Mark Bittman makes the perfect comfort food for a chilly night: flavorful meat loaf, sweet maple-glazed carrots and oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, all from his cookbook, "How to Cook Everything: The Basics."
- 1 pound carrots
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves for garnish, optional
Trim the tops and bottoms from the carrots and peel them if the outsides are tough. Then cut them into coins or sticks about ¼ inch thick. Put them in a large pot with the butter, maple syrup, ½ cup water, and a sprinkling of salt and pepper; set over high heat and bring to a boil. Stir once, then lower the heat so the mixture bubbles gently but steadily and cover the pan. Cook, undisturbed, until the carrots are just beginning to get tender and have absorbed almost all of the liquid, 10 to 15 minutes. They're ready when you can spear them with a fork but still meet some resistance. Remove the lid and keep cooking until the remaining liquid thickens into a glaze and coats the carrots, then remove from the heat. Taste, adjust the seasoning with salt or pepper, and serve hot or warm, garnished with the parsley if you like.
Heat the oven to 375 F. Chop the chocolate. Use a chef's knife with a rocking motion to cut the bars into pea-sized pieces. You should have about 1 ½ cups. Use an electric mixer to cream together the butter and sugars in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Crack the eggs on a flat, hard surface, add them one at a time, and beat until well blended. Mix the flour, oats, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder together in a small bowl. Alternating with the milk, add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture a little at a time, mixing on low. Stir in the chocolate and vanilla. Drop tablespoon-sized mounds of dough about 3 inches apart in rows and columns on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until lightly browned. Cool for about 2 minutes on the sheets before using a metal spatula to transfer the cookies to racks to finish cooling. Store in a tightly covered container at room temperature for no more than a day or two.