Monday, June 24, 2013

Adventures in Baking and a Chocolate Emergency: Double Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

I got bored today and I wanted something chocolate. I started rummaging around on the top shelf of the pantry where I keep my baking supplies. I don't bake nearly as much as I used to, since most of the time it's just me and my hub. Our younger son is home for the summer from college, so that justifies just a little bit of baking, right? Plus, there was that chocolate craving thing happening.

After a minute of shifting around some bags and boxes, OUT JUMPED a half of a bag of Nestle's White Chocolate Chips....Hhmmm I thought, I saw some cookies with white chocolate chips on the Food Network on Saturday.....OH Happy Coincidence!!! And Bless You, Ree Drummond!!

I only made 1/2 of her recipe because I only had 1 cup of those Nestle's Morsels....but I did have everything else!! I quickly retrieved the bag of Nestle's Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips I keep hidden in the very bottom back of the bread drawer for those chocolate emergencies (that's normal, right?) and I was off in a flash, gathering eggs, sugar, butter, vanilla etc. I love it when I can make a smaller batch of some homemade goodies. That way I don't feel nearly so guilty about putting  temptation in our path to healthy living. Here's her recipe but in the meantime you can enjoy my pictures. Can't you almost taste the ice cold milk I washed them down with??

Here they are cooling off:
Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookes

And here they are right before I started wolfing them down with some milk:
And another good thing, I even had enough parchment paper to line the cookie sheets, so the clean up was minimal. They were yummy! Next time, I am going to add 1/2 cup of chopped nuts, probably either hazelnuts or macadamia nuts. They needed just a little crunch! Next time you are bored, start rummaging and see what you can come up with! Adventures in baking!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

What I've Been Tasting This Week

As part of my ongoing wine education, I wanted to post a few tasting notes on some wines I've been sampling and tasting this week. I've got a sweet little part time job doing "Wine Tastings" in grocery stores. It's very part time, but a whole lot of fun! On Friday, I was at a Fresh Market passing out two wines that would be great summer sippers.

The first one was Starborough Sauvignon Blanc. This is a New Zealand wine:

This wine is best served chilled. At first taste, you immediately taste bright grapefruit flavor,  which is very crisp on the tongue. A little hint of lemon sneaks in there as well. There is also a slight mineral taste that reminded me of the bottled water we used to drink in Europe when I was a little girl. This is very crisp and refreshing, but perhaps a little to much mineral for my personal taste. I will say that the mineral taste receded after it had been opened for a while. It retails in Central VA for around $10.

The second wine I opened yesterday was the Garnet Pinot Noir from Monterey, California.

As is common with a pinot noir, this was a lighter style red. It was fairly complex, even on the very first sip. Ripe cherries and raspberries were first on the tongue, and it had a nice, mouth filling feel to it. A little hint of strawberry jam came to the front after it was opened a little while longer. There was a definite woodsy finish to this wine, a little oaky but not too toasted, which I don't love. Slightly out of my normal purchasing price range, this one retails around here for around $19. Would I buy it again? Yes, especially if it was on sale!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

My Dad and D Day

I am thinking of my dad tonight, the 69th anniversary of the D Day invasion. That was the event that turned the tide of war and defeated the Nazis. My dad always wanted to be a soldier. .He was a football star at Newport News High School in VA. He entered the army at the tender age of just barely 17, so that he could serve his country. He got a special waiver. His mother had to sign off for him to go in early. Dad was eventually awarded a Silver Star for his heroic efforts. He never talked about the scary stuff of war. He was proud that he'd been part of the elite paratroopers who'd been dropped behind the lines the night before D Day. When I was a little girl he'd show me his clicker that they'd used to find each other, in the dark. He talked about warming up a can of corned beef hash on the side of a tank, and how it was the best thing he'd ever eaten. He had a love of canned corned beef hash until he died. 
Canned corned beef hash remains one of my secret favorites to this day.

Sometimes, he'd say that he'd never go camping again. He'd laugh and mention that he'd done it once, and it was called World War II. 

He was  a hero and a gentleman. It's taken me most of my life to realize that. 
After WWII L.A., as his family called him, came home with his Silver Star in a body cast -- and stayed in it for 18 months after being shot numerous times -- and later went to OCS. Above is a picture of him, sometime in the 50's, as a young officer, in Paris, when he was in the Transportation Corps. I was born in Paris, where he served for several years. He and my mom posted to Paris right after they were married.  He served under Gen. Eisenhower.and was very proud of that. He's the 2nd from the left, the other men that are not in uniforms are "Free French" resistance fighters. 

My dad remained in the Army for most of his life. He ended up with degrees for a Master of Transportation Management and a Doctorate of Jurisprudence from William and Mary as well as a very early Associate Degree from Stanford in Computer Programming. He served in 3 wartime theaters, WWII, the Korean Conflict and Viet Nam. His medals included the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, several Purple Hearts and many, many more. He was honored  to have come up through the ranks, and that he had gotten an infantry pin, which only an enlisted man can get (I hope I am remembering that story correctly!).

Here he is, getting a medal around 1960. 
 Col. L.A. Tyree
My Dad