The Chocolate Chip Cookie

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*The Chocolate Chip Cookie*

I had several other post ideas lined up before this one, but this could not wait.

This is the best cookie ever.

And here is how you do it:

Recipe: From America’s test kitchen.

  • 14 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 1/2 oz. granulated sugar
  • 5 1/2 oz. brown sugar (I used a 50/50 combo of light and dark)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 whole egg, 1 egg yolk
  • 8 3/4 oz. bleached or unbleached AP flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cup Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips

Equipment needed: Kitchen scale, pan, bowl & stand mixer/hand mixer/fork and a bowl

Directions:

1. Melt 10 tbsp of butter on medium low heat. Watch for the bubbles, which will start to pop very rapidly. After a few minutes, you’ll see the brownish solids. Remove from heat, and add remaining 4 tbsp butter, and mix in pan until dissolved.

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2. Put clarified butter in the fridge.

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3. Go eat dinner. Or go do something else. Forget you’re going to make chocolate chip cookies for a couple of hours. This step is important because most people on the quest to make chocolate chip cookies want them immediately. There is nothing that comes closer to knowing the feeling that you are slowly aging than having to wait to eat chocolate chip cookies because one of the ingredients needs to cool down. So go do something interesting and distracting.

4. Now that you’re back, scoop the cooled butter into the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. (Or a hand mixer, or a perfectly good fork and bowl will do, too.)

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5. After weighing the sugars, add them to the butter, along with the salt. Mix for about a minute, and then let rest.

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6. In a separate bowl, weigh the flour, and whisk in the baking soda.

7. Add eggs to the mixer and mix for a minute or two until combined.

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8. Add the vanilla to the butter/sugar mixture, and mix until just combined.

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9. Remove the bowl from the stand attachment, and fold in the flour mixture.

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10. Pre-heat oven to 375 Fahrenheit.

11. When the cookie dough is at a point where you can still see lots of flour and it looks under-mixed, add the chocolate chips.

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12. Fold the batter together only a few more times, you should still be able to see several streaks of unmixed flour in the batter.

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13. Place parchment paper on top of a cookie sheet, and with an ice cream scoop, scoop out the cookie dough onto the sheet, no more than 8 at a time. (Spread out in a three-two-three pattern.)

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14. Bake for about 12 minutes, until crisp golden brown edges, and soft and cakey in the middle.

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15.Wait until they are fully cooled to— Yeah, right.

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Halo of white light. All hail. Just kidding, something was wrong with the camera.

These are the best cookies in the entire freaking world.

Spicy Vegan Chili & Secret Ingredient

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Last June, my mom called to ask me if I needed her to bring anything for me from America.

I looked in my pantry. I was running out of the special ingredient.

This recipe for vegan chili is delicious, healthy, super easy to make, and for this reason, is cooked almost every week in our home. A little over a year ago, I discovered that it is made even better with a special secret ingredient.

The secret ingredient is a unique, smoky hot sauce from a local Mexican restaurant chain in Florida called Tijuana Flats.

But I was in a conundrum, as I looked inside my pantry–did I need this sauce enough to make my mother have to say its name out loud in the restaurant?

I decided I did.

A little sheepishly, I explained to her what I needed, and my husband asked for his favorite sauce as well. We sent the names of the bottles and the quantities we wanted in an email, which she jotted down on an index card, a little skeptically.

The next day, while my mom was running errands, I happened to call her, and overheard the following polite customer-client exchange.

“Hi, Welcome to Tijuana Flats!”  

“Hiiiiii, Thank you…[awkward pause]…Do you sell sauces?”

“Yes! Yes, we do.”

“Goooood. Uh… could I have three bottles of…[mumbling] Don’t be a…Chicken…uh [incoherent]”

“[a little flustered] A–a chicken…? OH–OH YES! Yes, we have that. [polite, uncomfortable laughter] Yes!”

“–And, and one more..this…Slap my…sweet…”

“[unnaturally high] what?!”

“Yeah, ok, you read this. It’s on the index card.”

*

Recipe adapted from: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/the-best-vegetarian-chili-in-the-world/

Ingredients:

1 cup red-speckled (sugar) beans

1 cup red kidney beans

1 cup black beans

1 red onion

1 green bell pepper

2 carrots

1 jalapeno pepper (or green chili pepper)

3-4 cloves garlic

4 tomatoes or 1 can diced tomatoes (I use the ones with garlic, basil, oregano seasoning in them.)

