August 31, 2009

along Pipeline Trail + SPECIAL EDITION

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

I'll be showing you a map of the Lagunitas Creek tomorrow, but this was taken on what I call the Pipeline Trail along the Lagunitas Creek, not far from the intersection of Platform Bridge Road and Sir Francis Drake Boulevard.

This is primarily a bicycle trail, but I guess photographers get to walk it too.   Make sure to keep to one side of the lane -- those damn bicyclers can run you over...

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

Taking a photo in the middle of the day is usually ill-advised, and this image bears out that lesson.   But despite the blown-out whites I think it's kind of pretty shot.

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

Designs stick up...

click photo for full-size image
photo by Donald Kinney

And they hang down...

SPECIAL EDITION -- Cookies are in the mail !!!

[[[ first edition ]]]
Monday, 5:18AM
On Saturday I stopped by the postoffice to collect my mail and lo and behold, there was one of those yellow tags that said they had a package for me, but it was too large to fit into my postoffice-box.   Problem is our postoffice isn't open on Saturday so I couldn't go claim the package. --But they're cookies and they're coming -- I'll be right down there at the postoffice as soon as it opens.

[[[ second edition ]]]
Monday, 11:04AM
Oh man... I have just eaten two of the very best cookies I've ever eaten, and that includes my Mom's -- and that's saying a lot!

Well, a few weeks ago I inadvertently let the cat out of the bag when Louise from The Potted Frog did a wonderful story on the first batch of chocoloate chip cookies that her daughter had baked all by herself.   By the time I finished reading I was drooling, and I left a tongue-in-cheek comment that I absolutely loved chocolate chip cookies and that my birthday just happened to be coming up soon, and that my mailing address was such and such...   Oh, I just mean't it to be a joke -- never expected that Louise would follow up on it -- but I understand that she is one of those people who loves to do super-nice things for people, so here I am -- moaning and groaning over the wonderfulness of these cookies!

I got to the postoffice right at 9AM and asked the nice lady if she had my cookies -- maybe I should have stopped and shared, but I was in a hurry to get down to Best-Buy to buy myself a camcorder -- more on that later (((you guys are really in for it now))).

And now I'm home giving these cookies a test run.   I'd say two thumbs up on this recipe and batch for sure.   They have such a wonderful texture, even after sitting in the postoffice all weekend.   They have that melt-in-your mouth texture, but they have an equal balance of substance.   The sweetness is not rough but seems to explode, and there is an amazing finish to the sweetness -- after swallowing the sweetness remains -- it's definitely the appropriate time to make the appropriate noise of satisfaction -- ummmm...

They arrived in PERFECT shape -- not a single one was broken -- just like some postal employee had hand-carried the package because they knew something really good was inside.   And I was surprised at their rather light color -- my mother used to get her's a bit browner, but these are baked PERFECTLY -- damn, they're good!

Thank you Louise -- this has been the BEST birthday present ever!   I'll probably drop a few updates here on my progress -- I'm going to make them last -- wish me good luck on that...

Louise sent 17 cookies -- 15 remain.

[[[ third edition ]]]
Monday, 12:02PM
Thought I would just have a half of a cookie.   I ate half, and then ate the other half...

Louise sent 17 cookies -- 14 remain.

[[[ fourth edition ]]]
Tuesday, 8:18AM
I had another just before I left yesterday afternoon, and I just had another one, and I bet you I'll have another one in about two minutes, so lets just consider that one a gonner too...

Louise sent 17 cookies -- 11 remain.

[[[ fifth edition ]]]
Tuesday, 10:31AM
I thought it would be o.k. to have another one, so I did, and then I don't know what got into me but I went right back and had one more...   So, they're going fast, but I'm enjoying the heck out of them...   I'm going to try to stay away from them for the rest of the day -- wish me good luck with that...

Louise sent 17 cookies -- 9 remain.

[[[ sixth edition ]]]
Wednesday, 4:49AM
I don't know how this happened, but last night the total dwindled to only 5 and right now, at just abut 5AM I'm feeling like just one of those cookies would go a long way in satisfying my hunger right now.   So, so I don't have to feel guilty about it later, lets just call the remaining total 4 and wish everybody a good day and go on about my business...

Louise sent 17 cookies -- 4 remain.

[[[ seventh edition ]]]
Thursday, 5:19AM
Well, they're all gone.   Gone, gone, gone...   And they were really good.   Really, really good.   And it was a fabulous pig-out.   Eating them was 17 big events.   Trophies need to be carved.   Triumphs need to be sounded.   Where's the press?   Where's the press?   Where is Betty Crocker?

