Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Drip Drip Drip

So last night our downstairs neighbor knocked on our door, and told us that her living room ceiling was dripping on her. After a confusing couple of minutes, The Pit and I discovered that the carpet behind our couch was soaked, and that water was leaking out of the air conditioning vent back there. It's unclear how long this has been going least a day or two, and possibly longer.

Incidents like this make me grateful that we're just renters, because we turned off the AC and called our building manager, hoping that things could get resolved quickly. Lo and behold, an hour or so later an enormously fat and jovial on-call plumber came to our door. This man was in a remarkably good mood for having been roused from his comfortable and air-conditioned home to come to our (by now) hot and sticky one. He sweated profusely, told amusing anecdotes about his bouncer days, fiddled with our air-conditioner for a while, and after eventually pulling out some disgusting gunk, pronouncing it fixed.

So at least we were able to run the AC again, which was nice when by 10 PM, the temperature had only come down to 87° F, and the humidity was at a gross 71%. To deal with the water damage to our carpet, a man came and installed a gigantic fan in the corner of the living room this morning. He sorta pulled out a corner of the carpet, directed the fan vaguely downward, and told me to leave it on for 24 hours.

Although all the wind is causing the carpeting to ripple in amusing ways, I'm actually a bit unhappy at this solution, since the fan generates an enormous amount of noise, and per The Pit's instructions, I was supposed to be calling various companies where I've recently sent resumes. The Pit was quite insistent about this being a necessary step in the job-getting process, but since calling companies gives me panic attacks, I suppose this situation does have its pluses.

I think I will wander downstairs and ask our neighbor if she would like to stop staring at her dripping ceiling, and go to the gym with me. How's that for turning lemons into lemonade?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Zucchini & Carrot Ribbon Pasta

Okay, let's hope the wait was worth it. I present you with my hard-won zucchini pasta recipe. This is The Pit's new favorite pasta dish, and although I've never really eaten or liked zucchini before, I must say that the lemon-parmesan combo in this dish is so good, it makes even squash taste delicious.

What you'll need for a large bowl of pasta (2 large dinner portions, and 2-3 smaller lunch portions):
  • 2 peeled carrots
  • 1 green zucchini (unpeeled)
  • 1 yellow summer squash (unpeeled)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 lb angel hair pasta
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 cup asiago cheese, grated
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • juice of 1/2 lemon & 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper
1) Peel the carrots, and then use a mandolin to slice the carrots, zucchini, and summer squash into thin ribbons. Slice the ribbons in half lengthwise so that they better match the width of the pasta.

2) Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and cook the pasta according to package directions.

3) While the pasta is cooking, heat several tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the minced garlic, and cook for 1-2 minutes.

4) Add the ribbons of carrots, squash, and zucchini to the skillet, and cook for 6-10 minutes. Salt and pepper the vegetables, and add a little of the lemon juice as they cook.

5) When the pasta is cooked, drain and put in a large mixing bowl with contents of the skillet. Mix in the cheeses, parsley, and the remainder of the lemon juice. You can also add about a teaspoon of lemon zest to the mixture. Salt and pepper to taste.

Viola! If you don't have an evil mandoline around the house, I think it would also work to just chop the veggies into relatively small pieces, and use a more chunky pasta (elbows, fusilli, etc). You might need to cook the chopped vegetables for a little longer than the ribbons too.

Friday, July 24, 2009

America's Past Time

That pasta recipe will have to wait, as blog-worthy events occurred last night. These events require a little backstory: In early May, some of The Pit's friends decided to hold a BBQ and baseball game event. These friends live about 3 minutes walk from Nationals Park, and the idea was that we would barbecue on their apartment building's rooftop garden, and then mosey down to the stadium and watch some baseball. Alas, just as The Pit and I arrived at their building, the skies opened up and it started pouring. We all then spent the afternoon in their apartment building's rec room, munching on chips and watching the weather station on TV. The rain never let up, and the game was postponed.

