Boules has begun and, as every year, it begins at the Hopkins’ house with a court big enough for two different groups to play at the same time. (Our league is gender-specific and, at the Hopkins’ house, dogs are welcome. When the pups walk through or decide to sleep on the court, we are gentle. When the men walk through as we are playing, we boo and hiss.)
As often is the case, the food is already good. While the hosts create most of the rations, co-hosts cook, too. Now that I don’t have a boules court, I like to make something for all the parties, and when I asked Christine what I could do, she said cookies would be great with the raspberries, strawberries and mascarpone. I made my mother-in-law’s molasses cookies, which are one of my favorites, but because they are made with Crisco, a no-no these days. Since I use Crisco only when I am making pies (and would shun the Crisco if I could find exceptional lard), I figured that if each person ate just one or two cookies, all of us would still be fine.
Below are two molasses cookie recipes. The first is my mother-in-law’s with Crisco; the other is from the Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook. You decide.
Yield: 70 little cookies
1 ½ cups Crisco (don’t laugh; Crisco makes great cookies)
2 cups sugar
½ cup molasses
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon each salt, cloves and ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
About ½ cup sugar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a mixer on medium-high, cream Crisco and sugar until light and fluffy; at medium, add eggs, one at a time until well mixed. Add molasses and mix.
In another bowl, whisk the rest of the ingredients. Add to the first bowl and mix until you see no flour.
With a spoon, make 1-inch balls and coat with sugar; place each onto one or more ungreased baking pans. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
From Silver Palate Good Times Cookbook (Workman, New York, 1994)
3 ½ to 4 dozen cookies
1 ½ sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
¼ cup molasses
2 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger root
½ cup finely chopped crystalized ginger
Cream butter and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl. Beat in molasses and then the egg.
Sift flour, ground ginger, baking soda and salt together. Stir in the butter mixture with a wooden spoon until blended. Add fresh and crystallized ginger and stir well mixed.
Refrigerate the dough, covered, at least 2 hours or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cookie sheet.
Shape the dough into 1-inch balls and place 2 inches apart on the cooking sheet. Bake until browned, 10 minutes.
Remove to wire racks to cool completely.
Nibbles: Fried Green Tomatoes
I wrote about the Blue Hound in Ivoryton two years ago and have visited this adorable bistro many times for lunch and dinner. My friend Joan wanted to dine early on Saturday evening and we arrived just after 5 p.m. Originally, it would just be three of us, but another couple decided to come, too. (The restaurant accepts reservations for five people or higher.)
I am pleased to say the food is as good or even better than it was two years ago and this time my friends agreed that the fried green tomatoes were the best. Just to let you know – it’s nearly impossible to get green tomatoes in a supermarket or even a farmstand, so if you like them as much as I do, grow tomatoes and pick them when they are still green. I do have a recipe, which I would be glad to share, and a recipe for a remoulade, which is terrific with the dish.
Blue Hound Cookery
107 Main Street
About the author: Lee White has been writing about restaurants and cooking since 1976 and has been extensively published in the Worcester (Mass.) Magazine, The Day, Norwich Bulletin, and Hartford Courant. She currently writes Nibbles and a cooking column called A La Carte for LymeLine.com and the Shore Publishing and the Times newspapers, both of which are owned by The Day.