Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

I made the best chocolate chip macadamia oatmeal cookies today and they were so easy to make, even my little brother could (probably) do it! Every morning I religiously eat oatmeal with a sliced banana and some cinnamon added to it. So when Quaker Oats and Toll House Chocolate Chips are BOGO at Publix, I am clearly going to buy them and have an overabundance of the stuff in my teeny tiny kitchen.  I didn’t make those paleo ‘energy’ balls or healthy breakfast bars or channel the power of the oat into something healthy. No- instead I decided that making an insane amount of cookies was obviously the logical solution to my oat and chocolate chip problem. I’m not a huge fan of walnuts, so I opted for macadamia nuts in my cookies- but anything can go really. If I had had shredded coconut on hand I might have decreased the amount of oats by a ½ cup and added that in too-because I freaking love coconut.

                           Always measure your flour   Cookie Ingredients

These cookies are straightforward and easy to make. I love the vanilla flavor so I add a little extra- the Dominican-style vanilla has a little something special about it. I was introduced to this ingredient by an event planner that makes fabulous cookies, so I picked it up along the way to try some out. If I had raisins I might’ve skipped the chocolate chips and made oatmeal raisin ice cream cookie sandwiches with rum raisin ice cream!

          Add one egg at a time   Cookie Dough Forming

          Mix in the macadamia nuts   Add the oats

These smelled heavenly; my whole apartment smelled like warm chocolate with lovely toasted aromas from the macadamia nuts. They had a great crunch from the oats and nuts on the outside and a nice chewy middle with ooey gooey dark chocolate chunks.

 Stacks

Chocolate Chip Macadamia Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup salted butter softened- not melted
1 cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
2 eggs at room temperature
1 tablespoon Dominican-Style vanilla

150 grams (1 ¼ cup) flour
1 tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
2.5 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup dark chocolate chips
½ cup chopped macadamia nuts (or whichever you prefer)

Preheat your oven to 325F. Add the softened butter and sugars together, beating until fluffy and creamy. I had to do this on hand because my archaic setup lacks a beater. Add one egg at a time, mixing well after each addition (I read somewhere that room temperature eggs are better for baking so I let them sit out for a bit before I bake or put them in warm water for a few minutes). Mix in the vanilla.

 Blend the flour, salt and baking soda in a bowl. Add gradually to the mixture. Stir in the oats, chocolate chips, and macadamia nuts.

 Scoop with a melon baller or small scoop to get even sized cookies; lightly press them in the middle once on the parchment paper. Oh yeah- use parchment paper, aluminum foil sucks. Let cookies rest on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to completely cool.** Bake cookies in batches for 12-14 minutes. My cookies took closer to 14 minutes and they were nicely tanned to a golden brown. This made about 32 cookies, but you could probably yield 3 dozen if you make them a little smaller. Store in an air-tight container, and share some with your friends!

**This step is crucial! For some of the batches I didn’t let the cookies rest on the hot baking sheet and they were harder and crunchier while those that rested were chewier and softer.

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Eating House Miami

The Eating House in Miami (Coral Gables) is one of the best new restaurants to come to my neighborhood, and they’re now open for lunch. I’ve been to this popular spot on the corner of 8th Street and Ponce de Leon Blvd in the heart of North Gables several times since it opened permanently. Eating House was once a pop-up concept operating out of a lifeless Argentinian Bakery at nighttime and for brunch on Sundays. Now this hotspot has evolved to offer lunch, dinner, and brunch service. The interior feels like you’re in the apartment or home of a twenty-something year old from Miami. The back wall is one giant built-in bookshelf with Nikes, Miami Heat memorabilia, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle figurines, wine glass, bottles, and colorfully painted Cuban Cuban Coffee Maker or Cafetera. The walls are adorned with graffiti art that remind me of being in middle school here in Miami. The décor is simple, modern, and hip managing to emanate personality in this ultra-tiny dining spot. I didn’t count the number of tables here, but I’d guesstimate there to be no more than 12-15?

