Monthly Archives: September 2014

Saying Goodbye to Winston One Bite at a Time

An excellent group of boyz/men once said: it’s so hard to say goodbye to yesterday.

And they’re not wrong.

Many of you know this by now, but after 12 years of living in Winston-Salem, I’m moving north. I got a job in Richmond, Virginia. (C’mon, you didn’t expect me to leave the south, did you?)

It’s exciting. And sad. Scary, but thrilling. I have no idea what’s around the corner. (Hopefully, not an axe murderer.)

(God, I hope I don’t get murdered by an axe murderer.)

(But I wouldn’t mind watching So I Married an Axe Murderer again soon.)

(I love parentheses.)

(I love overusing parentheses.)

It’s going to be tough to leave Winston. It’s been my home. So many people I love are here. One of the benefits of leaving, at least gastronomically, is that I get to do a bit of a tour de food to say goodbye to my favorite places. Going away lunches, dinners, Togo on the couch, beautifully laid dinners on the porch. Every bite is a way to say goodbye to something I love. Well, hopefully not goodbye–more like ‘see you later.’

I’m lucky because I’m going to a city with some pretty serious food chops, but I’m going to miss some Winston favorites. I’m going to miss the chicken souvlaki from Hero House. (…that’s right.) I’m going to miss massaman curry from Teeter Thai. The burgs from Diamondback Grill. Greek salad from Mama Zoe’s. Tawook and fettoosh from Mooney’s. Cranberry turkey sandwich and spicy noodles from The Carving Board. I’m going to miss pretty much everything from Mission Pizza and The Porch.

I think it’s safe to say I’m going to miss the people with whom I have been lucky enough to share those meals more than the food itself. But, people can visit (…please, come visit) and the food can’t really.

But if a chicken souvlaki hitchhiked it’s way up to Virginia, I would let it sleep on my couch. We’d watch So I Married an Axe Murderer toether. And halfway through the movie, I would lovingly unwrap it and tenderly eat the shit out of him.

It would be rude not to eat him. I mean, he came all that way.

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A Cure for Ebola: Chocolate Chip Cookies

They say 10,000 hours is how many hours you need to do something to master it. 10,000 hours of harmonica? Master of harmonica.

This is why I’m so EFFING GOOD at sleeping.

I’m 29 years old and assuming I’ve slept around 8 hours a night, I’ve slept nearly 85,000 hours. NAILED IT.

In the culinary world, with the exception of eating (roughly 32,000 hours), I’ve only ever done one thing even remotely close to 10,000 hours. That is bake chocolate chip cookies.

I can’t approximate how many times I’ve made them in my life. I just remember that I started making them when I was in elementary school (Beaches Episcopal School, where you at!?!) and I really never stopped making them.

There is nothing more soul satisfying than a chocolate chip cookie. It’s comforting. It’s reminiscent of childhood and lunch boxes and Christmas and hugs and everything good in the world. A chocolate chip cookie is the antidote to every bad thing in the world. Chocolate chip cookies have healing powers. Chocolate chip cookies can cure ebola.*

*Cookies probably can’t cure ebola, but it certainly couldn’t make ebola worse. Please note, I am not a doctor.

I don’t do anything fancy with my chocolate chip cookies, but I swear to you they’re practically perfect every time. They’re puffy and chewy, yet super light.

I do have 2 things I do every single time that give me success.

  1. I use an ice cream scoop to form the dough. Every time you get big, beautiful cookies.
  2. I don’t overcrowd the pan. A standard sized sheet pan holds 5 cookies, staggered to give them room to spread. (This was very difficult when I only had a convection oven that fit a half sheet pan and only had one rack in it. Baking took HOURS.)
The Scoop Method

The Scoop Method

So if you want chocolate chip cookies that cure ebola**, try this recipe from my grandmother, Nestlay Tollouse.

**These cookies have not been scientifically proven to cure ebola.

Original NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Chocolate Chip Cookies from the back of the bag, adapted from VeryBestBaking.com

Ingredients

  • 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened | I almost always microwave it. Good for you!
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups (one 12-oz. pkg.)  NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Morsels
  • 1 cup chopped nuts | Listen, this is a personal choice here, but I think nuts in chocolate chip cookies are disgusting. Their texture gets weird. Eliminate them and focus on the perfection.

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Whisk ingredients together. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in morsels and nuts (yuck). Drop by ice cream scoop onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

FOR HIGH ALTITUDE BAKING (5,200 feet):Increase flour to 2 1/2 cups. Add 2 teaspoons water with flour and reduce both granulated sugar and brown sugar to 2/3 cup each. Bake drop cookies for 8 to 10 minutes and pan cookie for 17 to 19 minutes.

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