Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Open Houses Held Sunday

Tetiana at 1533 N. 20th St, Aberdeen
Tetiana Althoff, with ReMax Preferred Choice here in Aberdeen, hosted two Open Houses this past Sunday. Tetiana likes to host her open houses with a little wine and some light appetizers, to make the viewers' visits most especially pleasant. This week there were two open houses, and I helped her set up at the first, then take everything down and move to the next open house and set up again. 

Bits of things on sticks
The first Open house was held at 1533 N. 20th Street in Aberdeen, in Park Ridge Estates. This house was recently updated with new kitchen appliances and laminate floors. It has a full basement that is partially finished, leaving a good amount of room to create more rooms if needed. The house is in a development just slightly out of the immediate center of Aberdeen, about 1/2 mile south of Wylie Park. This Open House, held from 1:30 to 3:00 PM, was very well attended. Tetiana made little skewers of meat, cheese, olives or grapes. There were also skewers of cherry tomatoes with mozzarella cheese. Another plate held bell pepper wedges with a vegetable dip. She made some little black olive penguins to stand sentry on the plates. I made some Chocolate Chip Cookies, with the addition of Heath English Toffee Chips. 
Crudites and dip, with penguins on guard

The second Open House, held from 4:00 to 5:30 PM, was for a property that is perfect for anyone who wants to be "in the country" yet still very closely accessible to town. The back yard looks out to acres and acres of fields with bales of hay, while off the front of the house is a relatively busy road, leading into Aberdeen in about 10 minutes. The house at 110 NW 130th Street, Aberdeen is not in a cookie-cutter development and the setting is lovely and peacefully serene. It has 4 bedrooms and 2.5 baths. Unfortunately, either due to the time of day, or the less than immediately in-town location, no one showed up for this open house. Tetiana and I spent the time in the kitchen, which has granite counters and lots of cabinet space (pictured below). A most pleasant place to spend the time, though we wished someone would have found their way to view this lovely home.

Kitchen at 110 NW 130th St Aberdeen

My only contribution to these open houses this time was to make cookies. I was feeling a bit under the weather, as was Tetiana. I went for something simple, yet loved by most: Chocolate Chip Cookies. I got the idea to add in half Heath "English Toffee Bits" along with chocolate chips. I made a large batch of cookies, so (hopefully) there would be plenty for the open house viewers and some left to eat at home. I made the recipe larger for this purpose and got about 85 cookies out of it. These cookies turned out really wonderfully flavored and delightfully chewy; a winning combination in my book, for sure. This is the recipe:

Chocolate and Heath Chip Cookies

makes about 85 smaller cookies

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter (3 sticks)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
Chocolate & Heath Chip Cookies
3 large eggs
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups pecans, coarse-chopped
8 ounces chocolate chips 
8 ounces Heath "English Toffee Bits"

Preheat oven to 375 degrees (350 if using Convection Bake). Whisk together the first three (dry) ingredients in a bowl and set aside. Have the butter at room temperature. In a mixer bowl, cream the butter with the granulated and brown sugars until light. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until completely combined before adding the next. Add the vanilla. Pour the dry ingredients into the creamed ingredients and mix until just barely combined. Add the nuts and chips and finish mixing.

Drop the dough onto ungreased cookie sheets using a spoon or a cookie scoop, keeping the cookies at least 2-inches apart. Bake the cookies for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden and set. Allow them to rest for one minute on the cookie sheet before removing to a rack to cool. 

My passion is to teach people how to create a harmony of flavors with their cooking, and help pass along my love and joy of food, both simple and exotic, plain or fancy. I continue my journey in ethnic and domestic cuisines, trying new things weekly. I would love to hear from you, to help me continue my journey to explore diverse culinary experiences and hopefully to start you on a journey of your own. Join me at A Harmony of Flavors Website and Marketplace, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.