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Some Icebox Cookies to Go With That Chat?

July 25, 1996|MARION CUNNINGHAM

When I was a child in the late 1920s, our Glendale neighborhood was a small but lively community. Every home was bustling with women, shopping, cooking, washing, ironing, sewing and--not the least of the daily ritual--visiting with neighbors. Those were the days of iceboxes, and one of the best gestures of hospitality was to serve icebox cookies when a neighbor dropped in.

Icebox cookies (later, of course, they would be called refrigerator cookies) were and are a great boon for the home baker. They are made with atypical drop cookie dough with most, if not all, of the liquid removed.

After mixing the simple ingredients, you shape the dough into a log approximately 10 inches long (it can be as long or short as you wish) and wrap it snugly in wax paper. This dough will keep at least 3 weeks in the refrigerator (or even the icebox), and it can be frozen almost indefinitely.

The great thing about this recipe is that you can serve a plate of freshly baked cookies 15 minutes after your neighbor drops in. Of course, you could buy ready-made cookies, but these are much cheaper and better.

Another simple recipe for visitors with an appetite is zucchini garlic chunks, which would go with a glass of beer or wine. These are best made just a few hours or days before needed. All this recipe takes is olive oil, garlic and salt.

You might also try the same olive oil marinade on salads, with pasta or stirred into scrambled eggs served with fresh, sliced tomatoes. This is home cooking at its best, using everything on hand to enhance the flavor of your food.

OATMEAL WALNUT REFRIGERATOR COOKIES

1 cup butter, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 cups rolled oats

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg

1 cup chopped walnuts

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, using electric mixer or by hand. Beat in flour, baking soda, rolled oats, salt, vanilla extract and grated nutmeg until well mixed. Mix walnuts into dough.

Divide dough in 1/2. Place 1/2 on 1 sheet of wax paper, fold ends of wax paper over dough and roll up into log so that dough is covered with several layers. Repeat with remaining dough. Refrigerate at least 6 hours.

When ready to use, slice dough into 1/2-inch thick coins, place on ungreased baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees until lightly browned and puffy, 12 to 14 minutes.

Makes 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

Each serving contains about:

105 calories; 77 mg sodium; 12 mg cholesterol; 7 grams fat; 10 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram protein; 0.19 gram fiber.

ZUCCHINI GARLIC CHUNKS

You can substitute cauliflower florets, fresh green beans or tiny red potatoes, but if using potatoes, blanch them 1 minute before marinating. These chunks are eaten like potato chips, so be generous with the salt.

2 pounds young, small zucchini

2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste

1/4 cup finely chopped garlic, about 5 big cloves

2 cups olive oil

Trim root and blossom ends from zucchini and discard. Cut zucchini into 1-inch lengths and place in large bowl. Sprinkle salt over chunks and toss by hand. Sprinkle chopped garlic over salted zucchini and toss to mix well. Add olive oil and toss to coat chunks with salt, garlic, and oil.

Put mixture in 1 or 2 large jars and refrigerate. Occasionally turn jars upside down and shake to distribute marinade.

Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Each serving contains about:

29 calories; 593 mg sodium; 0 cholesterol; 1 gram fat; 4 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram protein; 0.44 gram fiber.

* Platter and placemat fromTesoro, Los Angeles.

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