Category Archives: Food

A Chocolate Chip off the Old Dog

Dear Nestle Corporation,

Perhaps recently you have received a challenge, double dog dare (not involving buckets of ice, or iced up flagpoles), or other dumbassery humorous rant about the rich warm melty awesomeness of your products.

Well, I am writing to thank you as well! With the addition of dark chocolate chips to your product line, you have accomplished several things. First and foremost, a new chocolate chip ‘option’. Milk Chocolate and Semi-Sweet chips have been the mainstays for a long time; with the addition of Dark Chocolate chips we now have the best of both worlds; the intense flavor of semi sweet chips AND the meltability (not a word, in the dictionary, though I suspect you all have internal buzzwords) of milk chocolate. It is now my go-to for any cookie or baked good that requires it (or if it’s optional, or even if it’s just logically possible).

This leads to a question I have, and I decided that since you have mastered all things chocolate, I would ask. As Ms. ODNT says “Gimme cookies – after all I have my own cow, so the milk sitch is taken care of.” She also says “Never hurts to ask!” (I verified this with her on her FB page. Yes I used trickery, since my Force powers are not quite Master level).

Submitted for your discussion/considerations, the (n) chip cookie. Yes I know, undefined, perhaps even infinite?! How did we get to this point? Well a little unauthorized biography never hurt anyone, so here’s what I have figured out…

First there were chocolate chip cookies. There were also chocolate cookies, and it was inevitable that the two would be spliced together to create double chocolate cookies. At some point afterwards, white chocolate chips crashed the party and the first triple chocolate chip cookie was baked, and enjoyed. Soon claims like ‘ultimate chocolate cookie’ and ‘death by chocolate’ were tossed around, probably because many people don’t know past ‘quadruple’. Including me. So I have the following in mind (which I may or may not have already made, and I will not confirm because if people even suspected I have a cookie like this in my house, well, need I say more?)

  1. A chocolate cookie batter
  2. White Chocolate chips
  3. Milk Chocolate chips
  4. Dark Chocolate chips
  5. Semi-sweet chocolate chips – which means…quintuple chocolate cookies!

But wait! There’s more!

  1. Frosted with melted chocolate – which means…sextuple chocolate cookies! (ok readers, get those ‘a cookie better than sex….tuple?!’ jokes out there).

But wait! There’s even more!

  1. The frosting is spread on the bottom of the cookie and another quintuple chocolate cookie is attached to it. Which means…um…

This is what I wonder – would #7 make it an undecuple cookie ( 5 +6 =11), or would it ‘simply’ be a septuple cookie, as the additional cookie would count as just another ‘topping’?

As well as writing to you, I will be posting this to my blog, asking Ms ODNT to pass it along as well as Ms MelMags (consider also that Mags’ decision on this and anything might be the final word), running a classroom poll, and perhaps asking random people on the street. I feel that we can settle this issue as accurately and chocolaty as possible.

Thank you for your time and for continuing to expand your product, so that our own baking experiences can push the cookie sheet even further.

Peter D.

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Yes, I will be sending this letter/linking them here.

Yes, Yes I want to know your opinion and/or recipe.

No, I do not have these cookies in my home.

If I did, then yes you can have one.

 

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Filed under Baking, Debates, Food, General Nerdliness, Letters, Polls, Wisdom

The Spices of Life

I noticed this daily wordpress prompt, and was immediately inspired. Like the Ketchup prompts have instructed lately, I wrote this in exactly 10 minutes.

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Growing up, I was never a fan of spice. When my dad made his famous chili it had to be mild or no one would eat it. I would sometimes get into BBQ sauces and they were a little vinegary, but as far as heat, I didn’t even put pepper on my food. Even in college I wasn’t so daring. I do admit going through a bottle of KC masterpiece sauce every month during those days. In fact by the end of that time, I was also popping pepto-bismol and dealing with what would be severe acid reflux. I had to do on a bland diet and upgrade to Prilosecs for a while, and blandness became a habit. Pretty much was my personality as well!

Then I turned 30 and everything changed. Suddenly I loved pickles. And suddenly I loved spices.

My girlfriend at the time made a mean salsa verde. Essentially smoked jalapeno peppers cilantro and other ingredients. I went to Indian restaurants and insisted that the Shrimp Vindaloo be extra spicy, essentially not to tame it down for the white boy. One time after stressing that the Pad Kra Prow be cooked with extra chili oil, the Thai restaurant waiter ‘playfully’ taunted me with the pitcher of ice water, which he would pour into a very small cup.