eating house wall

So since this is my most recent dining experience here I’ll talk about going to lunch with my momma. As I went inside to be seated my mom was parking the car, so I sat at the table thinking, “the server will come by shortly, and I can give them my credit card and pay the check sneakily!” Well…this did not happen. I must’ve been sitting for 5-7 minutes waiting for someone to swing by, when I saw my mom coming towards the door (!!!). At this point I had to get up and give my credit card to the guy that sat me. Our server comes some time later, and she seriously just stood by the table waiting for us to start talking. In my opinion, this reveals no established style of service. I think it is a bit strange for your server not to welcome you to the restaurant and tell you any specials or featured items; at the bare minimum she should have prompted us to order. Also I noticed at night all of the servers (men and women alike) wear plaid shirts, but at lunch everyone was wearing a t-shirt instead. **Hint: For gentleman dining here on dates- AVOID wearing a plaid shirt- you’ll end up looking like one of the servers.**

          BLLT   Lettuce Wraps

During this visit we ordered the lettuce wraps with grilled chicken, slaw, peanuts, and nuoc cham $11, the short rib truffle sliders $12, grain salad with quinoa, faro, and sesame $5, and the B.L.L.T- bacon, lechon asado, lettuce, and tomato sandwich $11. Three lettuce wraps came in the order, and the chicken was juicy and well-seasoned; it could have been a light lunch for one. The presentation was lovely although I think tossing everything in burger baskets is haphazard and careless. Eating House might be going for a casual vibe, especially at lunch, but I think the plating of everything in burger baskets discredits the skill of the chef and is incongruent with their status and a ‘foodie spot’. Anyways…as we’re eating our lettuce wraps enjoying a nice lunch together, the food runner brings EVERYTHING else that we ordered to the table at once. Mind you, we are sitting at a two-top with very little table space, especially since tables are adorned with a god-awful-hideous napkin dispenser taking up considerable room. Instead of offering to hold food items, or TIMING the food to come out so each dish can be enjoyed one at a time, he dropped the baskets leaving the table littered in an array of burger baskets.

          Short Rib Slider   Grain Salad

Now for the rest of the food: The B.L.L.T. was disappointing. The bread didn’t seem homemade for sure and was that dry Cuban bread that is in desperate need of some butter and a sandwich press. The lechon asado itself was dry, and I was perplexed by the dark green paste that at first seemed like avocado spread onto the bread. Turns out it is a “house chimichurri” made out of shishito peppers, shallots, and parsley. A nice cilantro mayonnaise or parsley mayo spread could have gone further here than the chimichurri. The bread was all wrong for this sandwich, and it was my least favorite of the day. The quinoa and sesame grain side item was DRENCHED in sesame oil. Maybe drenched isn’t the right word- but it was overwhelmingly scented with soy and sesame. I am not a huge fan of sesame so perhaps I’m being brutal, but hey- I just didn’t like it. The short rib sliders were the best item of the day served up in small potato rolls with a creamy parmesan truffle sauce that really shined through the heavy short rib.

WTF Blondie

For dessert we shared the ‘WTF’ blondie a la Mode $5. The dessert was probably the best thing about our trip here today. The blondie was perfectly salty and had that delicious taste reminiscent of graham cracker crumbs with a salted caramel drizzle served topped with ice cream. I could have eaten the whole thing by myself. So remember earlier when I mentioned that I gave my credit card to the guy that sat us? Well at the end of the meal our server dropped the check! I was thinking “WHAT THE HELL” is the point of going out of my way to give you my credit card to avoid the classic ‘fight for the bill with my mom charade’ if you don’t give it to the server and charge me!? I found this to be crazy annoying. I wish I could say that the service I experienced here other times was different, but I’d say there is opportunity for improvement as in many new businesses. I come here for the food, but today lunch simply didn’t impress. I think I’ll stick to coming here for the dinner menu from now on.

 

Eating House

804 Ponce De Leon Blvd • Coral Gables, FL • 33134 • (305) 448-6524

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Chorizo Beef Burgers + Caramelized Onions

Chorizo Beef Burgers have been calling my name. That might freak some people out, but I heard my calling and was excited to try my hand at making these delectable patties. As you might remember [since you’re a diehard fan ;) ], I reviewed Latin Burger & Taco for my first post. Well those delicious machito burgers were the inspiration for this recipe. I didn’t actually search for a recipe; rather I just channeled my cooking intuitions and went blindly forward, fueled by hunger and a mad burger obsession. The resulting creation was beyond my wildest dreams of yum.

