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One Cook's Kitchen

A favorite project has been the cookbook One Cook’s Kitchen, which is as lavish with opinions as it is with seasonings.  Though it exists as a completed book, it is also a work in progress and probably always will be.  Recipes evolve, opinions evolve, and new information is constantly appearing.

I wrote the book for two reasons.  First, I wanted to persuade my nieces and nephews (and anyone else who would listen) that besides being a basic skill that gives you more control over your own happiness, cooking is a lot of fun.

Second, when I needed to give up milk products for health reasons, I had to give up a lot of foods I really love, including almost every dessert worth eating. The only alternative to sinking into a slough of self-pity was to go into the kitchen and mess about with ingredients until I had found a new way to make all those spirit-nourishing treats for myself. At that point, it seemed reasonable to pass along what I’d learned to others who might be facing what my aunt once called “a barren and desolate waste,” a life without butter.

The book does contain recipes, but more than anything, it is an invitation to embark on the pleasure of experimentation, toward whatever end suits your taste


The Almond Compromise Chocolate Chip Cookie

About 35 or 40 medium cookies

This is not a “true” chocolate chip cookie, but it is a remarkably tasty alternative, made with no butter. The saturated fat content is considerably lower. If you make it with milk-free chocolate chips (I found some in bulk at my local food co-op), it is a milkless dessert. The dough has a somewhat strange texture, but the strangeness vanishes when the cookies are baked.

2 cups white flour less 2 tablespoons
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup soft lard or shortening
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons shortening
1 cup almond butter
6 tablespoons white sugar (3/8 cup)
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/4 cups semi-sweet non-dairy chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Put the flour, baking soda and salt into a small bowl and mix together thoroughly with a fork. Set aside.

2. In a larger mixing bowl, cream the lard, shortening and oil together with a wooden spoon until they are soft and smooth. Add the brown sugar, crumbling it with your fingers to break up any lumps. Cream the lard and sugar together. Add the almond butter and mix, then add the white sugar and mix until smooth.

3. Add the eggs. Stir them up a bit with the spoon to blend the yolks and whites, then beat them into the almond-sugar mixture. Add the vanilla and beat well, until the mixture is very smooth and creamy. Add the reserved flour mixture and mix thoroughly. Stir in the chocolate chips until they are evenly distributed through the dough. Note that this dough will be quite stiff and oily, and the chocolate chips may not mix evenly. Not to worry. It bakes up nicely. Just poke any loose chips back into the dough when you form the cookies.

4. Drop the dough in spoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Place the sheet on the second-from-bottom rack of the oven. Bake at 375 degrees about 10 minutes. The edges of the cookies should be lightly browned, the centers a pale golden. (If you want this perfect pattern of browned and golden, don't try to bake on more than one rack of the oven at the same time.) When the cookies are done, immediately transfer them onto a rack to cool.