This is not intended to be the beginning of a food column. I love food, but I don’t particularly want to write about it. However, in last month’s Valley Center Magazine, I mentioned a raisin and pecan cookie recipe. A reader, Kathy, wrote a letter to the editor in last week’s Roadrunner asking me to provide the recipe for the cookies that my daughter made for me when I visited her in Georgia.
I should mention that everyone has their particular discriminations when it comes to food. Some cookie connoisseurs are not only concerned with the taste, but the preparation of the small flat crisp baked cake. Well, that’s what a cookie is, isn’t it? My daughter’s recipe suggests soaking the raisins in a whiskey mixture. She also said that most southerners prefer to use “Southern Comfort 100 Proof Whiskey” for a real southern experience.
I grew up in Maine, so my palate is more attuned to a down-east taste. My grandmother and step granddad owned a boarding house in Portland, and they were both excellent cooks. My grandmother cooked traditional New England style food, while my French Canadian step granddad cooked in a French style.
He enjoyed preparing breakfast for me, and I enjoyed every morsel that came from his pan, complete with his famous French sauces. Therefore, at a very young age, I became somewhat of an aficionado of fine New England dishes. A few of my favorites were Creamy Fiddlehead Soup, Pouding Chomeur (made with local maple syrup and heavy cream), Sugar Pie, and of course, New England Clam Chowder. Please don’t ask me for those recipes because I will have no way to obtain them. Both my grandmother and my step granddad have passed away.
Growing up on the Atlantic Seaboard, I developed a taste for most Atlantic sea fish and shellfish. My grandmother would buy fish on Thursdays from the fish market and serve it on Fridays. Some of my grandmother’s boarders were fishermen. They would sometimes pay her in lobsters or clams, and then we would have a shellfish feast.
My mom would prepare various seafood dishes at our house throughout the year. However, there was one dish that my mother cooked that would nearly turn my stomach. It was salmon loaf. If I knew we were going to have salmon for dinner, I would try to eat at my friend’s house. To this day I enjoy practically every type of fish and shellfish, with the exception of salmon. I just can’t bring myself to eat it.
Fortunately for me and my wife, I will try just about any food at least once. I do have my favorite desserts, however. Chocolate chip cookies with nuts, brownies without the frosting but with nuts, apple berry pie, and strawberry rhubarb pie are just a few of my favorite desserts.
Over the years I have come to appreciate foods that are primarily outside of New England. For instance, I also enjoy a good southern style biscuits and gravy. My special biscuits are the ones carefully prepared by breaking open the “Pillsbury Southern Homestyle Biscuits” and carefully placing them on an ungreased pan.
Since we now live in Southern California, I have developed a taste for taquitos. I make them by using a unique type of recipe. I take a box of El Monterey Steak & Cheese Taquitos and prepare them using the instructions on the box. Another favorite staple of mine is a Macaroni and cheese dish. With the help from the instructions on the Kraft box, I create my gourmet signature Mac & Cheese with hotdogs. For breakfast I whip up some waffles. The one I like best is Eggo Blueberry frozen waffles. As you can see, I have a refined palate when it comes to what I’m willing to put in my stomach.
OK, enough with my personal recipes! Here is the white raisin pecan cookie recipe that you asked for:
Before you begin, you will want to soak the raisins in a special southern elixir. In a medium bowl, start with ¼ cup Jack Daniels whiskey or equivalent, 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon orange juice and 1 cup water. Place the white raisins in the mixture and let them soak for four hours. Then, drain all the liquid out until only the raisins are left. The raisins are now ready to add to the mixture.
Soften 1 cup of real butter
1 ½ cups sugar
½ cup of brown sugar, packed down
1 ½ vanilla extract
3 cups of flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
About 12 oz. of white raisins
Break 8 oz. pecans into halves
What to do next:
Heat the oven to 350 degrees
Cream the sugar and the softened butter till it’s fluffy.
In the large bowl that you are going to use to mix everything, put in the eggs and the vanilla. Beat these together, then add the baking soda, salt and beat them together with the vanilla and egg mixture. Add the flour and gently mix all the ingredients together.
Now mix in the raisins and the pecans. On a lightly greased pan, drop balls of the mix onto the pan. When the cookies come out of the oven, you want them to be about three to four inches in diameter. Bake them from 10 to 12 minutes. Y’all eatem up.
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