You know what I'm craving? A little perspective. That's it. I'd like some fresh, clear, well seasoned perspective. Can you suggest a good wine to go with that? --Ratatouille (Pixar, 2007)

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

I kind of look like Cookie Monster--Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Macadamia Cookies!

Everybody likes a good cookie with a glass of milk. But, sometimes cookies just feel like a pain to make. The batter generally has many components and then you're often stuck spooning out rows upon rows of cookies onto sheet upon sheet of parchement, trying to get rid of a bottomless bowl of cookie dough. I know what you're thinking--shape them into bars! Well no, that's not my solution. Bar cookies just don't yield the same satisfaction that single cookies do.

My solution is that the cookie you're making just needs to be so good that it gets you through the lengthy process it takes to make them. You have to be looking forward to the end result so much--that you'll do whatever it takes to get them. THAT...and do yourself a favor and make big cookies to use up dough quickly.

Today's recipe stems from my cookie craving the other day. I reached into the cabinet to make this favorite cookie and realized I did not have sufficient brown sugar. However--I know alllllll the best tricks. Watch and learn!

3/4 cup Peanut Butter
1/2 Stick (1/2 cup) of Crisco Shortening. (stick with me here: Some people really hate Crisco or think it's gross and old fashioned. I personally think that Crisco gives a cookie a good crunch that it wouldn't otherwise have. Also it's probably a little better for you than full fat butter.)
1 and a 1/4 cup tightly packed light brown sugar. (as you'll see in the picture below,  I didn't have enough. Thus, I substituted 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1 cup plain white sugar with about tablespoons of molasses. Essentially--we're making our own shoddy brown sugar)
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 egg
1 and 3/4 cup AP flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
A pinch
Chocolate Chips to your liking, Macadamia nuts to your liking.


Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Combine the peanut butter, Crisco, and sugar (molasses too if using white sugar). Then add the milk, vanilla, and egg. Beat just until fully combined. Overbeating will kind of kill the consistency of the cookie. Next add the flour, baking soda, and salt. Once again--just beat until combined. Finally, add in as many chocolate chips and macadamia nuts as you see fit. I added chocolate chips to macadamia nuts in a slight 2:1 ratio because I just don't like my cookies too nutty.
Next, drop batter in mounds on baking sheets with space for the cookies to spread  slightly. Honestly--don't be a baby. Everyone knows big cookies are better. Just make your cookies large!

Finally, bake them for 7-10 minutes or until golden brown. Then let them cool for at least 5 minutes.

Hope your cookies turn out as good as mine!

A thanks to the "Irresistible Peanut Butter Cookie" recipe from Crisco that I, no offense Crisco, have made a lot better.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Simply The Best--The Chicken or The Egg--LBI, NJ

We all indulge. We can't help it! Whether it's our extra slice of pizza or the late night chocolaty snack, the best of us get cravings which require some sense of indulgence. I myself have one craving that seems to trump all others. In the dead of winter and the heat of summer alike I can't help but succumb to the craving for WINGS. As I said in my last post after eating poor wings from Buffalo, NY (where they originated) my favorite spot to give in to a wing craving is The Chicken or The Egg (the "Chegg," to locals) in Long Beach Island, NJ. Despite the fact that LBI was nowhere near the first place to make wings, the Chegg is definitely my favorite place to eat them that I've been thus far.

My necessary proviso for this post is that my family is huge LBI-heads. My mother has been going to LBI since she was a baby and was notably sailing her sunfish sailboat when it capsized as she was pregnant with me. My siblings and I have been raised in the summer, immersed in the quiet hum of Beach Haven, LBI, and we've certainly had our fair share of quality dinners on the island as well.

If any dinners stick out most, it's those that we've shared at The Chicken or The Egg. The Chegg is a beloved tourist spot but the locals and old-hands like us can't help but keep coming back. The busiest night at the Chegg is called "Wing Night." On Wing Nights every Wednesday, a plate of 5 hefty Chegg wings goes for only $3. Thankfully, my last trip fell on a Wing Night. After waiting out the 60-75 minute wing night wait (try to get your name on the list early) we got ourselves a table. I didn't really need to look at the menu--I knew what I wanted.

