Close Encounters with Cookies from Another Planet
[Unretouched photo of unidentified, disk-like objects, hovering in the air over my kitchen table]
Before I metthe HH, I’d read exactly one science fiction novel (Arthur C. Clarke’s Childhood’s End, when I was about twelve) and seen only the standard TV shows or movies, such as Star Trek (in all its incarnations–though Deep Space really was an inferior specimen, don’t you think?) or Planet of the Apes. It’s not that I’m uninterested in what might be happening on other planets or other universes; it’s just that, frankly, I have a hard enough time dealing with just this one–I mean, who needs more stress?
Still, as a huge fan of all types of film (except anything with violence–which, I suppose, eliminates just about everything on screen these days, even down to Shrek the Third or Get Smart ), I was perfectly agreeable when the HH offered to introduce some of his favorite SF films to me, shortly after we first got together (of course, I was still trying to impress him back in those days, so I was pretty much agreeable to almost anything he suggested*).
From La Jetée (the inspiration for Twelve Monkeys, aka The Only Film in which Pretty Boy Brad Pitt was Actually Any Good) to the original The Day the Earth Stood Still to Blade Runner, I have to admit I’ve enjoyed them all. And these days, we’re both hooked on Battlestar Gallactica, that terrific Canadian-U.S. co-production that’s not only well written and well performed, but a fascinating allegory for today’s political and religious climates (oh, and hunky Jamie Bamber in the role of Lee Adama doesn’t hurt, either).
It seemed fitting, then, that I’d spy a recipe the other day for something with the oh-so-clever name of Cosmic Cookies (ie, they’re “out of this world”–get it?) at the new Planet Organic store that opened recently not too far from us. This was a monumental ouverture, as it was the first Big Organic Market north of the city (Toronto does have Whole Foods, but that’s way downtown in the tony Hazelton Lanes/Yorkville area, a far way to go for those of us orbiting out here in the ‘burbs).
Well, I couldn’t wait to amble through the aisles and explore this newfound “planet.” The atmosphere seemed amenable: I spent about 45 minutes inspecting the inventory, from prepared foods (salads, veggies, patties, croquettes, loaves, etc.) to vegan baked goods (the orange-cranberry muffin I bought was, unfortunately, disappointing) to pastas, produce and packaged goods.
Pleased overall, I ended up purchasing “just a few things” (at the checkout, once I regained the ability to breathe, I calculated that my little spree worked out to approximately $1.00 per minute. Clearly, this is no impoverished planet).
Here’s my haul:
1) Veggie patties. Fittingly alien-looking with nubby edges and a deep carmine color, these little creatures were a mélange of carrots, beets, almonds, and an array of spices. A bit too sweet for my taste; nevertheless, good lunch food.
2) Teriyaki tofu “steaks.” Basically the first tofu recipe I ever cooked for myself: slabs of tofu marinated in the ubiquitous mix of soy sauce, ginger, something sweet and garlic. These were fine, if less than inspired.
3) A slice of bison meatloaf for the HH. He loved it. Enough said.
4) The pièce de resistance, the holy grail, the UFO (Unidentified Flour Object) I’d been seeking for weeks: a bag of coconut flour. I’d read about this elusive ingredient many times (it’s a mainstay in Deb’srecipes) but had never been able to find it before. The coconut flour will provide me with hours of kitchen fun, playing with recipes for yet more cakes, cookies, bars, muffins, or pies free of wheat, eggs or dairy–and now, perhaps, free of gluten, too (it’s a GF flour).
In the meantime, I whipped up a batch of the store’s own Cosmic Cookies, a signature sweet made primarily of oats, seeds, raisins, chocolate chips and coconut. I was so fixated on my coconut flour that I forgot to add the shredded coconut to the mix; they still came out fine. Since the store published the recipe in their own flyer, I assumed they wouldn’t mind my sharing it here as well.
And though I enjoyed my visit to the store, I think I’ll restrict any future inter-planetary shopping to just the coconut flour. As much as I enjoyed the visit, it seems more like a special-occasion, rather than a regular, destination. Just like every other planet.
*No, nothing like that, you perverts!
Planet Organic’s Cosmic Cookies (verbatim from their flyer)
I modified this recipe ever so slightly. These are not too sweet and very filling, yet somehow, strangely addictive. Could it be the extra-terrestrial influence?
2-1/4 cups quick cooking oats [I used old-fashioned]
2 cups spelt flour [I used whole spelt]
1 cup sunflower seeds
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
1/4 cup flax seeds [I used ground flax]
1 cup granulated cane sugar [I used Sucanat]
1 Tbsp. cinnamon
2-1/4 tsp. sea salt [I used only 1/2 tsp.]
1-3/4 c. dairy-free chocolate chips
1-1/4 cups raisins [I used dried cranberries]
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
3/4 cup canola oil [I used sunflower oil]
1 cup soymilk
Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking trays with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients (everything from oats to raisins).
In a separate large bowl, combine the wet ingredients (everything from water to soymilk). Add wet ingredients to dry and mix well to combine. Do not overmix.
Portion cookie dough using a 1/3 cup measuring cup [I used a large ice-cream scoop] and place onto lined baking tray. Gently flatten cookies before baking. Bake for 24 minutes or until lightly browned. Makes 24 cookies.