Which brings us to last night, when the make-up Orioles-Nationals game was scheduled to start at 7 PM. I know nothing of either team (or actually, baseball in general), but was pretty excited to get out of the house for an evening. Although I didn't get my hopes too high, as The Pit and I had looked outside yesterday morning, and duly noted both the ominous gray clouds and's prediction of a 60-70% chance of thunderstorms in the evening. On his way home from work, The Pit called me and said he thought he heard thunder. However, by the time he got home and we had finished dinner, it still wasn't raining, and in fact had downgraded the threat of thunderstorms to a mere 5-10% chance. Treacherous, treacherous

We stupidly forgot our umbrella at home and decided that it was too hot for jackets, and set off to the game on the Metro. By the time we arrived the 3rd inning was just winding down, and we witnessed approximately 4 minutes of baseball. I took the following picture after we settled in our seats, and before I had even figured out which team I was supposed to be rooting for:

As it turned out, that information would have been superfluous anyway, as exactly 3 minutes and 28 seconds later, I snapped another picture of the same scene:

We huddled under the overhang with the rest of the fans for a long time, hoping that the rain would pass quickly. However, it just got worse and worse, and the lightening was starting to make people a bit nervous. Here's a close up of the message from the stadium about the 'severe' storms:

Eventually we scrambled to marginally better shelter by the hot dog stand, where we clustered around The Pit's friend with an iPhone, and watched the dark red blobs of weather persistently clustered around the area. For lack of anything better to do, we also spent $11 on two disgusting hot dogs. These were seriously some of the worst and simultaneously most expensive hot dogs I have ever eaten, and I have significant doubts about their 'all beef' description. I guess it's unlikely that they were 'all rat,' even though that was the adjective that sprung to mind when I was eating mine.

After about an hour and a half of this, the rain began to wind down, and The Pit and I gratefully took this opportunity to flee to the Metro and go home. As it turns out according to this rather gloomy news report, ours was a wise decision. Although the game was eventually resumed for a short amount of time, the storms returned, and the whole thing was called a little before midnight, after six innings of play.

So, $20 for tickets, $5.40 for Metro fare, and $11 for hot dogs...$36.40. The memories? Priceless:

Although in all seriousness, the lightening we saw on the way home was so awesome, it put both of us a good mood for the rest of the night. Well, once we got inside and took off our wet clothes anyway.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Mandoline: 2, Peachy: 0

In recent days the kitchen and I have not been playing well together. A series of unfortunate events began when I tried to use my arch-enemy, the mandoline:

I have never previously owned a mandoline, and only bought this rather expensive one at the exhortations of The Pit, who moaned frequently and dramatically when I asked him to slice potatoes, and explained how much easier the process would be with a device specifically made for thinly slicing vegetables.

While in theory this purchase was a good idea, in practice I cannot assemble the damn thing to save my life, and every time I try, all I manage to do is create a new and unique configuration to thinly slice my fingers. This is incredibly frustrating on several levels. First, there are only 2 plastic pieces that need to be fitted together, plus the blade. It seems like it should be child's play, and in point of fact, after we bought it and The Pit first tried to show me the details of assembly, I said something moronic like "Do I look like an idiot? I can handle that on my own." Oh, pride cometh before the fall people.

The second thing that makes assembly an exercise in frustration is the instruction book, which is entirely useless. It shows plastic pieces A and B fitting neatly together, as if any idiot could just lay them against each other properly. As we've already established, any idiot can't, and a few helpful tips about unlocking certain knobs and making sure various other plastic do-hickies click correctly would have been deeply appreciated. Instead the instruction book has repeatedly been hurled to the floor in fits of anger, and let that be a lesson to it.

The third and possibly most frustrating thing about mandoline assembly is that The Pit does not have any problems with it, and in fact appears to put it together in the exact same manner as I do, expect somehow when he does it the mandoline works as intended.

Anyway, the astute among you will notice that the mandoline in my pictures is assembled incorrectly, causing a large space to form between the the sloping plastic and the metal blade. This assembly configuration was achieved after many many minutes of trying, followed by more minutes studying the instruction book, followed by yet more minutes of assembly and disassembly, predictably followed by the an instruction book being hurled to the floor. This was the best I could do, is what I'm trying to say, and a certain zucchini needed to be turned into thin ribbons post haste, or The Pit and I were going to be late to our dance class that evening.*

However, the aforementioned large space made it practically impossible to thinly slice ribbons of zucchini. Those ribbons at the bottom of the picture were a) fatter than I wanted and b) achieved by attempting to slice a thicker ribbon into two thin ones. Although I knew, knew, that this was a bad idea from the get go, by this point I was incredibly frustrated trying to assemble the mandoline, and freaking out because The Pit was coming home shortly and we needed to eat and be out the door in 30 minutes.

So when The Pit walked in the apartment, he was greeted by me apoplectic with rage at the mandoline, and sucking on my neatly sliced thumb. The rest of the zucchini remained uncut, and dinner was nowhere near ready. Although, you will note that I managed to photograph the object of my wrath for later blogging. Priorities!

All in all, it's a good thing that dance class actually started a half hour later than I thought, because it took a while for The Pit to calm me down, correctly assemble the mandoline, and slice all the vegetables for our dinner. By that point I was ready to face the kitchen again and cook everything together.

However, the upshot of all this drama is that the pasta recipe we made with all those sliced veggies was quite delicious, and I shall return tomorrow to tell you all about it. **

* Why I chose a recipe requiring the mandoline when I knew we might hit a time crunch is a mystery. Hope springs eternal, I suppose.
** I actually started this post to share the recipe, but got a little side-tracked. I trust that nobody is desperately waiting on my blog to start dinner.

Edited to add: Apparently part of the problem is that I can't tell a mandolin from a mandoline. Fixed, even if the blogspot spellcheck doesn't think 'mandoline' is a word. Thanks for the correction Cat.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


The Pit and I have a few philosophical differences when it comes to ideal levels of physical activity. For example, if I came across two paths diverging in a wood, I would definitely take whichever one did not lead uphill. Whereas The Pit, he would probably babble something about an excellent workout, and nimbly leap up the uphill path like some sort of two-legged mountain goat. Witness him during our outdoor adventure yesterday: moving almost too quick for the camera, that one.

Anyway, as I was saying, these differences periodically lead us to minor disagreements about the length of a walk necessary to qualify as a hike, and whether the aforementioned activity counts as exercise. In my book, if I am moving about, however feebly, on an unpaved trail for longer than approximately 15 minutes, I am both hiking and exercising. As might be expected, The Pit has somewhat...stricter...standards.

Yesterday, we had been wandering around the woods for an entire hour, but because this hour included both a bench and a snack, The Pit was unsatisfied. He also made fun of me for being too dainty crossing a stream, and took this action shot to prove it:

And I must admit, the hands do look a bit delicate, but I prefer to characterize myself as careful. Nobody wants to muck about the forest in wet footgear, right?

Luckily for The Pit, the return portion of the trail was all uphill, resulting in much sweating and resting on my part, and happy exclamations about finally hitting a strenuous bit on his. In fact, for the very last uphill portion before we reached the car, The Pit decided I was moving too slowly, and for additional exercise he got behind me and pushed, leading to what I'm sure was a very amusing scene for various passers-by.

On the whole though, it was quite an excellent hike, with exciting flora and fauna seen along the way. Although wikipedia told us that the area was home to both deer and flying squirrels, I saw neither, and was a bit disappointed until we found this guy:

Oh, and also this guy, whose picture I post primarily for the amusement of my father, who has compiled a rather extensive collection of phallic plantlife photos, and who always shakes his head sadly and mutters about having a daughter with no sense of humor when I fail to fully appreciate his Powerpoint presentations on the topic.

You're welcome Dad.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Green Spinach & Cucumber Salad

My grandma came up with this 4 ingredient* salad when I was a teenager, and it quickly became one of my favorites, even though I don't usually like spinach very much. The first time I made it for The Pit, I used the same recipe she provided, which typically made enough for a small dinner party's worth of people. As I recall, I managed to snag a portion, and then he demolished the rest of the bowl by himself. So it's good, is what I'm trying to say here. Around our house, it's usually just referred to as the Green Salad, for obvious reasons:

