Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Ore-oh, yeah!

The recent rains have cooled things off a bit, and I've been more active in the yard.  I've really enjoyed watching the little creatures there...something I haven't done for a while because of the heat.  

Moths are especially prolific in late summer.

There are endless varieties of moths - much too many for me to be able to identify by sight (yet!).  So far I either identify them as "bushy-headed" or "needle-nosed".  This one, of course, is of the bushy-headed variety.  I love the feathery antennae.

It's easy to see them clinging to screen doors and windows, but I can usually find their natural hiding places.  Moths love to hide behind blades of grass...

...or under large leaves, like this "needle-nose".

Of course, we've got the omnipresent carpenter bees, which nap on the Russian Sage at night...

Grasshoppers get bigger, browner, and more sluggish as the season moves on.  They've lost their jaunty hops and seem to have a staring, harassed look.  It's definitely grasshopper mating season.

I've found a few insect nests, too, like this strange marble-sized mud nest built in the branches of our pine tree.  

I wonder who lives there?
The rains have brought my nasturtiums back from the brink.  I love their bright, saturated colors.

Nasturtiums are edible.  What a beautiful salad they'd make!

I cut back my stocks earlier this year and they've finally rebloomed.

Stocks have an amazing scent.  I planted them along our back walkway so their delicious smell wafts up as you brush past them.   Ahhhhh!

They're annuals, but I believe they re-seed nicely.

My snapdragons have gone strong all summer long...

And believe it or not, one of my lilac bushes is blooming again!

I made the mistake of planting morning glories years ago, and spent the subsequent years ripping up transplants all over the yard.  This year I decided to pot one of them up.  It was an interesting experiment.  I got the same blue flower as the parent plant...

...but the blooms are much smaller.  Also, instead of the large spade-shaped leaves, this plant has jagged, fuzzy leaves of a completely different shape.  

I think I created a monster!  It allows me an opportunity to use one of my favorite words:  transmogrify.

trans·mog·ri·fy [trans-mog-ruh-fahy, tranz-] 

verb (used with object), trans·mog·ri·fied, trans·mog·ri·fy·ing.
to change in appearance or form, especially strangely or grotesquely; transform.

I think it fits!  This is the parent plant's sinister cousin.

Anyway, I can't break my flower-buying habit, but since we're moving soon, I stick to bouquets.

I can't wait to plant rose bushes at our new house!

A friend of mine was recently talking about her love of Newman's Own Oreo-style cookies, and I remembered a recipe tucked away in my collection.  After she left, I pulled it out and preheated the oven.  Could homemade Oreos taste as good as store-bought?

In my opinion - they taste even better.

Homemade Oreo Cookies
makes 16 - 24 cookies
Annie's Eats

For the cookies:
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
1 1/4 cup sugar
10 tbsp. (1¼ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 large egg

For the filling:
4 tbsp. (¼ cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
¼ cup vegetable shortening
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 375˚ F and grease your cookie sheets.  In a large bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugar.  Add the butter and mix briefly to incorporate.  Next, beat in your egg and mix until the dough forms a mass.  

Take a small ball of dough and roll it into a ball.  Flatten it slightly and place on cookie sheet.  

Bake for 5 - 7 minutes.  Remove from cookie sheet and cool on wire racks.   What a beautiful cookie!

While they're cooling, make your filling by combining your butter and shortening and beating until smooth.  Add your powdered sugar and beat 2 - 3 minutes, then blend in the vanilla.  **My filling seemed too thick to pipe at this point, so I thinned it out with some milk.  It was still quite thick!

 For cookie assembly:  pair up your cookies by size.  Fill a pastry bag with cookie filling and pipe frosting onto one cookie half.

Put cookies together and press so that filling is evenly distributed.

This recipe makes some gorgeous stacks of cookies! 

They taste like Oreos, but are softer in the middle.  They are amazing and I'm sure I'll never buy store-bought Oreos again.  They didn't take any time to whip up, either!  Truthfully, you can cut the sugar down quite a bit in this recipe and still have a great-tasting cookie.  I feel great about adding this to my roster of kitchen DIY recipes, and I love having the excuse to say:  Ore-oh, yeah!  :)  

Hope you give them a try.  Have a great week!

1 comment:

  1. Oh...I love the idea of homemade Oreos - now maybe I have a project for the long weekend :D thanks