Not only did I get to meet with a friend (who's originally from Pennsylvania) this evening and visit the Schokoladenbar, where you can eat, drink or slurp something like warm pudding spiked with anything from milk rice to cherries, plums and spices from a giant cup, but I also got a little surprise package of Michigan Rocks, pictured above. At first, when presented with this shiny package of rocks, I nearly laughed at the name, because all I could think was: Michigan rocks? Like crack rocks? Ah yes, my mind is always functioning at a very high level. But then I learned that the contents of this little package were cookies. With what ingredients? The regular old cookie ingredients, dates, raisins and walnuts, that's what. But still, I'm hung up on the name. Why, oh why are these called Michigan Rocks? I am from Michigan and lived 23 years of my life there, and have never heard of these cookies. Is it a Pennsylvanian way of poking fun at one of Detroit's major goods? Or is it a reference to Michigan's mining industry in earlier times? Or are they (truthfully or ironically) exclaiming "Michigan Rocks!" every time they say the name of these cookies? I don't know, but what I can tell you is that these are some moist, delicious treats!
I also baked some cookies myself yesterday. This was a little experiment. The recipe came from a vegan cookbook, and so while I was happy to have everything required on hand, I was sceptical that baking cookies with no egg would supply me with a satisfying result. I was to be proven wrong! These little guys are chewy oatmeal raisin cookies, and while they are not as soft as the Michigan Rocks, they are pleasantly chewy and excellently seasoned with a generous portion of cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg.
Not only did I bake cookies yesterday, but I also baked some stuffing and made some soup. These short, dark, work-free days are inspiring me to do things that I otherwise don't have time for. Actually, I've been craving stuffing for a few days. Probably because it was Christmas and I think my family always has stuffing at Christmas. However, I think the stuffing wasn't really stuffed (into a bird, for example a turkey or goose), I believe it was prepared much like I prepared my vegetarian stuffing: mix some roasted bread cubes with some sauted onions, peppers and celery, add some vegetable broth, seasonings and an egg, stir it up, put it in a covered baking dish and bake the heck out of it. While this stuff tasted a bit like stuffing, some liquid was lacking and the consistency wasn't quite right. I think the key is more seasoning, more broth, more baking! We'll see if I can perfect this recipe.
My other kitchen masterpiece yesterday was celery soup. I only used 3 stalks of celery in the stuffing, and had the rest of a bunch of celery, so I had to do something with it so that it didn't just go all limp in my fridge. So I whipped out my cooking notebook and consulted the celery page: celery soup sounded appealing. It's really quite simple: saute the celery and an onion, throw in one cubed potato, cover with broth and boil, boil, boil. When everything is soft puree it, put in 2 tablespoons of cream and maybe some salt and pepper and voila! You've got some warm, delicious celery soup.