So I’m doing a Christmas cookie exchange with some friends.  Should be fun.  Right?  I WILL HAVE FUN.  MAKING COOKIES.

Highlights of the experience:

 – Clerk at Jewel tells me wax paper is the same thing as parchment paper.  Good thing I was skeptical.

– Start mixing, only to find I don’t have flour.  Thought I had flour.  Didn’t.

– The oven wouldn’t turn on.  The dial is broken.  I have to turn the screw thing with my hand, and guess at the temperature I’ve turned it to.

– I belatedly notice the recipe calls for “cooling racks”.  I don’t even know what these are.  I cool the cookies on plates.  (Lined up along the edge of the sink because there’s no counter space.)

– The first few cookies aren’t so much “cookies”, as bits of cooked dough hanging out around pools of melted chocolate.  The last batch of cookies aren’t so much “chocolate chip” as “chocolate uniformly diffused throughout because I left the batter on the stove while the first batch cooked, and the chips all melted.”

– After I turned off the oven?  It turned itself back on.  For real.  I turned the screw thing all the way to the left, I heard a sound like the oven turning off, and the glow went out.  Half an hour later I thought GOD it’s hot in the house.  I happened to look at the oven (because I’d left the oven door open) and the glow is on again. 

I had to leave for the cookie exchange, so I turned the screw thing all the way to the right, then all the way to the left again.  It turned off again.  I told B. I hoped he would get home soon, in case it turned on again.  Luckily it didn’t, but I don’t think I’ll quite trust it again.


Vodka-soaked tomatoes  Tried two new recipes:

  Gruyere Walnut Wafers and Pepper-Vodka-soaked Tomatoes with Seasoned Sea Salt.

The gruyere wafers were problematic.  I did 4 batches, all slightly differently.  The only batch that turned out really well was the first – and I really screwed up the recipe on that batch. 

On the second batch, I followed the recipe to the letter.  Totally inedible – the wafers stuck to the cookie sheet so vigorously that I had to chip them off in little pieces.  The third and fourth batches, I did more similar to the first batch.  Those were edible, but not great.

I think if I could make it work in my oven, it would be a really good recipe – the good ones were tasty.  Getting the consistency right would be difficult though.   Cook them too little, and they’re gloppy, and stick.  Cook them too much, and they’re too crispy, and stick.  Maybe a silicone baking mat would help with the sticking.

The tomatoes were pretty good.  I also departed from the recipe on this one – I used grape tomatoes instead of cherry tomatoes, and I couldn’t find pepper vodka, so I used vodka with a mix of ground red pepper and chipotle peppers.  Also I added lemon, basil, and rosemary to the vodka marinade, and let it sit overnight instead of just 1-2 hours. 

Pretty tasty, actually.  But not very exciting, presentation-wise.  Seemed like a dish you’d pick up from the deli, not so much a party appetizer.  Would be good for an informal outdoor party – very refreshing.    If I made them again as an appetizer, I might include buffalo mozzarella and olives, and stick them on skewers or something.