December 31, 2010

Lamb Curry with Apricots

I've already shown what I made for lunch on Christmas day.  Christmas dinner featured two new Indian recipes, one of which is featured in this post.  The other will be covered in a separate post.

When I make Indian, I usually make a meat, poultry or seafood dish and a vegetable dish, plus basmati rice and naan.  The meat dish I made this time around was inspired by a recipe in Camellia Panjabi's 50 Great Curries of India.  I've had that dish before (or something quite a bit like it), and while I enjoyed the version I'd had in a restaurant, I had some ideas how to make it into something even more to my taste.  So, I took some basics from that recipe, changed around several things, added a couple touches of my own and got to work making the dish.

I was very pleased with the result:  Tender lamb, plump, juicy apricots, a nice balance of sweet and sour and an enticing cinnamon fragrance.  This isn't a spicy curry; I'd characterize it more as warm and inviting, and very flavorful.   The blend of rich and exotic flavors and pleasant textures is likely to appeal equally to those new to curry and those with more experienced palates.  I invite you to give it a try - and then to come back and let us know what you think of the recipe.

Our Christmas dinner.

Lamb Curry with Apricots

yield = 6 servings

4        ounces dried apricots
1/4     teaspoon cider vinegar + 1 teaspoon
2        tablespoons vegetable oil
1        large onion, chopped fine
1        teaspoon grated ginger
1        teaspoon minced garlic
1        cinnamon stick
1 1/2  teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
3/4     teaspoon powdered cardamom seed
1/2     teaspoon ground cumin
2        pounds stewing lamb, cut into small pieces
3/4     teaspoon garam masala
1/2     15-ounce can diced tomatoes
1/4     teaspoon black pepper
1/4     teaspoon salt
1        teaspoon sugar

In a small bowl, combine the dried apricots with 1/4 teaspoon cider vinegar and 1 cup of water.  Cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 1 minute.  Allow the apricots to soak for 3 hours.

In a Dutch oven, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat until shimmering.  Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion starts to brown.  Add the garlic, ginger and cinnamon stick and cook for 1 minute.  Stir in the paprika, cardamom and cumin and cook for another minute, then stir in the lamb and garam masala and cook, stirring often, until the lamb is browned on all sides.
Right:  Lamb Curry with Apricots
Left:  Vegetable Curry with Winter Squash

Stir in the tomatoes, black pepper and salt and cook five minutes, then stir in 1 cup of water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low simmer and cook 1/2 hour. 

Drain the apricots and add them to the Dutch oven.  Stir in sugar and one teaspoon vinegar, cook an additional 10 minutes, then serve.

December 30, 2010

Holiday French Toast

This recipe uses eggnog, which already has flavoring and spices added.  If you want, you can use regular milk and add 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla and a dusting of cinnamon instead of the nutmeg. It's a great way to use up bread that has gotten a little stale, and is a fast, easy thing to make when you have company.

I like to use our electric skillet so that I only need to stand at the countertop for one batch of French toast, and we can all eat together.

You can serve it with the syrup of your choice.  Plain old Mrs. Butterworth's is my favorite. This Christmas I served the French Toast with an Egg Scramble and pineapple juice.

Holiday  French Toast
2                           eggs, beaten
3/4 cup                eggnog
light dusting        ground nutmeg
6 slices                 white bread

1.  In a small mixing bowl, beat together eggs, eggnog, and just a trace dusting of nutmeg.  Don't go overboard with the nutmeg, it's a strong flavor!

2.  Dip bread into the eggnog mixture.  Coat both sides, and stack the wet bread on a plate.


3.  Spray the electric skillet with butter-flavor non -stick shortening, or you may simply melt butter or margarine, or add cooking oil.  Heat the skillet to a medium temperature.  Add the soaked bread slices and cook until done, turning the slices over half way through.

December 29, 2010

Pasta and Meatballs with Chunky Marinara Sauce

We had our Christmas dinner the weekend before Christmas, when Juli's son and his partner dropped by for a visit.  That dinner featured a ham, dinner rolls, and some festive sides.   By the time Christmas itself rolled around, we were pretty tired for various reasons, including dealing with winter weather, and neither of us was in the mood for a traditional Xmas feast.   Instead, I simply cooked something tasty for lunch and supper.

