Making Planning Snarky and Cool[er]: Cards Against Urbanity

A few weeks ago, I was reading Greater Greater Washington (best site ever) and came across a Kickstarter for Cards Against Urbanity, a spinoff of Apples to Apples and Cards Against Humanity. Like those games, CAU is a city planning game with question and answer cards. Players take turns judging a question round; he or she picks a card with a question about cities and neighborhoods. Players then try to appeal to the judge by throwing down answer cards from their hand.

Since I fully support anything that has to do with planning and fun (although planning in my mind is already fun, but I’m a nerd so go figure) I want to make sure they get pledges for 250 more decks. They’ll add 186 more cards…which is 186 more minutes I can spend playing this game. If you’re picking up what I’m putting down, visit their site and pledge! It will make you laugh and is a great way to get holiday shopping done for those other planners in your life who live under a rock and haven’t heard about this game yet.

For more info, see the CAU Facebook page or follow them on Twitter – @CardAgainstUrb.

Love,

ArlingtonDarling

Recipe: Savory Oatmeal Cookies

I know when I read a post on a site that starts with “I’m more of a savory girl than anything else” that I’ve found a soul sister. Or a kitchen sister, at the very least.

That’s how I felt when I stumbled upon these savory oatmeal cookies…how could I resist? A cookie baked deliberately for eating with cheese?! One that builds upon my already well-established love for the more traditional kind of oatmeal cookie (the kind with chocolate chips)? I was so, so sold – even before I saw the cup (yes, cup) of cheese that goes into these stunners. I swear.

Savory Oatmeal Cookies | Arlington Darling

Savory Oatmeal Cookies | Arlington Darling

Let’s just get right to it, shall we? Recipe adapted from The Kitchn.

Recipe: Savory Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients:
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup warm water
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup sifted all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt, plus more for dusting
1/4 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. chopped rosemary
1/4 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper
1 cup grated parmesan cheese

To Make:
1. Preheat the oven to 350.
2. In a bowl, combine the oats and water.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the olive oil, sugar, and egg. Then, add to the oats.
4. In a separate bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients (flour, sea salt, baking soda, rosemary, pepper, and cheese).
5. Add to the oats bowl and combine.
6. Form tablespoon-sized balls, and flatten gently on a baking sheet, leaving an inch or two of space in between each cookie. Optional: add a sprinkle of sea salt on top of each cookie.
7. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until golden on the edges.

Enjoy! Her suggestion to eat these with a soft, sharp cheese is perfect. I recommend Red Hawk or Humboldt Fog. They’re also good on their own. Just look at the savory texture! Mmmmph!

Savory Oatmeal Cookies | Arlington Darling

Savory Oatmeal Cookies | Arlington Darling

Arlington Darling’s Five Favorite Cheeses

This post needs no explanation, rationalization, or introduction. Here’s me, dropping my knowledge:

