Foodie: Breakfast Cookies and Picnics

The Foodie Column for July 15th 2014

By T. Myers

Hot days! Warm nights! Picnics by the lake- it is the time of year to make it easy on yourself with a little preplanning and using the baking oven during the evening once it has cooled down, you can get up on a warm morning and eat a couple of breakfast cookies with a cup of coffee and a glass of skim milk for about 250 calories and no messing about in the kitchen and then, when the hunger hit you in the afternoon or early evening, instead of struggling over a stove, grab a big slice of sandwich from a fresh loaf of bread that you butter with cream cheese on one side and butter on the other, load up with toppings and wrap in plastic wrap- ready for cutting and stick it in the fridge for when you need it!

Tonight- for instance, I have set up the old above ground pool and a couple of folks are coming over to have dinner and dunk their heat of the day away and we will pop the top off a bottle of wine and enjoy a cold cuts sandwich and a plate of fresh fruit followed by- an ice cream cone. Simple, easy and satisfying. If the weather turns colder, (HA HA HA, I put on a pot of decaf or coffee or hot tea and I am set to enjoy my time with friends without any clean-up or bother in the kitchen.

Check out my rendition of an Italian sandwich favorite the muffelo! Buy a fresh loaf of French bread and cut off the top. I make a spread with cream cheese or Neufchatel and garlic spice mix like Garlic Garni from Gilroy’s Garlic Festival, and I spread it on the bottom half of the bread as a base. I went to the market and bought some bologna and salami and two kinds of sliced cheese- Cheddar and Provolone or if you serve the sandwich immediately, sliced mozzarella (warning, mozzarella gets liquid with any contact with juices from pickles, olives slices, tomatoes or lettuce) I butter the top or brush it with olive oil to keep it from getting soggy. Then I start building the sandwich with slices of the meats and cheeses, slices of tomatoes, pickles, good olives and a large handful of shredded lettuce, romaine or arugula. Put the top on and put toothpicks in to hold it in place, then wrap it with plastic wrap until tight and stick it if the fridge for the flavors to meld. This large sandwich will serve 6- 8 people if you cut thick slices across the bread.

Fruit Plate: Fresh strawberries this time of year are usually very good and paired up with a few bananas, orange slices and quartered apples that have been dipped in orange juice or lemon water make a nice accompaniment to some good potato chips, pasta salad or potato salad.

I like a Napa Gamay, Gamay Rouge or other chill able red wine with these treats. Club Soda with a twist of lemon goes well and so does a good iced tea. Set a pretty tablecloth and a vase of wildflowers for the perfect summer touch and turn the occasion into a party!

Here is the recipe for Breakfast Cookies: 1 cup of butter. 1 cup white and 1 cup brown sugar. 3 eggs and beat together until creamy. Add 1 cup of dried craisins or raisins to ½-2/3 cup cold breakfast coffee and microwave for 2 minutes on high to soften. Let cool and add to the wet ingredients. Dry ingredients: 1 teaspoon each salt and baking soda to three cups all- purpose flour. Add 1to 1-1/2 cups chopped nuts and 3-4 cups of oats. Mix the dry to coat and incorporate with the wet. Scoop out in 3 ounce scoops and bake 350 for 17 minutes on a greased or sprayed pan.

This recipe makes 30+ large cookies. 2 per serving with 8 oz. of Milk is around 250 calories with skim milk. You get fruit, bread, protein and yumminess! And no cooking!

Have a wonderful time outside this summer. Bon Appetit!

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