Various stories I didn’t get to, but you ought to check out (open thread-y)

It’s after midnight in Paris, and after an exhausting night of attempting to make chocolate chip cookies with French butter and homemade chips, we ended up with something that was tasty, albeit not quite traditional.  More of a chocolate chocolate-chip cookie.  But it was quite yummy.

chocolate-chip-cookies

Chocolate chip cookies are notoriously difficult to make here in Europe, using American recipes, as our butter and flour are different than theirs.  I found that by eyeing the dough, and adding a bit more flour, I was able to replicate the American formula.  Though this, my second batch, was problematic because of the fact that we too finely chopped the high quality French chocolate, so it kind of melted into the batter (though not entirely).  I ended up baking them at 400, as 350 (well, 200C instead of 175C, to be exact) just didn’t seem high enough (and this oven doesn’t give you a middle temp).

They’re quite yummy and chewy, if a tad sugary.  I found a decent substitute for brown sugar (“vergeoise”), but used cassonade (cane sugar) instead of white sugar for the second half of the sugar, and it definitely doesn’t dissolve into the cookie as much as white sugar would have, so you sense little bits of sugar when you chew.  Still, they were surprisingly yummy, if not 100% true to the original.  But hey, what do these guys know about chocolate chip cookies anyway?  As Julia Child would say, serve it and smile :)

Piranha-esque fish found in the Seine river near Paris. Apparently it enjoys eating men’s testicles.

The Texas and Louisiana National Guards think gay is the new black.

Most prominent former resident of Russian palace where G20 summit is being held was a big homo.

Autumn economy in the US looking scary.

Auto sales, however, are doing well.

honey-badgerHoney badger don’t care. (Most you have already seen this vid, but it’s worth seeing again. Funny as hell.)

History of English podcasts (something I plan for a rainy day).

Do e-cigs cause cancer?

They’re finally canceling True Blood, in a year.  Hallelujah.

DOJ won’t enforce law banning gay vets from getting spousal benefits (yeah!)

Former top gay activist in Russia, who suffered a very public, and ongoing, anti-Semitic meltdown on social media this past week, says he wouldn’t meet with President Obama in St. Petersburg even had the President invited him to, which he did not.  Of course, not being invited in the first place isn’t a terribly strong starting position for a “so there.

New Dan Savage-y gay Christian video project intended to stand up to anti-gay Christian bigots.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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  • Ninong

    The Texas and Louisiana National Guards think gay is the new black.
    The only problem with that headline is that there is no mention of Louisiana in the article. Maybe it was supposed to be Mississippi?

  • emjayay

    I know, his photos and writing are great. If it was about Germany or England I’d have to read all of it. I’m sure I’ve spent hours reading his stuff anyway. It’s hard to not want one more bite.

  • Meh. Jason’s whiny voice annoys the hell out of me. Me: “Shut up and look pretty, boy. Don’t talk!”

    Alcide, on the other hand… He needed way more on-screen nekkid time than he got. Well, from my perspective anyway.

    Plus he’s the one male character whose personal descent into dickishness lasted the least amount of airtime.

  • Zorba

    Doggone it, emjayay, you have just pointed me toward a great food blog that will wind up sucking up way too much of my time! ;-)

  • Indigo

    I understand that but what’s a faulty plot compared to Jason’s pecs? C’mon! ;-)

  • Yep that guy is a friend of mine ;-)

  • emjayay

    What no baking comments? The food posts usually get the most comments here on this gayish political site.

    Anyway, cassonade turns out to be about the same as what is sold here as Demerara or turbinado sugar or I think other names. It’s a more rawish sugar, from sugar cane, I assume the bigger tan crystals that are so nice for putting in coffee you see in Europe and in fashionable coffee places and I don’t have around because, well, the stuff is delicious and the texture on the tongue is so great….Anyway, American brown or light brown sugar is regular white sugar from cane or beet sources with some molasses, which came out when the sugar was processed, put back in. So cassonade is probably about the per centage of the molasses stuff as I’m guessing half light brown and half white sugar. The prescence of some noticeable crystals in the cookie is because they were bigger to start with in the cassonade. Sounds like a good idea in any case.

    Vergeoise is sugar from a beet source with probably even more of the molasses stuff left in, maybe more than American dark brown sugar. Apparently it’s fine and less crystaly. It comes in Blonde Vanille and Blonde Nature and Brune. (Kind of like I’m guessing light brown sugar plus vanilla, light blonde sugar, and dark brown sugar.) I learned about the French stuff from Google and Google Images plus Google Translate.

    One way or another it’s all sucrose plus the minerals and stuff that is in molasses.

    Oh great, after figuring all that out here’s a site that explains it all:

    http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2009/11/french-sugars/
    And John if you got this far, I think you might want to check out this guy’s whole site. It’s about being an American in Paris and Europe and mostly about cooking and eating, with lots of food photos. He recently found corn on the cob at Grand Frais supermarket, and at a good price!

    Joy of Cooking (70’s version) says 375F for chocolate chip cookies. 200C is 392F and 175C is 347F. Of course any oven may vary. Everyone should check out their oven with an oven thermometer. Gas ovens I have known have no way to adjust. Electric ovens I have known have an adjustment on the back of the knob so you can adjust them to hit the right temperature, but newer ones are digital and I have no idea if adjustment is possible.

  • benb

    For me, there are very few dimensions in chocolate chip cookies…it’s kinda like strong, bad, red wine…like a gross Zinfandel–one taste and you can’t taste anything else. We, in the US, like CC Cookies but I don’t think it plays well overseas. It might be best to just serve the refrigerated cookie dough.

  • Phil

    Add some molasses to white sugar and voila – instant brown sugar! Provided molasses is available…..

  • I have a love/hate relationship with the show, and have continued to watch as a guilty pleasure because I can enjoy the nekkid folks of both genders on there. (Major grrl-crush on Pam.)

    But IMHO the show had two really good seasons to start with, then went downhill at a fairly steady clip. The Maenad story (Michelle Forbes) was good, but I almost can’t even remember what happened after her. I also noticed what seemed to me to be obvious attempts to cut costs when they could, likely because the actors cost so damned much. Like the oil tank farm standing in as the exterior of a vampire prison camp.

    I’d say the turning point for me was the ‘Possessed Marnie/Lafayette’ story arc, which ended in a decidedly non-epic way. (“Gee, deserted tiny town, nobody by the principle actors present.”) Plus too much of the various stories began to feel like totally disconnected ideas the writers had simply thrown against the wall. “Let’s give Andy a litter of faerie babies! Who grow up fast!” And who were there at all, why exactly? They kept spending lots of time on stuff totally peripheral to any coherent plot.

    Anyway, I’m with you and will probably indulge my naughty habit one more year… I won’t be buying the DVDs though.

  • Indigo

    Somebody doesn’t quite get the delicious flavor of True Blood and that’s just sad because it is pure naughty.

  • Glad to hear it.

  • Jim Olson

    I really like this news roundup format post.

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