Lunch was pasta with marinara sauce and meatballs.  I made up a variation on my Quick Marinara Sauce recipe, mostly because we didn't have enough crushed tomato to make up a full batch of the basic recipe.  We had several cans of diced tomatoes, though, so I made up for what I didn't have in crushed tomato by adding some diced tomatoes.  The result was a chunky sauce.  It was, frankly, delicious... every bit as good as the non-chunky sauce. 

One of these days I'll have to get around to finding or making a good recipe for Italian-style meatballs, but this time around I didn't want to go to that much work, so I went with our standby:  Frozen handmade meatballs from Graziano Bros. Grocery.   Their excellence is the main reason I haven't really felt a strong need to find or come up with my own meatball recipe. 

For the pasta, I skipped the traditional spaghetti and cooked up some radiatore for something different.  We'd picked that up awhile back but hadn't gotten around to using it for anything.  It went great with the sauce and meatballs.  

Juli used a loaf of Italian bread we'd picked up the day before to make some garlic bread to go with our lunch.

Pasta with red sauce and meatballs might not be a traditional Christmas meal for most people, but it sure hit the spot for us!

Our Christmas lunch.
The garlic bread isn't pictured, as it was still in the oven.

Pasta with Chunky Marinara Sauce

yield = 6 servings

1        28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1        15-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
5        quarts water + 1/2 cup
2        teaspoons table salt, divided
24      frozen meatballs (optional)
2        tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1        large onion, minced
2        teaspoons minced garlic
2        teaspoons dried oregano
1        6-ounce can tomato paste
1/2     cup red wine
1        teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1        teaspoon sugar
1/8     teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
3/4     pound uncooked pasta
1/4    cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
2        tablespoons freshly-grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
          + extra for serving
2        teaspoons dried basil

Christmas morning in the kitchen.
Left:  Stock pot with water boiling for the pasta
Right front:  Dutch oven with onions
Right rear: Saucepan with crushed and diced
tomatoes simmering.

Heat the crushed tomato and diced tomatoes in a large saucepan over medium heat and cook until it has thickened significantly.  Add 5 quarts water and 1 teaspoon table salt to a large pot over high heat and bring to a boil.  (If you are making the dish with meatballs, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and arrange the meatballs on a wire baking rack set over a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.  Place in the oven and cook for approximately 1/2 hour, or until done.)

Meanwhile, add the oil to a Dutch oven over medium heat.  When the oil is shimmering, add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until it starts to brown.  Stir in the garlic and oregano and cook for about 1 minute, then stir in the tomato paste and cook another minute.  Add red wine and water and cook for 1-2 minutes, then stir in the sugar, black pepper, salt and red pepper flakes.

By that point, the tomato mixture should have cooked down enough.  Add the thickened tomato mixture to the Dutch oven, stir thoroughly, reduce heat and cook at a low simmer.

When the water in the large pot has come to a boil, add the pasta and cook according to directions.  At the same time, add the cheddar cheese, two tablespoons Parmesan cheese and basil to the Dutch oven and stir in.  (If you are making the dish with meatballs, stir them into the sauce at this time as well.)

Drain the pasta and serve topped with the sauce (and meatballs, if desired) and with grated Parmesan cheese.

December 28, 2010

Julianne's Chicken Curry Stew

This is one of my son's favorite meals, so of course I made it for him when he brought his fiance home.  It was a hit, and because it's a big batch recipe, we even had enough for a few frozen lunches.  College students being what they are, I'm always glad to make recipes that include lots of vegetables!

Julianne's Chicken Curry Stew
1        1-pound package frozen broccoli, carrot, cauliflower mix, thawed
1        8-ounce package frozen peas, thawed
¼       cup flour
1        tablespoon +1teaspoon mild curry powder
¼       teaspoon salt
1        pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
½       pound baby red or Yukon gold potatoes, cut into bite-size pieces
¼       cup butter
1        small onion, minced
1        cup water
1        tablespoon chicken-flavor instant bouillon powder
½       cup half-and-half cream
          salt and pepper to taste
2        cups flaked, sweetened coconut
1        12-ounce package raisins, golden raisins, or raisin-dried cranberry blend

1.  Thaw frozen vegetables in the refrigerator, or if pressed for time, microwave them in a large bowl for about half the time called for on the package.

