the chewy [alton brown's chocolate chip cookies]

exactly one year ago - almost to the day - i declared the cook's illustrated chocolate chip cookie as the best cookie i've ever made. it seems like ever since then, alton brown and his ubiquitous chewy have been taunting me with promises of chewiness from the use of bread flour. until one friday night, when i just couldn't take it anymore, i gave in.

and now i don't know what to think! can there possibly be two best chocolate chip cookies?!


creamy barley with tomatoes, chicken, and spinach

last week was great. the temperature was finally warm enough for enough days in a row to melt the snow. all of it. birds started chirping. ponds filled up with canadian geese, returning for the warm weather. and bulbs just started to peek out of the ground. it was so nice, i debated boxing up my sweaters for the season and unboxing my short sleeve shirts.

and then, just when i thought it was all over, this happened. six inches. of snow. really?! and days of below freezing weather to ensure it stayed. couple the weather with my love of all things risotto, and this creamy barley is the perfect warm-me-up.


mushroom stroganoff

i really should apologize to all the mushroom haters and dislikers out there. i'm sorry you don't like them because you're really missing out on greatness. anyone who has had a perfectly sauteed mushroom - especially in garlic and butter - knows exactly what i mean.

whether you are in the mood for salad, mexican, italian, soup, an accompaniment for chicken, or just need to use up some leftovers, mushrooms are perfect.


chocolate souffle with white chocolate mint cream

what? you were imaging cute little cupcakes. or a great big cake, piled high with mint cream. yea, i was picturing that too. things aren't always as easy or foolproof as you may think.

but it doesn't mean they aren't absolutely delicious. to die for, even.


cook's illustrated's chewy brownies

the first time i made homemade brownies was two and a half years ago. september 9, 2008, to be exact. jason and i had just moved in together and i was just starting to ditch boxed mixes and attempt things from scratch. one saturday, jason had a special request for brownies. attempting to impress him, i made the first recipe for brownies i could find. they were perfect.

i've never touched a box brownie mix since. if anything will make you a converter to the "make from scratch" camp, it's a homemade brownie.


recent errors

behind the scenes of any kitchen, are a number of disasters. some can be salvaged, and sometimes so well, that you can't even tell that it's the result of a disaster. others, are complete and utter messes. unsalvageable. in keeping with the spirit of sharing both messes and successes, here are a few messes i've made recently -

vanilla caramels. the picture doesn't really capture the mess. some of these came out perfect, the others had sandy patches or hard as a rock spots. i don't know what i did to these - cook them too long, or under uneven heat - but they need some work.


amaretto cheesecake

...or lisa's birthday cake. without trying, 2011 has become the year i celebrate your birthday with cake.

when we were celebrating tracy's birthday a couple weeks ago, lisa casually mentioned that her birthday was coming up soon too. immediately my head spun in a thousand directions. chocolate? vanilla? caramel? how about something rich and fudgy? or light and lemony? when lisa brought me back down to earth and suggested cheesecake. perfect! i haven't made one in at least five years.


vegetarian wild rice soup

if you remeber, back in december, i made a version of this soup with chicken. it was so good, so perfect for a cold winter night, that i declared it "one of the best soups i ever had." this version, a tweaked version of the other, is so good, i can't declare a winner. they're both at the top of the list.


indian butter chicken

one of the many ways jason and i differ is in our love for indian food. what i mean, is that he has love, i do not. just when he had given up on the thought of indian food, i surprised him with this one. and it surprised me too. mostly because i liked it.


cook's illustrated's chicken fricassee

it's well known that we like mushrooms around here. in fajitas, salad, stuffed with rice, stuffed in ravioli, and between bread. but one of my favorite ways to enjoy mushrooms is simple: saute in butter and white wine, finish with a dash of cream.


waffles of insane greatness

i had every intention to make these for our valentine's breakfast on february 13th. i made an impulsive, last minute switch and made these donuts instead. silly me. yeah, those donuts were great - and yeah, the two of us ate 24 of them in two days (i know, i know, everything in moderation) - but these waffles. they really are insane. it has taken every ounce of me not to make them again, this week, for dinner.

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