What you'll need for a large bowl of salad (about 6-8 small portions, or 4 large ones):
  • 1 (9 oz) bag baby spinach
  • 2-3 small cucumbers
  • 3-4 stalks green onions
  • 1/4 bunch fresh dill
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 heaping tablespoon sour cream
  • 1-2 heaping tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2-3 pinches salt
  • 1 pinch sugar
1) Chiffonade the spinach and add to a large mixing bowl. This basically means stack, roll, and then cut the spinach into thin strips, but the link shows how it's done. It does take a while longer than simple chopping, but the one time I tried making the salad by just chopping the spinach finely, the finished product somehow didn't taste quite right. Of course, maybe this was due to my using really large regular spinach leaves from which I had failed to fully remove all the dirt and sand, but regardless, I haven't repeated the experiment since. I know, what sort of scientist changes two variables at once?**

2) Finely chop the cucumbers and add them to the mixing bowl. You can use any cuke you like, but I prefer what are called Persian cucumbers in California, and are referred to as mini cucumbers here in DC. They don't need to be peeled, have a great flavor, and are virtually seedless, giving them a nice crispy texture all over.

3) Finely chop the green onion stalks and dill, and add to the other veggies in the mixing bowl. Admire all the pretty pretty green.

4) Mix the veggies together and add the dressing. I usually add the sour cream and one tablespoon of mayo, then mix together with the lemon juice, salt, and sugar. Then I taste, realize once again that more mayo = better dressing, and add another tablespoon of mayo. If you're dieting or just one of those crazy people that hates mayo, I suppose one tablespoon will do.

* Not counting the dressing, because then it becomes a 9 ingredient salad, and that somehow sounds way more complicated.
** The unemployed kind. Bada bing!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Laziness Fail

Instead of taking 3 seconds to move the step stool in front of the dishes cabinet, I decided to jump to get a plate on the top shelf. Hard as it is to believe, I didn't break the plate...instead, I landed fully on my big toe, and am now limping around the apartment and swearing. Happy Monday world!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Insurance Hell

So I applied for some temporary health insurance until I find employment, figuring that this was the responsible, adult thing to do. Let this be a lesson to all of us: NEVER DO THE RESPONSIBLE ADULT THING.

I applied online, got an email June 15th stating that my coverage would start July 1st, and letting me know that I would receive a packet with all my insurance information and membership cards in about 2 weeks. When this packet did not arrive as promised, I called the company, and after sitting on hold for about 20 minutes, getting disconnected, and then sitting on hold for 20 more minutes, was informed of my policy number, and told that my packet should in fact arrive shortly.

Three whole weeks later, no card, no information, and I'm not really clear about my benefits. So I call the number on the email, and they transfer me to the Enrollment Status phone line, where I proceed to sit on hold for forty minutes. FORTY MINUTES of some perky lady repeatedly babbling about the increased incidence of asthma in this country, the importance of wearing sunscreen, and how you should teach your children to stay away from people swinging bats. Frankly, she shouldn't be giving anyone ideas about bat swinging, what with the rage that inevitably builds from spending 40 minutes on hold with a company that you are paying $90 per month for extremely shitty insurance.

Finally, a rep comes on the line, and I explain my issue. She says: "Your coverage started on July 1st? Let me transfer you to our PPO line." I then have the following exchange with the PPO line:

Automated Phone System: Please state your problem in a few words.
Me: No insurance card.
Automated Phone System: I'm sorry, I don't understand you. Please get out your insurance card and say your member ID number into the phone.
Automated Phone System: I'm sorry, does your member ID number start with letters? If so, please say them now.
Automated Phone System: I'm sorry, I didn't understand you. Please get out your insurance card and say your member ID number into the phone.
Me: You are a piece of shit.
Automated Phone System: I'm sorry, does your member ID number start with letters? If so, please say them now.
Me: Shit shit shit. OPERATOR!
Automated Phone System: You wish to speak to a representative? Please say 'yes' or 'no'.
Me: (very relieved) YES!
Alleged Human Representative: Please state your member ID number.

Once the Alleged Human Representative determined that I didn't have a member ID number, she transferred me back to the Enrollment Status phone line, where I spent ANOTHER 40 MINUTES ON HOLD, once again fantasizing about taking a bat to the entire Carefirst BlueCross BlueShield organization.