2.  In a small bowl, combine flour, curry powder, salt and ¼ cup water;  beat with a fork until smooth.  Set aside.

3.  Boil chicken breasts and potatoes in a Dutch oven filled with water to cover, until both are cooked through.  Drain.  When chicken has cooled, cut into bite-size pieces.

4.  Melt butter in the Dutch oven.  Sauté onions, then added cooked chicken and potatoes.  Stir well.

5.  Add bouillon and 1 cup water.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat.

6.  Add thawed vegetables and stir everything together.  Return to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover and simmer until vegetables are crisp-tender.

7.  Stir flour/curry mixture;  add to stew, stirring constantly to blend.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Boil and stir 1 minute.  Reduce heat to low.  Stir in half-and-half.  Cook until thoroughly heated.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

8.  Garnish each serving with the coconut and raisin mix as desired.

December 27, 2010

Black Bean and Ham Soup

We had lots of leftovers from our early-Christmas ham.  A lot of the ham was sliced up for sandwiches, but I used a good chunk of it - and the ham bone - to make up a big pot of black bean soup with ham.  There was one big obstacle to my making the soup, though:  lack of a recipe.

I used to have a pretty good recipe for black bean and ham soup, but when I went to make up my soup, I couldn't locate that recipe.  That kind of bothered me - and I haven't given up looking, as I do want to find that old recipe - but with no other option, I decided to just wing it this time around.

Aside from the obvious ingredients - black beans and ham - I decided to go with a basic mix of vegetables (onions, carrots, celery), plus some extras for flavor.   I had some chilis, and while I decided against chopping them up as an ingredient - I was wanting something that tasted like a soup, not watered-down chili - I decided to use them to flavor the soup but remove them before serving.   Beyond that, decided to just go with some basics for seasoning, and cornstarch to thicken the broth a bit.

The results were... okay.  Not great, but not bad, either.  The beans were well-cooked - tender, but not split open or half-dissolved.  The ham provided rich flavor, and the jalapenos and pepper flakes gave the broth a slight undercurrent of heat.  Served up with some sour cream and a bit of chopped cilantro, I liked it fine enough, but clearly it could use some improvement.   Suggestions, anyone?

Black Bean and Ham Soup

2        pounds dried black beans
1        ham bone with about 3 cups ham attached
2        jalapenos, halved and seeded
2        large onions, minced
16      cloves garlic, minced
3        bay leaves
5        tablespoons salt
2        tablespoons olive oil
2        stalks of celery, chopped
2        large carrots, peeled and chopped
2        tablespoons ground cumin
4        tablespoons dried oregano
1/2     teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2        teaspoons freshly-ground black pepper
4        tablespoons cornstarch
          chopped fresh cilantro and sour cream (to garnish)

Put the beans, ham bone, jalapenos and 30 cups of water in a stock pot.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer 20 minutes or so, then skim any scum from the surface of the water.  Add one chopped onion, 10 cloves of minced garlic, bay leaves and salt and cook about 2 hours. 

Remove the ham bone from the pot and cut meat into small hunks; discard bones and fat.  Stir the meat back into the pot.  Remove two cups of beans and a bit of broth to a bowl and mash the beans, using a potato masher or fork.  Set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  When the oil is shimmering, add the remaining onion along with the celery and carrot.  Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft.   Push the vegetables to the side of the skillet, add cumin, oregano, red pepper flakes and 6 cloves of minced garlic to the middle of the skillet and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute.  Stir all the contents of the skillet together, then stir in the mashed beans and liquid, along with black pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened, then transfer the skillet contents to the pot.  Stir to mix and cook another 20 minutes or so to allow the flavors to blend. 

