Tag Archive | Valium

7/21/16: Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies!

This morning, I had a second attempt at the LASIK surgery. I was SO close. After the second try today, I was under the machine. I don’t even think I budged. The suction just didn’t take and my eyeball was swollen again, so we couldn’t continue. That’s when the doctor said we should wait a few months, so I’m just frustrated with the whole thing.

Once I woke up from my Valium-induced nap, after sobbing for a few minutes (which I don’t usually do), I felt the urge to bake something chocolate-y. In my mind, I pictured a chocolate cake, but I think that’s because I’ve been binging on Private Practice and in the first few episodes, Dell Parker, the hottie receptionist, kept baking chocolate cakes. Well, actually, it was his grandmother’s baking, but he claimed it was his because he wanted to win over his boss.

I scrolled through the new “Food Network” app (I volunteered to try out their beta app and provide my opinions to a survey) and didn’t really find any chocolate recipes that sounded appealing. That is, except the Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies. It was perfect: the recipe was easy, we had most of the ingredients, exactly the comfort food I needed to get my mind off of self-deprecation.

One of the ingredients I needed from the store (which my mother had to drive me to since I wasn’t out of the woods just yet from the multiple doses of Valium) was the chocolate chips. I chose the Nestlé Toll House bag and all I kept thinking was the Friends episode where Monica spends a few days working hard, trying to figure out the chocolate chip cookie recipe that Phoebe’s grandmother made. Since the recipe was lost in a fire, Monica had to use her culinary skills to figure out what was in it. Then, in the end, when she’s exhausted and just gives up, Phoebe says that her grandmother got it from her friend in France named “Nestlé Toulouse”. Then, Monica says, “NESTLÉ TOLL HOUSE?!” and then flings a bag of chocolate chips at her to see if that’s the recipe. Then, Phoebe stands up excitedly and says, “YES!!!” It was hilarious, but Monica saying, “Nestlé Toll House” was always on my mind, so that brought me even more joy in my therapeutic baking.

Anyways, as I said before, it was a simple recipe. Once the chips were mixed into the batter, I used a baking spatula to stir them in and realized the recipe says to mix by hand. Whoops, but who cares? The job is done without harming the beautiful chocolate chips.

The struggle is really in placing each chunk on the trays. Whatever the lump looks like determines how it looks in the end. I wanted soft, flat cookies. While they were all soft, some of them were slightly crispy on the bottom, which I thought was due to the placement in the oven. There are two racks set at the center and bottom. I tested out this theory, since it was either because of the placement or the amount of cookies per tray. We have one that can fit 12 and one with six.

First batch: IMG_3598.JPGIMG_3599.JPG

So this is how I placed them in the oven: 12 over 6. The 6 was the one that had the crispy bottom, but it was still soft. This is how it looked on a plate: IMG_3589.JPGI know. Yum, right? I tasted one cookie from each tray to check the difference.

Second batch: IMG_3604.JPGIMG_3600.JPGSix over 12 this time. I forget which bottom was crispier, but I recall my conclusion was that the number of cookies per tray impacted it, not the placement.

Check out the blood of brown sugar spewing from the bottom-right one in the 3-by-2. I know there was a clump of brown sugar that refused to separate while mixing in the brown sugar. I thought I solved it during while the mixer did its thing, but apparently not. I think the chunk got smaller though. I ate that cookie since it was the ugliest one and had the brown sugar clump. I can’t describe the taste of the baked brown sugar, but maybe…metallic? Either way, it was the brown sugar and did not taste good.

Here’s the plate for the second batch: IMG_3595.JPG

Final batch was leftovers. Maybe I should’ve just kept it as cookie dough for snacking, but figured I had enough for a 3-by-2: IMG_3603.JPGThis was the one I shared mostly with the dogs since there were so little chocolate chips left. They’re dogs, so you know that by the time that cooked batter touched their mouths, it was omnomnom time.

IMG_3597.JPGAaaaand this is the plate with the leftover batter. Almost not worth posting, since it’s not in a heap of chocolate-y goodness, but…consistency.

My dad and I each tried one from this batter, hence there are four instead of six. Since there were just those six left, I wanted to stop at 11 minutes instead of 12, but I think I could sense its undercookedness. So I suppose as far as the amount of baking goes, the timing doesn’t matter? (Shrugs.) That’s what I’m getting out of it.

So I’d say that as far as the therapeutic baking went, it was a success. I feel a lot better. Normal, at least, which means I couldn’t cry even if I tried to. My old self would have turned to music or writing to feel better, but after writing a pretty fair Yelp review about the LASIK place, I decided it wasn’t enough. (I mean, I didn’t rant–I said that the employees were amazing and the struggle was all on my end and provided suggestions for future patients who have the same issues as I do. Fair enough, right?) I felt a magnet pull inside me to go to the kitchen and bake something with chocolate. So I did. And I feel much better. And that’s all that matters, because that was the point.