Eventually, another rep answered, and after much confusion, determined that although I had been approved for coverage as stated in my email, somebody had forgotten to enter all my information into the system. She would take this problem to the supervisor, who would enter in my information. The kicker? I am to call back this same number tomorrow morning to receive my member ID number and make sure my information got entered in correctly. More bat fantasies, here I come.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Brie and Peach Panini: So Good I Forgot to Take Pictures

Inspired by this recipe I saw on the Food Network, the other night we assembled paninis* without using a special press. Although the process was a little messy, the results were delicious. Alas, as the title says, I forgot to take pictures, so here is a very tiny one stolen from the internet to wet your appetites. You shall have to decipher the rest of my instructions picture-less, although since we are basically making a fancy sandwich here, I think you will all get by.

What you'll need for 4 sandwiches (dinner for 2, or brunch for 4):
  • 1 loaf ciabatta bread
  • 8 oz brie cheese
  • 2 peaches
  • 2-3 handfuls of arugula/baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2-3 tablespoons honey
  • salt and pepper
1) Slice the ciabatta loaf into fourths, and then divide each fourth in half lengthwise. You know, sandwich-like. Working with two of the sandwiches at a time, brush olive oil on the non-crusty sides, and place in a frying pan over medium-high heat.

2) While the sandwich insides are getting all crispy, slice the brie and the peaches. I just sliced off the sides of each peach around the pit, and then cut the resulting wedges in half lengthwise, so that they weren't too thick.

3) Once you're done slicing the cheese/peaches, and the bread is relatively warm and crispy, take the bottom part of each sandwich off the frying pan and assemble the paninis. Start with a layer of cheese, then drizzle with a little honey and grind out some salt and pepper. Then add a layer of peaches, and repeat the honey drizzling and salt/pepper process. Top the sandwiches with some of the arugula and baby spinach mixture, then add the top pieces of bread from the frying pan. Now brush the outside, crusty parts of the bread with olive oil, and put back in the pan.

4) This next part is the tricky step. The sandwiches need to be pressed for a real panini experience, and also because at the moment they are a little too big to comfortably fit your mouth around. For our ghetto version of a panini press, I got out a second frying pan, put it on top of the sandwiches, and then made The Pit stand there and push down on the second frying pan with his hands.** After a couple minutes, we flipped the sandwiches upside down so that the tops could also get crispy and warm. If you don't have a handy boyfriend to do the pressing, I've also seen Rachel Ray use a foil-covered brick over her second frying pan. However, I don't know many people with piles of convenient bricks outside their front doors.***

Some notes about substitutions: If you clicked on the link to the original recipe, you saw that the it called for taleggio cheese. Not only had I never heard of it before, but neither had the girl stocking cheeses at Trader Joe's. However, brie worked fine as a substitute.

I was also tempted to sub in some french bread for the ciabatta when I saw that the latter was $4 a loaf at our local grocery store, but after tasting the results with ciabatta, I'm glad I didn't. That was $4 well spent, although next time I'll pick up the bread at Trader Joe's while I'm getting the brie, as I think it might be cheaper there.

The original recipe also called for arugula as the lettuce-like topping, but although I tried, I couldn't find arugula by itself at the grocery store. The mix with the baby spinach was fine, and I'm pretty sure you could sub in one of those fancy spring lettuce mixes as well.

As for other toppings, I'm temped to try this again with thin slices of Granny Smith apples instead of the peaches. You could also go for pears like the original recipe says. Other suggestions from the internets, unverified by yours truly but which could potentially be good: fontina cheese, goat cheese, and prosciutto with the cheeses for those who like their paninis more meaty.****

* Is it just me or does the multiple of panini look awfully dirty somehow? I shall use the singular as much as possible from here on out.
** The top frying pan doesn't heat up, so this wasn't torture or anything. Also, I could have done this myself, but I needed a step stool to get to the proper height for pressing. This was embarrassing.
*** Except for Rob. Hi Rob!
**** Heh. I lied about the singular.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Problems With Penny-Pinching: The Hair Edition

So, I meant to get a little trim from my favorite stylist before leaving the OC, but between the packing and the whatnot, I sort of forgot all about my hair. Which meant that it was much longer than usual by the time I arrived in DC, and only grew more unwieldy the longer I postponed getting a haircut here.

I don't object to shorter hair in general, but I do have a three-fold problem with getting haircuts:
A) I'm extremely cheap,
B) I don't like products, blow dryers, or any cut that requires effort on my part, and
C) My hair is curly when cut short, which seems to confound a lot of stylists.

