Eating Local in Phoenix

Where have you been?
December 31, 2010, 9:35 am
Filed under: Uncategorized
Maghera Christmas sunset

Maghera, N. Ireland sunset. December 25, 2010.

I have a confession. I’ve been being somewhat lazy and, well, I feel like a guilty teen sneaking in the house after missing curfew. I’m fully expecting to see my mom standing, exhausted, in front of the door with a mildly irritated yet equally panic-stricken look across her face and meeting me with that ubiquitous phrase, “And where have you been young lady?” Or something like, “I was worried you were in a car accident, why didn’t you answer my 48 phone calls?” Something like that.  Not that I ever remember that happening, although I do remember missing curfew a few times and failing to return any of the 48 worried phone calls.

Phoenix sunset

Phoenix, Arizona sunset. December 15, 2010

The truth is, after completing my first semester of grad school (and working my butt off with a wonderful team of people to create this awesome website), celebrating a quick Christmas with my parents and then, delayed by one day, flying to N. Ireland to spend time with my boyfriend, I’ve become a lazy bum.

Despite my ambitious goals of exploring the local food scene in Belfast and the small town where he lives, I have basically spent two weeks doing nothing, punctuated by brief periods of activity. Like when his sister and I made 180 cookies from family recipes. Or when I walked outside for 10 minutes to take photographs on Christmas day. Or, like yesterday, when I went to Derry/Londonderry, the 2013 UK City of Culture, and forgot my camera.

But mostly, I’ve been doing a whole lot of nothing.

Maghera snow

Maghera, N. Ireland under the heaviest snow since 1985. December 17, 2010.

However, the laziness is over. With the New Year fast approaching – seven and a half hours away, to be precise – I’ve decided that it’s time to get back to work.


So, as a promise to continue blogging, you’ll find below two wonderful family cookie recipes that, no matter how hard you try, cannot be made from local ingredients.

The first, Aunt Pearl’s Cookies, comes from my great-great aunt Pearl who wisely observed that the cookies, “can be made for everyday or when the President comes to visit.” They are a hearty cookie, but the blending of flavors is spot on. I think the best part is the ingredient list, which calls for “Few raisins.”

The second, Kolachy’s (kuh-lahch-kee), are my favorite holiday cookies. They have a tender and flaky pastry dough with just a dollop of fruit forward pie filling. There are many variations in the recipe, however my grandmother’s (modified from Solo pie filling) remains my favorite.

Happy New Year!

Aunt Pearl’s Cookies

Makes about 7 dozen


Aunt Pearl's Cookies

Photo by Mairin Collins


1 cup Crisco

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup brown sugar packed

1/2 cup white sugar

1 1/2 Tbsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 Tbsp water

3 eggs

1 1/2 Tsp baking soda

1/2 Tsp baking powder

1 1/2 Tsp salt

3 cups flour

1 cup nuts

2 cups chocolate chips

1 1/2 cups oatmeal

1 cup coconut

Few raisins (I interpreted this as about 1/2 cup)

Pre-heat oven to 375.

In a large bowl, cream Crisco, butter and sugars. Add eggs one at a time, mixing well between each addition. Add the remaining ingredients in the order listed, fully incorporating each.

Butter a cookie sheet and, using a spoon, measure out about 1 Tbsp worth of dough. Leave about 1 1/2 inch between each spoonful. Gently pat down the cookies and bake for 10-12 minutes.  Transfer to wire rack immediately after baking and let cool.


makes about 6 dozen



Photo by Mairin Collins


1  12 oz can pie filling (a thick jam can be substituted, however the filling will run)

1 1/2 cups flour

1 cup butter

1 Tbsp milk

8 oz cream cheese

1 Tsp baking powder

1 Tbsp sugar

1 egg yolk, beaten

Powdered sugar (optional)

Mix flour and baking powder in small bowl. In a large bowl, cream butter with cream cheese, milk and sugar. Add beaten egg yolk and mix until incorporated. Add flour mixture and beat until just incorporated.  Turn out into plastic wrap and chill for several hours or overnight.

Preheat oven to 400. On a well floured surface, turn out the dough and roll out until 1/8 inch thick. Using a cookie cutter, cut the dough into 2 inch rounds. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Make a depression in the center of each round. Add 1 tsp of pie filling into center.

Bake for 10 minutes or until slightly brown. Transfer to a wire cooling rack. If you like, you can add powdered sugar on top.

Bon Appetit!


1 Comment so far
Leave a comment

Anna, you make my heart sing. I hope you are having a wonderful visit, but come home soon. Love Gram and Gramp too!

Comment by Ione Celsor

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: