion, tomato juice, sherry, bouillon, sugar, and chopped basil. Stir.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  4. Carefully use an immersion blender to blend the tomatoes.
  5. Warm the heavy cream and stir into the soup.

Note: Broth can be substituted for the cooking sherry, although the flavor will be altered slightly.

Don’t Forget the Other Half!

As the name indicates this isn’t much of a recipe, just a shortcut.  One benefit is that it uses less butter than traditional grilled cheese, but the main reason I like to make grilled cheese this way is it allows me to make them more quickly for a crowd.  Get the sandwiches all made ahead of time and pop them on the griddle together so everyone gets a warm sandwich all at the same time.


Cheater Grilled Cheese


2 slices of sandwich bread


your cheese of choice



  1. Lightly toast your bread.
  2. Lay cheese slices on one side of each piece of bread and put the bread slices together with the cheese sandwiched in the middle.
  3. Butter the outside of the sandwich and cook the sandwich in a skillet or griddle until the cheese has melted.

Caponata with Kalamata Olives and Asiago Cheese© Recipe by Food & Wine Magazine™ Adapted by Leah

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I’d had a jar of Kalamata olives sitting in the refrigerator for awhile with no idea what I was going to do with them.  My husband and children don’t care for them and I tend to not cook only for myself, so there they sat.  Then I came across Food & Wine’s™ recipe for Caponata with Kalamata Olives and Asiago Cheese©.  After a quick review of the recipe I knew it was one my family would likely enjoy, so I put it on the menu.  After all, they love anything they can scoop up with slices of baguette.  I made a small change.  I cut everything smaller than recommended.  I wanted everything small enough that they wouldn’t pick up chunks of food and ask what they were.  I wanted to make sure each bite of baguette had bits of all the flavors on it.  The dish was a success!  I hadn’t planned to keep the recipe.  I enjoyed it but I didn’t think the others would want it again.  Then my husband suggested we make it the next time his brother’s family comes over.  I guess kalamata olives are fine as long as they’re small enough you don’t realize what you’re eating. 🙂






Caponata with Kalamata Olives and Asiago Cheese© by Food & Wine Magazine®



1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

1 Tbsp sugar

5 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 large eggplants (1 1/2 pounds) cut into 1/2-inch dice

salt and freshly ground pepper

2 medium zucchini (1 pound), cut into 1/2-inch dice

2 yellow squash (1 pound) cut into 1/2-inch dice

3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

2 large celery ribs, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice

1 medium onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice

1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice

1 (16 oz) can plum tomatoes, drained and chopped

1 cup pitted kalamata olives, quartered

2 Tbsp chopped parsley

2 Tbsp chopped oregano

4 oz aged Asiago cheese, shredded

baguette slices, for serving



  1. In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar with the sugar and boil over moderately high heat until reduced to 3 Tbsp, about 5 minutes.  Let cool.
  2. In a large nonstick skillet, heat 3 Tbsp of olive oil until shimmering.  Add the diced eggplant, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, for 2 minutes.  Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant is tender, about 10 minutes.  Transfer the eggplant to a large bowl.  Wipe out the skillet.
  3. Add the remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil to the skillet and heat until shimmering.  Add the diced zucchini and yellow squash, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 7 minutes.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the squash to the bowl with the eggplant.
  4. Add the garlic, celery, and onion to the skillet and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened slightly, about 5 minutes.  Add the red bell pepper and cook until all the vegetables are tender, about 4 minutes longer.  Transfer to the bowl with the eggplant and squash.
  5. Add the tomatoes, olives, parsley, oregano and balsamic syrup to the bowl and fold gently. Fold in the Asiago.  Season the caponata with salt and pepper.  Transfer to a clean bowl and serve with baguette slices.

Lamb Tacos Recipe by Leah

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When I have leftover lamb I make lamb tacos.  Every single time.  They’re a fantastic way to eat lamb and the Braised Leg of Lamb previously posted produced a fantastic taco.  I kept them simple because this is really just about complimenting the meat.  In the past I’ve made a garlic sauce to add to the taco but this lamb needed no extra sauce.


lamb tacos



Lamb Tacos



flour tortillas

cooked lamb, warmed

cabbage, shredded

red onion

white cheddar


salsa, optional

sour cream, optional




Warm tortillas in a skillet over medium heat.  Add the warmed lamb to the tortillas and add toppings of your choice.

Braised Leg of Lamb from Saveur® Blogged by Leah

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My mother used to make roast leg of lamb every Christmas.  We always loved it but in recent years we had stopped making it as my mom could no longer eat it.  This Easter she told me she was ready to try again, but asked if I would prepare it differently than the way she used to make it.  Try a new recipe?  I thought you’d never ask!  I turned to Saveur®.  Their recipes have never steered me wrong and I was thrilled to find a recipe for braised lamb.  Braising is such a beautiful way to prepare meat because it has a long,  slow cook time, allowing the flavor to really develop and turn meat meltingly tender.

