Sunday, March 1, 2015

Goodbye Winter, Hello Spring!

It's March. Does that mean spring is here?

Only a few days ago, winter storm Remus pummeled us with 8 inches of snow, creating a magical winter wonderland in the deep South. All schools in the Chattanooga area were closed on Thursday, and I was so glad Chattanooga State Community College was too, as I did not want to be driving out there. The snow accumulation atop the roofs had caused docks to collapse in several marinas in Tennessee.

We had our share of adventure at our marina. Around 10:30 pm on Wednesday, fellow boaters diagonally across from us found the end of their finger piers on the verge of submerging into the river. Apparently, the snow had accumulated more on their side, and the weight of the snow on the roof was pushing the finger pier into the river.

They decided to move their boat out of their covered slip to the ship store area, which is on the other side of the marina. We donned our winter jackets, gloves and scarves, and hurried over to help tie them up. Come to find out, some finger piers of that dock were also partially submerged in the river!

We had a community working to get the snow off the main dock with whatever tools we could find - shovels, brooms, etc. By the time we called it quits, it was almost midnight. Back on our boat, the captain also pondered whether we should move out of our covered slip, in case of a collapse. We decided to stay put, but opted to remove the satellite dish so that Mai Thai has enough clearance to move out, if push comes to shove. Never a dull moment living aboard a boat, that's for sure. Thanks to warmer temperatures the next day, the snow melted fairly quickly.
Finger pier about  to submerge into the river
Winter wonderland in southeast Tennessee
For some people, February might already be a distant memory. For me, February will be remembered as the month spent baking (lots of cookies!) and keeping the boat warm at the same time. Au Bon Pain was my inspiration. This was the cafĂ©  we used to patronize for coffee and breakfast items on the way to the office in Boston back in the 90s (before Starbucks and Panera came on the scene). The one baked goods I love from Au Bon Pain is their delicious oatmeal raisin cookies - chewy, moist yet crispy. Every time I see an oatmeal cookie recipe, I'd clip and file it. After many tries, I settled on the oatmeal raisin recipe from Cook's Illustrated.
Fabulous oatmeal raisin cookies, recipe from Cook's Illustrated
This February, I finally got around to baking Cocolocos, the oatmeal cookie recipe with chocolate,coconut flakes and pecans, that I had dog-eared in the March 1994 issue of Food and Wine magazine (did I mention I'm a pack rat?) It was so good I couldn't stop eating them! I copied the recipe into this post. Hope you like them as much as I do!

Cocolocos - oatmeal with chocolate, coconut and pecans.Yum!
Cocolocos [print recipe]
(recipe from Food and Wine magazine, March 1994)

These satisfying cookies get their crunch from pecans and their chewy texture from coconut and oats. Use the best chocolate you can buy to make the chunks.

Makes About 3 Dozen Cookies

2 sticks (½ pound) unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ pound (1 cup) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, cut into ½-inch pieces
1½ cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup sweetened grated coconut (about 3 ounces)
½ cup coarsely chopped pecan (about 2 ounces)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, cream the butter with the brown sugar and granulated sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the flour, baking soda and salt. Stir in the chocolate, oats, coconut and pecans.

2. Spoon rounded tablespoons of the dough about 2 inches apart on a large cookie sheet. Bake for about 12 minutes until the cookies are golden. Transfer to a rack to cool completely. (The cookies can be stored for up to 1 week in an airtight container.)

Bet you're wishing spring is here too.

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  1. These cookies look yummy! Can't wait to try. That is quite a bit of snow for Winter in your area! I guess we don't really get any cold weather in CA. It feels like summer all winter and it's totally weird!

    1. Amy,

      Thanks for checking in! I may make some Cocolocos to bring to L.A. next week. Hope next Sat will be nice as I'll be going to an outdoor wedding in San Marino area. Incidentally, do you have any recommendations for restaurants in that area?

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