Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Many Faces of Leonard

Leonard and I just got back from our George Family Vacation to the Caribbean (more on that, later). During these past weeks we've had off, I've been taking a lot of pictures and I've noticed an interesting Leonard photography phenomenon.

It usually goes something like this:

Sweetheart, I'm gonna take a picture, so give me a smile:

You dork. Now come on, smile mister!

Wow, you really look fierce, now show me those pearly whites!At this point I gave up, as my patience had run out and also because I was laughing so hard I couldn't take a non-shakey picture.

Here are some more Leonard faces. I think the emotion he's able to express on his face is very impressive.
I've noticed he's quite fond of the mistrusting feral animal face:

Oh come on Leonard, now that's just plain silly.

This is one of my favorite faces. He almost looks like he's trying to make a pleasant face for the camera, but in fact this is his "I have a lazy eye and I'm quite content with it" face.Again, too shakey to continue with the pictures.

Here's another one. Leonard's sister Mandy was taking the picture and as soon as she started laughing, I knew what he was up to:

I really did want a good picture on this one, so :

And here it is. Patience (a.k.a toughness, coercion) really pays off!
Most of the faces I've shown are completely innocent. But then there's this one, taken while hiking in the woods, miles away from anyone to hear my screams:

This next one was taken at least two full minutes later, when I'd finally recovered from the laughter (and fear?):But there it is. The beautiful Leonard smile. Next time I show a nice Leonard-smiling photo, you'll have some idea of what went into getting that shot.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Leonard's Not Up on His Pop Culture


Recently, Leonard was flipping through the channels with my sister-in-law Tiffany.

"What do you want to watch?" he inquired.

"Can you see if that one movie is on, I can't remember the name. It's the one with that girl who's dating Jake Gyllenhaal" Tiffany responded.

Leonard stared at her blankly and replied "You say 'that girl who's dating Jake Gyllenhall' and I hear 'Gibbledy Gobbledy Wobbeldy Woo'."

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Sailing Attire

Today Leonard and I went sailing with my cousin Kara, her husband Tim, and their dog Stella. I decided that an afternoon sailing would be the perfect time to try out my cute new hat I recently bought for our upcoming cruise.

Don't you agree?

The Dragonfly. She was a fine, lakeworthy vessel.

Having only sailed once before, I felt out of my element. But just as Dumbo had his feather, my new hat gave me the sense that I belonged in the boat. If I'd only had some J. Crew khaki capris and a polo shirt, I might have even manned the sails myself.

As it was though, I left the job to Tim.

Here's Kara and Stella

"Where the ocean meets my Ky, I'll be sailing" I know, I'm a nerd.

It was a lovely afternoon. We went without wind for quite awhile and just kind of sat there. Finally though, the sails caught a breeze and we glided through the water. A sailboat, McCall, my Leonard, family, and a perfect sailing hat - what more could you want?

Funny thing about sailing. You rely on the wind to help you move - without it, you're stagnant. You hope for wind, you lick your finger and stick it in the air, anticipating the slightest breeze.

And when the wind does come, it's very exciting.

Until it blows your hat away.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Cookie Hype

I'm a pretty level-headed person, and consider myself to be objective regarding many of the supposed claims out there. For example, when Leonard sees an infomercial he is fairly easily sucked into the idea that we absolutely need whatever is being sold, while I tend to think of the necessary cost/storage/odds that the item will not perform as well as expected. However, I've noticed that I AM susceptible to getting caught up in the hype surrounding recipes. Just as some believe there is one soulmate for every person, I truly believe that there is one perfect recipe out there for any type of food, and the extra time and effort required is worth it thanks to the amazing results. So when the New York Times came out with their alleged perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe, I couldn't rest until I'd tried it. The author of the article visited numerous popular bakeries in NYC well-known for their chocolate chip cookies, and came away with some common factors that improved upon the typical recipe. Below I'll explain what makes these cookies special, and give my verdict on whether or not these are truly the "perfect" chocolate chip cookie.

Here are some of the major players:

Bread Flour and Cake Flour instead of all-purpose

Chocolate Disks - these are thin, quarter-sized dark chocolate disks. They're hard to come by, but I found some at Whole Foods. The idea here is that because the chocolate is thin it will melt quicker than regular chocolate chips, and also makes it so that in every bite you get a thin layer of chocolate surrounded by cookie.

Here's the dough - it was tasty

Another important factor - the dough has to be refrigerated 12-36 hrs. The idea is that resting the dough in the fridge allows the ingredients to fully mix together, and produces a better overall consistency. I let mine rest the full 36 hrs, since I was already convinced it would be the perfect recipe I wanted to follow it by the book.

Another Player:

Sea salt is sprinkled on top of the dough mound before baking, as the taste of course salt has been known to compliment the sweetness of chocolate.

Here's what the cookies looked like:

Notice the thin layer of chocolate throughout the center of the cookie:
The end result:

The first thing I noticed was the caramel coloring of the cookies, and on taking a bite there was also a rich caramel flavoring I wasn't used to experiencing in other cookies. They were soft and chewy in the middle and slightly crunchy on the outside. I don't like cakey chocolate chip cookies, so I was satisfied with the texture and consistency. I also really enjoyed how all the chocolate was melted and created a thin layer throughout. The next day they were still soft and chewy, and the flavor was even better. They were a definite crowd pleaser, and the best chocolate chip cookies I've ever made at home.

The negatives:

The chocolate disks are hard to find and are expensive compared to chocolate chips. Also, the dough refrigeration time creates 36 hours of temptation to sneak bits of cookie dough. I also felt that the chocolate to dough ratio was a bit high, as I really enjoyed the thinness of the chocolate layer but when the disks would overlap, it was a bit too much.

My verdict:

Delicious cookies. I'll continue making them if I can easily access the chocolate disks, and will decrease the chocolate from 1 1/4 lb. to 1 lb.

Here is the article, and the recipe.