At the end of that time, check seasoning, adjust with additional salt and pepper, if needed, then serve, providing sour cream and cilantro at the table to garnish to taste.

Christmas Dinner with Hash Brown Casserole

Christmas dinner went pretty well this year.  Jeffrey made the ham, and we worked together on the side dishes.  It seems like every holiday meal we manage to forget one thing, and this year was no exception.  The lovely broccoli and carrots that I'd selected to add color to our plates and to add vegetables to the meal got forgotten at the back of the countertop as we assembled the rest of the casserole side dishes.  Our guests didn't care, and we greatly enjoyed everything anyway.  Good company is more important than having set up the "perfect" holiday table, anyway, to my way of thinking.  And we did have a wonderful meal with great conversation. 

My son requested a favorite potato casserole, which is very good with ham.  I always use a particular brand of frozen shredded hash brown potatoes, Mr. Dell's.  I can tell that I'm not the only one who prefers this brand, because every Christmas and Easter I usually end up reaching way back in the grocer's freezer case to get one of the last bags of potatoes!  Mr. Dell's has a very good recipe printed right on the package if you're rushed for time, but I prefer my own recipe, which is assembled the night before your big dinner.

Overnight Cheesy Potato Casserole
1 cup (8 ounces)                sour cream
1 teaspoon                         minced garlic
1 can                                   cream of mushroom soup
1 teaspoon                         salt
1 teaspoon                         coarse-ground black pepper
2 cups                                  grated sharp Cheddar cheese
2 pound package              Mr. Dell's frozen shredded hash browns
1 stick (8 tablespoons)     butter, melted
1 cup                                    crushed cornflakes
2 tablespoons                    butter, melted

1.  In a large mixing bowl, combine sour cream, garlic, cream of mushroom soup, salt, and pepper.  Set aside.

2.  Melt 1 stick of butter, set aside.

3.  Arrange half the package of hash  browns in a large rectangular baking dish.  Pour half the melted butter over them.  Pour half the sour cream mixture over them.  Top with half the sharp cheddar cheese.  Repeat with the remaining potatoes, butter, sour cream mixture, and cheddar cheese.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

4.  Just before baking, sprinkle the crushed cornflakes over the top of the casserole and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of melted butter.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes.

An easy way to get crushed cornflakes:  Measure out about four times the crushed volume desired into a large sealable plastic storage bag.  Crush the cornflakes with a rolling pin- make sure the bag has been sealed tight first!

December 26, 2010

Five-Spice Beef with Peaches

Last weekend, I decided to toss together a Chinese-influenced stir-fry with a mix of flavors different from the ones I typically make.  Looking at the spices and ingredients I had available, I decided to base the dish around Chinese five-spice powder, and to use beef and - for something different - some of the peaches Juli froze a few months ago.  Glancing in the fridge, I noticed some fresh serrano chilis and some carrots.  I decided to use the chilis to give the dish some heat, and the carrots to add some color, flavor and vegetable presence.  From there, I decided to toss in some thinly-sliced green onions to round out the vegetable part of the dish, and some honey to boost the sweetness.  A few more ingredients common to Chinese stir-fries and I had the recipe all ready to go.

Juli and I both loved this one.  It was full of flavor, with well-balanced sweetness and heat, and the five-spice powder stood out without overwhelming the dish.  Juli said it was one of the best stir-fries I've ever done.  I've come up with a lot of good stir-fries, and this one has earned a spot among the best of them.  Give it a try... I think you'll be very happy with the result.

Five-Spice Beef with Peaches

yield = 4 servings

1 1/2   pounds top sirloin steak
5         tablespoons soy sauce
2         tablespoons rice vinegar
1         tablespoon honey
1         tablespoon peeled, grated fresh ginger
1         teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
1         teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2         tablespoons peanut oil
1         tablespoon Asian (dark) sesame oil
3         carrots, peeled and sliced into long, thin "matchsticks"
2         serrano chilis, seeded and diced
6         green onions, white and green parts, sliced thin and separated
2         cups frozen or canned peaches
1         tablespoon corn starch
1/3      cup water

Chill the beef for at least 30 minutes, as this makes it easier to slice thin. 