As expected the dish was absolutely fantastic and most importantly, my mom loved it.






Braised Leg of Lamb from Saveur®




1 (6-8-lb.) semiboneless leg of lamb

3 lb. small red potatoes, scrubbed clean

15 cloves garlic, crushed

6 large carrots, peeled and cut into 3″ pieces

6 sprigs fresh rosemary

2 bay leaves

1 large yellow onion, cut lengthwise into eight wedges

2 cups chicken stock

1 cup white wine

Minced flat-leaf parsley, to garnish

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste



Arrange a rack 8″ from broiler element and heat broiler to high. Put lamb in a large roasting pan, season generously with salt and pepper, and broil, flipping once, until browned, about 25 minutes. Remove lamb from oven and heat oven to 325°.

Arrange potatoes, garlic, carrots, rosemary, bay leaves, and onions around lamb; pour in chicken stock and wine. Season wine mixture with salt and pepper and cover pan tightly with aluminum foil. Place roasting pan in oven and cook, turning lamb once, until fork tender, 4–5 hours. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool 20 minutes. Transfer lamb and vegetables to a large serving platter and sprinkle with minced parsley; serve pan juices on the side.


*Additional chicken broth can be substituted for the white wine, if necessary.

Hot and Smoky Baked Beans with bonus Recipe by Leah

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Way back when, I used to work in a dental office.  I worked for wonderful doctors and with wonderful people and hey, free dental care.  But you know the best part of working there?  Magazines!  Dental offices always have lots of magazines and this office was no exception.  Every Friday we’d get a stack of new ones and we’d all grab our favorites to borrow over the weekend.  Can you guess which magazines I grabbed? People, of course, and Bon Appetit!  Oh, how I loved that magazine.  So much beautiful food!  So many tips and techniques!  I tried a lot of new things just because I’d seen them in that magazine.  This recipe for baked beans is from those days and I’ve been making it ever since.  It’s wonderfully savory and leaves people clamoring for the leftovers.

These make frequent appearances as a side at barbecues, but when I serve it as a main dish I like to serve braised cabbage with vinegar and cornbread.


Hot and Smoky



Hot and Smoky Baked Beans

© of Bon Appetit Magazine™

yield: 8 to 10 servings



6 bacon slices

1 1/2 cups chopped onion

1 1/4 cups purchased barbecue sauce

3/4 cup dark beer

1/4 cup mild-flavored (light) molasses

3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

3 tablespoons (packed) dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon soy sauce

4 to 6 teaspoons minced canned chipotle chilies*

6 (15- to 16-ounce) cans Great Northern beans, drained

Chopped fresh parsley, garnish



  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Cook bacon in large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Transfer to paper towels and drain. Transfer 2 1/2 tablespoons bacon drippings from skillet to large bowl.
  2. Finely chop bacon; add to bowl.
  3. Add onion and next 7 ingredients to bowl and whisk to blend.
  4. Whisk in 4 to 6 teaspoons chipotle chilies, depending on spiciness desired. Stir in beans.
  5. Transfer bean mixture to 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Bake uncovered until liquid bubbles and thickens slightly, about 1 hour. Cool 10 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.


*to taste, since these can be a bit too spicy for delicate palettes.


This cabbage dish also comes from my dental office days.  I like to serve it with baked beans because the vinegary tang  compliments the heat and smokiness of the beans.  It’s a beautiful side dish with rich purple tones.


Braised Red Cabbage with Vinegar

yield: 6-8 servings



1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

4 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed

1 2 1/2-pound red cabbage, quartered, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch strips

1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds

1 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth

3 tablespoons red wine vinegar



Heat oil in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté until beginning to brown, about 8 minutes. Add cabbage and caraway seeds; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss until cabbage is wilted, about 4 minutes. Add broth. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 15 minutes. Add vinegar. Cover and cook until cabbage is tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Grilled Pork Chops Recipe by Leah

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Pork chops were a frequent dish in my home growing up.  My mom would lay a bed of sauerkraut in a casserole dish, lay the chops on top, and then pour sauce on top of that before baking.  It seemed we ate them weekly though I’m sure that’s an exaggeration.  Nevertheless, I was raised with a love of pork chops.

These chops were some I tried only a few years ago.  I saw someone post about them on Facebook and thought they were so simple they must be delicious.  They are!  They’ve been both a company meal (served with Fuji Apple Salad and Crispy Smashed Roasted Potatoes with Dill Aioli) and a weeknight meal (with applesauce and mashed potatoes).  Though I always make these out on the grill at home, I have also made them with great success on my mom’s indoor electric grill.  In fact, those are the pork chops pictured.






Grilled Pork Chops


pork chops

olive oil


kosher salt

fresh ground pepper

fresh or dried thyme


  1. Rub pork chops with olive oil and a drizzle of honey.  Sprinkle with kosher salt, pepper and thyme.
  2. Grill on high flame, just 3-4 minutes per side.  Don’t overcook or they will be tough.  They should be soft, like a steak.
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