To bring the point home, if the adrenaline wasn’t pumping and I was not getting a food ‘high’, it wasn’t hot enough. Even my father couldn’t believe it, and by that time, his own tastes had kept the chili milder. His signature dish, and my mother’s chicken cutlet batter began receiving spoonfuls of chipotle sauce, and sandwiches got a dab mixed in with the mayo.

In my recent trip to Chicago, I went to Frontera, and with the boldness of a blood orange margarita, I generously slathered the house bottled chili sauce on my tortillas, and while spooning up the last of the salsa provided with my appetizer, I belatedly thought – waitaminute, this is habanero sauce isn’t it. Survey says – number one answer. Or number two. Yeah WordPress you wanted to know.

I have calmed it down a bit these days, but I do like my spice. Pepper is now a friend. I make a nice buffalo sauce for wings (but really its easy) and a little Franks or Durkees is on hand for a slice of pizza.

It’s still about the flavor though, spicy doesn’t have to be deadly.

Then again, I haven’t taken the challenge at Brick Curry house. Doubt I will. The description I got from a friend was something along the lines of ‘hurting’. But hey, he got that t shirt.

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Filed under Food, Restaurants, Writing Challenges

Ketchup With Us #36 – Kitchen Up

Ms Mel and ODNT are giving you 10 minutes to write something, anything. Starting…now! Ketchup With Us

We all have talents. Writing, photography, drawing/painting, singing. Do we gravitate to what we are good at by trial and error, or do we go with the first thing that we get a sense of reward for?

One ‘talent’ I think it more of a necessity is cooking. What difference is there really between a gourmet chicken dinner and some spices simply sprinkled on and tossed into the oven? Comfort food is rarely difficult, but has the secret parts of preparation (not love…well ok BESIDES love, geez) that make it just right. Probably the reason why I refuse to eat Italian food at most locations.

My introduction to cooking started very young. I watched my parents cook while sitting in the kitchen area, as I wheeled small metal cars along the round white table. Typical Italian fare of course. As time went on I would be allowed to bread the cutlets, season the meat, I still recall handling the squishy ground beef for meatballs, or prepare the sides (usually instant from a box, or canned. Cranberry sauce a la Bart if you get the reference).

In my teenage years my parents were usually working later hours and so my sister and I were the ones who cooked for ourselves. We took the opportunity to mix and match dishes that only a teenage metabolism can appreciate – frozen pizzas and chicken strips, or everything deep fried at once! My passage into adulthood came when I found out Chef Boyardee was a real person who made more than Beefaroni. The innocence of childhood was gone.

In college I learned two things, first cookies. I gained a quick reputation of always having peanut butter/chocolate chip cookies in my backpack. A close friend advised that every woman’s weakness was peanut butter and chocolate. Back then I needed any edge, I had no swerve.

It was also the time that I would look at the way we had traditionally prepared everything and switched it up. There was resistance at first, but then scalloped potatoes do taste many, many times better when made fresh!

At this point, I rarely if ever buy cookies. I have a seafood bisque that soundly defeats any canned variety, and can make in 20 minutes with prep. In a pinch, a spoonful (or just a pinch) of curry can spice up anything, and a big handful of chocolate chips makes it sweeter.
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I admit this took slightly longer than 10 minutes with editing incomplete sentences, and finding that double chocolate & cherry brownie picture. 

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Filed under Cooking, Creative Writing, Food, Ketchup With Us, Life, Writing

Trifextra 49: A Slice of Life

On to the weekend challenge. As you’ll recall from your elementary science class days, the structure of the earth can be divided most simply into three sections: core, mantle, crust. Here’s a diagram.

Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net



Well looking at the diagram inspired me…well that, and another photo.

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Inside this circle, a gummy coagulation mixes with a hot red liquid (let it cool first!), with a crusty edge. Every culture has ideas for toppings/ enjoyment.

Basically, Earth is a giant pizza!

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Filed under Food, Humor, Life, Trifextra, Trifextra Writing Challenge, Writing, Writing Challenges

Ketchup #7: An Alternative to Healthy

Ms Mel and ODNT want you to share a favorite holiday recipe with them. For once, there is no Heinz-inspired word limit. Just don’t go overboard. (God, I HATED that movie.) Ketchup With Us

To me, the challenge is to have a recipe so simple it fits in 57 words or less, and takes very little time. So I did it anyway. Then I remembered / decided to add the garlic. Garlic justifies extra words, so I don’t feel so bad about it. 

This is a great go-to, and it stars a veggie, which makes it healthy. Just keep telling yourself ‘healthy’. 

