When it is this hot, it can be difficult to use complete sentences. Everything must be short, easy to blurt out between gulps of cold water.
Today’s favorite snacks for hot weather, consumed while sitting in front of the fan:
One spoonful of cold unsalted natural peanut butter
Cold leftover French fingerling and German Butterball potatoes with mint, dill, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper
Newest favorite hot-weather activity: tearing day-old bread into shards, tossing them with olive oil, baking them for ten minutes or until crispy, then tossing them while piping hot with halved garlic cloves, adding chunks of deep crimson and/or green zebra heirloom tomatoes, splashing on balsamic, splashing on olive oil, scattering slivered basil over the top, salting, peppering, letting the whole sit and get juicy for ten or so minutes, removing the garlic cloves, and eating aggressively. But aggressively. This is heirloom tomato-bread salad.
And while we’re on the topic of favorite things—one of my favorite topics, actually—I’d like to share a few others with you. You, dear reader(s), are very courageous to come along with me. You and I may well disagree on some of the items that follow, and it may well get tense and awkward. Or we may agree, but sharing might prove too difficult. And one never knows what I might decide to like next, so we’ll both be constantly on the edge of our seats. But I won’t let that stop me, and you shouldn’t either.
And so, favorite things. Because I, like Talking Heads, “dream of cherry pies, candy bars, and chocolate chip cookies”—or at least things in the favorite sweets and desserts category—I begin Part One of this journey with:
-Dark chocolate, preferably between 70 and 85% cocoa mass
-Dark chocolate with whole toasted almonds from A la Petite Fabrique (12, rue Saint-Sabin, 75011 Paris)
-Chausson aux pommes, preferably from Au Levain du Marais (32, rue de Turenne, 75003 Paris, or at the corner of blvd. Beaumarchais and rue du Pasteur-Wagner in the 11th)
-A baton of dark chocolate wedged into the doughy center of a hunk of good baguette
-Graham crackers, slightly soggy with milk
–Marian Burros’ Plum Torte
-Moist, dense cakes containing ground almonds, almond paste, and/or pure almond extract
-Vegan chocolate cupcakes (deep dark chocolatey cake with a thick hard shell of bittersweet chocolate over the top) from Whole Foods in Seattle
-Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, made by me
And because you’ve indulged me thus far, I now grant you a recipe.
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from this recipe
I love plump, rustic-looking cookies, and these make me happy indeed. They’ve got plenty of toothsome texture from the oatmeal and a little salty edge that heightens the flavors of the butter and chocolate. While I’m not faint of heart, these cookies almost too rich when warm, so I find that they’re best at room temperature or even slightly chilly from the freezer.
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
¾ cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
1 Tbs best-quality vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
1 ½ cups best-quality semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 ½ cups quick-cook oats, or rolled oats zizzed in a food processor for a few seconds
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease cookie sheets with cooking spray or line them with parchment paper or silicone baking mats (I use the latter, which keeps the cookies from spreading too far and makes for easy clean-up).
2. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter and brown and granulated sugars until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk, mixing until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients, working until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips and oats by hand, using a wooden spoon. Chill dough in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to one hour. Use a table knife to scoop and press dough into ¼-cup measuring scoops, and plunk the mounds onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be three inches apart.
3. Bake cookies for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned. [Mine often take longer than 15 to 20, but start there and then eyeball it.] Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cook completely. Eat.