Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Seared Cookie With Ice Cream

I was discussing a favorite dessert idea of mine with my friend Charlotte earlier this evening. The idea was basically that with the long recent history of popularity for chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, people had neglected an even better dessert option: chocolate chip cookie ice cream. Basically, the idea is that one actually bakes the cookie dough, and then after taking it out of the oven puts a piping hot cookie at the bottom of a bowl and tops it with a scoop of a good vanilla ice cream. Viola!

Charlotte then astounded me with her own innovation (incidentally, a similar idea had been proposed to me independently by J.J. days before). Instead of baking the cookies for the full amount of time (say, 12 minutes), one bakes them for only about half the time (say, 6 minutes). This causes the outsides of the cookies to be baked, while the insides are still doughy and gooey. The result? You get the best of both worlds: hot cookie and cookie dough with your ice cream. Brilliant!

But then I thought about it for a bit, and proposed that we take it one step further. "You know how at good restaurants they will often cook steaks at temperatures as high as possible for just a minute or two on each side, so that the steaks will have a nice sear while still being practically rare in the center?"

"Um... no."

"Well, they do." I then proposed that one might go about baking cookies for only half the time recommended on the package, as Charlotte suggested, but do so at about 100 degrees hotter than the temperature recommended. This would give more time for the cookies to form some of that delicious hot cookie crust, while still leaving the middle soft and gooey -- the best of both worlds, but even more so! And yes, the cookie equivalent of a seared steak served medium rare. Mmmm...

I tried it this evening, and damn, it was delicious! Below is a picture I snapped of the dessert in all its gooey, crusty goodness... Gourmet Magazine, eat your heart out!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Southern Movie Fest

My friend J.J. paid a visit to Winston-Salem for a couple days and we took the opportunity to blaze through a slew of southern movies -- most of which I hadn't seen before.
  • To get the Southern moviefest started, we popped in Junebug -- one of my favorite movies of all time. It was on the top five list even before I discovered that it was filmed in Winston-Salem (apparently a number of other movies have been shot in part in Winston-Salem, ranging from Leatherheads to Thank You For Smoking).

  • After this, we went old school and watched Gone With The Wind. I had never watched it before, and now I am all the more confident that I will never have to watch it again. After almost four hours, if I have to hear Scarlet say "Oh, Ashley!" one more time I might have to kill myself.

  • Next up we watched Deliverance, the point of which seems to be either (a) a cautionary tale to avoid canoeing down rivers in the south, (b) an opportunity to show Bruce Reynolds shirtless, shooting things with a bow and arrow, or (c) an attempt to make people feel a twinge of fear whenever they hear "Dueling Bangos."

  • Not done yet, we shifted to Fried Green Tomatoes. Interestingly, I think this marked the second movie that I've seen with Kathy Bates swinging a sledgehammer. This movie was a little less scary than the first, but after viewing this one I will nonetheless probably find myself hesitating a bit before digging into the food at my next barbecue.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Contra Insurgency!

One of the things I missed most after being out of town for the better part of the last month and a half has been contra dancing on those fine Tuesday nights at the Vintage Ballroom.

I had heard of contra dancing before I moved to Winston, but really had no idea what it meant. I imagined that it was some sort of Latin dance. Well... no. Actually, it's much more like square dancing, except with hippies. As you can see in my little video from last Tuesday, some of the best leads are women (I'm talkin' about you, Jess!) and many of the dancers seem to think that shoes are optional or just get in the way. This is precisely the sort of dance that you would suspect would be big in Crunchytown, and my understanding is that it's huge there.