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Bag of fresh Brussels Sprouts (NOT frozen)

4 ounces walnuts/ pine nuts (pignolis)

4 ounces chopped bacon/ pancetta

3 cloves garlic, crushed and rough chopped (NOT minced)

Bread crumbs and grated cheese (optional)

Fry the bacon, nuts (add garlic halfway to prevent burning/bitterness) in a medium deep pot until browned. Spoon the mix out onto paper towels to drain, leaving the oil in the pot (Leave the gun. Take the cannoli). Pare & halve the sprouts, add to oil with ½ – ¾ cup water. Boil until sprouts are soft and/or water is evaporated. Pour sprouts into serving bowl, add meat/ nuts, toss. Serve immediately, as cold sprouts = gah.

*Your other option is to pour into a casserole dish, top with bread crumbs and grated cheese, and broil for a few minutes to crust up.

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Filed under Food, Ketchup With Us, Recipes

A Winning Combination

About a month ago, with a simple tweet of “Half & Half, no sugar” to Dunkin Donuts twitter feed, I won this:

Just put a pinch between your cheek and gum.

Good enough on it’s own of course. Around this time of year though, DD and Starbucks add a shot or two of artificial flavors to enhance the price coffee experience, then take it away just as suddenly. I did enjoy the pumpkin spice lattes, but the price is ridiculous and I wondered if I can make this my damn self. Well I knew I COULD, I just needed a recipe to help me along.

Searching the webnets, I found The Budding Baketress has the perfect pumpkin spice syrup recipe. What’s the secret? Actual pumpkin mix, not just the spices. Such revolutionary methods! It’s incredibly easy and enjoyable well past the times that the coffee chains dictate when you should be allowed to enjoy it. Again, revolutionary!

Also do not limit her to that recipe – the buttermilk biscuits are also yummy!

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Filed under Contests, Food, Life, Recipes

Ladies and Gentlement, Let’s All Give it up For…Lent!

Trying to figure out what I should be giving up for Lent. No I am not giving up Netflix, cookies, drinking, my phone, or borrowing books when I already have a stack to read. So that pretty much covers everything. I was thinking ‘desserts’, that is to say nothing AFTER dinner. So I can eat cookies midday and that does not count. This would not include warm milk, which might help me sleep, but I cannot add chocolate to it. Or whipped cream, a run of chocolate and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Well maybe JUST the cinnamon in my milk, that’s really nothing.

I will defer it if I am going out for dinner at a nice restaurant; the point for this is that I would not be going out to that particular place for dessert only, unless it is a specific dessert place that we go AFTER eating dinner. In that case (example: Juniors), I can always take a big hunk of cheesecake home (and eat it for breakfast! Yeah that’s right, I can have it for breakfast. Just try and stop me from slathering it on my pancakes!), it’s close and easy to get to for me (probably one of the best attributes of NYC besides the Met museum that I can think of), and that whenever I go to Junior’s to eat, I am either too full from eating the huge portions and generous sides. Or too buzzed- because holy crap they make some strooooong drinks. Since alcohol and sugar are direct relatives, having one and the other can easily lead to getting sick to your stomach, I almost always avoid it.

Speaking of booze, cordial drinks or ‘nightcaps’ do not count, be they Port, Sambuca, Amaretto, or Bailey’s, because, like warm milk they help me sleep and I need all the help I can get. Then again, I don’t really drink them that often, so it would be like giving up fast food, which I can do 40 days of being away from. Maybe that’s not a fair comparison; alcohol has even the slightest chance of having a benefit for your health, is very satisfying, and I’ll wager you can’t tell me when a couple of Big Macs have made a person more appealing in personality or looks.

Ok well scratch those last two. According to my assistants, who are not buzzkills, but the voices of reason to my wayward antics and crazy ideas, cinnamon in warm milk is a dessert (this required some debate), and cordials were immediately shot down. I’m glad that they are secure enough to be honest with me, as well as having no fear that I will have them punch out for the day and send them into the dreary windy Firday, especially since today is so incredibly slow that we can have deep introspective conversations like this ‘on the clock’.

As well as ‘giving something up’ it follows along my POV that if you can give it up for 40 days, maybe it’s part of a lifestyle change for the better. For example, I am pretty sure I gave up playing Mafia Wars/Vampire Wars last year, and haven’t played since. Yes I know my (naturally human) addictive personality has been replaced by yet another Zynga game. I know there are no copyrights on Hangman, but seriously, Milton Bradley has sued the shit out of everyone who even puts a triple word score box on a screen. Must feel good to be a gangsta.

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Filed under Creative Writing, Day In the Life, Food, Rants, Whining