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garden state getaway

Recently, I announced: "I am going to New Jersey for vacation."

And people stared and said: "Why?"

Because New Jersey is where I can get extraordinarily good red curry, made from scratch by a friend who just finished one of Kasma Loha-unchit's five-day intensive Thai cooking classes.

It's where I can eat crepes filled with dulce de leche, melted chocolate and homemade whipped cream for breakfast. And where amazing street food can be found at the local middle school's fall festival.

It's where the leaves are already changing color and I have to use multiple blankets at night and I think about how I haven't worn a scarf in a very long time.

And most importantly, it's where Kate lives and where Shara drove to meet us.

And now I miss them both.

a cookie in each hand

The first time I ever tried to bake on my own was in high school. My friend Holly and I were at her house, and we decided to make cookies from scratch. She pulled out a recipe (I'm not even really sure where this recipe actually came from), and we went at it.

We were missing some ingredients. I remember we were supposed to put a dollop of jelly or something like that on each cookie. But there was no jelly (and I think we thought it sounded weird anyway), so we skipped that part.

And even though we were winging it and probably also making a huge mess and most likely giggling way too much, those cookies turned out to be damn good -- simple, not too sweet, but with loads of butter. In a word: Addicting.

Since then, Holly's recipe has become my go-to. I've made these cookies throughout the different stages of my life: When I was trying to impress a boyfriend's parents (this was also in high school, and it was kind of a disaster because I didn't use enough butter in the cookies),when I wanted to prove to my mom that I could cook on my own (this was a disaster as well, since she ended up helping me), when I first moved to San Luis Obispo and used the kitchen to pass those lonely hours (finally getting the recipe right), when I came to San Francisco and promised myself I would do a better job of listening to my instincts (and subsequently hoarding the batch in a Tupperware and refusing to share with anyone).

I made these cookies last Saturday for a barbecue at my boss's house. Obviously, this time, I shared. And they were a hit.

Holly's Cookies

1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 tsps vanilla extract
2 egg yolks
2 cups flour
2 tsps baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Soften butter and mix thoroughly with sugar. Add remaining ingredients and blend well. Roll dough into balls the size of large marbles and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for about 10-12 minutes.

close call

In addition to this blog, I'm on the blogroll for the NVV's harvest blog. This is tricky because I don't want things to cross over. This blog must remain a secret from the people I work with; I don't want them telling me I can't write about other people's wines, share opinions about restaurants, post videos that mock wine sales or make fun of wine tourists' fashion choices.

Unfortunately, I accidentally posted my personal entry on the NVV blog this morning. Seriously: SHIT. Luckily, I was able to delete it immediately. I just really hope no one saw it. (Thank goodness today is a holiday and harvest has started. Hopefully people are sleeping or sampling grapes and not surfing the Web.)

Anyway, as I was saying in my original post (which I now have to attempt to recreate), I am reading Hal Higdon's Marathon Training and counting down to CIM. I have exactly 12 weeks of training left.

And according to Mr. Higdon, 55 percent of everything I eat should be carbohydrates. Hell freaking yeah. At last, validation for my intense love of rice, potatoes, pasta and vegetables. Take that, Atkins!

However, despite carefully carbo-loading the night before with papardelle from Sugo and waking up at 5:20 a.m. to eat a bowl of oatmeal, yesterday morning's 18-miler from Santa Rosa to Sebastopol and back was brutal. The first 15 miles were fine -- slow and steady, just like I planned, with GU and water at the right intervals.

But the last three miles were pure torture. My hips were aching (maybe I need glucosamine), and the Joe Rodota Trail was just plain scary. Seriously, as I got closer to Santa Rosa, the people on the trail got weirder. You must have a tough life to sit in the middle of a running/biking path before 9 a.m. and drink 40s. (And yes, they really were right smack in the middle of the trail.) And you must have some major issues if you are going to try to show me your penis while I'm running. Dear god, despite my aching hips, I got out of there as fast as I could.

Thankfully, the recovery meal was delightful: Eggs Blackstone (how I love heirloom tomato time) with potatoes and fresh fruit at Humble Pie, my favorite brunch spot.