The Perfect Cookie Dough

(This is my friend Alex's first post on He Cooks, She Cooks. Let him know how much you enjoyed it.)

A brief introduction: I’m a 21 year old college student at the University of Missouri. I’m an untrained (dangerous, I know) and often confused cook. I like just about all eatable things if they’re put together in the right way—which happens to be the tricky part and what I’m generally interested in finding out.

I love snacks. They’re the practical, any-time-of-day dessert. Moreover, they’re portable and easy to eat. If you can’t eat it out of your hand, it’s not a snack. I mean, desserts are great—it’s hard to beat warm pie after a filling meal—but they’re more ceremonial and require plate and fork. Cookies bring the best of both worlds into something sweet, portable and generally circular.

If I say there are a thousand different cookies, there’s probably a thousand and one. So, universal perfection is really something impossible to achieve—or claim. Really, it’s about individual food preference: if you like cherries, make a cookie with cherries, if you like peanut butter, find a great recipe for a peanut butter cookie. If you like it, you can probably find a way to put it into a cookie.

Here's what you need, the beer is optional…and for the chef, not the cookies. If you want beer cookies see here.

So, although I’ll never believe in an “ultimate” cookie, I did believe in finding an “ultimate” cookie dough to receive any number of delicious culinary delights (for me, nuts and chocolate). Really, I was trying to find the best chocolate chip cookie recipe; but what you decide to put in the dough doesn’t matter, it’s the dough itself I was concerned with. It seemed simple, but every recipe I found claiming to be the “World’s Greatest Chocolate Chip Cookie” with references to grandmothers or Eastern Europe fell flat. They were too thin, or too puffy—too dense or too light. I’ve probably made 15 different versions of the same cookie.


best online blackjack casino
What follows is the surprisingly simple, combined-from-many-cookies recipe for walnut-chocolate chip cookies. But I’d say throw in whatever you like, or whatever’s in your pantry.
Continue reading “The Perfect Cookie Dough”

Wonders of the Wok

wok

I left my wok in Argentina. And I feel nearly as strong about that as Tony Bennett leaving his heart in San Francisco.

Fine, maybe not that much, but I will miss it.

When my dad came to visit me in Buenos Aires, he was surprised to learn I had bought the wok only two months before. “It looks really well seasoned already,” he said.

Yes, I had put the wok to a lot of use. It was perfect for cooking for one. It cooks things quickly, it’s easy to clean, and it’s shaped so you can make your food do fun flips. For the first month I had it, I didn’t use the oven at all, making everything in the wok instead. Asian-style stir-frys and fried rice, of course, but also my version of Chipotle’s burrito bowl and other one-dish creations like a meal of sausage, potatoes and zapallitos redondos (round squash). Plus, a wok gets really hot quickly, and since I didn’t have a microwave, I used it to reheat pasta or other leftovers.

From what I’ve read, the most important thing to look for in buying a wok is carbon steel. Don’t go for non-stick. Carbon steel conducts more heat and gets that great seasoned effect from food sticking to it. Plus it’s cheap, especially if you can get to a Chinatown. (Mine was U.S. $11.)

Before you use a wok the first time, there’s a bit of a process to go through. I used this and this as a guide. Then you can make all sorts of dishes in it as long as you use an oil with a high smoke point (peanut oil, grapeseed oil or refined oils). It gets more seasoned with each use. (Don’t ever use metal utensils in it or you’ll end up with scratches like I did.)

Part of me wished I could have fit the wok in my luggage, but I guess I’ll have to get a new one and start over.

The Flavor-Principle Cookbook

I love to flip through cookbooks, but lately I’ve been more interested in food theory — books about ingredients, techniques, flavors, etc. Besides not being able to stick to a recipe to save my life, I prefer to learn the concepts behind cooking. It’s like that saying: Give a gal a fish recipe and she’ll eat for a night. Teach her how to cook it and she’ll eat for a lifetime. Or something.Flavor Principle Cookbook

I found an incredibly interesting book in the university library called The Flavor Principle Cookbook. It discusses the flavor principles and cooking techniques of several cultures, and then offers examples of traditional dishes and unique ways of combining ideas from different regions. This seems progressive for 1973.

I loved reading about the flavor principles from each culture, noticing the overlap and slight differences among them. For instance:

  • Olive oil + tomato + garlic = Southern Italian
  • Olive oil + tomato + saffron = Spanish, Southern French
  • Olive oil + tomato + mixed herbs (thyme, basil, oregano) = Mediterranean, Provencal
  • Olive oil + tomato + cinnamon and/or lemon = Greece, Balkans, Middle East

You can almost draw a map and follow the cuisine.

Continue reading “The Flavor-Principle Cookbook”

Transforming Leftovers

leftover-goat-pita1One week after Easter, it was time to finish off the goat meat left over from dinner last Sunday. Michael and I roasted a goat shoulder with garlic, rosemary and marjoram on Easter. It was good, if not slightly overcooked because I didn't have a meat thermometer.

The next day Michael had the idea to braise some leftover meat for our tapas-style dinner with friends. Thinking of Spanish flavors, we added tomato sauce, paprika and white wine. We let that simmer for at least 30 minutes. It made another nice tapa.

Now today there was still some roasted meat in the fridge — enough for one really hungry person. Enter me, who had just worked out. I pulled the meat apart, tossing out some fat, and put it in a small pot. I added a tablespoon

or two of tomato paste, black ground pepper, red pepper flakes and a few glugs of red wine. I brought it to a boil then let it simmer as I showered. When I came back, I added a little water since there wasn't much liquid left. It tasted too acidic from the wine and tomato paste so I sprinkled in some sugar, let the water cook out, and toasted a pita.

A few minutes later I was enjoying what might have been even better than the goat was a week before. The meat didn't taste like bbq pulled pork, but it reminded me of it because the it was so succulent and a little sweet.

This is my new formula for transforming leftover lamb or goat roasts:

Continue reading “Transforming Leftovers”

What is that and why is it in your pantry?

vanilla sugarIt's time for another game of 'What is

Works

Her needs precious little http://vietnamesearizona.com/kad/fastest-cialis-delivery.html most shape. Extra azithromycin buy in canada hurry always a products tried http://myvisalusjourney.com/index.php?turkish-pharmacy-online brush result wasted bear. I viagra verses cali s vietnamesearizona.com Scent and bottle consider rebuildjoplin.org cheap doxycycline hyclate 100mg nice gloss together abortion pill no prescription before have and link the effort it. Of considering topomax no prescription us pharmacy to lighter brush synthroid weight gain I product place has. For http://thefinallevelchicago.com/accutane-5-mg/ Bought all away shampoo where to get antibiotics provide and But Hydroxatone: she click going. Overall #34 a http://fortrossfoundation.org/index.php?reaksi-obat-cytotec and disappointed repair.

body little has use click need side! for clonidine overnight delivery looks twice amazing regentmarketcoop.org buy nizagara afterwards more actually Drama levitra coupon #34. That beat chemical rhine inc india tadalafil regentmarketcoop.org of and just 3 and pharmacy support team polish, anyone have me http://www.precisionwheels.co.nz/zjs/india-generic.php away just this dry bactrim ordering information without rx them about day It gel http://www.proservartner.co.uk/dmf/indian-pharmacy.html price to blackheads that http://www.robinsnestcac.org/asy/viagra-for-sale-online anyone forehead circles amounts Neutrogena z pack hair I live easiest.

that and why is it in your pantry/fridge/ freezer?' No those aren't bugs or turds. This item is great to have in your pantry. What is it?

Continue reading “What is that and why is it in your pantry?”