Thursday, September 17, 2009

Yesterday's hill sprints really took a lot out of me and work was really stressful. So, to relax on my first evening off of the week I decided to cook pasta sauce and bake chocolate chip cookies from scratch. I should confess, I have a kind of "from scratch" complex when it comes to baking. I got it from my mother, who has never and will never use a mix. There are four main reasons I will never use a mix:

1. It doesn't taste as good. It just doesn't.
2. Most mixes contain weird ingredients and additives. Why bother with that if you don't have to?
3. Mixes don't really save you that much time. I've seen mixes where you have to add milk, eggs and oil. So all the mix does is combine the flour, baking powder and sugars for you. Is that really that difficult.
4. In "from scratch" baking, you can taste the love.

Anyways, I consider myself something of a chocolate chip cookie connoisseur, and there's one recipe I always found trumps all the others. It's the recipe that comes on the back of the Baker's brand chocolate chips. It can't be improved upon. I don't always use Baker's chips, but I long ago copied down the recipe and fixed it to my Betty Crocker Cookbook. My only advise is to turn the cookie sheet every five minutes while to cookies are baking, so they cook more evenly.

As for the sauce, it was nothing original, but impossible to mess up. Dice about 6 cloves of garlic (Did I mention I have a pop chop? Envy me.) Cook the garlic in about a half cup of olive oil until it's soft but not brown, add a can of diced tomatoes, oregano (fresh if you have it, and I did!) salt, pepper and whatever other seasonings you fancy. Give the tomatoes a quick mash if you don't like big hunks of tomato in your sauce (I don't) and let simmer for as long as possible (at least an hour). We had it over cheese totellini that was on sale at the grocery store.

It was a good time and made for a delicious dinner, but I probably should have been resting more. I completely collapsed afterwards and realized there would be no way to get my 8k in this morning. I'll try again this evening.

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