Cheese Assortment

Cheese – Fairway Market

  • Pecorino Tartufo Riserva. I have this every year at my aunt’s house for Christmas Eve, and it always blows my mind. Even my cousin’s 5 year old daughter loved this cheese, and she’s a picky eater. It is salty, nutty, firm, salty, truffley, and slightly crumbly. They are generous with the truffle in this cheese, and the flavor is astounding. Definitely a special occasion cheese to be savored and worth unbuttoning your top button for. I like it plain – no crackers, no other flavors to compete with. This one shines on its own. My aunt waits religiously in line at Murray’s in New York for it (P.S. new favorite website).
  • Humboldt Fog (Cypress Grove). A somewhat recent discovery of mine but it’s going to stand the test of time. This is a funkier cheese but still very accessible (gee, I really sound like I know what I’m talking about, don’t I? Hah! P.S., I don’t.). This cheese is so, so creamy and the vegetable ash in the middle gives it such a unique flavor. I also really love the rind on this cheese. You’ll find this on cheese plates at restaurants for a reason. This is also probably the only cheese on the list that I can only have a few bites of before I get so overwhelmed with the deliciousness that I need to switch to something else for a while or the awesomeness gets dulled. Maybe that doesn’t make sense. But basically it’s a unique winner.
  • Unexpected Cheddar (Trader Joe’s). A beautiful, beautiful blend of cheddar and parmesan – the best of both worlds. Fantastically crumbly, nutty, and super salty. Party favorite. Good alone, melted into quesadillas, and crumbled into a salad. Also plays nice with fruit such as apples and grapes. Unexpected is a great name for it because while it looks humble and average, it definitely isn’t.
  • Red Hawk (Cowgirl Creamery). This cheese makes my list because not only is it delicious, but it reminds me of San Francisco. JJ and I picked up this cheese somewhat randomly for our sourdough picnic and we couldn’t believe our find. It’s a cheese with enough interest to keep a cheese lover entertained while not being so funky that it turns people off. It’s a soft cheese, so crackers are the way to go for me. Some dried fruit is also nice with it (at our picnic, we enjoyed it with some dried apricots).
  • Hand Dipped Ricotta (Lioni Latticini). I buy this cheese at Whole Foods in what I think of as the deli section – where they keep the prepackaged cheese, olives, fresh pasta sauces, etc. I’ve never seen it sold anywhere else, but it is hands-down the best ricotta I’ve ever had. I’m not sure I could do a description of it justice. Let’s just say when I buy it, I keep it simple with some salt and a big hunk of pretzel bread. It’s too delicious of a cheese to mix into pasta or bake with.

There you have it! The big five. Did I miss any? :)

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Recipe: Modified Meatless Shepherd’s Pie

Recently I went to one of my book club meetings (yes, okay, I’m in two book clubs. I read…a lot.) and had this amazing modified shepherd’s pie. Modified because it was vegetarian! And also it incorporated some other changes like no potatoes and the addition of some feta cheese. It was so yum!

Can I just disgress for a moment to say how lucky I am to have such accommodating, generous friends who cook vegetarian meals because they know I’m coming over? I know that vegetarian meals aren’t always all about me, but, well, sometimes they are, in that uncomfortable way where I realize everyone else would prefer to be eating ribs or steak and they’re “stuck” with something veg. I’m rarely the only vegetarian in the room, which makes it a little easier, but still. Anyway, my friends never make me feel that way and I love them for it. Moving on.

One such friend is Kathy, who I have to credit with this creating this delicious recipe. Thanks for sharing this with me and for making such an elaborate book club meal!

Modified Meatless Shepherds Pie

Ingredients:
1 pie bottom shell
1 pie crust topping (rolled-out dough or store-bought)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small white onion, chopped
2 tbsp. Herbes de Provence (or mix your own using thyme, basil, oregano and parsley to your taste)
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 lb (package) Yves meatless ground round
1/2 cup tomato sauce (or more as needed)
2 cups diced carrots, peas, and corn (or mixed vegetables of your choice)
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 egg beaten w/ 1 tsp water (egg wash for the pie crust)

To Make:
1. Heat olive oil in medium saucepan and add the chopped onion and herbs. Cook until onions start to turn clear.
2. Add the meatless ground round and cook thoroughly, adding salt and pepper to taste.
3. Add the carrots, peas and corn (or other veggies) and stir. Cook for 5 minutes or until slightly softened.
4. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375.
5. Lightly brush pie bottom shell with egg wash.
6. Spoon stuffing mix into pie shell. Add feta cheese to top of the mix.
7. Cover stuffing with pie crust topping and brush top crust with egg wash before putting it in oven. Cut the top of the pie crust like an X to allow steam to exit while baking.
8. Cook for 30 minutes or until crust is golden.

The meat eaters around the table could hardly tell that it was made using fake meat (or at least, that’s what they told me…)! It may depend on which brand of soy crumbles you use, I haven’t tried too many of them. If you have a favorite, let me know please! Also a good substitute would be lentils or finely chopped mushrooms, or both.

This recipe is perfect as we struggle through the last few chilly, rainy days before summer. Enjoy!