Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Ride Hard:Grow Forth with chocolate cookies!

About a year ago I helped to found a not-for-profit urban farming group called alleycat acres. During our first year we converted two vacant lots in the city of Seattle to urban farms, and harvested around 800 pounds of produce. Much of that fresh, healthy food was donated to the Beacon Hill Food Bank, the rest was enjoyed by our volunteers and neighbors of our farms. We are anxiously awaiting spring, so that we can do it all over again. As a 100% volunteer-based organization, we don't need much to operate, but we do need some money for seeds, water, and equipment. To raise money for our 2011 operating budget, we are hosting a bike ride. Each rider must raise a minimum of $60, but I challenged myself to raise $1000 (what did I get myself into???). To donate scroll to the bottom of this page, and click the donate button!
To help gain pledges from my co-workers, I've been baking cookies, and putting them out in the lunch room next to my pledge form. The Girl Scouts figured out this scheme long ago, and I'm not one to shy away from a good idea.  So far we have had a couple different types of chocolate chip, coconut macaroons, and triple chocolate. The triple chocolate is definitely my favorite.

This recipe is adapted from Ina Garten's 'Barefoot Contessa' show on the food network. Ina calls them "Kathleen King's Double Chocolate Almond Cookies". After making them the first time I tweaked the recipe just a tad, to my personal taste preference (less salt, fewer chocolate chips and almonds, and less baking time to yield a softer, more perfect cookie).

Double Chocolate Almond Cookies


  • 2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup firmly packed dark or light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup almonds, toasted and chopped


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream the butter and sugars. Add the egg and vanilla and mix together. Add the flour mixture and continue mixing until just combined.

Add the chocolates and almonds and mix until combined. Using two tablespoons or a small ice cream scoop, drop the dough two inches apart on sheet pans lined with parchment. Lightly pat down to a hockey puck shape with wet hands. Bake for 12 minutes.

Mostly cool the cookies on the cookie sheets, then transfer to a cooling rack. The cookies should be very soft when they are removed from the oven. They will firm up as they cool.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Birthday party for Alleycat Acres

Alleycat Acres turned 1-year-old last month, and we celebrated at a restaurant called Local 360 in Belltown. I found Local 360 to be a down-to-earth, cozy spot, aligned with my personal food ethos. They are dedicated to sourcing ingredients raised, grown, or produced within 360 miles of Seattle. Wines from the Willamette valley, dairy from Lynden, meat from Walla Walla, etc... I dig.

Most importantly, however, the food was delicious, and the seven of us had a wonderful time celebrating.

We started by sharing a smattering of small plates: PB&J bon bons, roasted beet salad, pork belly and beans, crispy pig ear, corned beef reuben bites... yumm.

My favorite conversation of the night...
Scott: "Amber, do you want some of this?"
Amber: "No thanks, I'm a vegetarian."
Scott: "Wait, this isn't vegetarian? Kate, what is this?"
Kate: "That's the crispy pig ear we ordered."
Scott: "Oh cool. Wait... this isn't really the ear of a pig though... is it?"
Kate: "Yeah, it's the ear, sliced really thin into strips. It's super good right?"
long pause...
Scott: "Yeah. It's really good"
Scott and I finish the platter together. Amber and Gia giggle.

Can we say comfort food? Amber ordered the risotto mac 'n cheese. That's comfort on comfort.

I thoroughly enjoyed the short rib "pot roast" for my main course.

Notice that Sean's fried chicken is completed with a sunnyside-up egg on top!