It Brought a Tear to My Eye

So,

I don’t think I’ve actually mentioned in such a public forum that my wife and I have decided to buy a house.  Now this is a really big decision, especially since the housing industry hasn’t been doing very good for a little while now.  We were, of course, going to move to WA and try for a posting at Whidbey Island.  However, since then Jake has started school and we really like the school he is in.  He will be fluent in Mandrin and have a good grasp on Spanish and of course be fluent in English as well.  The teachers seem nice, and Jake likes the school.  Anyway, the point is we are staying in SD.

So the one thing I think that is cool about moving is you get to get rid of a bunch of stuff that you don’t need.  Well, we’ve just moved but we have also had to bring together two different shipments from two different places.  When we left England to go to Okinawa we were only allowed to take ¼ of our belongings.  This ended up being nice for us since we had to get some new stuff for our house and it really helped us to not have all the clutter around.  The bummer thing is when we moved back to the states we had to combine all the stuff we acquired in Okinawa with all the stuff we left behind in England.

Well, we just finally went through the garage to find some stuff for a yard sale we think we might have this upcoming weekend…MAN, this is turning out to be a long back story….  Anyway, we need to eat dinner right.  A couple of weeks ago my Mom and Dad came down for a visit and my Dad, who is the proud owner of a Traegar.  This is a pellet smoker/grill type of thing that is really neat…anyway!!!!!!!!  He made some tri-tip and brought it down, smoked it for 5 hours.  Ya, that’s right, SMOKED…TRI-TIP…5…FIVE…hours.  Anyway, I just got one of those out last night.

On the grill to heat up and finish cooking

That is it…a huge piece of meat on the grill, sorry it’s such a bad picture, I did it on a whim and with my iPhone, I put it on there so it could get that crust and warm up as well as finish cooking.  And….

The finished product

And this is what I ended up with.  Would you please note the pink around the edge…Ya, you got it, that’s the smoke ring or flavorfulness.  It was so good, it brought a tear to my eye.  Now I love food and the food they serve on the ship…well not to talk bad about the cooks on the ship but it isn’t the best.  A good steak on the ship…well, let’s say it doesn’t exist.  Now enter this smokey wonder…the last time a meal made me tear up was when Jo and I went to Ruth’s Chris Steak House.  I remember I had the Fillet, it was so good I cried, this was so good….

Anyway, just wanted to share how good my dinner was last night and say a super big “THANKS” to my Dad for the wonderful smokey experience.  How does it do on Turkey?  Thanks-giving is right ’round the corner.  Oh and Chirstmas, mmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

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Jake the Cook

So….

Jake and I have this thing, when we have time in the morning he helps me make pancakes.  I don’t have a recipe for pancakes, I am a huge fan of just add water, I also am not really a fan of measuring things out.  I suppose because I like to make 8 pancakes in the morning not 6 or 10-12 or whatever that measuring business works out to be.   Anyway, Jake helps me make pancakes…sometimes.  He also has helped me make bread but that is slow and boring with all the time it takes to raise and blah blah blah.  Anyway, we do a bit of cooking.

The other day I say to him.  “Hey, let’s make some cookies tomorrow.”  This was not only a plan to make cookies but also a bit of a bribe so he and Quinn would be good for the evening and go to bed nicely.

The next day came and boy did I ever hear about the cookies.  I looked for my mom’s famous recipe, which strangely enough came off the bag of the Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chip bag, and couldn’t find it.  As I was about to head into a frenzy to get myself to the story to get my mom’s recipe, Joelle, wonderful wife that she is, gets online to Pioneer Woman’s website tasty kitchen and finds some peanut butter chocolate chip cookie thing….  Look, it’s not my mom’s chocolate chip recipe, which strangely enough came off the bag of the Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chip bag, so I am skeptical about everything at this point.  I’m not particularly adventurous, nor do I like new things, but I am committed, Jake is expecting me to make some cookies with him and I am expecting to spend some good quality time with my little boy.  Would you like to see….

Jake got all the stuff out

Jake got all the stuff out

Honestly, since Jake can’t read very well yet I told him what to get and he got it out and brought it over to the counter so we would have everything we needed.

We got ready to attack the ingredients

We got ready to attack the ingredients

Does he look ready?  I thought so, and oh boy was he ever excited about it.

sugar

sugar

He measured this out all by himself, all I did was clear a bit off the top.

Jake was having fun.

Jake was having fun.

I had to pack the brown sugar for him, he didn’t quite get it, he tried, of course but ended up with a lot of sugar on his hand which had, HAD to be licked off.

Getting ready for some mixin'

Getting ready for some mixin'

Once all the sugar and fat were in we did a bit of mixing, just to get things started combining.  I suppose I could go and rewatch that episode of Good Eats where Alton Brown makes 3 very different cookies for his “sister” using the exact same recipe but varying the order of ingredients, but we decide to try it on our own.  Anyway, also on good eats I saw this neat measuring cup thing that telescopes to varying capacities….  Jake wasn’t strong enough to push it down and hold it at the same time so all I did was hold it for him, he managed to get the thing down.

Can't quite make it Dad

Can't quite make it Dad

Gettin' it

Gettin' it

Got it

Got it

This one is just funny

This one is just funny

After a bit of mixing we got ready to add some flour.

get back in the bowl.

get back in the bowl.

Then he added the flour.

Oh, and the chips got added

Oh, and the chips got added

Then of course after you get done making the cookies you get to lick the paddle you mixed all the stuff together with, ya, ya, I suppose you could just toss it in the sink and wash it, but where’s the fun in that.

Concentrating on the paddle

Concentrating on the paddle

I was having a time getting him to actually look at the camera instead of how good the paddle was going to taste.

This is the serious one

This is the serious one

…aaaaaaaannnnd, the smile?!?

I managed to make a joke and he did make a goofy face, we'll call it a smile.

I managed to make a joke and he did make a goofy face, we'll call it a smile.

Here’s the before.

Before

Before

And after.

After

After

They always give you a range, 8-10 minutes or something like that, and that’s when you have to experiment with the time cooking until they’re golden brown and delicious.

The finished product

The finished product

A bit of a change in the recipe, I put in extra crunchy peanut butter rather than creamy.  I personally thought the peanut butter could be a bit more, and of course a few more chips would make them perfect.  All in all I would say Jake did very well on his first batch of chocolate chip cookies.  Sorry mom, that I couldn’t teach him your famous chocolate chip recipe, which strangely enough came off the bag of the Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chip bag,  but I guess we have to believe he is going to be making wonderful chocolate chips cookies for the rest of his life until he finds his Dad’s chocolate chip recipe, which strangely enough came off the bag of the Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chip bag.