For two years, Cathy Erway ate at home—no restaurants, not even street-stand food—and turned her attention to planning and preparing all her meals herself. In the process, she explored ways to commune with other eaters without relying on restaurants, including hosting supper clubs and foraging for edible weeds with her friends. Her tales of this sometimes-difficult, sometimes-hilarious experience can be found in The Art of Eating In: How I Learned to Stop Spending and Love the Stove, and she continues to blog about her norestaurant lifestyle. Erway’s enthusiasm—and her fabulous recipes—will make you want to try it. Plus, all her readers are invited to post a “Reason of the Month” for not eating out.
Cranberry Ginger Jam Thumbprints
At a cost of just 10 cents per cookie, this recipe from www.noteatingoutinny.com will reduce the cost, but not the glamour, of fancy desserts.
1½ cups cranberries (fresh or frozen)
¼ cup water
1⁄3 to 2⁄3 cup raw sugar
1 to 2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
¼ cup raw sugar
1 egg yolk
¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons rolled oats (optional)
1⁄3 cup nuts, finely chopped (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat cranberries, water and 1⁄3 cup sugar over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
2. Meanwhile, cream butter and sugar. Add egg yolk, vanilla and salt; beat well. Gradually add flour until fully blended. Fold in oats if using.
3. Once all the berries have “popped,” stir in ginger. Taste, and add more sugar if desired. Reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until it reaches a jamlike consistency, about 10 minutes.
4. Roll dough into 1-inch-diameter balls. If using nuts, roll each ball in nuts to coat surface. Place balls on greased baking sheet, 1 inch apart. With your thumb, create a small well in the center. Bake for 10 minutes. Fill cookie centers with jam. Return to oven and bake another 5 minutes or until edges are golden and slightly crisp. Cool cookies on a rack. Makes about 20 cookies.