In a medium-sized bowl, mix the soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey, ginger, five-spice powder and red pepper flakes.  Stir to combine into a marinade.

Slice the beef into thin slices against the grain.  Stir the beef into the marinade to coat and let sit for 30 minutes, or cover and refrigerate for up to two hours.

Add the peanut oil and sesame oil to a large skillet.  Heat the skillet on medium until the oils are shimmering.  Add the sliced carrots, serrano chilis and white parts of the green onions and stir-fry 5 minutes.  Add the beef and marinade and stir-fry until the beef is browned. 

Add the green parts of the green onions and the peaches; stir in gently to combine and heat through.  In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of water, then add it to the skillet.  Stir in the cornstarch mixture and heat until the sauce thickens.  Serve atop rice.

December 25, 2010

Beef Empanadas

The empanada is a staple of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American cuisine.  It is, essentially, a pastry dough wrapped around some sort of filling, usually including spiced meat of some sort... more or less a meat turnover, to use familiar American terminology.  Different traditions and regional cuisines favor different sorts of fillings.  The version I made a couple weeks ago is probably more typical of the Argentinian version of the dish than any other.  Based on recipes I've looked at, the combination of hard-boiled eggs, olives and raisins with the spiced meat seems to be particularly common as a filling in Argentina. 

The basic recipe I went with is one of my own, which I made a few times several years ago, fine-tuning it during that time.   Instead of the crust recipe I'd been using, though, I went with one presented in the May, 2010 issue of Cook's Illustrated.  That recipe, which is a variation of CI's deservedly famous vodka pie crust, looked likely to be better than the fairly bland one I'd used in the past.   It turns out I was right.  Just as when one makes it for pie, and despite the inclusion of masa harina corn flour, the crusts of the empanadas turned out nicely crispy and flaky.

Unfortunately, since the crust part of the recipe is direct from Cook's Illustrated, I can't include it here.  I did write the CI editors and ask for permission to include it in this post (with appropriate credit given, of course), but since that was over two weeks ago and I've heard absolutely nothing in that time, I'm going to take their lack of response as a denial of my request.  So, I present my recipe for filling, assembling and baking the empanadas below, but do not specify a crust recipe.  If you're interested in seeking it out, you can check out the CI recipe on their website with a paid or free (temporary) membership.  Otherwise, you might go with a favored pie crust recipe, or use a pre-made pie crust (Cook's Country recommends Pillsbury Just Unroll Pie Crust in their recipe for Quick Beef Empanadas).

Beef Empanadas

yield = 12 empanadas (serves 6 as a main course)

1       tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil + 5 tablespoons for cooking
2       medium onions, chopped fine
4       teaspoons minced garlic
1       teaspoon ground cumin
1       teaspoon Mexican oregano, crushed
1/2    teaspoon cinnamon
1/2    teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1/2    teaspoon salt
1/4    teaspooon cayenne pepper
2       tablespoons tomato paste
1       pound 85% lean ground beef
2       hard-cooked eggs, coarsely chopped
1/2    cup cilantro leaves, chopped
1/2    cup raisins, coarsely chopped
1/3    cup pitted green olives, coarsely chopped
1       tablespoon cider vinegar
         pie crust dough of choice (see above)

Heat oil over medium-high heat until shimmering.  Add onion and cook, stirring often, until it is starting to brown. Add garlic, cumin, oregano, cinnamon, pepper, salt and cayenne and cook 30 seconds or until fragrant. 

Stir in tomato paste and cook 1 minute then add beef and cook until browned.  Transfer mixture to a bowl and cook 10 minutes or so, then stir in eggs, cilantro, raisins, olives and vinegar.  Refrigerate until cool.

Place two baking sheets in oven and heat to 425 degrees.  While the oven is heating up, assemble the empanadas by putting about 1/3 cup of filling into the center of round pieces of pie dough about 6 inches in diameter.  Brush the edges of the dough with water, fold the dough over the filling and seal the edges by pinching or crimping w/ a fork. 

 Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil over each baking sheet then return to the oven for 2-3 minutes.  Brush the empanadas lightly with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil.  Arrange 6 empanadas on each baking sheet and cook until well-browned, about 30 minutes, rotating the baking sheets (front to back and high rack to low) after about 15 minutes.  Cook on a wire rack and serve.

December 24, 2010

Spiced Black Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Last weekend, I tried out a recipe we found at one of our favorite blogs, Coconut & Lime.   The recipe in question was for Spiced Black Walnut Chocolate Chip Cookies.   Black walnuts, chocolate, rum, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and mace... sounded good to me, so I made up a double-batch!

The recipe is very straight-forward, the cookies easy and pretty quick to make.

I liked these cookies quite a bit.  Juli, not so much so.   I took the bulk of the cookies to work, and I got the same results among my coworkers:  People either loved them, or had opinions ranging from "eh" to "I don't like these."  I'm not sure why the reactions to these cookies are so mixed, because the various flavors blend well and aren't overly strong, and neither the rum nor any other ingredient overwhelms the whole, but the results are what they are.   Neither Juli nor anyone else who tried one and didn't like it was able to give me a real specific answer as to why.  Juli said "Something about the flavor, maybe the alcohol, I just didn't care for it." 

So, while I personally like this recipe, it clearly isn't to everyone's taste.  My best recommendation:  If it sounds like something you would like, try it out, but don't be too disappointed or take it personally if not everyone is a fan.

December 23, 2010

Nutty Chocolate Thumbprints Revisited

In preparation for my workplace potluck last week, I made up another batch of the Nutty Chocolate Thumbprint Cookie recipe featured in the most current (December 2010) issue of Cook's Country.  These cookies had been a big hit at our family Thanksgiving feast, so I figured they'd likewise be appreciated by my colleagues.  In addition, after getting some feedback from folks at the Cook's Country bulletin board and Facebook pages, I wanted to try out the technique for drizzling melted chocolate presented in that issue, which hadn't really gone so well the last time.

The technique is pretty straight-forward.   Melt some chocolate (or, in this case, white chocolate) chips, let the melted chocolate cool a bit, pour it into a plastic bag, snip one corner of the bag and squeeze the bag to drizzle the chocolate through the hole.  Last time, it didn't go well.  On both tries, the chocolate clumped up pretty quickly, and the bag burst after only a couple squeezes of chocolate.   I was told that I'd probably been too impatient and hadn't allowed the chocolate to cool enough before putting it into the baggie.   So, this time I waited twice as long as I had the second of the two times before (a bit over 5 minutes). 

Unsurprisingly, the helpful individuals who gave me feedback - including Ronna F, the person who submitted the recipe to the magazine's annual Christmas Cookie Contest - were right.  This time the routine worked great!  My thanks, to Ronna and to everyone else who offered me feedback.

Ready to go into the oven.
Top:  Strawberry Jam
Middle:  Apricot
Bottom:  Raspberry
Fresh out of the oven.
This time the raspberry ones are at the top
of the picture.

I should note that the original recipe was for Nutty Chocolate-Raspberry Thumbprints, and called for raspberry jam as a filling for the cookies, but that I wanted a bit more variety in my cookies, both visually and flavor-wise, so I used three different jams:  raspberry, strawberry and apricot.   All turned out well, but Juli and several of my coworkers preferred the apricot ones.

One other change I made from the recipe as printed was that the printed version called for filling the cookies with only 1/2 teaspoon of jam.  I used a heaping half-teaspoon (so, closer to a whole teaspoon) per cookie.  As the cookies baked, and the jam softened and sunk into the indentations, this proved too much for two of the cookies, as they burst and the melted jam ran out the sides.  The others turned out great, but the extra jam pushed the sides of the cookies outward a bit, making for a larger cookie and causing Juli to call these ones Hoofprint Cookies in place of Thumbprint.   I'm happy with the result, as - in my opinion, at least - the extra jam puts the filling on a more even footing with the rich, chocolate and nut flavors of the cookie.

In any case, the cookies turned out great, and were well-received at the potluck.  Two tries, two successes.  This recipe is a keeper, and I'm sure I'll be revisiting it again.