Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Readers, I am sorry for the inconvenience! I live in the DC/Maryland area, and on Sunday, the 25, I was chopping chocolate for a fudge sauce. It was 3:25 pm, and I never got to melt the chocolate. Basically, at 3:29 pm it suddenly got so windy. I mean, it wasn't even funny how windy it was. My whole family had to gather around the door to close the door, which was a near impossible feat. But you know how summer can be.

Then the rain came. Again, I have never seen rain like this. After ruining so much of my city, it stopped after five minutes. Of course, our power blew out, and for over exactly two days (as I am writing this, to the minute!!!) we have had a 90 degree house. With no electricity. And although some people have their electricity back, we don't. I hope to have it back soon, but Pepco is not even giving a guess time! It is crazy!

For now, I can't even find my camera in the darkness, and the pictures are bad quality. Luckily, I have a few saved from the morning of the storm. There are some GIANT trees down. And I mean giant. Also, so many traffic lights are out, it isn't very fun to be driving.

I am sorry I don't have anything to write about, but I have a fun post planned for whenever the power comes back on! I am at my mothers office at NIH and she is at a meeting, so I am sneaking this post in! Personally, I won't talk about how sorry I am, for as I once read in a Barefoot Contessa cookbook, never apologize for then the person will feel annoyed and not enjoy what there is that is good about the occasion. I actually enjoy storms when the power is out. I get to spend 7 hours in downtown Bethesda at Barnes and Noble and at the ever so crowded Apple Store! 

Now, what should I do...

Friday, July 23, 2010


How, I don't know. Why, I don't know. But one thing I do know, is that I found 2 large zucchinis on the kitchen counter. And I consider vegetables like zucchini foreign... I don't know why!? Some of the most tasty and delicious meals come from zucchini. But for now, I will have to just improvise...we don't want to waste two lumpy, big zucchinis!

And, this was the outcome of my attempt to take a picture of the zucchini. It wasn't very nice looking, but I tried!

To be honest, I really don't enjoy baking that much, because it involves so much cleaning. But I guarantee that these Chinese Chocolate Chip Cookies are worth the mess!

Chinese Chocolate Chip Cookies/ 4 Dozen

-2 3/4 cups sifted flour

-1 cup granulated sugar

-1/2 teaspoon baking soda

-1/2 teaspoon sea salt

-2 sticks softened butter

-1 large egg, beaten

-1 cup chocolate chips

-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 D.

In a small bowl, combine chocolate chips with vanilla and let sit for about 10 minutes.

Then, sift flour, sugar, baking soda, and slat together in the bowl of an electric mixer. With the mixer on low speed, cut in the softened butter until the mixture resembles cornmeal. Add the beaten egg, and almond extract, mix until combined. Add in chocolate/vanilla mixture and mix.

Roll the dough into one inch balls and place them two inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Bake in oven for 15 minutes. Cool on rack.

This recipe tastes so unique, and looks so beautiful, that I saved half the dough to make differently. As they say, you live and you learn, and you can freeze this dough for a long time, and then thaw out and make it even more wonderful. If you don't like chocolate, you could do Chinese ALMOND Cookies, with blanched almonds on top and almond extract. I love that version, but I bet there are even different BETTER versions of this cookie.

The dough...I just love it so much, is so exotic. I love this cookie.

I am so excited for this summer. Because of the terrible weather, I can cook a lot. If the AC unit is on, that is! But zucchini is one of those...things...that is just so summery. It is cool, yet hot, and very refreshing. Also, summer is a very fun time. I love looking at all the beautiful photos I have from this summer--here are a few to wrap up this blog post! But before I actually DO, this post really was enjoyable to make. It made As did the cookies, and the thought of lumpy zucchini!

My good friend casts a beautiful shadow in our local neighborhood!

Ahh, the beach! Even the local bay can provide scenic fun!, as seen above and below.

Need I say more?!