You want wings. The Chicken or The Egg has SIXTEEN different sauces for you to bathe your wings in. To date, I've tasted nine of them. The "Ludicrous" sauce was featured as a Man vs. Food Challenge on the Travel Channel. However, I myself am too much of a baby to try what's been said to be a devilishly spicy sauce. This trip, I tried two of my old favorites and two new sauces. The picture below shows the "Santos" sauce on the wings on the left and the "Swamp" sauce on the wings to the right.

In the picture at right, the orange wings closer to the right are my standby of "Jamaican Jerk," and to their left are the slightly milder Beesting wings. All I can say is that I wasn't disappointed. My standby favorites are always good and the new sauces didn't let me down either. Though I highly preferred the Swamp wings to the Santos, I would've been pleased to be served any of them. The wings at the Chegg are simply second to none.They're meatier than any wing I've ever tasted and their breading gives each bite a hearty crunch. An added bonus were the ginormous, fresh onion rings in the picture above. When you bite into one the onion practically falls into your mouth--the way a true onion ring should be. Also, as you can see, the burgers are first rate as well. Though I'm not one to order anything other than wings, the Chegg does have a multi-page menu of other delightful entrees.

Basically, I owe some of my favorite culinary journeys to the Chegg. It's kind of cool when I'm eating and I realize--this is why I have a food blog. Not only do I have it to share some enjoyable recipes, but I have it to share the places I eat that simply NEED to be praised. I share places like the Chegg because I want you, the reader, to GO THERE.

Overall rating: duh, a 5/5

For more information visit or just contact me--I could talk about the Chegg for hours.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Buffalo Wing Blunder--Duff's Wings, Buffalo, NY.

Hi Everyone!
Sorry it's been a little long since my last post, I've been pretty busy because of the whole "Junior Year" deal. Don't worry--I haven't stopped cooking or eating! Now that schools ending I'll get to blogging all the interesting spots I've been to and dishes I've tasted recently.

A few weeks ago I was on a family trip to Niagara Falls for my cousin's wedding. Our itinerary had us flying into Buffalo and then driving across the border into Canada. Before entering the land of maple syrup, I had one thing on my mind: BUFFALO WINGS! Though my favorite wings have always been those of "The Chicken or the Egg" in LBI, NJ (website is, check the CHEGG out!), I was open to suggestion.

In a bit of a frenzy, I googled "BUFFALO WINGS/BUFFALO/NY." Looking back, I should've been a little bit more careful. I came across message boards that all seemed to yield similar lists. The originator of the wing (Anchor Bar) was in the center of Buffalo and my parents said that was just too far out of the way. A runner-up on the list was a place called "Duff's" with numerous locations, one of which was nearby.

When we arrived at Duff's the appearance had me worried. Sure, a good wing joint doesn't need to be pretty. However, I had a bad feeling that the dinky little bar's wings would taste as boring as the bar looked.

For my meal I had wings and a side of fried pickles. Heeding their sign above (that they displayed in multiple areas of the restaurant) I simply had medium and not hot. I like wings--but I'm not crazy.

The wings I ordered are on the right. At first I just thought they looked like normal wings. When I tasted them...I wasn't surprised. They were just normal wings, maybe even sub-par. They had little meat on each bone and they were a tad bit over fried. The only redeeming factor was probably the big, exciting bucket they gave me to put my bones in. I might as well have just thrown the whole plate in the bucket because there was that little meat per wing anyway.

My mom ordered another Buffalo-area specialty, Beef on a Weck, hoping it would be an exciting new culinary try. However, just as the wings were, the beef was also disappointing. The Weck roll had too much kosher salt and it killed the sandwich. The roast beef also seemed to be of low quality, rendering it stringy.

If you're a regular reader of my blog you know I'm not usually this harsh or snobby. I don't know what to say--this was just an exception. As we got in our rental car after eating I looked at my mom and said "that kind of sucked."
"Yeah, it did," she said.

Duff's get's an overall star ranking of 1/5.
   The sauce and fried pickles were eh, otherwise Duff's would've received a 0.