So really B and C are only window dressing, and could be dealt with if my major issue wasn't A. In the last couple of weeks I had asked some locals for recommendations, but apparently they aren't quite as Jewish frugal as I am, and thus pay something like $50 or $60 per haircut. As I am both Jewish thrifty and unemployed, I rather unwisely decided that this was out of the question.

So I dithered and avoided any action, until The Pit pointedly asked me if I was planning on getting a haircut this week. This from a man who really doesn't seem to care what I do with my hair, as long as I keep it unclipped* at all costs. If even he had noticed the deplorable state of my coiffure, it really was time for a haircut.

I thus bit the bullet and located a $20/haircut salon near our grocery store, and decided that with pictorial assistance, the stylists there could potentially be trusted.

So I brought in this picture OF MYSELF,** and asked to be made to look like this again..shorter, curly, reasonably away from the face:

Apparently the stylist interpreted this to mean that what I really wanted was hair shorter in the back than the front, lopsided, and somehow cut so as not to curl in front. Observe my displeasure:

After a couple of days of various types of fiddling, including both hair product and clips (thus incurring annoyed and pointed glances from The Pit), I have gotten it to look a little more manageable, although I would not go so far as to say 'good.'

Hopefully it grows out soon, and then I can go squander more money on a real stylist. Local suggestions would be appreciated in the comments. I promise this time I'll listen.

* The Pit has an unnatural aversion to hair clips anywhere near me, which makes this whole bad haircut styling thing even more difficult.
** So we know this haircut is's not like I told her "I want Jennifer Aniston hair."

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Soft Ginger Cookies

I know these cookies don't look super exciting, but I've made them twice in the last couple of weeks, and they have disappeared exceedingly quickly each time. The Pit took one batch to work, and received a promotion shortly thereafter. Coincidence? I'll let you be the judge.

What you'll need:
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup margarine or butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar, plus extra for topping
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
1) If, like me, you have no margarine and always forget to soften the butter early, take it out of the fridge, cut into small cubes, and leave in a large mixing bowl while you mix up the dry ingredients.

2) Preheat oven to 350°F, and leave the butter bowl someplace close for more efficient softening.

3) In a small mixing bowl, sift together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, baking soda, and salt. Set aside, and check your butter.*

*It won't be soft yet. Some of you will get impatient and start trying to cream it at this point. Some of you genetically related to me, anyway. You will then get annoyed as little butter chunks fly everywhere and make a mess. By the time you've cleaned the butter chunks off the counters and stove, and also fished a stray bit out of your cleavage, the rest of the butter may or may not be softened. If it isn't, this exercise will get repeated.

4) At long last, the butter is soft! Use an electric mixer to cream together the butter and sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the egg, then the water and molasses.

5) Gradually stir the dry ingredients into the molasses mixture.**

** If you pour in dry ingredients, then go to town with the electric mixer, be prepared for clouds of flour to cover both you and all of your immediate surroundings. This is especially annoying if you tried to prematurely cream the butter and sugar, got butter chunks everywhere, and already cleaned them up. Ahem. The second time I made these, I used a spoon to stir the dry ingredients in part way, then used the electric mixer for the rest. Much cleaner all around.

6) The dough will probably be a bit gooey at this point and hard to shape into balls, so stick the whole mixing bowl in the fridge for 10 minutes while you clean up any remaining flour/butter/sugar/molasses left on your kitchen walls.

7) Pour a couple of tablespoons of sugar into a small bowl. Shape the dough into walnut-sized balls, and roll them in the sugar bowl. Place the balls 2 inches apart on a foil-covered, ungreased cookie sheet, and flatten them slightly with your fingers.

8) Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing. Store in an airtight container.

A couple of notes: As you can see, I placed the cookie balls too close together, so they ran into each other a little. Unless you are super anal about your cookies being exactly round, this is not really an issue.

Also, you can sorta see my finger marks on the cookies below. This is because I didn't have measuring spoons when I made these, and had to estimate the amount of baking soda. Turns out I added a bit much, and thus had to squish this batch more enthusiastically than usual. Nonetheless, they were delightful, and all the cookies on that plate were practically gone by the time our guests left.