That’s what got me thinking though: is this why girls always want chocolate when they get their periods? I’ve never had the craving for it. Maybe I only need it when I’m down.

Believe it or not: I’ve never tried raw cookie dough. I’ve heard it was delicious, but always thought it was weird because if it’s raw, doesn’t that mean it’s disgusting? I tried it though and it was just heavenly. Is it weird to think that the cookie dough tastes nothing like when it’s actually cooked though? Maybe the texture alters the taste a bit.

While finishing up, I was considering making a better batch for the people at the LASIK center. I mean, they really were polite and trying to make my experience easier. Hmm…maybe I will. Their place of business is fairly close to my culinary school (which I haven’t started yet). Maybe if I make a few alterations like adding cinnamon or something.

One last thing that has nothing to do with today’s experience: should I have my own sign-off? Julia Child ended her shows with “Bon Appétit” (according to “Julie & Julia” anyway).  What should I finish with? I watch a lot of Gordon Ramsay shows so, like…”SHUT IT DOWN!” or…”This steak is so raw that I can tip it!”? Just kidding.

I graduated with a theatre degree, so we said “break a leg” a lot. Well, I read online about suggestions that chefs can say in order to say good luck: “Break an egg”? That’s cute. Fits me because I was in theatre and I’m also a playwright. Whoever thought of this, I hope you don’t mind, but…

Break an egg!

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7/17/16

So today turned out to include a crappy morning. I was supposed to have LASIK surgery today, but my nerves got in the way too often. (If anyone out there has ANY advice on that, my problem was I thought too much, so I could really use the help.) I felt horrible as we walked out of the building and the loopiness had finally just hit me as we went out for lunch. I think people thought I was drunk because my dad kept a good grip of my arm.

Anyways, after the Valium-induced nap, I needed to reboot my self-esteem so I found some leftover penne because we store random pasta in the pantry. Well, I think my specialty will be Italian food because I just put stuff together for pasta. I used all the penne we have, which totaled one perfect pound (3/4 wheat penne, 1/4 regular). We had tomato basil soup (from when I freaked out about when I made it from scratch and bought from the store as a backup), which I didn’t know I could use as pasta sauce, but my mom said it was okay to use.

I used a random recipe, but just as a reference as to which ingredients I might need for the standard pasta dish. I think it was pretty good, so here’s my (hopefully original) recipe, called “Ginny’s Pretty Penne”:

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 turns of olive oil (or just make an “e”)
  • 1/2 red onion, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 mini red peppers, chopped
  • One 19-oz. Progresso Vegetable Classics Tomato Basil Soup Can
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 handful parsley, chopped
  • 2 to 4 string cheeses, grated (for serving)
  • 1 pound penne pasta

Instructions

  1. Add olive oil in cast-iron skillet on high.
  2. Add onion, garlic, and peppers; lower heat to medium. Mix.
  3. After it browns a little bit, add soup. Stir. Add salt and pepper. Set aside on low heat.
  4. Boil pasta in salted water. Once almost 100% soft, drain and add to tomato soup mixture.
  5. Reset heat on medium-high and mix. Sprinkle parsley and stir. IMG_3560IMG_3561
  6. Serve hot and individually add a blanket of cheese on top (as requested by gourmands). IMG_3562

I predict that this serves 4 to 6 people. I was going to name it “Ginny’s First (Hopefully Original) Penne Recipe”, but I actually did have a first hopefully original recipe posted before. It was the one with the cavatappi.

When I chopped the onions, my mom thought it would’ve been better to mince them, so I just minced them with the garlic. I was going to go with 1 whole onion and 4 cloves of garlic, but it was way too much, so I decided to half that.

I think it could’ve used more peppers though. Doubled at least.

I know that saying “handful of parsley” isn’t really helpful, especially since I have tiny hands, but I just figured it’s the fresh green ingredient, so it doesn’t matter if you over- or under-do it. Personally, I don’t think it added to the taste, but that probably just means my palate isn’t too good yet. I just wanted the greens to make it look pretty. (Hehe, I guess that means it’s the “pretty” in the “Pretty Penne”.)

As for the string cheese, it doesn’t matter what type of cheese. Dad wanted mozzarella, but we didn’t have that. We had lots of string cheese though, so I had to substitute.

Students, I grant you permission to try this out for yourselves! If something goes wrong or you have any questions, feel free to comment!