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Today, I have two things to share with  you, both of which you should be very envious of. I hope I don't sound like a snob or anything, but today for lunch, I made a very yummy gooey peanut butter banana sandwich. It was delicious! Also, I was browsing through the recent magazines I have gotten, and I found one very interesting. It was about Gelato in Rome. Now, we all know that Italy is very hot in summer. But with this heat wave going around, where would you rather be--Rome or Maryland?

For my lunch, I did something very, very stupid. I put myself over a stove and in an oven. But I guess with a tall glass of cool water, it was worth it! The outcome of my treacherous work was a phenomenal gooey sandwich filled with peanut butter and bananas. It was amazing, and it smelled just like apple pie. Mmm! I miss it already.

Peanut Butter Mess/ 1

-3 slices of potato bread, pounded out until thin

-1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

-1 tablespoon of butter

-1 large banana, about 12 slices worth

-2 tablespoons of peanut butter

-1 tablespoon of finely chopped walnuts

-1 teaspoon of vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 D.

Heat pan and melt butter in the pan. Sprinkle bread with cinnamon, and toast about 30 seconds per side on buttered pan. Set aside.

Melt peanut butter with vanilla and walnuts in a microwave safe container. Microwave for 20 seconds and mix together the peanut butter until it becomes thick and solid. Chop bananas. Set aside.

Layer one slice of potato bread on AL foil and put just less than half of the peanut butter on top. Repeat for next layer of bread. Top with last piece of bread and garnish with one banana slice and a bit of cinnamon. Put in oven to heat for 5 minutes, or until gooey and decadent!

(Note) To make this dish look nicer, trim off the edges of the bread so they are all crust less and in perfect squares. Serve very warm.

The answer to the rhetorical question would you rather be in Rome or Maryland is Rome. I'm not judging this answer on sight seeing, but the best Gelato in Maryland is...well, not the best! So I am very envious of Rome. The article about Gelato is fantastically written, and makes me very envious. I love articles like that. Local food is often best, and that Gelato sure sounds good!

Just a few days ago, I made Chocoalte Gelato, and it consisted of egg yolks, sugar, chocolate, milk, cream, and ice. It was so easy and foolproof! Sadly, I do not have the recipe, but don't worry yet--it wasn't GREAT. It was just okay. I think Gelato should be creamy and decadent and just looking at it, you should be able to taste it. But the Gelato I made was more like a rich pudding that was cooled. But then again, Gelato is one of the only sweet Italian desserts I enjoy. Which is why I am so envious of Gelato and people in Rome right now.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


A blog is meant for enjoying. Whether it be the readers or the writer. So I title this blog Journal of Joie, french for joy. I know that this is just another blog in the thousands created everyday, but I am hoping that somebody will find this enjoyable. For that is the idea of this blog--joy!

My name is Sam Benjamin, and I have experience with different blogs, so I know what I am doing on a blog! I decided to create a blog, for I think I can really create an enjoyable post for you to read. This is my journal of adventures, and I created it during the summer, where there are a ton of adventures! This summer, you have a lot to look forward to, such as a cruise and various small road trips!

Another reason you will enjoy this blog, is that I have a variety of interests that I like love obsess over in writing! One of them, which is why instead of the blog title "Journal of Joy" it is "Journal of Joie" is French. I especially love Paris, France but everything French impresses me. The culture, the food, the people, the architecture, the history! I love the French! And this year, I will begin to learn French, so that is definitely something to look forward to!

Cooking is my main passion. I will be a chef one day, but for now, I read at least ten food blogs a day and cook all the time. Also, I do a summer program at an amazing culinary school and learn many techniques related to food and cooking. I love cooking, and will definitely express my love for it on this blog, and I hope you find that enjoyable!

Wait! I have one last "obsession." That is the most amazing show on earth, Glee! I love the show, and although it is not always on, when it is, you can count on me to talk to you about it. I will try not to get to involved, though! One thing I love is how different all the characters are. You can really relate to them, for Glee is the best mix of everything. And when I am not watching Glee, I am reading books, another passion.

I hope to post about a very enjoyable topic very soon, but for now, Au revoir et merci!