           Beef-and-Chorizo-Blend   Badia-and-Meat

           Patties   Sizzling in the pan

So here is what the burger gods told me to do: I mixed about a half pound of ground chuck with 2 chorizo links out of their casing and added around a teaspoon of Badia Sazon Completa . Sazón Completa (Complete Seasoning) is a season-all for Cuban households. All I know is my abuela added it to a ton of stuff and her food was the best on the entire planet. The meat mixture yielded 3 generous patties. I let them rest for a few minutes- mainly because I was busy preheating a pan with a teaspoon of olive oil and thinly slicing one yellow onion to get started caramelizing. **Note: I set my dial to 2-3 (low) for the onions.** I think a lot of people are guilty of burning their onions instead of caramelizing them so the outer edges are burned while the middle still has yet to soften. One thin sliced onion should cook for a 15-20 minutes or so on a low heat, and you should barely stir them- if at all.  You can add a sprinkle of sugar and some salt to make them sweeter if you like.

      No tears here   Onions

Sauce in the Making   Martin's Potato Rolls

I put the tiniest bit of olive oil in the pan with the burgers just so they wouldn’t stick to the surface. Wait until the pan is HOT! When in doubt – wait 2 more minutes. A hot pan is ESSENTIAL for both aesthetic and taste- always remember presentation side goes down first! Once my onions were translucent and soft I added the burger patties to a hot pan. I set the temperature to around 5 on my stovetop for the burger pan, and this gave the patties a great brown sear on the outside with some crunch. They cooked for 4 minutes on each side.

            Build a Better Burger   EAT ME

While the burgers were cooking I made a quick sauce out of finely chopped cornichons (little fancy pickles), Hellman’s mayonnaise, Heinz ketchup, Badia Chili Hot Sauce, and a squirt of Gulden’s Mustard. The sauce was killer. It tasted like the perfect blend of sauces on a hotdog when the relish, ketchup, and mustard become homogenous. It was glorious and crunchy and I shall make it again! For the bread I bought Martin’s potato rolls since I think the burger patty itself should shine instead of a giant filling bun. I love the soft, gummy potato bread and they steam nicely in the microwave for an ultra-warm bun.

I forgot to mention that after I flipped my burgers I topped them with creamy Havarti cheese to get soft and melted. Right when everything was finished I wrapped the two buns in a moist paper towel, popped them in the microwave for 30 seconds, took out the bread, slathered on some special sauce, placed the patty, added caramelized onions and BAM! Dinner is served!

 Double Decker

**Warning**: These burgers are extremely delicious and you will crave another one immediately upon consumption, your guests will ask for seconds, so be prepared. **10% of users experienced the itis after making this recipe.

For the patties:

 ½ pound ground chuck

½ pound chorizo sausage

1 tsp Sazón Completa

Freshly ground pepper

1 tsp olive oil

Caramelized Onions:

 1 onion thinly sliced

1 tsp olive oil

Freshly ground salt and pepper

½ tsp sugar (optional)

 For the sauce:

 1/3 cup mayonnaise

1.5 tablespoons ketchup

1 tsp Gulden’s Spicy Brown Mustard

½ tsp Badia Chili Hot Sauce

¼ cup finely chopped pickles (I used cornichons)

Add the onions to a pan on low heat around 2-3. Add salt and pepper to taste, add sugar (optional). Cook for around 20 minutes barely stirring.

Combine the beef, chorizo, pepper, and sazón complete. Form patties. Use the olive oil to preheat a pan. Cook on each side for 4 minutes. When I flipped my patties I placed the Havarti cheese on top so it could start to melt.

Stir the ingredients together for the sauce. Add more or less of the components based on your preferences. Slather the sauce onto soft Martin’s Potato rolls, add the patty, and top with onions. Serve the burgers with salad or fries!

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