Hey guys, I’m traveling today & tomorrow. I’ll be back online on the 22nd, so I apologize ahead of time if my response isn’t timely.
I love Potbelly’s chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies. That darn small cookie bag gets demolished really quickly in this household. So, I’ve been looking for a recipe to make my own. I tried to modify my favorite oatmeal cookie recipe, but it turned out a bit too dry (for my taste). I’d made them for my sister as an any-time-of-the-day, satisfy-the-cravings-after-a-nursing cookies after the birth of nephew #1. She really liked them and has been after me to make them again. I wasn’t to thrilled with that version and have since been on the hunt for a better recipe.
So anyway, the other day I was looking for other things to make with pomegranate seeds when I came across this genius recipe by Hidden Ponies for – wait for it – chocolate chip oatmeal pomegranate cookies. Wow. And I learnt some stuff too, apart from finding an awesome recipe. Want to know what? Well, first of all those little pomegranate seeds aren’t called seeds, they’re called arils (always good to learn something new). And second of all, it’s way easier peeling pomegranates in a bowl of cold water. Why didn’t I think of that before?
These cookies are so fast to make and so delicious. They still pretty soft when you get them out of the other and it’s hard to check the underside of the cookies if they’re a golden light brown, so I’d stick to the time recommended. Let them cool before trying to remove them from the cookie sheet and trying to devour them. Seriously, they’re that good. Prepare for a cookie eating attack.
Second of all, you can reduce the amount of sugar – the chocolate gives it plenty of sweetness. And the last few cookies were basically clusters of chocolate and pomegranate held together with the last little bits of cookie dough, so you can easily reduce the amount of chocolate chips.
The cookies are delicious and chewy (I’m not really a fan of thin hard cookies), and the pomegranate adds a burst of freshness. The others didn’t love them as much – boo – but that meant there were even more for me. My waistline is not happy.
Oh, and I thought that the cookies wouldn’t keep long because of the extra moisture from the pomegranates, but they actually lasted quite a bit (not withstanding my cookie munching), so they’ll easily keep over a week to two weeks (I even found two cookies that ‘someone’ (not me!) had put away in a tin and even though they were three weeks old, they were still good and still somewhat moist).
Try them, and I’m sure you’ll discover a new favorite cookie.
Ok, salt still does apply, but as an ingredient. Yes, today’s post is about the first two “Sal”s. How do you decide which one to make – salad or salsa? What’s the defining line between the two? I’m sure Dictionary.com and those other websites will come up with all kinds of definitions that explain the difference. But when you’re throwing things together, when is it a salsa and does it become a salad? And lets ignore the other S word that I keep typing accidentally – Slaw. Another favorite of mine.
Yes, I know that the word salsa means sauce. Yes, you use a sauce to accompany something. It’s an accessory. But then there are the salsas (is that the correct plural?). A bunch of them include ‘color names,’ letting you know more about their ingredients, such as salsa roja, salsa verde, salsa negra and so on. I guess the kind of salsa I’m thinking about goes more in the direction of a salsa fresco, or also known as pico de gallo. (Btw, there are versions of salsa throughout many cultures, not just the Mexican version that most of us know).
Salsa or salad, I was planning to make something fresh, to match this lovely warm weather. We had fresh mangos so I thought I’d go with a classic: mango black bean salsa. And I had feta, and I’d seen recipes for mango black bean feta salsa, so that was the plan. I also came across a quinoa black bean mango salad which sounded delicious. It included a red bell pepper which a) I couldn’t quite figure out how it would fit in there and b) I didn’t have anyway, so the point was moot. By now I’m all set on my menu.
But then. Then I realized I had a pomegranate that really needed to be used up. So hey, I could just toss in a pomegranate too – pomegranate and mango should go well together, right? Some quick googling showed more pomegranate mango body soaps and lotions rather than salads and slaws, but I’m always up for an experiment. So first I added the black beans, the pomegranate, and then I started prepping my mango. Darn. My mango was too soft. It would get all mushy when tossing.
Back to my black bean and pomegranate mixture. The pomegranate arils added crunch which contrasted nicely with the creaminess of the black beans. The color contrast was ok – the dark red and the dark brown weren’t that visually interesting. Time to add the mint, and then the feta. Now it looked better, but I still wasn’t satisfied. I still wanted to add something interesting. And then, then I found two pomegranate salad recipes that used (mandarin) oranges – a cauliflower pomegranate orange salad, and this really awesome arugula, fennel, apple, mandarin orange and pomegranate salad from Bon Appétit. My orange was meant to go into this Cannoli Crepe Cake (oooh, alliteration!), so that was a no go. Instead I used a small can of mandarin oranges.
And now I had the perfect salad – crunchy because of the pomegranate, creamy because of the black beans, slightly salty from the feta, minty because of the mint and orangey and slightly sweet from the mandarin oranges. The accompanying dressing totally rocked it. Btw, I make my dressing in a glass jar – I just have to shake it to create a great emulsion. Just make sure that your lid fits on tight. Plus it’s easy to save any extra dressing since your dressing is already in a jar.
Now, this was a spur of the moment salad/salsa, so I used what ingredients had. If you want to cook your own black beans instead of resorting to the can, go for it! Same with the mandarin oranges – you can easily use fresh mandarins or oranges. Grapefruit or blood oranges would be great as well. I would use orange juice, fresh preferable as a substitute for the mandarin syrup. Make sure to use plenty of mint – it really really makes the salad. Also, I used a light canola oil (organic) since I didn’t have any good quality olive oil handy. Here’s the recipe for my pomegranate black bean feta mandarin mint salad:
15 oz low sodium black beans (one can)
11 oz mandarin oranges in light syrup (one small can)
a handful of mint
2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp of olive oil
1 tbsp of lemon juice
1 tsp of honey
1/4 cup mint
syrup from the mandarin can
pinch of salt
Remove the arils from the pomegranate and clean properly. Remove the black beans from the can and drain properly. Cut the mint into a chiffonade. Remove the mandarin oranges from the can and halve. Mix the black beans and the pomegranate. Crumble the feta into the salad. Add the mint, and add the mandarin oranges at the end so they don’t fall apart.
Cut your mint into a chiffonade. Mix the salad dressing ingredients except for the mandarin syrup. Taste and add the mandarin syrup in small batches so the dressing doesn’t end up too sweet. The syrup is a nice balance to the acidity in the dressing. I like my dressing on the tangy side. I did make a really big batch of dressing, so I scaled the ingredients up in order to have leftovers. Toss your salad with part of the dressing, and slowly add more dressing so your salad is evenly coated without becoming too soggy. Don’t forget that the mandarin oranges fall apart easily.