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Rain, Cold, Cookies, Spring

[Over the mountain, near Geyserville, May 2011.]

It’s raining today in San Francisco (wait — it’s raining?? On the last day of May? This is not the California I know and love.) and I’m sniffly and hunched over a soy latte wondering when this cold that’s been plaguing me for a good week already will finally depart. I’m a little exhausted. I have a story due tomorrow that’s about 93% finished. I am going for vegetarian soft tacos up the street tonight with an old friend. I’m thinking about baking cookies, because for some reason whenever I have a cold I want to eat cookies? And not just any cookie, but homemade (by me) chocolate or oatmeal-chocolate chip or probably just plain old chocolate chip cookies. I guess it’s a comfort thing: warm, chewy cookies with a glass of cold milk (or a hot cup of tea), the chocolate melting and the sugar caramelized just enough — clearly I need to go home immediately to put a batch in the oven.

This past weekend was marvelous but basically it was exactly like that photograph up there: a blur of of green and light. I held a baby (and he threw up on me, but he was really such a delicious baby I didn’t mind). I saw old friends. I ate homemade sushi at a graduation party while rain pelted down on the green backyard outside the house. I drank rooibos tea and talked about Washington DC. I also drank a lot of cough syrup. I went to Napa and remembered how to climb a rock wall (legs, legs, it’s all in the legs) and had just one run on the back roads. I ate a burrito in St. Helena. I petted the dog in Pt. Reyes and wished to stay longer.

So yes: a slight blur.

[Near Tomales, May 2011.]

Summer is tickling the edges of the season despite the rain, and I want to spend it out-of-doors as much as possible, near the water, in the sun, preferably on a boat. Will this be possible?! I can dream … and then put at least some of those wistful dreams into reality. May, such a beautiful, beloved month, is over and I’m almost sorry to see it go; California’s spring this year has been nothing short of phenomenal, and I use that word advisedly. Late rain means the fields up north are brimming with wildflowers, and fat cows mooch their way through the days with mouths full of new grass. Poppies have exploded into bursts of bright orange everywhere, the grape leaves are green as can be, the reservoirs are full. And with more rain forecast to come this week I wonder when true summer will actually descend — if it will? I know the fields will go brown soon enough so I must try to slow down and savor this unexpected beauty while it lasts.

Just as soon as I lose my cold. And have a day off. Because … I have things I want to cook, including but not limited to: asparagus soup, lemon poppyseed cake, vegan peanut butter cookiesa spring vegetable souffle, baked sweet potatoes with toasted walnuts and maple syrup, milk chocolate pudding with whipped cream …

But first: cookies.

[print_this]Chocolate Chip Cookies, adapted from allrecipes.com

1 cup butter, melted
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

2. In a medium bowl, stir together the melted butter and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder and baking soda, gradually stir into the sugar mixture. Fold in the chocolate chips. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets.

3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Note: I use a whisk to mix together first the butter, sugar, and eggs, and it really helps make that batter nice and smooth. I also use it when I add the dry ingredients but after that, just a wooden spoon is needed. I think you can make the batter in about six minutes, tops.


  1. St. Helena- my hometown! Where’d you get the burrito? Hope your trip to the valley was fun :)

  2. For some reason you always make rain and soy lattes sound a lot better there than they do here. :) But not cookies. Cookies are good everywhere, right?

    In my head and a little on paper I am planning a possible Southern-to-Northern California and Beyond road trip for later this summer. If it comes together, I will keep you posted. I’d love to stop and see you for some rain (or sun!) and lattes!

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