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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Why I shouldn't study O chem

Because then this happens:

I tell myself that I won't be on Google reader all day. So instead, I read about 64 of Cooks Illustrated extremely in depth taste tests. (Best $35 dollars on a membership ever) And then I decide that our current chocolate chips bought in bulk at Sams Club (Nestle Toll House) are not up to par and that we really need to expand our vinegar and oil selection. So I spend $88 on chocolate, vinegar, oil, and vanilla extract. 

And then Kyle and I have a half blind chocolate tasting on a Monday night. He was the blind one, I opened the bags and fed us, but still tried to be impartial. 

What we concluded:

Real extra virgin olive oil with homemade artisan bread is so worth it

Smith's private selection white chocolate chips taste like chalk

Dove Silky Smooth Milk Chocolate is divine

Kyle still loves Nestle, I haven't been won over by anything yet

Pompein balsamic vinegar sucks

McCormick real vanilla extract is amazing! 

Other things I learned/ considered while procrastinating:

I really really wish there was a Trader Joe's near us because according to Serious Eats they have the best chocolate chips.

Most extra virgin olive oil sold in the U.S. isn't actually extra virgin olive oil because the US doesn't regulate it and doesn't follow the standards of the International Olive Council.

I can't wait to order a bottle of olio nuovo (limited reserve) from California Olive Oil this November and use it on everything!

Regular olive oil is better for cooking because it has a higher smoke point and the distinct flavor of extra virgin is lost anyway.

Fat isn't as bad as it sounds

I really want to order some leaf lard from Flying Pigs Farm for pie crusts this fall.

I almost spent $175 on heritage pork and grass fed beef- go my sensible husband for talking me out of that one ( I also briefly considered buying half a pig for a much better price per pound, but that was killed by lack of freezer space).

It's not worth using pure vanilla in anything that'll achieve a temperature above 280 F because the additional flavor compounds bake off. So use it for anything uncooked or slightly cooked, but nothing like cookies. Cakes are all right because they only reach about 210.

If anyone ever goes to New York and buys me a bag or two of Jacques Torres chocolate chips you will be my best friend ever and I'll make you wonderful cookies. I don't want to order them online because the shipping is like $40.

Pinterest is awesome and addictive.

I'm probably going to fail my organic chemistry proficiency test next week. Oh well, I'll be able to make some mean chocolate chip cookies. 


  1. On the vanilla...

    The only way to go with vanilla is to get the real stuff in Mexico. You can usually get it for $3-5 per liter. Or get Matt's mom to send you some of her homemade extract made from Madagascan vanilla beans. That said, there seems to be an access problem. When I don't have time to hop down to Mexico on the weekend, I substitute the real or blended vanilla from the Mexican food aisle (the Walmart in Orem has it). So much cheaper than the American brands and just as good.

  2. Cool, thanks for the tip! I've actually been considering making my own extract, but haven't gotten around to it yet.

  3. There is a Trader Joe's near me! I'm going to have to buy those chocolate chips now. And if I ever get to New York, I'll ship you some Jacques Torres chocolate chips...that will probably arrive in a solid melty mess. :)

    Good luck with o chem!

  4. Thanks Katie! Also, I'm sure the chocolate chips would still taste good :) And I'd be sure to ship you back some cookies!

  5. sounds like you study about how I do :)

  6. How have I not seen this blog!? Everything looks sooo good! I'm definitely trying out those tortillas! And I loooove Cooks Illustrated. We received a subscription as a wedding gift! I loved the taste tests!