Enough water to cover beans

1 can corn

Seasoning: Bay leaves (6), Dried Basil (2 tablespoons), Dried Oregano (2 tablespoons), Ground and/or Whole Cumin (1-2 tablespoons), Salt, Black Pepper

Secret ingredient: Tijuana Flat’s Don’t Be a Chicken Shit hot sauce.

*

Method

Soak the beans in water for 3-4 hours until double in size.

Put about a teaspoon of oil into a pressure cooker. Chop up onion, green bell pepper, carrots, jalapeno pepper, and grated garlic cloves, and just throw them in the oil as you chop them, or you can put them in all together at the end, whatever’s easier for you. At the end, throw in the diced tomatoes. Cook for a few minutes.

Drain the soaked beans and rinse them a few times, and then add them into the pot, with enough water to cover the beans and vegetables completely.

Add the spices: bay leaves, basil, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper. You can also add taco seasoning, red pepper flakes, or red chili powder depending on how spicy you want it. Seasoning is always to taste, but I love to add as much basil and oregano as I possibly can.

Pressure cook for about 7-8 whistles, or about 45 minutes to an hour.

When cooked, let pressure cooker cool down and release the whistle. The chili should have thickened, but if it’s watery, mash some of the beans together. Add the can of corn, and taste for salt.

*

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Normally, chili is of course served with cheese, but we like to eat ours with yogurt (but it’s good enough on its own). Then we drizzle the secret ingredient: Tijuana Flat’s Don’t be a Chicken Shit hot sauce on top. Sometimes, my husband likes to add Slap My Sweet Ass and Call Me Sally, which is a garlic infused, sweet-and-spicy sauce, but I prefer the smoky, tangy, cayenne flavor of Don’t be a Chicken Shit. (You can buy the sauces online here.) This dish would probably be enhanced by other Mexican spices or sauces as well, and is the kind of food where you enjoy the taste, but you feel good afterwards as well, because you are pretty much just eating proteins, vegetables, water, and spices.

And it’s the kind of taste for which you would go so far as to ask your poor mother to speak unspeakable words in public. But sometimes, it has to be done.

Thank God for the index card.

Vegetarian Beet Burgers

Attempt 1 (February, 2014) — Success!!

I wish I had taken a photo, because it was the most aesthetically appealing thing I’ve ever cooked. I froze the extra patties, so we might be able to capture the burger next time we eat, before they get gobbled down by ravenous beasts. To create this, I looked up several recipes online, and then just used the combination of ingredients I happened to have, and what I thought would taste the best.

Recipe

Ingredients for Patty:
  • 3 Beets
  • 3/4 cup cooked rice
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1 Can Chickpeas
  • 1.5 Red Onion (should have used only 1)
  • 4 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 tsp Dried Basil
  • 3-4 tsp Cumin Powder
  • 1-2 tsp Coriander Powder
  • 0.5 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1-1.5 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Red Wine Vinegar
  • Oil or butter, for frying.

Ingredients for Burger:

  • Portuguese Bread (Fluffy and thick slices)
  • Feta Cheese
  • Avocado Slices
  • Mayonnaise
  • Butter, for toasting bread
Instructions:
  1. Pressure cook the beets (1-2 whistles)
  2. Cook 1/2 cup rice by boiling in double water. Rice will double in size and should be soft.
  3. Drain the chickpeas, and lay them out on a paper towel. Run another paper towel over them to dry, and then transfer them to a new paper towel–just for good measure.
  4. Put rolled oats in a mixer, until they are the fine consistency of bread crumbs.
  5. Chop or grate the onion and garlic.
  6. Add the onion, garlic, chickpeas, and cooked rice into a large bowl.
  7. When beets are cooked (they are cooked when you can cut them through with a butter knife easily), peel and shred them. I squeezed the water out of them by hand, but it would be easier probably if you have a strainer.
  8. Add spices
  9. Form into balls. They should hold together–if they don’t, stick them in the fridge underneath saran wrap for some time.
  10. Fry the patties.
  11. Add some butter to a pan and toast the bread. Once toasted, put a thin layer of mayonnaise on each toasted side, add patty, avocado slices, and feta cheese.
Serve with mashed potatoes (5 potatoes–microwaved, add: butter, milk, salt, pepper).
*
Beet burgers are normally made with black beans as well as chickpeas, but I didn’t have any black beans on me that day. The patty was nice and crisp on the outside, had the warm consistency of softened potatoes on the inside, and went really well with the cool avocado and creamy feta cheese. It also looks great–bright red patty contrasted with green avocados and crumbly white feta. I will definitely make these again.