Thank you Louise -- it was the best birthday present ever!

Oh, by the way, I don't think that Louise would object to me reprinting her recipe, so here it is:

Louise's Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

1 c packed brown sugar
1/2 c granulated sugar
2 sticks butter, softened
2 lg eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2-1/2 c flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 c chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 300 F.   Combine flour, soda and salt in medium bowl.
Mix well.   Set aside.

In large bowl, combine sugars with electric mixer at medium speed.   Add butter and mix to form a grainy paste.
Add eggs and vanilla. Mix until just blended.   Do not overmix.

Add flour mixture, chocolate chips and nuts.   Blend at low speed until just mixed. Do not overmix.

Drop onto ungreased cookie sheets.   Bake 18-22 minutes (20 minutes almost always works at my location) or until golden.   Transfer immediately to cool, flat surface.

Note: The recipe does not actually call for nuts, but believe it or not, I do not have a  huge sweet tooth.   (Ignore that Godiva bit above.)   Too much sugar gets to me, and I like nuts in cookies.   Besides the texture, it sort of balances the sweet.

Note from Don:   I was looking at the recipe in search of the drug that makes them so addicting, but nope, nothing terribly suspicious listed on the recipe.

But looking at the recipe I think I like the cookies because they have so much brown sugar in them, together with a double-dose of vanilla.   I think they're sweeter than heck, but Louise was saying she doesn't like overly sweet cookies...   Hmmmm...

And I lucked out and got one of Louise's batches that didn't have nuts -- and that's the way I think I prefer them.   No nuts to get in the way of the delicate texture of the chocolate chips.

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Cheffie-Mom said...

Your photos are great! I came over from The Potted Frog. Happy Birthday to you!

photowannabe said...

I hope the cookies are a birthday present. Wish I had thought of that, but then again maybe not...I'm not much of a baker or cook!!

Louise said...

"DAMN BIKERS"??? I have some stories about DAMN PEDESTRIANS! Bicyclists are at the bottom of the food chain when it comes to paths. Cars don't notice us, so we wreck trying to avoid them (it's easier to stop as a pedestrian than a bike), and pedestrians (largely) think they're the only people on the planet and won't move out of the way for bikers.Don't get me started!

(But I'm sure you're one of the few polite ones who actually pays attention to what is around you.)

OK. Now to your beautiful pictures. I love the first one. Lines, lighting, all of it. My favorite (guess) is "Designs stick up." (That was difficult to guess, no?)

As for the cookies, I'm so bummed you couldn't pick them up on Saturday, but they were there! If you knew how good you were, you would have been even more bummed! And I SWEAR there were 18. There were 3 per row. I was going for 24, but I couldn't fit more in. I'm shocked none broke, but it makes me happy. But I'm happiest that you like them so much. Thank you, thank you for your very kind words! I thought maybe I'd get a little thank you in an e-mail (not necessary, but I thought it might happen). Your post is over-the-top and makes me smile!

AphotoAday said...

Hi Louise --
Yep, I made a very careful count -- nine on the bottom row and eight on the top row. 17. But that'll do.

My first suspicion was that a postal employee might have known there were cookies inside -- or maybe he was inspecting it for drugs and stumbled on cookies -- he could have sampled one -- he could have just been doing his job... But it looks like the box wasn't tampered with, so that theory is out...

I've already eaten two plus two halves and it's only 12:35 in the afternoon and I'm going to go on the wagon for a couple hours if I can -- wish me luck...

I have to go re-read your cookie post -- it was a really good one... I was going to ask if your daughter helped you bake these?

Louise said...

Well I'm baffled by the missing one, but maybe I'll make it up to you sometime.

Chic didn't help. She was in school. Chicklet was napping, so just me this time.

You have more restraint than me. There were a few that wouldn't fit. I had to put them out of sight so I wouldn't eat them myself!

Louise said...

I was gone all day Wednesday and Thursday and catching up from that today, so I missed the finale. 4 days is still impressive. And yes, they're sweet, which is a lot of the reason I like the nuts--mixes a bit of salt with it, and I can handle it better.

I'm not sure if this was really your best birthday present ever, but in all seriousness I will say that there are few gifts I have given that have given me so much gratification because it is not every day that I am so rewarded with such heartfelt thanks.

AphotoAday said...

HI LOUISE, The pleasure was all mine, as they say... Yummy, yum, yum...

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